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ST R AT E D
Italian G ri Ued
Chicken
Quick Tomato Sauce
bi, 'resh 'lavcr in 1 inutes
Foolproof Grilled
Salmon
"cnstick ethcd buperheatsLrill
Cookware Sets
's $/UU better than $1'
Blueberry Muffins
Chocolate Chip
Cookies, Reinvented
Ve Ketccl the 1cll =cuse Kecipe
Complete Guide to
Marinating

Chocolate Chip Taste Test
Ultra-Crisp Shrimp Tempura
Grilled Beef Teriyaki
Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
www. c o o k s i ||Us t r a t e d. com
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CONTENTS
May c June ZLL'
2 Notes from Readers
BY FRANCISCO J. ROBERT
4 Quick Tips
Quick and easy ways to perform everyday tasks, from
reviving lefover polenta to cl eaning your oven without
engulfing the kitchen in fumes.
BY FRANCISCO J. ROBERT AND YVONNE RUPERTI
6 Italian Grilled Chicken
What do a pair of bricks have to do with juicy,
crisp-skinned chicken? BY MAT THEW CARD
8 Rescuing Grilled Beef
Teriyaki
This Japanese-American standard is synonymous with
chewy, flavorl ess meat shellacked with saccharine
sweet sauce. To beef things up, we turned to a trick
from the grill. BY KEITH DRESSER
I 0 Great laed ork Tenderloin
A glaze is the perfect way to enhance this bland cut
if you can get it to stick. For help, we borrowed a
technique used by professional painters.
BY J. KENJI ALT
12 Improving Grilled Vegetables
Most gril l ed vegetabl es turn out one of two ways: pal e
and crunchy or bl ackened and mushy. Maybe it was
time to turn down the heat. BY YVONNE RUPERTI
I 3 Best Quick Tomato Sauce
I s it possi bl e to transform canned tomatoes into a
bright, fresh-tasting sauce?
BY KEITH DRESSER
14 Foolproof Grilled Salmon
Fillets
It's not the seasoning or the cooking that's
confounding-it's getting the fish of the grill
in one piece. BY J. KENJI ALT
I 6 Marinating Done Right
Don't believe everything you hear about marinating.
Here's what it can do-and what it can't.
BY CHARLES KELSEY
18 Better Shrimp Tempura
Japanese chefs spend years l earning how to create a
light. crisp coating on these quick-fried fritters. We
turned to a diferent secret weapon: the liquor cabinet.
BY FRANCISCO J. ROBERT
20 Best Blueberry Muffins
The best guarantee of a great bl ueberry muffin is to
start with great blueberries. We wanted a recipe that
would work even with the watery supermarket kind.
BY YVONNE RUPERTI
22 The Perfect Chocolate
Chip Cookie
We set out to perfect the back-of-the-bag classic with a
cookie that was crisp at the edges, chewy in the middle,
and ful l of rich tofee flavor. BY CHARLES KELSEY
25 Should You Buy a
Cookware Set?
Does buying a set of cookware get you a bargain
or a bunch of pans you don't really need?
BY LISA McMANUS
28 Where the (Chocolate)
Chips Fall
Do Nestle Tol l House morsel s still deserve to be the
nation's top-selling chips?
BY PEGGY CHUNG COLLIER
30 Kitchen Notes
BY J. KENJI ALT
32 Equipment Corner
BY MEREDITH BUTCHER AND
PEGGY CHUNG COLLIER
MESCLUN GREENS Once relegated to specialty markets. young, small mescl un greens
now popul ate grocery shel ves. The pal e ivory center of frisee, or curl y endi ve, is great for
eating raw, but the bitter, green tangl e of outer l eaves is best cooked. Peppery notes prevail
in watercress, though leggy exampl es sometimes have mineral or soapy qual ities. The young,
tender l eaves of the common dandel ion make a great addition to salads. A hint of celery
characterizes baby red chard leaves. Tatsoi, or rosette bok choy, gets its name from its
growth pattern of concentric circl es, like rose petals. The coral-like rufles of baby l ola rosa,
much like the crimps of baby red oak l eaf lettuce, make optimal dressing-catchers. Sorrel
bursts with sharp citrus notes. Sal ads brighten with the herbaceous addition of mizuna.
Ultra-tender mikhe is mil d and dean-tasting, but must not be dressed too early, or it wil l wil t.
Though mil der, baby red romaine has the same slightl y mineral flavor of mature romaine.
COVER 5ir.rlcrrics. Robert Papp, BACK COVER 'Ac:|un |cc.John Burgoyne
Amer|coet/|tchenis a very rea12,500-square-foot kitchen located just outside of Boston. It is the home of Cook|||utrotedand
Cook Countrymagazines and is the workday destination for more than three dozen test cooks, editors. and cookware specialists.
Our mission is to test recipes over and over again until we understand how and why they work and until we arrive at the best ver
sion. We also test kitchen equipment and supermarket ingredients in search of brands that offer the best value and performance.
You can watch us work by tuning in to /mer|co et/|tchen (www.americastestkitchen.com) on public television.
(O|
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M
y sister-in-law is married to Scott
Taylor, who grew up in Gaysville,
Vermont. When he was i n the
sixth grade, he watched the three
story Track and Trail building-it had served in
previous incarnations as the town hall and the
schoolhouse-burn to the ground next door to his
home. Neighbors helped to evacuate the contents
of the house in minutes, and he watched awestruck
as his dad strapped the refrigerator to his back with
a rope and walked it outside. Then, from across
the street, he saw something that changed his life.
In the 8-foot gap between the burning building
and his house, frefghters standing in harm' s way
used pike poles to push a collapsing wall away to
save his home.
Today, in addition to working at the factory in
Bethel Mills, Scott is Assistant Fire Chief The work
is hard, especially in winter when his coat and helmet
ofen get so fozen that when he takes them of,
they can stand upright in the road, the helmet fsed
to the coat. A few weeks ago, one of his frefghter
fiends tried to get into a burning house through a
locked sliding-glass door by throwing lawn frniture
at it. The glass had been so tempered by the fre that
the frniture broke with barely a crack in the glass.
But there are lighter moments too: a bit of slapstick,
pranks played on the fre chief, a snowball fght, the
humor found in the odd comment that keeps their
minds of the long hours of waiting tmtil sunup
when they ofen begin the search for bodies.
In America, most of us are just a generation away
fom the idyll that life can be in a small town. Scott
spent summers at the Twin Bridges swimming hole,
jumping of rocks 35 feet above the clear, cold water.
Clarence Guy, his grandfather, rang the church bell
every Sunday, and Halloween was spent mostly at the
schoolhouse where they dunked for apples and dran
Moris Thompson's homemade cider (there were few
houses in town so the "take" was on the low side).
The great fl ood of 1927 took out the hydroelectric
dam, the local factory (buttons, then lightbulbs, then
clothing) and the 19-mile Peavine Rilroad, whch
started at Bethel and ran through town, meandering
up to Rochester like a pea vine. ( Or,
as a Yankee of few words once said,
"Sir, where the railway was, the river
is.") Scott's grandmother took the
train to school as a kid.
Adrienne and I attend tl1e annual
our town, volw1teers organize the
Town Hall Christmas Party, the
ammal tag sale for the church, last
minute pancake breakfasts to help
with a neighbor's medical bills,
and the annual clean-up day, to
say notlling of helping to get in the
hay, especially last summer when it
tl1reatened rain almost ever day.
fi remen's dinner in our town, and
last year at the event I ran into
Tiger Skidmore, a neighbor who
volw1teers for fre departments in
tl1ree diferent towns. He has tl1e
volw1teer bug so bad tl1at on Ius
wedding day, j ust as he was about
to walk down the aisle, his pager
Chri stopher Ki mbal l
In the country, it's how you
spend your time, not your money,
that counts, whether you are com
pleting the 180-hour frefighter
training course or cooking for the
went of and his fiends watched in awe as he started
over toward Is pickup to respond. They quickly got
llim turned around. (he still doesn't see what all tl1e
fss was about).
Firehouses have to raise fnds continually, so
in Scott's town they hold the annual Haw Hee
talent show with stand-up routines and stocky
men i n fnny costumes, including Ed Bean, the
fre chief, dressed in a straw hat and denim overalls
in imitation of Grandpa Bean. In our village, tle
frehouse still puts on chicken dinners, barbecues,
bingo, and the annual Old Home Day parade and
carnival, complete with me "Win a Cake!" contest
( bet 25 cents on the spinning wheel); "Win a
Goldfsh!" featuring yellow rubber ducks ( almost
everybody wins and then you have to buy the
goldfsh bowl ); plenty of homemade "fast" food
including fried dough, hand-cut French fries, maple
syrup milkshakes, and cotton candy; and a country
and western band featuring a cowgirl playing the
fddle and a drum set with a Wyoming landscape.
You can bet good money that the frst song will be
"Oki e from Muscogee." Older folks look on, seated
in collapsible lawn chairs, much like distinguished
visitors at an inauguration.
In small towns across America, most of the
mwlicipal ofces are volunteer or pretty close to
it, considering the short money: the select board,
the zoning administrator ( the worst job in town) ,
the town clerk, tl1e rescue squad, constable, etc. In
church dirmer, tl1e one that ofers roast pork, Jell-
| salad as a vegetable, and pineapple fuf cake for
dessert. Being poor, hungry, sick, or short a paycheck
never stopped Scott's parents or grandparents from
getting up early and doing what needed to be done.
When his grandmother was stranded seven miles
away in the next town afer the '27 flood, she simply
walked home. Somebody had to feed the kids.
I once heard a story about a call that came in fom
a frebox on a street corner, and two fre stations
were dispatched. When the frst company pulled
up, they saw a little boy standing at the frebox on
the seat of his tricycle. When they went up to him,
they quickly realized that he was the son of one
of the frefghters on the otl1er truck. When asked
what was wrong, he replied, "I j ust wanted to see
my daddy!"*
That boy knew his dad was both a volunteer and
a hero-not heroic in the grand scheme of things,
perhaps, but where it really matters: in a small town,
in a small state. In an age when we think that we
can simply buy our way out of trouble, Scott and
others remind us that Americans once built some
thing out of noming, that kids grew up proud, and
that if you called in a fre, you would soon see some
folks you know showing up in a big red truck, and
one of them, riding shotgun, would probably be
your daddy.
* Story courtesy of Roland LaFrance. Redford. N.Y.
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M AY [ )'^ 2 0 0'
NOTES FROM READERS
3C OMPI L E D B Y F R AN C I S C O J R O B E R TE
Salted versus Unsalted Butter
Is it OK to replace unsalted (sweet cream) butter
with salted butter if I reduce the total amount of
salt in the recipe?
JOYCE CLUTTER
STREETSBORO, OHI O
We advise against cooking with salted butter for
three reasons. First, the amount of salt in salted butter
varies fom brand to brand-it can range fom I . 25
percent to I . 5percent of the total weight, making
it impossible to ofer conversion amounts that will
work with all brands. Second, because salt masks
some of the favor nuances found in butter, salted
butter tastes diferent fom unsalted butter. Finally,
salted butter mOs ! contains more water than
un butter. The water n utter ranges fom
IOto I 8 percent. In baking, butter with a low water
content is preferred, since excess water can interfere
wth te development of gluten. In fact, when we
used the san1e brand of both salted and Lmsalted
butter to make brownies and drop biscuits, tasters
noticed that samples made with salted butter were a
little mushy and pasty; they preferred the texture of
baked goods made with unsalted butter.
Ale Cider versus Ale Juice
What is the diference between apple cider and apple
juice? Can I use them interchangeably?
EDI TH Ll
HOUSTON. TEXAS
To make cider, apples are simply cored, chopped,
mashed, and then pressed to extract their liquid.
Most cider is pasteurized before sale, though
unpasteurized cider is also available. To make apple
juice, manufacturers follow the same steps used to
make cider, but they also flter the extracted liquid
to remove pulp and sediment. Apple juice is then
pasteurized, and potassium sorbate (a preservative)
is ofen mixed in to prevent fermentation. Finally,
apple juice is sometimes sweetened with sugar or
corn syrup.
We tried using unsweetened apple juice in recipes
for pork chops and glazed ham that call for cider.
Tasters were turned of by excessive sweetness in
the dishes made with apple juice, unanimously
preferring those made with cider. This made sense:
The fltration process used in making juice removes
some of the complex, tart, and bitter flavors that are
still present in cider. (When we tested the pH level
of both liquids, the cider had a lower pH than the
apple juice, confrming its higher level of acidity.)
The bottom line: When it comes to cooking, don't
swap apple juice for cider.
Xanthan Gum
What is xanthan y,and why is it used in recipes?
Xanthan gum is a polysac
charide-a chain of com-
plex carbohydrates produced
during the fermentation of
corn symp by the bacterium
Xanthomonas campestris.
Lately, it has been turning
up at fne-dining restaurants
in foams, gels, and other cre
ative applications. However,
PEG SCOTT
BROOKLYN, N. Y.

it has also long been used as


XANTHAN GUM
a thickener, emulsifier, and A few teaspoons add lif
stabilizer in the commercial and elasticity to gluten-
production of foods ranging
f ree baked goods.
fom ketchup to salad dressing and ice cream.
In home kitchens, this powdery substance is
most commonly used in gluten-free recipes for its
supposed ability to add lif and glutenlike elasticity
to baked goods. When we added xanthan gum to
zucchini and banana breads made with gluten-free
rice four, we weren't crazy about the fnished
products, but the loaves weren't nearly as dense and
heavy as the same breads made without it. Xanthan
gum can be purchased at some supermarkets and
at natural foods stores.
Blanching Vegetables
I have heard that when you blanch green vegetables,
you should not cover the pot. Is this true, or is it just
an old wives' tale?
HI LLARY FEMAL
TAMPA, FLA.
Blanching involves briefy duing fruits or
vegetables in boiling water to set color, flavor, and
texture. Some sources say that to successfl y blanch
green vegetables, the lid must be kept of of the pot
to allow the acids they contain to evaporate, rather
than trapping them in the cooking water and turning
the vegetables brown.
To examine the validity of this clain1, we blanched
batches of broccoli, green beans, and broccoli rabe
in both covered and uncovered pots. Afer blanch
ing, the pH (acid) level of the water in both pots
was identical for each vegetable. Moreover, all of
the vegetables were bright green, and the covered
and uncovered batches tasted exactly the same. The
bottom line: When it comes to blanching, it makes
not a whit of diference whether you cover tl1e pot
or not.
C OO K
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Cooking with Savor
What is savor and what does it taste like? Ifl can't
fnd it at the supermarket, what would be a good
substitute?
ANUSUYA BABN
LANSING, MICH.
Native to the Mediterranean region, savory is an
aromatc herb found in two varietes: winter and sum
mer. The types are quite similar, though the flavor
of tl1e latter is slightly more delicate, and the former
has a coarser texture. To find a substitute, we started
by asking a panel of tasters to release tl1e scent of the
herb (we chose the more widely available summer
savory) by mbbing tl1e leaves between their fngers
to draw out essential oils. Then tl1ey tasted the herb.
Although savory is in the mint family, most tasters
detected a stronger resemblance to thyme and sage.
To fid out if a combination of thyme and sage
could substitute for savory, we made batches of
sausage stufng and chicken soup witl1 that com
bination and witl1 tl1e real thing. We replaced the
3 teaspoons of chopped fresh sun1mer savory leaves
in each recipe with 2 teaspoons of chopped fesh
thyme leaves and 1 teaspoon of chopped fesh sage
leaves. Sampled side by side, tasters approved
of the substitution, claiming that the
thyme-sage combination
nearly identical to
Repl ace summer savory with 2 parts
f resh thyme to | part f resh sage.
Better-Tasting Lefovers
In your September/October 2OO8 issue, you
addressed the fact that soups and stews ofen taste
better afer they are cooled and reheated. In a sinliar
vein, I've puzzled over "seasoning" soups and stews
or "ripening" quick breads before freezing. ! ofen
make extra batches to freeze and use at a later tme
and have always wondered: Is it better to wait a few
days before feezing them?
CAROLYN JACOBSEN
LOS GATOS, CALIF.
We previously determined tl1at tl1e flavor of
soups and stews improves over time because many
chemical reactions that produce favor enhancers
continue to take place during the cooling process.
According to our science editor, however, those
reactions slow way down once the food is cold and
stop completely when it is frozen.
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To test his claim, we made two batches each of


chili and banana bread, then froze one batch right
afer cooling it and refigerated the other for three
days before feezing. Despite the ability of food to
continue to build some flavor in the refrigerator,
most of the changes happen during the initial cool
ing period, and a tasting revealed no noticeable dif
ferences among the samples. In addition, foods like
banana bread v stale somewhat afer just a day or
two, so it's better not to wait before freezing. Finally,
bacteria develop as foods sit in the refigerator, so the
safest course of action is not to delay: Freeze foods as
soon as they have cooled to room temperanue.
Cold Brew Iced Tea
In the summer, I make iced tea almost every day.
I have seen Lipton Cold Brew tea in the supermarket
and wondered if it could save me some time. Do you
recommend this product?
CHRI S DANKULI CH
BEDFORD. MASS.
ur go-to method for making iced tea is to brew
an extra-strong batch of regular tea and then stir in
ice, which simultaneously cools the tea and dilutes it
to just the right strength. But what if we could skip
the cumbersome heating and cooling steps? Lipton
Cold Brew tea promises j ust that-fll-strength iced
tea brewed in j ust 3 minutes, using cold water.
We held a blind tasting with Lipton Cold
Brew tea, brewed according to package directions,
versus Lipton Yellow Label tea and Twinings
English Breakfast tea ( our winning brand for
drinking hot wid10ut milk) , brewed via our
go-to merod. Both the Twinings and Lipton
Yellow Label had fans, but tasters unanimously
deemed the Lipton Cold Brew
their least favorite,
complaining of
"lots of sediment"
and "no favor at
1 . Cold brewing
may be a nice idea,
but we'll choose
flavor over conve
nience any day.
COL D BRE W
L E FT US COL D
Baking Soda as Odor Absorber
Can baking soda really remove unpleasant odors
fom the refigerator or freezer?
ENRI QUE CARLO
SAN ANTONI O. TEXAS
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, an alkali used
as a leavening agent in baking. To test whether it can
also absorb or neutralize odors from the refigerator
or feezer, we placed equal amounts of sour milk,
stinky cheese, and spoiled fi sh into two airtight con
tainers, then added an open box of baking soda to
one container and lef the second alone. We sealed
the samples and let them sit overnight at room tem
perarure. Finally, we asked a panel of "snifers" to
WHAT I S I T?
At a yard sal e recently, I stumbl ed upon thi s utensi l , whi ch l ooks
l i ke some sort of knife. What exactly is it used for?
JUSTI N ABORN
HI NGHAM, MASS.
A shri mp devei ner
removes both shel l and
vein i n one qui ck step.
Your fnd stumped many of us here in the test kitchen. We
first thought it was a grapefruit knife, but ulti matel y determi ned
that the gadget i s a shri mp devei ner. The bl ade of the device
sl i ces through the shri mp's shel l and removes its bl ack "vei n"
(digestive tract) with one moti on. The razor-sharp edge of the
bl ade, whi ch i s curved i n the shape of a shri mp, cuts through the
shel l , whi l e the serrated ti p grabs the vei n. The tool can al so be
used l i ke a pari ng knife to remove the shri mp's head. We found
this item for sale at onl i ne stores for about $|5. At such a low
price, it's a nice utensi l to keep handy, especi al l y when prparing
lots of shri mp.
smell each container afer 2+ hours and again afer
48 hours, removing the boxes of baking soda each
time. The results were inconclusive, wirl1 some snif
ers claiming rl1ey couldn't detect much diference
and orl1ers swearing rley could.
Pit out, food scientsts, including Washington
Post columnist Robert Wolke, dismiss d1e notion that
baking soda has deodorizing power in r1e fridge. In
his book Wat Einstein
Told His Cook 2, Wolke
writes that willie baking
soda does neutralize acids,
the likeW1ood of gaseous
molecules fom acidic sour
mmigratng through the
refigerator and interacting
with U baking soda is
slight. He also concludes
that no single chemical has
re ability to deactivate all
of de complex, gaseous
chemicals that smell bad.
H
WKngb0U
&
ODOR E ATE R?
Baking soda i s
inefective at removing
odors i n the fridge.
But don't rule out baking soda altogether. When
dls alkaline powder comes into direct contact with
smells, it can make a derence. We recendy tested dif
ferent approaches to removng garlic and onion smells
fom a cuttng board ( July/August 2OO) and found
scrubbing with a paste of I tablespoon baking soda
and I teaspoon water to be rle most efective.
Bleached versus Unbleached Flour
What is the diference between blead1ed and w1bleached
four, and should buy one over the orl1er?
MI CHAEL JURLANDO
PROSPECT, KY.
When flour is fi rst milled, it has a yellowish cast
rl1at some consumers fi nd unappealing. Within a
few months of milling, however, these carotenoids,
or pigments, in all -purpose fl our naturally whiten.
Because it is expensive to naturally "age" four, some
producers expedite the process chemically. In fours
,\ A Y 6 1'^+ 2 0 0'

