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David T. Cole

America's Test Kitchen

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I do have pepperoncini, and that shrimp looked really good to me when they made it, so I'll have to give it a whirl one night next week.  Thanks for the review!

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Today I made the Lexington-Style Pulled Pork (Cook's Country), for the fourth or fifth time in the year since I made it for the first time. It's great. The first time I made it on my Weber was one of the first times I'd used a grill in general, and the recipe is so simple, it's basically fool-proof. Seriously, the rub is like 3 ingredients, the sauce is no-cook and takes about 60 seconds to come together. The grill/smoking piece is basically foolproof too, because you just follow the directions and cook until the coals burn out, then it goes into the oven. Highly recommended, and if you're not a fan of vinegar based sauces, you can use whatever BBQ sauce you like and that works fine too.

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Are any of you volunteer recipe testers for CI or CC? Somehow I signed up for testing recipes that are going into Cook's Country several years ago. It's free, they send you an email link to the recipe they are thinking of publishing. You're under no obligation to test it, but I've found some real gems that are keepers, don't care if they publish them or not. I'm also a volunteer shopper if they are looking to see if a particular ingredient is readily available. I appreciate the amount of time and effort they put into developing their recipes.

 

I subscribe to the all inclusive online sites, plus have many of their cookbooks. They seem to be getting away from the "using every bowl and utensil you own" recipes lately.

I'm a tester too, for both magazines. I recommend it. I've made some real winners, and a few disappointments. Sometimes I get a new recipe to test every week and sometimes it will be a month or so between testing. I don't feel guilty if I don't try, or forget to try a recipe..

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I'm sorry that I didn't make a note of which episode it was, but on one of the recent shows that aired in Chicago within the last month it sounded like Bridget (I think) used the title to this thread when she was introducing one of her cooking segments. Did anyone else catch that or am I finally and officially going senile? Do the ATK'ers poke their heads in at PTV once in a while? (Waves)

 

Yes, I WILL make a note if it happens again, promise. 

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I did hear it, Hyacinth, but it was Julia introducing the Italian eggplant dish from a couple weeks back.  Even though hers was a simplifoed version, watching that one I just knew it would all fall apart and be a gloppy horrible mess if I tried it.

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Some if my favorite recipes from these shows (I never remember whether it's ATK or CC) include the English muffin bread, the chicken Parmesan, the tres leches cake, the pasta carbonara, the Philly cheesesteaks, and the corned beef and cabbage. I have made a few clunkers: there was a pork chop recipe that went nowhere. It tasted okay, but after 3 hours of working on it I needed it to taste much better than that. I made the Cuban shredded beef that was edible, but not much more than that. I wish they would give ideas for substitutions sometimes. With so many nut allergies, it would be nice to know whether I can leave them out. Also feel that way when they add alcohol; I never like the taste of it after that.

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the chicken Parmesan

 

I love their chicken parmesan recipe.  The texture is perfect.

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My husband bought me the ATK cookbook that covers recipes through the 2015 season. I tried my first one a couple of days ago - Spaghetti With Pecorino and Black Pepper. As ATK always claims, if you follow the recipe exactly, it will not clump and you'll have a smooth cheesy sauce that is guaranteed not to clump. Well, it clumped, Horribly. It still tasted great, if a little strong on the pepper, but I had huge clumps of cheese. My son loved them :-)

 

I did sub in farfalle for the spaghetti but that should not have caused the clumping. The recipe as printed in the book does not state that the pecorino romano needed to be freshly shredded and I think that's what caused it. I did not have enough on hand to freshly grate the 2 cups called for, so I bought some already shredded. I think it's the stuff that they use to keep the shreds separate that probably interfered with the recipe. Does that sound plausible? I'd ask on the ATK site but I'm not willing to sign up for their latest offer just to be able to see the recipe.

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The only thing you have to sign up for on the ATK site is give your email addy to see the last seasons recipes.  You're offered the option to get weekly emails from them, but they don't penalize you if you say no thanks.  And as far as I can tell, they don't sell your information to other sites, so you're OK there.

 

Sign up and ask your questions.  I've heard they're very good about answering them.

