The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen by Cook's Illustrated Magazine

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    • Categories: Sauces for poultry; Main course; Cooking for a crowd
    • Ingredients: onions; celery; carrots; thyme; garlic; chicken broth; turkey breast; turkey drumsticks; turkey thighs; bay leaves
    • Categories: Main course; Cooking for a crowd
    • Ingredients: spiral-sliced ham; maple syrup; orange marmalade; ground cinnamon
    • Categories: Sauces for meat; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: maple syrup; orange marmalade; ground cinnamon
    • Categories: Sauces for meat; Vegan; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: ruby Port wine; dark brown sugar; cherry preserves
    • Categories: Egg dishes; Salads; Main course; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: hard-cooked eggs; mayonnaise; red onions; parsley; celery
    • Categories: Egg dishes; Appetizers / starters; Entertaining & parties; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: hard-cooked eggs; mayonnaise; sour cream; distilled vinegar; spicy brown mustard
    • Categories: Salads; Main course
    • Ingredients: shrimp; lemons; parsley; tarragon; black peppercorns; mayonnaise; shallots; celery
    • Categories: Salads; Main course
    • Ingredients: shrimp; lemons; black peppercorns; mayonnaise; shallots; roasted red peppers; capers; basil
    • Categories: Salads; Main course
    • Ingredients: shrimp; lemons; black peppercorns; mayonnaise; shallots; radishes; oranges; avocados; mint
    • Categories: Salads; Main course
    • Ingredients: shrimp; lemons; black peppercorns; mayonnaise; shallots; limes; corn; canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce; cilantro
    • Categories: Salads; Main course; Asian
    • Ingredients: shrimp; lemons; black peppercorns; mayonnaise; scallions; pickled ginger; sesame seeds; wasabi powder
    • Categories: Stir-fries; Main course; Asian
    • Ingredients: chicken broth; oyster sauce; dry sherry; soy sauce; beef flank steaks; fresh ginger; sugar snap peas; red peppers
    • Accompaniments: Simple white rice
    • Categories: Stir-fries; Main course; Asian
    • Ingredients: chicken broth; soy sauce; mirin; dried red pepper flakes; beef flank steaks; fresh ginger; shiitake mushrooms; green beans; scallions
    • Accompaniments: Simple white rice
    • Categories: Stir-fries; Main course; Asian
    • Ingredients: tangerines; soy sauce; toasted sesame oil; beef flank steaks; fresh ginger; black bean sauce; dried red pepper flakes; onions; snow peas
    • Accompaniments: Simple white rice
    • Categories: Grills & BBQ; Sauces for meat; Main course; Argentinian
    • Ingredients: dried oregano; parsley; cilantro; garlic; dried red pepper flakes; beef strip steaks; wood chips
    • Categories: Chutneys, pickles & relishes; Vegan; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: hazelnuts; roasted red peppers; lemons; parsley; thyme; smoked paprika
    • Accompaniments: Skillet-roasted fish fillets
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Sauces for fish; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: dry white wine; fresh ginger; shallots; heavy cream; butter; ground cayenne pepper
    • Accompaniments: Pan-seared scallops
    • Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas; Sauces for fish; Vegetarian
    • Ingredients: butter; shallots; parsley; thyme; lemons
    • Accompaniments: Pan-seared scallops

Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Pan-seared thick-cut pork chops

    • sfcarole on March 14, 2014

      This will now be my go-to way of cooking pork chops. Nice little pan sauce, too. Method involves placing chops in low 275 degree oven until they reach 120-25. Then searing a minute or two per side.

  • Deep-dish quiche Lorraine

    • Queezle_Sister on February 14, 2015

      A very involved recipe, but one sure to please. Just making the crust takes a full day - the most ingenious part is brushing it with egg white after cooking (to for a barrier to the liquid filling, keeping the crust crunchy). A lot of bacon, spiced perfectly (nutmeg and cayenne), and Gruyere cheese made this a big hit with the teenager. I was worried that the custard might spill over into my new oven, so I put ~ 1/2C in each of two custard dishes. These were done more quickly, and also delicious on their own, with neither crust nor bacon.

  • Mashed potatoes and root vegetables with bacon and thyme

    • ecasey830 on February 15, 2022

      Tasty but definitely labor intensive

  • Swedish meatballs

    • HarlanH on January 25, 2014

      These are excellent. If using a food processor instead of a stand mixer, pureeing the pork mixture should be a bit faster than the recipe states. Pre-crumble the beef, scatter it over the top, and pulse to mix it in.

