Secrets from the Cooking Light Test Kitchen
Cooking Tips from the Experts
Here at Cooking Light, we live and breathe delicious healthy food. Our Test Kitchen experts develop recipes that are light and healthy but still delectably tasty. From keeping the garlic smell off your hands, to getting more juice out of your produce, here are tips and tricks from our experts.
Get Rid of Garlic Hands
Try Mini Pineapples
Jelly-Roll Pan VS. Baking Sheet
—Ann Taylor Pittman, Executive Editor, Food
Store and Reuse Coconut Milk
—Naomi Duguid, Award Winning Cookbook Author
Get More Juice from Produce
—Cooking Light's Produce Guru, Robert Schueller
Brighten the flavor of fresh spring veggies with a quick pickle method. Pickling usually takes days or even weeks as the vegetables soak up the brine, but with our fast method, there's no waiting for the vinegar to imbue them with flavor. Briefly cook the veggies in the vinegar mixture until they soak it up and become crisp-tender and mildly pickle-y. Toss with pasta, and enjoy!
Offset Serrated Knife
Classic 8" Serrated Offset Handle Deli Knife by Wusthof ($100, Swiss Knife Shop)
—Deb Wise, Recipe Tester and Developer
Use a Cherry Pitter on Olives
To preserve the shape without mangling, use a cherry pitter. It works fantastically, leaving these green jewels pretty and whole.
More Than a Rice Cooker
Hydration for a hot summer nation: Water infused with fruit, herbs, and even veggies goes down nicely.
Tossing sliced fruit and herbs into water perks up the flavor and makes it more thirst-quenching and replenishing—virtually no sugar added. If you have the time, an hour or two of soaking will impart more flavor to your water. Make large batches to keep your July Fourth party nice and cool. Use these suggested combos: 1. Lime, Mango, Cilantro (pictured, top); 2. Peach & Lemongrass (middle); 3. Mint, Basil, Melon, Cucumber (bottom); or create your own—maybe toss in a sliced jalapeño for a surprise kick.
See More: Raspberry and Lime Infused Water; Orange, Lemon, and Basil Infused Water; Watermelon, Cucumber, and Mint Infused Water
—Ann Taylor Pittman, Executive Editor, Food
Grill Your Greens
We've already talked about getting big flavor in grilled meat, but laying on a little smoke and char makes greens seriously delicious, too. Use crisp heads such as romaine (pictured), endive, or radicchio; more delicate greens can't take the heat. Halve the heads, brush with olive oil, and grill a couple of minutes per side. Add a squeeze of lemon, or drizzle on your favorite dressing.
Baked Potato Meets Oven Fries
Once you eat a Hasselback potato, you'll wonder why you waited so long to try it. The increased surface area exposed to the oven's heat means you get lots of crispy edges, while the base of each slice still holds soft, tender flesh. It's a delicious effect that's easy to create: Cut most of the way through a potato at 1/8-inch intervals so that it looks like an accordion. A handy trick: Line up chopsticks or butter knives on both sides at the base of the tater; they'll stop the knife from going all the way through. Combine some olive oil, sea salt, pepper, herbs, and garlic, and brush over the potato, making sure the oil seeps between slices. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and type of potato. Sprinkle with more fresh herbs.
Watch the Video: How to Make Hasselback Potatoes
You probably know hard-cooked eggs, but give soft-cooked eggs a try. With their rich, creamy interior, they're great over salads, pastas, and whole grains, as the runny, nutrient-rich yolk doubles as a silky dressing.
—Sidney Fry, Nutrition Editor
How to Make Soft-Cooked Eggs: Add water to a large saucepan to a depth of 3 inches; bring to a boil. Add eggs; boil 5 minutes and 30 seconds. Drain. Plunge eggs into ice water; let stand 5 minutes. Drain and peel. Cut in half for a pretty presentation.
Spike Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Have extra cranberry sauce? Here's a nifty way to make a zingy seasonal cocktail.
Homemade or store-bought, wholeberry cranberry sauce usually yields leftovers. Swirl into oatmeal or yogurt, combine with horseradish for 'wiches, spoon over pancakes, or try a PB&C sandwich. But definitely make this holiday drink, our Cran-Bourbon Cocktail: Place 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce, 2 tablespoons bourbon, 1 tablespoon Cointreau, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a shaker with ice; shake 15 seconds. Strain into a glass.