Monday, February 2, 2009

I am in love

I am in love with my new Cook's Illustrated magazine. My mother gave the subscription as a gift and I have been reading it all week. It is slightly odd reading about how to "Cook Hearty Greens" and "Finding The Best Skillet" when I have been doing zero cooking. But I sure am excited about trying the recipes, tips and shopping with product reviews in hand when I am back in the groove. Here are some tips I found pretty helpful:

Butternut Squash- I love it. So good for you and so good in Curried Red Lentil Stew and Butternut Squash Ravioli. I found out in the latest issue that the smaller the squash the better the flavor. As the squash gets bigger the taste dissipates somewhat and becomes "dirty" tasting.

French Toast- Why does restaurant (yes, even IHOP) French Toast always taste better than mine? A soggy, eggy mess is what I end up with. Cook's Illustrated tested it out and concluded with these helpful hints.

First, its all in the bread, something white with a hearty crust on it. Dry it out by laying the bread on a cookie sheet in the oven so it does not get soggy. Next, only use egg yolks in the mix so you don't get an eggy taste or worse, globs of cooked egg white. And for an extra yummy taste put some melted butter in the mix (with room temp milk so as not to solidify the butter). Read the whole article here.

French Toast- serves 4

8 large slices hearty white bread or challah
1 1/2 cup whole milk warmed
3 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp butter for cooking
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
Maple Syrup

1. heat oven to 300 degrees and place bread on a baking sheet. Bake until almost dry (center still moist) about 15 min. Remove from oven and cool for 5 min. Reduce oven temp to 200 degrees.
2. Whisk milk, yolks, sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, salt and vanilla in a large bowl. Pour into a 13 x 9 baking pan.
3. Soak bread for about 20 seconds per side. Using a slotted spatula, pick up each slice and allow excess mixture to drip off. Place dipped bread on plate or platter.
4. Heat 1/2 Tbso of butter on a skillet over medium low heat. When foaming subsides, use the spatula to place two slices in the skillet. Cook until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Take the slices that are cooked to the baking sheet in the oven to keep them warm and crisp.
6. Repeat step 4 wiping out the skillet between each batch.

** If using a griddle and cooking all at once, use 2 Tbsp butter and set the griddle to 350 degrees.

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Dinah said...

I am a complete fan of Cooks Illustrated! You will love the things you learn and the things you cook.

Laura said...

Love it, thanks for the recipes!