cooking techniques

Cooking School Lesson 4: Fix Flavor FAST!

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

Lesson 4: Fix Flavor Fast

It’s happened to all of us: That pot of soup, piece of fish or bowl of pasta is just plain boring. Don’t worry! These four simple ingredients can turn a one-note dish into a plate-licking hit in a matter of minutes.

 

 

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Cooking School Lesson 3: Slice & Dice Like a Pro

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

 

Lesson 3: Slice & Dice Like a Pro

Get more out of your chef’s knife! These sharp tips will make your mealtime prep faster, easier and way more efficient, no matter what you’re cooking tonight.

 

 

 
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Technique Tuesday: Six Spins on Salsa

Chop some canned tomatoes, then mix together these cool dips. Pass the chips!

1. Taco Joint

Veggies & fruit: chopped carrots, radishes and scallions

Heat: chopped pickled jalapeño

Seasonings: chopped parsley

 

2. Chunky Salsa Fresca

Veggies & fruit: chopped onion

Heat: chopped fresh jalapeño

Seasonings: minced garlic, chopped cilantro lemon juice

 

3. Cool Customer

Veggies & fruit: diced cucumber, chopped onion

Seasonings: chopped cilantro, lime juice

 

4. Smoky Black Bean & Corn

Veggies & fruit: corn kernels, drained canned black beans, chopped scallions

Heat: chopped chipotle chiles in adobo

Seasonings: minced garlic, lime juice

 

5. Spicy Pineapple

Veggies & fruit: diced pineapple, chopped red onion

Heat: sliced serrano chile

Seasonings: toasted cumin seed, chopped mint

 

6. Tequila Sunrise

Veggies & fruit: chopped onion

Seasonings: chopped cilantro, lime and orange juices, shot of tequila

 

 

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Segment Your Citrus

Technique Tuesday: Preserved Lemon

A Moroccan pantry staple, preserved lemons are traditionally made by brining the whole fruit in lemon juice with plenty of salt. After a few weeks, the citrus becomes super soft and entirely edible. If you can’t find preserved lemons at a specialty-food store, you can make them at home. To get the same results in a fraction of the time, try our genius test kitchen shortcut from our recipe for Moroccan Lemon-Herb Chicken Skewers. Removing the peel from the lemon and cooking it in a salty solution re-creates the intense flavor and satiny texture of slow-cured preserves in just 10 minutes.

 

HOW-TO: In a small skillet, combine 1/4 cup thin lemon peel strips, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and simmer until the peel is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Tip: Use your preserved lemon to brighten up all sorts of dishes. Below are some of our suggestions.

MUDDLE with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, then top with some club soda for a sparkling preserved lemonade.

 

FINELY CHOP with fresh parsley and garlic and toss with EVOO and pasta or with roasted carrots.

 

WHISK with white wine vinegar, EVOO and a touch of honey for a vinaigrette. Toss with leafy greens or a three bean salad.

 

PUREE with room temperature butter in a food processor. Serve with hot rolls or put a pat on top of grilled fish.

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Meet Marsala

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Technique Tuesday: DIY Buttermilk

Though we don’t use it a lot, buttermilk is a great addition to recipes for a tangy, tender bite. But rather than buying a whole bottle only to throw most of it out, you can make your own buttermilk using ingredients you most likely always have on hand! Simply pour 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or any other acidic fruit juice, such as kiwi) or white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Then, pour in enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let the mixture sit until it curdles, 5 to 10 minutes, and start cooking! The only April Fool here will be your taste buds!

