America's Test Kitchen is a 2,500 square foot kitchen located outside of Boston. It is the home of Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines and is the workday destination for over 3 dozen test cooks, editors and cookware specialists. Our mission is to test recipes until we understand how and why they work and arrive at the best version. We also test kitchen equipment and supermarket ingredients in search of brands that offer the best value and performance. You can watch us work by tuning in to our public television show, America's Test Kitchen.
I've enjoyed using this cookbook since I got it a couple months ago. This cookbook is compiled from Cooks Illustrated magazine. If you are interested in why things are cooked a certain way, the cookbooks from Cooks Illustrated should be investigated. They include lots of background information about the ingredients and the cooking process to help you understand why certain approaches work. This can help an interested cook understand the science behind cooking. If you don't care about why things work, this cookbook also has lots of good recipes that can be constructed similar to many other cookbooks.
The focus of this cookbook is slow-cooking. Many of the recipes are described using a crock-pot but anyone with a oven that can control its temperature in the 185 to 210 degree range can make these recipes in their oven. I've recently had started experimenting with low-temperature cooking and have been amazed how tender many cuts can become if they are not abused at high temperature. This cookbook gave me a whole new set of recipes with which I could experiment.
I am a huge fan of "The Best Recipe" cookbooks. I have the basic one, the light one, the 30 minute meals one, and now the slow and easy recipes. My husband bought me a French oven for Christmas along with this cookbook, and I've used this cookbook every week since. First of all, you know these recipes are good. They've tested them so much, practically nothing can go wrong.. It's the only cookbook series I can completely trust to have a good recipe. Second, this cookbook explores the different kinds of slow cooking.. like ovens, Dutch/French ovens, roasting, crockpots, etc. Thirds, every single recipe I've made so far has been delicious and has earned me the respect and admiration of friends for my "cooking skills". All you need is the right cookbook!
Yes, there is some recipe overlap with the other cookbooks, but the slowcooker section is worth it alone. The crockpot beef and barley soup, as well as the slowcooker pot roast are fabulous. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a dutch/french oven or crockpot!
Once again the folks at Cook's Illustrated have delivered a great book that is full of no-nonsense, real world recipes for real (busy) people. You won't find any 'impossible' ingredients or ridiculous preparation steps. Like all books in the series, this is full of recipes that you actually want to cook, made with common ingredients. This is not a crock-pot recipe book but rather a "start on the stove and finish in the oven with a Dutch oven" sort of cookbook. There are some electric slow cooker recipes and many of these dishes are easily converted to a crock-pot. To my delight, there is plenty of stews and roasts in this book, but there is a lot more as well including dishes from all over the world, not just American slow cooked meat. The focus of this book is not so much dumping ingredients into a pot and serving dinner 6 hours later. Many of the dishes have some more complex prep work including salts, rubs, searing meat, and adding certain veggies toward the end of the cooking time. This book will walk you through the process of making the most succulent dishes possible with taste trumping ease-of-prep in many cases. Still, the book doesn't expect you to cook all day. The result is most dishes require the bulk of the work up front (in the morning or day before serving) making the process of serving dinner at your party, or to your family after a full day of work much more relaxing and enjoyable.
This book is another hit by Cook's Illustrated. I purchased the book mainly for the slow cooker recipes, which is a brief section within this book. I have made the meatballs with marinara sauce. The meatballs were some of the best that I have tested. They were extremely tender and not dry.
In my opinion, some of the recipes in other sections of the book (i.e., braising) could be adapated for the slow cooker.
This is a great reference cookbook filled with great recipes, product reviews, kitchen tips, cooking how-to's, and much more. I love all the Cook's Illustrated books. They are reliable and trusted for recipes that work and taste great! I have made this my "Go To" reference for great family meals.
Initially I found the cookbook at the library and checked it out. The techniques in the cookbook were very different to the ways I cooked meat. I didn't have enough time to test all the recipes before I had to return the book so I bought it. I found the recipes very easy to follow and the results were very flavorful and tender. I enjoyed reading about how much testing goes into recipes before the authors were satisfied. I will look for more cookbooks by the cooks illustrated staff. Great job.
I watch Cook's Country (formerly America's Test Kitchen) every Saturday on PBS, and I love this cookbook! As a beginner-level cook, I love the detailed, specific instructions. If you want to know how to cook the best beef, chicken, turkey, pork, or even LAMB, try this cookbook. They even explain exactly what cuts work best for each recipe. You won't be disappointed.