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Cook's Illustrated November/December 2019

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."

United States
Boston Common Press, LP
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
cruise night

My dad’s not much of a music lover. He doesn’t have a beloved album collection or a list of favorite singers and, to the dismay of all passengers, prefers to drive in silence. But there’s one day of the year when all that changes: Christmas Eve. When my sister and I were little, he started a tradition: After Christmas Eve dinner, he’d pop us both in the back seat of his Pontiac, crank up Elvis’ Christmas Album, and drive us from neighborhood to neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. As Elvis crooned and we cruised down winding country roads, around cul-de-sacs, and by the town common, we’d all give commentary on the quality and quantity of decorations (I always marveled at the houses that went for all blue lights). Eventually…

3 min
quick tips

Reusable Cover for Cooked Steaks Instead of wasting a sheet of aluminum foil to tent steaks as they rest after cooking, John Sturtz of Seoul, South Korea, uses a disposable aluminum pan. Like foil, the pan sits gently on top of the meat to help keep it warm, but it’s reusable and easy to clean. Truss Poultry with Foil When Alicia Woods of Vancouver, British Columbia, needed to truss a chicken but had no kitchen twine on hand, she came up with a great stand-in: aluminum foil. She twisted the foil into a rope that she then used to tie the bird’s legs together for more even cooking. Reusing Parchment Paper After using parchment paper to bake a batch of cookies or biscuits, Sheryl Ward of West Bend, Wis., finds that there’s still plenty of…

8 min
why (and how to) roast duck

To all the dark meat lovers out there: You’ve been roasting the wrong bird. All due respect to succulent chicken and turkey leg quarters, but they make up only a fraction of the whole bird, which is why you should consider roasting duck. It’s all dark meat, since both the breast and leg portions are well-exercised muscles with ample fat, and it’s imbued with a sultry, bass-note richness that chicken and turkey just don’t have. The duck’s breast is also relatively flat, which enables its skin to brown remarkably evenly, and it’s versatile for entertaining: Pair one bird with a bright sauce and you’ve got an intimate dinner party showpiece. Roast two—doable in one pan—and you can feed a crowd. Here’s the catch: The qualities that make duck special to eat…

4 min
spiral-sliced ham done right

Many recipes for spiral-sliced ham—which has been injected with or immersed in a brine of water, curing salt, and a sweetener; fully cooked; and smoked by the manufacturer—call for heating the ham in a roasting pan covered in foil in a 325-degree oven. But I found this approach to be flawed: By the time the center of the meat is warm, the exterior is certain to be parched. Then there is the sweet glaze that is traditionally painted onto the ham. It’s a great contrast to the smoky, salty meat, but I’m always disappointed that it flavors only the very edge of the thin slices. What’s more, many recipes call for returning the ham to a hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes to help the sugary glaze caramelize and set,…

4 min
roasted fingerling potatoes

Fingerling potatoes are often confused with new potatoes due to their small size and thin, tender skin. However, fingerlings are fully mature potatoes with an earthy nuttiness. Roasting is a great way to enhance their flavor with browning, and their diminutive size means they can be cooked whole. The only problem is that they can vary widely in shape (from crescent-like to knobby) and length (from 1 inch to nearly 5 inches). I wanted to see if I could get assorted sizes to cook at the same rate. I started by tossing 2 pounds of fingerlings with salt and a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet, and placing the sheet in a 450-degree oven. Thirty minutes later, the potatoes had deep patches of browning and…

8 min
classic bubbly cocktails

Sparkling wine cocktails are one of the easiest ways to make a party feel festive. They’re celebratory, they come together in a flash, and they don’t require a stocked liquor cabinet, fancy barware, or even much mixing. And in many cases, you can put together a top-notch version on the cheap. Here we cover the sparkling wine basics, share how to mix three classic cocktails (champagne cocktails, Bellinis, and mimosas), and provide helpful tips that apply to any bubbly cocktail. The Big Three: Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava Champagne, of course, is the gold standard of sparkling wine. It must be made in Champagne, France, using specific grapes and the region’s traditional production method. But even the least expensive bottle of champagne costs about $40. Great alternatives include prosecco ($8 to $30) and…