real life test kitchen: clean-out-the-fridge couscous salad

I’m heading out of the city for about a week, and I’m trying to avoid buying fresh groceries until after I get back. In an effort to use up the veggies quickly going limp in the crisper drawer, I whipped up this quick couscous salad for lunch. This combo ended up really tasty, but the recipe is easily adaptable to whatever you may have lying around. Enjoy! –Erica P. Click for couscous! (more…)

From our partners

late-night gourmet: grilled cheese with heirloom tomato and basil


My husband and I work nights — most often until midnight — so when we are home from work, I immediately retreat to the kitchen to make a quick bite. More often than I’d like to admit, it’s cereal or frozen pizza from Trader Joe’s, but the other night, my late-night culinary skills really shone. I had this gorgeous organic heirloom tomato I had to use before it was overripe, so I threw it on some sliced crusty french bread with some grated Italian cheeses (I used a pre-grated Italian four-cheese blend) and some basil from the yard, slapped em on the cast iron skillet, and voila — an amazing late summer supper in less than 10 minutes! The extra-delicious secret was adding a light dusting of cheese to the outside of the bread and then grilling it, which creates a mouth watering browned cheese crust. I’ve been making these ever since, and will continue to until the very last tomatoes of summer are gone! –Megan B.

More grilled cheese goodness: big apple grilled cheese, grilled cheese fest

From our partners

funky lunch: taking ‘play with your food’ to a new level


If your kids are anything like I was when I was little, you’ve tried everything to get them to eat their lunch. The only thing I’d put in my mouth was a pb&j (grape jelly and no crusts) and chicken nuggets. I was the pickiest of picky eaters, and probably (no, definitely) a huge pain in the butt for my parents. Maybe if they had made lunch as amusing as the folks at Funky Lunch (Via GoodyBlog) I would have been open to trying new things. Some of these sandwiches are almost too cute to eat! –Erica P.

More cute food: Tillamook sandwiches, bento box art.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: parmesan walnut salad in endive leaves

They say that good recipes stand the test of time, but I’m convinced that the best recipes also time-travel. At least, that’s how it happened for me with this recipe. I first tried it at a Super Bowl party a few years ago, and was instantly smitten. I asked a friend for the recipe, expecting a tear-out from a recent magazine. Instead, I received an email a few days later with the recipe attached — a PDF image of a crooked, tattered Word document that had obviously suffered a few spills and one too many folds in its lifetime. It was like a note that had been passed by hand until someone had the good sense to scan it into a computer sometime in the 14 years since it had originally appeared in Gourmet, only to arrive in my twenties as a great alternative to cheese and crackers! Despite the passage time, the recipe continues to please. Click the link for the details. –Sarah C. (more…)

From our partners

measuring spoons get a magnet makeover

In the test kitchen where I sometimes work, we have a drawer full of measuring spoons. Many of them have been disconnected from the o-ring that at one point kept them in sets. For the most part I prefer them this way. I always find it difficult to carefully measure out a teaspoon of vanilla with 4 other spoons hanging awkwardly from the end. That said, it can be more than a little infuriating to seplace through a drawer full of utensils for a tiny little spoon that is lost somewhere between the vegetable peeler and the can opener. This is why I’m in love with the Stainless Steel Double Magnetic Measuring Spoons from The Container Store. The spoons stack together magnetically, but easily come apart for use. Purchase the spoons for $14.99 online. I’m going to pick up a set for my home kitchen, and then see what I can do about my work kitchen! — Erica P.

From our partners