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I think it's the stuff that they use to keep the shreds separate that probably interfered with the recipe. Does that sound plausible?

 

Definitely; that crap they add interferes with melting.

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The spaghetti recipe o-gal seeks was not from this season so giving them your name won't get it.  Exercise google-fu.

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Has anyone here ever made the Italian Cream Cake from the 2014 Cook's Country episode?  I haven't made one in years, but I do like to splurge on a slice occasionally when I go out somewhere and it's on the dessert menu.  I would have never thought of toasting the coconut, pulverizing it in a food processor and then letting it soak in the buttermilk until it softens.  They said that you get the flavor of the coconut without the annoying shreds in the cake.  The cake was beautiful, too. 

 

This was the episode that also had the Berry Summer Pudding in it.  I've always wanted to make one of those, because I think they would be so flavorful and cool for summertime, but because of the red and purple berry concentration, those puddings always looked the aftermath of some type of horrible accident.

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Request for information, please.

 

My daughter has asked me to ask around about bamboo cutting boards and utensils.  She's thinking of getting some.  Anyone have them?  Pros and cons?

 

Thanks!

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My daughter has asked me to ask around about bamboo cutting boards and utensils.  She's thinking of getting some.  Anyone have them?  Pros and cons?

 

I don't have any tools, but I have a bamboo board that I use all the time.  I also have a hardwood board (maple??) that shows wear and tear much more than the bamboo.  The hardwood needs constant sanding and oiling, whereas the bamboo needs it only occasionally.  I've also heard that bamboo is self-healing and self-sanitizing, but I wash mine with hot, soapy water.  Never use it for meat, poultry or fish.  It seems (to me) that the bamboo is much harder than the usual wood boards.

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Books Rule, I've made the Italian Cream Cake twice. It's really delicious, especially the frosting. As usual, it's also a lot of work. One tip, you can find the cream of coconut at the supermarket in the "cocktail" section (thinking of Aunt Sandy).

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I love America's Test Kitchen, and I've picked up a lot of interesting tips and tricks from them, but I've yet to make one of their recipes simply because they have so many ingredients and so many steps to their recipes.  It's intimidating, but there are a few recipes where their advice seems like it would work out well.  I've a couple that I'm determined to try out in the near future.

 

However, I wonder if ATK was the inspiration for 'The Anal Retentive Chef' from Saturday Night Live.

 

https://screen.yahoo.com/anal-retentive-chef-mothers-day-000000641.html

Thanks so much for posting this link--Phil Hartman & Jan Hooks (RIP you two comedic geniuses) were two of the best SNL talents in the history of that show...altho' in this skit they were both subdued and well behaved ;>)  As the Anal Retentive Chef, Hartman could really get carried away wrapping up stuff before tossing into the garbage.  I always thought they were making fun of some of the PBS shows...never thought their target might be ATK (altho' Christopher would make a dandy target...he's such an arrogate nerd).

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I made Cook's Country's "Crabby Deviled Eggs" for a pot luck last week. They were a huge hit. Bonus is they are a simple recipe to make.

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Kenji Lopez-Alt (formerly of ATK/CI) at Serious Eats actually has a similar super-thin crust pub-style pizza method that uses a tortilla too. I tried it this week. Thumbs up.

I made this last night and couldn't believe how good it was (was very suspicious about turning a flour tortilla into a pizza crust but it works).  People who prefer thick crusts might not like it but folks who grew up enjoying thin crust pizzas should find it pretty tasty.

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I made this last night and couldn't believe how good it was (was very suspicious about turning a flour tortilla into a pizza crust but it works).  People who prefer thick crusts might not like it but folks who grew up enjoying thin crust pizzas should find it pretty tasty.

 

I missed this post, but I'm glad you like that recipe too! I now make a few tweaks to that method; I'll share them just in case others try the original recipe and have similar results.

 

--I use half the amount of sauce called for in the recipe, so only 1/4 cup. I'm guessing Kenji uses a chunkier sauce, but if you're using a smoother tomato or pesto sauce, I found that 1/2 cup is just too much. It leaks out, even getting under the crust, which can prevent it from getting crispy enough. And I prefer the balance of flavors when I only use about 1/4 cup.

