Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chicago Style Pizza

Dough Time: 10 minutes
Rise Time: 60 minutes
Sauce Prep: 20 minutes
Sauce Cook: 30 minutes
Laminate: 10 minutes
Rise Time: 40-50 minutes
Assemble: 10 minutes
Bake: 20-30 minutes
Rest: 10 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (January 2010) 
I have always lived in Chicago-land area (and for a while in the city) so I do know Chicago pizza. I'm not partial to this style of pizza though, I like all kinds really. The one thing I would say about the style is that it has a buttery crust. Some of them seem like they have cornmeal in them, but I've heard that is not really true. I am not a purist though so I just wanted to try it and see if it was good.

It was good. Very good actually. Maybe not a true replication of any specific restaurant around here but close enough. The crust seemed closest to Lou Malnati's I thought, because of the buttery flavor.

It is a bit more work than a regular pizza, but it made two pies. I wrapped one pan in foil and froze, then baked a few weeks later. That one was as good as the first.

I thought the sauce was a little too sweet so I would skip the sugar next time or use less. Otherwise it was a very good recipe.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Fennel

Time: 27 minutes

Grade: A

Make again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cooks Illustrated (March 2010)
Recipe Source: Pasta Revolution

This was really good and simple. I lightened it up a bit using turkey sausage and 1/2 the oil and it was still pretty rich and filling. I used Ronzoni 100% whole wheat pasta and it was good. I thought I had bought the blend pasta which is not 100% whole wheat and that I've used often.

I will definitely make again because the sauce and turkey is made in the time it takes the water to boil and pasta to cook, so this is a keeper recipe.

This recipe is also featured (cut in half, for two people) in the ATK's Pasta Revolution cookbook, which I have out now from the library.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Favorite Chili

Prep Time: 70 minutes
Cook Time: 90-120 minutes

Grade: B-

Make Again: No

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (January 2011)
Recipe Source: America's Test Kitchen TV Season 12

You can get recipe (and video) with free subscription at ATK website for the next year.

This was not as good as I hoped. And it was more work than I wanted. The flavor was not quite what I expected. That may be because I used slightly less chili's - I'm not sure. The meat was good and the beans were good, but the overall flavor just wasn't great enough to warrant 70 minutes of work. I could probably do it faster, but it would still take a while, so I probably won't do this one again.

I wouldn't say that other people shouldn't try this recipe though. The flavors may appeal more to others.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Cook's Illustrated Favorites - March

It is a new month and time for my favorites again. These are the Cook's Illustrated recipes that I really like and make more than once. (Or at least I want to make again - it is amazing how many recipes I've only made once, that I really loved.) 

Recipes I've reviewed: 
  • Pan Seared Chicken Breasts - this is good and simple. It isn't 'quick' but the breasts start in the oven at a low heat, and it isn't a lot of effort. I've made this one a lot. 
  • Banana Bread - there has been a new version of this banana bread since this one was published. But this version is easier and just as good as the newer one. 
  • Thai-Style Curried Chicken Fried rice - I have made this one a lot, although not in a while, because a picky eater entered my life. But I will make it again with leftovers sometime soon, now that I'm thinking about it again. 
  • Glazed Lemon Cookies - or lemonade cookies as my nephews once called them. These are good. 
  • Simple Chili - technically this may be a "January" recipe, but they published it twice. Once with beef and once with Turkey. I like it both ways. 
  • Wilted Spinach Salad - I lightened the recipe up a bit, and it still very good. 
  • Classic Brownies - I like this version better than their new brownies. 
  • Brown Sugar Cookies - this is one of those recipes I've only made once or twice, but that I really loved. I just don't 'need' to make cookies that often and have so many good recipes. 
  • Garlic Potato Soup - another I've only made once, but want to make again
Recipes I love, but haven't reviewed: 
Making this list made me aware again of all the recipes that I want to try but haven't tried yet from March. So there may be some more added to this list soon. 

Actually I did make the Potato Galette last weekend and really liked it, so that one will be added soon hopefully. 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Prep Time:  17 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes per 2 pans
Cool Time: 30 minutes
Filling Time: 5 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (March 2012)
Recipe Source: America's Test Kitchen TV
Recipe Source: D.I.Y. Cookbook

The recipe and video available for free on TV website right now.

I only made a half recipe, since these cookies are big, so the time will take longer for a full recipe with 24 sandwich cookies, but probably not too much longer.

These are fairly simple to make. The hardest part is processing the chopped nuts, and that isn't really hard. They are nice, but a little dry (filling excepted of course), so not my favorite type of cookie. But they were fun to make. I might make again, but since I have a niece and a nephew with a peanut allergy and they are who I like to make cookies for, I may not.