CIMagI came home from work today and my house smelled wonderful – Eric had made French onion soup for dinner. It was fantastic. Usually when you order French onion soup in a restaurant it’s too salty and is covered with a thick layer of congealed cheese. This recipe is very rich and flavorful without the extra salt. It is topped with a toasted piece of French bread sprinkled with gruyere – just enough cheese to enhance the flavor of the soup, but not enough to overpower it. Wonderful!

My husband is a very good cook, and tends to favor what I’d call “weekend cooking” – soups and stews and roasts that take several hours and fill the house with amazing smells. Since I can’t in good conscience list “a spouse who cooks” as my recommendation for the day, I decided to put in a plug for Cook’s Illustrated Magazine instead. In addition to the soup recipe (from the January/February 2008 issue), we’ve added quite a few recipes from the magazine into our regular repertoire. We’ve tried any number of biscuit recipes, and the buttermilk biscuits from CI (July/August 2004) are the best by far. We’ve impressed many guests with the Grill Roasted Beef Tenderloin recipe (September/October 2004), and as an aside, I highly recommend buying your tenderloin at Costco – great quality, much better price.

But anyway, back to Cook’s Illustrated…the fun thing about the magazine is that each article describes the process that they went through in the test kitchen to achieve the best possible results. It’s interesting reading even if you don’t end up cooking anything, and I’ve learned a great deal about cooking just from reading this magazine. I wish the magazine had more/larger color pictures, but that’s just a minor quibble. My only real frustration is that the website protects most of the content behind a subscription wall, and they charge you for the web subscription even if you already subscribe to the print magazine! But if you are in the market for a cooking magazine, give CI a try – the food will win you over.

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