HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Cook's Illustrated. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cook's Illustrated. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce from Cook's Illustrated Magazine



Sichuan Province, Land of Plenty
         In one of their masterpieces of science and cooking combined, Cook’s Illustrated chose to take on one of my favorite Chinese Restaurant dishes: Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce.  Sichuan cooking is immediately associated with hot and spicy flavors. The odd thing is that these flavors are relatively new. And initially at least, they were only popular among the poorer segments of Sichuan society.  There was so much else available. Sichuan Province is known as a land of plenty. While landlocked and therefore without seafood, it has an abundance of pigs, poultry, beef cattle, freshwater fish and crayfish.  And it’s been known for its masterful cuisine for hundreds of years.  The first Sichuan restaurant opened in what is now called Hangzhou, its capital city, over 800 years ago. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

90 Minute Coq au Vin from Cook's Illustrated


  
Julia Child with her "Coq"
         Cold winter nights are made for eating Coq au Vin.  And on a cold winter afternoon, the aroma of this great French classic cooking fills the kitchen with comfort.   A “Coq” is French for rooster and there lies the rub. In France, roosters were kept as long as they were good breeders.  They lived for several years before they were slaughtered.  They needed long and slow braising—often four hours on the stove--before they could be considered edible.   Red wine not only added flavor, it helped tenderize the old meat of the rooster.  Julia Child is credited with introducing Americans to the dish.  It was one of her signatures.  Wisely, Julia eschewed using roosters or capons and instead used a whole, young, cut-up chicken, something the French had also glommed onto by this time.   This greatly affected the cooking hours for the better.  Julia’s original recipe can be on the table in about 2 1/2 hours.  That may not sound like an unreasonable amount of time for something that is this good.  But in 2006, Cook’s Illustrated decided that this “basic chicken stew” shouldn’t even take that long to cook.  So they set about to make it start to finish in 90 minutes.  And I have to say, they did a bang up job.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Perfect Turkey Burger with a little help from Cook’s Illustrated



         I am sure you’re aware of “Cook’s Illustrated” that quirky and incomparable publication presided over by a man named Christopher Kimball.  Mr. Kimball is the quintessential Vermonter and his practicality is evident on every page of his strictly-no-advertising-that’s-why-it-costs-$30-a year magazine.  Personally, its attention to detail and minutiae is fascinating although I could live without some of the “Quick Tips” which readers send in. In the most recent issue these include suggestions like using coffee filters to oil a grill grate and shoe organizers to store spices. On the other hand, the product reviews for everything from non-stick cookware to hot sauce are invaluable.  And then, of course, there is the length the Cook’s Illustrated Test Kitchen goes to perfecting recipes for everything from crab cakes to apple pan dowdy.  Take, for instance, their recent examination of the Turkey Burger.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Golden Potatoes with Caper Brown-Butter Crumbs



More frequently than I wish, something absolutely delicious that I want to share with you simply doesn’t photograph as appetizingly as I would hope. Sometimes, I have to make a judgment as to whether the photograph is just going make everyone want to turn the page. But then there are dishes like this one; such a flavor hit that I don’t want you to miss it, even if it isn’t the most photogenic.