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Cooking with "Fine Cooking" (the magazine)

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The other night I grilled the Fresh Tuna Burgers from the Sept issue--incredibly simple and delicious. I cringe at myself for indulging in Ahi or sushi grade tuna (fished out and full of mercury) but I only do it about once a month. Usually I just marinate whole slabs, coat w/sesame seeds and grill til still rare, but the hunk I bought was less than perfect steak size. My burgers were about an inch thick, as they suggest, and I cooked them about 3 or 3 1/2 min total (recipe says 2-4 min.) That was just about right; not quite as rare as you might want if you were doing a whole steak. I diced the tuna by hand; I don't think pulsing in the machine would be as appealing (and I can't stand cleaning that thing.) I even cut back a bit on the mayo, and they were pretty easy to handle and didn't break apart on the grill, which was my fear.

Chris, that squash recipe looks tempting--I haven't had spaghetti squash in years. It would be nice with a casual lamb burger or with grilled chops or perhaps a tandoori chicken or any simple roast. Some naan and raita on the side, what's not to like?

I notice that several posters liked the Peach Blueberry Crisp from July. I seem to be a minority of one--I thought it was terrible! I used (or should I say wasted?) perfect fresh peaches and berries. The addition of 3T of cornstarch seemed like a mistake to me--the filling was gummy and tasted off. Afterwards I looked carefully at the standby recipes I have for crisps and cobblers and none of them thicken the fruit with cornstarch. Most don't even add flour. I guess I don't care if it's a little soupy. I didn't like the topping either, but I've never made a nut topping before and I think I prefer a less rich oatflake type topping for a crisp, so I'm a poor judge w/re to the pecan top.

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Some time ago people mentioned the Fine Cooking "Boards" . I can't seem to find what you are talking about. Could someone help please?

I also made the tuna burgers. They were wonderful as was the sauce that goes with them. We served them over Asian noddles which we cooked and then browned/sauteed in a pan. The sauce over the noodles was really great.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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Some time ago people mentioned the Fine Cooking "Boards" . I can't seem to find what you are talking about. Could someone help please?

Here ya go - you have to become a member to get into the forums:



There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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  • 2 months later...
Crackers from December 2007, can't remember the issue number:


These are deeelicious, and they impress the pants off people who don't really cook!

The recipe is great as written in the magazine, except I would recommend letting the dough rest a few/ten minutes before beginning to roll it out; it just shrinks back if you try right after mixing. In another issue, they published a comment from a reader who had trouble rolling it out; he ended up using a pasta roller. I think that would be a bit of a production for such a small amount of dough, but if it's out anyway, I guess it's worth a shot.

I made the ratatouille again this week and used some leftovers for the puff pastry tart recipe in the sidebar. This was also deeelicious, but I used goat cheese instead of feta because with the anchovies I thought it would all be a bit too salty.

Hey folks --

Eilen sent me this cracker recipe a while back, and I've been making them often since then... But tonight I finally tried making them with a pasta roller, and they managed to be even more fantastic than usual. Something about the pasta roller made them crisper and flakier, and to me they really were very close to the "La Panzanella" crackers that cost a zillion dollars a pound and have been written about extensively on this site. Tonight was also the first time I made the rosemary version of these, and while 2 Tbs of rosemary looked like a lot, the flavor was just perfect.

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  • 1 month later...

My daughter is doing a semester abroad in Athens so her 21st birthday happened here without her. I miss her, so I baked a cake! Don't ask what came over me--I hardly ever bake.

I made the Buttermilk Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing from the current Feb issue. Fine Cooking must be wary of advertising the ingredients in this cake in the title, because what's significant about it isn't that it's made with buttermilk, but that it's made with a substantial amount of grated butternut squash and the icing is studded with crystallized ginger. The squash all but disappears and no one would believe 2+ cups of coarsely grated vegetable was in this cake.

It came out looking beautiful, and it tasted great. It's a very easy recipe (which is how I need my baking to be.) Really really good. It didn't need the full hour to cook--it was done in 50 minutes, but my oven may be on the hot side.

