Cook's Country April/May 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.

United States
Boston Common Press, LP
6 期号


letter from the editor

I BELIEVE AMERICA’S COOKS have powerful voices. In addition to inspiring us with their kitchen wisdom, they help us explore culture and our shared humanity. In my new role, I plan to turn an even brighter spotlight on our country’s great cooks. One of those legends is Alexander Bodnar of Józsa Corner in Pittsburgh. Executive Food Editor Bryan Roof and Senior Staff Photographer Steve Klise met the Hungarian American chef while exploring the region a while back for one of our On the Road features. Bodnar has been described as a welcoming host whose “presence is a vital part of the meal,” as valued as a dish of classic goulash or chicken paprikash. We honor this hometown hero on the inside back cover of this issue with a radiant portrait, but you…

ask cook’s country

The Main Squeeze Why do jam and jelly recipes often call for using bottled lemon juice as opposed to fresh? Wouldn’t they taste better with fresh? –Nan Fredericks, Milwaukee, Wis. The acidity level (measured as pH) in a canned jam or jelly has to be right in order for it to be safe. Additionally, acidity plays a key role in the gelling ability of pectin; without a consistent pH, it can be difficult to predict how a jam or jelly will set. The acidity of fresh lemon juice varies too much to consistently predict how much it will impact a given preserve. Bottled lemon juice, however, has a controlled pH that is always consistent, so we often call for it in our jam and jelly recipes to ensure the same results every time. THE BOTTOM…

kitchen shortcuts

A Moment of Clarity Erin DiPasquale of Oklahoma City, Okla., makes stock once a week. When she does, she likes to skim the fat for a cleaner taste and clearer stock. Erin has found an easy way to effectively skim the fat: After letting the stock rest off the heat so that the fat can rise, she puts a few ice cubes in her metal ladle and then drags it all around the surface of the stock. The fat solidifies on the outside of the cold ladle, where it can be wiped off easily with a paper towel. Tomatillo Warm Bath Fresh tomatillos aren’t exactly hard to husk, but there is a sticky sap between the papery husk and green flesh that can be a bit annoying. Alice Gonzales of Fort Worth, Texas,…

our guide to storing and organizing spices

SPICES BRING OUR food to life by adding flavor, fragrance, and texture (think spice-crusted steaks or herb-coated goat cheese). In the test kitchen, we define a spice as anything that comes from a plant that is dried and can flavor food. Herbs are often put in a category of their own, but we’ve included them in our guide (read the full version at because we use them often and in much the same way that we use spices. Whole versus Ground Grinding whole spices immediately before using them releases the volatile compounds that give them their flavor and aroma, so it’s a great way to get a lot of punch from your spices. Storing and Organizing Spices Location, Location, Location: When whole and ground spices are exposed to light, air, and heat while…

mana’eesh za’atar (za’atar flatbreads)

FLATBREADS PLAY A vital role in many Middle Eastern cuisines, often served alongside full meals or as vehicles for dips or pools of fragrant extra-virgin olive oil. In Lebanon, mana’eesh are found both as a street food and as a specialty of dedicated bakeries. According to Maroun (Mario) Ellakis, owner of Mario’s Lebanese Bakery in Fall River, Massachusetts, they are eaten at nearly every Lebanese meal. A man’oushe (the singular form of mana’eesh) is typically topped with olive oil and the spice mix za’atar, a combination of sumac; thyme; sesame seeds; and sometimes oregano, coriander, cumin, and salt. In Lebanese, the word “man’oushe” means “engraved” and refers to the indentations in the bread made by tapping the dough with your fingertips just before baking it. This keeps the dough from puffing…

following the (saintly) signs

IT’S 6 A.M. at Mario’s Lebanese Bakery in Fall River, Massachusetts, and Maroun (Mario) Ellakis feeds mana’eesh za’atar, a Lebanese flatbread coated with za’atar, onto the revolving steel plates of his custom-built brick oven. “We eat mana’eesh every day in Lebanon. Anytime. Early morning, supper, anytime,” says Mario. As he slides each dough round into the oven, Mario quickly taps them a half dozen times with his fingertips to reduce puffing and to allow the za’atar mixture to pool in the pockets as they bake. After 90 seconds in the depths of the 1,200-degree oven, the mana’eesh emerge with delicate, char-flecked bubbles on top and a crisp, golden bottom. From a young age Mario was drawn to the kitchen, where he would help his mother cook. He enjoyed being around the food…