  • Peaches, blackberries, and strawberries with basil and pepper

    • Krisage on August 12, 2018

      The muddle + marinate technique works nicely! We only had peaches, but I imagine the strawberry/blackberry combo would be delish.

  • Soy-ginger sauce with scallion

    • Analyze on February 13, 2019

      This recipe is delicious! The sauce is great, as is the cauliflower cooking method. Have made it 2x now and it was a hit both times.

  • Pan-roasted asparagus with toasted garlic and Parmesan

    • Analyze on March 12, 2019

      This is a delicious recipe! I've made it four times and we've loved it every time. My husband doesn't care for the garlic, so I get it all :)

  • Angel food cake

    • hillsboroks on August 22, 2014

      Great flavor but the 325 F oven temperature called for did not produce the nice brown outer crust even with extra time in the oven. After looking at recipes from three other books it looks like the temperature should be 350F. The low temperature and low browning also made the cake stick in the pan which was a nonstick pan.

    • ashallen on October 15, 2020

      This is a very good and very dependable angel food cake recipe. I've made it many times over the years, and it has always come out light, tender, and moist. This is despite the fact that I've strayed from the recipe instructions at times, e.g. substituted all-purpose flour for cake flour (somewhat heavier texture, but still very good), skipped sifting the flour, reduced the sugar by 1/4 c, and/or substituted lime juice for lemon juice. I bake it at 325F and the crust doesn't darken beyond tan/light-medium brown. The cake definitely needs to be released from the cake pan sides with a knife, which sometimes causes a bit of "shagginess" in the crust - I lightly press any crumbs that get raised up during the cake's release back into the cake's sides. [Cross-post for Cook's Ill. Magazine/ Cooks Ill. 1993 Annual Edition / Cook's Ill. Cookbook / Science of Good Cooking]

  • Best buttermilk pancakes

    • hillsboroks on February 16, 2023

      We love these pancakes. As noted in the recipe the addition of sour cream changes up the flavor just a bit to really make them special. I use Bob’s Red Milk Powdered Buttermilk in my baking and take the shortcut I read about somewhere in another cookbook and just add the appropriate amount of the buttermilk powder to the dry ingredients and add the water called for on the package to the wet ingredients. It works every time and saves the extra step of mixing up the buttermilk.

    • ashallen on November 06, 2019

      These are really great pancakes - moderately fluffy texture, moist, and a very nice flavor. My husband *loves* them. I find it's helpful to measure the liquid ingredients carefully and not add any "extra" - too much liquid makes them overly moist and gives them a heavier texture. Letting them rest a bit (e.g., stashing them in the oven as described in the recipe) also seems to help with working around any heaviness from too much moisture. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Crunchy baked pork chops

    • hillsboroks on November 19, 2015

      Great new way to do mid-week pork chops that gives them lots of flavor and keeps them very moist. My husband who is picky about dry pork loved these. I took a bit of a short-cut on the breadcrumb coating for the outside but otherwise followed the recipe to a T. Instead of making crumbs from scratch in the food processor and oven, I sauteed the shallot and garlic in the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Then I added panko crumbs to the pan equal to the amount of breadcrumbs called for and stirred them until they turned golden brown. The finished result was perfect! The crumb coating was crunchy, the seasoning was perfect and the chops were done just right and as I mentioned before, very moist and flavorful.

    • Zosia on June 06, 2018

      Excellent recipe that as the previous reviewer noted produces moist and flavourful chops. The method makes them a bit time consuming for a quick weeknight meal but with the breadcrumbs made in advance (they keep for a few days) it would be quite doable. I may even try baking the breaded chops from frozen as suggested. Note that there were enough of the egg and breadcrumb mixtures to coat 6 chops.

    • ashallen on December 13, 2020

      Yummy pork chops! The bread coating was flavorful, substantial, and crispy and the meat was well-seasoned and juicy. The cutlets are large and impressive-looking. My husband, who doesn't usually get excited about pork, had seconds. Leftovers kept well to the next day - the bread coating still had crunch. My chops were closer to 6 oz vs. 8 oz and I found that using 2/3 of the bread coating ingredients was sufficient to thickly coat the chops (still had ~1/2 cup leftover bread crumbs).