labeled "bleached," benzoyl peroxide has likely


been used to fade d1e yellow color. In baking tests,
bleached fl our was criticized for tasting fat or hav
ing "of favors ( texturally, the fours behaved the
same). These characteristics, however, were much
harder to detect in recipes with a high proportion
of ingredients other than flour, such as cornbread
or oatmeal cookies.
To find out if bleached four would compromise
d1e flavor or texture of a savory sauce, we made
batches of basic white sauce ( bechamel) using
I tablespoon of bleached or unbleached flour per
cup of milk. We tasted the sauces plain as well as in
lasagna Bolognese. In both instances, tasters pro
nounced the sauces identical in flavor and texture.
Our conclusion: It's fine to use small amounts of
bleached flour to thicken sauces, but avoid using
it for baking.
The Science of Staling
When baked goods go stale, why does bread tur
hard, while crackers sofen?
JOSEBA ENCABO
MARLBORO, N. Y.
According to our science editor, crackers are
manufactured to be very dry to make them shelf
stable. Once the package is opened and the crackers
are exposed to air, their sugars and starches start to
absorb ambient moisture. Afer a few days, the once
crisp crackers will be sof and soggy.
When bread turns stale, an entirely diferent pro
cess takes place. Once exposed to air, bread starch
undergoes a process caled retrogradaton: The starch
molecules in rl1e bread begin to crystallize and absorb
moisture, turning d1e bread hard and crun1bly.
SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS We wi l l provide a compl i
mentary one-year subscription for each l etter we print. Send
your i nqui ry, name, address, and dayti me tel ephone number
to Notes from Readers, Cook's I l l ustrated, PC.
Brookl ine, MA 02447 or to notesfromreaders@americastest
kitchen. com.
Quick Tips
3 C OMP I L ED B Y FRAN C I S C O J . R OB E RT AN D YVO N N E R U P E RT! E
Using Up Lefover Meat
I nstead of tossi ng out scraps of
cured meat such as dry sausage or
prosci utto, Jefrey Hel d of Spokane,
Wash. , pl aces l efovers i n a zi pper
l ock bag and stores them in the
freezer. When maki ng tomato sauce,
soups, or stews, he adds the meat to
the si mmeri ng pot for extra fl avor.
Reminder to Turn
Othe Grill
MaryAnn Grecco of El Paso, Texas,
ofen found herself in a hot spot
whenever she forgot to turn of the
g tank afer grilling. She now jogs
her memory by slipping a rubber
band arund the knob of the g
tank. When she turns the tank on,
she places the rubber band arund
her wrist, only removing it when
she turns the tank of. As long as
she's wearing the rubber band, she
knows that the tank is on.
Lighting a Charcoal Fire
Kenneth Mora of Bufalo, N.Y., ofers a
method for lighting a charoal fre that
also happens to be a great way to use up
stale potato chips.
Arrange Z cups of plain potato chips in
a cofee flter and place the flter in the
bottom of a charoal grill. Place a chim
ney starter on top of the chips, fll the
chimney with charoal, and light the chips.
The greasy chips burn slowly, igniting the
charoal with ease.
Easier Steaming
Many vegetabl e steamer baskets
have short l egs that al l ow onl y a
smal l amount of water to be added
beneath its base. For vegetabl es that
take awhi l e to cook through, Matthew
Gitano of Hartford, Conn. , came u p
wi th thi s i ngeni ous ti p that el i mi nates
the need for repl eni shi ng the water
duri ng steami ng. He pl aces three
crumpl ed bal l s of al umi num foi l i n the
pot and then pl aces the steamer bas
ket on top of the foi l . The foi l el evates
the steamer basket, creati ng room for
extra water.
Stabilizing a Mixing Bowl
When scooping cake frsting or cookie dough out of a bowl, Carly Anderson
of New York, N.Y., fnds that if the bowl is angled, it is much easier to dig into.
To do this, she places the mixing
bowl in a pot lined with a
dish towel. The now-secure
bowl can be tilted in
any direction.
Send Us Your Tip We wi l l provi de a compl i mentary one-year subscri pti on for each tip we pri nt. Send your ti p, name, and address
to Qui ck Ti ps, Cook's I l l ustrated, PO. Box 470589, Brookl i ne, MA 02447 or to qui ckti ps@ameri castestkitchen. com.
C O O K
'
S I L L US T R A T E D
4
Easier Apple Coring
Linda Brwn of Chicago, Ill., found
that every time she used an apple
corer, the apple wobbled, making
it tricky to cut directly thrugh its
center. To keep the apple frm
rlling arund, she
uses this trick.
.
I . Cut a small slice frm the top
and bottom of the apple.
2. Holding the apple steady on
its bottom side, push the corer
thrugh.
Steadier Bottle Drying
Tall items such as vases and water
bottl es are awkard to stand upsi de
down on a di sh-dryi ng rack afer
washi ng. Mi chel l e Armstrong of
Rupert, Vt. , hol ds such i tems steady
by anchori ng a wooden spoon i n the
rack, handl e-end u p. The di shware
IUeasi l y over the handl e so i t can
drai n
properly.
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Keeping Grill Plater Wm
Andrew Sloan of San Francisco, Calif.,
was barbecuing a meal on his gas grill
when he realized that the flat lid of
the grill was an ideal spot to warm a
serving platter. The heated platter can
be used for serving foods right away
or for keeping meat warm as it rests
before carving. Make sure to handle
the platter with potholders.
Rejuvenating Lefover
Polenta
Freshl y cooked pol enta has a terrific
creamy texture, but lefovers cool ed
i n the refrigerator turn thi ck and stif.
To restore i ts ori gi nal creamy state,
Kel l y Roberts of Los Angel es. Cal if.,
uses the fol l owi ng techni que.
I.
I. Usi ng qui ck pul ses, process the
col d pol enta i n a food processor,
addi ng a few tabl espoons of warm
water for every cup of cooked
pol enta, unti l the mi xture i s creamy.
Z.Transfer the pol enta to a
mi crowave-safe bowl , cover wi th
pl asti c wrap, and heat on hi gh power
unti l warm.
No More Stick Hands
Washing your hands afer working
with sticky dough can be a difcult
task. Aya Alt of Ithaca, N.Y, has a
solution. She keeps a small bowl of
cornmeal next to her work station.
When she's ready to clean up, she
rubs her hands in the cornmeal to
help scrape of much of the dough
before she goes to the sink.
Impromptu Potato Ricer
Whi l e maki ng mashed potatoes
at a fri end's house, Peter Stei n of
Phi l adel phi a, Pa., found hi msel f
wi thout a potato ri cer. Thi nki ng
qui ckl y, he grabbed a sturdy metal
col ander wi th fi ne perforati ons and
pressed the potatoes through wi th a
sti f rubber spatul a.
Fume-Free Oven Cl eaning
Sprayi ng oven cl eaner in the oven to
remove gri me from the racks can fill
the ki tchen with harsh fumes. Ron
Puris of Everett, Wash. , takes the
prcess outdoors.
I. Pl ace the di rty oven rack i n a large
garbage bag. Take the bag outsi de
and, keepi ng the rack i n the bag,
spray i t wi th oven cl eaner. Cl ose the
bag and l et i t si t outsi de overni ght.
Z.Weari ng rubber gl oves, remove
the rack from the bag and pl ace i t on
several sheets of newspaper. Wi pe
the rack cl ean wi th a damp ki tchen
towel before returni ng i t to the oven.
Keeping Salads Col d
To help keep salads
cool and fresh on
her bufet table,
Julia Faulk of
Grand Rapids,
Mich., uses this
method.
|. Fill I or Z large zipper-lock bags
with ice cubes and a few table
spoons of salt. (The salt helps to
keep the ice cold longer.)
. Place the sealed bags in the bot
tom of a large serving bowl and
cover them with lettuce leaves.
J.Spoon the salad onto the lettuce
leaves. The salad will stay cold for
at least I hour.
Extra Dish-Drying Space :::
Yolanda Cory of Houston,
Texas, keeps her dish-drying
rack underneath a cabinet.
For those times when the
rack is overlowing with
dishes and utensils, she uses
hooks attached to the under
side of the cabinet. Extra wet
items can be suspended frm
the hooks to drip dry.
.\1 Y c7 I U N E 2 0 0'
'
Italan Grilled Chicken
What do a pair of bricks have to do with juicy, crisp-skinned chicken?
A
!most every cuisine that cooks over a
live fre has developed a method for
overcoming the stif challenge of grill
ing a whole chicken. Americans spike
their chickens on tallboys of Schlitz and bathe
them in low, smoky heat. Brits "spatchcock" their
birds, or chop out the backbones and squash them
fl at. Italians take the British approach one step
frther by grilling butterfied poultry al mattone,
or literally, "under a brick." The weight squishing
the chicken coal-ward is supposed to accomplish
two goals: Compressing the bird for even, quick
cooking, and producing perfectly crisp skin by
maximizing contact with the grill.
Intrigued? I was, but the recipes I tried nearly
dissuaded me. The photos of grill-bronzed chick
ens in the cookbooks were alluring, but the recipes
turned out either .greasy, pink, and charred birds or
dry, tough, and blackened ones. However, I saw
potential: Each chicken had a few edible bits of juicy,
browned meat and crisp, crackly skin.
Getti ng Salty
Most classic Italian recipes do little more than apply
salt, pepper, and a liberal wash of olive oil to the
meat. Italian chickens might all be juicy and favorfl,
but American supermarket chickens-even "natural"
or "organic" birds-need more help.
Through the years, the test kitchen has tpically
brined poult destined for the grill. A soak in salted
water foods the meat with moisture to prevent over
cooking and seasons it to the bone. But in ths case,
all that moisture proved problematic. The brined,
butteried birds emerged fom the grill not just
chared but bured to black. Risking singed eyebrows,
I got level WU Uc grill grate, where I watched tor
rents of greasy liquid spurt fom the seams beteen
chicken and skin and onto the coals beneath, gener
ating flames. P that purged
3 B Y MAT TIIEW C AR D E
Doubl e Fl i ppi ng
Most recipes for chicken w1der a brick
place te bird skin-side down over a mod
erate fe, drop te brcks on top, and g
the bird uHu cooked tl1rough. Simple,
yes, but I fom successfil: The breast
meat was done well i advance of tle inner
thigh meat, plus tl1ere were those fare-ups
to fght. I preheated my bricks to provide
heat fom above as well as below, but this
slight improvement did nothing to reduce
charring. It became clear tl1at I needed to
fst render some of the juices and ft over
cooler temperatures before the chicken
cmild be set directly over the hot fi re.
Fol l owi ng I tal i an tradi ti on, we butterfl y our chi cken to ensure that
i t cooks evenl y under the bri cks.
To that end, a modifed two-level
fire made sense. I spread coals over half
of the grill bottom and lef the other
half empty. I plopped tl1e chicken skin
side down over the side without coals,
balanced the preheated bricks on top,
covered tle grill, and grilled the bird
long enough to frm the fesh, about 2O
minutes. I tl1en slid tl1e chicken-bricks
and all-to tle hot side of the grill to
brown and crisp. (Not once, out of
salt, helping tl1e meat retain its juices during cooking.
A quick test proved t1at a salted bird could be grilled
under a brick with none of t1e problems of brining.
Wilie an hour of salting sufced, double that was
better yet.
Salting requires loosening the chicken's skin from
the meat, which increases its crispness because of
improved aiow. Afor tl1e olive oil applied by most
recipes, I tl1ought it added little flavor, prevented tl1e
skin from crisping, and promoted smoky fare-ups.
Tradition aside, it had to go.
the 2O chickens I cooked, dd the skin
stick.) The diferences were pronoLmced: The meat
was juicier thanks to tl1e slower cooking method,
and fare-ups were virtually eliminated. A for even
cooking, turning the slower-cooking legs toward the
coals (and tl1e breast away from them) was a better
position for the frst stage of grilling.
However, tl1e nooks and crannies of meat closest
to tl1e bone remained a bit undercooked. Revisiting
previous tests, I remembered one recipe in which
tl1e chicken was fipped and cooked skin-side up
for a portion of the time. I'd ruled tlls out as cum-
liquid also apparently soaked
the skin and prevented it fom
efectvely crisping, even afer
cut slits in the skin to provide
more channels for moisture to
escape. Bricks and brining just
don't m.
5T P- Y- 5 T P I P RE P PING CHICKE N FOR THE GRILL
We've also discovered that
salting can accomplish nearly
the same results d bring. Salt,
liberally applied beneath the
skin, fist draws out moisture
fom inside the bird that, over
tme, gets reabsorbed wit the
I . BUTTERFLY Cut through
bones on either si de of back-
bone, then di scard backbone.
2. PRESS Fl i p chi cken over,
then flatten breastbone and
tuck wings behi nd back.
C OOK ' S I L L LS I ' R A I'FD

J. SEPARATE Loosen ski n


over breast and thi ghs and
remove any excess fat.
4. SALT Spread salt-garl i c
mixture under ski n of breast
and thi ghs. Spread salt mixture
on meat of bone si de.
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bcrsomc-it mcant rcmoving thc bricks, turning
thc bird, thcn rcplacing thc bricks-butI dccidcd
it wasworth anothcr tj. Starting ovcr, I cookcd
thc chickcnskinsidcdownovcrthc coolcrsidc o|
thcgrill|or about2O minutcs, Uippcdit, and thcn
movcdittothchotsidco|thcgrilltocooks|insidc
upovcrdirccthcat|orabout1 5 minutcs. 1hcintc
riorwasj ustwhatIwantcd. chickcnthatwascvcnly
cookcdinallparts,|romwingstobrcast,thighs,and
dnmsticks.Cou|dthcskinbccvcncrispcrwithonc
nnalN ipAbsolutcly.P ittookwasancxtra5 to 1 0
minutcson thchotsidco| thcgril l . Lpuntilnow,
thcbrickhadbccnprcssingthcbirdtothcgratcto
cvcnlycook and crisp thc skin, but at this point I
tookoHthc brick to avoid lastminutcUarc ups.
Rub I t I n
Simplyscasoncdwithsal t, youwouldncvcrknow
this chickcn was Italian. " Itclcarly nccdcd lash
ings o| bold Mcditcrrancan Uavor. A couplc o|
thcrccipcsthatI hadcollcctcdrubbcdrawgarl i c,
hcrbs,rcdpcppcrN akcs, andl cmonzcstundcrthc
chickcn'sski n, but this approach stcamcd thc Ua
voringsinthcchickcn' sj uiccsandtastcdawml .
Somctastcrssuggcstcdthatthcscasoningsmight
nottastcstcamcdi|thcywcrcbricUysautccdbc|orcI
slidthcmundcrthcskin. I sizzlcdminccdgarlic,zcst,
rcdpcppcr Uakcs, and hcrbs , thymc and roscmary
tastcdbcst)inolivcoil,straincdthcmtorcmovcthc
oil,andcoolcdthcmixturcbc|orcsprcadingitovcr
thc saltcd mcat bcncath thc skn. 1his inmscd thc
chickcnwithrichUavorwithoutrcducingthcski n' s
crispncss. Ittookmcacouplco| tcstsbc|orc I rcal
izcdI couldsimplycombinctl+cpastcwitl+thcsalt
andthcrcbycliminatcastcp.
Sowhat about that o|ivc oi l straincd |rom H
garlic Rcdolcnto|garlic, zcst, and hcrbs, itwas a
rcsourcc.Ihadadcnudcdlcmonandp|cntyo|hcrbs
lchon my cutting board, so I madc a quickvinai
grcttc to scrvcwitl+thc cookcd bird. 1his chickcn
wouldhavcitsolivcoilahcrall .
I TALI AN- STYLE CHARCOAL- GRI L L E D
CHI CKE N
S L KVL S 4
Note: Iorthc bcstNavor, usc ahighqualitychickcn,
suchasBcll Fvans. Lscanovcnmittordishtowcl
tosalclygrip and mancuvcr tl+c hot bricks. I|you'rc
using tablc salt,rcducc t|+c amotmtto 1 11 tcaspoons
mstcp2.Youv nccdtwostandardsizcdbricks|or
this rccipc. Placingtl+c brickson tl+c chickcn whilc it
coo|scnsurcst|+attl:cs|inVbccvcnlybrowncdand
wcllrcndcrcd-on'tskipthsstcp.A castironskillct
orothcrhcavypancanbcuscdi nplacco|thcbricks.
W COOK' 5 L| VOri gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
www. c ooks i I I u s t r at ed . c om/j u n 0 9
HOW TO MAKE
Ital i an-Styl e Gri l l ed Chi cken
VI DEO TI P
Do I need to use bricks for Ital ian-Styl e Gri l l ed Chi cken?
VJ cup extra-vi rgi n ol ive oi l
8 medi um garl i c cl oves, mi nced or pressed
thrugh garl i c press (about 2V> tabl espoons)
teaspoon fi nel y grated zest pl us 2 tabl espoons
j ui ce frm I l emon
Pi nch crushed red pepper fl akes
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme l eaves
3 teaspoons chopped fresh rsemary l eaves
Kosher sal t (see note)
Grund black pepper
(3 3- to 4\-pound) whol e chi cken (see note)
Vegetabl e oi l for cooki ng grate
1 . Combinc oil, garli c, lcmon zcst, and pcppcr
Uakcs in sma|l sauccpan. Bring to simmcr, stirring
|rcqucntly,ovcrmcdiumlowhcat,about3minutcs.
nccsimmcring,add3tcaspoonsthymcand2 tca
spoonsroscmaryandcook3Osccondslongcr. Strain
mixturc tl+rough nnc mcsh straincr sct ovcr sma|l
bow| ,pushingonso|idstocxtractoi| . 1rans|crsolids
to sma|l bow|andcool, sctoilandsolidsasidc.
2. Following illustrations on pagc 6, buttcrN y
chickcn, Uattcn brcastbonc, andtuckwingsbchind
back. Lsing hands or handlc o|woodcn spoon,
looscn skin ovcrbrcastandthighsandrcmovcany
cxccss|at. Combinc1 tablcspoonsaltand 1 tcaspoon
pcppcr i nsma|| bowl . Mix3 tcaspoons saltmixturc
with coolcdgarlic solids. Sprcadsalt garlicmixturc
cvcnly undcr skin ovcr chickcn brcast and thghs.
Sprink|crcmainingtcaspoonsaltmixurconcxposcd
mcat o|bonc sidc. Placc chickcn skin sidc up on
wircracksctinrimmcdbakingshcctandrc|rigcratc
1 to2 hours.
3. \rap 2 bricks tightlyinaluminum|oi l . Light
largc chimncy startcr nllcd t|+rccquartcrs with
charcoal ,+'z quarts, or about 75 briqucttcs) and
bum until coals arc covcrcdwitl+ laycr o|nnc gray
ash,about2Ominutcs. Buildmodincdtwo lcvclnrc
byarrangingallcoalsovcrhal|o|grill,| cavingothcr
hal|cmpty. Positioncookinggratcovcrcoals,p| acc
bricksongratcovcrcoals,covcrgrill,andhcatabout
5 minutcs. Scrapc cooking gratc clcan with gril|
brush. Lightlydipwado|papcrtowc| sinvcgctab|c
oi|, ho|ding wad wit|+ tongs, wipc cooking gratc.
Gril| is rcady whcn sidc with coals is mcdium hot
,you can holdyourhand 5 inchcsabovcgratc |or
3 + scconds) .
+. Placc chi ckcn skin sidc down ovcr coolcr
si dc o|grill with lcgs |acing trc, placc hot bricks
lcngt|+wisc ovcr cach brcast hal|, covcr gri | | , and
cook unti| s|in is | ightly browncd and |ai nt gri l |
marks appcar, 22 to 25 minutcs. Rcmovc bricks
|romchi c|cn. Lsing tongsortowc| , grip| cgsand
Uip chickcn , chi ckcn shou|d rc|casc |rccly nom
gri l | , usc thin mcta| spatula looscn i| stuck)
and trans|cr hotsidco|gri | | , ski nsi dcup, witl+
brcastla cingccntcro|gril l . Placcbricksovcrbrcast,
covcrgrill,andcookunti|chi ckcniswc| | browncd,
I2 to 1 5 minutcs.
5. Rcmovc bricks, Uip chickcn ski nsidc down
ovcr hotcoa| s, and coo| unti| chic|cn skin i swcl|
crispcdandinstant-rcadtl:crmomctcrinscrtcdi nto
.\1 Y c7 I U N E 2 0 0'
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E Q U I P M E N T T E S T I N G
Gri l l Presses
The key t o prepari ng t he I tal i an cl assi c polo al
matone-chi cken under a bri ck-i s the bri ck itself.
The weight (we used two 6-pounders wrapped
i n foi l ) hol ds the bi rd fl at on the gri l l , hel pi ng the
chi cken to cook faster and the fat to render for
cri sp, gol den ski n. Do cast-i ron gri l l presses do
the j ob any better? We tested four brands pri ced
from $ 1 4. 99 to a whoppi ng $70. Presses that were
too l i ght or smal l lef the ski n fl abby and prol onged
the cooki ng ti me. We preferred the hefiest model
for its comfortabl e handl e and nearl y fve pounds
of chi cken-pressi ng wei ght. But at $27. 95, we
can' t recommend i t over two bri cks, whi ch weigh
more, press better, and cost far, far l ess. For com
pl ete testing resul ts, go to V. cooksi l l ustrated
. com/j un09. -Meredi th Butcher
BARGAI N B E AUTI E S
BRI CKS
Pri ce: 70 cents (35 cents each)
Comments: Two foi l -wrapped bri cks, each
6 pounds, do the best j ob of pressi ng chi cken
against the gri l l for crisp skin and qui ck cooking.
S OL I D CH OI CE
E ME RI LWARE BY ALL- CLAD
Cast-I rn Square Gri l l Press
Price: $27. 95
Comments: Weighi ng i n at
4 pounds and I 0 ounces, thi s press
yi el ds deep grill marks, rendered ski n,
L I GHTWE I GHT LOS E R
L E CREUSET Gri l l Press
Price: $69. 95
Comments: Too lightweight
(j ust over 3 pounds) to properl y
press the chi cken. At such a high pri ce, it shoul d at
l east weigh as much as a brick.
thickcstparto|thighrcgistcrs 165 dcgrccs,5 toI O
minutcs, moving chickcn as ncccssary t oprcvcnt
tlarc ups. 1rans|crchickcnto cutting boardandlct
rcst I U minutcs. Whisk lcmon j uiccandrcmaining
thymc and roscmary into rcscrvcd oil, scason with
sa|t and pcppcr. Carvc chickcn and scrvc, passing
sauccscparatcly.
I TALI AN- STYLE GAS- GRI L L E D CHI CKE N
Fol|owinstructions|orItalianStylcCharcoalGrillcd
Chickcn tl:rough stcp 2 . 1urn all burncrs to high,
placc bricks on cooking gratc, and hcat with lid
downuntilvcryhot, about 1 5 minutcs.Scrapccook
ing gratc clcan. Lcavc primary burncron high and
nu+ ouothcrburncr, s ) . Procccd with rccipc |rom
stcp+, cookingwithliddown.
Rescuing Griled Beef Teriyaki
This j apanese-American standard is synonymous with chewy, fl avorl ess meat shel l acked
wi th saccharine-sweet sauce. To beef things up, we turned to a trick from the gri l l .
3 H Y | l ' 1 | D R E S S E R E
T
ruc Japancsc tcriyaki is as sim
p| c as it i s rcstrai ncd. 1akc a
g|ossy, sa| ty swcct g| azc madc
withsoysaucc, sakc, andmirin
,a swcct Japancsc ricc winc ) and paint
i t ovcr char gri | | cd nsh to acccnt its
dc| icatc| y smoky avor . , I n Japancsc ,
teri mcans shi nc , " whi | c yak i mcans
to gri| | . " ) A|tcr Japancsc i mmi grants
introduccd thi s di sh to Hawaii in thc
! th ccntury, bcc|and chickcn a| | but
rcp|accd thc nsh, and additi ons such as
sugarandgar| i cbccamc standard in thc
saucc. vcrtimc, thcscpcr|cct|yrcason
ab|c adaptati onsmorphcdinto thc tircd
rcnditionso| tcriyakinow|oundatmany
JapancscAmcri can rcstaurants . chcwy,
Uavorlcss s|ivcrs o|mcat daubcd with a
thick,ovcr|yswcctsaucc .
Iwantcdtoscc thistrans|atcddishm|nll
its potcntia| , with a j uicy, charrcd stcak
cmbcllishcd byawc| | balanccd,swcctand
savoryg|azc thatwou|d bc robustcnough
tostandup tothcbccl
Goi ng Agai nst the Grai n
Mari nati ng the meat before gri l l i ng and gl azi ng deepens i ts fl avor.
P but thc most authcntic tcriyaki rccipcs
thatturncdupinmyrcscarch ca|| |orat |cast somc
sugar. 1ostart, howcvcr, I dccidcdto|orgo itand
stick with tradition, combining cqua| parts sakc,
mirin, and soy saucc and simmcring thc mixturc
on tl+c stovctop |or an hour tmti| it rcduccd to a
syrupy g|azc.
Myncxtdccisionconccncdthcbcc|Ircasoncd
s H o P P N G Fi ndi ng Fl ap Meat
tl+ata prcmiumcutsuchas ribcyc, tcndcr| oi n, or
top | oin wou| d bc an improvcmcnt
ovcrtl+c chcap cuts uscd in most rcs
Beef l abel ed "steak ti ps" can be cut from vari ous muscl es of the cow i nto
cubes, strips, or steaks. Our favorite ki nd i s cut i nto a steak that boasts a
coarse, l ongitudi nal grai n. Butchers cal l thi s form of steak ti ps "fl ap meat"
or "si rl oi n ti ps. " Look for pi eces that range from I to I zz i nches thi ck.
SKI P THE STRI PS
Don't buy meat that's been cut
into strips or cubes.
GO FOR WHOLE
Look for whole steak with a
coarse, longitudi nal grain labeled
"sirloin tips" or "flap meat."
taurants-butwhy mcss with S2O pcr
poundbcc|thattastcsgrcatonitsown
Pcaching |or | csscxpcnsivc options,
I tricd top b| adc, top sir| oi n, skirt
stcak, Hankstcak, andsir|oin tips , a| so
known as Hap mcat ) . 1astcrs quickly
ru|cd out thc top b| adc , grist| y) and
thc top sir| oin , b| and) , but thc thrcc
rcmainingcuts a| | boastcd good bcc|
tlavor-stcak tips in particu| ar. 1his
cut's marb| i ng mc|tcd i nto tl+c coarsc
musc|c h bcrs o|thc bcc|as it cookcd,
addingtlavorandmakingitsccmmorc
tcndcruan othcrchcapstcaks .
As |or tl+c mcat's prcparation, tl+in
picccs on skcwcrs wcrc a nonstartcr.
Thc rcstaurant and rccipc vcrsions
tricd wcrc uni|orm|y dry and | cathcry.
C C | | > | | |. l ' | H ^ 1 | |
C
1hc othcr cnd o|thc spcctrum-c

