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"Cook's Illustrated"

170 posts in this topic

I've been subscribing for 2 years and just renewed, since the mag only comes evey other month.  I tend to fall behind in reading it, since I "save" it.  So I can't tell you what month this was, but I got annoyed when I finally read the baked ziti recipe they perfected.  They want you to use cottage cheese and a white sauce instead of ricotta.  What?  They turn a quick fallback dish into a production that no longer resembles the original. 

And no cottage cheese in the ziti.  Geez!  I know people do it b/c the cottage cheese is thicker and not as runny as ricotta, but seriously, don't mess with tradition.  Drain the ricotta for an hour, like you do with yogurt, if you have to improve it.

By the way, the idea for white sauce & cottage cheese came from someone outside the test kitchen who rec'd bottled alredo sauce - I am so sure it came off RecipeZaar or allrecipes.com.  So now we have the high-brow CI reinventing/recycling low-brow recipes.  Need to find those ideas somewhere!  I really am not as snobby as I sound, I just hate the idea of cottage cheese in the baked ziti!

Also for the sake of argument, cottage cheese is also a bit cheaper than ricotta - so some will go with cottage cheese because it's a cheaper alternative.

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I've been subscribing for 2 years and just renewed, since the mag only comes evey other month.  I tend to fall behind in reading it, since I "save" it.  So I can't tell you what month this was, but I got annoyed when I finally read the baked ziti recipe they perfected.  They want you to use cottage cheese and a white sauce instead of ricotta.  What?  They turn a quick fallback dish into a production that no longer resembles the original. 

And no cottage cheese in the ziti.  Geez!  I know people do it b/c the cottage cheese is thicker and not as runny as ricotta, but seriously, don't mess with tradition.  Drain the ricotta for an hour, like you do with yogurt, if you have to improve it.

By the way, the idea for white sauce & cottage cheese came from someone outside the test kitchen who rec'd bottled alredo sauce - I am so sure it came off RecipeZaar or allrecipes.com.  So now we have the high-brow CI reinventing/recycling low-brow recipes.  Need to find those ideas somewhere!  I really am not as snobby as I sound, I just hate the idea of cottage cheese in the baked ziti!

I have to totally disagree with you. I'm a baked ziti connoisseur( having grown up eating it at least 2x a month). I even started a topic( a year or two ago) asking "why my baked ziti sucks". When I read CI's recipe, I was also weary of cottage cheese because my favorite ziti from a restaurant in FL, uses ricotta. But ya know what? It freaking works. Its amazing ziti. I've made it at least 4 times already and everyone who eats it loves it. So, as the old saying goes, dont knock it till you try it.

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I'm a little surprised that I haven't seen anyone else mention this - maybe I didn't look back far enough - but I mainly like it for the equipment reviews and would just as soon have it only online because I have plenty of food-porn magazine subscriptions. I don't think that anyone could call Cook's "food porn." Hence, I don't need the actual magazine. I don't know if it should be scary if others understand my "reasoning."

Is there a way to see all their equipment reviews without subscribing to their website, given all the horror stories I've read here about that?

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I honestly think that the Foolproof Vinaigrette recipe in the September/October issue of Cooks Illustrated is one of the silliest things I've read in years.

My own recipe, based on Julia Child's, is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Put the vinegar in a jar, add salt and pepper and a generous dollop (the test kitchen, to the best of my knowledge has never defined a dollop) and shake well. Add the oil, and shake well again. If the mustard isn't included, you'll have to shake vigrorously before using since it will separate quickly.

I do not understand the point of wanting a vinaigrette that can sit for an hour and a half without separating. Who dresses their salads an hour and a half in advance. I only do it when I'm making a beef salad and plan on letting it sit in the refridgerator overnight.

Puttiong mayo in a vinaigrette? For heavens sake If a vinaigrette does separate, the solution is to pick up the bottle and shake it some more,

If the test kitchen ever did descend to making their vinaigrette in a bottle and not using mayo I wouldn't be at all surprised if somewheres in the article they point out that 5 tasters liked it best when shaken with the left hand, six tasters liked it better when shaken with the right hand, but the majority thought it was best when held in either hand while using an abdominal belt vibrator, except for one or two who thought the vibrator made it taste like mothballs from their grandmother's cedar chest.


Edited by Arey (log)
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"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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Kenji is an ex Cook's Illustrated guy, is he also ex ATK?

 

Aren't they all kinda the same? (ATK, Cook's Country, Cook's Illustrated, ATK Radio)


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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Has Cook's Illustrated or ATK ever tested any products from Trader Joe's?


Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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Thanks Arey and Norm. Anything that makes fun of CI gets my seal of approval. Chris Kimball with his homespun routine annoys me no end. I hope his ex wife got the farm and the maple trees and everything else. CI blocks access to all their on-line recipes yet have the nerve to send out unsolicited emails to me for various things. After you "unsubscribe" to their unwanted attentions they wait a year and then start again. Aaargh!

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Has Cook's Illustrated or ATK ever tested any products from Trader Joe's?

 

This question is a parody of itself!

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I was an original subscriber to the magazine and enjoyed it for several years.  I got tired of the format and had a big hassle with their subscription service.  I get the familiar Friday email as well as the inducements.  My email service (gmail) allows me to put in filters which send all the inducements directly to trash.  The Friday emails occasionally have something of interest.

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Unfortunately, sending incessant e-mails hardly makes them unique among companies, judging by my inboxes.

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I find I've never gone wrong by assuming Cook's Illustrated knows nothing

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In my experience, CI recipes are, for the most part, acceptable, but they're far from the "best recipe" for anything.  I think the magazine is useful for people who are new to cooking, or insecure about improvising on existing recipes, but they're often far from imaginative.  One thing that annoys me about the content of the magazine is the authoritative tone.  Yes, they might test several variations before they come up with one that's consistently good, but it leads some readers to believe that theirs is the only right way to prepare a particular dish.

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We got an e-mail from them the other day advising us that they are now offering on-line courses.  For a monthly membership of $19.95 you can access their on-line cooking school without instructor access.  For a monthly fee of $39.95 you get access to their on-line cooking school plus instructors.

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How is there a school without instructors?


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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15 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

How is there a school without instructors?

 

A Zen koan?

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they do love their $$$$ at Cook's

 

that's for sure !

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That. And I would argue that if they feel the need for a cooking school with a separate charge and an upcharge for instructors on top of that, maybe their writers and editors aren't doing their jobs all that well.


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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""""    they feel the need  ****

 

the need is greed      its that simple.

 

I do watch the shows, and learn something from the vids.  they come to me  ****  free *****

 

im sure they are working on that !

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