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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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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