oking
a who| c stcak, g|azing it with saucc, and
s|icing bc|orc scrving-a|so had its issucs.
AlthoughaU tcriyakig|azccanc|ingwcll
togri| | cdnsh,stcaksarc|arj uicicr,causing
thcg|azctowashoHassoonasI s|iccdthc
mcat,nomattcrhow|ong I |ctitrcst.
Whati| I s|iccdthcstcakbc|orc itwcnt
onto thc gri| | ButtcrN ying thc mcat gavc
mc thinncr picccs, but tastcrs |ound that
thc |ong musc|c nbcrs crcatcd by cutting
thc mcat with thc grain madc thc stcak
sccm tough. A bcttcridca was tos|iccthc
mcat intocut|cts across thc grain ata45
dcgrccang|c,muchas I wou|ddo|orvca|
sca||opini. 1hisshortcncdtl+cmusc|cnbcrs
sothatthc tcxturcwasmorcyic|ding,and
thc '/inchthick cutlcts providcd p|cnp
o|sur|acc arca |or charring on thc gri|| .
App|icdtotl:cbrowncd,caramc|izcdcxtc
rioro|cachs| icc,uc g|azc adhcrcdnrm|y.
The J oy of a (Soy) Mari nade
was making progrcss, butthc mcat was
sti|| a |itt|c dry |or my hg. 1astcrs a|so
comp|aincd that my traditiona| sugar|css
saucc,whi|ch::c|orh sh,wastooundcrstatcd
|or bcc| Maybc adding a modcst amount o|sugar
wou|dn'tbc such a bad uing. I cxpcrimcntcdwith
variousproportionstmti|Iwasaddingasmuchsugar
astl+cothcringrcdicnts.1astcrs|ikcdtmsncwba|ancc
o|H avors,butovcra||thcdishwasa|ittlconcdmcn
siona| . Morc sugar wasn't thc answcr-but what
aboutaddrcssingtl+ctastco|thcmcatitsc|f1oboost
N avor,wc oncn marinatc mcat bc|orc putting it on
thcgril|,sccMarinatingDoncRght"onpagc !6) .
tricd soakingthcstrips o|mcat|or 3O minutcs in
justcnoughsoysaucctomoistcnthcm 'scup) , and
itworkcd bcautim| |y. oton|ydidtl+c soypromotc
browningon thc gri|l,but thc bcc|was alsoj uicicr.
A|cwtastcrscomp| aincdthatitwasnowatadsa|p,
but casi|yrcmcdicdthisbyaddingatablcspoono|
sugarand'/ cupo|mtotl+c m. a|sorcduccd
tl+csoysauccinthcg|azc.
WCOOK' 5 L| V Ori gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
www. cook s i | | ust rat ed . com/j un09
HOW TO MAKE
Gri l l ed Beef Teriyaki
VI DE O TI P
What i s the best way to mari nate meat?
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r A s r , N G Mi ri n
Prized i n Asi an mari nades and gl azes, thi s J apanese
ri ce wi ne has a subtl e, salty-sweet
flavor. We tasted four brands-
three from the supermarket and
one hi gh-pri ced mai l -order bottl e.
Mai l -orderi ng mi ri n was not worth
the troubl e-cooked i nto teriyaki
sauce, its fner flavors were hard
to detect. We' l l buy Eden Mi ri n
Rice Cooki ng Wi ne, our top
fnisher among the supermarket
brands ($7. 1 6 for I 0. 5 ounces) ,
but the cheaper supermarket
choi ces aren' t l i kel y to rui n a
reci pe. For compl ete tasti ng
results, go to www. cooks
i l l ustrated. com/j un09.
A WI NNI NG
WI NE -Meredi th Butcher
Teriyaki is ofen served with a garnish of sliced
scallions and ginger. I decided to add them directly
to the marinade ( along with a few cloves of garlic)
for an aromatic boost; a small amount of orange
zest, while not authentic, contributed freshness
that tasters appreciated. Although the sugar in the
marinade at frst made the meat stick to the grill, a
few teaspoons of oil solved the problem.
I was nearly there, but thought that the beef could
be smokier and more charred. My single-level fre-a
mchimney of charcoal spread over the entire surface
of the grl-was not concentratng the heat enough,
so I banked 1 the coas to one side of the gril for a
modifed two-level fre. Positioned over ts higher
mound of coals, the steak came out well charred
and juicy.
Fi nessi n
g
the Sauce
I had perfectly cooked steak wth robust favors and
j ust the right complement of a spare, salt-sweet
sauce. The only remaining problem? The sauce took
an hour of simmering to reach the perfect consis
tency. Spending time to reduce a sauce may make
sense at a restaurant, where a large batch can be used
for days ( in fact, many traditional teriyaki houses
never discard it, instead adding fesh sauce to the
old batch-the favor becomes increasingly complex
over time) , but not for steak at home. Turning up
the heat to reduce the sauce more rapidly did not
work; vigorous boiling destroyed the subtle favors
of sake and ririn.
If ! couldn't thicken the sauce via the traditional
low-and-slow reduction, I decided to try the obvious
shortcut: corstarch. A teaspoon was all it took to
achieve a nice syrupy consistency, and a mere 1 5 min
utes on the stovetop sofened tle raw alcohol edge.
I now had a sauce that was perfect for both glazing tle
meat in its final minutes on the grill and passing at the
table. This beef teriyaki wasn't true to any tradition,
hybrid or otherwise, but it was very, very good.
CHARCOAL- GRI LLED BE E F TE RI YAKI
S E RVES 4
Note: If you can' t find fap meat, fank steak is a
good alternative. We prefer sake in the sauce, but
vermoutl1 may be substituted in a pinch. Mirin,
a sweet Japanese rice wine, is a key component
of teriyaki; it can be found in Asian markets and
the international section of most supermarkets.
Alternatively, substitute % cup vermouth or sake
and 2 teaspoons sugar for every + cup mirin.
If desired, low-sodium soy sauce can be used in
place of regular soy. Serve the beef with steamed
rice, preferably short- grain.
Steak
2 pounds si rl oi n steak ti ps (fl ap meat),
tri mmed of excess fat (see note)
zs cup soy sauce (see note)
z cup mi ri n (see note)
2 tabl espoons vegetabl e oi l , pl us extra for
cooki ng grate
3 medi um garl i c cl oves, mi nced or pressed
thrugh garl i c press (about | tabl espoon)
tabl espoon grated fresh gi nger
tabl espoon sugar
teaspoon fnely grated zest frm I orange
2 medi um scal l i ons, white parts mi nced and
green parts sl i ced thin on bias, separated
Sauce
zs cup soy sauce (see note)
z: cup sugar
z: cup sake (see note)
z: cup mi ri n (see note)
I teaspoon grated fresh gi nger
teaspoon cornstarh
I . C81 ST Following photos below,
cut steak with grain into 2 to 3 even pieces. ( If
total length of steak is 1 2 inches or less, cut into
2 pieces. If over 12 inches, cut into 3 pieces . )
Holding knife at 45- degree angle, slice each piece
against grain into 4 to 5 slices about / inch thick.
Combine remaining ingredients, except scallion
greens, in gallon- sized zipper-lock bag and toss to
combine. Place meat in bag, press out as much air
as possible, and seal . Refrigerate 30 minutes or up
to 1 hour, fipping bag ever 1 5 minutes to ensure
that meat marinates evenly.
2. Light large chimney starter flled with charcoal
( 6 quarts, about 1 00 briquettes) and allow to burn
until coals are f y ignited and parially covered with
thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modifed
two-level fre by arranging all coals over half of grill,
leaving other half empty. Positon cooking grate over
coals, cover grill, and heat about 5 minutes; scrape
grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels
in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate.
Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot
(you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for
3 to 4 seconds ) .
3. C81 SA\LWhile grill i s heating, whisk
sauce ingredients together in small saucepan until
combined. Bring sauce to boil over medium-high
heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium
low and sin1mer, stirring occasionally, until sauce
is syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, 12 to 1 5 minutes.
Transfer Y cup sauce to small bowl and set aside to
serve with cooked meat.
4. Remove meat fom marinade and pat dr with
paper towels. Grll over hot coals, uncovered, untl
well seared and dark brown on frst side, 3 to 4 min
utes. Using tongs, fip steak and guntl second side
is well seared and dark brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush
top of meat with 2 tablespoons sauce; fip and cook
30 seconds. Brush meat wt remang 2 tablespoons
sauce; fp and cook 30 seconds longer.
5. Transfer meat to serving platter and let rest
5 minutes. Sprinkle with scallion greens and sere,
passing resered sauce separately.
GAS- GRI LLE D BE E F TERI YAKI
Follow instructions for Charcoal- Grilled Beef
Teriyaki through step I . Turn all burners to high
and heat with lid down until very hot, about 1 5
minutes. Scrape and oil grate. Proceed with recipe
from step 3, leaving burners on high and cooking
meat with lid down.
T C H N | QU I CUTTING SIRLOIN STEAK TIP S FOR GRILLING
I . Cut the steak with tne rai n i nto 2. Hol d the knife at a ^b-deree
2 or 3 even pi eces. angl e and cut z-i nch-thi ck sl i ces.
.\1 Y c 1 U N E 2 00'
'
3. Each pi ece of steak shoul d yield
^to b sl i ces.
Great Glazed Pork Tenderloin
A gl aze is the perfect way to enhance this bl and cut-if you can get i t to stick.
For hel p, we borrowed a technique used by professi onal painters.
P
ork tenderloin i s the boneless,
skinless chicken breast of the pork
world: Even when it's moist, ten
der, and perfectly cooked, it's still
sorely lacking in favor. For richer taste,
there's always the fattier and more for
giving blade-end loin roast, cut from tle
shoulder end of the loin. But at twice the
size of a typica tenderloi, it takes twice
as long to cook. With a tenderloin, you
can put der on the table in less than 3O
minutes . And when done right, notng
can match its fne- grained, buttery-smooth
texture. It might be the ideal cut-if only
mere was a way to improve the favor.
Enter New England's signature ingredi
ent: maple syrup. Its rich, sweet fl avor and
subtle aroma complement pork beauti
flly-plus, it's an ingredient I always have
on hand. We discovered with our Maple
Glazed Pork Roast ( March/April 2OO3)
iat ie best way to glaze a blade-end loin
roast is to sear ie pork in a skilet, add ie
syrup and spices, and then place the meat
in ie oven-skillet and all-rotating the
roast occasionally as tle syrup reduces to a
thick, fagrant glaze.
3 B Y J K E N J I AL T E
Wl less fat and less favor, tenderloi has
even greater need of such sweet assistance.
But when I tried U glaze this faster-cooking
and much more delicate cut using ie same
meiod, ie pork was done long before ie
syrup had tme to reduce, and its exterior
Vd marred by a sheai of dt, stringy meat.
A rough surface hel ps the bourbon gl aze stick, but we di dn' t use
sandpaper to achi eve i t.
To get lean yet tender meat coated wii subtle spice
and invting sweetness, I would need to make some
major adjustments.
Try a Li ttl e Tenderl oi n
I couldn' t hope to produce great glazed pork ten
derloin without frst producing great plain pork
K b L I b O I P M L b | b Where Gl azed Pork Tenderl oi n Can Go Wrong
THIN COAT Wi thout somethi ng t o hel p i t stick,
gl aze sl i des right of the meat.
OVERCOOKED PORK Del i cate pork tenderl oi n
becomes dry and tough if l ef i n a hot ski l l et whi l e
cooki ng through.
WATERY GLAZE An under-reduced glaze ends up
coating your cutti ng board i nstead of your meat.
C O O K
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s I L L U S T R A T E D
l
tenderloin, so my frst step was to nail down
ie basic cooking technique. I wanted
enough meat for six people, so I chose
tenderloins in a commonly available size,
I '/+ pounds. The stovetop- to-oven tech
nique was still w1der consideration-but
only ifl could use it \tl1out drying out my
pork. I seared tl1e tenderloins in a skillet as
before, tl1en experimented by placing the
pan in the oven at increasingly lower tem
peratures. But even when I dialed all tl1e
way down to a mere 25Odegrees, ie ten
derloins still can1e out dt and overcooked.
The problem was tlis: The superior heat
retention of a sklet is a boon for cuts like
the blade-end roast, which boasts an outer
layer offat iat protects it from dring out.
But tl1e sizzling hot surface was too much
for my vulnerable, nearly fat-fee tender
loins, causing tl1eir exterior to overcook.
I decided to forgo tl1e skilet and
stovetop altogetler. Instead, I put ie ten
derloins in a roasting pan and placed them
directly in the oven. This approach also
proved fuitless. Even at 5OOdegrees, ie
pork barely browned and ended up mealy
and dt. At lower oven temperatures, it was
moist and tender on the inside, but had no
outer color or caramelized favor at a.
Clearly, for the rich taste I was seeking,
I would need to sear tl1e meat. I was right
back at square one. Or was I? If tl1e skillet
was the problem, why not use it to sear
tl1e meat, but ien transfer tl1e pork to a
surface that wouldn' t damage its exterior? This line
of thinking led me to a two-step: I frst seared the
tenderloins in the skillet to develop a deep brown
crust, tl1en transferred tl1em to a rack set inside
a rimmed baking sheet to f1ish in a gentle 375
degree oven. Ayblgberan
_
tbemeat
_
rle
_
out,
while lower temperatures simply took too long. )
The rack was essential : It elevated tl1e meat away
from tl1e hot surface of the pan and prevented it
from overcooking.
Wil pork that was succulent and tender through
out, I was ready to tackle the glaze.
Sti ck It to ' Em
Maple syrup would be my base, but tasters deemed
tl1e pure stuf overwhelnlingly sweet for bland ten
derloin. To coLmter ie sweetness, I swapped '+ cup
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of the syrup for the same amount of mildly bitter


molasses and added a tablespoon of mustard. For
more complex favor, I stirred in a shot of bourbon,
which brought notes of smoke and vanilla. With
pinches of cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper,
the glaze was good to go. But the question of how
to apply it still lingered.
Our blade-end loin roast recipe from a few years
back relies on a long stay in the oven to thicken the
glaze to the right consistency and help it cling to the
pork. Pyou rotate the loin in the glaze, layer afer
layer of favorfl coating slowly builds up. But with
my tenderloins raised on a rack, I cidn ' t have the
option of repeatedly turning them as they cooked in
a pool of gradually reducing glaze. And even afer
reducing the glaze to the proper consistency on the
stovetop ( making sure to scrape up the favorfl,
browned bits stuck in the pan) , it ended up dripping
through the rack, resulting in a perfectly glazed bak
ing sheet and nearly bare tenderloins. I needed to
fnd a way to make it stick.
I noticed while painting tl1e glaze onto the pork
that the slick surface of the seared tenderloin was
doing nothing to help the symp stick. Brush in hand,
it occurred to me that glazing a tenderloin might be
not unlike painting a wall. To ensure that the paint
adheres properly, you must prepare the surface with
a coat of primer. I wondered: Would the secret
to great glazed tenderloins be found, likewise, by
"priming" their surface with some coating? Flour
and cornstarch seemed like. good options. I tried
them both, rolling one tenderloin in four and tl1e
other in cornstarch before searing. The cornstarch
encmsted tenderloin cid a better job of grabbing the
glaze, but too much was still slipping away. What if
I added sugar, an ingrecient rarely used for seared
meat? Mixed witl1 cornstarch, the sugar melted and
caramelized as the meat seared, creating a deep
brown crust with the texture of sandpaper-perfct
for holding a glaze.
I now had a surefre way of making my glaze stick
to the meat, but the fnal coating sinply wasn't dck
enough. No matter how much glaze I slathered on,
just a d layer was lef by the time the tenderloins
cane out of the oven. I thought back to my painting
analogy. With wal paint, one key to good coverage
is waitng between coats to allow time for each to
dry. Would dls be tme for glazed tenderloins as
well? Aer applying my fst coat of glaze, I let the
meat roast in the oven until it was nearly done. Then
I applied a second coat. When the tenderloins were
done cooking, I painted a dllrd coat on top of tl1e
now-dry second coat. Finally, afer letting the tender
loins rest, I glazed tl1em one last time.
Key to Good
Coverage
LAY ER IT ON
Four layers of glaze
add up to a thick and
flavorful coating.
Slicing into this roast revealed lustrous suc
cess-a thick maple glaze coating the meat. And
tasting tlese burnished beauties disproved that
old adage: Sometimes it is what's on the outside
that counts.
MAPLE- GLAZE D PORK TE NDE RLOI N
S E RVES 6
Note: This recipe will work witl eitl1er natural pork
or enhanced pork ( inj ected witl1 a salry solution) . If
your tenderloins are smaller than I '+pow1ds, reduce
tl1e cooking time in step 3 ( and use an instant-read
thermometer for best results) . If the tenderloins
don't ft in the skillet initially, let their ends curve
toward each otl1er; tl1e meat will eventually shrink
as it cooks. Make sure to cook tl1e tenderloins until
they turn deep golden brown in step 2 or tl1ey will
appear pale afer glazing. We prefer grade B maple
syrup in tlus recipe. ( Don't be tempted to substitute
imitation maple syrup-it will be too sweet. ) Be
sure to pat of tl1e cornstarch mixture tl10roughly
in step I , as any excess will leave gummy spots on
the tenderloins.
% cup mapl e syrup (see note)
7+ cup l i ght or mi l d mol asses
2 tabl espoons bourbon or brandy
7a teaspoon grund ci nnamon
Pi nch grund cl oves
Pinch cayenne pepper
! cup cornstarh
2 tabl espoons sugar
tabl espoon table salt
2 teaspoons grund bl ack pepper
2 pork tenderl oi ns ( I ! to I 7z pounds each)
(see note)
2 tabl espoons vegetabl e oi l
tabl espoon whol e-grai n mustard
I . Adj ust oven rack to nuddle position and heat
oven to 375 degrees. Stir '/ cup maple syrup,
molasses, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne
together in 2- cup liquid measure; set aside. Whisk
cornstarch, sugar, salt, and black pepper in small
bowl until combined. Transfer cornstarch mixture
to rimmed baking sheet. Pat tenderloins dry with
paper towels, tl1en roll in cornstarch mixture until
evenly coated on all sides. Thoroughly pat of excess
cornstarch nuxture.
2. Heat oil in 1 2- inch heavy- bottomed nonstick
skillet over mecium-high heat Ltil j ust begin
ning to smoke. Reduce heat to mecium and place
both tenderloins in skillet, leaving at least I inch in
between. Cook until well browned on all sides, 8 to
12 minutes. Transfer tenderloins to wire rack set in
rimmed baking sheet.
3. Pour of excess fat from skillet and return to
mecium heat. Add syrup mixture to skillet, scrap
ing up browned bits witl1 wooden spoon, and cook
unm reduced to 'z cup, about 2 minutes. Transfer
2 tablespoons glaze to small bowl and set aside.
M A Y c 1 L ` I 2 0 0
l |
T C H N | QU I
CREATING TRACTION
To create a rough, sand paper surface on the tender
l oi n that woul d hol d the gl aze, we rol l ed the meat in
a mi xture of cornstarch and sugar before browning
it i n the pan and then roasting and gl azi ng it.
Using remammg glaze, brush each tenderloin
witl1 approximately I tablespoon glaze. Roast w1til
instant- read thermometer insetted in dlckest part of
tenderloins registers I 3Odegrees, 1 2 to 20 nlinutes.
Brush each tenderloin with another tablespoon glaze
and continue to roast w1til instant-read thermometer
inserted in thickest part oftenderloins registers I 35
t o I 4Odegrees, 2 t o 4minutes longer. Remove ten
derloins fom oven and brush each with remaining
glaze; let rest, uncovered, I Ominutes.
4. Wl e tenderloins rest, stir remag '/+ cup
maple syrup and mustard into reserved 2 tablespoons
glaze. Brush each tenderloin with I tablespoon
mustard glaze. Transfer meat to cutting board and
slice into %- inch-dllck pieces. Serve, passing extra
mustard glaze at table.
MAPLE- GLAZE D PORK TE NDE RLOI N
WI TH S MOKE D PAP RI KA AND GI NGE R
Follow recipe for Maple- Glazed Pork Tenderloin,
substituting dr sherry for bourbon and '+ teaspoon
smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
for cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper. Omit
mustard in step 4.
MAPLE- GLAZE D PORK TE NDE RLOI N
WI TH ORANGE AND CHI POTLE
Follow recipe for Maple- Glazed Pork Tenderloin,
substituting 2 tablespoons frozen orange j uice con
centrate for 2 tablespoons molasses. Omit cinnamon,
cloves, and cayenne pepper and add 2 small, fnely
minced chipotle clllies plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
to maple syrup mixture in step 1 . Omit mustard in
step 4.
W COOk' 8V| OO8Ori gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
www. cooksi l l ustrated. com/j un09
HOW TO MAKE
Mapl e-Gl azed Pork Tenderl oi n
Improving Griled Vegetables
Most gri l l ed veggies turn out one of two ways: pal e and crunchy or bl ackened and mushy.
Maybe it was time to turn down the heat
W
hat' s not to love about fresh veg
gies combined with the heat and
smoke of the gril l ? I can think of
two things . There's the challenge
of grilling them to j ust the right point-gently
charred on the outside and tender within ( versus
pale and crunchy or blackened and mushy) . But
the bi g issue is favor-there' s j ust not enough of
it. If i' m serving a j uicy steak or tangy barbecued
chicken, plain grilled zucchini or onions are sure
to play second fddl e. With summer j ust around
the corner, I vowed to find a new approach.
My frst idea was to combine some of my favorite
vegetables into pairs to double up on favor. Mindfl
of complementar cooking times, I matched zuc
chini with sweet red onion, hearty portobellos
with shallots, and eggplant with red peppers. For
the grilling itself, most recipes I found suggested a
total of 1 0 minutes for both sides over a hot fre.
But when I tried this method, too many samples
were incinerated on the exterior and raw on the
interior. Tring again, I built a more moderate,
medium-heat fre. Ten minutes later, my vegetables
remained pale and crunchy. But afer 20 minutes, it
was clear that what I lost in speed, I gained in taste:
A of the vegetables were perfectly tender and fll
of smok favor.
Now, how to boost the taste frther still? I
considered marinating but didn't want to add extra
time to the recipes. Instead, I tried brushing the
vegetables wit garlic oil, but the garlic bits burned,
and the favor advantage was minimal. Wy not
forget any precooking treatment and bump up
favor afer the vegetables came of the fre? If plain
garlic oil was boring, maybe the livelier favors of a
dressing or vinaigrette would do the trick. Tasters
complained tat my frst few tres were too sharp, but
afer some minor adjustments, I whisked up some
winners. Drizzled wth dressing while still warm, my
vegetables had enough favor to be the meal's star
attraction-never mind the meat.
GRI LLED ZUCCHI NI AND RED ONI ON
WI TH LEMON- BAS I L VI NAI GRETTE
S E RVES 4 TO 6
Note: The vegetables can be served hot, warm, or at
room temperature. Aer about fve minutes, faint
grill marks should begin to appear on tl1e undersides
of me vegetables; if necessary, adjust their position
on the grill or adj ust the heat level.
3 B Y Y VO N N E R UPE R T! E
l arge red oni on, peel ed and cut crsswi se i nto
four V2 -i nch-thi ck runds
3 medi um zucchi ni (about I pound), ends
tri mmed, sl i ced l engthwi se i nto %-i nch-thi ck
pl anks
! cup pl us 2 tabl espoons extra-vi rgi n ol ive oi l
Kosher sal t and grund bl ack pepper
smal l garl i c cl ove, mi nced or pressed thrugh
garl i c press (about V2 teaspoon)
teaspoon fi nel y grated zest pl us I tabl espoon
jui ce frm I l emon
! teaspoon Di j on mustard
tabl espoon chopped fresh basi l l eaves
1 . Thread onion rounds, fom side to side, onto 2
metal skewers. Brush onion and zucchini evenly with
v+ cup olive oil and season with 2 teaspoons kosher
salt ( or 1 teaspoon table salt) and pepper to taste.
2. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic,
lemon zest and j uice, mustard, and 'z teaspoon
kosher salt ( or + teaspoon table salt) together in
small bowl; set aside.
3. Grill vegetables over medium heat, turning
once, unti tender and caramelized, 1 8 to 22 minutes
(move vegetables as needed to ensure even cooking) .
Transfer vegetables to platter; remove skewers from
onion and discard any charred outer rings. Rewhisk
vinaigrette and pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with
basil and sere.
GRI LLE D PORTOBE LLOS AND SHALLOTS
WI TH ROSEMARY- DI J ON VI NAI GRETTE
S E RVES 4 TO 6
8 medi um shal l ots, peel ed
6 porobel l o mushroms, each 5 i nches i n
di ameter (about 4 ounces each), stems removed
and di scarded, caps wiped cl ean
! cup pl us 2 tabl espoons extra-vi rgi n ol ive oi l
Kosher sal t and grund bl ack pepper
smal l garl i c cl ove, mi nced or pressed thrugh
garl i c press (about V2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons jui ce frm I l emon
teaspoon Di j on mustard
teaspoon fi nel y chopped fresh rsemary l eaves
I . Thread shallots through roots and stem ends
onto 2 metal skewers. Using sharp knife, cut %-inch
slits, spaced '/ inch apart, in crosshatch pattern on
non- gill side of mushrooms. Brush shallots and
mushrooms evenly witl1 + cup olive oil and season
C C C |

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with 2 teaspoons kosher salt ( or I teaspoon table
salt) and pepper to taste.
2. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic,
lemon j uice, mustard, rosemary, and '/ teaspoon
kosher salt ( or + teaspoon table salt) together in
small bowl; set aside.
3. Grill vegetables over medium heat, turning
once, until tender and caramelized, 1 6 to 1 8 minutes
(move vegetables as needed to ensure even cooking) .
Transfer vegetables to platter; remove skewers fom
shallots and discard any charred outer layers. Re
whisk vinaigrette, pour over vegetables, and sere.
GRI LLED EGGPLANT AND RED PE PPE RS
WI TH MI NT- CUMI N DRESSI NG
S E RVE S 4 T O 6
medi um eggpl ant (about I pound), ends
tri mmed, cut crsswi se i nto V2 - i nch-thi ck
runds
2 red bel l peppers, cored, seeded, and cut i nto
2-i nch pl anks
! cup pl us I tabl espoon extra-vi rgi n ol ive oi l
Kosher sal t and grund bl ack pepper
smal l garl i c cl ove, mi nced or pressed thrugh
garl i c press (about V2 teaspoon)
tabl espoon j ui ce frm I l emon
V2 teaspoon grund cori ander
V2 teaspoon grund cumi n
2 tabl espoons pl ai n yogur
tabl espoon chopped fresh mi nt leaves
I . Brsh eggplant and bell peppers evenly wt '/+
cup olive oil and season wit 2 teaspoons kosher salt
( or 1 teaspoon table salt) and pepper to taste.
2. Whisk remaining tablespoon olive oil, garlic,
lemon j uice, coriander, cl, yogurt, mint, and
'/ teaspoon kosher salt ( or '/+ teaspoon table salt)
together in small bowl; set aside.
3. Grill vegetables over medium heat, turning
once, until tender and caramelized, 16 to 1 8 minutes
(move vegetables as needed to ensure even cooking) .
Transfer vegetables to platter, rewhisk dressing, pour
over vegetables, and serve.
WCOOk' 8V| OO8 Ori gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
www. c ook s i I I u s t rated . c om/ j u n 0 9
HOW TO MAKE
Gri l l ed Vegetabl es
VI DE O TI P
How d o I prepare vegetables for gri l l i ng?
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Best Quick Tomato Sauce


