Sunday, March 29, 2009

The BEST Cooking Guide

I recently discovered "The Best of America's Test Kitchen." It is an annual magazine that brings together the "year's best from Cook's Illustrated and the America's Test Kitchen TV Show.

While I never heard of the show, I've long enjoyed Cook's Illustrated. I've subscribed to a lot of cooking magazines over the past 20 or so years. I was a long time fan of Gourmet and really like Ruth Reichel, but found I never had enough time to get through the magazine. I read Cooking Light for years and even Food & Wine.

What Cook's Illustrated and its sister publication do so well is speak to actual cooking techniques. They test and test and test recipes and distill their learning so that when you make it at home, it comes out flawless. And they give you great hints for bringing out the best in the recipe. Most of the recipes have "Notes from the Test Kitchen" where they provide simple black and white illustrated tips. A recipe for Restaurant Style Hummas has a note on the "Best Canned Chickpeas" -- again tested, and tested and tested again.

Tonight I made their General Tso's Chicken. I have to say it was even better than in a restaurant with no funky MSG aftertaste.

Anyone who knows me would see that the reason I bought the magazine because of the Tiramisu on the cover. While the recipe inside sounds great. I was disappointed. It calls for using store bought lady fingers. While that's a traditional approach, I have made Tiramisu from scratch. It's so much more rewarding when you do it all. Still, it's worth buying - the tips alone are great.

You can see it here.

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