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Cooking with "Cook's Illustrated"


CaliPoutine
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Re: the blueberry muffins: I really, really disliked the streusel. I found it completely overpowered the muffins, and of course I was a bit ticked about that as I used fresh, wild blueberries that cost a small fortune. Even with the top lopped off the muffin, I did not care for the taste. I used whatever flour the recipe specified although I am in Canada and the flour here does have more protein in it. Since everyone else is raving about them, maybe I will try them again using a cinnamon/demerra sugar only topping. Should I cut the all purpose flour with some cake & pastry flour to reduce the protein content? Any ideas about what the ratio should be? If someone can answer that last question for me, I'll try them again and report back. As a final note, neither my husband nor I finished the one muffin we started and the rest got pitched. We thought they were that bad - not a single redeeming feature.

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From reading this thread, I've noticed at least three blueberry muffin recipes mentioned?

For me, the best was one they printed several years ago (when I still subscribed), which was fairly plain. They trumpeted them as more "tea cake" than monster muffin. The negative they were trying to correct was the large, dry and tasteless muffin shop version. In fact, the recipe for those muffins was almost exactly the same as my mother's blueberry muffins, so no surprise I thought they were really good.

The streusel topping and even the addition of lemon as an additional flavor seems like gilding the lily, IMHO. So maybe your best bet is to track down that "tea cake" version? (My old issues are still in boxes from moving or I'd find it for you.)

Or I can send you mom's recipe. :wink:

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Today I made the no-knead bread 2.0 recipe from the January 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated. Here's how it came out (comments follow):

gallery_59916_6220_65206.jpg

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The crust is completely amazing! Baking the bread in a dutch oven really, really works. It's light and very crispy. The crumb is also very nice. Chewy and open.

I made one mistake which was to use kosher salt when the recipe called for table salt. I only noticed afterwards, so I didn't use enough. But beyond being somewhat undersalted, the other components are pretty good. Adding beer and vinegar makes it takes pretty good. It's not anywhere near as complex as a good sourdough, but heck, for 10 minutes of work, this is really hard to beat.

I'm going to make it again for sure.

They have a video podcast showing the procedure, which I believe is free to watch for anybody: Almost No-Knead Bread

That is a gorgeous loaf.

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Leftovers from last night

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Garlic Chicken with Sweet Roasted Pepper Sauce

This is a definite keeper. john really liked the sauce with the basic, garlic and sweet peppers. I had mine over some curly pasta and johnnybird had his over some roasted white sweet potatoes.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Yesterday I made the "Real" Hungarian Beef Stew from the most recent (Nov/Dec) CI. Despite a couple of necessary adjustments, it came out very yummy.

I happened to have 1.5lb chuck roast in the freezer that needed using up, so I made a half batch. The paprika I had in the house was the Penzey's Hungary Sweet. I used olive oil, and more like 3 or 4 tbls, because (thanks to Marcella) I believe that the fat helps carry the flavor. Also, I seem to remember reading in the old Time Life series that making a true paprikash you basically need a lot of fat, a lot of onions, and a lot of paprika.

I left out the carrots, because they really didn't seem to belong and anyway we wanted them roasted as a separate dish. And I discovered at the end of the process that I had no beef broth in the house, so after a bit of hemming and hawing, I substituted beer. That worked out OK, although a stout or mild beer would have been better than the not-very-good organic IPA we happened to have in the fridge. Water probably would have been fine too. And I wouldn't hesitate to throw a little red wine in there, if that's what you prefer.

The verdict: The texture of the meat was FABULOUS, and the sauce was really good. Very slightly bitter, but I blame that on my lame IPA, and possibly the Penzey's paprika. This is going right onto the list of cold-weather favorites. I really appreciated not having to brown all those darn chunks of meat, and might see about adapting the technique with some of my other favorite stew recipes.

I certainly wouldn't dilute this with any sour cream.

Highly recommended.

Pics coming soon; I never remember to upload them first...

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I made the red chilie chicken enchiladas last night they were very good. When I tasted them they were a little sweet for me, my daughter also made the same comment. It was than I realized I used a maui sweet onion instead of a regular one - duh. Besides that it had a nice balance of spice and the chicken/cheese/sauce ratio was perfect.