I s it possibl e to transform canned tomatoes into a bright, fresh-tasting sauce?
I
n a perfect worl d, when you set out to make a
quick tomato sauce, you' d simply reach for a
few fresh, garden- ripe tomatoes to get started.
But that i sn' t a realistic option for most of
the year. Canned tomatoes far surpass the bland,
rock-hard oferings i n the produce aisle, but they
have their own disadvantages. First, great tomato
favor is as much about taste as it is about smel l ,
and the canni ng process cooks of many of the key
aromatic compounds , I 6in all ) that food scientists
have identifed as prime contributors to fll, frui ty
tomato taste. Second, researchers know that people
perceive tomatoes to have the best flavor when
sweetness and acidity are i n balance ( for optimal
favor, both should be hi gh) . The addition of citric
acid as a preservative throws of that delicate but
crucial equation.
I wanted to create a complex, brightly favored
sauce, one tl1at tasted fi rst and foremost of tomatoes,
mthe time it takes to boil pasta. I could never hope to
restore the exact favor of fresh tomatoes-but witl1
tl1e right ingredients, maybe I could come close.
Starting with t1e right can of tomatoes should
greatly improve tle odds of success. Of tl1e four
major types of cJimed tomato products (whole, diced,
crushed, and pureed) , whole JI1d dced tend to be tl1e
least cooked JId have the feshest flavor. But I WJI1ted
a quick recipe, JI1d crushed tomatoes would save me
tl1e step of pureeing tlem myself Fortw1ately, in
brands such as Tuttorosso or Muir Glen (winners of
our taste tests), crushed tomatoes are also minimally
processed. I had JI10tler reason to choose one of these
high-quality producers. We all brJI1ds heat their
tomatoes to kof my harmftl microorgJiusms, tl1ese
two producers use a lower temperature (between I6O
md 185 degrees) to presere J1 enzyme called lipoxy
genase. Lipm:ygenase oxidizes two of the pigments
fmmd in tipe tomatoes ( lycopene and beta-carotene),
creating new aromatic compounds that CJI1 make a
cJimed tomato literally taste fesh.
Adding sugar to the tomatoes seemed a given,
and it helped-in smal l m1ounts. Any more than
teaspoon per 28-oLmce em of tomatoes, and
tasters complained tlut tl1e sauce was tipping too f1r
to tl1e sweet side. A couple cloves of garlic instantly
boosted flavor, as cid '/ teaspoon of dried oregJI10
(as long as I sauteed it before adding the tomatoes,
tasters didn't notice its dry texture) . But my tast
ers WJIted more depth. I tried a range of other
ingredients commonly added to tomato sauce,
with little success. Tasters quickly outlawed tomato
paste for tasting tinny md overcooked. Red wine
! chose a fruity Cotes du Rh6ne-brought too much
l Y ' | | 1 | | M | ' ' | k
Our ful l -fl avored tomato sauce takes onl y ' b mi nutes
to prepare.
of its own distinct profle. Ditto on carrots ( too
eartl1y) and lemon zest ( too citrusy) .
Conversations witl1 several tomato industry spe
cialists provided a clue as to why none of tese
"enhmcers" was i n fact enhJIKing the sauce: A good
canned tomato wil l retain at least some of tl1e fresh
fruit's volatile components, but contact witl1 otl1er
foods CJil alter tl1eir makeup, turnig tl1em into
compounds that lack tl 1e aromas tasters recognize
as tomatolike. If I wmted a sauce to taste primarily
of tomatoes, I'd have to single out ingredients tl1at
cidn 't take me too far from thei r flavor.
One i ngredient I hadn't tried was onion, for no
otl1er reason tl1an cooking it down to tl1e melting
swee01ess requi red by a good sauce takes time,
and I wanted a streamlined recipe. Otuons contain
long chains of fructose molecules l i nked togetl1er in
compounds known as i nuli n. Breaki ng down i mil in
releases tl 1e fructose, causing Otuons to become
sweet, a reaction I cOLtld intensif if I caramelized
them. I shredded a small amount of onion on a box
grater, wluch would make it cook faster Jild release
fuctose more efciently.
I started to saute the otuon i n olive oil, but tl1en
tl1ought better of it. Why not use butter, wluch also
carJI11elizes in the presence of heat, creating its own
new favor compmmds that would hopefu JJy enhJI1ce,
ratler tm detract fom, my sauce? Afer about five
M A Y [ J U N E 2 0 0
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mi nutes, when tle otuons were lightly browned, I
added two cloves of n1iced garlic, the sugar, and the
crushed tomatoes, then allowed the sauce U simmer
IOminutes. ( In previous tests, I found cooking times
w1der I 5 minutes produced fesher, brighter favor. )
This was defnitely tl1e best sauce I had made
yet. But I had one last tweak. To make up for the
lost fagrance of fresh tomatoes, I added two lughly
aromatic i ngrecients: chopped fresh basil Jild extra
virgin olive oi l . Swirled in just before sering, tlese
i ngredients perftmed the sauce with bright, grassy
notes.
Tlu s sauce, to wluch I 'd done so littl e, was a huge
!Lit with my tasters, who praised i t over md over for
a bright, weU-balmced flavor tl1at tasted like it had
come straight fom the garden, not tl1e pantry.
QUI CK TOMATO SAUCE
MAK E S ABOUT J CUPS. E NOUGH F OR I P OUND OF PASTA
Note: High- quali ty canned tomatoes wil l make a
big ciference in iis sauce. Our preferred brands of
crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen.
Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.
2 tabl espoons unsal ted butter
z cup grated oni on, frm I medi um oni on
(see note)
z teaspoon dried oregano
Tabl e sal t
2 medi um garl i c cl oves, mi nced or pressed
thrugh garl i c press (about 2 teaspoons)
(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
z teaspoon sugar
2 tabl espoons coarsely chopped fresh basi l leaves
tabl espoon extra-vi rgi n ol ive oi l
Grund bl ack pepper
Heat butter i n medium saucepan over medium
heat until melted. Add 01on, oregJI1o, md '/z
teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, w1til liquid
has evaporated md onion is golden brown, about
5 minutes. Add garlic Jild cook w1til fagrant, about
3Oseconds. St m tomatoes Jild sugar; increase heat
to high md bring to si1er. Lower heat to medium
low md simmer until iickened slghtly, about
IO nunutes. Of heat, stir i basil and oil; season with
salt md pepper. Serve.
WCOOk' 8V| OO8 Ori gi nal Test Kitchen Vi deos
.c ook s i I I u s t r at e d . c o m/ j u n 09
HOW TO MAKE
Qui ck Tomato Sauce
Foolproof Griled Salmon Filets
I t's not the seasoning or the cooking that's confounding
it's getting the fish off the gri l l in one piece.
C
ooking delicate salmon can be
tricky. Even in a nonstick skillet,
I still end up breaking the occa
sional fllet, which requires a
patch job on the plate. Introduce the same
fllet to a grill, and you've got a real chal
lenge. If the cooking grate on your char
coal grill is encrusted with gunk, things get
even messier. And the situation isn't much
better on a gas grill: When it's time to fip
the fi sh, the skin invariably gets stuck and
thcfesh mangled.
So how is i t that any halfay decent chop
house or pub manages to sere char-grilled
salmon with a tender interior and crisp skin,
the fet perfectly intact? There had to be a
secret behind the swinging doors.
Si zi ng Up Sal mon
? B Y ) K E N J I ALT E
In tntth, part of the solution was already
behind the test kitchen's back door, in a
protocol we developed to clean tl1e grill
thoroughly: Place an overed cispos
able aluminum pan over the grate as the
grl warms up, trapping hot air and super
heatng the grate to temperatures that exceed
8OOdegrees. Just like in a self-cleaning oven,
the high heat causes grease and debris to
disintegrate. By swapping the csposable pan
A bri ght vi nai grette tops off the perfectl y gri l l ed fi s h.
for aluminum foil pressed fush against the grate (with
spaces lef on each side for ventilation) , I was able to
bump mtemperature up to nearly OOdegrees, mak
ing the technque even more efective. I also decided
R E C I P E D I A G N O S I S
A Sti cki ng Si tuati on
BAD B RE AKUP
Without intervention, fsh fl lets bond to the gri l l ,
making removal i n one piece i mpossi bl e.
to use salmon flets with a tl1ickness of % i nch to I
inch, which can stand tl1e heat of tl1e grill for a lirtle
while longer before tl1e frst turn.
With a clean grill and fi sh at tl1e ready, I reviewed
dozens of recipes tl1at claimed to solve the sticking
quandar. Many books ( including one of our own)
advise using a foil boat to keep tl1e fsh from ever
touching tl1e grill. This trick works, but it creates
a new problem: The fi sh never picks up true char
grilled fl avor. Elevating tl1e salmon on fennel fonds,
citrus slices, and oier foods created stean1 that made
me fsh taste more poached tllan grilled-defnitely
not the result I wanted. Otl1er recipes suggest boost
ing the fl ame. Thanks to the preheating-witl1- foil
technique, however, my grill was already nearly OO
degrees, yet tl1e salmon still stuck to the grate.
Stumped, I cd a bit of research and ciscovered tl1e
cause of my problem. Unlike tl1e superfi cial stickiness
caused by, say, barbecue sauce or a sweet glaze, tl1e
bond between proteins and grl is a molecule-to-mol
ecule fsion. Since this reaction happens amost me
instant the fsh hits the grill, trying to separate tl1em
L | | b 5 I L L U S r R A T E D
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is an exercise in ftility. To prevent stcking,
I had two options: altering the proteins on
the surface of the fsh so they wouldn't bond
witl1 the metal grate, or creating a barrier
between fish and grill.
The most obvious way to alter pro
teins is to cook them. Since even a grill
as hot as OO degrees wasn't cooking the
salmon fast enough to prevent bonding,
I theorized that perhaps the moisn1re on ad
just underneath tl1e surface of the fish V
slowing things down. (When wet food is
placed on a gill, much of t1e fe's energy is at
first used to convert that moisnre to stea. )
Drng te fsh's exterior by wrapping i t m
kitchen towels and puttng it in te refigera
tor before grlg helped, but not enough.
What uparcooked the fi sh j ust unt its exte
rior was set and then placed it on tl1e gril?
I quickly leamed tl1ere was no efcient way to
parcook it. Poaching took too long, micro
waving proved uneven, and sauteing seemed
silly-if I started it in a pan, afer 1, I might
as well fnish it tl1ere.
Since altering the proteins cidn ' t seem to
be the solution, I was lef wondering how
I might create a barrier between fish and
grill. Scores of recipes advise oiling botl1
the cooking grate and the fi sh. I found this
metl1od only moderately efectve at reducing stcking,
but it did make me realize that when oil is applied to a
hot cooking grate, it vaporizes almost instantly, leav
ing a black, weblike residue. Here's what happens: P
oil heats up, its farty-acid chains form polymers ( that
is, tley stick togetl1er), creating that crisscross partern
over the surface of tl1e metal .
I had obseted this reacton wilie seasoning a
cast-iron pan. A single layer of tlese polymers won't
prevent sticking, but applying and heating oil repeat
edly Vbuild up a thick layer oftl1em. Eventually, this
V mean tl1at proteins can no longer come mdirect
contact witl1 tl1e metal and therefore cannot bond \vim
it. It was suddenly clear to me why restaurant cooks
rarely have me same stcking problems as home giller:
With a gin use iroughout the day, there must be a
hef buildup of polymers. Could I speed the process
and "season" my cooking grate in one session?
Tefl on Effect
Instead of brushing the cooking grate wim a single
coat of oil, I decided to H brushing it over and
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AT- A- G LANC I KEYS TO NONS TI CK GRI LLI NG


I . DRYI NG fi l l ets prevents
moisture on their surace from
cool i ng cooking grate, whi ch
can l ead to sticki ng.
Z. SUPER- HEATI NG gri l l
by covering it with al umi num
foil ensures that al l stuck-on
debri s di si ntegrates.
J . SEASONI NG cooki ng
grate with mul ti pl e l ayers of oi l
bui l ds nonsti ck surface.
4. POSI TI ONI NG fi sh di ag- 5 . DOUBLI NG UP on
onal l y on cooking grate creates spatul as supports fi sh from two
attractive gri l l marks and makes sides whi l e i t' s bei ng fl i pped.
fl i ppi ng easi er.
ovcr again, unti| it had dcvclopcd a dark, shiny
coating,andthcn|aythch| | ctsonthc gratc. With
thc hc|p ol two spatu|asonc i n cach hand-
I casi|y Uippcd cachh| |ctwithout cvcn thc tinicst
bitolsticki ng.
Iina||y,Icou|dlocusonthcgril|ing. Iromcxpcri
cncc,Icxpcctcdthatprchcaungthcgrtohighand
thcntuningitdowntomcdiumonccIaddcdthch sh
wou|dachicvcoptimumcharringwithoutovcrcook
ing,andmysalmonwasnocxccpuon.
PlorNavor,Iu|timatc|yprclcrrcdj ustasprinklcol
sa|tandpcppcror,withjusta|itt|cmorcwork,atangy
a|mondvingrcttc.Jhcchargri||cdtastc I`dworkcd
sohardtoachicvcdidn`tnccdanythgmorc.
E Q U I P M E N T T E S T I N G
Gri l l Baskets
Our Gas-Gri l l ed Sal mon Fi l l ets reci pe sol ves the
bigest chal l enge i n gri l l i ng fi sh: sticking. Coul d gri l l
baskets, the sol uti on profered by barbecue-gear
manufacturers, al so do the trick? We gathered three
model s, priced from $ 1 9 to $28. 99, and headed out
doors. Even as skepti cs, we were startled that each
had seri ous design flaws: too-deep compartments
that let fl l ets fl op and tear, barriers that lifed fsh too
far from the fl ame, and nonremovabl e handl es that
made it i mpossi bl e to cl ose the gri l l l i d, leaving fish
undercooked. Until manufacturers figure out how to
make a better basket, we' l l stick to our method of
gri l l i ng fsh. For compl ete testing results, go to v .
cooksi l l ustrated. com/j un09. -Meredith Butcher
B E S T OF THE WORST
STEVEN RAI CHLEN Rectangul ar
4 Compartment Nonstick
Grilling Basket
Price: $24.95
Comments: This
model was the
least flawed of the
baskets we tested, but
sti l l caused sal mon fi l l ets to
tear when fl i pped.
GAS- GRI LLE D SALMON F I LLETS
S E RVE S 4
Note: Jhis rccipc works bcstwith sa|mon h ||cts but
can also bc uscdwith any thick, n |mucshcd whitc
nsh, inc|uding rcdsnappcr,groupcr,ha|ibut,andsca
bass, cookwhitchshto I +Odcgrccs,upto2 minutcs
|ongcrpcrsidc) . Ilyou arc usingskin|cssmlcts,trcat
thc skinncdsidc olcach as ilitwcrc thc skin sidc. Il
yourh||ctsarcthickcrthan I inch,incrcascthccooking
umconthcsccondsidcinstcp3unti|thcccntcrolthc
h||ct rcgistcrs I 25dcgrccs ,or I +O dcgrccslorwhitc
hsh) . ScrcwithA|mond\inaigrcttc,ildcsircd,rccipc
lo||ows) . Ior our hcc rccipcs lor Koui||c and |ivc
\inaigrcttc,gotov.cooksi||ustratcd. com/j unO.
4 ski n-on sal mon fi l l ets, to I i nch thi ck
(6 to 8 ounces each) (see note)
Vegetabl e oi l
Kosher sal t and grund bl ack pepper
Lemon wedges
. P|acc n | |cts ski nsidc up on rimmcd baking
shcctor |argc p| atc |incdwit|+c|can kitchcn towc| .
P|accsccondc|cankitchcntowc|ontopolh||ctsand
prcssdowntob|ot|iquid. Kclrigcratchsh,wrappcd
intowc| s,whi|cprcparinggri | | , at|cast2Ominutcs.
2. Mcanwhi | c, lo| | owingphoto2 abovc, |ooscly
covcrcooking gratc witl: |argc piccc olhcavyduty
a| uminumloi | . Jun a| | buncrstohigh,covcr,and
hcatgri| | unti|vcryhot,about I 5 minutcs. Kcmovc
loi|witl+tongsanddiscard. \scgri|| brushtoscrapc
cookinggratcc|can. Lightlydipwadolpapcrtowcls
inoi|,ho|dingwadwitl:tongs,wipcgratc. Continuc
to wipc gratcwitl: oi|cd papcr towc| s, rcdipping
towc|s i n oi| bctwccn app|ications, until gratc is
b|ackandg|ossy,5 to I O ti mcs, photo3) .
3. Brushbotl:sidcsolhshwitl:thncoatol oi|and
scasonwitl+sa|tandpcppcr.P|acchshskinsidcdown
on gri|| diagona|to gratc , photo+) , rcducc hcat to
mcdium,covcrgril| ,and cookwithoutmovingunH
skin sidc is brown, wc|l markcd, and crisp, 3 to 5
n+inutcs. T( |ining nsh gcntlywith spatula ancr 3
minutcs,ilitdocsn`tc|canlymongri| l,continucto
cook,chcckingat3Osccondintcrva|sLmmitrc|cascs. )
,\\ A Y ( 1 U N F 2 00
| '
Ising2spatulas,mphshtosccondsidc,photo5 ) and
cook,covcrcd, until ccntcrs oln||ctsarcopaqucand
rcgistcr I 25dcgrccsoninstantrcadthcrmomctcr,2
to minutcs|ongcr. Scrvc immcdiatc|ywith |cmon
wcdgcsorAmond\inaigrcttc.
CHARCOAL- GRI LLED SALMON F I LLETS
Io|Iowrccipc lor CasCril|cdSalmonIi|lctsthrough
stcp I . Whilc hsh drics, |ight |argc chimncy stancr
hcdtothirdswithcharcoal,+quarts,about5 bri
qucttcs)+d a||owtoburu coalsarcmllyigmtcd
andparually covcrcdwith U laycr olash, I 5 to 2O
minutcs. BuiId modincd twolcvcl mc by arrangng
coals to covcr haIlolgnl|, |caving othcr hallcmpn.
Prcparcgri|lasdircctcdi stcp2. Procccdwithrccipc
homstcp 3, cooking hsh, covcrcd, dircct|yovcrcoa|s.
AL MOND VI NAI GRETTE
MAKE S AB OUT ; CUP
VJ c up al monds, toasted
2 teaspoons honey
teaspoon Di j on mustard
4 teaspoons white wi ne vi negar
medi um shal lot, mi nced (about 2 tabl espoons)
7+ cup extra-vi rgi n ol ive oi l
tabl espoon col d water
tabl espoon chopped fresh tarragon l eaves
Tabl e sal t and grund bl ack pepper
P| acca| mondsinzippcr|ockbagand,usingro||
ingpi n, pound until nopicccs | argcr tl+ar: '/ inch
rcmai n. Combinc poundcd almonds, honcy, mus
tard,vincgar,andsha||otinmcdiumbowl .Whisking
constantly,drizzlcinolivc oi| unti|cmu|sionlorms.
Addwatcrandtarragonandwhisktocombinc,thcn
scasonwitl:sa|tar+dpcppcr. Scrvc.
COOk' 8V| OO8Ori gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
. c ook s i I I u s t r at ed . c om/j u H0 9
HOW TO MAKE
Gas-Gri l l ed Sal mon Fi l lets
VI DE O TI P
How can I keep food from sti cki ng to the gri l l ?
Marinating Done Right
Mari nati ng i s often regarded as a c u re- al l for bl and, chewy meat. Years of testi ng h ave
taught us that wh i l e i t can bu mp u p fl avor, i t wi l l never tu rn a tough cut tender.
But wi th the ri ght i ngredi ents i n the mi x, mari nati ng can en hance j u i ci ness and add
compl exi ty to steak, ch i cken , and pork. c` C / . c 5 c .: c `
A Better Way t o Mari nate: Bri nerate
Successful mari nating i s al l about getting as much of the soaki ng l i qui d fl avors i nto (and on)
the meat as possi bl e. Bri ni ng i n a saltwater sol uti on i s a way to create more
j ui ci ness. To pump up flavor as wel l as j ui ci ness. our mari nades
combi ne both approaches, wi th soaki ng l i qui ds that not onl y
contai n l ots of seasoni ngs and flavorings but so much sal t, you
might even cal l them "bri nerades. " (I n fact, our mari nades
typi cal l y have two to three ti mes more sal t than our bri nes. )
As i n a bri ne, sal t i n a mari nade afects meat i n two ways.
Through osmoti c pressure, it pul l s moi sture from a pl ace of
hi gher water concentration (the mari nade) i nto a pl ace with d l ower one (the
meat) . In addi ti on, it restructures the protei n mol ecul es i n the meat, creating
gaps that fl l with water to further i ncrease j ui ci ness. I t al so seasons the meat, enhanci ng its i nherent flavors.
MYTH: Mari nades Penetrate Meat Deepl y
FACT: Most I mpact I s Superfi ci al
Contrary to popul ar bel i ef, marinades do most of
their work on the surface of meat or just bel ow. Some
ingredients i n a mari nade do penetrate the meat-but
only by a few mi l l i meters (and oi l -sol ubl e herbs and
spices i n the mix merel y add flavor to the exterior). To
prove the poi nt, we soaked beef short ri bs i n red wi ne
for interal s from one hour to 1 8, then measured the
band of purple created by the wine. Our fndi ng? Even
afer 1 8 hours of soaki ng, the wi ne penetrated l ess than
I mi l l i meter. Additional testing with marinated bonel ess
chicken breasts confrmed that the flavors of other
ki nds of soaking l i qui ds do not penetrate to the center
of the meat. (See "The Short journey of a Mari nade, "
page 1 7. )
MYTH: Aci ds Tenderi ze Meat
FACT: Aci ds Turn Meat Mushy
To tenderi ze meat, you have to break
down muscl e fi ber and col l agen, the
connective tissue that makes meat
tough, thus i ncreasi ng the meat' s abi l ity
to retain moi sture. Whi l e
aci di c i ngredi ents l i ke citrus
juice, vi negar, yogurt, but
termi l k, and wine do weaken
col l agen, thei r i mpact i s con
fned to the meat's surface.
We fnd that if l ef too l ong,
acids turn the outermost
US E WI TH
DI SCR E TI ON
layer of meat mushy, not tender. To mi ni mi ze mushi
ness, we use aci di c components spari ngl y (or cut them
out enti rel y) and onl y for short mari nati ng ti mes.
MYTH: The Longer the Soak, the Better
FACT: A Long Soak Is Poi ntl ess-Even
Detri mental
Because mari nades don' t penetrate deepl y, a l engthy
soak i s poi ntl ess. Furthermore, too l ong a soak i n
an aci di c (or enzymati c) mari nade can weaken the
protei n bonds near the surface so that they turn
mushy-or worse, can no l onger hol d moi sture and
dry out.
MYTH: Mari nades Add Fl avor to Any Meat
FACT: Mari nades Are Best for Thi n Cuts
With thei r i nfl uence
l i mited mostl y to the
surface of meat, we
reserve mari nades
for rel ati vel y thi n cuts
l i ke chi cken breasts,
pork chops, steaks, THI CK: P ROB L E MATI C
cutl ets, and meat cut
i nto chunks or sl i ces
for kebabs and sti r
fries. A large roast or
turkey breast i s never a
good bet; a spi ce paste
TH I N: OPTI MAL
that wi l l adhere to the meat i s a better opti on.
MYTH: Enzymes Tenderi ze Meat
FACT: Enzymes Make Meat Mushy
The enzymes i n many pl ants-such as papai n i n
papaya and bromel ai n i n pi neappl e, to name two-can
break down col l agen in meat. But as with aci ds, thei r
i mpact i s l i mi ted to the meat' s surface, where we fnd
they l i kewi se turn the texture mushy, not tender.
L | ! b b | | | 0 > 1 s A 1 D
I
Mari nade Must- Haves
Both sal t and oi l are criti cal to a successful mari nade; soy, sugar,
and honey are great flavor boosters.
SALT: NOT J UST SEASONI NG
To i ncrease the meat's j ui ci ness, our
mari nades usual l y i ncl ude a high concen
tration of sal t (typi cal l y about I V2 tea
spoons per 3 tabl espoons of l i qui d), and
thus serve as "bri nerades" that combi ne
the benefts of both marinating and bri ni ng.
OI L: FLAVOR FACI LI TATOR
Most of the herbs and spi ces we add to
mari nades are oi l -sol ubl e, whi ch means
they onl y rel ease thei r ful l flavor when
mixed i n oi l . So, to get the most out of
a mari nade, always i ncl ude oi l . But note:
These flavors wi l l merel y coat, not
penetrate, the meat. Meat protei ns are
saturated with water, so they won' t
absorb the oi l or i ts flavors.
SOY: FLAVOR E NHANCER
For more compl ex flavor, use soy sauce
i nstead of salt-besi des bei ng sal ty, it
contains gl utami c acid, which boosts
meaty flavor.
SUGAR/ HONEY:
BROWNI NG BOOSTERS
Sweeteners l i ke sugar and honey not
onl y add compl exity, they al so hel p
foods brown duri ng cooking, further
devel opi ng flavor.
MYTH: Bottl ed Dressi ng
I s a Great Ti me-Saver
FACT: Bottl ed Dressi ng Makes
Medi ocre Mari nade
Due to hi gh l evel s of aci d
ity, sal ad dressi ngs don' t add
compl ex fl avor and onl y make
meat mushy. Pl us, they are
l aden wi th sweeteners,
stabi l i zers, and gums, whi ch add
a gel ati nous consi stency
and unnatural fl avor. BAN THE B OTTLE
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Use Lots of Fl avori n


g
s and Seasoni ngs
I n tests, we've found that a hi gh concentrati on
of sal t i n a mari nade (and we use pl enty) can i nhi bi t
meat from absorbi ng the fl avors of other i ngredi ents,
unl ess they' re i ncl uded i n copi ous quanti ti es ( i . e. ,
3 or ^ cl oves of garl i c and at l east a tabl espoon of
chopped herbs, i f usi ng) .
Score Meat before Mari nati ng
To hel p the mari nade penetrate as deepl y as
possi bl e (especi al l y thi cker cuts l i ke fl ank steak) . pri ck
the s urface of the meat wi th a fork or score i t wi th
a kni fe.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . ,
Fl i p or Sti r
Pl ace meat i n a zi pper-l ock bag with the ai r
squeezed out or use a large baking di sh covered wi th
pl astic wrap. Fl i p the bag or sti r the meat halfay
through the soaking ti me to ensure that the meat is
thoroughl y coated.
'
Refri
g
erate whi l e Mari nati n
g
To el i mi nate the ri sk of mi croorgani sms spreadi ng
i n raw meat, don' t l eave meat on the counter
refrigerate i t. Thi s keeps i t out of the temperature
danger zone of 40 to 1 40 degrees, wi thi n whi ch
bacteri a spread rapi dl y.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . l . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Remove Mari nade before Cooki ng


Don' t Recycl e Used Mari nade
To prevent fl are-ups on the gri l l and ensure
properl y browned meat when sautei ng or stir-fryi ng,
wi pe of most of the excess mari nade before cook
i ng. Keep j ust a l i ttl e mari nade on the meat surface to
maxi mi ze fl avor.
Used mari nade is
contami nated with raw
meat j uice and is
therefore unsafe.
I f you want sauce
to sere with the
cooked meat,
just make a l i ttle
extra mari nade
and set it asi de
before addi ng
the bul k of the
mari nade to
the raw meat.
The Short Journey of a Mari nade
To determi ne how far flavors i n di ferent mari nades mi ght penetrate i nto meat, we pl aced bonel ess,
ski nl ess chi cken breasts i n four di ferent soaki ng l i qui ds (vari ousl y made wi th soy sauce, yogurt, wi ne,
and l emon j ui ce and garl i c) . We soaked al l four batches a ful l 1 8 hours, then cooked them i n a
300-degree oven unti l the i nternal temperature regi stered 1 60 degrees. We then cut of 3 mi l l i meters
from the exteri or of each breast (a good 2 mi l l i meters beyond where i t was cl ear the soy and wi ne
mari nades had penetrated) . Fi nal l y, we tasted the tri mmed chi cken si de by si de wi th breasts we baked
at 300 degrees wi thout mari nati ng. Tasters coul d fnd no di sti ngui shabl e fl avor di ferences among any of
the batches. Our concl usi on: Mari nade fl avors do not penetrate meat beyond the fi rst few mi l l i meters,
no matter what i s i n the mi x.
\ A Y O 1 l L 2 0 0
l /
BETTER THAN A- I STEAK MARI NADE
MAKE S E NOUGH F OR Z P OUNDS OF STEAK
Zs cup vegetabl e oi l
7z cup soy sauce
2 tabl espoons dark brwn sugar
7 cup Worestershi re sauce
4 medi um garl i c cl oves, mi nced or pressed
thrugh garl i c press (about 4 teaspoons)
2 tabl espoons mi nced fresh chives
I 7z teaspoons ground bl ack pepper
Whi sk together i ngredi ents i n medi um bowl . Pl ace
mari nade and steak in gal l on-si zed zi pper-l ock bag;
press out as much air as possi bl e and seal bag.
Refrigerate I hour and up to 90 mi nutes, fl i ppi ng bag
hal fay through to ensure that steaks mari nate evenly.
HE RB- LE MON MARI NADE F OR CHI CKEN
MAKE S E NOUGH F OR Z POUNDS OF CHI CKE N
Note: Bonel ess, ski nl ess chi cken breasts shoul d be
mari nated for no less than 30 mi nutes and no more than
I hour Ski n-on, bone-i n chi cken shoul d be marinated
for at least ^b mi nutes and no longer than 90 mi nutes.
3 tabl espoons ol ive oi l
tabl espoon mi nced fresh herbs, such as
tarragon, chi ves, basi l , or parsl ey
tabl espoon j ui ce frm I l emon
3 medi um garl i c cl oves, mi nced or pressed
thrugh garl i c press (about I tabl espoon)
teaspoon sugar
teaspoons tabl e salt
teaspoon grund bl ack pepper
2 tabl espoons water
Whi sk together i ngredi ents in medi um bowl. Place
mari nade and chi cken in gal l on-si zed zi pper-l ock bag;
press out as much air as possi bl e and seal bag. De
pendi ng on chi cken type, refrigerate 30 to 90 mi nutes
(see note). fl i ppi ng bag halfay through to ensure that
chi cken mari nates evenl y.
HONE Y- MUSTARD MARI NADE F OR PORK
MAKE S E NOUGH F OR Z POUNDS OF PORK
Zs cup vegetabl e oi l
7z cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons honey
3 tabl espoons Di j on mustard
2 tabl espoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
4 medi um garl i c cl oves, mi nced or pressed
thrugh garl i c press (about 4 teaspoons)
I 7z teaspoons grund bl ack pepper
Whi sk together i ngredi ents i n medi um bowl . Pl ace
mari nade and pork i n gal l on-si zed zi pper-l ock bag;
press out as much ai r as possi bl e and seal bag.
Refrigerate I hour and up to 90 mi nutes. fl i ppi ng bag
halfay through to ensure that pork mari nates evenl y .
Better Shrimp Tempura
J apanese chefs spend years l earning how to create a l i ght, crisp coating on these
quick-fried friters. We turned to a different secret weapon: the l iquor cabi net.
B
y anybody' s standards, a pcr
|cctly cookcd pi ccc o|shri mp
tcmpurais a bcauti|ul thing-a
|ri cd |ood so l i ght, crisp, and
|rcsh tasting that i t barcly sccms |ri cd.
Doncpropcrly,thccsscncco|swcct, tcn
dcr shrimp dcnncs its tastc. Iortugucsc
missionari cs introduccd quick|ricd sca
|ood to Japan i n thc I 6th ccntury , thc
namc is bclicvcd to rc|cr to thc dayo|
a0stincncc whcn missi onari cs avoi dcd
mcat) , but ovcr thc coursc o|thc ncxt
rcwccnturics, )apancsc cooks madcthis
tcchniqucthcirown.
1hc approach sounds simplc cnough.
Y F R AN C I S C O J R O B E R T E
anddclicatctcxturc, thc sccond batch still
turncdoutthickanddoughy.Why
Whcn watcr and Uour arc mixcd, thc
protcins in thc Uour |orm glutcn, giving
structurc to thc coating. Protcin hom thc
cggbuttrcsscsthisstrucurcandaddsNavor
and color. P it hits thc hot oil, thc watcr
in thc battcr rapidly cxpands into stcam,
crcating small bubblcs. At thc san+c timc,
thc cgg and glutcn coagulatc and sm cn,
strcngthcning thc bubblcs. 1his chain o|
rcactionsiswhatgivcstcmpuraitsintricatc,
lacy tcxmdalsowhatmakcsthc
battcr so pcrsnickcty. P I'd alrcady sccn,
toohttlcmixinglcdtotoolitt|cglutcnand
a limp coating. 1oo much mixing lcd to
too much glutcn, which madc it dimcult
|or watcr to cscapc. 1hc rcsult. a grcasy,
brcadlikccoating. ^nducrcwasoncmorc
problcm. Glutcn dcvclops cvcn without
stirring, as my battcrsatuntouchcdonthc
countcrbctccn batchcs,itwasthickcning
withcvcrysccond thatpasscd.
Better Batter
Stir togcthcr a battcr o|Uour, cgg, and
watcr,dipinshrimp,orothcringrcdicnts ) ,
drop into hotoil, and|ry just until crisp
and light goldcn. But a |cw prcliminary
attcmpts at making tcmpura in thc tcst
kitchcnmadc mc scc why somc Japancsc
chc|sdcvotcthcircarccrstothisonctcch
niquc. Succcss hingcs almost cntircly on
thc battcr-which is maddcningly hard
to gctright. Lndcr mixbyj ustahairand
thcbattcrrcmainsthin,barclyprovidinga
barricragainstthchotoil andallowingthc
shrimptoovcrcook.vcrmixbyasimilarly
smalldcgrccandyouwindupwithacoat
ingsothickanddoughythatitsccmsmorc
Cooki ng the tempura in 400-degree oi l hel ps l i mi t grease absorpti on and
yi el ds l i ghter, cri sper resul ts.
Manychcclaimtomakcthcbattcr|ailsa|c
with sccrct" ingrcdicnts or novcl tcch
niqucs. Itcouldn't hurt to try a |cw. nc
idca-adding whippcd cgg whitc to thc
athomconacorndogthanshrimp.
Shorto|apprcnticingwith atcmpuramastcr,i| !
cvcrwantcd tocnj oythis spccialtyoutsidcarcstau
rant,I nccdcdtomakcthcmcthod|oolproo|
Batch Prcessi ng
I startcd with thcbattcr|ormula|oundin most tra
tcmpcraturcplungcdto3OOdcgrccs,andthcshrimp
nccdcd tostayso longinthcpottl+atthcircoating
vaspracticallydrippingwitl:grcasc. Butcookingin
twobatchcs,Ikcpttl:cnrstbatchwarmintl+covcn
vhilc I cookcd thc sccond) immcdiatcly brought
tl:cproblcmso|battcrconsistcncytothc|orc. vcn
vhcn my nrst batch achicvcd just tl+c right crisp
ditional rccipcs. onc cgg and cqual parts icc watcr
and Uour. 1o makc dinncr |or |our, I'd nccd ! '/
R E c P E T E s T N G Batter Up
poundsofshrimp.Sinccit' salltoocasytoovcrcook
small shrimp, I chosc thc largcst availablc , 8-I2
pcrpound) . Instcado|awok,I substitutcdthctcst
kitchcn's prc|crrcd vcsscl |or dccp |rying, a largc
Dutch ovcn.
I hcatcd 3 quarts o|oilto +OO dcgrccs-alittlc
hottcr than most rccipcs callcd |or, but a highcr
tcmpcraturc would hclp thc shrimp cook quickly,
limitingthc absorptiono|oil . Sincctcmpuratastcs
bcst scrvcd immcdiatcly, I nrst tricd cooking thc
battcrsoakcd shrimp in onc batch. 1otal |ailurc.
With a I '/ pounds in thc pot at oncc, thc oil
TOO T HI CK
Overmixed batter fries
into a thick, breadlike
coating.
TOO P UF FY
Whisking whipped eg
white into the batter cre
ates a bal l oonl ike coating.
C 0 0 b S I L L l' S T R .\ | | l
| d
battcr-lcd to shrimp cncascdin a coating
sovoluminousitrcscmblcdaballoon. thcrsourccs
rccommcndcdaddingbakingsodatothcbattcr.1hc
coatingwas crisp, allright,but itwasalso socnm
bly that it|c rightonthc shrimp. P a lastshot, I
rcplaccdthcUourvithcornstarch,which dcvclopsno
glutcn atall . 1hc coating lookcddclicatc and crisp,
butturncdouttobcastoughasStyro|oan+.
TOO T H I N
Undermixed batter
remai ns thi n, contri buting
to overooked shri mp.
J US T R I GHT
A surprise ingredient and
the right techni que keep
our coati ng crisp and airy.

