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Your tried and true Cook's illustrated Best recipes.

I recenly got as a gift the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and I really like it. I think that is one worth getting. I like the ring binder feature of the book (so the book can lay flat open) and there are a lot of colorful pictures. The cooking tips are useful, and the recipes don't have the long drawn-out explanations like a lot of their other cookbooks do. I agree, they do repackage and recycle a lot of their recipes. Or, what's interesting is that they will sometimes publish very similar recipes in different places but with slight variations. I have found a lot of their cookbooks in the library--I think that's a great way to try out some of their cookbooks and gain access to their recipes. I am a member of the CI Web site, but if I can't find a particular recipe on that site, I can usually Google it and find it posted on someone's food blog.

Mar 11, 2012
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Your tried and true Cook's illustrated Best recipes.

There are some salads I forgot to mention: the BBQ Macaroni Salad from Cook's Country and the potato salad (called All American Potato Salad, or something like that) from Cook's Country (CI has a similar recipe, but I like the CC one better, just a good, basic potato salad). Also one I just tried: the Antipasto Pasta Salad from America's Test Kitchen (I couldn't find it on the CI Web site, so I'm not sure if it was ever published in a CI magazine)--very yummy, although a bit heavy on the meat and also a bit time-consuming laying out all the pepperoni/salami on paper towels--but worth it.

Feb 22, 2011
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Best and Worst Recipes You Made From a Cooking Show

Don't get to see many cooking shows, as we don't have cable. But one time I caught this recipe from "Everyday Food," and now it's my go-to recipe for egg salad, although it's very basic:

http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood/recip...

From the same show, I like this broccoli recipe:

http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood/recip...

Jan 27, 2011
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Best and worst on the Outer Banks

I know this thread is a bit old, but I came across it while Googling for restaurant recommendations in the Outer Banks, and it was very helpful. We were only there three nights, but we did a fair amount of eating out, and just thought I'd add my observations.

The first night we ate at Thai Room. Enjoyable place, the food was decent, although I've had better Thai food. (I am a bit picky about my Thai food.) Next day, we went to the Nags Head Pier restaurant for breakfast. This was surprisingly good--at least for breakfast. My omelet and my daughter's blueberry pancakes were great, as were the fresh hash browns. It's a dive, but the atmosphere is fun--literally on top of the ocean. For lunch, we went to the Blue Moon Beach Grill in Nags Head--cheerful place, overall good food. (By the way, for those looking to eat in, there is a wonderful Harris Teeter in, I believe, Nags Head.)

The next day, we had lunch at Lighthouse Bagels in Corolla--very good bagels and bagel sandwiches. I'd also recommend the wonderful homemade ice cream at Big Buck's at the Timbuck II shopping center in Corolla--it's expensive, but worth the splurge. We ate dinner at Goombay's on our second night. Delicious--my husband thought this was the best meal we had. Kid-friendly too.

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Thai Room Restaurant
Oceanside Plz, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Harris Teeter
, New Bern, NC 28560

Blue Moon Beach Grill
, Nags Head, NC 27959

Sep 13, 2010
Sunny Days in Southeast

Your tried and true Cook's illustrated Best recipes.

Great thread. My favorites include the buttermilk pancakes (the ones made with buttermilk and sour cream--have tried probably two dozen pancake recipes and this one is the best of them all); the peach cobbler (makes even mealy peaches taste good); the blueberry cobbler (great biscuit topping with cornmeal) and blueberry pie (although I make my own crust for the pie); and the mashed potatoes (the one where you boil russets in their jackets). There is also a simple spaghetti sauce using canned crushed tomatoes that I really like (can't remember what it's called exactly). There is also a low-fat fettucine Alfredo recipe from Cook's Country that I like. In general, I have good luck with the CI pasta dishes. The CI chocolate chip cookies are really good too.

Apr 07, 2010
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Cook's Illustrated Brownies

I have been searching for a perfect brownie recipe and have tried a lot of good ones, but none that is exactly "it" for me. I get Cook's Illustrated and subscribe to their Web site too. They (plus Cook's Country, America's Test Kitchen) have published several different brownie recipes over the years. Has anyone out there tried any of them, several of them, all of them?? I have tried the ones made with cake flour and they were good, but I found the consistency wasn't quite right. There are a couple of low-fat ones and a recent one that calls for oil that I'm interested in trying. I'm all for experimenting with different recipes, but brownies are so fattening I have to be careful about making too many. Are there any recipes from the Cook's Illustrated/ATK group you would recommend? Or other brownie recipes in general? I don't want a cakey brownie, definitely lean more toward the fudgy side.

Apr 05, 2010
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Oatmeal Cookies

I tried this recipe and somehow they didn't work for me. Spread all over the cookie sheet and never cooked up right. However, I LOVED the flavor of molasses and oatmeal together. If I could find a great molasses/oatmeal cookie recipe, I think this would be it for me!