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Definitely one of my favorite magazines too, I've been subscribing for a couple years now. The most recent thing I made is from their Make it Tonight specials that are currently on the stands: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes, Artichokes & Lemon. Of course I forgot to take some photos, but ti turned out delicious and looked just like the photo on page 45 or online here:


I cut up a whole chicken and should have left the breast meat out or added it later, it got a bit tough (I thought the moisture of the other things would prevent that) but it all came out very delicious. I added more lemon juice and more thyme. A simple and very quick dish if you don't have to cut the chicken apart first. TJs just did not have any bone in skin on thighs and I figured I'll find a use for the stock I can make with the rest :-) I did leave out the parsley for garnish.

Easy to prepare in less than an hour and open for variations.

Things learned:

watch the breast meat if using - add it later

TJ brand artichoke hearts are very good and a super time saver!

It gets smoky

If you have a whole chicken, don't forget to put the tail end in as a chef's treat!

Have the camera handy at all times.

happy V-day to all! I'm working on a hopefully delicious menu from Food&Wine magazine :-)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

Over here, Chris Hennes complained about the CI version of Bolognese (I concurred).

While home today with two sick girls, I pulled out some random old issues of Fine Cooking to see what I'd vowed to make, but hadn't.

January 2007 -- No. 83 -- Ragus. One of the recipes is Short Rub & Porcini Mushroom Ragu. There were also recipes featuring pork ribs/sausage and one with land shanks. Has anyone tried these? While not tradition Bolognese, these look to be drop dead easy, since they are basically a braise with the meat shredded after the braise.

I do think I have a couple of venison shanks in the freezer and just might try this.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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regarding those wonderful looking crackers, the recipe is here

I think I'm gonna make these today - if the dishwasher repair man comes closer to 1 than 5.....

I love these crackers and the cost in the store is outrageous, especially once you see how little goes in these, and how easy they seem to be. I'll post a picture if they turn out :)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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well, I had the time and the crackers looked too good so I went for it. The dough is super fast to make, I made two batches with the spices listed (though I did use fennel seeds and caraway seeds) and then got some fresh rosemary from the garden for batch 3. I also added some fresh black pepper and a sprinkle of granulated dried garlic (yes, I use that stuff at times) and sprinkled them with black Hawaiian sea salt (sea salt with char coal) for the looks.

Yumm, did they all turn out good!

I have to figure out how to add pix here, I'll update the post if I can.

I love these crackers but never buy them as they're so overpriced. Especially for something so simple! Less than an hour of "work". Next time I might double the recipe and use the pasta machine, maybe cut them into wide pasta strips, then spray with a mister and add the spices/salt.

So simple, so good! And I don't usually bake, though I intend to change that soon and make my own bread for fun and cost savings.


(edit) let's see if the image works, crackers with seeds on the left, crackers with rosemary etc on the righ. Sadly, some of them don't exist anymore.... (burp)

hmmm, did not work. I did upload a picture to the image gullet and used the link from my browser, but got an error. Maybe somebody can show me the way? In the mean time, you'll find it under my user ID in the food porn section......

((edit)) with some help from Chris Hennes, I hope this link will work now:


Edited by OliverB (log)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Fine Cooking's Cooks Talk has their own T&T thread, separate from the magazine's recipes. I don't think you need to be a paying member to access it.

If you go Taunton/ FC/ Cook's talk, click on T&T first and then search for "Tuck's crackers," you will get lots of interesting cracker recipes and discussion. Arm yourself with patience, Fine Cooking's search function is as bad as their recipes are good, and you will not be sorry. Tuck's crackers are amazing.


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Thanks skipper, I will certainly check this link out! My head is already spinning with new ideas! (tiny crispy bacon peaces, roasted nuts, roasted garlic, lemon juice instead of water, parmesan, mustard seed, cayenne, and why not vanilla and those tiny chocolate chips? oh, the possibilities! And this kind of cracker is my absolute favorite. Some good cheeses, a glass of wine, can't ask for much more :-)


just thought I'd mention, if you bag them, wait for a good while before you do. I put mine in an open zip lock bag probably a bit too early, they lost a bit of their initial crunch.

Also, if you use fresh rosemary (or anything else fresh I'd guess) they will retain moisture a bit longer, need to bake a bit longer and probably need a closer eye during the last minutes. They also puff up more it seems, which is actually quite nice!