Use this homemade buttermilk in pancakes, biscuits, chicken and more. Here are some recipes to get you inspired:

 

Buttermilk Chicken Kebabs with Chopped Salad

 

From Seersucker Brooklyn, Chef Rob Newton’s Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

 

Buttermilk Cake with Candied Citrus

 

Grilled Cheese-and-Chicken-Sausage Waffles

 
 

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Technique Tuesday: Meet Marsala

Ever see Marsala wine in a recipe and wonder, “Can I just drink it?” Guess what: You can sip the Sicilian beverage (especially today, on National Drink Wine Day)! It tastes great with cured meats and aged cheeses. But remember that it’s fortified, so a grape spirit, such as brandy, has been added to preserve the wine. There are dry and sweet versions: Dry has a rich, smoky flavor that’s ideal for sauces (think chicken marsala); sweet is sometimes used to give tiramisu its boozy kick. Try using it in these dishes:

 

Mushroom Soup with Marsala

Red Chicken Marsala

Sliced Steak & Mushroom Sandwiches

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Mellow Out Those Onions

The Ultimate Scrambled Eggs

 

In our brand new March issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, our Food Editor, Katie Barreira goes on a culinary journey to discover the ultimate recipe for scrambled eggs. She consults 12 of the world’s most renowned chefs for the best advice, from how high to heat the pan, to the perfect scrambling technique. Here are their results:

 

Wally Joe (chef, partner and general manager of ACRE restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee)

In an 8-inch nonstick pan, melt ½ tbsp. butter over medium-low heat. Crack 3 eggs into the pan and wait for them to set just slightly. Season with salt and pepper, then stir the eggs with a silicone spatula until they’re soft, creamy and not entirely cooked through, about 2 minutes.

 

Tom Colicchio (chef/owner of Craft restaurants, Heritage Steak and ’wichcraft, as well as the executive chef of Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, New York)

In a bowl, whisk 3 large eggs until foamy. In a round-bottomed chef’s pan, melt about 2 tbsp. butter over medium-low heat.  Add the eggs and whisk constantly until they start to cook, then switch to a silicone spatula. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Add a pat of butter and season with salt and pepper.

 

Michael Ruhlman (author, whose food reference books include The Elements of Cooking and Ruhlman’s Twenty. The second of his single-subject technique-focused cookbooks, Egg, comes out in April)

In a bowl, use a whisk, handheld mixer or immersion blender to whip 4 eggs until uniformly mixed and pale yellow in color. In a double boiler, melt 1 tbsp. butter. Add the eggs and ¼ to ½ tsp. salt. Using a silicone spatula, stir gently and continuously for 30 seconds. Then stir every few seconds until the first curds form, about 1 minute. Lift and fold the curds into the liquid egg in the bottom of the pan. Continue to fold and stir until the eggs are about two-thirds cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the top pan and stir until the curds appear to be sauced by the runny egg.

 

Anne Burrell (host of Worst Cooks in America on Food Network and is a best-selling author. Her second cookbook, Own Your Kitchen, was published in 2013)

In a bowl, using a fork, beat 4 eggs with 4 tsp. water and a healthy pinch of salt until it’s a homogeneous mixture. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp. EVOO over medium-low heat. Add the eggs and cook slowly, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula. Cook until eggs are no longer runny but still really soft.

 

Linton Hopkins (chef/owner of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch in Atlanta)

In a bowl, whisk 4 eggs with an honest pinch of salt. Add 2 tbsp. butter to a cold 8-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter foams but doesn’t brown, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and, using a wooden spatula, gently stir the eggs for about 30 seconds, making sure to scrape the edges and the bottom of the pan; this will ensure that the eggs do not cook too quickly from direct contact with the hot skillet. Then gently fold the eggs, creating big, soft curds. When the eggs are halfway cooked, about 1 minute, turn off the heat (this will prevent the eggs from overcooking and keep them moist), and continue folding until eggs are done to your liking. The total cook time should be 2 to 3 minutes.

 

Marc Murphy (chef-owner of Benchmarc Restaurants, which include Kingside, Landmarc and Ditch Plains in New York City, and he has appeared regularly as a judge on Chopped, Iron Chef America and other culinary shows)

In a bowl, season 6 eggs with 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper and a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese. Whisk until the whites and yolks are just blended. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbsp. butter over low. Add the eggs to the skillet and, using a silicone spatula continuously stir eggs until just set, 4 to 6 minutes. About 1 minute before eggs are done, remove from heat so they don’t get too dry, and keep stirring for about 20 seconds.

