Upon opening the just released “100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways to Make the True Essentials,” by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen, you’ll come across the words “A great cook starts with the best recipes.” The concept is explored even deeper with the suggestion that we should pick 10 recipes from the book that we are most likely to make time and time again and make them until we don’t need to look at the recipe instructions. The thought being, of course, that cooks become even better cooks when the “core principles” of cooking are understood and “applied to other recipes.” This book works hard at helping cooks to achieve that objective.
Even if you’ve been successfully cooking for decades, you are going to enjoy the way the book reimagines how classic dishes should be prepared, such as poaching boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a steamer basking, baking an apple pie in a skillet or seasoning grilled cheese sandwiches with shallots and wine.
Also from the editors at America’s Test Kitchen, and equally edifying, is Cook’s Illustrated “The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen.” Besides the book’s 400 “engineered for perfection” recipes, curious minds will appreciate knowing why a particular recipe works and reasons why others may not. The “practical science” tips are especially helpful, so be sure to check out what the America’s Test Kitchen team has to say about washing produce in a vinegar solution. (See “Cleaning Apples and Pears” following the recipe for Skillet Apple Pie.)
If you are interested in becoming an even better cook than you are now – regardless of your skill level – you are going to want to own these titles. Look for them at retailers selling cookbooks, or via on-line, from sources such as www.AmericasTestKitch.com or www.amazon.com.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.