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How to Make Vegetabl e Tempura


To use lefover batter to make vegetabl e fritters, di p 2 cups
of vegetabl es i n the batter and fry 2 to 3 mi nutes, fol l owi ng
the same i nstructi ons for the shri mp.
VE GE TABL E
Green beans
Snow peas
Scal l i ons
Asparagus
Shi itake mushroms
Button mushroms
P R E P RE QU I R E D
Trim eCs
Remove strings
Trim ends
Remove woody bottoms and
spl i t large spears l engthwise
Remove stems
Leave smal l mushrooms whol e;
hal ve medi um mushrooms;
quarter large mushrooms
Portobel l o mushroms Cut i nto V2 -i nch sl i ces
Egplant
Oni on
Sl i ce i nto V2-i nch rounds or
hal f moons
Cut i nto V2-i nch rings
Back at square one, I reviewed my batter ingreci
ents one at a time, starting with the flour. Replacing
all the flour with cornstarch hadn't worked, but
what if ! j ust reduced the amount of gluten instead
of eliminating it? Starting with 2 cups of flour and 1
tablespoon of cornstarch, I gradually increased the
ratio Lmtil I arrived at a mixmre of 1 'z cups of flour
and 1/ cup of cornstarch. Ths signifcantly improved
te strucmre and lightness in the frst batch, but cid
notlling to address consistency.
Moving on to the egg, I tried adjusting tl1e num
ber of yolks and wlites; a single egg produced te
best results in every test. Then I considered the final
ingredient: water. I was using ice water, which slows
down gluten development-until the water warms
up. Searchng for an alternative, I recalled a recipe
mat used seltzer. I swapped out the ice water for 2
cups of efervescent seltzer, hoping tlut its multiwde
of bubbles would make my batter even more delicate
and lacy. Seltzer produced the desired efect-and
men some. It ts out that seltzer, witl a pH offom,
is slightly more acicic than regular tap water, enough
to slow down gluten development (a pH of fve to six
is optimal for gluten formation) . My batter now fed
up into a wonderflly air coatg-but it was stll too
easy to overmix, and it turned tllicker yet as it sat.
Then it hit me: A couple of years ago, a fellow
test cook faced the sane conw1drum trying to master
pie crust. To ensure a perfectly tender crust, he had
to minimize gluten development in tl1e dough.
His solution? Eighty-proof vodka, which consists
of about 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol .
MCOOk' SV| DOS Ori gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
www. c ooks i l l u st r at ed . c om/j u n 0 9
HOW TO MAKE
Shri mp Tempura
VI DEO TI PS
How d o I know what size shri mp to buy?
How do I prepare vegetabl es for tempura?
Whil e water contributes to gluten, alcohol doesn't.
I fried two batches of shrimp made with 1 cup of
sel tzer and 1 cup of vodka, and the shrimp I pulled
out of tl1e hot oil were not only consistent from the
frst batch to the second, but also tle lightest and
crispest I'd made yet.
With a foolproof batter at last, I could now
fne-tune the details. Even tlough tl1e batter was
perfectly light and lacy, it still clumped on the inside
curl of tl1e shrimp. To set that straight, I made two
shallow cuts on the underside of its fesh. The traci
tional sauce uses dashi, a Japanese stock made from
dried kelp and b01lito ( uma) fakes. I streamlined it
and came up witl1 a sweet ginger-soy cip.
My recipe was quite a depamLre fom tracition,
but you would never know it fom the featherweight
coating and supremely tender shrimp on my plate.
S HRI MP TE MP URA
S E RVE S 4
Note: Do not omit the vodka; it is critical for a crisp
coating. For safety, use a Dutch oven with a capacity
of at least 7quarts. Be sure to begin mixing the batter
when tl1e oil reaches 385 degrees ( the fnal tempera
Uire should reach 400 degrees) . It is important
matain a high oil temperatLe tl1roughout cooking.
If you are unable to fnd colossal shrimp ( 8-12 per
pound) , j umbo ( 1 6-20) or extra-large ( 21-25) may
be substituted. F1 smaller shrimp in three batches,
reducing tl1e cooking time to 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per
batch. See page 30 for tips on preventing te sl1rimp
!om curling. For our free recipes for Chile Aoli
Dipping Sauce and Teppanyaki Mustard Dipping
Sauce, go to V. cooksilustrated. com/j un09.
3 quarts vegetabl e oi l
I 7z pounds col ossal shri mp (8 to 1 2 per pound),
peel ed and devei ned, tai l s l ef on (see note)
I 7z cups unbl eached al l -purpose fl our
7z cup cornstarh
l arge egg
cup vodka (see note)
cup sel tzer water
Kosher sal t
reci pe Gi nger-Soy Di ppi ng Sauce (reci pe fol l ows)
1 . Adjust oven rack to upper- middle position and
heat oven to 200 degrees. In large, heavy Dutch
oven ftted wit clip-on candy thermometer, heat oil
over high heat to 385 degrees, 18 to 22 minutes.
2. While oi l heats, make 2 shallow cuts about 1/4
inch deep and I inch apart on underside of each
slp. Whisk four and cornstarch togetl1er in large
bowl . Whisk egg and vodka together in second large
bowl . Whisk seltzer water into egg mixmre.
3. When oil reaches 385 degrees, pour liquid
mixture into bowl with four mixture and whisk
gently until just combined ( it is OK if small lumps
remain) . Submerge half of shrimp in batter. Using
tongs, remove shrimp from batter ! at a tine, allow
ing excess batter to drip of, and careflly place in oil
i\ A Y [ ' L | 2 0 0
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S C I E N C E E X P E R I M E N T
Booze for Better Batter?
The batter for shri mp tempura i s devi l i shl y hard to
get right, easi l y turni ng thi ck and heavy if you overmix
even sl ightly or l et it si t too l ong. Even when a frst
batch came out l ight and crisp, subsequent batches
were progressi vel y thi cker and greasi er. In the past,
we've guaranteed success with another fni cky food
stuf-pi e crust-by replacing some of the water with
vodka. Woul d the same swap in tempura batter lead
to a coating i mmune to overmi xi ng and resting?
THE EXPE RI ME NT
We fried two batches of shri mp in two diferent
batters. The frst batter contai ned I eg, I V2 cups
of fl our, V2 cup of cornstarch, and 2 cups of seltzer
water. In the second, we repl aced I cup of the
sel tzer water wi th I cup of vodka.
RESULTS
The vodka-batter shri mp was i dentical from the frst
batch to the second, turni ng out light and crisp each
ti me. The shri mp di pped i n the batter without vodka
came out heavier and greasier i n the second batch.
EXPLANATI ON
When water ( i n thi s case sel tzer) and fl our are
mixed, the protei ns in the fl our form gl uten, whi ch
provides structure-but it onl y takes a few too many
stirs (or too many mi nutes of sitting) to devel op too
much gl uten and an overl y heavy batter. Because
vodka i s about 60 percent water and ^0 percent
al cohol (which does not combi ne with protein to
form gl uten), it makes the batter fl ui d and keeps
gl uten formation i n check no matter how much you
stir or al l ow it to sit. -F.J . R.
( tcmperamre should now be at 400 degrees). Fry,
stirring with chopstick or wooden skewer to prevent
sticking, until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using
slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to paper towel-lined
plate and sprinkle witl1 salt. Once paper towels
absorb excess oil, place shrimp on wire rack set in
rimmed baking sheet and place in oven.
4. Return oil to 400 degrees, about 4 minutes,
and repeat with remaining shrimp. Serve immeci
ately with Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce.
GI NGE R- SOY DI P P I NG SAUCE
MAK E S ABOUT '/, CUP
Z c up soy sauce
3 tabl espoons mi ri n
teaspoon sugar
teaspoon toasted sesame oi l
garl i c cl ove, mi nced or pressed thrugh garl i c
press (about I teaspoon)
2 teaspoons grated fresh gi nger
scal l i on, fi nel y chopped
Whisk all ingrecients together in mecium bowl.
Best Blueberry Mufns
The best guarantee of a great bl ueberry muffin is to start with great bl ueberries. We
wanted a recipe that woul d work even with the watery supermarket kind.
Y
cars ago, I owncd a sma| |
bakcry i n rura| upstatc cw
York wi th a scasona| c| aim to
lamc. my b| ucbcrry muhns.
WhcncvcrIcou| dgctmyhandson|oca||y
grown, lrcsh| y pickcd wi | d b| ucbcrri cs,
thcwordwou|dsprcad| ikcwi|dhrci nour
|itt|ctown,andpatronswou|ddcp|ctcmy
bakcrycascolcvcrysing|c mumn bclorc
tl:cy cvcn had a chancc to coo| . I ` d |ikc
totakc a|| thc crcdit lor thc mumns, but
thc truth i s, thc intcnsc lruitincss oluc
crrics was what madc thcsc aroatic
swccttartgcmssospccia| .
Y Y V ' N N l M L | | M 1 '
owthatI`vcmovcdonhomthcbakc(,
I can`thc|p turningup my nosc atmumns
madcwitl+supcrmarkct b|ucbcrrics. Smc,
pints ol p|ump b|ucbcrrics a|ways |ook
appca|ing, but pop onc into your mouth,
andits|ack|ustcr,watcrytastc has nowhcrc
to hidc. It`s rca||y no surprisc. Dcspitc uc
lactmatb|ucbcrricsarcindigcnoustoortl:
Amcrica ,particular|y uc orucast) , thcy
can comc hom as lar awayas Chi|c. Iruit
pickcd bclorc it is ripc and shippcd thou
Fresh and cooked berri es i ntensi f the fruity fl avor of our mufi ns.
sandsolmi|csawaysimp|ycan` tmatchtl:cqua|ityol
|oca|,wi|dbcrrics.Iwantcdtomakcb|ucbcrrymums
matwou|dtastcgrcatwiuanyb|ucbcrrics,rcgard|css
olorigin.Jhcywou|dbcpackcdwithb|ucbcrryl|avor
andhavcamoistcrumb, oncsturdycnoughtoho|d
upundcrucwcightolasubstantia|hc|pingollruit.
Jam Sessi on
Witl:out a doubt,intcnsc, huityuavorwas mytop
priority. I dccidcd to usc uc mumn rccipc |rom
my bakcry to scc how many supcrmarkct bcrrics
mc battcr cou|d ho|d, and ucn I `d try to work
somcmagicont|:cirllavor. Myrccipcca||cdlortl+c
crcaming mcthod, which incorporatcs a |ot olair
intotl:c battcr bybcating buttcr and sugar, adding
cggsandthcnmi|k,andh na||ylo|dinginN our,sa|t,
and baking powdcr. I did a tcst run by lo|ding I
cup olb|ucbcrrics into us crcamcd battcr bclorc
baking ucmumns. P soon as I brokc intouchrst
onc, I cou|dscc that ! cupollruitwasn`tcnough.
Doub|ing uc amountolbcrrics on|ywcighcd uc
crumb down wiu hcavy pockcts olwcak, watcp
lruit. I movcd on, scouringuctcstkitchcnpantp
loringrcdicnts to bo|stcruc b|ucbcrryuavor. Jhc
two most promising wcrc dricd b|ucbcrrics and
b|ucbcrpj am.
I startcd by swapping out thc hcsh bcrrics lor
dricd, on|y to hnd that tl+cy yic|dcd mums vu
chcwy, raisim b|ucbcr( bits. And thc dchydratcd
b|ucbcrricsgrccdi|ysoakcdupmoisturchomucmm
hns,makinguccnmbd (. Rchydraungthc bcrncs
bctrc incorporatingtl+cmintouc battcrwasn`tuc
answcr,whi|cucdricdbcrricsdidp|u+pupand|cnd
a|i|ab|czing,tl+cysti||wcrcn`tj uicyorhcshtasting.
cxt,Icrackcdopcnajarolb|ucbcrpj an+.Ancr
dividingup uc battcr, I swi r|cd a spoonm| olj am
i nto cach h||cd cup. Jhcmumnsbakcd up wit|+ a
prctty b| uc h||ing, but tastcrs unanimous|y agrccd
tl+attl:csugaryjam had madc t|+cmtoo swcct. n
t|+cvcrgc ola muhn mc|tdown, I suddcn|y lound
hopc.Whati l!madcmyownlrcsh,|owsugarbcrry
j am to swir| into uc mumns` I simmcrcd I cup ol
lrcsh b|ucbcrrics on tl:c stovctop to conccntratc
uavor and cvaporatc cxccss j uiccs, adding a mcrc
tcaspoon olsugar lor a touch olswcctncss. Ancr
about six minutcs, I had '4 cup oluck, potcnt,
dccpindigo j am uatwaschocknl| olmoist,tart
b| ucbcrrics. Ancrmyhomcmadcjam coo|cd,Iuscd
achopsticktoswir|atcaspoonoli tintocachol thc
battcrmcd cups, ucn bakcd. Succcss' Jhc uavor
waspurcb|ucbcrp,rcmindingmcolmywildbcrry
mumns lrom|ongago.
C O O K
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S I L L U S T R A T E D
?
Jhcrcwasj ustonct|1ingmissing. ucj uicytcxturc
olhcshbcrrics. Jhiswascasi|y so|vcd, Ij ustaddcd !
cup ollrcsh,uncookcd bcrricsto thc battcrbclorc
swir|inginucj am. Jhcmumnsnowcontaincduc
bcstolbouwor|ds.intcnscb|ucbcrryuavorandthc
|iquidburstuaton|ylrcsh bcrrics canprovidc.
Cake Wal k
At uispoint,Ihadconqucrcdb|ucbcrjNavor.ow
a|| I nccdcdwas a grcat mumn basc to show iton.
Jhc crcaming mctl:od had a|ways workcd mc lor
my mumns h ||cdwitl+ tiny wi| d b| ucbcrrics. But it
yic|dcdau tatwastoocakc|dcandtcndcrto
propcr|ysupportuchcavyjamandp|umpbcrricsi n
myncwmumns. I dccidcdtogivc ucquick brcad
mcthoda shot,hopingitwou|d gcncratcasturdicr
crumb. Jhismcthod ca||slorwhiskingtogcthcruc
cggsandsugar,addingmi|kandmc|tcdbuttcr,and
ucngcnt|ylo|dinginN om,bakingpowdcr,andsa|t.
I wascarcm|tonotovcrmix. Awiupancakc bat
tcr,ovcrlystrcnuousmixingcncouragcsthcprotcins
in uourto cross| i nk andlorm g|utcn, toughcning
uc hna|product. ) Jastcrsagrccd uattl+ismcuod
wasidca| ,producingahcarty,substantia|cnmbuat
cou|dsupportagcncrousamountollruit.
Joacl:icvcucunctuous|ymoistmumnsIsought,
I cxamincd uc lat i n uc rccipc. Wh|c uc buttcr
wascontributingtonsoll|avor,I k+cwuatoi|hasa
propcnsitylormakingbakcdgoodsmoistandtcndcr.
Inlikc buttcr, oi| contains no watcr and is ab|c to
comp|ctc|ycoatl|ourprotcinsundrcstrictucmhom
absorbing|iquidtodcvc|opg|utcn. Itmadcscnscto
swappingoutsomcolthcbuttcrlorvcgctab|coi| .
Isingsma||incrcmcnts,Igradua||yrcp|accdsomcol
uc buttcrwiuoi|andloundthatancqua|an+otint
olcach ,+tab|cspoonsmc|tcdbuttcr,+tab|cspoons
oi| ) produccdj ustthc rightcombinationolbuttcry
Navorandmoist,tcndcrtcxturc.
A|most tl:crc, I wondcrcd il I cou|d makc uc
R E C I P E T E S T I N G
When More I sn' t Better
To boost berry flavor
i n a mufn. si mpl y add
i ng more bl ueberries
i sn' t the answer. With
too many i n the mix,
the berri es sink to the
bottom, weighi ng the
mufn down. WE I G H E D DOWN
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5TP- Y- 5 T PI MAKING MUFFINS WITH BLUE B E RRY FLAVOR THROUGH AND THROUGH
I . MAKE BERRY J AM
Cook hal f of fresh bl ueberries
into thi ck jam to concentrate
thei r flavor and el i mi nate
excess moisture.
2. ADD FRESH BERRI ES
Stir ' cup of fres bl ueberri es
i nto batter to provi de j ui cy
bursts i n every bite.
J. PORTI ON BATTE R
Scoop batter i nto mufn pans,
compl etel y fl l i ng cups.
4. ADD JAM TO BATTE R
Pl ace ' teaspoon of cool ed
berry jam i n center of each
batter-fl l ed cup, pushi ng it
below surface.
5 . SWI RL I NTO BATTER
Usi ng chopsti ck or skewer,
swirl jam to spread berry flavor
throughout.
mufns even richer. I felt confdent that something
oter than the whole milk I'd been using could
deliver more favor. Rich and tangy sour cream, a
popular choice for quick-bread batters, made these
mufns somewhat dense and heavy. Buttermilk,
however, was just the ticket. It provided appealing
richness but was light enough to keep the mufns
fom tg into heavyweights. Pa bonus, its slight
tang also nicely complemented the blueberries .
Baking the mufns at 425 degrees on the upper
middle rack gave them a golden brown crust. And as
a crowng jewel, I sprinkled lemon-scented sugar on
top of the batter j ust before baking. The oven melted
te sugar slghtly, which then hardened as it baked to
create an irresistibly crunchy shel. I now had mufns
to rival the ones I'd so proudly ofered at my bakery,
and I could make them at any time of the year.
BEST BLUEBERRY MUF F I NS
MAKES 1 2 MUF FINS
Note: If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute Y cup
plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with
cup milk.
Lemon-Sugar Topping
Vl cup (2 Vl ounces) sugar
I V2 teaspoons fnel y grated zest frm I l emon
Mufns
2 cups (about I 0 ounces) fresh bl ueberri es,
pi cked over
I Va cups (8 ounces) pl us I teaspoon sugar
2V2 cups ( 1 2 V2 ounces) unbleached al l -purpose fl our
2 V2 teaspoons baki ng powder
I teaspoon tabl e sal t
2 large eggs
4 tabl espoons ( V2 sti ck) unsalted butter, melted
and cooled sl ightly
\ cup vegetabl e oi l
cup buttermi l k (see note)
I V2 teaspoons vani l l a extract
! . FORTM TOIIUG. Stir together sugar and
lemon zest in small bowl w1til combined; set aside.
2. C8 TM M\US Adjust oven rack to
upper- middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray standard mufn tin with nonstick cooking
spray. Bring ! cup blueberries and ! teaspoon sugar
to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and
stirring frequently, until berries have broken down
and mixture is thickened and reduced to cup,
about minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool
to room temperature, 10 to 1 5 minutes.
3. Whisk flour, bakg powder, and salt together in
large bowl. Whisk remaining ! cups sugar and eggs
together in mediwn bowl until thick and homoge
neous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and
oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanla
until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mix
ture and remaining cup blueberries into four mixture
until j ust moistened. ( Batter W be very lwnpy with
few spots of dfour; do not overmix. )
4. Following photos above, use ice cream scoop
or large spoon to divide batter equally among pre
pared mufn cups (batter should completely fll cups
and mound slightly) . Spoon teaspoon of cooked
berr mixture into center of each mound of batter.
Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berr fll
ing into batter using fgure-eight motion. Sprinkle
lemon sugar evenly over mufns.
5 . Bake until muf tops are golden and j ust frm,
1 7 to ! minutes, rotating mufn tin from front to
back halfay through baking time. Cool mufns in
mufn H for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack
and cool 5 minutes before serving.
BEST BL UE BE RRY MUF F I NS
WI TH F ROZEN BL UE BE RRI E S
Note: Our preferred brands of fozen blueberries are
Wyman's and Cascadian Farm.
Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Mufns, substitut
ing 2 cups fozen berries for fesh. Cook I cup berries
as directed in step 2. Rinse remaining cup berries
Lmder cold water and dwell. In step 3, toss dried
berries in four mixture before adding egg mixture.
Proceed with recipe from step + as directed.
,\ A Y c ! U N | 2 00
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BEST BL UE BE RRY MUF F I NS
WI TH STREUSEL TOPPI NG
Follow rec.ipe for Best Blueberry Mufns, omitting
Lemon-Sugar Topping. Prepare streusel by combin
ing 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons
dark brown sugar, pinch table salt, and 'z cup plus
3 tablespoons 3z ounces) unbleached all-purpose
four in small bowl . Drizzle with 5 tablespoons
warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork unt
evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks
with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Proceed
with recipe as directed, sprg streusel topping
over mufns before baking.
BEST BL UE B ERRY MUF F I NS
WI TH ORANGE GLAZE
Follow recipe for Best Blueberr Mufs, omittng
Lmon-Sugar Toppig. Add 2 teaspoons fely gated
orage zest to egg mture in step 3. Proceed WU
recipe as dected, sprg 4 teaspoons turbiado
sugar over mufs before bag. We mufns cool,
whisk together ! cup confectoners' sugar and ! 'z
tablespoons orange juice unti smooth. Drzzle each
cooled muf with 2 teaspoons glaze before serg.
B EST BLUE B E RRY MUF F I NS
WI TH AL MOND CRUNCH TOPPI NG
Follow recipe for Best Blueberr Mufns, omitting
Lemon-Sugar Topping. In step ! , combine / cup
fnely ground almonds and 4 teaspoons turbinado
sugar; set aside. In step 3, add /1 cup fnely ground
almonds to four mixture. Proceed with recipe as
directed, adding 1 teaspoon almond extract WU
vanilla extract in step 3 and sprinkling almond top
ping over mufns before baking.
WCOOk' 8 V| DO8 Ori gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
www. c ook s i l l u s t r at ed . c om/ j u n 0 9
H OW TO MAKE
Best Bl ueberry Mufns
VI DE O TI P
Mufn pans | 0 |
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
We set out to perfect the back-of-the-bag cl assic with a cookie that was crisp
at the edges, chewy in the middl e, and ful l of rich toffee fl avor.
S
ince Nestle frst began printing
the recipe for Toll House cook
ies on the back of chocolate chip
bags in 1 9 39, generations of
cooks have packed them into lunches,
taken them to bake sales, and kept them
on hand for snacking-arguably more so
than any other kind of cooke. I 've made
countless batches myself over the years .
The recipe is so easy: Cream butter and
sugar ( half white and halfbrown) , add two
eggs and vanilla, then mix in all- purpose
fl our, salt, baking soda, some chopped
nuts, and the chips. Drop tablespoons of
dough on a cookie sheet, bake at 350 for
1 0 minutes, and you' re done.
The Toll House cookie's cakey texture
and buttery favor certainly have their
appeal. But is it really tle best that a choco
late chip cookie can be? In my opinion, a
truly great cooke ofers real complexity,
not j ust a one-note sweet taste and unform
texture. My ideal has always been tlls: a
chocolate chip cooke that's moist and
chewy on the inside and crisp at the edges,
with deep notes oftofee and butterscotch
to balance its sweemess. What would it take
to achieve the perfct specimen?
B Y ' | ^ H | L : | l | : L Y
Our cooki e' s crackl y exteri or hel ps set i t apart from Tol l Hous e.
Not-So-Cooki e-Cutter Techni ques
I ' m not the frst t o think the Toll House cookie
could stand improvement.
Not too long ago, Te NeJ York Times published
a recipe inspired by famed New York City pastry chef
Jacques Torres trumpetng an wmsua tactic for creat
ing more complex fl avor i a chocolate clip cookie:
resting the dough a fi24 hours before baking. The
T C H N | QU I MEAS URE I T RI G HT
rest enables te four to flly absorb moisture fom
the eggs, leading to drier dough that caramelizes
more quickly in the oven and achieves richer flavor.
Or at least tl1at's the theory. When I tried the recipe,
tasters fow1d it did have a slightly deeper tofee taste
than the Toll House cookie-but not nearly enough
to warrant tle inconve11ience of a 24-hour rest.
Even a tabl espoon too much or too l i ttl e fl our can have an i mpact on cooki es. Here's how to measure accurately.
PREFERRED:
WE I GH FLOUR
For the greatest accuracy,
weigh fl our before usi ng it.
Put a bowl on a scale, hit the
| button to set the scale
to zero, and scoop the flour
into the bowl .
SECOND- BEST:
DI P AND SWEE P
Di p a dry measuring cup
i nto the fl our, sweepi ng
away excess fl our wi th a
flat edge. Thi s method yi el ds
more accurate results than
spooni ng fl our i nto a measuring cup.
C O O K
'
S I L L U S T R A T E D
? ?
Several Boston-area bakeries employ
their own dough-resting techniques, some
of them even more drastic: At Flour
Bakery in the South End, chef Joanne
Chang swears by a rest of two or even
three days . Clear Flour Bread, near our
ofces in Brookline, portions tl1e dough
and freezes it before baking, a trick that
helps prevent the dough from spreading
too much ( and tlut keeps the center of
the cookie moist and chew) . Fine ideas
for professional kitchens-but who at
home wants to wait two days to bake or
try j amming even one cookie sheet into
the freezer?
Other chefs endorse "pet" ingredients
to get better results. Following the lead of
pastry chef Christina Tosi at Manhattan's
Momofku Bakery and N Bar, I added
m powder to the Toll House dough.
Tosi fnds it brings depth to her baked
goods; I found it just made the cookies
taste milky. I also experimented with a
slew of even less likely additives, includ
ing tapioca powder, brown rice four, and
xanthan gum-all suggestions for ensuring
chewier texture. In each case, tasters were
unanimous: No, tl1anks.
I wasn' t having luck on the favor or
chewiness fronts, but an approach for
increasing crispness from the Toll House creator
herself, Ruth Wakefeld, seemed worth trying: In
a variation on her chocolate chip cookie recipe
published in Tol House Tried and True Recipes
( 1 940) , Wakefeld swaps all -purpose four for cake
