Slow and Easy
Searching Out the Best Slow Cookers
A slow cooker promises to be a little fantasy grandmother who sits in the kitchen all day cooking for you, but use the wrong cooker and that dream could fizzle. A cooker might run hotter than expected, drying out the food or turning it mushy, or slower than you want, so dinner isn’t ready when you are. Then there can be issues with hot spots, which make food cook unevenly. And what if operating your machine is so confusing that you have to pore over the manual each time you use it? For the ideal machine that would deliver a properly cooked meal and be absolutely simple and intuitive to use, we went shopping. Previous experience taught us that glass lids were a must, as they allow you to see progress without losing heat. So were oval-shaped crocks, as these can accommodate large roasts and offer more versatility than round crocks. We also wanted a generous 6- to 7-quart capacity. With these criteria in mind, we rounded up eight models priced from $39.99 to $148.71.
The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook
The experts here at America’s Test Kitchen have eliminated the guesswork of cooking in advance with 500 recipes that spell out all the make-ahead options. And with everything from family-friendly one-dish suppers to company-worthy appetizers, roasts, and desserts, you’ll never again be stuck playing short order cook in your own kitchen.
› $19.95 — Add to Cart
The Prep Station
An organized, tidy food prep station creates a foundation for safe, clean, and successful cooking. In our test kitchen, “setting up your board” means setting up your cooking station before you begin to prep and cook. Setting up your board at home is just as important.
Salad, Middle-Eastern Style
Middle Eastern cooks have a knack for making the most of leftovers. Take flatbreads, a mainstay of their tables. These thin breads stale quickly, so leftovers—and dishes designed to use them up—abound. Such recipes are called fatteh, derived from the Arabic word fatta, meaning “to crumble.” Pita bread salad, or fattoush, is a prime example. The vibrant mix traditionally combines toasted, fried, or day-old bread with ripe tomatoes, cucumber, romaine lettuce, parsley, mint, scallions, and a potent green like watercress, all simply dressed with fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Our goal: a refreshing, easy-to-make salad boasting plenty of textural contrast. Many recipes for fattoush eliminate excess moisture from the salad by taking the time-consuming step of seeding and salting the cucumbers and tomatoes. We skip these steps in order to preserve the crisp texture of the cucumber and the flavorful seeds and jelly of the tomatoes. Instead, we make the pita moisture-repellent by brushing its craggy sides with plenty of olive oil before baking. The oil prevents the pita chips from absorbing so much moisture from the salad that they become soggy while still allowing the chips to pick up flavor from the lemony dressing.
Essential Knife Set
Knives are the most important tools in your kitchen. Good knives make cooking safer, easier, and more fun. Unfortunately, shopping the staggering array of knife styles, materials, and specialties can be bewildering. By focusing on high-quality essentials, you get better performance for your money (and your counter space!).