  • Pumpkin pie

    • hillsboroks on November 25, 2016

      This is my favorite pumpkin pie ever. The bottom crust was crisp, the custard silky and perfectly seasoned, and the fresh ginger gave it a fresh flavor boost. I got lots of compliments at our Thanksgiving dinner and this will be my go to pumpkin pie from here on out. I ended up roasting a red skinned sweet potato for 40 minutes at 350F until soft and adding a cup of the cooled mashed sweet potato in the recipe. It did add a richness that you do not get from just the canned pumpkin puree.

  • Lemon cheesecake

    • hillsboroks on January 02, 2016

      This is the best cheesecake I have ever made. I have made it twice and both times my guests and family raved about it. The texture is light and creamy and not overwhelmingly sweet or rich. The tart lemon curd layer on top is essential to giving a real lemon zing.

    • hillsboroks on July 08, 2017

      This cheesecake just gets better every time I make it. For the 4th of July barbecue I made the cheesecake the day before and then just before the guests arrived for the barbecue I mixed about 1 cup each of blueberries, raspberries and cut-up strawberries in a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of Clear Creek Blackberry Liqueur. I covered the berry mixture and let it sit in the refrigerator until time for dessert. The results were fabulous! Not only did the berries make the cheesecake slices look very festive and colorful but the flavor combination of the lemony cheesecake and lush berries was heavenly.

    • ashallen on November 26, 2019

      I agree with hillsboroks - great cheesecake. Lemon flavor is very good, and this is despite the fact that I skipped the lemon curd topping which would have made it even more lemony! Texture's great - not too dense and not too fluffy. Crust was quite thin and got soggy after 24 hours of refrigerator storage - I'll try making it thicker next time. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Butterflied turkey with cranberry-molasses glaze

    • hillsboroks on November 25, 2016

      All my guests said this was the best turkey they had ever had. The roasting process once it was butterflied and the salt rubbed into and under the skin was a snap with no basting to worry about. Also because it roasted at such a low temperature there was no worry about it quickly overcooking. I had brined the 15.5 lb turkey first using Martha Stewart's brine recipe that calls for water, kosher salt, a bottle of riesling, and whole spices including juniper berries, mustard seeds, pepper corns and bay leaves. Because my turkey was brined in advance I think I will cut the salt rubbed on the turkey by half next time. It was a bit saltier than our normal taste but not excessive. I also made the cranberry molasses glaze which gave the turkey skin a lovely glistening brown shine and a lovely flavor. As suggested I heated the extra glaze saved back and served it at the table to pour onto the turkey slices as desired.

  • Roasted carrots

    • dfwfoodiegeek on January 05, 2013

      Good recipe and very easy to execute. Following the instruction to cut the carrots in uniform size ensured the carrots cooked evenly. Only adjustment I will make is to reduce the amount of butter - it was slightly too much for the amount of carrots I used (my bunch was under 1 lb). Otherwise, would recommend.

  • Mojo marinade for steaks

    • Rinshin on December 05, 2016

      Another excellent marinade for beef steaks. Used on T-bone with recipe cut in quarter. Love the addition of soy sauce to this mojo marinade unlike many other recipes without it.

  • Chewy sugar cookies

    • peaceoutdesign on January 31, 2021

      These are nice and chewy but a little too sugary even for sugar cookies. I think cutting the sugar 1/4 cup would work unless it changes the dough too much. I used EVOO instead of the canola and love what it added. I also added zest from 2 small lemons. Could substitute lemon juice for the vanilla or a portion of.

    • ashallen on September 13, 2019

      I resisted when my husband first asked me to make sugar cookies - I thought "How boring!" I was wrong. These are *not* boring cookies. We loooove these cookies! Simultaneously chewy and tender with a delightful buttery-sugar-vanilla flavor. Dough is easy to make and handle - it's not very sticky. I can skip baking them on parchment paper if I use insulated cookie sheets. I've tried freezing the dough for later baking and have found that doing so actually improves the cookies' texture a bit relative to fresh-made cookies for the first 12 hours or so, but after that they dry out and lose their delightful chewiness faster than fresh-made cookies. Dough does fine after sitting up to 48 hours in the refrigerator, though. Great rolled in granulated sugar (as specified in the recipe), brown sugar, and/or hazelnut praline powder. [Cross-post for Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Illustrated Cookbook.]