four. But the swap yielded a cookie so crumbly that
it practically disintegrated afer one bite. I wasn't
exactly surprised. Cake four has less protein (to 8
percent) than all -purpose four ( 1 0 to 1 2 percent) .
Protein i s one of the building blocks of gluten,
which gives baked goods their structure . The less
protein, the less structure, and the more crumbly
tl1e end product.
Exami ni ng the El ements
It was time to come up with my own ideas. Since
small tweaks in a baking recipe can translate to big
diferences, I would break down the Toll House rec
ipe into its main components and see what changes
I could invoke by playing around with ingredients
and proportions.
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Creati ng a New Cl assi c
Here's how we i mproved on the Tol l House cl assi c to create a n even better cooki e.
TOL L HOUS E R E CI P E
Equal Amounts Brwn
and White Sugar
A | - | ratio of brown to white
sugar creates a cookie that's
neither crisp nor chewy.
Creamed Sol i d Butter
Creami ng butter
creates a cakier
texture i n cooki es.
ZWhol e Egs
Whol e egs
contri bute to
a drer texture.
Beat and Bake
Baking the dough i mmediatel y afer ., ..
mi xi ng doesn' t al l ow the sugar to
di ssolve as ful l y as possi bl e.
Less Dough
The smal l er the cooki e, the more
uniform its texture.
I decided to start by tackling texture, frst zeroing
in on the impact of the fat. I already knew I wanted
to stick with butter-vegetable shortening and oil
could never compete with its rich favor. The Toll
House recipe calls for creaming the butter with the
sugar, which creates tiny air bubbles that bring a
cakey lif to cookies. Developing a recipe for Brown
Sugar Cookies (March/ April 2007), I discovered
tat melting the butter before combining it with the
other ingredients led to a chewier texture. Here' s
why: Butter contains up to 18 percent water. When
butter melts, the water separates from the fat and
can then interact with the proteins in fl our to create
more structure-enhancing gluten. Melting the two
sticks of butter called for in the Toll House recipe
created a relative abundance of water ( more than 3
tablespoons) , for cookies that tasters found notice
ably chewier.
Since I was melting butter, I saw d opporty
to brown it, a technique we ofen use in the test
kitchen to add nutty favors to food. Sure enough,
it worked here as well. But since browning burns of
some of the butter's moisture, I made sure not to
brown aof it.
OUR R E CI P E
More Brwn Sugar
Using more brown sugar than
white makes for a chewi er
cooki e.
Brwned, Melted Butter
Mel ti ng butter contri butes to
chewi ness; browni ng it enhances
flavor.
I Whol e Eg, I Yol k
El i mi nati ng one eg whi te al so
boosts chewi ness.
and Wait
di ents and then waiting I 0 mi nutes
al l ows more of i t to di ssol ve, setti ng
up better flavor and texture.
More Dough
Three tabl espoons of dough per
cooki e i ncreases its cri sp-chewy
contrast.
Next ingredient Lmder the microscope: sugar.
Besides adding sweetness, sugar afects texture.
White sugar granules lend crispness, wile brown
sugar, which is hygroscopic ( meaning it attracts
and retains water, mainly fom the air) , enhances
chewiness. All that moisture sounded like a good
thing-too good, in fact. Cookies from the all
brown- sugar batch I baked were beyond chewy;
they were so moist, they were nearly fl oppy. The Toll
House recipe calls for an equal amount of white and
brown sugar; I got the best results when I simply
upped the brown sugar ( tasters preferred dark for
its deeper favor) to 60 percent and knocked the
granulated down to 40 percent.
Next came four. I had already seen how cake
four, with its low protein content, yields a crunchy,
crumbly cookie. What if I took the opposite tack
and tried bread four, with its higher protein con
tent of 12 to 14 percent? Again, d1is was going too
far: The cookies were so dense and chewy d1at they
were breadlike. In the end, just cutting back on the.,
all-purpose four by z cup increased moistness in
the cookies and allowed d1e chewiness contributed
by d1e brown sugar to come to d1e fore. The only
M A Y { 1 '^+ 2 0 0
?
S C I E N C E E X P E R I M E N T
For Perfect Cooki es,
Look to Sugar
Crunchy edges, chewy centers, and bi g butterscotch
flavors-that chocol ate chi p cooki e framework
sounded pretty sweet to us. As i t turns out, perfect
cooki es have a l ot to do with sugar and how it's
treated. Sugar that i s di ssolved i n l i qui d before bak
ing caramel izes more readi l y than sugar that si mpl y
mel ts when exposed to the same amount of heat.
What woul d happen if we rested our cooki e batter
afer we added the sugar to al l ow more of it to di s
sol ve before goi ng i nto the oven?
EXPE RI ME NT
We prepared two batches of our Perfect Chocol ate
Chi p Cooki es. Dough from the frst batch went
straight from the mi xi ng bowl onto the baking
sheet; the other batch rested for I 0 mi nutes (with
occasi onal whi ski ng) afer we combi ned the sugar
with the reci pe' s l i qui ds.
RESULTS
Cookies baked from the rested batter boasted not
onl y richer deeper flavor but also cri sper edges.
EXPLANATI ON
Di ssol vi ng the sugar i n l i qui d provi ded by the mel ted
butter, vani l l a, and eg (accel erated by whi ski ng and
resting) afects both flavor and texture. Di ssolved
sugar breaks down more qui ckl y from crystal l i ne
sucrose i nto gl ucose and fructose, whi ch caramel
ize at a l ower temperature to form many ri ch, new
flavor compounds. As the di ssol ved, caramel ized
sugar cool s, i t takes on a brittle structure. In our
cooki es, thi s brittl e texture i s more evi dent at the
edges. Why? As the oven burns of moi sture from
the cooki e peri meter, the remai ni ng moi sture gets
pul l ed i nto the center, keepi ng it chewy. -C. K.
problem: With less four, the cookies were a little
greasy. To resolve the issue, I decreased the butter
by 2 tablespoons.
Finally, I was ready to evaluate de role of eggs in
my batter. I knew from experience that egg whites,
which contain much of d1e protein in the egg, tend
to create cakey texture in baked goods-not what
I wanted in my cookies. What's more, as the cook
ies bake, any white mat isn't flly absorbed in the
batter readily dries out, which can leave a cookie
crumbly. Eliminating one egg white was d1e right
way to go, resulting in cookies that were supremely
moist and chewy.
COOk' 8V| DO8 Ori gi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos
www. c ooks i l l u st rate d . c o m/j u n 09
H OW TO MAKE
Perfect Chocol ate Chi p Cooki es
VI DE O TI P
What i s the best cooki e sheet?
R E C I P E T E S T I N G
Don't Bake i n Batches
TOP RACK
BOTTOM RACK
Baking two trays at a time may be convenient, but it leads
to uneven cooking. The cookies on the top tray are ofen
brwner arund the edges than those on the bottom,
even when rtated halfay thrugh cooking.
Waiti n
g
for Better Fl avor
I had achieved chewiness, but what about my other
goals? The crisp edges and deep tofee favor were
still missing, and short of melting candy into the
dough, I was stumped on how to create these efects.
That's when batch number 43 came along.
In the middle of stirring together the butter,
sugar, and eggs, I stopped to take a phone call . Ten
minutes later, I found the sugars had dissolved and
the mixture had turned thick and shiny, like fosting.
I didn't U much of it until I pulled the fnished
cookies fom the oven. Instead of the smooth,
matte surface of the previous batches, these cookies
emerged with a slightly glossy sheen and an alluring
surface of cracks and crags. One bite revealed a rush
of deep, tofeelike favor. Mysteriously, these cook
ies fnally had just the texture I was aiming for: crisp
on the outside and chewy within. When I made the
cookies bigger ( 3 tablespoons versus the rounded
tablespoon called for in the Toll House recipe), the
contrast was even greater.
I knew it wasn't j ust luck, so I pulled our science
editor onto the case. His theory was that by allowing
the sugar to rest in the liquids, more of it dissolved
in the small amount of moisture before baking. The
dissolved sugar caramelizes more easily, creating a
spectrum of tofee favors and influencing texture.
When sugar dissolved in water is heated, the moisture
burns of and its molecules break apart, creating a
brittle, amorphous structure that translates to crisper
texture. But that efect occurs mainly at the cookie's
outer edges. Just like an evaporating lake, as moisture
on the perimeter disappears, the remaining moisture
becomes concentrated in the center ( see "For Perfect
Cookies, Look to Sugar" on page 23) .
Now athat was lef was fnessing the baking time
and temperature. Witl1 caranelization in mind, I
kept the temperature hot, 375 degrees-the same as
for Toll House cookies. Watching careflly, I lef the
cookies in the oven until they were golden brown,
just set at tlle edges, and sof in the center, between
1 0 and 14 minutes.
I sat down wth a tglass of mand a sample fom
my weeks oflabor and more tl1an 700 cookies baked.
My cookie was crisp and chewy, gooey with chocolate,
witl a complex medley of sweet, buttery, caramel,
and tofee favors. Perection is a subjective judgment
at best, so I held one more blid tastng, pittng my
cookie against the Tol House classic. The verdict?
My cookies weren't just better-they were perfect.
P E RF ECT CHOCOLATE CHI P COOKI ES
MAK E S 1 6 COOKI E S
Note: Avoid using a nonstick skillet t o brown the
butter; the dark color of tlle nonstick coating makes
it difcult to gauge when the butter is browned.
Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened
brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This
recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cook
ies will be less fll-favored. For our winning brand
of chocolate chips, see page 29.
I % cups (8% ounces) unbl eached al l -purpose fl our
zz teaspoon baki ng soda
1 4 tabl espoons ( 1 3/ sticks) unsalted butter
zz cup (1z: ounces) granul ated sugar
% cup (5 ! ounces) packed dark brwn sugar
(see note)
I teaspoon tabl e salt
2 teaspoons vani l l a extract
l arge egg
l arge egg yol k
I ! cups semi sweet chocol ate chi ps or chunks
(see note)
% cup chopped pecans or wal nuts, toasted
(opti onal )
1 . Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat
oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large ( 1 8- by 1 2-
inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk
four and baking soda together in medium bowl;
set aside.
2. Heat 1 0 tablespoons butter in 1 0-inch skillet
over medium-high heat unm melted, about 2 min
utes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until
butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1
to 3 minutes. Remove skillet fom heat and, using
heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large
heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter
into hot butter until completely melted.
3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with
butter and whisk until flly incorporated. Add egg
and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with
no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let
mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds.
Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times
until mixmre is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rub
ber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in four mixture
C O O K
'
S I L L U S T R A T E D
? 4
E Q U I P M E N T T E S T I N G
I nnovative Mi xi ng Bowl s
Made of cl assi c stai nl ess steel or heat-resistant gl ass,
our mixi ng bowls are kitchen workhorses, i ndi spens
abl e for everythi ng from mi xi ng cooki e dough to
making pancake batter to j ury-riging a doubl e boi l er
to mel t chocol ate. Yet they have thei r shortcomings:
They wobbl e as you mix, the ri m can make pouri ng
a mess, and metal bowl s can't go i n the mi crowave.
Woul d i nnovative new desi gns do better? We tested
ni ne model s i n gl ass, pl asti c, metal, and si l i cone, with
features such as si l i cone- or rubber-l i ned bottoms
to prevent ski ddi ng and handl es and spouts to make
pouri ng easi er. Onl y one was a true i mprovement
over the ol d cl assi cs. For compl ete testing resul ts,
go to www. cooksi l l ustrated. com/j un09.
MI XI NG MASTE R
PYREX Gri p-Rite
5-Quart Teardrp
Mi xi ng Bowl
Price: $ 1 6. 99
Comments: Si l i cone
-Peggy Chung Col l i er
stri ps around the base gri p the counter frml y, and
the teardrop shape, spout, and handl e al l ow for
neat pouri ng, maki ng thi s bowl a real wi nner.
S P ACE SAVE R
PROGRESSI VE
5-Quar Col l apsi bl e Bowl
Price: $ 1 I . 30
Comments: Thi s second
pl ace bowl , made of pl astic and si l i cone, col l apses
to a space-saving Z-i nch height. I t's wi de and
sturdy-but not mi crowave-safe.
TOO WOB B LY
iSi BASI CS Flex It
2-Quar Mixi ng Bowl
Price: $ 1 8
Comments: You can
squeeze this seventh-ranked,
mi crowave-safe si l i cone bowl to
form a spout, but it seemed fl i msy and wobbl ed
duri ng mi xi ng.
until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in choco
late chips and nuts ( if using), giving dough fnal stir
to ensure no four pockets remain.
4. Divide dough into 1 6 portions, each about
3 tablespoons ( or use #24 cookie scoop) . Arrange
2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough
balls per sheet. ( Smaller baking sheets can be used,
but will require 3 batches. )
5 . Bake cookies 1 tray at a time unmcookies are
golden brown and still puf, and edges have begun
to set but centers are still sof, 10 to 14 minutes,
rotating baking sheet halfay through baking.
Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies
completely before serving.
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.
Should You Buy a Cookware Set?
Does buying a set of cookware get you a bargain
or a bunch of pans you don't real l y need?
W
c`vc ncvcr l i kcd cookwarc scts .
Most bundl c togct hcr a l ot
olpans wc don` t nccdand not
cnough olthc oncs wc do-thc
h vcor six hardworking mu|ti taskcrs that wc turn
tocvcry day. Bcsidcs pans i n i mpractica| sizcs ,I
quart sauccpans good lor | i ttlc morc than mclting
buttcror8inchski ||ctsthatarcon|yusclu|il you` rc
cookingloronc) , t|+cscsctstypica||yboastlimitcd
usc spccia|ty cookwarc. Whyclogyourcabincts
with sautc pans , skillcts witl: high, straight sidcs) ,
saucicrs , roundcd sauccpans with widc rims ) , or
chc|s` pans , sauccpans shapcd likc woks with
domcd |ids) i lyou`vc alrcady got a Dutch ovcn
andothcrbasicpanstl:at can doanythingthcy can
do and morc` And ilyou uink you`vc lound an
incrcdib|cdcalona I +picccassortmcnt,bcwarc.
Manulacturcrscountcach| i dandanythingc|sct|+at
isn`trivctcdonasascparatcpiccc.
Jhatsaid,buyingpicccsonc byonc gcts cxpcn
sivcparticularlywitl+highcndbrands.Il wccou|d
hndasctthatwasatru|ygoodva|uclorthcmoncy,
oncring durablc, highquality construction and
a sclcction on a parwith our nccds, wc`d happi|y
rccommcndit.
Seeki ng Out the Sets
Ournatura|starting pointwasAClad,abrandtl+at
has consistcnt|y toppcd our ratings ovcr thc ycars.
Wc |ikc its linc in hlly clad, stainlcss stccl trip|y,
d stylc boastingtl:rcc laycrs olmctalh:scd togctl+cr
_ l Y | | > ^ ` c ` A N | > E
andcxtcndinghomtl+cbottomoltl+cpan al|thcway
uptothcri m. Suchconstructionhc|pstocnsurcpots
thatcookcvcn|yand translcrhcat stcadily , scc Co
lorJrip|cMcta| , right) . uridca|sctwou|di ncludc
a roomy I 2inch traditiona| ski| |ct , I | pan-wc
usc tl+c tcrms intcrchangcab|y) that`s big cnough
to ht lourchickcnbrcasts,a I Oinch nonstickski||ct
lorcookingdc|icatcomc|ctsandnsh,a I 2 incHcast
iron skillctlor lryingand scaring, a +quartcovcrcd
sauccpan good lor vcgctab|cs and otl+cr dishcs, a
2qucovcrcdsauccpanlorhcatingsouporcooking
oatmca| , a or quart cnamc|cd castiron Dutch
ovcnlorbraising,dccp h\ing,andcvcnbakingbrcad,
anda|argccovcrcdstockpotthatcandoub|casapot
lorpasta,|obstcr,andcornont|+ccob.
Jhc downsidcolA||C|ad,olcoursc, isitspri cc.
It`soncolthcmostcxpcnsivcbrandsontl+cmarkct.
A cursory scarch uncarthcd a I +pi ccc assortmcnt
boasti ng lour olthc pans on our |ist, along with
louroucrs tl+at dchnitc|ywcrc not. Jhis cxccss ol
noncsscntial picccs brought thc sct`s pricc to an
outragcousS I ,8. 5 . Diggingdccpcr,wclounda
I O picccA|l C|adsct ,oHrcdcxc|usivc|ybyasinglc
rctai| cran irksomc trcnd with scts) with lour ol
tl:cpanswcwantcd,tl+cI 2inchski | | ct, tl:c2 and
+quart sauccpans, and a rcasonab|y | argc 8quart
stockpot) and j ust onc t|+at wc di dn` t ,a + quart
sautcpan) . Jhiswasadch nitcimprovcmcnt,butwc
wcrcstill stuckwitl:ucsautcpanandatotalcostol
S. 5 . Cou|dwc dobcttcr`
A lu||y c|ad, tri p|y sct lrom Calpha|on ohcrcd
The I nsi de Story: Tramonti na vs. Al l - Cl ad
cightpicccsthatwcrcmostlyundcr
sizcd , 8 and I Oinchski|lcts, I '/
and 2 '/ quart sauccpans, and a
quart stockpot) , but so|d lor a
much morc rcasonab|c S2. .
Wc put it in our |incup. Morc
scarchingrcvca|cdanamazinghnd.
alu||yc|ad 8 piccctri plysctmadc
by Jramonti na costing j ust a hair
undcrS I +5 . Itsassortcdsizcswcrc
|cssidca|tlunthcCalpha|oncombo
, 8 and I Oinch h pans, I quart
sauccpanwith |id,2 quartsauccpan
with lid, and 5quart Dutch ovcn
with |id)but givcn its attractivc
pricc,wc hadto tcstit.
T ramontina cookware i s si gni fi cantl y l ess expensi ve than Al l -Cl ad
but performed comparabl y to this wi nni ng brand. To
see if we coul d detect any diferences i n construction
between the two l i nes, we cut a 2-quart saucepan
from each set i n half. Our fndi ng?
Their di ferences are mi nor, as
evident i n the cross-secti on
photos at ri ght. The Al l -Cl ad
pan boasts a more squared-of
bottom, which al l ows sl ightly
more surface area to be i n di rect
contact with the heat; it i s al so
infinitesi mal l y thi cker (l ess than A
mi l l i meter) than the T ramonti na.
By al l appearances, the three
"tri -pl y" layers i n both pans are
equal l y wel l -fused .
Jo gct othcr scts priccd undcr
S2OO, likc Jramonuna, wc`d havc
U abandonourdcsirc lormllyclad
trip|yandgolorthcncxtbcstt|ung.
,\ A Y 6- 1 L' ` | 2 0
? '
Go for Tri pl e Metal
Stai nl ess steel i s nonreactive. Al umi num i s an ef
cient conductor of heat. The wi nni ng sets i n our
l i neup boasted both metal s i n a tri pl e ("tri -pl y")
layer (steel /al umi num/steel ) throughout, for pans
that transferred heat steadi l y and cooked evenly.
Cheaper sets wi th "di sk" or "encapsul ated" bot
toms, where the tri pl e l ayer was confned to the
undersi de, perormed l ess wel l .
al umi num
BEST CHOI CE: FULLY CLAD
al umi num di sk
CHEAPER CHOI CE: DI S K BOTTOM
diskbottompans.Hcrc,mantnacturcrsduplicatcthc
tl:rcc| aycr cncct, but only on tl+c pan bottom, by
attaching a disk olaluminum thc undcrsidc ola
stainlcssstccl pan,thcn covcringthcdiskinstain|css
stcc| . Wc loundthrcc sctsworth considcring.A IO
piccc sct hom KtchcnAd Courmct Kcscrvcd had
thc usua| toosmal| pans , 8 and I Oinch h pans,
I and2quartsauccpanswith lids) , but it ddoncr
an 8quart stockpot, and its pricc , S I . ) was
rcasonablc. Ior j ust a bit morc , S I 8. 5) , a sin+i
| ar|ycomposcd IOpiccc sct by Kchacl Ray caught
ourcyc with its bright orangc siliconc handlc grips
and uisual convcx dcsign. And hnally, a I Opiccc
Kcmorcsct, 8 andI O inch|pans, I and2qua
sauccpanswitl+|ids,quartstockpotwitl:lid,p|usa
3quartsautcpanandastcamcrinscrtlorthc2qua
sauccpan) sccmcdwortha|ookat S I 5..
I nto the Fi re
!ot surprisingly, tl:c diskbottom pans pcrlormcd
thcworsti n cach olourcooking tcstsand lc| | to
tl+cbottomha|loIourrankings. Jhcirbiggcstdown
la| l `Conhningthchcatcontro|linglaycrstothcvcry
bottomolt|:c pan a| |owcd hcattob|azcaroundUc
pcrimctcrand up thc sidcs,onions,lond,browncd
bitslorpansaucc) , andcaramc| a|| scorchcd.
Particularly problematic were the pear-shaped
pieces of the Rachael Ray cookware. Bulging sides
made it that much easier for heat to bypass the
thick, heat-regulating bottom to singe food along
the thin, overhanging edges. While the pans suf
fered from other problems ( overheating handles
and too- deep skillets that made food steam before
browning) , this design faw put the Rachael Ray
set in last place.
But the hefless KitchenAid pans were hot on its
heels. The lightweight stockpot not only scooted
around the stove as we stirred a batch of chili, but
it ran so hot that the mixture boiled (even afer we
turned down the heat ) . Meanwhile, a skillet singed,
rather than sauteed, a piece of sol e. Protruding
handle rivets in the skillets got sticky with sauce,
needing extra elbow grease to scmb clean.
P for the Kenmore set, it fell victim to the same
uneven heating as the other disk-bottom sets and
felt nearly as lightweight as the KitchenAid set. Its
low, open saucepans were a plus, but we didn' t like
its high-sided skillets. Its handles became very hot,
dcsQi|csilicone grips that tricked us into skipping the
potholder. ( Plain stainless steel handles on the other
cookware sets actually stayed cooler to the touch. )
An Astoni shi ng Bargai n
And what of the fl y clad cookware? P we might
have predicted, the All- Clad set aced ever test,
earning a perfct score. Its pans are well designed.
Skilets have generous cooking surfaces and low,
faring sides that prevent steaming for better brown
ing; its stockpot and saucepans are solid enough to
maintain a gentle simmer, but light enough to be
maneuverabl e. Even with tl1e unwanted saute pan
in the mix, this set was still a great bargain over its
open stock price ( for items sold individually) , saving
more tlan $300.
Despite its small pan sizes, the Calphalon set per
formed very well, passing each of our cooking tests
with ease. The pans are well shaped, with low-sided
skillets and low, wide saucepans that aced delicate
tasks like stirring pastry cream and fnicky caramel.
Our only real complaint? The tempered glass lids.
The supposedly helpfl clear windows into the pan's
contents steamed up and blocked our view ( tle glass
lids in the KitchenAid and Rachael Ry sets behaved
similarly) . Wat's more, the glass is only heatproof
up to 450 degrees. But at $299-less than half the
price oftl1e All- Clad set-it's not a bad deal .
But at the end of the day, tl1e cheapest set of
the entire lineup-the 8-piece Tramontina 1 8/lO
Stainless Steel TriPly- Clad Cookware Set-landed
remarkably close behind tl1e vaunted All- Clad.
Priced at just $1 44. 97, it is an astonishing bargain.
Remarkably similar in weight, shape, and design
to the All- Clad pans (See "The Inside Story:
Tramontina vs. All - Clad," page 25) , Tramontina's
cookare transferred heat evenly, was well balanced
and maneuverable, and ranked so close to te perfor
mance of the Al- Clad pans that we entlmsiastically
recommend it. Its highly polished skillets released
The I deal Cookware Set, 3 Ia Carte
Whi l e we found a few reasonabl e opti ons for cookware sets ( see the chart on page 27) , none provi des al l the
pans essenti al to a ful l y equi pped kitchen. We've i denti fed seven core pieces that we bel i eve every kitchen shoul d
have; at best, the cookware sets we tested i ncl uded j ust four of these pans (and none had the mi x of diferent
materials that i s al so key). We highl y recommend the l i neup below of our favorite wi nni ng brands-these are the
very pans we use every day i n the test kitchen. Thei r total cost i s not i nsi gni fcant, but for less than two hundred
dol l ars more than our top-rated Al l -Cl ad cookware set ($699. 95), you' l l have every pan that you need-and none