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I made the red chilie chicken enchiladas last night they were very good. When I tasted them they were a little sweet for me, my daughter also made the same comment. It was than I realized I used a maui sweet onion instead of a regular one - duh. Besides that it had a nice balance of spice and the chicken/cheese/sauce ratio was perfect.

This is one of my favorites. I've made it numerous times and its always perfect!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I made CI's American Loaf Bread- Standing Mixer Method..again. I've found that it and pizza dough have been very forgiving during my learning-about-dough-as-you-go year. I've also made the same version of bread but with a bit of whole grain wheat flour and that's a good sandwich loaf too. Maybe even better since we really enjoy strong, wheaty, flavors.

Question, though. Why do blisters form underneath the crust and then deflate when the loaf is cooled? It creates an undesirable skin-type texture.

gallery_17172_5762_51149.jpg For fun, I added the sesame seeds after I smeared a bit of butter over the uncooked loaf. I'm guessing that they would've stuck better if I had used an egg wash instead.

gallery_17172_5762_412392.jpg It's soft and slightly sweet with the milk, honey and butter. I love it for turkey and grilled cheese sandwiches, french toast, croutons and breadcrumbs. So good!

Edited by petite tête de chou (log)

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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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to this thread, I made the red chili enchiladas last night. They were terrific. At the end of the meal, my husband asked somewhat anxiously, "This is going into your permanent recipe file, right? You're not going to lose it, right?

pat

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

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

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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I made CI's American Loaf Bread- Standing Mixer Method..again. I've found that it and pizza dough have been very forgiving during my learning-about-dough-as-you-go year. I've also made the same version of bread but with a bit of whole grain wheat flour and that's a good sandwich loaf too. Maybe even better since we really enjoy strong, wheaty, flavors.

Question, though. Why do blisters form underneath the crust and then deflate when the loaf is cooled? It creates an undesirable skin-type texture.

gallery_17172_5762_51149.jpg For fun, I added the sesame seeds after I smeared a bit of butter over the uncooked loaf. I'm guessing that they would've stuck better if I had used an egg wash instead.

gallery_17172_5762_412392.jpg It's soft and slightly sweet with the milk, honey and butter. I love it for turkey and grilled cheese sandwiches, french toast, croutons and breadcrumbs. So good!

That is one gorgeous loaf! This bread is my regular, go-to white bread. It is NOT what most people think of when they hear 'white bread' - there is nothing 'Wonder-ish' about it!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Last night we had Carbonnade a la Flamande—Belgian Beef, Beer, and Onion Stew, from the November 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated (recipe here if you have online access).

I have not made this one in a few years and had forgotten how great it is. This is one of the most flavorful beef stews in my arsenal, even though it is quite basic. This is also the first time I have been able to make it with the beer they suggest (Chimay) instead of the easier-to-find Newcastle: wow! It was good with Newcastle, but it is great with Chimay. I used homemade beef stock instead of the half-chicken/half-beef canned stock they call for, which also helps. I also find that it is best to make this the day before you want it and to let it sit in the fridge overnight. This seems to intensify the flavors (hey, I don't know why, it just works...). I highly recommend this recipe: if it's getting cold where you are, time to break out the Dutch oven and get your braise on.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Thanks for the reminder--the carbonnade is a great recipe. What kind of a starch did you serve with it? I can't decide if I prefer noodles or mashed potatoes.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Thanks for the reminder--the carbonnade is a great recipe. What kind of a starch did you serve with it? I can't decide if I prefer noodles or mashed potatoes.

They are both great, but I am a sucker for mashed potatoes, so that's what we had this time. We have enough leftovers for two more meals, though, so I am going to go with egg noodles for the next round.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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  • 4 weeks later...

I regularly prepare Cook's Illustrated recipes yet rarely take photos. This is mostly because that while the recipes are usually a success the photos...aren't. :rolleyes:

Tonight I made CI's Hearty Vegetable Soup (no photo- whew) and Tall and Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits. All soft food for my husband who had some dental work done today. Poor guy.

