Tips

Kitchen Technique Tweak: Meatballs, Fall In!

Meatball Technique - Illustration by Alice Tait

Illustration by Alice Tait

 

“I was surprised to learn how Daniel Holzman, executive chef at the Meatball Shop in NYC, cooks his signature lamb meatballs: He lines the meatballs up, slightly touching, in a baking dish. When testing his recipe I compared his baking method with two others: browning them in a skillet and braising them in sauce. Daniel won, hands down. The tight rows ensure perfectly shaped balls and they develop a nicely browned crust in the oven. Plus, make-ahead is a snap. Cover the cooked meatballs with foil and refrigerate them for up to three days. To reheat, just pop the covered dish into a 300° oven for 20 minutes. This is how I’m cooking my meatballs from now on!”

–Katie Barreira, Senior Test Kitchen Associate


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How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

I drink iced coffee all yearlong, even when there’s snow on the ground. But buying iced coffee on the daily can get expensive, so I’ve taken to making my own coffee–cold brew, to be specific. So what the heck is cold-brew coffee, anyway? Well folks, pay attention, because I’m about to show you the way. (Oh, and since you don’t need electricity for this method, you can thank me the next time the power goes out and you can still get your caffeine fix!)

How to make cold brew coffee


So what’s the difference?

Cold-brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in room temperature or cold (ie. no heat here!) water over a long period of time and straining the liquid to create a concentrate. As no heat is applied, the bitter flavor components of the bean are not released, producing a less astringent and less acidic coffee that some even describe as sweet.

 

How do you make it?

 

Read more

Technique Time: How to Make Easy Vegetable Ribbons

All you need for pretty vegetable ribbons is a peeler. Oh, and vegetables: Zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, parsnips, cucumbers–basically any vegetable that has the shape to become long strips is a good candidate.

Technique: How to Make Vegetable Ribbons

Illustration by Claudia Pearson

1. Trim the ends and peel the vegetable if needed.

2. Peel the flesh lengthwise, using a little pressure to make 1 ⁄16 -inch-thick ribbons (thin enough to fold nicely but thick enough not to break).

3. Blanch, if desired (cook for about 1 minute in boiling salted water, then rinse with cold water). But raw is nice, too!

 

Add vegetable ribbons to pastas or turn them into a salad like in the recipes below.

Get the recipes:

Grilled Salmon with Squash Ribbon Salad

Grilled Salmon with Squash Ribbon Salad

Vegetable RIbbon Pasta

Vegetable Ribbon Pasta

Zucchini RIbbon Salad

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

 

More Test Kitchen Tips:

How to Fix a Leek

How to Make a DIY Double Boiler

How to Sear Meat Perfectly

 

Produce Primer: How To Fix a Leek

Mild, oniony leeks are delicious in everything from savory tarts to potato soup. The only problem? The veggie’s many layers can trap a lot of grit–something you don’t want to crunch down on during dinner. To get them really clean, give this quick and easy method a shot.

How to Prep a Leek

Illustrations by Alan Witschonke

 

  Read more

Technique Time: DIY Double Boiler

Don’t have a double boiler, don’t worry–you can still cook citrus curds, custards and puddings! Just channel your inner “crafty cook” and make this do-it-yourself double boiler with items you already have on hand.

DIY Double Boiler

Illustration by Emma Kelly

Step 1: Simmer a few inches of water in a saucepan.

Step 2: Stack a metal or glass bowl on top of a saucepan, making sure the bowl fits snugly.

What’s inside won’t burn or stick because the steam from the simmering water will heat the bowl gently and evenly. Just make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.

 

Lemon Daisy Cookies

 

 

 

Try the DIY double boiler out with these Lemon Daisy Cookies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

RELATED:

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More DIY and Craft Ideas

 

Self-Empowerment

The invisible battery-boosters built into these accessories let you off your leash (um, power cord) so you can roam if you want to. –Morgan Gibson

 


 

Powerbag Sling’s compact backpack can juice as many as four devices at once. When the bag isn’t in use and needs to be charged, you plug it in with a power cord. $140, mypowerbag.com

 

 

 

Rach’s newest obsession, Everpurse’s kicked-up clutch, revs your phone while you tackle your busy day. The secret: a magnetic pad that recharges the bag. $189 and up, everpurse.com

 

 

Talk, text and stay powered all at the same time with Mophie’s sleek, rubberized Juice Pack Plus. Once you’ve charged it via USB port, the case keeps your iPhone’s tank full. $100, mophie.com


 

 

 

Photography by Levi Brown

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Technique Time: Searing Secrets

A perfectly browned sear on everything from steak to stew meat creates a flavorful crust and juicy interior. Just follow these four easy searing commandments.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step

Commandment #1: Thou shalt pat the meat dry.

 

If excess moisture (aside from butter, oil or fat) is present, the meat will steam, not sear.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step 2

Commandment #2: Thou shalt get the pan hot.
Really hot.

 

Intense heat creates the tasty, burnished crust you’re looking for.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step 3

Commandment #3: Thou shalt be patient.

 

Hands off–and we mean it! If the meat isn’t touching the hot pan

(because you keep moving it), it won’t brown properly.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step 4

Commandment #4: Thou shalt take turns.


To achieve a uniform sear, each side of the meat needs equal attention. However, try to keep flipping of the meat to a minimum as it will dry and toughen the meat.

 
(Illustrations by Claudia Pearson)

 

 

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Technique Time: Whip It Good

Red Velvet Meltcakes Recipe When a recipe like our Red Velvet Meltcakes (pictured left) calls for beating heavy cream or egg whites, it will often mention soft or stiff peaks. How do you tell what’s what? You can see where you stand by just lifting up the beaters.

 

  • Soft Peaks will be thick but still droopy and are perfect for dollop-friendly whipped cream.
  • Stiff Peaks will stick up straight from the beaters and are what you’re looking for when making meringue.
Technique-Whipping Soft and Stiff Peaks

Illustration: Claudia Pearson

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