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Your tried and true Cook's illustrated Best recipes.

Cook's Illustrated drives me nuts! Their recipes are really, really great. You can trust almost all of them, and the ones you don't like will mostly be because of personal taste as opposed to a bad recipe. However, their business practices are money grubbing, nickel and diming, and impossible to find customer service. My recommendation is to NEVER give them your card #'s. Buy a cookbook, then read the next one you're thinking of very carefully at a bookstore, because they do "repackage" the same recipes over and over in new books. If the few new recipes are worth it to you, then that's great. But their website garbage is just getting ridiculous. They charge yearly for access to the content, but you have to pay extra, and a LOT extra, for the more popular recipes on the sites. They will automatically charge your card to renew until the end of time, so if you go that route, I would highly suggest buying a Visa gift debit card of some kind so that they can't dip into your bank account at will. There is no customer service phone number, just an email that they do not respond to. Again, I LOVE the recipes, among them the Chocolate Cream pie, the High Roast chicken or turkey, Strawberry Cream Cake, oh so many others. I cook mostly from my computer now, though I have an extensive collection of their cookbooks and magazines (Cook's Country has some fabulous content, too.) So I'll usually Google the recipe name, plus "food blog" and find someone who has posted it online so I can cook from the screen, just my personal preference. I hope you enjoy the book you have and have great success with the recipes. Just be wary of the ATK/Cook's machine. It tends to bite.

Mar 11, 2012
alclaire in Home Cooking

Chili con Queso - without Velveeta

I can't do Velveeta either - less about the fake-ness than the screaming high saltiness. Here's what I do, not sure if it will be what you're wanting:

1 pound Mexican Chorizo sausage. Here in Colorado, King Soopers brand is great. You want lots of fat, and very red color.
5 or 6 Poblano Peppers (often mislabeled as Pasilla Peppers. The big, triangular green chiles are what you want, fresh.
1/2 a medium yellow onion
1 14 oz can Rotel Tomatoes, or Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes, drained, optional
1 1/2 pound good quality White American Cheese, from your supermarket Deli counter (Here's where I think I lose you, but to me the quality of this versus Velveeta is a huge difference.) Shred, slice, or chunk the cheese for melting.

Heat your oven to broil, and place the Poblano peppers on a cookie sheet covered with foil. Put the peppers under the broiler, rotating with tongs as each side blackens and blisters. Once chiles are roasted, place in zip top bag until cool enough to handle. Rinse the chiles under running water to remove skins and remove tops and seeds. You can also roast on a gas stove or outdoors on the grill. Roughly dice chiles, and finely dice yellow onion.
In a skillet or saucier, brown the chorizo over medium high heat, breaking it into small pieces. Once well browned, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat, leaving the orange fat behind in the pan. Cook the onion and poblano over medium heat until the onion is completely softened. Put the meat back in the pan, and add a small amount of milk (1/2 cup.) Add the cheese a little at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Add the drained tomatoes, and adjust the thickness with milk. The chorizo fat will make the dip orange. Eat on chips, over eggs, whatever makes you happy.

Dec 06, 2010
alclaire in Home Cooking

Hard boiled eggs at altitude

Wow, such a fuss over eggs! Just a couple of clarifications - the green ring/sulfur smell is from overcooking, not cooking at too high of a temperature. Though cooking at too high of temperature will make the overcooking much more likely. I live in Denver, and have been refining my hard cooked/hard boiled (really?? calm down!) method for a few years. Here's what I have come up with:
Put the eggs in a pot and cover with at least an inch of cold water. Place the pot on a burner on high, and watch carefully. As soon as the water hits a rolling boil,remove the pot from the heat and cover. Set your timer at that point. My time here in Denver (actually just outside, at about 5000 feet,) is 28 minutes. As soon as the timer goes off, place the pot in the sink and run cold water over the eggs until they are completely cooled. The point is to stop the cooking as fast as possible. Once the eggs are cool, put them in the fridge or shell and eat. If you are shelling them immediately, just leave the cold water in the pot and shake it back and forth rapidly to crack the shells. Let it sit for a few minutes, and the shells will come off easier. Very fresh eggs are harder to shell, as they have not built up the air pocket between the shell and membrane with aging.

I hope that's helpful. Not necessarily new info from above, but it is what works for me here in your specific location.


Mar 27, 2010
alclaire in Home Cooking