Edited by OliverB (log)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 5 months later...

I never deep-fry anything, but the picture of the corn fritters in the recent July/August issue looked so good, and the corn has been so sweet lately, I went for it. They were fabulous. I think mine might have been slightly bigger than suggested, but the interiors were puffy and light. Sinful, really.

I used barely the 1/2 inch of oil suggested, and I didn't make the roasted salsa, since I had some homemade salsa leftover. I didn't have any sour cream, so I subbed 2% Fage yogurt. My family liked the fritters with salsa, but I liked mine totally plain, with a little sea salt on top. We ate them practically as fast as we made them, so we didn't bother to heat up the oven to keep them warm. The carnival food of your dreams.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I made the lemon cheesecake squares from FC 86 and they are great.

Lemon Square recipe

I don't usually go for cheesecake, but the lemon adds some excellent zing-- these are very lemony. The recipe has a graham cracker crust, a layer of very lemony cheesecake, and a topping of lemon curd. The bars look HUGE in this close-up, but they are only about 4 cm on an edge.


Here they are in less extreme closeup:


My parents have a source for free-range eggs with very orange yolks, which gave a fabulous color to the lemon curd:


Another wonderful recipe from FC.


edited to add and fix recipe link.

Edited by iguana (log)
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I made the lemon cheesecake squares from FC 86 and they are great.

Lemon Square recipe

I don't usually go for cheesecake, but the lemon adds some excellent zing-- these are very lemony.  The recipe has a graham cracker crust, a layer of very lemony cheesecake, and a topping of lemon curd.  The bars look HUGE in this close-up, but they are only about 4 cm on an edge. 



I've been reading this magazine religiously for years... how could I have missed those? Your photo is wonderful, too wonderful actually... I'll be dreaming about them tonight.... :smile:

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash


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  • 2 months later...

The current issue has a contribution by David Tanis singing the praises of parsnips. Always on the lookout for something that isn't pumpkin pie (irrational, but yes I just can't stand pumpkin pie, bread, pancakes or god forbid, pumpkin creme brulee), I made the parsnip buttermilk pie. I cut back on the spices (again, because I don't want anything tasting like pumpkin pie), and instead of the pie crust the recipe suggested, my husband provided his no-fail Julia crust. Anyway it was lovely and delicious. Tangy, so a bit different than you expect when you bite into a pie that looks like pumpkin or sweet potato. The shell gets pre-baked and I was worried that my edges would burn to a crisp during the hour-long cooking time specified. I started it with foil protection on the crimps, and that was a good idea. It was done in 50 minutes. Now I'm considering adding some mashed parsnip to my sweet-potato pie, which is, as you would think, more rich, but still vegetal.

I can't remember the last time I tasted a parsnip. I had a little extra plain mashed vegetable before assembling the filling, so we scarfed that down with butter and salt, and it was just yummy. Mashed plain parsnip has about the same structure and stiffness as mashed sweet potato, which surprised me. So, next up: the potato-parsnip pancakes and then...maybe the lamb casserole.

Those lemon cheesecake squares above look dreamy, by the way.

Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
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  • 5 months later...

For those of you who are cooking from Fine Cooking, the magazine is having a contest where the more you cook from Issues 104-109 (105 is the current issue, the contest continues until Feb 2011), the more you win. You have to cook a fair bit to get a prize, but it is kind of fun to see how other people fare with the recipes. They had a similar contest when they introduced the new format with Issue 97 and it was a lot of fun. I found it a great way to get out of my usual cooking rut. Anyway, right now there are only two of us participating and we would love some company. Here is the website:


And here is one of my favorites from Issue 104:

Artichoke, leek and taleggio fritatta:

artichoke fritatta 2.jpg

I just made their brioche and last week I cooked softshell crabs for the first time-- lots of fun. I hope to see you there...

Cheers, Jen (Pie-love at FC)

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Just made the Caesar salad recipe from the new issue of Fine Cooking -- too much anchovy and too much garlic for me, even though I like both of those flavors. They were so dominating that the balance just seemed out of whack. Recipe calls for 6 anchovy filets and 4 large cloves of garlic in the dressing. I'd cut that back to 4 and 2...


