All Posts By Jennifer Perillo

Jennifer Perillo is a recipe developer and food writer living in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her recipes and tips for feeding families homemade meals are a regular feature in Working Mother magazine, where she’s the consulting food editor, as well Relish Magazine, Parenting, Kiwi and her blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen. Jennie's first cookbook, Homemade With Love, is now available.

Twice As Nice: 5 Ways to Use Up Leftover Burgers

by in Recipes, July 15th, 2014

Twice As Nice: 5 Ways to Use Up Leftover BurgersSummertime means grilling time. It also means you might find yourself with an excess of cooked burgers from hosting family and friends. Instead of tossing those leftovers, turn them into chili, tacos, sloppy joes, a 20-minute Bolognese sauce and even wontons. Before we get to the leftovers, though, do you ever wonder what goes into making the perfect burger?

For starters, fat matters if you want juicy burgers. Eighty-five percent is a good blend, and if you have a butcher who will do custom grinds, a mix of sirloin, short rib and brisket is worth the splurge. One last tip: Don’t fuss with your burgers when cooking them. Lay the patties on the grill, and turn them only once, after the underside is cooked. Resist the urge to press the patties flat on the grill. All you’ll do is squeeze the juices out of them.

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Beyond Gazpacho — Summer Soups

by in Recipes, June 30th, 2014

Cold Summer SoupFor years I never understood the allure of gazpacho (I can hear the collective gasp), but tomatoes and I have an interesting relationship. I’ll gladly eat them sliced with a bit of salt and a drizzle of olive oil all summer long. Cooked? No problem! I’ve never been a tomato juice person, though, and this is where gazpacho poses a problem. To my palate, it’s just chunky tomato juice with some seasonings and spices.

My thoughts, or shall I say tastes, regarding gazpacho changed a couple of summers ago when I paired it with watermelon. The watermelon added just enough sweetness to balance out the acidity. You can find my recipe for Smoky Watermelon Gazpacho here.

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Twice As Nice: Breakfast for Dinner

by in Recipes, June 26th, 2014

Breakfast for dinner is a family favorite in my house, and I’m not just talking about plain ol’ scrambled eggs or pancakes. Leftover roasted vegetables are the secret to a fancy-looking, but very easy to make, frittata. Last night’s marinara sauce gets a makeover with red pepper flakes and a couple of strips of cooked bacon — put an egg on it, and you’ve got a riff on an Italian classic. When it comes to waffles, skip the fruit, and put a savory twist on them with cheese and leftover sauteed onions.

Here are five go-to recipes, plus a few more tried-and-true tips for getting a jump-start on your next meal. Read more

Twice As Nice: Leftovers for Lunch

by in Recipes, June 12th, 2014

This time of year, parents are divided into two camps. School calendars vary, so while some are excited to finally get started with summer vacation, others are digging deep to get through the last days of the school year. Whether celebrating at the beach or shuffling kids off to school, moms and dads are still faced with the lunchtime conundrum. After all, there’s only so many PB&Js one can eat. Lunch is a great opportunity to put leftovers to good use, as you’ll see from the recipes below. To go along with them, here are 5 tips for packing a picnic, or the last few school lunches of the year.

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Make This Now: Roasted Strawberry-Basil Sauce

by in In Season, Recipes, June 11th, 2014

Roasted Strawberry-Basil SauceHere in New York City, strawberries arriving at the farmers market signal the arrival of summer and all the glorious fresh fruit waiting just around the corner. The simplest and often tastiest way to enjoy them is to pluck the stems from the top, and pop them in your mouth. Every now and then, I get fooled by a batch of berries that smell intoxicatingly sweet, only to bite into them and find my taste buds crestfallen. When that happens, there are a few things you can do to coax some flavor from your berries — jam and pie are usually at the top of my list. A more hands-off approach is roasting them. The oven does most of the work. The sauce can then be used as syrup for pancakes or a topping for sundaes, stirred into some plain yogurt for an inexpensive and healthier fruit-flavored version, or my other favorite — stirred into some sparkling water or seltzer for a summer spritzer.

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Twice as Nice: Learning to Love Leftovers

by in Recipes, May 29th, 2014

Twice as Nice: Learning to Love LeftoversLove ‘em or leave ‘em — that’s how I used to view leftovers. Aside from pasta heated in a skillet, or pizza, leftovers never left me feeling excited about eating.

That all changed once I took them a step further, beyond the reheat-and-eat approach. I cooked more white rice than expected one night, and discovered a few days later that cold, cooked rice is the best kind to use for making a tastier homemade version of Chinese takeout.

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Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

by in Holidays, How-to, April 14th, 2014

Perfect Hard Boiled EggsDissolving little tablets of dye into vinegar-spiked water and dipping hard-boiled eggs into the bowls was a rite of passage growing up. For my own children, though, it’s a foreign experience. It’s a myth you might say, like the Easter Bunny himself. We actually ate the cooked eggs growing up, and while egg salad was never my thing, I did love eating the freshly peeled eggs with a sprinkling of salt. It’s still my favorite way to enjoy them, with my Mediterranean Tuna Salad coming in as a close second.

My girls aren’t fans of eating hard-boiled eggs, though, regardless of how they’re prepared. Because one woman can eat only so many hard-boiled eggs, we usually skip the whole ritual. This year we’re mixing things up for the Easter holiday and driving to Toronto to celebrate with friends. Egg coloring will be in full swing. The girls will get to dip, tie-dye and color away, and I’ll be ready with some of my favorite recipes to put all those leftover Easter treasures to delicious use.

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How to Make Butter — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in How-to, April 7th, 2014

How to Make ButterMy inspiration for cooking is spurred by many things, one of them being curiosity. That’s what led me to make my own butter almost five years ago. My intention was not to start whipping batches of homemade butter for cooking or baking; that would be a far too expensive endeavor. I simply wanted to know if it was as easy as it sounded, and how different it would taste compared with what I could easily buy at the supermarket.

Inevitably, making butter from scratch brings out the kid inside of us all too. Imagine pouring a container of heavy cream into a food processor and watching it magically transform from one ingredient into another. There’s no magic, of course; it’s all science, but that doesn’t take away from the wonder of it all.

What about the taste? I’ll never be able to 100 percent replicate the butter I gorge on in France, simply because the cream here in the U.S. is different in flavor. I can get pretty darn close, though. All I need are two key ingredients: good-quality heavy cream from a local farmers market and fleur de sel. The result is a rich, yellow-hued fresh butter, laced with crunchy bits of salt. It’s the perfect companion to a crusty baguette and it even elevates ordinary toasted white bread.

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5 Ways to Use Day-Old Bread

by in How-to, April 1st, 2014

5 Ways to Use Day-Old BreadWhen I was growing up, my mom always kept a stash of stale bread destined to become breadcrumbs. It’s a thrifty way to make use of leftovers, and also not waste any of your grocery budgets. I always mean to do this, but the truth is I get impatient. To make breadcrumbs, the bread must be rid of all moisture. Depending on the temperature in your house, this could take weeks of waiting. You could speed the process up by baking the bread at a low temperature, essentially dehydrating it. Once I get to the point of turning on the oven, though, I want a bigger payoff.

What starts as a journey for homemade breadcrumbs eventually turns into croutons or crisps, like the recipe for these savory, cracker-like ones below. They’re perfect for topping with some creamy ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey, and they also lend some oomph to a charcuterie platter. If I manage to have any left, I give them a whirl in the food processor for seasoned homemade breadcrumbs, which brings my cooking endeavor full circle.

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Don’t Waste Those Tops: Eat More Greens

by in Recipes, March 12th, 2014

Don't Waste Those Tops: Eat More GreensMy goal is to repurpose pretty much everything in the kitchen to cut down on waste. With each new recipe, I create a quilt, of sorts, weaving unused ingredients, or leftover portions, from one dish into the next new recipe I develop. When I make bread, the little bit of flour left on the board after kneading and baking gets spooned into a bowl for the next time. A few leftover meatballs might make for a meager meal on their own. Smashed up and simmered in a marinara sauce, though, they’re a hearty dinner over polenta or pasta.

When I buy beets, the tops, also called beet greens, are always set aside for a quick saute. Finding uses for the less-obvious ingredients is something I particularly enjoy. Take carrots, for example. They, too, come with these lush, green leaves attached, which most people snap off and toss in the trash. Thanks to some inspiration from a friend on Instagram a couple of months ago, I decided to make a pesto out of them. This recipe is a great way to enjoy an old favorite in a new way.

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