Library score — Cook’s Illustrated!

20 04 2010

I was peacefully whiling away the morning while BB was in preschool last week, and I stopped by the library.  Outside, they have a shelf of books for sale, and to my utter delight, they had a stack of Cook’s Illustrated magazines too!  If you’re not familiar with this magazine, it’s like the print form of America’s Test Kitchen, my very favorite cooking show.  And if you’re not familiar with ATK, you probably have cable.  ATK is on PBS and I admit I didn’t watch it when I had cable because the Food Network was on 24 hours a day!  ATK reminds me a lot of Good Eats without the theatrics.  They test umpteen variations of a recipe and then show the one that worked the best.  They review kitchen equipment and taste test products.  It’s a super fun show.  I haven’t seen it in ages, so I was thrilled to find a stack of Cook’s Illustrated magazines for dirt cheap.  Yeah, they’re 6 years old, but you know what?  The lemon cake featured on their website RIGHT NOW is in one of my 6 year old magazines.  Good recipes are timeless!  I was so excited, I started with blueberry muffins.  If you know me, you know I like muffins.  A lot.

Of course, I only got to eat one of these, and no strawberries.

Here is a blog with the recipe (I did not dip mine in cinnamon sugar)…although apparently they came out with a “best” blueberry muffins recipe in 2009, so… I guess my recipe is old news.  Anyway, I thought they were delicious!  I may have to try the new one, but it calls for fresh blueberries, so I’ll just have to wait a few more months.

Next up, I decided to try the “Better, Easier, Spinach Lasagna”.  Easier than what, I don’t know!  Granted, the first time going through a recipe can often be a little slow, but seriously, this took 2 hours.  Apparently America’s Test Kitchen does not have 2 small children in it, because they would never have called this easy!  It was amazing though.  But I have already promised my husband I will never, ever, make it again.  Until maybe the kids are in college.  The recipe is out there, and just from reading, I should have known better (OK, can I say it’s a little hilarious I found it on Cooking Light?  This is heavy like a ton of bricks).  It’s only three steps!  Step 1: wash, trim, and cook the spinach, transfer to ice water, then to a towel to wring dry, then chop.  Step 2: Make a Bechamel sauce.  Step 3: Soak noodles in hot water, prepare cottage cheese mixture, assemble lasagna, bake, broil, then let cool.  Easy as pie, right?!?  I make lasagna pretty frequently, so I was all about trying an easier recipe.  Sadly this is not it.  It dirtied pretty much every pot, pan, bowl, knife, and kitchen appliance we own.  In the test kitchen I’m sure they have people who do the dishes, but not here!  My poor family was starving long before it was ready, and I defensively showed my husband, “Look, honey, it says right here it’s “easier”!”  It was easily the best spinach lasagna I’ve ever had, but it’s more of an “impress the boss” dinner than a “Monday night and everyone’s hungry” dinner.  The other taste testers: my husband said it was pretty good (that’s high praise), and BB declared it was DELICIOUS! but only ate about a bite of it.

I may never make you again, but I will see you in my dreams...

So that’s my latest kitchen adventure!  I am super excited to try more recipes from my new collection, though I doubt anyone else in the family is!

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2 responses

21 04 2010
superspark

We LOVE Cook’s Illustrated and have a bunch of the test kitchen cookbooks if you ever want to borrow one. You’re right that they seem to recycle the same several hundred recipes for the website, the magazine, and the cookbooks for many years.

21 02 2011
Tracy Kaback

I made something very similar to this and added squash and mushrooms. I think from Cooking Light, too. Easy, being the key word, I thought perfect for a busy mom who wants to impress…I started the Bechamel sauce at 4PM just when the piano teacher walked in the door, thinking I could listen and cook at the same time. Using skim milk certainly did not speed the process, but promised all it would be light. Dinner guests coming at 6…OMG! O..M..G!! The process ok, the dishes!!! agh!! The praise of dinner was very satisfying but when asked to make it again for just us, I agree…NO WAY!

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