 

--I also use less cheese than the recipe calls for, and as a cheese junkie, I never would have thought I'd say that about any recipe. But it's just a little too much for me, and can weigh the pizza down. I'm not exacting in those measurements, but I'd guess I cut out an ounce of both types of cheese.

 

--Also, the recipe calls for dropping the heat to low as soon as you place the tortilla in the pan, while you're saucing and adding the toppings, but I've found that if I turn it to more like medium/medium-low, I never have to put it back on the burner after the broiler step because it's already crisp enough. If I do turn it to low, I always have to cook it on the burner an additional three minutes or so.

 

So yeah, I've done extensive, uh, "testing" on this recipe. Might need to test it again at lunchtime, just to see if I've really perfected it. :)

Edited by Carrie Ann
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Wow, the CC house is gorgeous! But at $450 a night, minimum 3 night stay, it better be :-)

 

Made my second recipe from the ATK cookbook last night - Stir-Fried Shrimp with Garlicky Eggplant, Scallions, and Cashews. It's from 2010 (had to find that out online, since from what I can tell they don't have any information in the book about what season the recipe was from.) It turned out great. But I killed CK in absentia because I dared to substitute - chicken for the shrimp, fish sauce for the oyster sauce, and peanuts for the cashews. I sautéed the chicken at the same time as the eggplant, since it would need to cook longer than shrimp.

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Just saw the easy sandwich bread and zucchini bread episode. It had the funniest taste testing I've seen in a long time with Chris defending his choice of cream cheese (I'm with you Chris, I'm with you).

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That taste testing cracked me up, too.  I don't like cream cheese, so I have no dog in this race, but Chris being reticent to say he likes what he knows is the Philadelphia cream cheese the best, stalling by asking what the criteria are supposed to be, and Jack saying, "It's what you like best; this should be a simple question with one answer" -- great stuff.  And then Chris turned from reticent to defensive, blathering on about respecting the bagel (by ... smearing it with an inferior product?).

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This episode was just shown in the NYC area. Chris was practically frothing at the mouth in anger over the two artisanal cream cheeses. There are fancier cream cheeses that have a similar texture to Philadelphia brand, so I think you just have to look around a bit. 

 

And then Chris turned from reticent to defensive, blathering on about respecting the bagel (by ... smearing it with an inferior product?).

 

He probably eats a frozen bagel anyway, so he might as well use the mass-market cream cheese, too. Heh.

 

The past few times I've seen Becky, it's struck me how far she's come from her earliest appearances. She's one of my favorite cooks now, so relaxed and funny. She was so grim and nervous at the beginning. The joking about squeezing the water out of the zucchini cracked me up. She'd never have done that before.

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Haven't seen that episode yet, but gotta say, that Zucchini bread is fantastic. Not wet and gummy at all.

Made the indoor steak tacos the other night, loved them. Must have used world's hottest Jalapeño in the pickled onions though, they were tasty but the burn lingered.

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I just watched Bridget make Pho.   It looked delicious, if labour intensive, as Pho always is. Has anyone tried this recipe?

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Bridget made a bone-in pork rib roast, and Chris barely said a word throughout the whole thing. He was a little more chatty with Dan, who did something with butternut squash, but overall, it was a more subdued Chris.

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OMG. Just watching Season 8 Ep 1 of Cook's Country and Julia has totally changed her hair - it's short.

 

I saw her new hair for the first time today. It's going to take some getting used to!

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It's officially Fall now, so I made this beef stew yesterday. I looked at just about all of their beef stew recipes, and settled on this one because I already had all the ingredients and it sounded fairly straightforward. It's a winner. They have a newer, fancier, "best-ever" recipe that is more involved, and I think I tried it a couple years back and I didn't like it nearly as much as this one.

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I rarely see blatant mistakes on this show, but I just watched the latest CC with Skillet Chicken and something was weird.  Bridget checked the temp at the breast and pronounced it done.  After resting she gave it to Kimball to carve, and when he took off the legs inside and thighs looked, as Gordon Ramsay might say, "rrraawwww".  I'm surprised they didn't retake with one that came out right, or at least note that you should check the thighs as well (she did specify a thigh temperature, but didn't check it).

