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Cooking for Two 2009: The Year's Best Recipes Cut Down to Size by America's Test Kitchen Editors

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Shrimp and grits

    • Three_Quarters on August 26, 2013

      It took me several years of living in the South to warm up to the idea of Shrimp and Grits, but it was worth the wait. This recipe is a great, simple version that's very quick to make. If you've got the time though, there's nothing like grilled shrimp, so I'd recommend grilling the shrimp then adding them to the grits, rather than broiling them with the grits as in the recipe.

  • Pasta with chicken, caramelized onion, and red bell pepper

    • Analyze on August 03, 2015

      This was okay - not horrible, but just pretty boring to us.

  • Crunchy baked pork chops

    • Analyze on April 04, 2017

      These are good; I've made them twice now, and they are the WAY more fresh/tasty version of a shake n' bake pork chop. Brining the chops is a must for juicy meat. However, why not go one step further and make the Crunchy Baked Pork Chops with Prosciutto and Asiago Cheese, the variation on the next page? Those are even better :)

  • Oven-roasted salmon

    • Analyze on April 20, 2017

      This is a great recipe that works well, but I find it much easier (and cheaper) to use their stove-top method.

  • Herb-roasted prime rib with potatoes

    • Analyze on February 15, 2017

      This was a well-written recipe, but my husband and I personally prefer steak without an herb rub, so I wouldn't make it again.

  • Herbed roast pork tenderloin

    • hillsboroks on February 19, 2019

      The herbs and lemon play off each other delightfully in this recipe. I found a mixed fresh herb packet at the grocery that had the sage and thyme called for plus rosemary. I saved the rosemary for another dish and put the filling together very quickly. I thought we had an extra guest or two coming for dinner so I had doubled the recipe and prepped two pork tenderloins. It ended up we only had to cook one and cooked the second tenderloin just for the two us the next night. Both were perfect and tasty. I served them with a bit of quince applesauce I had made last fall and frozen. I think adding the fruit sauce on the side really upped the delicious factor for this dish.

  • Fresh fettuccine with lobster

    • SACarlson on January 25, 2019

      I cooked the lobster sous vide because I love the flavour and tenderness that it gives.

  • Sun-dried tomato, potato, and mozzarella frittata

    • Analyze on September 05, 2017

      This recipe is solid and makes a good quality, perfectly cooked frittata. I won't be making it again only because I don't care for these flavors in my frittata (i.e. the tomato/mozzarella pizza-ish flavors), but it is under the "Last Minute Suppers from the Pantry" chapter and was designed to be a lunch or dinner. My husband doesn't like frittatas, anyway. But if you do like these flavors in your eggs, I'd definitely recommend the recipe.

  • Skillet strata with cheddar and thyme

    • Analyze on February 12, 2014

      I thought that this was sooooooo good, with the nice flavor from the onions and thyme, and would highly recommend it if you like breakfast stratas!

  • Grilled bone-in chicken breasts with cherry tomatoes

    • Analyze on September 03, 2017

      Delicious! Fresh, simple summer flavors - this recipe has you grill the bone-in chicken breasts first using a hot-cool-hot method, then skewer and grill cherry tomatoes. Both are drizzled with the same simple olive oil blend of garlic and fresh basil.

  • Grilled bratwurst with onion and fennel

    • Analyze on December 08, 2018

      This is a delicious recipe. Only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because we're not big fans of fennel, so probably wouldn't make this variation again, but the fennel and onion pairs nicely in this recipe, so I'd recommend it very much!

  • Grilled porterhouse or T-bone steak with red potatoes

    • Analyze on June 09, 2017

      I'm not a grilling expert, but this seemed like a really great method for grilling porterhouse steaks to make sure that the tenderloin side doesn't get overcooked. We got Prime porterhouse steaks and used our Weber kettle grill, and they were delicious. Gotta say, though, that I still prefer a rib-eye for more flavor. The grilled potatoes, tossed with tons of chives and olive oil, were SO good and definitely a keeper!

  • Cauliflower gratin

    • hillsboroks on February 06, 2019

      The flavor of the cauliflower and sauce was wonderful but the cooking time called for resulted in a softer, musher cauliflower than we like. Next time I would reduce the first baking period to 20 minutes and check the texture. It is a nice change of pace way to cook cauliflower.

  • Raspberry-nectarine pie

    • Analyze on June 04, 2017

      We really liked this the first time I made it, but coming back to it seven years later (lol), it wasn't a hit with us and we just didn't care for the flavor. If you like peaches and raspberries together (turns out I don't - too tart for me), you'll probably love this filling. Their crust is an older version before they came out with the vodka version; personally I have since switched to an all-butter pie crust that I much prefer, so flavor-wise this crust just didn't do it for me. It does have a lovely texture, though. As always the Cook's Illustrated recipes are fool-proof and guaranteed to please; this one just wasn't for us.

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  • ISBN 10 1933615435
  • ISBN 13 9781933615431
  • Published May 01 2009
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 302
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Boston Common Press

Publishers Text

Our editors spent a full year developing 195 foolproof recipes specifically designed for just 2 servings.

In Cooking for Two, the test kitchen's goal was to take traditional recipes and cut them down to size - to serve just two - with tailored cooking techniques and smart shopping tips that will cut down on wasted food and wasted money. Great lasagna starts to lose its luster when you're eating the leftovers for the fourth day in a row. While it may seem obvious that a recipe for four can simply be halved to work, our testing has proved that this is not always the case; cooking with smaller amounts of ingredients often requires different preparation techniques, cooking time, temperature, and the proportion of ingredients. This was especially true as we worked on scaled-down desserts; baking is an unforgiving science in which any changes in recipe amounts often called for changes in baking times and temperatures.

Just because you're cooking for two doesn't mean that dinner can't be fresh, flavorful, and exciting. We've provided a wide range of meals from simple skillet suppers, pasta dishes roasts, and soups to special occasion dinners with more complex flavors like Pan-Roasted Duck Breasts with Dried Cherry Sauce and Roasted Rack of Lamb with Whisky Sauce. You'll also find entire chapters on outdoor grilling and barbecuing, and lighter meals with included nutritional information.

Some of the recipes were surprisingly hard to cut down to size. Our classic Herbed Roast Pork Tenderloin recipe called for butterflying two separate pork tenderloins, rubbing an herb spread in the middle, then sandwiching them together, which kept the herb butter in place. To make this dinner for two, we needed to cook only one tenderloin, making this technique obsolete. The solution was pounding one tenderloin out flat, then rubbing it with the herb butter, and rolling up the meat tight, keeping the butter and the flavor inside, which also had the added benefit of creating a perfect spiral of herbs when sliced.

Other scaled-down recipes required a change in cooking equipment as well as a change in ingredient amounts. For our Blueberry Crumble, we thought we could just use a smaller baking dish. But when baked, the blueberry filling bubbled out and over. By adding a thicker, heavier layer of our crumb topping, we kept the blueberries at bay. And when we substituted a standard casserole dish with a smaller loaf pan, our scaled-down Baked Lasagna made just the right amount for two, not a whole tray for ten.

With Cooking for Two, smaller households can create satisfying and delicious meals that are perfectly proportioned for one or two diners. Just making one or two meals that use up extra ingredients you have in the fridge, or prevent leftover ingredients in the first place, will more than pay for the price of the book itself. As you'll see, saving money and eating well at home can easily go hand in hand- with the right recipes.



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