the one where I discover Cooks Illustrated

So I have a confession.

I am a Cooks Illustrated virgin.  Never really thumbed through the magazine, never watched America’s Test Kitchen.  I’m more of a Bon Appetit/Food and Wine/ Williams Sonoma catalogue kind of girl.

But my new mixer came with a trial issue of Cooks Illustrated.  I signed up for that, and my 14 day trial of CooksIllustrated.com

Oh dear lord.

It’s like Consumer Reports, but for food!  Great recipes, amazing product reviews, I even know what kind of flour to use in my biscuits now (like I would have ever used anything other than White Lily.)  Not that I make biscuits, because that woud be baking.  And we know I’m the world’s most awful baker.

Thanks to their product reviews, I’ve figured out what kind of mandoline I should buy, picked out a food processor and blender (low end and higher end), and even found a not astronomically priced substitute for my much coveted Le Creuset dutch oven.

So this morning, I decided to give one of their recipes a whirl.  I am still staying with my grandparents out in the ‘burbs, so I had to run to 2 stores to find lowfat plain yogurt (I will refrain from obvious social commentary here) to make the lemon poppyseed muffins.  Yogurt instead of milk was a little weird, but I trust Christpher Kimball and Cooks Illustrated in a way that I have never and will never trust the Joy of Cooking.

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I hand whisked the batter, so as not to overwork it, and because whipping out the mixer to make muffins for three people seems to be overkill of the worst variety.

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It took the full 30 minutes in the oven, but the muffins turned out fairly well.  I didn’t have access to a real zester, so I peeled a lemon with a peeler and minced the peel as fine as a I could.  A zester makes a big difference in terms of evenly distributing things, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

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The muffins came out lofty and delicious.

That might be the extent of my culinary exercising for today.  Time to watch football and hope the Cowboys get a playoff spot…

PS: Check out DC Book Club for emmzzee’s and my best of 2008 book picks.

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2 thoughts on “the one where I discover Cooks Illustrated

  1. hahaha, unfortunately having a nice mixer does not make you a better baker Banana. my apologies. but it does make everything you do in it look really neat, no matter how it turns out 🙂

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