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On today's CC in NYC, Chris tasted green-chile salsas, and once again it was amusing to watch him deal with heat. It wasn't quite the hot-sauce tasting, but he still got a bit of pepper that he didn't expect. Hee.

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Just had to tell someone who'd appreciate my excitement!  I just got "The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook"!  It has every recipe from the show from 2001 to 2016.  That's right, the recipes from next season are in the cookbook, too.  I'm in heaven, here.

 

Happy Birthday to me!

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Just had to tell someone who'd appreciate my excitement!  I just got "The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook"!  It has every recipe from the show from 2001 to 2016.  That's right, the recipes from next season are in the cookbook, too.  I'm in heaven, here.

 

Happy Birthday to me!

Halloween birthday? Cool. Happy Birthday indeed! Mine was yesterday. I have many ATK cookbooks and love them all.

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Makes me worried. Having watched a whole network go from serious cooking to cupcake/garbage in a basket competitions, I worry about management changes.

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Wow, I am really disappointed that Chris Kimball is leaving.  I only just started watching the show this year when I discovered Create TV, and I really don't think the show will be the same without his presence.  I also signed up to get their emails, which were always sent by him before, and all of a sudden  his name has been removed from them. 
Too bad, I always felt I was learning things from the show, even though I don't cook much anymore; it was always interesting especially when they went into the science of food interaction, etc.

 

ETA:  Just have read that Chris will continue to host America's Test Kitchen Radio (which I take to mean their fine podcast) with Bridget Lancaster and other chefs.  Good news, I enjoy the features and the Q and A section with callers and letters.

Edited by roseha

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Has anyone here made the Rice and Lentils with Crispy Onions recipe (Mujadara)?  I just saw it on a rerun of a show (although it's not old--the date said 2015) and it looked really, really good (except for the cilantro at the end, which I would have to skip).  I have never seen fried onions started in cold oil, but they said it would keep them from overbrowning on the outside and being undercooked on the inside.  I love to saute onions until brown and add to a dish of rice.  The spices and the lentils would just make it extra good.  

Edited by BooksRule

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We mentioned it on the first page of this thread. I know I made it and like it but there was something I wanted to adjust and I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

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I'm disappointed that he's leaving too. I know that Bridget et al are perfectly good at what they do but ATK was his baby and his vision so I am sad that he will no longer be on the tv show. I wonder how this will affect the rest of the ATK empire (the magazine, Cook's Country, etc), especially after the 2016 season.

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We mentioned it on the first page of this thread. I know I made it and like it but there was something I wanted to adjust and I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

 

Thanks!  The one ingredient (other than the cilantro) that I would probably want to adjust or omit is the spoon of sugar.  I wonder if that would change the flavor if I left it out?

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I won't really miss him on the show, but I do wonder what overall effect this departure will have; all annoying tendencies aside, it's his vision that has guided this ship over the years, and I like the result.

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Has anyone here made the Rice and Lentils with Crispy Onions recipe (Mujadara)

Hi BooksRule!  Although not the ATK version, I've been making this recipe for years, taught by my sweet Armenian mother-in-law.  The recipe looks good, but forget the sugar and for pete's sake....no cilantro!  If you feel the need to decorate...use some parsley.  Switch out the basmati rice and use short-grain rice instead...more authentic.  Traditional and if you have access to a middle-eastern grocery, switch out the rice for coarse bulgur wheat, #3 or #4.  If you're going meatless, make it a complete meal with a salad using a lemony vinaigrette (I like the idea of the yogurt sauce, although would add some crushed garlic).  Just my 2¢  Hope this helps!

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Thanks, BennyB!  I just may give this recipe a whirl during the few days that i have off at Christmas.  I'll report back.

 

(Cilantro.  Blech!  Tastes soapy to me)

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I always love that Chris - and the show as a whole - are so unapologetically nerdy. The science of food is so fascinating, and I feel like ATK is the only show that really delves into that side.

I hope they keep that "feel" even with Chris gone, but I wouldn't call myself hopeful about it. :-/

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