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CaliPoutine

Cooking with "Cook's Illustrated"

186 posts in this topic

I've made that orange chicken before. While it was good, it seemed to be a lot of work and made for a lot of stuff to clean up. Seemed a little silly for one serving. I think the part that really was the most work was the coating of the and frying of the chicken. Not sure of the best way to make the recipe work out for spreading out the amount made over multiple days. Cooking it all and once and re-heating probably would NOT be good.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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I've made  that orange chicken before. While it was good, it seemed to be a lot of work and made for a lot of stuff to clean up.  Seemed a little silly for one serving.  I think the part that really was the most work was the coating of the and frying of the chicken.  Not  sure of the best way to make the recipe work out for spreading out the amount made over multiple days.  Cooking it all and once and re-heating probably would NOT be good.

Definitely a reasonable point. One of the things I have done in the past is to make the marinade/sauce ahead of time and put it in the fridge. There's no getting around the deep-frying being a pain in the butt, though. Of course, I take a sort of perverse delight in my kitchen being declared a Superfund site following cooking projects... :biggrin: Which reminds me: the recipe doesn't actually call for the chicken to be deep-fried, just pan-fried with a lot of oil, but I prefer the simplicity and texture of deep-frying, since you don't have to attend it, turning the pieces over, etc.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Those parodies are spot on, I love the boiling water one! :laugh:

Tonight I made the Stir-Fried Sichuan Green Beans from the January 2007 issue of Cook's Illustrated (recipe here if you have online access). This is another one of my favorites: the sauce is pretty simple, mostly soy sauce and dry sherry. I get asked on occasion if you can omit the sherry, since there is only one tablespoon, but alas, as far as I am concerned the answer is "no." It lends a very distinctive and pleasant flavor to the dish: I use a "bottom-shelf" sherry that I think was about $8 for 750mL and it has lasted me for years, so my recommendation is to just buy some sherry. The other great thing about this dish is that even though it calls for 1/4 pound of ground pork (I just chop a boneless pork chop up in the food processor), you can easily make it a vegetarian dish by swapping in some mushrooms in place of the ground pork, with no loss of flavor. I sometimes make it that way just to change things up. All in all, including prep time on the green beans, this recipe takes me about thirty minutes to make, so it's good for weeknights when I'm in a hurry:

gallery_56799_5710_7097.jpg


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I made the Spinach Lasagna the day before yesterday and baked it off yesterday for a dinner party.

gallery_25969_665_341573.jpg

I also made the German Chocolate cake. I made it in a 9 x 13, but I much prefer it layers. I dont like crusty edges, but the chocolate flavor was intense!!

gallery_25969_665_474228.jpg


Edited by CaliPoutine (log)

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I made the Spinach Lasagna the day before yesterday and baked it off yesterday for a dinner party.

I also made the German Chocolate cake.  I made it in a 9 x 13, but I much prefer it layers.  I dont like crusty edges, but the chocolate flavor was intense!!

I really like their German Chocolate Cake recipe: it's the best I've run across (I make it a layer cake: it's really tall and impressive-looking!). The spinach lasagna I was a little less fond of. It's good, and I would make it again, but it has a certain sweetness to it that I thought was a little odd. I am going to have to play around with that one some more.

Ok, how about the recipe for "Slow Roasted Beef" - using an eye of round, salting and slow roasting it.

Proves you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!

I haven't tried it---have you made it? Did it turn out as well as promised?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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  • Pasta all' Amatriciana (t/o/b), 2000, November, pp. 20

I made this last night and it was great, even with just 4 oz. of pancetta. My Wegman's only sells the prepackaged cubed stuff, that I know of. I'm going to have to make my own one of these days.

I also made Yeasted Doughnuts, Baking Illustrated, pp. 127-128, my first ever success story with doughnuts. They were soft and fluffy, not leaden and crunchy like most of my previous efforts. I stuffed a few with raspberry baker's jam, then dipped in granulated sugar, topped a few with chocolate glaze, and dipped the holes (that sounds so wrong :raz: ) in cinnamon sugar. Wow, what a nice surprise. I can make doughnuts!!

