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The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings

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368 Pages
Cook's Illustrated
Pub. Date:
Sep 15, 2008
Color Photographs
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Want to know the secret to pie dough so foolproof you’ll never feel intimidated when making a pie or a quiche again? Or how to make scoop and bake dinner rolls with a yeasted batter that is so simple that you’ll even make them on a weeknight? What about a rich and silky simple meat sauce with long-cooked flavor or barbecued brisket that tastes as if it was made in a Texas smokehouse? These are just a few of the recipes included in this “best of the best” collection -- a book that pulls back the curtain on our test kitchen and gives you the inside scoop on recipes the editors have voted the standouts of the year. Add to this a 40-page resource section packed with our favorite reader-submitted quick tips, full equipment and ingredient ratings from our magazines, and definitive spreads on practical cooking techniques -- and you have a book that will be a must-have resource.

So how did we decide which recipes to include? We looked for those that were unique (like Mexican Street Corn, Sweet Potato Fries, Lasagna with Meatballs, or Cold-Oven Pound Cake) or were simply great recipes that we thought everyone should know how to make (like French Onion Soup, Fluffy Diner-Style Omelets, or Apple Galette). The end result? A varied collection, from starters, salads, and side dishes, to poultry, meat, seafood, pasta, and desserts. Here you’ll find a range of recipes from quick, weeknight fare (Skillet Spaghetti, Broiled Steaks, and Glazed Chicken Breasts) to dishes that are perfect for entertaining (French-Style Pot Roast, Pasta Caprese, and Tiramisu). Also included are an abundance of baked goods both easy and more ambitious (Apricot Bundt Cake, Beer-Battered Cheese Bread, and Croissants), regional classics (South Carolina Pulled Pork, Memphis Coleslaw, and Texas Sheetcake), and just old-fashioned comfort foods (Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, Quicker Beef and Vegetable Soup, and Best Drop Biscuits).

In the narrative that accompanies each recipe, the voice of the test cook who labored over it shines through bringing their stories and our unique testing process to life. Want to know what inspired Charles Kelsey to investigate how the French make their poulet en cocotte, an incredibly moist and tender roast chicken (he tasted it in a restaurant in Paris) or what led David Pazmiño to go to extraordinary lengths to turn a cheap cut of meat into Sunday’s best roast beef (memories of his grandfather’s meltingly tender roast beef)? Or exactly what paths Diane Unger had to explore to come up with a recipe for the ultimate garlic roast chicken (she tried coating the chicken with garlic butter, roasted garlic, garlic oil, and more!), or how Bridget Lancaster revived the Pillsbury recipe contest phenomenon, Tunnel of Fudge Cake (underbaking the cake, swapping out granulated sugar for brown sugar, and adding melted chocolate to the batter were a few of her tricks)? In addition to the practical and foolproof recipes, this book is a great read.

The Best of America’s Test Kitchen will also make you a smarter consumer and a better cook. Want to know which inexpensive nonstick skillet really delivers or what brand you should reach for when you need dark chocolate or that next block of Parmesan or extra-sharp cheddar cheese? Our in-depth testings will help you make the right choices when it comes to everyday ingredients (we even rate potato chips, whole wheat bread, and jarred pasta sauce) and equipment (nonstick skillets, garlic presses, and pepper mills). Packed with step-by-step photographs, dozens of full-color food shots, and illustrated spreads on everything from how to make stews, freeze summer produce, and stock a baking pantry, The Best of America’s Test Kitchen is filled with practical information every home cook needs.

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