  • Creamy dill cucumber salad

    • peaceoutdesign on March 12, 2023

      The cucumber retains some saltiness, which I didn't really like. You can sub cilantro for the dill. This is the same recipe that is in "The Best Recipe" cookbook.

  • Grilled Argentine steaks with chimichurri sauce

    • Zosia on July 30, 2018

      This method - a cornstarch-salt rub and cooking well-chilled meat - worked perfectly, producing deeply browned steaks that were still medium-rare. And of course the chimichurri sauce added a huge flavour punch.

  • Asparagus, ham, and Gruyère frittata

    • Zosia on May 16, 2022

      I substituted pre-cooked fiddleheads for asparagus and pancetta for ham. Delicious.

  • Maple-glazed pork roast

    • Zosia on October 04, 2020

      The maple glaze combined with the pork pan juices made an incredibly delicious sauce (it didn't thicken to glaze consistency after sitting) and its hint of warm spices complemented the pork beautifully. I used 2 pork tenderloins, 500g each, that had to share the oven with roasting vegetables so my roasting time was only 20 minutes at 400F. This will be made again.

    • jluvs2bake on September 16, 2022

      This was a quick and delicious main dish. Served with boiled new potatoes and a very basic braised cabbage. Overcooked a bit (to 155ish), but it was still moist. Going to use this glaze on my next ham.

  • Grilled flank steak with spice rub

    • Zosia on December 14, 2013

      Nicely balanced dry rub - not too spicy, not too sweet - that allowed the flavour of the meat to shine. Cooking instructions worked perfectly for a stove top grill pan.

  • Grilled pork chops

    • Zosia on July 23, 2019

      My pork chops were only 2.5cm thick so once they were browned, they only needed about 4 minutes with indirect heat. The dry rub, which was a little different from others I've tried was very good with the pork. This will be repeated.

  • Basic spice rub for pork chops

    • Zosia on October 28, 2022

      Very flavourful. A family favourite.

  • Classic marinade for steaks

    • Zosia on December 04, 2017

      The marinade did a great job of enhancing the natural flavour of the beef.

  • Grilled orange-tarragon chicken breasts

    • Zosia on September 18, 2018

      The marinade, cooking method and sauce worked beautifully with boneless turkey breast, requiring just a slightly longer cook time before the final sear.

  • Grilled beef kebabs with lemon and rosemary marinade

    • Zosia on April 09, 2018

      Very tasty. The lemon zest and tomato paste perked up the flavour of what was otherwise a basic marinade. I browned the kebabs stove top in a grill pan and finished them in the oven, not one of the recommended cooking methods, but I'll make this again when it's warm enough to fire up the outdoor grill.

  • Crispy pan-fried pork chops with Latin spice rub

    • Zosia on June 23, 2016

      This worked perfectly even with larger, bone-in chops. The breading was thicker than the typical flour-egg-breadcrumb but adhered really well to the meat and remained crisp (even with a chop that was reheated in the microwave!) The rub added an extra layer of flavour.

  • Roasted sweet potatoes

    • Zosia on October 27, 2019

      As with the other roasted vegetable recipes in the book that use this 2-step method of cooking them in the oven, this one worked. The sweet potatoes were cooked through and the cut surfaces were nicely caramelized. In my oven, they didn't need the full amount of time to brown once the foil was removed, only about 10 minutes per side.

  • Cuban black beans and rice

    • Zosia on June 13, 2017

      I used beans I had cooked and frozen with just a little of the pot liquor so I skipped the step that was supposed to add to the depth of flavour (brining the beans then cooking them with some sofrito). Even so, using chicken broth to make up the balance of liquid, this was still a wonderfully flavourful dish. I do look forward to making it using the proper method.

  • Roasted carrots and parsnips with rosemary

    • Zosia on October 19, 2017

      The flavours were very good but the vegetables browned very quickly in my oven, before they were cooked through. Next time, I'll keep them under foil for an extra 10 minutes. I used olive oil instead of butter.

  • Roasted Brussels sprouts

    • Zosia on December 04, 2017

      Method worked perfectly so sprouts were caramelized and cooked through without tasting cabbage-y but the high oven temperature was not kind to loose leaves. Next time I make them, I'll add those loose leaves to the pan towards the end of the roasting time or I'll try one of the toppings and add them to the saute pan.

  • Easy buttermilk drop biscuits

    • Zosia on March 04, 2014

      I've often been witness to my melted butter clumping when added too warm to milk that was much cooler (much to my chagrin) but it's this very clumping that apparently makes this recipe work! These were a breeze to put together and family loved both flavour and texture.