Edited by Emily_R (log)
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Best chicken tikka masala I've ever had is from the Nov 2006 (#81) issue. They start with making tandoori chicken, then add that to the curry. I loved this recipe so much that I kept this issue out (and away from the other issues I'd filed away), and now I can't find it. Thank goodness for Google. This recipe has much more texture and flavor than the standard buffet tikka masala.

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  • 2 months later...

Thought I'd revive this thread as I just made the Sauteed Zucchini with Za'atar and Crispy Chickpeas from the August/Sept 2010 issue. And it was... Good. Not bowl me over good, but solid. Surprisingly heavy, especially considering that while you fry the chickpeas, they didn't appear to absorb much oil. I did like the combo of the za'atar and the zukes, and my husband thought it brought out their zucchini flavor (whatever that is :-) )... Cooks Illustrated doesn't give a recipe for za'atar, so here's roughly what I used (combined from various recipes on the web):

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp hot paprika

1/2 tsp marjoram

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

The textural contrast of the crispy chickpeas was nice with the more pliant zucchini... I served this with rice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you can get hold of some fresh young collard greens, the current issue #105 has a great recipe for quick collards; they cook in about two minutes after being cut into thin ribbons, with no bothersome blanching. The recipe is vegetarian, but I used a little bacon grease as well as olive oil. Because they don't have a chance to cook down, you use less than you might for a traditional recipe. Luckily the farmers' market had baby collards, so I was starting with some lovely tender leaves, and I'm sure that helps for quick saute. I served them with the corn fritters from last summer's issue #100. Really good and really simple.

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  • 4 months later...

Don't know about you, but is anyone else here finding that FC has been lacking something for the past year? Maybe a coincidence, but the recipes seem to have gone a bit dull just about when they glammed up their design, which was a turn for the worse for me; busy photographic backgrounds, an increase in reverse-out white type on dark backgrounds making recipes hard to read, pictures often bigger than necessary wasting space that could be put to better use. There also seems to be an increased dichotomy between simple quick meal cooking and over-the-top fussy. Not a lot in between.

Okay, enough whining. I did actually make something quite yummy from #104. Determined to use up leftover turkey gravy and some yukon golds, I bought a celery root and made the garlic-infused mashed potatoes and celery root. This would be an excellent sub for the regular mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. The recipe calls for whole milk and very little butter, plus a half cup of creme fraiche. I didn't have nearly that much creme fraiche, so instead I whisked in soft chevre. The result was light and fluffy, and uses a very clever technique for keeping the dish hot while the milk and and the rest is being added. I tossed in some snipped chives at the end, since the FC calls for no garnish. Really satisfying.

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I always buy Fine Cooking. It is second only to Saveur in my estimation. I save all the issues and mark those with successful repeatable recipes.

Recently I made a pumpkin spice cake which they had on the cover of the October issue I think. I have made it twice (I am eating in as I write) and it is a lovely moist light cake and the brown butter icing is just about the best bbi that I have every made. It is a layer cake in the photograph but I prefer to treat it as a coffee cake, so I make it in a bund pan and bake it longer. Then when it is cool I drizzle the brown butter icing over it and then add the pecan, candied ginger topping. The topping is supposed to include pepitas but being lazy and preferring more pecans and ginger I added more of them instead.

I will be very sad when there are no pie pumpkins left. I have become rather addicted. :wub:

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I also think that something is lacking, I haven't cooked from the magazine in a while. I still love getting it, but tend to skip over the recipes.

It's so cheap to subscribe to that I'll keep it around for a while longer though. I did get rid of cook's illustrated, haven't cooked from that magazine in years, so why get it.

Of course, me not caring for Turkey or xmas holiday things all that much, the current issues of all magazines are skim through and discard, I'm looking forward to the spring issues :-)

But it's been a while that I cooked anything from a magazine actually.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 2 years later...

Thread bump, anyone else cooking from the new issue of FC (#123)? They've changed editors and gotten rid of some of the re-design elements that made the magazine hard to read...

I made the Key Lime Pie last night, it was quite good-- and the crust was not even soggy today. The pie might last until tomorrow AM...


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