October 9th, 2013
01:15 AM ET
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Editor's Note: America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Sure, it saves prep time to buy pre-cut, peeled butternut squash, but we had to wonder: How does the flavor and texture of this timesaving squash stand up to a whole squash we cut up ourselves? Whole squash you peel and cube yourself can’t be beat in terms of flavor and texture.

(That said, most supermarkets sell butternut squash that has been completely or partially prepped. If you are truly strapped for time, we have found the peeled and halved squash is fine. We don’t like the butternut squash sold in chunks; while it’s a timesaver, the flavor is wan and the texture stringy.)

Read on for our guide to the easiest—and safest—way to prepare a butternut squash.
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Food adventure day: Chinese broccoli
January 14th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
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Nearly two weeks into the year, most people's shiny, new resolutions have lost their luster. It's easy to slide back into comfortable old habits, routines and ruts, but we're here to combat that with a little personal challenge.

In my list of food resolutions for 2013, I suggested a monthly "Food Adventure Day," experimenting with an in-season ingredient you've never used before. They won't all be winners, but chances are that you'll end the year with at least a few new fruits or vegetables in the rotation.

As I wandered through Fei Long market in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, last week, stocking up on my usual baby bok choy, lotus root and taro, it occurred to me that while I've eaten countless bowls of take-out Chinese broccoli, I'd never actually cooked it at home. Into the basket it went.
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5@5 - Squash the winter doldrums
November 26th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

As fall turns into winter, the produce aisle tends to mimic the slate gray sky - everything's a bit darker, duller and more somber. Knotted parsnips take over where crisp, red radishes once sat; tart cranberries replace sweet strawberries.

Yet, despite the season's best efforts, squash shines even brighter this time of year in a cornucopia of shapes, sizes and colors.

Justin Woodward of Castagna Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, wants to quash your notions of the winter doldrums. Behold the squash.

Five Fall Squashes Worth Trying: Justin Woodward
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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Holiday • Holidays • Make • Recipes • Squash • Thanksgiving • Thanksgiving • Think • Winter Vegetables


5@5 - Eat your greens
January 20th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

(Left to right: Christophe Hille is the Chief Operating Officer, Hadley Schmitt  is the Executive Chef, and Chris Ronis is the Managing Partner of Northern Spy Food Co. in New York, New York.)

There’s much high-minded talk in the food world about eating “mostly plants” (per Mr. Michael Pollan’s counsel), but judging from the slick of animal grease on our collective food biz lips, we’re deep in the throes of a meat moment. Meatballs, meatopias, and meat weeks; the cottage industry of top-ten burger lists (as a college professor once said to me in a different context, “I think we’ve taken enough rides on that pony”); and around every corner, another young cook with tattoos of cleavers, solemnly cutting up a pig (note to the non-cook reader: it’s not that hard.)

Our mid-winter redemption for editorial and gustatory carno-chauvinism lies in greenery. Dark, sulfurous, bitter greens, to excise the sins of the flesh and remind ourselves that while any shoemaker with salt, a Boston butt and an oven can make a passable pulled pork sandwich, it is through vegetables that cooks show intelligence and intuition.

To wit: five different ways to eat your greens this winter (not necessarily vegetarian, mind you). The methods are adapted from things currently or recently on our menu at Northern Spy, which in no way means that they’re inviolable. Mess ‘em up. Put the kale where the chard goes and vice versa.

Five Ways to Cook and Eat Dark Greens in Winter
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