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Food & Wine
Cook's Country

Cook's Country

February/March 2021

Cook's Country magazine is dedicated to honest-to-goodness American home cooking, offering quick, easy and satisfying meals that don't take hours to put on the table. Every recipe we publish has been tested and retested 20, 30, sometimes 50 times until we come up with a recipe that will work the first time and every time you make it. And each issue of Cook's Country is 100% ADVERTISING FREE, so you get unbiased and objective information on every page.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Boston Common Press, LP
Frequency:
Bimonthly
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
letter from the editors

THE PROCESS OF developing a recipe for Cook’s Country can take weeks or even months. Each recipe is assigned to a test cook or editor, who shepherds it through an exacting process. Step one is research. What is the story behind this dish? Where does it come from? Was this dish invented in a specific place by an identifiable person, or did it evolve over the years in hundreds or thousands of home kitchens? Next comes experimentation. If recipes for this dish already exist, the cook will prepare several of them, usually five or more, to get a feel for various techniques, ingredients, ratios, and results. The cook will draw up a rough working recipe based on these forays. Then it’s time to grab a microscope and train it on every facet of…

4 min.
ask cook’s country

Make Way for Mayo I’ve heard of using mayonnaise instead of butter on the outside of grilled cheese sandwiches. Does it really work, and is there any benefit? –Elizabeth Balter, Melbourne, Fla. Mayonnaise is used as a secret ingredient for countless applications in restaurant kitchens. Intrigued, we set out to explore what mayonnaise had to o_ er a grilled cheese sandwich. Mayo and butter are both mostly fat (which browns well), but unlike butter, mayo is inherently spreadable when it’s cold, so you don’t have to wait for it to soften. But how does it work in the pan? To find out, we did a blind tasting of grilled cheese sandwiches made with butter spread on the outside versus sandwiches made with a similar amount of mayonnaise; for good measure, we made another…

3 min.
kitchen shortcuts

When Oil and Water Do Mix Mandy Zepeda Menendez of Shirley, Ark., has a trick for keeping wet masa harina (corn _ our) doughs from sticking to her hands while working with them. When handling the dough for corn tortillas, pupusas, sopes, or huaraches, she keeps a small bowl of water to which she’s added a few drops of vegetable oil nearby to moisten her hands. The water-oil mixture keeps the dough from sticking to her fingers for longer than water alone. One Can to Sauce Them All Renée Carrero of San Francisco, Calif., prefers whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes to any other canned tomato product for making tomato sauces of all kinds. She’s found a clean, convenient way to chop them or puree them for smooth sauces: She breaks them down in…

5 min.
cast iron butterflied chicken and vegetables

WHAT COULD BE simpler or more comforting than a golden, crispy-skinned, juicy chicken perched atop a heap of hearty, schmaltzy roasted vegetables? When I started to develop this recipe, I expected it to be a snap. But for such a seemingly straightforward idea, it’s surprising how fast it can go sideways on you. I first threw together a mixture of salt, pepper, and fresh thyme; rubbed a whole chicken generously with olive oil (to help the spice mixture stick and the skin crisp); and then tossed my favorite vegetables for roasting—potatoes, fennel, onion, and carrots—with the rest of the spice mixture and a bit more oil. I added the vegetables to an ovensafe skillet; plopped the bird on top; and put it all into the oven to roast, eager to…

4 min.
pork cacciatore

CACCIATORE IS THOUGHT to have first been made during the Renaissance period in Italy, but the truth is, nobody really knows when it was invented. What we do know for sure is that the word “cacciatore” means “hunter-style” in Italian. The original version of the dish was likely made with wild game, and if it really is that old, tomatoes wouldn’t have been included, since those delicious orbs wouldn’t have yet made their way from the Americas to Italy. The modern-day Italian American version of the dish contains braised meat (typically bone-in chicken pieces) in a garlicky, wine-enhanced tomato sauce that is studded with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. While I love a good chicken cacciatore, the test kitchen has been down that road before, so I was looking for a fresh…

4 min.
skillet-roasted green beans

WHETHER WE’RE TALKING about brussels sprouts, butternut squash, broccoli, or beets, my go-to method for cooking most vegetables is to toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then roast them in the oven. The high, dry heat gives them deep browning and concentrates their flavors by cooking off some of the vegetables’ moisture. But I’ve never really gotten great results from oven-roasting green beans; they usually turn out dry and leathery. You can sauté green beans in a skillet on the stovetop, but it’s hard to not overcook them into mush by the time you get good color (unless you precook the beans first, and who wants to add a step?). Undeterred, I set out to achieve the ideal roasted green beans. I wanted them to be fully tender…