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Tonight's dinner was Arroz con Pollo, a.k.a. Latino-style Chicken and Rice, from the September 2006 issue of Cook's Illustrated (recipe here if you have online access).

Could we turn this all-day one-dish dinner into a fast but flavorful weeknight meal?

Of course, they believe the answer to this question is "yes," and proceed to demonstrate what they've come up with. The trouble is, the article seems to think that the recipe can be made in about an hour. Perhaps the professional cooks in the test kitchen could make this recipe on an hour, but it has taken me almost two hours both times I have made it, and as far as I am concerned, two hours is well over my "weeknight dinner" limit. Maybe I just chop slowly, but the prep work for this recipe takes more than the minute or two they seem to allot it.

That being said, the end product is delicious, and well worth the two hours it takes. This is another recipe that I make with white meat (my wife's preference) rather than the dark meat the recipe calls for. I don't know how much I am losing in the process, but hey, it tastes good! (If you make it with white meat, skip the step of simmering the chicken for twenty minutes before adding the rice) The biggest key to this recipe is making a quick "marinade" to toss the chicken with just prior to serving. I dunno about you, but I call these post-cooking marinades "sauces." Surprisingly enough, adding a sauce to the chicken adds flavor :shock: !! Who knew...

Without further ado, here 'tis:

gallery_56799_5710_4584.jpg


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The biggest key to this recipe is making a quick "marinade" to toss the chicken with just prior to serving. I dunno about you, but I call these post-cooking marinades "sauces." Surprisingly enough, adding a sauce to the chicken adds flavor  !! Who knew...

CI must be very fond of this method. In their chicken fajita's( white meat, yeah!!) part of the marinade is saved and then tossed with the cooked chicken/veg. They are really the best fajitas I've ever had.

Oh and that chicken/rice looks fab. What kind of rice did you use?

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Oh and that chicken/rice looks fab.  What kind of rice did you use?

The recipe calls for medium grain, but I used basmati since all I had on had was short grain and basmati. You need to add a little more water, but I think it still turns out well.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Without further ado, here 'tis:

gallery_56799_5710_4584.jpg

This is one of my favorite CI recipes. When your wife is not home, make it with the chicken thighs. I've made it both ways and the thighs bring a completely different and much better dimension to the dish. Also, I do not stir every 10 minutes during the 30 minute baking period suggested in the recipe. I find that this makes the rice in the finished product gummy. I just lift the lid about 1/2 way through to see if additional liquid is needed, and leave it at that.

As an aside, I have some Cuban friends who insist that mayonnaise is the proper accompaniment for this dish! :blink:

Although there are many CI recipes that I like, I cancelled my subscriptions to both magazines and my online subscription due to customer service issues. (And let me tell you, getting these 3 things cancelled and my refund practically took an Act of Congress.) I can't really think of any other company that I have ever encountered that had such terrible customer service.

Now I order whatever cookbooks that I want from Amazon, usually secondhand.

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Strawberry cream cake( YOU MUST MAKE THIS!!)

I just made the Strawberry Cream Cake for a friend's birthday today and Oh My Goodness that was delicious. Wonderful fresh berry flavor, a great balance of fruit/cake/cream, and structurally sound. One of the problems they wanted to address in making the recipe was some way of strengthing the whipped cream so it could support multiple layers, and the amount of cream cheese added did just that without adding a noticeable cream cheese flavor.

I also made the Flourless Chocolate Cake, which was delicious, rich, yet still melting and light on the tongue. Be sure to serve in VERY thin slices, as it is extremely rich. (The recipe says it serves 12-16. I cut it into 16 slices and I still thought it was a generous serving.)

Both got many, many compliments.

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I made these latka's back in December.  They were amazing, the best ones I've ever made.  Once again CI's method comes through!!

gallery_25969_665_732265.jpg

Nice! Did you use the optional matzo meal? I'd like to make them but don't have the meal. Does it make a big difference?


Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Today I made the CI German chocolate cake. I frosted it with Italian Meringue Buttercream, not the regular frosting. The cake was just a perfect chocolate cake - great crumb, intense chocolate flavor. Everyone loved it:

gallery_34972_3570_70414.jpg

My go-to sandwich bread is CI's American Sandwich bread. I've never had it not turn out perfectly - and I am not an expert baker:

gallery_34972_3570_156431.jpg

gallery_34972_3570_370473.jpg

I don't think that I've ever had a CI recipe 'fail' me. Usually I make slight adjustments, but not enough to fundamentally change the basic recipe.

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I made these latka's back in December.  They were amazing, the best ones I've ever made.  Once again CI's method comes through!!

gallery_25969_665_732265.jpg

Nice! Did you use the optional matzo meal? I'd like to make them but don't have the meal. Does it make a big difference?

Yes, I did use the matzo meal( cause I always have it). I'm sure you can sub out some flour instead. My mom always used matzo meal when we were groing up, but I've made some pretty good latkas at a former job using flour.

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Tonight I made Tilapia filets with the Coconut-Red Curry Sauce from the March 2005 issue of Cook's Illustrated (recipe here if you have online access). This is another of my favorite CI recipes, along with all of the other sauces for fish in this article. I actually completely ignore their advice on how to cook the fish, which is the bulk of the article, and just use their sauce recipes. In this one I double the amount of curry paste and add a little cayenne pepper. I usually make a full batch and freeze 2/3 of it (without the cilantro): it reheats perfectly, and I get three two-serving meals out of the recipe. The whole meal takes about 20 minutes to make, including prep, so it's really great for nights when you are in a hurry. Just remember to put the rice on first!

gallery_56799_5710_30753.jpg


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris~

that looks amazing.

Can you paraphrase your sauce, the way you make it (ingredients?)

I like Thai curry on almost anything ! :shock:

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Chris~

that looks amazing.

Can you paraphrase your sauce, the way you make it (ingredients?)

I like Thai curry on almost anything !  :shock:

Sure, it's a very simple sauce, just a few teaspoons of curry paste, a clove of garlic, and some ginger. You start that frying in a little oil, then add coconut milk, lime juice and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce to your preferred consistency, fry the fish, add the cilantro to the curry, and serve. I like to keep it light so you can still taste the fish.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris~

that looks amazing.

Can you paraphrase your sauce, the way you make it (ingredients?)

I like Thai curry on almost anything !  :shock:

You can find the sauce recipe here (scroll down.)


~Amy

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As I think that I stated somewhere upthread, CI's customer service (or lack thereof) caused me to cancel both of my magazine subscriptions and my online subscription. Over the years, I have made and enjoyed many CI recipes but also had some that were not worth the time and effort (and it seems to me that nearly all CI recipes require a lot of time and effort, not to mention dirtying half the stuff in my kitchen).

One favorite that I make on a regular basis is the parmesan-crusted chicken breasts. (bad photo, but it tastes great):

gallery_51874_4568_128571.jpg

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Chris~

that looks amazing.

Can you paraphrase your sauce, the way you make it (ingredients?)

I like Thai curry on almost anything !  :shock:

You can find the sauce recipe here (scroll down.)

Thanks, Chris and schnitzel~

there are some yummy looking sauce recipes there.

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Have had some fun reading this thread. Personally, I've found many of the recipes are quite good from CI, especially the Parmesan Chicken and their Coconut Macaroons with  added coconut cream...

What issue would I find the Coconut Macaroon recipe in. I've got an old one from 1996, but no added coconut cream.

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Triple Coconut Macaroons are in the CI February 2000 issue. Issue #42


I'd rather be making cheese; growing beets or smoking briskets.

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