Loved, loved the biscuits. Good with the soup but a *great* late night snack with raspberry preserves and tea.

gallery_17172_5762_1228926.jpg

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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Tonight I made CI's Hearty Vegetable Soup (no photo- whew) and Tall and Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits. All soft food for my husband who had some dental work done today. Poor guy. 

Wow - those looks really stellar. What issue is the recipe from? I'd like to give them a whirl too.

oh, and regarding the discussion above about blueberry muffins: I made the blueberry muffins with the butter and sugar topping. Not so impressed. I found they tasted mostly of sugar, not blueberries. Even without the topping, I found them pretty plain. Kinda bummed about it. CI recipes are usually the bomb.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Tonight I made CI's Hearty Vegetable Soup (no photo- whew) and Tall and Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits. All soft food for my husband who had some dental work done today. Poor guy. 

Wow - those looks really stellar. What issue is the recipe from? I'd like to give them a whirl too.

oh, and regarding the discussion above about blueberry muffins: I made the blueberry muffins with the butter and sugar topping. Not so impressed. I found they tasted mostly of sugar, not blueberries. Even without the topping, I found them pretty plain. Kinda bummed about it. CI recipes are usually the bomb.

Hey, thanks. The soup is from September 2003 and the biscuits are from July 2004.

Tonight I used a couple CI recipes. Yesterday I baked the Buttermilk American Loaf Bread (May 1996) which we ate warm with butter and a bowl of beef stew. And tonight I used a few slices of it in their Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup (September 2008). I've made this soup before using the White American Loaf bread and it's been very good every time. So this evening we'll have tomato soup with tuna salad sandwiches and Tim's lightly salted potato chips. I often find that I can base almost a weeks worth of meals around a single loaf of bread and being a frugal sort this thrills me. :smile:

For what might pass as a picture of aforementioned bread and soup...

gallery_17172_5762_35318.jpg

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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I made the "Old Fashioned Roast Pork" from Cook's Country. It was far and away the best roast pork ever. It takes 2 days, but is worth it. The recipe is on the Cook's Country TV website.

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This week I made the Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew from the March 2008 Issue (Here if you have online access.). I followed the recipe pretty closely, subbing in homemade chicken stock for the canned stuff and guanciale for the pancetta, but otherwise leaving this one alone. I used some gigantic Rancho Gordo Runner Cannelini beans, which were terrific for this, though they increased the cooking time a bit. Overall this is a very full-flavored, nuanced stew: one of the best versions of this dish I have ever had. I highly recommend whipping up a batch of this if it's cold where you are. And it's pretty economical to boot!

gallery_56799_5925_40271.jpg

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I attended a Super Bowl party yesterday where another guest brought CI's "Chewy, Fudgy Triple Chocolate Brownies". OMG, they were wonderful. On first bite, they were just a little chewy and then you got to the gooey fudgy part. They were so moist and gooey they made me wonder how they were able to keep their shape.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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This week I made the Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew from the March 2008 Issue (Here if you have online access.). I followed the recipe pretty closely, subbing in homemade chicken stock for the canned stuff and guanciale for the pancetta, but otherwise leaving this one alone. I used some gigantic Rancho Gordo Runner Cannelini beans, which were terrific for this, though they increased the cooking time a bit. Overall this is a very full-flavored, nuanced stew: one of the best versions of this dish I have ever had. I highly recommend whipping up a batch of this if it's cold where you are. And it's pretty economical to boot!

gallery_56799_5925_40271.jpg

Chris,

Did you buy the beans online? I've looked for them on their website, but haven't seen them available recently. The stew looks fantastic BTW.

Thanks,

Jeff

Edited by jvalentino (log)
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I made the "Old Fashioned Roast Pork" from Cook's Country. It was far and away the best roast pork ever. It takes 2 days, but is worth it. The recipe is on the Cook's Country TV website.

I made it today where I cook for a bunch of Seniors. I'm curious to see what it looks like when I slice it tomorrow. For economys sake, I used all dried herbs and some different ones that what the recipe calls for.

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