by Jennifer Perillo in Recipes, July 15th, 2014
by Jennifer Perillo in Recipes, June 12th, 2014
Summertime 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.
by Jennifer Perillo in In Season, Recipes, June 11th, 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.
by Jennifer Perillo in Recipes, May 29th, 2014
Here 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.
by Jennifer Perillo in How-to, April 7th, 2014
Love ‘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.
by Jennifer Perillo in Recipes, March 12th, 2014
My 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.
by Jennifer Perillo in Recipes, February 25th, 2014
My 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.
by Jennifer Perillo in Holidays, February 10th, 2014
Carrot sticks and hummus are my go-to snack when I need a quick, healthy pick-me-up. When time is on my side, though, carrots have so much more to offer than simply snacking. Roasting brings out their natural sweetness, making them a tasty, easy side dish. There’s the ever-popular carrot-ginger soup pairing, which Food Network Kitchens has turned into an energy-boosting breakfast smoothie. Speaking of soup, I found a couple of new, inspiring ones too. Here’s a peek at some of the more-versatile recipes that elevate the humble carrot to superstar status in the kitchen.
by Jennifer Perillo in Recipes, July 31st, 2013
Call me crazy, but chocolate isn’t my first choice for dessert. If you follow my blog, then you know there are some exceptions to this rule, at least when Chewy, Bittersweet Brownies are involved. Brownies aside, my sweet tooth tendencies are likely satisfied with something like this Raspberry-Ricotta Mousse or Lemon Icebox Bars. Why should Valentine’s Day be any different? This year I say think outside the box of chocolates and whip up one of these homemade treats for your sweetheart.
by Jennifer Perillo in How-to, May 29th, 2013
I sometimes question my own sanity when I crank the oven to bake pies, cakes and cookies during the summer. When the temperatures reach record-breaking highs, though, as we happen to be experiencing here in New York City, even I come to my senses. That doesn’t mean I give up on cooking from scratch, or on sweets — life is too short to skip dessert.
Sliced fruit or berries macerated — chef-speak for marinated — along with sugar, are perfect paired with fresh whipped cream. Ice pops are an easy go-to summer dessert, too. I recently made watermelon ones reminiscent of Jolly Rancher candies. Cherry Slushies are another favorite of mine and require no chilling time. You simply puree cherry conserves with ice cubes in a blender. What are your favorite ways to stay cool and still indulge?
Try these no-bake recipes
Memorial Day signaled the unofficial start to summer, so it’s only natural that the next part in The Good Cook series should be about grilling and barbecuing. Here’s a quick primer to get you started.
Direct Heat vs. Indirect Heat: The first thing to think about when grilling is how long your food will take to cook and that all depends on what you’re making. Quick-cooking items like sausage links, steak and shrimp cook best when placed directly over the heat source (i.e., flame or hot coals). This is called direct-heat cooking.
Brisket and ribs, on the other hand, need a long cooking time to become tender, so you want to use an indirect cooking method. This simply means the coals are piled, also called “banked,” on one side of the grill, or just the outer gas burners are turned on. The food is placed on the rack, away the flame or hot coals, and cooks from the radiant heat. It’s akin to turning your grill or barbecue into an oven. With this cooking method, you’ll also need to keep the grill closed to maintain a consistent cooking temperature.
Gas vs. Charcoal Gas Grills