Food scientists think they’ve found a way to extend the life of fresh produce: Shock it in warm water. Researchers at The Cooking Lab, a research facility started by Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold, report that submerging fruit and vegetables in hot water slows the production of the gases and enzymes that turn them brown. Just fill a large pot with hot tap water (between 122 degrees F and 131 degrees F) and soak the produce for two to three minutes. Then drain, dry and refrigerate it as usual. Your fruit and veggies might taste better, too. W. Wayt Gibbs from the lab says that, in the study, they found a slight increase in crunchiness.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Foil packets make great braising vessels for the grill. We formed this oversize foil bowl to hold the beer-braised potatoes and shrimp (pictured above).
1. Stack 2 large sheets of heavy-duty foil. Place the solid ingredients in the center.
No one seems to agree on the most important ingredient in a BLT, although we all know it’s not the lettuce. I asked around the kitchen and the results were 50/50: half said the star of the sandwich is the bacon, the other half said tomato.
Luckily, our BLT story in Food Network Magazine‘s July/August issue has something for everyone — bacon lovers, tomato lovers and even a little something for you lettuce-loving outliers. The different types of bacon and bacon seasonings are all great, but as an avid tomato lover, I particularly like the ways the recipe developers handled the tomatoes in their dishes. Whether fresh, oven-dried, made into a salsa or broiled, each style of tomato balanced the other components in the dish perfectly.
We’re all for throwing new things onto the grill, but we were skeptical of grilled lemonade when we heard about the trend. After trying it, we’re sold: Grilling the lemons makes the drink taste caramelized and slightly smoky. To make a pitcher, dip the cut sides of 16 halved lemons in sugar and grill until marked, about 5 minutes; let cool. Simmer 1 1/4 cups sugar with 1 3/4 cups water and a pinch of salt until dissolved; let cool. Squeeze the lemons through a strainer into a pitcher; stir in the sugar syrup, some ice and a few of the grilled lemons.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Don’t be scared off by a recipe that calls for fish sauce. It smells pungent, but you won’t detect any fishiness in your dish — just a rich, salty, almost meaty flavor. Fish sauce can be used in more than just Asian dishes: Add a splash to tomato sauce or whisk some into salad dressing. Just remember that a little goes a long way.
(Photograph by David Turner/Studio D.)
Who doesn’t love corn? It’s sweet, crisp, fun to eat and says summer like no other food. We also love corn for its versatility: It’s as delicious boiled as it is grilled, on the cob or off, sauteed or stirred into batters. We created corn recipes of all types for Food Network Magazine‘s July/August booklet, and although I enjoy corn in all its forms, I’m a purist at heart. I like it best simply grilled or boiled, with ample butter and a generous dusting of kosher or sea salt.
When I’m in the mood for a little more pizzazz, I mix up a flavored salt like the jerk or lemon-pepper seasoning in the booklet, both of which are extremely easy to prepare and transform classic corn on the cob into something exceptional. Here are two more recipes for amazing flavored salts. The bacon salt is a perfect complement to grilled corn served alongside burgers and hot dogs; the lemon coriander one tastes great on buttery boiled corn at a clam bake.
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Americans have been squeezing ice pops out of plastic tubes since Fla-Vor-Ice was invented more than 40 years ago. But we had to wait awhile to make them ourselves: For years the sleeves were tricky to find outside the Philippines, where homemade push-up pops are super popular. Now you can get the bags stateside, thanks to an ice-pop fan who recently started importing them. Fill with any fruit juice, tie the top and freeze. $10 for 100; icecandybags.com
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Make your own flavorful broth for poaching chicken or fish by adding vegetables and herbs to simmering water. It’s called a court-bouillon (or “short broth”), and you can customize it with your favorite flavors (we used garlic, scallions and fennel fronds for Food Network Magazine‘s Poached Chicken with Garlic-Herb Sauce, pictured above). Don’t throw out the liquid when you’re done poaching: Store it in the fridge and use it like regular chicken broth.
You don’t need a special basket to grill vegetables. Just slice them on the bias to expose more surface area — this prevents pieces of skinny vegetables like zucchini or yellow squash from falling through the grate, and it lets more of the vegetable come in contact with both your marinade and the grill.
(Photograph by Justin Walker)
Beer is a refreshing beverage during the warm summer months, and it’s also great to cook with and marinate meats in. The beer used in Food Network Magazine‘s Beer-Braised Ribs with Clams dinner (pictured above) is not only a great way to season ribs — it’s also perfect for a refreshing Lemon Shandy. It’s easy: Just mix equal parts beer and lemonade and serve over ice. Add a splash of ginger ale if you’d like. It’s the perfect drink to sip as you pile up all those bones and shells!
Make this easy menu for dinner tonight: