The Cooking Road Map

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Ultimate Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin is perfect holiday fare. add a rich stuffing, and you’ve got the perfect main course – at least in theory.

by Sandra Wu

serves 4 to 6

STEP BY STEP – stuffing and tying a tenderloin

  1. insert chef’s knife about 1 inch from bottom of roast and cut horizontally, stopping just before edge. open meat like a book.
  2. make another cut diagonally into thicker portion of roast. open up this flap, smoothing out butterflied rectangle of meat.
  3. spread stuffing evenly over entire surface, leaving 1/2 inch border on all sides. press spinach leaves evenly on top of filling.
  4. using both hands, gently but firmly roll up stuffed tenderloin, making it as compact as possible without squeezing out filling.
  5. evenly space 8 pieces kitchen twine (each about 14 inches) beneath roast. tie each strand tightly around roast.

 

Roast beef tenderloin with caramelized onion and mushroom stuffing

to make ahead: the roas can be stuffed, rolled, and tied a day ahead, but don’t season the exterior until you are ready to cook it.

to double: follow the recipe for roast beef tenderloin with caramelized onion and mushroom stuffing, making two roasts instead of one. sear the roasts one after the other, cleaning the pan and adding new oil after searing the first roast. both roasts can be cooked on the same rack.

 

stuffing

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimeed, and broken into rough pieces.

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)

1/2 cup Madeira or sweet Marsala wine

 

beef roast

1 beef tenderloin center-cut Chateaubriand (2 to 3 pounds), trimmed of fat and silver skin.

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1/2 cup lighly packed baby spinach

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Herb Butter

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1/8 teaspoon table salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

METHOD:

  1. FOR THE STUFFING: process mushrooms in food processor until coarsely chopped, about six 1-second pulses. heat butter and oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. add onion, table salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are deeply browned and sticky, about 10 minutes. stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. slowly stir in Madeira and cook, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen any browned bits, until liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. transfer onion-mushroom  mixture to plate and cool to room temperature.
  2. FOR THE ROAST: following illustrations 1 and 2 above, butterfly roast. season cut side of roast liberally with kosher salt and pepper. following illustration 3, spread cooled stuffing mixture over interior of roast, leaving 1/2 inch border on all sides; lay spinach on top of stuffing. following illustrations 4 and 5, roll roast lengthwise and tie.
  3. in small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. rub roast with oil mixture and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  4. adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in 12 inch skillet over medium high heat until smoking. add beef to pan and cook until well browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. transfer beef to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of roast registers 120 degrees for rare, 16 to 18 minutes, or 125 degrees for medium rare, 20 to 22 minutes.
  5. FOR THE BUTTER: while meat roasts, combine butter ingredients in small bowl. transfer tenderloin to cutting board; spread half of butter evenly over top of roast. loosely tent roast with foil; let rest for 15 minutes. cut roast between pieces of twine into thick slices. remove twine and serve with remaining butter passed separately.

Technique

SLICING ONIONS THIN

orb-shaped foods like onions are difficult to slice whole because they do not sit stable on a flat side. unless whole sliced onion rings are the goal, to slice an opinion, halve it pole to pole, peel it, set it on a cut side, and then slice.

 

source: cook’s illustrated – holiday entertaining 2010

Ultra-Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Great lashings of butter and cream can make your mashed potatoes rich, but it takes technique to make them rich and creamy.

by: Meredith Butcher

source: Cooks Illustrated – holiday entertaining

Famous French Potatoes

When I started researching ultra-rich mashed potatoes, one name kept appearing: Joel Robuchon. Robuchon, a celebrated French chef with a constellation of Michelin stars to his credit, owes much of his fame to his not-so-humble mashed potatoes, which inspire nearly religious reverence. Robuchon says that he simply mixes equal parts (by volume) potato (any variety but moist-textured redskins) and cold butter with a little hot milk and whips them smooth. It sounds too good to be true – and it is. When I tried this approach, my potatoes turned out gluey and so buttery i could barely make it through a couple of spoonfuls. Clearly there’s a recipe that he chooses to dispense and the real recipe he keeps close. i would too if it paid my bills and made me famous. Unsurprisingly, Robuchon has a host of imitators, some of whom spend their time finessing the details of his recipe. I tried a few of these recipes – and read all the discussions online – and learned a few important things. First, there is such a thing as too much butter. I much preferred the recipes that attained richness via combination of butter and half-and-half or heavy cream. Second, waxy Yukon Golds turned into creamier mashed potatoes than Idahos. And third, avoid an electric hand held mixer at all costs. I quickly found that the more i processed the potatoes, the less structure they had. The best results occurred when I pressed the cooked potatoes through a food mill or ricer.

 

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

serves 8 to 10

Note: Waxy-textured Yukon Gold potatoes produce the creamiest mash.

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
method:
  1. cut potatoes into 3/4 inch slices. place potatoes in colander and rinse under running water, tossing with hands, for 30 seconds. transfer potatoes to Dutch oven, add water to cover by 1 inch, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. meanwhile, heat butter and heavy cream in small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted, about 5 minutes. keep warm.
  3. drain potatoes and return to Dutch oven. stir over low heat until potatoes are thoroughly dried, 1 to 2 minutes. set ricer or food mill over large bowl and press or mill potatoes into bowl. Gently fold in warm cream mixture and salt with rubber spatula until cream is absorbed and potatoes are thick and creamy. serve.

Secrets to Perfect Cookies

Cookies couldn’t be simpler to make. so why do they so often turn out irregularly shaped, unevenly baked, and lacking the desire texture? Here’s everything you need to know to bake the perfect batch.

article by: Keith Dresser, from Cooks Illustrated Feb 2011

1. MAKING THE DOUGH

Measure accurately –  in tests, we’ve found that the most common way of measuring dry ingredients-spooning them into the measuring cup-is also the least accurate. Since even the slightest variation in an amount can have a direct effect on your cookie (a tiny bit too much flour, for example, and the cookie will be dry; too little and the cookie will bake up flat), it’s important to measure precisely.

preferred method: for the greatest accuracy, weigh sugar and flour.

second best: dip a measuring cup into flour or sugar and scoop away excess with a straight edge.

Use Butter at Optimal Temperature

whether softened of melted, proper butter temperature is as critical in a simple sugar cookie as it is in the fanciest cake.

  • properly softened butter (65 to 67 degrees, or roughly room temperature) allows air to be pumped into the butter for tender texture in the final cookie. two good cues: the butter should give slightly when pressed but still hold its shape, and it should bend without cracking or breaking.
  • when a recipe calls for melted butter, make sure it’s lukewarm (85 to 90 degrees) before adding it to the dough. butter that’s too warm can cook the dough (or the eggs in it) and cause clumps.
Speedy way to Soften Butter
avoid microwaving to soften cold butter-it’s easy to soften it too much or even melt it. instead, cut the butter into small pieces. by the time you’ve preheated the oven and measured the remaining ingredients, the pieces should be near 65 degrees.
2. PORTIONING THE DOUGH
Drop and Roll
with drop cookies, we usually go beyond merely depositing tablespoons of dough on the cookie sheet. instead, we prefer to roll the dough between our hands to create uniformly shaped balls that bake evenly.
A Better Way to Roll
with roll-and-cut cookies, there’s always a danger of working too much flour into the dough during rolling and producing dry cookies. we like to roll out the dough between two large sheets of parchment paper instead of on a floured counter. chill the rolled-out dough in the fridge for 10 minutes to make cutting easier.
3. BAKING
Don’t Forget to Preheat
to keep cookies from spreading too much, it is important to expose them to an immediate blast of heat. it takes at least 15 minutes for a standard oven to reach the desired temperature.
Use an Oven Thermometer
oven temperatures can be off by as much ash 50 degrees. always use an oven thermometer to tell you what’s really going on inside. (our new favorite is profiled on page 11.)
4. PREPARING THE PAN
Use a Parchment Liner
don’t grease your sheets-the extra fat can cause cookies to bake unevenly. instead, line the baking sheet with parchment. its slick surface allows cookies to easily release. (Waxed paper isn’t a good substitute-high temperature can make the wax coating melt.) To keep parchment flat on the pan, put a small dab of dough on each corner of the baking sheet.
Make a Sling
with their gooey centers, it’s nearly impossible to remove some bar cookies from the pan without tearing or crumbling. Here’s our easy solution:
  1. place two sheets of foil or parchment paper perpendicular to each other in the baking pan, pushing into the corners and up the sides. spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. after the bar cookies have baked and cooled, use the overhang to lift the whole thing from the pan. cut into portions.
5. TROUBLESHOOTING
Problem: the last cookies always seem short on chips.
Solution: reserve some morsels to add later
           When chocolate chips, nuts, or raisins are in the mix, the last few cookies from a batch never seem to have as many of these goodies as the first few. to get around this, reserve some of the mix-ins and stir them into the dough after about half of it has been scooped out.
Problem: cookies don’t add up to the correct yield.
Solution: use a portion scoop.
            When cookies are portioned our larger or smaller than the recipe directs, they may not produce the intended texture. to ensure consistent size and the proper yield, we use a portion scoop. (We keep many different sizes on hand for just this purpose. a typical cookie requires a #30 scoop.)
Problem: cookies keep burning on bottom
Solution: use a light-colored baking sheet and line with parchment paper.
            We typically don’t like light-colored bakeware since it doesn’t paper heat as well as darker finishes, leading to spotty browning. But the cookie sheet is the exception. all of the dark nonstick cookie sheets we’ve tested consistently overbrown the bottoms of cookies. light colored sheets, on the other hand, prevent overbrowning but are prone to sticking. we get around this by baking cookies on parchment paper.
Problem: chewy cookies that aren’t chewy
Solution: underbake
             To ensure a chewy texture, take cookies out of the oven when they are still lightly underdone, which often means they will droop over the end of a spatula. crevices should appear moist and edges on smooth cookies should be lightly browned.
Problem: cookies run together
Soloution: bake in staggered rows
             When scoops of dough are placed too close together on the sheet, the cookies can fuse together. to ensure enough space between cookies, alternate the rows. For example, place three cookies in the first row, two in the second, three in the third, and so on.
Problem: unevenly baked batches
Solution: rotate during baking
            The temperature in most ovens varies from front to back, top to bottom-even side to side. to prevent uneven baking, rotate the cookie sheet partway through baking so that the back side faces front.
Problem: it’s hard to tell when dark chocolate cookies are done
Solution: press the middle
             Most cookies, irrespective of texture, are done when pressing them lightly with your finger leaves just a slight indentation.
Problem: cookies left in oven too long
Solution: cool immediately on rack
             If you become distracted and leave your cookies in the oven a minute or two too long, all is not lost. remove the baking sheet from the oven and, instead of allowing the cookies to set on the sheet, immediately transfer them to a wire rack, where they will cool more quickly.
Problem: overly crisp edges
Solution: briefly chill dough and don’t use a hot sheet
             If your kitchen is particularly hot, the butter in the dough can start to melt, softening the dough and leading to overcooked edges. if the dough seems too soft, chill it for 10 to 15 minutes before portioning.
            Putting raw dough on cookie sheets still warm from the oven can cause them to begin spreading, leading to burnt edges. always allow baking sheets to cool completely before adding more batches. to expedite cooling, rinse warm-but not hot-sheet under cold tap water.
Problem: chewy cookies dry out too quickly
Solution: store with bread
             To keep chewy cookies from turning dry and brittle, store them in a zipper-lock bag at room temperature with a small piece of bread (no more than half of slice) placed inside.
Freeze n Bake Cookies
almost all cookie dough can be successfully frozen. but instead of freezing it in a solid block, try portioning the dough first. this allows you to bake as many cookies as you like-even just three or four-when the craving strikes. simply portion the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until hard. transfer the cookies to a zipper lock bag and return them to the freezer. there’s no need to thaw the dough before baking: just increase the baking time to 1 or 2 minutes.

The Other Cool Restaurants

someone asked me to post more about restaurants. so this is it!

 

Pizza E birra

when it’s time to sleep, but you feel really hungry and rambunctious, it’s time to go to PIZZA E BIRRA! we usually eat pizza with the stuffed crust, and heavy. well, it’s a very different pizza in here, duh.. it’s dip dish and very chunky. pizza e birra is owned by the Ismaya Group. the name is self explanatory: pizza e birra has mostly pizzas (+appetizers, and soups) and beers (all kind, there’s also the fruit flavored!)

pizza e birra also has a very cool live music on friday and saturday night, and the beer pong tournament that takes place once in a while. and the drawback, of course, it’s very expensive.

pizza e birra is nicer when we go with friends. it’s a kind of sharing food system. are you guys sure that you can finished one brass of pizza all by yourself? (yes, if you haven’t eat for a couple of days, i think). and the soups are also in a quite big size, that you can share it with a friend of yours.

 

price rate: 100.000-150.000/person.

places:

  • Plaza Indonesia. 5th floor, unit E 22
  • Setiabudi building, Kuningan. Jl. HR. Rasuna Said II.

 

Kitchenette

“The kitchen is a country in which there are always discoveries to be made.” –Grimod de la Reyniere

Kitchenette & Crêperie is also a restaurant owned by the Ismaya Group. Kitchenette is serving you with home cooked goodness, great coffee and various fresh off-the kitchen comfort foods.

the foods:

  • galettes
  • crêpes
  • salads
  • and many more..

their savory galettes are freshly made to order right in front of you and handcrafted with buckwheat flour, natural ingredients, and also a dash of love😉 Their crêpes are very light and sweet filled with every delicious idea to spoiled your tongue and satisfy your sweet tooth.

their salad bar provides freshly prepared salad selections that can be served as a main course or as a complement to our crêpes.

 

Place:  Plaza Indonesia Lt 1, E16

 

Better Glazed Salmon

BY BRYAN ROOF

Glazed salmon usually falls victim to the harsh heat of the broiler. We turned down the heat to bump up the flavor.

glazed salmon

serves 4

note: use center-cut salmon fillets of similar thickness so that they cook at the same rate. The best way to ensure uniformity is to buy a 1 1/2 – to 2-pound whole center-cut fillet and cut it into 4 pieces. prepare the glaze before you cook the salmon. if you nonstick skillet isn’t ovensafe, sear the salmon as directed in step 2, then transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet, glaze it, and bake it as directed in step 3.

  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 center-cut skin-on salmon fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each (see note) ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 recipe glaze (recipes follow)
  1. adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in small bowl. pat salmon dry with paper towels and season with pepper. sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over top of flesh side of salmon, rubbing to distribute.
  2. heat oil in 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. place salmon, flesh side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.
  3. remove skillet from heat and spoon glaze evenly over salmon fillets. transfer skillet to oven and cook until center of thickest part of fillets registers 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer and is still translucent when cut into with paring knife, 7 to 10 minutes. transfer fillets to platter or individual plates and serve.

            1. soy-mustard glaze

makes about 1/2 cup

note: Mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine, can be found in Asian markets and the international section of most supermarkets.

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

whisk ingredients together in small saucepan. bring to boil over medium-high heat; simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

           2. pomegranate-balsamic glaze

makes about 1/2 cup

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • pinch cayenne pepper

whisk ingredients together in small saucepan. bring to boil over medium-high heat; simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. Asian Barbecue Glaze

makes about 1/2 cup

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

whisk ingredients together in a small saucepan. bring to boil over medium-high heat; simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

4. Orange-Miso Glaze

makes about 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup juice plus 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • pinch cayenne pepper

whisk ingredients together in small saucepan. bring to boil over medium-high heat; simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

 

science WHITE, OUT

what’s the white stuff that sometimes mysteriously form on salmon and sometimes doesn’t? this film is a protein called albumin. when the muscle fibers in the fish are heated, they contract, pushing the moisture-filled albumin to the surface of the flesh. once this protein reaches temperatures between 140 and 150 degrees, its moisture is squeezed out, and it congeals and turns white. not only does the white albumin detract from the salmon’s appearance, but its formation indicates a loss of moisture in the fish.

