Worth the Effort

Fresh Right Now: Morel Mushrooms

Morel madness sets in with seasonal-food fiends this time of year. If you haven’t had a fresh morel, the $30-a-pound price might seem insane. But you don’t need many to get that morel essence, and they’re not heavy. What you get is this: a delightfully chewy texture and woodsy, almost smoky flavor in a mushroom that has a pleasing honeycomb […]

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How do I make the creamiest risotto?

A quick rinse of the rice makes all the difference. Part of risotto’s wonderful flavor comes from toasting the dry rice in fat before adding the liquid, giving it a distinct nutty aroma. But toasting destroys some of the rice’s starch, resulting in a less creamy finished product. Here’s a trick: If you rinse the rice in stock and drain […]

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Global Ingredient: White Miso

The mildest, most versatile miso, this fermented soybean paste is salty, lightly sweet, and packed with meaty umami flavor. A teaspoon or two makes for a brilliant accent in dressings, sauces, and mayo. You can also combine a smidge with butter or sesame oil to top steamed or grilled vegetables or roasted fish. It keeps for ages in the fridge.

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Cooking Class: Pan-Charred Green Veggies

It turns out that many of the foods we eat are mostly water, and cooks take advantage of that one way or another through the physics of cooking. In the case of green vegetables, such as beans and asparagus, we often lightly boil or steam them to prevent drying out or over-cooking. But there’s another approach: manipulate the water content […]

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6 Lessons Learned From Our Garden Last Year

In looking back at a year of photographs from the Cooking Light garden, the miracles of nature are Kodak-clear. We started with rocky, damp soil in February and by year’s end had rich compost, earthworms in every square inch, and hundreds of pounds of produce to show for it. We had rainy weeks and firecracker-hot July days and spectacular ones […]

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How to Make Your Own: Chocolate Treats

Instead of roaming drug store shelves for discounted Valentine’s candy (I’m not the only one, right?), I asked our resident dessert goddess, Deb Wise, for some tips on making simple, beautiful chocolate treats at home. First off, why do you love chocolate? What I love most about working with chocolate is a successful outcome. Chocolate can be rewarding and humbling, […]

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Making Your Own Chicken Stock

A rich, golden chicken stock is the foundation for so many foods we love: a creamy risotto, a deeply flavored pan sauce, that cure-all bowl of soup. Stock should be the slow simmered result of kitchen scraps (bones, a half an onion still in its skin, unpeeled carrots and parsley stems). Simple, inexpensive, and flavorful. So why haven’t I made […]

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You Tell Us: Your Funny Family Traditions

When Test Kitchen chef Adam Hickman spent Christmas with his wife’s family for the first time, he stumbled into one of the funniest family traditions we’ve ever heard: matching pajamas for everyone. “The tradition is that they open one gift on Christmas Eve. ‘What is this? Oh! Pajamas!’ They wear them to sleep, then wake up in the morning and […]

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Gold Star Cookbook: Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast

Months before Ken Forkish’s bread book, “Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast“,  became public, an advanced edition came across my desk. The perfect simplicity the title embodies screamed for my attention; beckoning me to conjure up the powers of natural leavening within those four ingredients. Taking it home, I set my sights on the hybrid-leavening breads (breads that use a combination of Fleischmann’s style instant […]

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A Better Nut Butter

As another PB devotee, I decided to expand my horizons a bit and explore the other nut butters out there. The shelves are full of alternatives, from soy to sunflower seed, sprouted almond to hazelnut. The jars in stores were rather pricy (about $6 to $8 each). I don’t care for soupy spreads, and the oil puddles at the top […]

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