    • ashallen on December 12, 2020

      These are great biscuits - lightly crisp on the outside and moist and tender inside. They even had some flakiness which was great and which I hadn't expected given the easy mixing method. I was out of buttermilk and used one of the substitutes suggested on the Cook's Illustrated website (1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt whisked with 2/3 c water). Dough was a bit drier and stiffer than I'd expected - I ended up switching from a rubber spatula to my hands to finish incorporating the flour. Baked until centers were 195-200F and would do that again (or maybe even a bit higher) given how moist the biscuits were. Leftovers held over well - crisp exterior went away, but they were still tender/moist inside.

  • Blueberry muffins

    • Zosia on September 19, 2015

      Delicious! They were moist and almost cake-like and bursting with blueberries but next time I'll omit swirling the "jam" into the batter (since most of it just sat on the top) and just hide a spoon of it inside the muffin for a nice surprise.

  • Grilled rack of lamb

    • bching on September 20, 2021

      Delicious simple preparation for grilled rack of lamb. Loved by everyone at the table.

  • Roasted sweet potatoes with maple-thyme glaze

    • springandfall on May 28, 2017

      This is gorgeous, but it's wasteful to discard the narrower parts of the sweet potato. Just take them out of the oven earlier than the large slices. Their thinness gives them a particularly wonderful ratio of caramelized outer edge to soft interior.

  • Easier fried chicken

    • springandfall on January 03, 2019

      I don't have the 11" straight-sided pan called for in this recipe; it's an odd size. A 10" pan allows insufficient room for the chicken, but a 12" pan would make the oil too shallow. I suggest either using less chicken and a 10" pan (in which case you could reduce the amount of coating and slightly reduce the oil) or use a 12" pan and a little more oil. Not having anticipated how important this was, I ended up frying the chicken in two batches in a smaller pan. It was still fine, but there was a lot of opening and closing of the oven, trying to determine which chicken pieces were done, since they hadn't all gone into the oven at the same time.

  • Rémoulade

    • HalfSmoke on August 05, 2017

      Simple. Delicious. Perfect accompaniment for crab cakes.

  • Orange-honey glazed chicken breasts

    • stricklinhome on January 09, 2022

      Page 53-54 in the print edition

  • Meringue cookies

    • stricklinhome on November 27, 2022

      Cooking time works best for about 1 tbsp cookie size. Bigger cookies were still a little too soft in the middle.

  • All-American potato salad

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      This is a great, classic version of mayonnaise-dressed potato salad. Coming from me, that's a significant statement since I'm generally not a fan of mayonnaise or hard-boiled eggs! This salad has tender potatoes, enough dressing to tie everything together without being overwhelming, and a classic flavor that can serve as a base for variation. I usually use chopped-up sweet bread and butter pickles instead of sweet pickle relish (gives me an excuse to buy a big jar of delicious pickles). I think the recipe's technique of tossing the potatoes with white vinegar helps the potato exteriors disintegrate a bit so they stick nicely to each other - I skipped the vinegar toss once and the potatoes didn't cohere as well. Avoid cutting the potatoes too small, overcooking them, or over-stirring them, however, or you will end up with potato salad-flavored mashed potatoes. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • Classic mashed potatoes

    • ashallen on September 29, 2019

      Great, reliable recipe for basic mashed potatoes - consistently produces good results.

  • Crisp roasted potatoes

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      This is a standard dish in our house. Great technique for getting well-browned potatoes in the oven. I've morphed the technique somewhat over the years - instead of cutting potatoes into rounds and flipping them one-by-one during roasting, I now just cut them into ~1" wedge-chunks and flip them in groups. They're not quite as evenly browned as intended by the original recipe technique (which is a good technique), but we've been happy and it's been a bit less fiddly. In my current oven, convection mode produces much better browning than regular mode, though the potatoes can get desiccated and chewy if I overdo it. I usually do some mix of the two modes to get the texture I'm looking for. Leftovers are surprisingly good - my husband loves them for breakfast with eggs. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • Poached salmon with herb and caper vinaigrette

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      If you like the flavor of poached salmon (I'm a moderate fan), this is a nice method for making it. I used parsley and tarragon as specified in the recipe, but I think other herbs would probably work well, too. I thought the herb and caper vinaigrette was just so-so (I'm not a big caper fan, though). I wouldn't make the vinaigrette again, but the recipe suggests several other sauces. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