cooking salmon at a low temperature can mitigate albumin coagulation. gentle cooking results in less intense muscle contractions, so that less of the albumin moves to the surface of the fish and more of it stays trapped in the flesh. the fish not only stays more moist, but it looks better, too.

low heat = less white stuff

high heat = more white stuff

source: cook’s illustrated February 2011

Quicky Tips

article compiled by shannon friedmann hatch

CLUMP-FREE SUGAR

we usually tried everything to stop our sugar from turning into a solid white brick. airtight glass containers helped, but the sweet stuff ultimately still caked. the weapon is: POTATO MASHER. with a few strokes, the sugar breaks up into granules.

SPREADING COLD BUTTER

we often runs into this common problem: we want butter for our toast, but forgot to leave it out to soften.  crisis averted: vegetable peeler is able to cut a thin ribbon that’s easy to spread into our toast.

PERFECT PANINI

Paul Villien of New Orleans, La., has found a way to mimic the popular griddle sandwiches without investing a panini press.

  1. set a large, seasoned, oiled cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; place assembled sandwich inside.
  2. place a smaller cast-iron skillet (or other heavy pot) on top of the sandwich to press. cook until the bottom of the sandwich is golden brown, then flip and repeat the process the other side.

source: cook’s illustrated feb 2011

Thin-Crust Pizza

NOTE: our preferred brand of whole-milk mozzarella is Dragone. you can shape the second dough ball while the first pizza bakes, but don’t top the pizza until right before you bake it. if you don’t have a baking stone, bake the pizzas on an overturned and preheated rimmed baking sheet. it is important to use ice water in the dough to prevent overheating the dough while in the food processor. semolina flour is ideal for dusting the peel; use it in place of bread flour if you have it. the sauce will yield more than needed in the recipe; extra sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to a month. for our free recipe for thin-crust white pizza, go to www.CooksIllustrated.com/feb11.

Dough

  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups ice water (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

Sauce:

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid discarded
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black paper

Cheese:

  • 1 ounce finely  grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces shredded whole milk mozzarella (about 2 cups) (see note)
  1. FOR THE DOUGH: in food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. with machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. let dough stand 10 minutes.
  2. add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. remove dough from bowl, knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
  3. FOR THE SAUCE: process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. transfer to medium bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. TO BAKE THE PIZZA: one hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to second highest position (rack shout be about 4 to 5 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. remove dough from refrigerator and divide on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray; let stand for 1 hour.
  5. coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on well-floured countertop. using fingertips, gently flatten into 8 inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. using hands, gently stretch into 13-inch round. using back of spoon or ladle, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4 inch border around edge. sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella. slide pizza carefully onto stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through. remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. repeat step 5 to shape, top, and bake second pizza.

Topping tips:

we like our thin-crust pizza simply dressed with tomato sauce and handfuls of shredded mozzarella and parmesan, but additional toppings are always an option-provided they’re prepared correctly and added judiciously. (an overloaded pie will bake up soggy.) here are a few guidelines for how to handle different types of topping:

HEARTY VEGETABLES

aim for a maximum of 6 ounces per pie, spread out in a single layer. vegetables such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms should be thinly sliced and lightly sauteed (or microwaved for a minute or two along with a little olive oil) before using.

DELICATE VEGETABLES AND HERBS

leafy greens and herbs like spinach and basil are best placed beneath the cheese to protect them or added raw to the fully cooked pizza.

MEATS:

proteins (no more than 4 ounces per pie) should be precooked and drained to remove excess fat. we like to poach meats like sausage (broken up into 1/2 inch chunks), pepperoni, or ground beef for 4 to 5 minutes in a wide skillet along with 1/4 cup of water, which helps to render the fat while keeping the meat moist.

Technique

Baking the pizza on the top rack-rather than the usual approach of placing it near the bottom of a home oven-means heat will hit the top of the pie, browning the toppings before the crust overcooks.

source: cook’s illustrated February 2011

article by: andrew janjigian