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Cook's Illustrated

Cook's Illustrated

July/August 2021
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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."

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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.
personal growth

Last summer, with time at home on my hands, I tried growing my own tomatoes. I carefully arranged the plants on my porch to net an ideal 8 hours of sunlight; lavished them with water; and even spent the requisite time worrying about their nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium needs. As I waited for the fruits to come thick and fast, I dreamed of tomato sandwiches on griddled white bread, big batches of pasta sauce, and cooling bowls of creamy gazpacho andaluz. In short, I put in the work. My reward? Three ruddy-orange specimens (I planted a red variety) so firm that they could have survived international shipping. I’ve always marveled at those who can coax deliciousness from little more than seed, soil, and sunlight, and my respect for their talent has…

4 min.
quick tips

Expand Your Dish-Drying Space Large cookware can quickly overload a countertop dish rack. When Arlene Lighthall of Del Mar, Calif., has an empty dishwasher and lots of pots and pans to dry, she uses the dishwasher racks as extra draining space. A No-Spray Way to Juice Citrus When he’s juicing citrus, Nick Martellacci of Brooklyn, N.Y., holds his reamer over a funnel set inside a jar. The funnel helps send the juice straight into the jar, preventing it from spraying out onto the counter. Serving Vessel for Ice-Cold Oysters When he’s serving oysters on the half shell, Dan Murrey of Asheville, N.C., arranges a bed of crushed ice on a wire rack set in a roasting pan and then arranges the shellfish on top. This way, the melting ice drips into the pan below instead…

8 min.
my nuyorican grilled chicken

My Puerto Rican grandmother had a metric for the chicken she marinated in the island’s garlicky wet adobo and roasted for Sunday supper: It had to be so saturated with sabor, or flavor, that you’d even nibble at the bones. She’d pound together loads of fresh garlic, salt, black pepper, oregano, and some vinegar and oil; dab the creamy paste onto her pinkie; and stick it in my mouth—her way of weaning me onto its heady bite. Evidently, it worked, because growing up I’d crave the flavor of that chicken adobo more than any other dish save for one—the version my parents made by translating my grandmother’s formula to the grill. They’d marinate breasts and leg quarters in the same garlicky paste and take them to church barbecues in the park,…

8 min.
upside-down tomato tart

I like the drama of an upside-down tart. The most famous example is a tarte Tatin, which consists of apples that are cooked in a caramel in a skillet; topped with pastry; baked; and inverted so that the pastry base wears the gleaming, deeply bronzed apple crown. It’s a treat that can’t help but impress. The framework has been adapted to seasonal fruits such as peaches, plums, and pears. So why not tomatoes? The bright, savory-sweet fruit would pair naturally with buttery pastry, and by adding components such as herbs and aromatics to a less-sweet stand-in for the caramel, I could easily shift my iteration from the traditional dessert squarely into savory territory. The Building Blocks Plenty of upside-down tarts use store-bought puff pastry, and I saw no reason not to do…

9 min.
paella de verduras

I’ve loved paella ever since I had my first forkful, but I can’t say I’m loyal to any particular version. I’m just as eager to tuck into the Valencian classic, studded with snails and rabbit and garrofón (the broad, white shell bean native to the region), as I am a surf-and-turf paella mixta or a dramatic arroz a la marinera teeming with shellfish. To me, the plump, chewy, sofrito-infused grains are the ultimate foundation for just about any addition—and I can’t help but think that Spanish rice farmers had the same idea centuries ago, when they cobbled together paella prototypes from their harvest and whatever bits of meat and vegetables were available. That flexibility is even more evident in paella de verduras. Showcasing vegetables, rather than merely using them to flavor…

4 min.
southern italian poached fish

In the early 1800s salt was scarce, even along Italy’s southern coast. So hungry fishermen came up with a “crazy”—and frugal—idea: stewing their catch in seawater. That’s just one story behind pesce all’acqua pazza (“fish in crazy water”), which, over time, evolved considerably into a dish featuring firm-fleshed white fish cooked in a tomato-studded, garlic-infused broth. To learn more about acqua pazza, I consulted naturalist and Italian food authority Eugenia Bone. Interestingly, her exceedingly simple formula was nearly identical to that of another source I queried, my Sicilian friend Vito Aluia, an accomplished cook. We prepared his family recipe together: Warm garlic in olive oil; add water, salt, tomato, and parsley; and then gently poach whole whiting—an inexpensive fish with sweet, mild flesh—in the seasoned liquid until it turns opaque. The result…