  • New York-style thin-crust pizza

    • ashallen on January 19, 2020

      Excellent recipe for homemade pizza! I grew up on New Haven pizza and can be pretty picky. This recipe surprised me - I wasn't expecting to make this good a pizza with a regular oven + baking stone. Crust was nicely chewy with a moist interior, crisp exterior, and great dough bubbles on the rim. I only did a 1-day cold-ferment with the dough this time and will try the 3-day next time. Used King Arthur's organic bread flour which we've also enjoyed in other breads. Good quantity of sauce and cheese relative to crust, though my husband preferred a bit more sauce (+ a whole tin of anchovies!) on his pie. Recipe doesn't mention using semolina flour to dust the peel, but I find it really eases transfer of the pizza from peel to oven. [Cross-post for 2011 & 2013 Annual Edition/2011 & 2013 Magazine/Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • Stir-fried Thai beef with chiles and shallots

    • ashallen on August 25, 2021

      Very fresh, strong flavors that work very well together. I wasn't able to find blade steak and used the flank steak option instead. I'll be more careful next time about how long I cook it since I let it go a bit too long and toughen this time. Leftovers held up better than I expected, but since a lot of the sparkle in this dish comes from its fresh, distinct flavors, I'll make a half-recipe next time for the two of us. Cutting back the fresh chiles to 1 yielded a happy heat level for us. Recipe uses a mixture of mint and cilantro as a substitute for Thai basil, but I'll hunt down the basil next time since it'd be excellent here. Recipe says to cook in a non-stick skillet, but a wok on a gas burner worked great.

  • Quick beef and vegetable soup

    • ashallen on August 01, 2020

      I usually choose chicken vegetable soup over beef vegetable soup because I've had so many sad, watery versions of the latter (with tasteless, rubbery beef lumps!) over the years. But this recipe is excellent - deeply flavorful with tender bits of beef and vegetables. It's hard to find sirloin steak tips where I live, but I was able to get a bavette steak for the beef. My "beef stock" was the strained liquid leftover after simmering beef for another dish - worked well. Parsley flavor was a little strong when served fresh (maybe it was my parsley), but it mellowed out after sitting overnight. Great served with egg noodles mixed in. [Cross-post for Cook's Illustrated Cookbook/Cook's Ill. 2007 Annual Edition/Cook's Ill. magazine/Science of Good Cooking]

  • Pasta with creamy tomato sauce

    • ashallen on November 07, 2019

      We love, love, love this pasta sauce, though it's creamy rich so we consider it a special treat. Flavors are absolutely delicious and multilayered. I usually add the wine and uncooked tomatoes at the end of the cooking process to taste since the acidity of the sauce varies with the ingredients available. Basil pesto has worked in place of fresh basil in a pinch, but fresh basil is really best. Doubling the recipe works fine. Freezes well. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

    • Acarroll on December 24, 2023

      Omitted the cream because we served this with a rich mushroom/cheese/truffle ravioli. The flavors in the sauce itself were divine.

  • Chewy chai-spice sugar cookies

    • ashallen on January 07, 2022

      This is one of several variations of a basic sugar cookie recipe. The base recipe is wonderful and makes flavorful cookies with an awesomely moist and chewy texture. I assumed the spice flavor in this variation would be more intense, but these definitely tasted like sugar cookies with a bit of spice mixed in and a bit of heat from the ginger and pepper. Overall very nice flavors, though, for a relatively gently flavored cookie. If my spices had been super-fresh, that probably would have bumped them up a notch.

  • Classic brownies

    • ashallen on November 26, 2019

      Nice brownies with good flavor. I've had brownies ranging from cake-like to fudge-like - these are about halfway between the two textures. Personally I prefer my brownies to be fudgier/chewier, but I still thought these were good. Co-workers enjoyed. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • Classic pound cake

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      This cake smelled and tasted like Sara Lee pound cake! The texture was different, however - more foam-like and drier. However, I accidentally added all of the eggs at once instead of beating them in one-by-one - so no star rating for now since I didn't put it together properly. Worth trying again to see if the texture improves. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • Easy chocolate cake

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      I am not a big mayonnaise fan, so I see chocolate mayonnaise cakes as a relatively painless way to make extra mayonnaise disappear! I used Hershey's regular cocoa powder (i.e., natural cocoa powder) instead of the Dutch-process cocoa powder called for in the recipe. The result was OK but not my preferred style of chocolate cake. Chocolate flavor was moderate. Texture was quite soft and on the crumbly side - I'll try taking it from the oven sooner than specified in the recipe next time. Given its soft texture, it would've been best with a frosting that stays soft vs. the one I used which sets up firm. I'll have to try this again with dutch-process cocoa powder and see if I like it better.