Sep 13, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Icing--when does it need refrigeration?

I'm never sure when an iced cake needs to be refrigerated or not, and many recipes don't seem to specify this. I prefer to not refrigerate cakes because I believe that it dries them out. But I do not want the icing to go bad. For instance, does a powdered sugar icing made with butter and milk need to be refrigerated? How about one of these buttercream icings that are cooked on the stove then whipped? (I have never made this kind, but will probably do so sometime.) As far as I know, cream cheese icing needs to be refrigerated. What about sour cream icing? Any guidance/rules in this area would be appreciated.

Jun 06, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

cookbooks: hidden gems?

Believe it or not, "365 Ways to Cook Pasta" is a really good cookbook. The recipes are fresh and simple, and I've never made anything bad out of there, although I occasionally have to adjust ingredients a bit like add more salt. (Also, I sometimes double the amount of sauce for the amount of pasta listed.) I love pasta, so I probably use this cookbook more than any other.

May 19, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

How do you make old-fashioned popcorn in a covered pan or pot?

Yes, use the Orville popcorn, NEVER generic. I don't know why there is a difference, but there is--generic is definitely inferior.

May 19, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Mom Mom's Red Velvet Cake/Butter Cream Icing

I've been using that organic shortening with the non-transfats. Has anyone noticed a difference between the different kinds of shortening there are available now? (Transfat vs. non-transfat, organic vs. Crisco, etc.) I'm all for organic and healthy, but ultimately, I want to produce the best-tasting treats!

May 19, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Skillet Pizza?

Thanks for suggestions, rockycat and weezycom. rockycat, do you have a specific recipe for Beer Can Chicken?

May 19, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Skillet Pizza?

Thanks! I'll give it a try. I thought the recipe would be more like something you put in a cast-iron skillet and stick in the oven. But I'll give this a try and see how it goes. I have a open can of beer in the fridge, so that will be handy. Which leads to another question:

I have been opening cans of beer to use to make the Cook's Illustrated Almost No-Knead Bread and not sure how to use up the rest of it since my husband and I don't really drink beer. I covered the can with foil and put it in the fridge. It's probably too flat to drink now anyway, but can I still cook with it?

May 14, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Mom Mom's Red Velvet Cake/Butter Cream Icing

Your icing recipe is a lot of an icing recipe that my mom used to make when I was a kid. I still remember it and loved it, so I just asked her for that recipe the other day. Here it is:

1 cup milk
3 rounded tablespoons flour

Cook until thick, stir constantly so as not to get lumpy - pour into bowl and let cool.

Add:

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. or more of vanilla
1 cup Crisco

Beat until looks like whipping cream - approx. 10 minutes.

May 09, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Radishes... what to do w/ them?

This is how I often use them up: Toast a slice of bread and spread that spreadable goat cheese on it (I think it's called Chevre?). Drizzle a little olive oil over it and sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning salt. Slice up one medium-to-large radish or two small radishes and place on top.

May 08, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

Skillet Pizza?

Does anyone have the America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated recipe for Skillet Pizza? I think it's in their new skillet cookbook. Would love to try to make a pizza in my 12-in. cast iron skillet. Any skillet pizza recipes you can recommend would be appreciated. Thanks!

May 07, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

What to do with surplus milk?

Tapioca. And if you find a good tapioca recipe, let me know! My tapioca has a tendency to turn out too thick and jelly-like.

Apr 19, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking

How do you make old-fashioned popcorn in a covered pan or pot?

I'm a popcorn fanatic, so I've been perfecting my technique in this area. :-) I don't measure the oil--just throw it in there, and swirl it around until it entirely covers the bottom of the pan. (I use canola or avocado oil.) Then I sprinkle in half a cup of popcorn, distributing it evenly across the pan. I turn the heat to medium and crack the lid on the pot.
I noticed that a few pieces of the popcorn were coming out a little brown. So I started this technique that seems to prevent that: About halfway through popping--if you can imagine the popping as a bellcurve, try to time it past the peak of the bellcurve, but still near the top--slip the lid back on and, with a couple potholders, pick up the pot off the stove and shake it vigorously. Put the pot back on the stove, crack the lid again, and finish popping. Of course, you got to time it just right with taking it off the stove--soon enough to prevent burning but not too soon that you have a lot of unpopped kernels. This just takes practice.
To "fix" the popcorn, we use 2 T. of melted butter. Sometimes my husband will mix in a little oil with the butter. We pour the butter over the popcorn, then gently mix with a spatula. Next, we add 2 T. of brewer's or nutritional yeast--lately we've used a brand called Bluebonnet. (If you go this route, be careful which kind you buy. Some brewer's yeasts are bitter. We bought one from GNC that was that way.) Then add about 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt. Perfect!

Apr 16, 2009
Sunny Days in Home Cooking