 

Gordon Ramsay (Michelin-starred chef and owner of restaurants around the globe. He has five top-rated television shows that air in more than 200 countries and is the author of 27 books, including his autobiography, Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen)

Curious how the tough-talking Ramsay whips up his perfect scrambled eggs? Watch him in action right here.

 

Rachael Ray

Watch how our magazine’s leading lady scrambles up her flavor-packed eggs!

 

Michael Mina (award-winning chef and founder of the Mina Group, which has more than 20 restaurants across the United States)

In a bowl, whisk together 8 eggs. Add the eggs to the top of a double boiler set over boiling water. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir the eggs. Don’t be too aggressive—you want to let the eggs form into small curds as they cook. (You can add all sorts of fun ingredients during this stage, such as crème fraïche, chives, cheese, etc.). Cook the eggs until they’re soft and very moist, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with sea salt and pepper.

 

Frank McMahon (chef of Hank’s Seafood Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina)

In a bowl, whisk 6 eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, combine 2 tbsp. unsalted butter and 2 or 3 oz. whole milk over medium heat. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and immediately add the eggs, stirring to combine. As the eggs begin to set, use a silicone spatula to gently push the mixture back and forth using a snowplow-like motion to form fluffy egg mounds. Just before the eggs are completely set, remove the skillet from the heat. (The eggs will continue to cook off the heat.)

 

 Elizabeth Falkner (James Beard Award–nominee and executive chef at Corvo Bianco in New York City. Her second cookbook, Cooking Off the Clock, was published in 2012)

In a bowl, whisk 4 eggs, a pinch salt and 2 tbsp. heavy cream. Heat an 8- or 10-inch nonstick skillet over high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 1 tbsp. butter and immediately turn the heat down to low. Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring with a silicone spatula for 15 to 20 seconds. Add 1 tbsp. butter, a few cranks of pepper and another pinch salt. Continue to cook for about 20 seconds, until the eggs are still runny, but are setting up on the edges. Remove from the heat and stir the eggs for another few seconds.

 

Ludo Lefebvre (chef and owner of awarding-winning restaurant Trois Mec in Los Angeles)

In a bowl, beat 4 eggs. Season with salt and pepper. In a small saucepan, melt ½ tbsp. butter over low heat. Add the eggs and, using a wooden spatula, stir constantly, using a figure-eight motion, until the eggs start to get a little thick, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. cold butter and stir until melted. (This will stop the cooking and add extra creaminess to the eggs.)

 

 

Technique Tuesday: Mellow Out Those Onions

Raw red or white onions should be the perfect balance of sharp and sweet, but sometimes their natural pungency can take over a dish (not to mention your breath!). Tame the burn by submerging sliced onions in an ice-water bath for about 15 minutes, which will remove the harsh natural sulfurs from the cut surfaces. Drain and pat dry before using. Bonus: The refreshing dip crisps them up, too!

 

Here are a few ways to use your mellowed out onions:

 

Mixed into our brand-new recipe for Tarragon-Grapefruit Salad.

Pup ‘em on top of our Lemon Tilapia with Garlic-Parsley Couscous.

In our Guacamole Salad alongside Hot-or-Not Grilled Sliced Chicken with Cheesy Polenta.

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Technique Tuesday: How to Make Pizza Dough

When done right, pizza dough is crispy and crunchy and delicious. The secret? A long, slow rise. Follow our step-by-step lead for the best-ever 6-ingredient pizza dough!

Learn how to mix, pour, turn, oil, punch, shape, rest and finally roll out the best-ever pizza dough.

 

More technique tips:

How to Make Homemade Bread

How to Buy Coffee Beans

How to Make Your Own Preserves