    • ashallen on July 03, 2021

      Made this again using a Dutch-process cocoa powder as specified in the recipe (King Arthur Bensdorp). For the coffee, I used 2 tbsp instant espresso dissolved in boiling water. Baked in a 9-inch round cake pan that was 2 inches deep - cake rose nearly to top of pan. Removed from oven once center reached 185F. Came out excellent in both texture and flavor - much, much better than when I made it the first time and used natural cocoa powder. Moist, dark, close-crumbed, and definitely bittersweet so it worked really well with the sweet vanilla frosting I made for it. Great cake!

  • Ultimate chocolate cupcakes with ganache filling

    • ashallen on October 05, 2021

      Excellent cupcakes!! Super chocolatey - the ganache center takes it over the top and was a nice, bittersweet counterpoint to the sweeter frosting on top. Moist and tender without falling to bits. Between the frosting on top and the ganache center, these are more pastry-like (in a wonderful way) than typical cake-with-frosting. I pulled some frosting from my freezer rather than making the recipe that accompanies the cupcake recipe (which looks very good). There are a few steps more than usual to make this recipe, but they're not difficult. No mixer required. Recipe says to bake until set and "just firm" to touch - the area above the ganache filling was still very soft when these were done baking, but the cake surrounding that area had firmed up.

  • Pan-roasted chicken breasts with sweet-tart red wine sauce

    • ashallen on October 26, 2019

      This came out very well. Chicken was tender, moist, and well-flavored - even the skin was tasty! Sauce was also nicely flavored. Pretty easy to make, too. Making a half-batch worked fine. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Giblet pan gravy

    • ashallen on November 29, 2019

      This is an excellent recipe for classic turkey gravy - deeply flavorful. It's good with or without the white wine - also very good without the giblets chopped up and stirred in. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Chicken Provençal

    • ashallen on October 22, 2019

      My husband is a big fan of this dish in both the "traditional" and "saffron-orange-basil" versions - moist chicken pieces with a flavorful sauce that's both tomato-y and savory. I like it best with bone-in chicken thighs - bone-in chicken breast seemed a bit dry to me. Boneless chicken thighs have also worked out OK. Leftovers keep well. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Chicken Provençal with saffron, orange, and basil

    • ashallen on October 22, 2019

      My husband is a big fan of this dish in both the "traditional" and "saffron-orange-basil" versions - moist chicken pieces with a flavorful sauce that's both tomato-y and savory. I like it best with bone-in chicken thighs - bone-in chicken breast seemed a bit dry to me. Boneless chicken thighs have also worked out OK. Leftovers keep well. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Chicken paprikash

    • ashallen on October 22, 2019

      Very nice dish with a creamy tomato-pepper sauce. I substituted additional red bell peppers for green bell peppers since I'm not a fan of the latter in this type of dish. Making a half-batch worked fine. [Cross-post for Annual Edition /Magazine /Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Onion-braised beef brisket

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      This is a great, classically flavored brisket recipe. Savory, beefy flavors and very tender slices of meat. Recipe specifies cooking for 3.5-4 hours - we like our brisket super-tender so I usually go 5-6 hours. The onions that cook alongside the beef are delicious, but my husband's not fond of their squishy texture. I get around this by pureeing them into the sauce which adds great flavor and a bit of sweetness to it. Doing so also increases sauce volume, making for an excellent sauce-to-meat ratio. Resting the meat in the sauce overnight significantly improves its texture - I really try to avoid serving it the day it's cooked. Awesome with mashed potatoes. Leftovers are great. Freezes very well, particularly when meat slices are nestled in sauce. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

    • Mlr5 on April 07, 2021

      So delicious. Followed recipe exactly. Cooked 4 hours (4.5 lb) and left overnight. Was exactly what we wanted!