that you don' t.
1 2-i nch Tradi ti onal Ski l l et
ALL- CLAD Stai nl ess
1 2-i nch Ski l l et, $ 1 34. 95
A kitchen workhorse large
enough to sear, roast, or saute a fami l y-si zed meal .
The traditi onal fni sh al l ows food to sti ck sl ightly,
devel opi ng the crusty brown bits, known as fond, that
contri bute to great flavor.
I 0-i nch Nonsti ck Ski l l et
WEAREVE R Premi um
Hard Anodi zed I 0-i nch
Nonsti ck Saute Pan, $2 1 .99
this is actual l y a skillet in shape, if not in name
Nonsti ck i s terrifc for del i cate, qui ck-cooki ng foods
such as omel ets, flaky fi sh fi l l ets, and stir-fries-but
don' t spend bi g bucks, si nce the coating wears of
withi n a few years. The best nonsti ck pans boast a
thi ck base that di stributes heat evenl y.
1 2-i nch Cast-I rn Ski l l et
LODGE LOGI C 1 2-i nch
Cast-I rn Ski l let, $33.95
4-quart Saucepan [w|th ||d)
ALL- CLAD Stai nl ess
4-quart Saucepan, $ 1 99. 95
I n the test kitchen, we use our
4-quart saucepans for maki ng rice
and oatmeal , bl anchi ng vegetabl es,
and cooki ng smal l amounts of pasta, soup, and stew.
Si nce we al so use it for maki ng sauces, a tradi ti onal
fi ni sh that al l ows fond to devel op i s essenti al . A stay
cool handl e is a must.
large Enamel ed Cast- I rn
Dutch Oven (with l i d)
LE CREUSET 7 \-quart
Round French Oven, $269.95
I f we had to si ngl e out the pot
we use more than any other, i t
woul d be our Dutch oven. Thi s i ncredi bl y versati l e
vessel i s thi cker and heavi er than a saucepan or stock
pot, and it conducts heat more efci ently. I t i s i deal
for soups, stews, stocks, brai ses, and even deep-fryi ng
and baki ng.
Nothi ng can top cast i ron Large Stockpot (wi th l i d)
when it comes to creating a thi ck, deepl y browned CUI SI NART Chefs Cl assi c
crust on steaks and other foods. Al so our frst choi ce 1 2-quart Stockpot, $69. 95
for cornbread and fried chi cken. Most home kitchens have room
2-quart Saucepan (with l i d)
ALL- CLAD Stai nl ess
2-quart Saucepan, $ 1 39. 95
A 2-quart saucepan i s j ust the
right si ze for smal l er jobs l i ke heating mi l k,
mel ti ng butter, or warmi ng soup.
botl1 fish and frittatas witl1 even golden color and
no stickng, earning comments of "Perfect ! " from
testers. Its rounded handles are even slightly more
comfortable than the sharper edges of the All - Clad
handles. The 5-quart Dutch oven, while on tl1e small
side, was big enough to cook chili, and its handles
were easy to grip.
The only slight diference beteen the to brands:
The cooking surfaces of the Tramontina pans are a
little smaller in diameter than the All-Clad pieces
(Tramontina's 10-inch skillet, for example, measures
7 inches across the bottom, versus the 1 0-inch Al
Clad skillet's 75 inches) . A smaller cooking surface
may explain why we needed to stir onions in both
tl1e Tramontina 2-guart saucepan and 1 0-inch skillet
C O O K
'
S I L L U S T R A T E D
?
for a si ngl e stockpot, so it must
handl e a variety of big j obs, from
steami ng l obsters to boi l i ng bushel s
of corn and cooki ng pounds of pasta; 1 2 quarts i s the
most useful si ze. Si nce we use our stockpot mai nl y
for these si mpl e operati ons, we prefer a good but
i nexpensi ve brand.
1C1AL LC51 C| |DbAL 5b1. $b0. 0
a little more fequently than i n tl1e comparably sized
All- Clad pans to ensure even cooking.
This set comes with a few disadvantages, however.
Its pans are those tny "starter" sizes. Unlike the All
Clad cookware in our test kitchen, it hasn't endured
years of daily use, so we can't predict how it v fare
over time. And only one store carries the set at this
ptice: Wal-Mart, which is known for dictating a low
price to manufacturers and then deciding on a quar
terly basis whether it v continue to carry the prod
uct. While Wal-Mar has assured us that ths cook
set v be available for the time being, there are no
guarantees. But for barely $ 145-a mere $1 0 more
than the cost of one 12- inch stainless tri-ply sklet
from All-Clad-this deal is hard to pass up.
TESTI NG COOKWARE SETS
KEY
GOOD: ***
FAI R: **
POOR: *
We tested all pieces i n six cookare sets to assess con
struction, cooking speed, and design. Sets appear i n the
order of their ranking. Al l were purhased at Boston-area
retail stores or onl i ne; soures for winners are on page 32.
COOKI NG: To eval uate performance, we prepared
(RECOMME NDE D
ALL-CLAD Stai nl ess Steel Cookware Set,
I 0-pi ece
Pri ce: $699. 95
Materi al : Ful l y cl ad, stai nl ess steel wi th al umi
num core; stai nl ess steel l i ds
Pi eces: I 0- and 1 2-i nch stai nl ess fry pans. 2-qt. and
4-qt. saucepans wi th l i ds, 4-qt. saute pan wi th l i d, 8-qt.
stockpot wi th l i d
TRAMONTI NA 1 8/ 1 0 Stai nl ess Steel
Tri Pl y-Cl ad Cookware Set, 8-pi ece
Price: $ 1 44. 97
Materi al : Ful l y cl ad, stai nl ess steel wi th al umi
num core; stai nl ess steel l i ds
Pieces: 8- and I 0-i nch fry pans, 1 -qt. and 2-qt.
saucepans with lids, 5-qt. Dutch oven with li d
CALPHALON Tri -Pl y Stai nl ess Steel
Cookware Set, 8-pi ece, Model LS 8
Price: $299. 99
Materi al : Ful l y cl ad. stai nl ess steel wi th al umi num
core; tempered gl ass l i ds safe to 4SO degrees
Pieces: 8- and I 0-i nch fry pans. 1 . 5-qt. and 2. 5-qt.
saucepans wi th l i ds. 6-qt. stockpot wi th l i d
(RECOMME NDE D WI TH RE S E RVATI ONS
KI TCHENAI D Gourmet Reserved
Brushed Stai nl ess Cookware Set,
I 0-piece Model 7 1 984
Pri ce: $ 1 79. 99
Materi al : Stai nl ess steel wi th al umi num di sk
bottom; break-resi stant gl ass l i ds
Pieces: 8- and I 0-i nch fry pans. 1 -qt. and 2-qt.
saucepans with lids, 3-qt. saute pan with lid. 8-qt.
stockpot with l i d
KENMORE Stai nl ess Steel Cookware Set,
I 0-pi ece Modei 7 1 787-T
Price: $ 1 59. 99
Materi al : Stai nl ess steel si des wi th al umi num
di sk bottom; stai nl ess steel l i ds; si l i cone
handl e gri ps
Pi eces: 8- and I 0-i nch fry pans, 1 -qt. saucepan wi th
l i d, 2-qt. saucepan with l i d and steamer i nsert, 3-qt.
saute pan (shares l i d with stock pot), 6-qt. stockpot
with l i d
RACHAEL RAY Stai nl ess Steel Cookware
Set, I 0-piece Model 7608 1
Price: $ 1 89. 95
Materi al : Stai nl ess steel wi th al umi num di sk
bottom; si l i cone handl e gri ps safe to 400 degrees;
tempered gl ass l i ds
Pi eces: 8- and 1 0-i nch fry pans, 1 . 5-qt. and 3-qt.
saucepans with l i ds, 3-qt. saute pan with l i d. 8-qt.
stockpot with l i d
chil i i n the stockpots; made Swedish meatbal l s i n the saute
pans (or I 0-i nch fry pans) ; sauteed oni ons and made
frittatas i n the I 0-i nch fry pans; cooked pastry cream
and sauteed more oni ons i n the 2-quart saucepans;
sauteed sol e i n the 8-i nch fry pans; and made caramel
sauce i n the 1 -quart saucepans (or cl osest equi val ents) .
DESI GN: Handles and the shape, weight, and size of
the cooking suraces wer asessed for utilit and comfort
PAN SI ZES: We rated sets accordi ng to perceived
useful ness of the sizes of i ncl uded pans.
*** Comments: Thi s set came cl osest to our i deal and i ncl udes
*** wi nni ng pans from previ ous testings i n sizes we've i denbfi ed as the
*** most useful . The fry pans have l ow, fi ari ng si des and broad cooki ng
***
***
*
Cooki ng: ***
Desi gn: **
Pan Si zes: **
Cooki ng: **
Desi gn: **
Pan Si zes: **
Cooki ng: **
Desi gn: **
Pan Si zes: *
Cooki ng: **
Desi gn: *
Pan Si zes: **
| AY c ) L l 2 00
? /
surfaces; the saucepans are sturdy and hefy for slow, steady cook
ing; the stockpot is roomy enough for most big cooki ng jobs.
Prs: Superb construcbon; proven wi nner; pl enty of pans to add
Cons: Expensi ve; avai l abl e onl y at Wi l l i ams-Sonoma
Comments: Thi s ful l y cl ad cookware set is an amazi ng bargai n,
wi th performance, desi gn, and constructi on comparable to Al l
Cl ad cookware (though cooki ng surfaces are sl ightl y smal l er) .
Sturdy and moderatel y heavy, wi th riveted handl es and slow,
steady heating.
Prs: Wel l designed; performance comparabl e to Al l -Cl ad
Cons: Smal l pans; l i mi ted suppl y; avai l abl e onl y at Wai-Mart
Comments: A strong perormer at l ess than hal f the price of
the top-ranked Al l -Cl ad set. Wide, low saucepans made it easy
to see the food i nsi de; fry pans wi th low, angled sides encouraged
evaporation duri ng si mmeri ng. We onl y wi sh that instead of glass,
the lids were stai nl ess steel , which i s more durabl e and heatproof
at any temperature.
Prs: Solid performers; stabl e supply of additional pans
Cons: Stockpot and fry pans are smal l ; gl ass l i ds
Comments: Pans are l ess sol i dl y constructed than we prefer
and were the l i ghtest of all the sets we tested. The stockpot
shifed as we stirred our chi l i , and its handl es di dn' t protrude as
far as we l i ke for a good gri p. The di sk bottoms tended to heat up
a l ittle too qui ckl y so that chi l i boi l ed i nstead of si mmered. Sauces
stuck to the raised handl e rivets i nsi de the saute pan, making
them harder to clean. Handl es became quite hot.
Pr: Decent performer
Cons: Disk bottoms; gl ass lids; l ight weight; raci ng heat
Comments: Thi s set was adequate, if underhel mi ng. We liked
the low, open shape of the saucepans, but the si l i cone handles,
whi l e comfortable, got very hot. Pans were al l on the lightweight
si de, and fiames tended to darken meatballs, oni ons, and pan sauce
along the perimeter where the heat bypassed the di sk bottom. The
fry pan heated oil too fast, forcing us to throw out a batch we were
usi ng for a frittata, and its si des were a little too hi gh.
Pr: Stai nless l i ds
Cons: Di sk bottoms; l i ght weight; overheati ng handl es
Comments: Bul gi ng pan si des set atop a comparatively smal l
di sk bottoms guaranteed that fi ames woul d reach past its pro
tecti ve three layers to scorch food touchi ng the thi n metal of the
overhanging si des. I n fry pans, hi gh si des made it harder to reach
under del i cate food with a spatul a and encouraged steami ng
rather than browni ng. Pans were lightweight, and handl es became
very hot despite si l i cone gri ps.
Pr: None
Cons: Di sk bottoms; hot handl es: l ight wei ght; bulging shape
Where the ( Chocolate) Chips Fal
Do Nestl e Tol l House morsel s sti l l deserve to be the nation's top-sel l ing chips?
I
n thc I 3Os, Kuth Wakchc| d, owncr olthc
Jo||HouscInni nWhitman,Mass . , lamous|y
cutupabarolcsucscmiswcctchoco|atcand
mixcd i tinto hcrbattcrlor Buttcr Drop Do
cookics . Soon ncwspapcrs around cw Lng| and
wcrcprinti nghcrrccipclorchoco|atcchipcookics,
andsa|csolcsucscmiswcctchoco| atcbarssoarcd.
Ncsucmadcadca| wi thWakchc| d. Incxchangclor
pcrmissiontoprintwhatbccamcknownasthcJo||
Houscrccipconitscandybarwrappcrs,shcwou|d
rcccivc a | i lctimc supp|y olchocol atc. By I 3,
Ncsdchadbcgun sc||ingpackagcs olsma|| picccs
olchoco|atc, namcd Jo|| Housc morsc|s ancr
thcinnwhcrcd+cywcrcinvcntcd.
Dccadcs |atcr, Jo| | Housc morsc|s arc synony
mouswithchoco|atc chips. Butwiu+othcrlami|iar
choco|atc namcs |ikc Hcrshcy`s and Bakcr`s i nthc
chip gamc-a|ongwith upsca|c brandsc|aiming
oncrrichcr Uavor and bcttcr tcxturc-ocs csdc
sti|| dcscrvc to bc thc nation`s bcstsc||ingmorsc| `
Inarcccnttastingoldarkchoco|atcbars, {anuary/
Icbruary 2OO8) , wc lound thc comp|cx Navor ol
gourmct brands trounccd ordinary supcrmarkct
choco|atc. Jo scc ilthc samc might ho|d truc lor
chips, wc roundcd upcighthighcnd and midd|c
markctbrands, i nc|udingtwohomcsuc,u+corigi
na| morsc|s and scmiswcctchunks) , a|| olwhicharc
widc|y avai|ab|c atsupcrmarkcts. Wc u+cn samp|cd
thcmp|ainandinncar|y3OOcookics.
True Gri t
Chiporbar,choco|atchasj ustthrccbasicingrcdicnts.
cocoa buttcr, cocoa so|ids, and sugar. Jhc cacao
pcrccntagcyouhcarsomuchaboutm barchoco|atc
rclcrs tothctotalamou+tolcocoabuttcrandcocoa
so|idscontributcd by grotmdupcacaobcans. Sugar
accountslormcrcstolthccontcnt,a|ongwiu+minutc
amounts,typica||y|cssthan2pcrccnt)olcmu|sih crs,
vani||aUavoring,sa|t,andsomctimcsmi|klat.
JhcI. S. IoodandDrugAdministration , IDA)
statcsu+atdarkchoco|atc,whcthcr|abc|cdbittcrswcct,
scmiswcct,ordark, mustbcat|cast 35 pcrccntcacao.
Chi p Shape
l Y | l | | Y C ' | L ` C C | | ' l H
Aagcncra|ru|c,mhighcru+ccacaopcrccntagc,u+c
darkcr and morc intcnsc u+c choco|atc. Sincc many
choco|atcmakcrsarcsccrctivcaboutu:cirproprictary
mcu+odsandlormu|as,wc scntmcchipstoanindc
pcndcnt|abtoana|yzcmcircacaopcrccntagcs. Whilc
barsoldarkchoco|atctypica||yboastcacaoamounts
starting at about O pcrccnt, most olthc chips wc
tastcdcontaincd|r |css,+2to+pcrccnt.
Why arc chips and bars so dihcrcnt` Lcss cacao
mcans|csscocoabuttcr,whichmcansu+cchoco|atc
wi|| bc |css Uuid whcn mc|tcd, ma|i+gi tcasicrlor
chipstoho|dthatc|assictcardropshapcond+cpro
duction| i nc. Morcsignihcandy,bccausccocoabut
tcriscxpcnsivc,using| cssoli tmakcschipschcapcr
toproduccuan thcavcragc bar, ouncclor ouncc,
d+c chips i n our |incup cost about ha|las much as
barchoco|atc lromthcsamcbrand) .
Jhcabscnccolcocoabuttcrwasimmcdiatc|yc|car
whcnwc tastcd chipsrightoutol u+c bag.Wiu+j ust
onccxccpnon,tastcrsloundu+cchipsgrittydgrainy
instcadolcrcamyandsmooth|ikcbarchoco|atc.Jhc
brandthatstoodapandsunguishcditsc|lhhcrwhcn
wcbakcdthcchipsincookics.Ln|ikcu+coucrchips,
whichrctaincdu+cirmorsc|shapcduringbaking,u+is
chip mc|tcd into uun |aycrs u+atsprcadu+roughout
thc cookic, cnsuring goocy choco|atc in cvcry bitc.
Iurthcrmorc,whcnwccxamincditsingrcdicnt|ist,
wc loundthatuuschiphadthc highcstpcrccntagc
ol cacao i n thc |incup-O pcrccnt, comparab|c
to bar choco|atc-and thc most cocoa buttcr by
lar ,++ pcrccnt, minus a tiny amount olmi| klat) .
It was a|so widcr and Uattcr than standard c|ups,
which cnhanccd its abi|ity to mc|t into u+in strata
throughoutthccooki c.
Goi ng Dutch
Sugarwasanothcrconsidcration-and morcwasn` t
bcttcr. urlavoritc chip hadthc| castsugari nthc
|incup.Bycontrast,thcchi pwiththcmostsugarwas
panncd lor tasting likc chcap Ha||owccn candy.
But a rc|ativc|y high sugar contcnt wasn` t a dca|
|rcakcr, as wc |carncd lrom our sccond lavoritc
contcndcr, Hcrshcy`s Spccia| Dark Mi|d|y
SwcctChoco| atc Chips.
WI DE NE D OUT
The wi nni ng Ghi rardel l i chip's
wide, flat shape melts into thi n
layers i n a cookie.
Jhis chip had us stumpcd. Lvcn with a
hc 5 3pcrccnt sugar , andj ust +5 pcrccnt
cacao) , itschoco| atcUavorwastmcxpcctcd|y
potcnt. Jhc|abc|rcvca|cdthatthischipcon-
taincdDutchproccsscdcocoapowdcr, cocoa
so|idstrcatcdwiuana|ka|itoncutra|izcacid
STANDI NG TAL L E R
Second-to-last Nestle morsels
ity) . Choco|atc makcrs grind shcllcd cacao
retain thei r frm texture and
upright shape during baking.
bcans,knownasnibs,tocrcatcu+cthickpastc
ca||cd choco|atc |iquor,whichcontainsboth
C | | K h | L L'h | K ^ 1 |
? d
cocoa so|ids and cocoa Oucr. Manulacturcrs hc
qucnuy bump up choco|atc Uavorbyaddingcocoa
powdcr, oncnmadchomchcapcr,poor|ylcrmcntcd
cacao bcans, which tcnd to bc vcry acidic) . In thc
Hcrshcy`schips,Dutchproccssingtamcdu:ccocoa`s
acidity,dccpcningi tschoco|atcpunch.
Qual ity Bean, Qual i ty Chi p
Sti | l , good choco|atci s notj ust abouta high cacao
pcrccntagcandp|cntyolcocoabuttcr. Iorcomp|cx
N avor,amanuhcturcrmuststartwithgoodqua|i(
bcans that havc bccn grown and harvcstcd undcr
opumalconditions. Jhcbcansmustu:cnbcpropcr|y
lcrmcntcdand roastcdto bring out traccs olUavors
such assmokc,caramcl , andhui t. Ipsca|cchoco|atc
makcrs c|aim that cvcry dctai| is critica|-and arc
|oathtorcvca|thcirmcthods. thcr manulacturcrs
cutcostsby usingpoor|ylcrmcntcd bcansandthcn
ovcrroasti ngandovcrconc|ung,a proccssol bcat
ingandturningd+c choco|atc lor 2+ to 2 hours)
to mask bittcrncssandonUavors. Jhc rcsu|tmaybc
acccptab| c,but,aswc lound in many olthc |owcr
rankingchips,thcUavorisonc dimcnsional .
nlyourwitrcr,Chirardc||iO"CacaoBiucrswcct
Choco|atcChips,dc|ivcrcdthcintcnsc,comp|cxNa
vorswc cxpccthom supcriorchoco|atc. Jhcywcrc
so good u+at wc lound oursc|vcs sncakinghandm|s
straight hom thc bag. Jhis prcnrum clrp, it turns
out, has u+c samc cacao pcrccntagc as thc brand`s
darkchoco|atcbar,ChirardcJiBittcrswcctChoco|atc
BakingBar,thcrmcrupi nourdarkchoco|atctast
ing. Italsohasu+csamcsmoky,huity,andwir+c|ikc
l|avors.AChirardcllispokcspcrsonconhrmcdmatu+c
choco|atc is idcntica| i nu:c bar and mc chips-mc
bcansundcrgothcsamcharcsting,lcrmcnting,and
roastingproccsscslorcach. Jhcon|ydincrcnccisin
howthcy`rc manulacturcd. Jhcbaris tcmpcrcd to
dc|ivcra smoou+ h nishand crisp snap. Curioushow
thc chip wou|d larc against uc signincanuy morc
cxpcnsivcchoppcdupbarincookics,wc hc|dasidc
bysidctasting. Jastcrsprclcrrcdu+csi|kicrtcxturcol
thcbar,butwcrcdIvidcdonwhichlormolchoco|atc
tastcd bcttcr. Civcn u+at mc bar costs 75 ccnts an
ouncc,andu+cchipscostj ust3Occntsanouncc, and
nccdnochopping), wc` | | snckwiu+u+cchpslorcook
ics-and maybc cvcn lorcatingoutolhand.
AlorAmcrica`slavoritcchip,csucJo||Housc
Kca|ScmiSwcctChoco|atcMorsc|s`Jhcy|andcdin
sccond to|astp|acc,alongsidcu1cbrand`sscmiswcct
choco|atcchunks. With a|owcacao pcrccntagcand
thc highcst sugar |cvc| , thcsc wcrc thc vcry san+c
chips tastcrs |ikcncd to chcap Hal|owccn candy,
andthcy bc|ongatucbottomolour|incup.
TASTI NG CHOCOLATE CHI PS
Twenty-one Cook's|||0strotcdstaf members tasted ei ght sampl es of dark chocol ate chi ps sol d at supermarkets nati onwi de. The chi ps were tasted pl ai n and in our
Perfect Chocol ate Chi p Cooki es (page 24) . Data on fat, sugar, and cacao are approximate, with sugar cal cul ated from the package l abel s and fat and cacao anal yzed by an
i ndependent l aboratory where manufacturer information was not avai l abl e. Chi ps appear bel ow i n order of preference. Pri ces were pai d i n Boston-area supermarkets.
(HI GHLY RECOMME NDE D
GHI RARDELLI 60% Cacao Bi ttersweet Chocol ate Chi ps
Pri ce: $3. 50 for an I 1 . 5-ounce bag (30 cents per ounce)
Sugar: 40%
Cacao: 60%
Fat (i ncl uded i n cacao perentage): 44%
(RECOMME NDE D
HERSHEY' S Speci al Dark Mi l dly Sweet Chocol ate Chi ps
Pri ce: $2. 39 for a 1 2-ounce bag (20 cents per ounce)
Sugar: 53%
Cacao: 45%
Fat (i ncl uded i n cacao perentage): 38%
GUI TTARD Real Semi sweet Chocol ate Chi ps
Pri ce: $3 . 29 for a 1 2-ounce bag (27 cents per ounce)
Sugar: 53%
Cacao: 43%
Fat (i ncl uded i n cacao perentage): 29%
HE RSHEY' S Semi -Sweet Chocol ate Chi ps
Pri ce: $2.29 for a 1 2-ounce bag ( 1 9 cents per ounce)
Sugar: 53%
Cacao: 42%
Fat (i ncl uded in cacao perentage): 30%
GHI RARDELLI Semi -Sweet Chi ps
Pri ce: $3. 50 for a 1 2-ounce bag ( 29 cents per ounce)
Sugar: 53%
Cacao: 46%
Fat (i ncl uded in cacao perentage): 34%
(RECOMME NDE D WI TH RE S E RVATI ONS
BAKER' S Real Semi -Sweet Chocol ate Chunks
Pri ce: $2. 69 for a 1 2-ounce bag (22 cents per ounce)
Sugar: 53%
Cacao: 47%
Fat (i ncl uded in cacao perentage): 35%
(NOT RE COMME NDE D
NESTL Tol l House Real Semi -Sweet Chocol ate Morsel s
Pri ce: $2. 50 for a 1 2-ounce bag (20 cents per ounce)
Sugar: 57%
Cacao: 47%
Fat (i ncl uded i n cacao perentage): 30%
Comments: Di sti nct "wi ne, " "frui t, " and "smoke" fl avors made thi s
"adul t chocol ate" a cl ear wi nner. Low sugar content al l owed the
chocol ate fl avor to shi ne. I n cooki es, a wi der, flatter shape and hi gh
percentage of fat hel ped the chi ps mel t i nto thi n l ayers for a pl easi ng
bal ance of cooki e and chocol ate i n every bi te.
Comments: Tasters l i ked the "si mpl e yet strong cocoa fl avor, " whi ch
stood u p to the sweetness of cooki es. Thi s chi p was the onl y one
that contai ned Dutch-processed cocoa powder, res ul ti ng i n a "bol d"
though "not compl ex" chocol ate fl avor. Ahi gher fat percentage gave
i t a creami er texture in cooki es.
Comments: A "smoky, " "compl ex" chi p wi th ci nnamon and caramel
undertones. Some tasters fel t i t needed a bol der chocol ate presence
to stand up to other fl avors when baked i n cooki es. Thi s l ack of
chocol ate fl avor al so made i ts sweetness more pronounced.
Comments: Though prai sed for "good cocoa" fl avor i n cooki es, thi s
"too sweet" chi p di dn' t have enough chocol ate fl avor to bal ance out
the hi gh sugar content. Thi s chi p al so had a di sti nct " mi l ky " fl avor
that tasters found more si mi l ar to mi l k chocol ate than semi sweet
chocol ate.
Comments: The uni que "tangy, fruity" chocol ate fl avor of thi s chi p
rated wel l when baked i n cooki es. But tasters commented that i t was
"a bit too sweet, " l acki ng the " strong chocol ate fl avor" of i ts
60 percent cacao si ster chi p.
Comments: Tasters detected " pl easant coffee and ci nnamon tones"
i n thi s chi p but al so an "off. coconut- l i ke" fl avor. Overal l , tasters
noti ced " more sweetness than chocol ate fl avor. "
Comments: Wi th the hi ghest sugar content i n the l i neup, tasters
agreed this best-sel l i ng chi p was " unpl easantl y sweet" and compared
i ts "fl eeti ng" chocol ate fl avor to "cheap Hal l oween candy. " Tasters
noted a strong "fake" taste, whi ch coul d be attri buted to artifi ci al
vani l l a.
NESTL Tol l House Real Semi -Sweet Chocolate Chunk Morsel s
Pri ce: $2. 50 for an I I . 5-ounce bag (22 cents per ounce)
Comments: Tasters panned thi s chi p' s "odd, woodl i ke" fl avor, al so
vari ousl y descri bed as "grassy, " " l i ke di rt, " "vegetal , " and "oi l y. "
Others noti ced that t he chunks, whi ch are heavi er than t he cl assi c
morsel s, di dn' t mel t enough.
Sugar: 50%
Cacao: 45%
Fat (i ncl uded i n cacao perentage): 27%
The Mi l ky Way
If intense chocol ate flavor, moderate sugar, and a goodl y amount of
cocoa butter make for a superi or dark chi p, what factors contribute
to the best milk chocol ate morsel? Surprisi ngly, the same three char
acteristics. Mi l k chocolate, by defni ti on, contains enough milk sol i ds
and mi l k fat to give the candy a di stinctly mi l ky flavor, but when we
compared the four top-sel l i ng brands of mi l k chocol ate chi ps (pl ai n
and i n cookies) , tasters sti l l overhel mi ngl y preferred the chi p with
bol der chocolate flavor, higher fat content, and lower sugar content.
In this tasting, our wi nni ng dark chi p brand, Ghi rardel l i , tanked
because tasters di sl i ked the "sacchari ne" sweetness and Styrofoam
l i ke texture of its mi l k chocol ate chi ps. For compl ete tasti ng resul ts,
go to ww . cooksi l l ustrated. com/j un09. -P. C. C.
\ A Y O ) L l L ? 0 0
Z V
M I L K C H OCOLATE
CHAMP
Hershey's Mi l k Chocol ate Chi ps
stood out for bol d choco|ate f|ao
and creamy texture.
K I T C H E N NOT E S
3 B Y ) . K E N J I ^ | 1 5
s H o p P N How the Cheese Crumbl es
How do the precrumbl ed cheeses found i n the del i secti on of the supermarket stack u p
to the same brands sol d i n sol i d bl ock or log form? We tasted bl ue cheese, goat cheese,
feta, and goronzol a si de by si de i n thei r crumbl ed and sol i d forms (compari ng the same
brand of each type) both pl ai n and added to vari ous reci pes, i ncl udi ng bl ue cheese dress
i ng, pol enta wi th gorgonzola, spi nach di p with feta, and stufed portobel l os. Tasters found
the precrumbl ed versi ons acceptabl e i n al l cases. What we found unacceptabl e. however.
were the price diferences. Stel l a bl ue cheese that sel l s for around $8 a pound in bl ock
form, for exampl e, i s $3. 99 for a S-ounce package i n a precrumbl ed state. That's a pri ce
i ncrease of over 1 60 percent' At pri ces l i ke that, we' l l gl adl y take 30 extra seconds to
crumbl e our own cheese.
B LOCK CHE E S E
$8/pound
P R E CRU M B L E D CHE E S E
$ 1 2. 77 /pound
`
Where to Store Cut Tomatoes
We never store tomatoes i n the refrigerator. Col d damages tomatoes i n two ways:

.
.

.
s c i E N c E E x P E R I M E N T Used Fryer Oi l
I n deep-frying, the frst batch i s never the best. Food writer Russ Parsons expl ai ns i n
How to Read a French Fr that fry oi l has fve stages: break-in (too fresh to fry wel l ) ,
fresh, opti mum, degradi ng (on the way to spoi l i ng) , and runaway (dark, smel l y, and
prone to smoki ng) . Food fri ed i n opti mum oi l i s gol den and cri sp. Break-i n and frsh oi l
yi el d pal er, l ess cri sp food. Degradi ng and runaway oi l produce dark, greasy food wi th
ranci d odors. Coul d we create opti mum oi l by mi xi ng used and new?
EXPERI MENT
We fried shri mp, fsh, and French fries i n fresh oi l and i n a mi xture of fresh oi l and oi l
that had been used once to make French fries ( and then strai ned through a cofee
flter to remove any sol i ds) .
RESULTS
Food fried i n the mi x of new and used oi l was cri sper and more uniforml y gol den
than food fried i n fresh oi L
EXPLANATI ON
Oi l that i s too fresh can' t penetrate the barrier of moi sture that surrounds food a s it
fries. Over time, as the oil conti nues to be exposed to heat, it breaks down, produc
i ng sl i ppery, soapl i ke compounds that can penetrate the water barri er. Thi s increased
contact between oil and food promotes browni ng and cri spness.
BOTTOM L I NE
Save a cup o r two of used oi l to mi x with fresh the next ti me you fry (we found that a
ratio of I cup of used oi l to S cups of fresh oi l worked best) . Just make sure that you
don' t save oi l used to fry fsh-the smel l wi l l permeate the new oi L
I t destroys an enzyme that produces flavorul compounds, and it makes water i n the
tomato expand, rupturi ng cel l s and turni ng the fl esh meal y. But what about stori ng a
parti al l y used tomato? We cut a dozen ripe tomatoes in two, stored half of each i n
the fridge, and kept the other hal f at room temperature (both were wrapped tightly
i n pl astic) . Afer a few days, the hal ves at room temperature had begun to sofen,
whi l e the refrigerated hal ves were sti l l as frm as the day they were cut. Upon tasting,
however, we found the refrigerated halves were bland and meal y compared with the
never-refrigerated hal ves.

Our advice? Keep cut tomatoes tightly wrapped at room temperature and consume
them withi n a few days. The shelf l i fe gai ned by refrigeration doesn' t make up for the
l oss i n flavor and texture.
.
.
.
.
.

T CHN| QU I
STRAI G HTE N OUT YOUR S H RI MP
When cooki ng shri mp for tempura (page 1 9) , the undersi de tends to shri nk more than
the top, causi ng the shri mp to curl tightl y and the batter to cl ump up and cook unevenl y
i nsi de the curL Here's a way to al l eviate that probl em.
Afer peel i ng and devei ni ng
a shri mp, hol d it on its back
on the cutting board. Use
the tip of a paring knife to
make two V-i nch-deep
i nci si ons on the undersi de
about zz i nch apart.
T E s T K I T C H E N T I P The Ri ght Ti me to Si ft
Does it real l y matter i f you sif your fl our before you measure it or afer? In a word: Yes.
When a rci pe call s for " I cup sifed flour," the fl our shoul d be sifed before measuring;
wheras " I cup fl our, sifed" shoul d be sifed afer measuri ng. Here's why: A cup of fl our
sifed before measuring wi l l weigh 20 to 30 percent l ess than a cup of fl our sifed afer mea
suri ng-a diference that can make a huge i mpact on the texture of fni shed baked goods.
The best way to make sure you've got the right amount of fl our? Weigh it.
Here's what vari ous types of fl our weigh, both sifed and unsifed:
TYPE OF
F LOUR
Al l -Purpose
Cake
Bread
WE I GHT OF I CUP
UNS I FTED
5 ounces
4 ounces
5.5 ounces
J UST R I GHT
WE I GHT OF I CUP
S I FTE D
4 ounces
J. Zb ounces
4. 5 ounces
TOO L I TTL E F LOUR
The cake on the lef was made by measuring flour by weight before sifing, as the recipe
directed. The one on the right W made by measuring flour by vol ume afer sifing, caus
ing us to use 25 perent less flour by weight, resulting in an overly wet, dense texture.
C O o K
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s I L L U S T R A T E D

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T E s T K T c H E N T P Sharper Shal l ot Shoppi ng


When shoppi ng, avoi d shal l ots packaged in cardboard and cel l ophane boxes, whi ch
prevent you from checki ng out each shal l ot. I nstead, go for l oose shal l ots or the ones
packed i n pl astic netting. They shoul d feel frm and heavy
and have no sof spots. Si nce most of our reci pes cal l
for l ess than 3 tabl espoons of mi nced
shal l ots, i n the test ki tchen we use
onl y medi um shal l ots (whi ch yi el d
about 3 tabl espoons mi nced)
or smal l shal l ots (whi ch yi el d 2
tabl espoons or l ess) . A medi um
shal l ot shoul d be about I zz to 2
i nches wi de.
I ME DI UM
S HAL LOT
J TBS .
MI N C E D
- - ~ - - - - - - - ~ - - - - - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - j
s H o P P N G Pre peel ed Garl i c
We've never met a garl i c product we l i ke better than a fresh cl ove. Recently, we've
noti ced many supermarkets carrying jars or del i contai ners of prepeel ed garl i c cl oves
and wondered how they compare to fresh garl i c bought by the head. We tasted both
ki nds of garl i c raw i n aiol i , sauteed in spaghetti with garl i c and ol ive oi l , and l ightly
cooked i n stufed rol l ed fl ank steak. I n al l cases, results wer mixed, with nei ther freshl y
peel ed nor prepeel ed garl i c cl ai mi ng victory.
However, we di d noti ce a di ference in shel f life: A whol e head of garl i c stored in a
cool , dry pl ace wi l l l ast for at l east a few weeks, whi l e prepeel ed garl i c in a jar (whi ch
must be kept refrigerated) lasts for onl y about to weeks before turni ng yel lowish and
devel opi ng an overl y pungent aroma, even i f kept unopened i n i ts ori gi nal packaging.
( I n fact, in several i nstances we found contai ners of garl i c that had started to devel op
thi s odor and col or on the supermarket shelf.) But if you go through a l ot of garl i c,
prepeel ed cl oves can be an acceptabl e al ternative. Just make sure they l ook frm and
whi te with a matte fi ni sh when you purchase them.
Out of Ci rul ati on

What's the best way to get a two-layer cake to cook evenl y? We baked our Cl assi c
Whi te Layer Cake i n three placements: si de by si de on one rack; on to racks wi th one
pan directly above the other; and on to rack wi th one pan on the top l ef of the oven
and the other on the lower right. Onl y the cakes on the same rack baked evenl y.
The reason i s convectiothe hot air currents moving around the oven. In bottom
heating ovens, when cakes are stacked, the bottom one acts as a barri er, creating hot
ai r currents that flow up and over the top cake. The resul t i s an overcooked top cake
and an undercooked bottom cake. Resul ts are al so uneven i n rear-heating ovens or
those with top and bottom el ements. But when cakes are baked side by side, hot air
circul ates evenl y no matter how your oven heats. I f you need to cook three cakes at
a ti me, pl ace to on the bottom rack, spaced apart, and one on the rack above and
i n between the other to. Move the cakes twi ce duri ng cooki ng so that each cake
spends an equal amount of time i n each posi ti on.
TOP = PAL E
Cakes stacked above each other
disrupt heat flow i n the oven.
S I DE BY S I D E = E VE N
Cakes kept si de by si de
bake up evenly.
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r e s T K I T C H E N T I P Ri peni ng Avocados
Avocados have a notori ousl y smal l wi ndow of perfect ri peness. To see i f we coul d
braden thi s ti me frame, we bought a case of unri pe avocados and ri pened them at room
temperature and i n the refrigerator three ways: on the counter (or refrigerator shelf) ,
enclosed in a paper bag, and encl osed in a paper bag with pi eces of green appl e (frui t
gives of ethyl ene gas, whi ch hel ps many fruits and vegetabl es ri pen more qui ckl y) . We
also tried two more esoteric techni ques: buryi ng the avocados at room temperature i n
flour and i n rice. I n the end, the onl y thi ng that mattered was the temperature at whi ch
the avocados were stored.
At room temperature, rock-hard avocados ri pened withi n two days, but many of them
ended up ri peni ng unevenl y, devel opi ng sof spots and ai r pockets on one si de j ust as the
other si de was ri peni ng. Afer compl etel y ri peni ng, they l asted two days on average if kept
at room temperature (stored i n the fridge afer ri peni ng, they lasted five days) . Avocados
ripened i n the refrigerator, whether i n a bag or out in the open, took around four days to
sofen, but di d so evenl y. Stored i n the fridge, they lasted a ful l five days before starting
to show signs of over-ri peni ng.
The bottom l i ne: I f you need your avocados to ripen sooner rather than l ater, keep
them on the counter. Otheri se, for better qual ity, you're better of putti ng them i n
the fridge and al l owing them to ri pen sl owly. I n ei ther case, store the ri pened fruit i n the
fridge to extend shel f l ife.

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T E s T K T c H E N T l P Make-Ahead Cooki es
These methods wi l l al l ow you t o prep a batch of dough, store it, and bake smal l er batches
of cooki es as you need them.
Type of Cooki e
ROLL AND
CUT

shortbread
gi ngerbread

jam sandwi ch
SLI CE AND
BAKE

butter cooki es
sandi es
SCOOP AND
BAKE

oatmeal

chocol ate chi p

sugar cooki es
How to Store
Rol l and cut cookies as di rected in
reci pe. Freze on parchment-l i ned
baking sheet unti l sol i d, about I hour
Transfer frzen cooki es to zi pper
l ock bag, seal , and return to frezer
for up to 2 weeks.
Form dough i nto logs; wrap i n
parchment and freeze 30 mi nutes or
unti l fi rm. Wrap l ogs i n doubl e layer
of pl astic wrap (with parchment
paper sti l l on) and freeze for up to 2
weeks. I f reci pe cal l s for rol l i ng l ogs
i n sugar, do so j ust before baki ng.
Porti on dough and freeze on
parchment-l i ned baki ng sheet
unti l compl etel y frozen, about I
hour. T ransfer frozen dough bal l s
to zi pper-l ock bag, seal , and return
to freezer for up to 2 weeks. If
reci pe cal l s for rol l i ng cookies in
sugar, do so just before baking.
Meat, Meet Marmi te
How to Bake
Space frozen cooki es on
parchment-l i ned bak-
ing sheet as di rected i n
reci pe, thaw at room
temperature I 0 mi nutes,
and bake as di rected.
Thaw l ogs i n refrigerator
at l east 2 hours; remove
parchment and pl astic
w
r
ap, sl i ce, and bake as
di rected.
Space frozen cookies on
parchment-l i ned baking
sheet as di rcted i n rcipe.
Thaw at room tempera
ture at least I hour, then
bake as di rected. To bake
frozen cookies, add a mi n
ute or two to baki ng ti me.
Gl utamate i s part of a natural l y occurring ami no aci d that contributes a savory quality to
food. When maki ng stews, soups, sauces, and braises, we ofen i ncl ude gl utamate-rich
i ngredi ents such as soy sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese
to bump up flavor. However, another foodstuf has nearl y twice
as many glutamates as any of these: Marmite. A yeast extract
from the byproducts of beer brwing, Marmite is made i n Britain
and marketed as a pungent spread for toast. We wondered,
though, if it woul d be equal l y useful as a flavor enhancer.
MI GH TY MEATY
We added ~ teaspoon per seri ng to beef stew and a
qui ck meat sauce (at the begi nni ng of cooking) and stirred it
into a mari nade for steak. The Marmite noticeabl y enhanced
the meat sauce and steak, maki ng them significantl y more
savory. However, the l ong-cooking beef stew had such
concentrated fl avors that the Marmite added l ittle.
Add z teaspoon of Marmite
per serving to quick soups,
stews, sauces, or marnaes
Look for Marmite (or its si mi l ar-tasting Australian cousi n,
Vegemite) i n the i nternati onal secti on of the supermarket.
for a shot of meaty
"long-simmered" flavor.
M A Y 0 1 L ` | 2 0 0
l
E QU I P ME NT C OR N E R
B Y M E R E D I T JI B U T C H E R A N D P E G G Y C H U N G C O L L I E R E
DO YOU REALLY NE E D THI S?
El ectric Wi ne Openers
It sounds like something that Q would give James
Bond: Press a button, and presto, the wine uncorks.
But are electric wine openers really
handy or just another gimmicky
gadget? We placed three cordless,
rechargeable models atop bottles
with natural as well as synthetic
corks. A push of the button on
each model sent the corkscrew
EASY DOES I T
spiraling down into the cork,
then pulled it out-a process
that took 12 seconds or less,
depencing on the brand. The
opener with the fastest
moving corkscrew wasn' t
The Waring Pr
sturdy enough to

straigt
Prfessional Cordless
ito the cork. It entered at an
Wine Opener removes
angle, rattling and jerking a cork with the press
and making it cifcult to
of a button.
maintain a frm grip on the bottle. Our favorite,
the Waring Pro Professional Cordless Wine Opener
( $39. 95) , has a broader base that helps the device
rest frmly on the bottle, and its sturdy, quieter
corkscrew minimized wobbling. The Waring Pro
works just as well as our Best Buy manual tool, the
Wine Enthusiast Quicksilver Corkscrew ( $29. 99) ,
and with far Jess efort-making it great for opening
multiple bottles for a part.
EQUI P ME NT UP DATE Salad Spi nners
Could any of the new or updated models of salad
spinners outspin our favorite, the OXO Good Grips
Salad Spinner ( $29. 95) ? Zyliss replaced the pull-cord
on its older model with a spring-loaded lever that
resembles the center hand pump on the OXO. But
in testing, the lever cidn't pump smoothly, and the
colander struggled to stop spinning when we pressed
the brake. Worse, when we released the leverlike
pump, it snapped up like a j ack-in-the-box. The
Chefn Large Salad Spinner ( $24. 99) uses the same
stle of pump more efectively ( and with a gentler
lever release) , but it is smaller and spins more slowly
than the OXO, which remains our favorite.
EQUI P ME NT TESTI NG
El ectric Deep Fryers
Electric deep fryers seem doubly appealing: Not
only are they safer than stovetop frying ( because
of their enclosed heating elements) , but they also
have lids and flters to reduce mess and smell .
Could any top our usual method of deep fring in
a Dutch oven with a candy thermometer clipped
on? We made French fries in six frers priced from
$49. 95 to $ 1 3 5 . 95 to fnd out. Ever one had a
problem reaching and maintaining tl1e correct tem
perature. When set to the maximum temperature,
375 degrees, most could only reach 350 degrees (a
few not even tl1at) , resulting in limp, greasy fries.
Two models overshot the top temperature and got
too hot but did produce crisp fries.
The best of tl1e lot was tl1e Waring
Pro Professional Digital Deep
Fryer ( $ 1 39. 95) , which
OFF THE MARK
has a wide, shallow
basket big enough to
cook a full batch ( four
potatoes, serving four
people ) of fries that
were wuformly crisp on
tl1e outside and ten
der on the inside. It
The Waring Pr Prfessional
Digital Deep Fryer prduced
crisp fries but overshot the top
temperature on the gauge.
works-but not well
enough to replace
our Dutch oven.
EQU I P ME NT TE STI NG
Meat Handl ers and I nsul ated Gl oves
Meat tl1at's too hot to handle can make shredding
barbecued beef a tricky task. Two products, insu
lated gloves and so-called "meat handlers, " promise
protection with markedly diferent approaches. We
lifed and shredded beef with Steven Richlen's
Best of Barbecue Insulated Gloves
( $14. 99) and Bear Paws Meat
Handlers ( $1 1 . 86) . The
feece-led rubber gloves
were too large to give
medi um-sized hands a
good grip on the meat and
too stif to let us easily pull beef
into even-sized bits. The fat,
sharp, widely spaced
tines of the plastic bear
paws readily pierced
the meat, and the handles
stayed cool, helping us
PERFECT PULL
comfortably a heavy cut
Bear Paws Meat Handlers
of beef They also shred- are handy for l ifing and
ded beef more quickly than
shredding hot meat.
the alterative-pulling with two forks-because the
meat didn't get stuck between the tines.
EQU I P ME NT UP DATE. Jar Openers
Manufacmrers keep tring to ofer new ways to
open stubborn j ars. We rounded up fve new
openers plus the Swing-A-Way Comfort Grip Jar
Opener, our favorite, and tested them on big j ars
of spaghetti sauce as well as tiny bottles of vanilla
extract. One opener was so cumbersome it was worse
than struggling bare-handed with a j ar. Two others
C O O K
'
s I L L U S T R A T E D
Z
couldn't be sized down to grip vanilla lids. Another
mangled lids as they were opened. We liked a
rubbery cisk from Creuset that also
works as a trivet and potholder,
but it couldn't outperform
our old standby. For its
low price and ability
to adjust quickly to
any size jar without a
single slip, our favor-
ite is still the Swing-A
Way ( $6. 95) . Although
The Swing-A-Way Comfort
Grip Jar Opener is sti l l best
at removing stubborn l i ds.
it takes a few tries to learn to adj ust the clan1p, this
tool is handy in the stickiest of situations.
For compl ete testi ng results on each i tem, go to
w . cooksi l l ustrated. com/j un09.
Sources
The following are mail-order soures for items recommended
i n this i ssue. Prices were current at press time and do not
i ncl 1de shi ppi ng. Contact companies to confirm or visit w .
cooksi l l ustrated. com for updates.
Page 7.GRI LL PRESS
Emeri lware by All -Clad Cast-I rn Square Gri l l Press: $27.95,
item #580680, Cooking.com (800-663-88 1 0,
w .cooking.com).
Page 24. MIXING BOWL
Pyrex Grip-Rite S-Quare Teardrp Mixing Bowl: $ 1 6.99, item
#I 0786 1 6, World Kitchen (800-999-3436, w.shopworld
kitchen.com).
Page 27.COOKWARE SETS
All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set, I 0-piece: $699.95, item
#646 1 396, Wi l l iams-Sonoma (877-8 1 2-6235, w .williams
sonoma.com).
Tramontina 1 8/ 1 0 Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 8-piece:
$ 1 44.97, item #00 1 4806 1 0, Wai-Mart (w.walmart.com).
Page I2. ELECTRIC WI NE OPENER
Waring Pr Prfessional Cordl ess Wi ne Opener: $39.95, item
#WOSO, Chefs Corner (877-372-4535,
ww.chefscorner.com).
Page I2.SALAD SPI NNER
OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner: $29.95, item #I 02038,
Cooking.com.
PAGE I2. DEEP FRYER
Waring Pr Prfessional Digital Deep Fryer: $ 1 39.95,
item #59-5787650, Wi l l iams-Sonoma.
Page I2. MEAT HANDLERS
Bear Paws Meat Handlers: $1 1 .86, i tem #I 00 1 -BR,
The Barbecue Store (888-789-0650
ww.barbecue-store.com).
Page I2.JAR OPENER
Swing-A-Way Comfort Gri p Jar Opener: $6.95,
i tem #7 1 1 BK, CutleryAndMore (800-650-9866,
ww.cutleryandmore.com).
I `
^J, / June Z||'
KbC F L 5
MAI N DI S HE S
Charcoal -Gri l l ed Beef Teri yaki
Gas-Gri l l ed
Gas-Gri l l ed Sal mon Fi l l ets I S
Charcoal -Gri l l ed I S
I tal i an-Styl e Charcoal -Gri l l ed Chi cken
Gas-Gri l l ed
Mapl e-Gl azed Pork Tenderl oi n I I
wi th Orange and Chi potl e I I
with Smoked Papri ka and
G
i nger I I
Qui ck Tomato Sauce I J
Shri mp Tempura |
S I DE DI S HE S
Gri l l ed Eggpl ant and Red Peppers
with Mi nt-Cumi n Dressi ng | Z
Gri l l ed Portobel l os and Shal l ots wi th
Rosemary- Di j on Vi nai grette | Z
Gri l l ed Zucchi ni and Red Oni on wi th
Lemon-Basi l Vi nai grette | Z
B REAKFAST
Best Bl ueberry Muffi ns Z |
wi th Al mond Crunch Toppi ng Z |
wi th Frozen Bl ueberri es Z |
wi th Orange Gl aze Z |
wi th Streusel Toppi ng Z |
D E S S E RT
Perfect Chocol ate Chi p Cooki es Z+
SAUCE , MARI NADE S , AND
VI NAI GRETTE
| LK K | L L L O S AL |LM | | LLLS .
Al mond Vi nai grette I S
| LK S HK | || L ||UKA.
Gi nger-Soy Di ppi ng Sauce |
Better than A- I Steak Mari nade |
Herb-Lemon Mari nade for Chi cken |
Honey- Mustard Mari nade for Pork |
R E CI P E S O N THE WE B
(AVAl LAL F FO 4 HONTH5J
Chi l e Alol i Di ppi ng Sauce
Ol i ve Vi nai grette
Roui l l e
Teppanyaki Mustard Di ppi ng Sauce
COLK' 5 LYb Origi nal Test Ki tchen Vi deos www. cooksi l l ustrated. com
MAI N DI SHES
How to Make Gri l l ed Beef Teri yaki
What i s the best way to mari nate
meat?
How to Make Gas-Gri l l ed Sal mon
Fi l l ets
How can I keep food from sti cki ng
to the gri l l ?
How to Make I tal i an-Styl e Gri l l ed
Chi cken
Do I need to use bri cks for I tal i an
Styl e Gri l l ed Chi cken?
How t o Make Mapl e-Gl azed Pork
Tenderl oi n
How to Make Qui ck Tomato Sauce
How to Make Shri mp Tempura
How do I know what si ze shri mp
to buy?
How do I prepare vegetabl es for
tempura?
SI DE DI SH
How to Make Gri l l ed Vegetabl es
How do I prepare vegetabl es for
gri l l i ng?
BREAKFAST
How to Make Best Bl ueberry
Mufi ns
Mufi n pans I 0 I
DESSERT
How to Make Perfect Chocol ate
Chi p Cooki es
What i s the best cooki e s heet?
AMERI CA'S TEST KI TCHEN
Publ i c tel evi si on' s most popul ar cooki ng show
J oi n the mi l l i ons of home cooks who watch our s how,
Amcr|co's Icst||tchcn, on publ i c tel evi si on every week.
For more i nformati on, i ncl udi ng reci pes and program
ti mes, vi si t www. ameri castestki tchen. com.
I t al i an-Style Gri l led Chi cken, Qui ck Tomato Sauce, | J
Gri l l ed Sal mon Fi l lets, | b Perfect Chocolate Chi p Cooki es.
Mapl e-Gl azed Pork Tenderloi n, | |
Gri l led Vegetabl es, |
H HC1CCHAHH1. LAHL1HL |bLA1, S11L | "C. |AH| L H| HA| MC
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