EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Food & Wine
Cook's Illustrated

Cook's Illustrated

September/October 2020

At Cook's Illustrated, our test cooks are dedicated to testing and retesting recipes 20, 30, sometimes 50 times until we come up with a recipe that will come out right the first time -- and every time -- you make it. And each issue of Cook's Illustrated is 100% ADVERTISING FREE, so you get unbiased and objective information on every page. As we like to say at Cook's Illustrated, "We make the mistakes so you don't have to."

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

in this issue

3 min.
a guide to time travel

My parents bought the house on Cold Spring Road in 1975, three years before my older sister, Liz, was born. She and I were lucky enough to spend our entire childhoods in that dusky-blue colonial. The house sits on just shy of an acre, but a large portion of the yard is wetland. “Swamp” is the more honest word for it—a big, swampy backyard. Bad for resale value, a boon to the local mosquito population, and an idyllic playground for wildlife-obsessed kids. The first summer that Liz and I were old enough to grasp the pole of a frog net in our hands, my dad bought a large globe-shaped aquarium for the back deck. The rules were simple: He’d fill the tank with fresh water in the morning, and we’d…

4 min.
quick tips

Round Cutter Roasting Rack Finding herself without a roasting rack, Susan Chi of Lawrence, Kan., improvised by placing several open-style round metal cutters in the bottom of a roasting pan. She then placed the chicken to be roasted on top of the cutters, suspending it above the bottom of the pan. Prevent Grater Nicks with a Mandoline Guard After injuring her finger on a box grater one too many times, Ellie Sweeney of Melrose, Mass., now spears the food she is prepping with the long prongs of her mandoline guard. Just as it grips food and protects her hands from that tool’s sharp blade, it also prevents painful nicks on the grater and allows her to prep without worry. (To prevent the tines of the guard from snagging on the grater, she stops…

8 min.
a case for grilled short ribs

The best steaks for searing over hot coals are those that have enough fat and beefy flavor to support the smoky, charred aromas that the meat acquires during grilling. Meaty rib eyes and strip steaks fit the bill—but they are a real splurge. So what if I told you that there is an equally flavorful cut that will run you only about half as much? Boneless beef short ribs are ribboned with fat and grill up as juicy as can be, with a satisfying chew similar to that of flank or skirt steak. The seams of fat that run through beef short ribs are responsible for the incredible flavor that they can achieve on a grill. As with any well-marbled steak, as the beef cooks, fatty acids form aromatic compounds. It’s…

7 min.
dan dan mian

If you love noodles and Sichuan food, you’re probably well versed in dan dan mian and all its chewy, spicy, electric glory. The dish, named for the pole that vendors use to tote ingredients, is iconic street food within the province, where diners savor even the act of mixing together their own portion—a custom known as “ban.” The ritual starts with four color-blocked elements neatly composed in a bowl: a pool of vivid red chili sauce, a mound of ivory wheat noodles, crispy browned bits of seasoned ground pork, and lengths of jade-green baby bok choy. Then, with the nudge of your chopsticks, all that color, heat, and savory tang washes over the noodles—and then your palate. Just as the numbing sensation and richness builds and nearly overwhelms your tastebuds,…

5 min.
poulet au vinaigre

When I was a culinary student in France, my most enduring food memories were made in the rustic bouchons of Lyon. That’s where I experienced poulet au vinaigre, a dish that exemplifies the simple and stellar everyday French cooking known as “la cuisine traditionnelle francaise.” As you might guess, the sauce for poulet au vinaigre features vinegar—the bright, tangy red wine type—but it also includes white wine, chicken broth, fresh tomato, anise-y tarragon, and a bit of heavy cream. White wine is used so as not to impart too much color to the chicken; the red wine vinegar adds tannic intensity and sharpness to the creamy, satisfying sauce. The dish comes together easily. Bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (usually both light and dark meat) are first browned in a skillet, and then one…

4 min.
farro and broccoli rabe gratin

Many gratins trade almost entirely on the richness of heavy cream and cheese, but there is room to modernize—and lighten up—the concept to create a satisfying meatless main course. My plan was to keep the usual crunchy topping but pack the filling with substantial, boldly flavored ingredients. And just because the dish would be vegetarian didn’t mean it would have to lack depth. I took inspiration from the classic Tuscan dish of beans and greens, a union of white beans and escarole or Swiss chard seasoned with onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. To turn the dish into a hearty main, it seemed fitting to add another Tuscan staple—farro—to the mix. The tender chew and robust nuttiness of the hulled whole-wheat kernels would round out the gratin. To start, I sauteed a…