  • Beef Stroganoff

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      Tender beef morsels in a deliciously creamy sauce - this was great. I did make the effort to track down the bavette/flap meat cut specified as the first choice for the recipe - it was available only from a specialty butcher in my area. On the positive side, the meat was really high-quality and so delicious after the initial searing that I felt bit bad eating it with the creamy sauce which mellowed the beef flavor!! Overall the sauce had good flavor - I did find the tomato paste to be a bit distracting in terms of both flavor and color (made the sauce kind of pink) - I'll try leaving it out/cutting down the quantity next time. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • Well-done burgers

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      My husband prefers his hamburgers well-done and I prefer mine pink. After a few sad hockey-puck episodes, I found this recipe which makes everyone happy. These are very forgiving hamburgers, tender even when well-done, and deliciously flavored with a bit of garlic and steak sauce. Original recipes specifies making 4 hamburgers from 1.5 lb ground beef - making 3 burgers from 1 lb ground beef works nicely, too. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/ Magazine/ Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Spiced pumpkin cheesecake

    • ashallen on November 26, 2019

      Very nice cheesecake. I agree with darcie_b that the texture's very nice - it's very smooth and creamy. I did use the full amount of cream specified in the recipe and it set up fine. I wish the pumpkin and spice flavors were stronger, but that's personal preference - removing 1/2 the cream would probably help with that. I'm not sure I'll make this one again, however, because I have another pumpkin spice cheesecake recipe that doesn't call for patting the pumpkin puree dry with paper towels (I found the process to be kind of fiddly) and has a higher ratio of crust (gingersnap crust!) to filling which I like in this particular dessert as well as that stronger pumpkin/spice flavor I love. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking.]

  • Rich, tender yellow cake with buttercream frosting

    • ashallen on October 18, 2019

      A delicious, buttery cake. My first attempt had a few texture issues that I believe were due to a couple of mistakes I made during mixing (including not having all ingredients at room temperature). Definitely worth a second try. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • Pasta with garlic and oil

    • KCKB on January 16, 2022

      This recipe has a great balance of garlic flavor, between the sautéed and the raw cloves. We usually make it with long pasta, but have had it with a variety of shapes. Always yummy!

  • Slow-roasted beef

    • Liz_Young on January 17, 2024

      This is a tough cut of meat. I thought that cooking low and slow in the oven would be great, but it was still tough.

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Reviews about this book

  • Boston Globe by T. Susan Chang could hardly do better if you’re looking for consistent results and abundant flavor in recipes you may already know. And answers to that eternal culinary question: why?

    Full review
  • Baking Bites

    It is fun to read through, even if you don’t end up making the recipes that are paired with each concept (although, since their CI recipes, you know that they will be reliably delicious).

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1936493462
  • ISBN 13 9781936493463
  • Published Oct 01 2012
  • Format eBook
  • Page Count 504
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Cook's Illustrated

Publishers Text


Great cooks seem to operate on intuition. Watch one at work and you might think he or she must have a sixth sense that switches on in the kitchen. But great cooks aren't psychic. They simply understand the fundamental principles of cooking, the unspoken rules that guide their every move in the kitchen. What's behind these principles? Science.

At America's Test Kitchen, we know something about that. The team at Cook's Illustrated has spent the past 20 years investigating every facet and every detail associated with home cooking through tens of thousands of kitchen tests. In The Science of Good Cooking, we distill the past two decades of this test kitchen work into 50 basic cooking concepts, ones that every home cook should know.

These concepts sound suspiciously simple: Gentle Heat Retains Moisture. Salty Marinades Work Best. Starch Helps Cheese Melt Nicely. Sugar Changes Sweetness and Texture. It turns out that these ideas are not only easy to understand but also easy to master. And don't worry, there is no molecular gastronomy, liquid nitrogen, or fancy equipment involved. As always, our mission is squarely focused on great home cooking.

In addition to explaining how food science works (and why you should care), The Science of Good Cooking shows you the science. This book brings you into the test kitchen with 50 unique (and fun) experiments engineered to illustrate (and illuminate) the science at work. The experiments demonstrate why adding fat to your eggs will make the perfect tender omelet, why grinding your own meat will make the ultimate burger, and why you should have patience before carving your roast.

And because no concept is complete without recipes, The Science of Good Cooking includes more than 400 classic Cook's Illustrated recipes that take the science to the stove, putting the principles to work. The book offers a fresh perspective on everything from roasting a chicken to baking chocolate chip cookies. These are the fundamental recipes home cooks struggle to get right. And when these recipes are coupled with the simple science explaining how and why they work, the results are illuminating.

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