Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cooking. Cook's Illustrated. (chicken teriyaki).

I discovered Cook's Illustrated from reading Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte. She described it as having text as dull as dishwasher instructions. Certainly, it has few pictures and extremely straightforward writing. Personally, I find it hilarious, in that unexpected, unintentional way that people who are very dry can be. And the recipes always work. There is something to be said for a recipe that has been exhaustively tested with every variation possible to find the perfect ingredient, perfect combination, perfect method for a dish. Everything I've tried has turned out perfectly (more or less). Biscuits come out high and flaky, lasagne comes together quickly and easily, cakes are moist and tender.

My favorite recipe is the one for chicken teriyaki, which I make often. (Tonight, for example). It requires boning chicken thighs, which is boring and tedious although not difficult, but you need the skin (boneless thighs come skinless, and chicken breasts dry out easily and tend to blandness. The writers at Cook's Illustrated aren't kidding when they say they've tried everything, so there's a reason they call for bone-in thighs, deboned). The crisp skin makes a contrast to the juicy meat, the sauce is perfect, slightly sweet, with hints of garlic and ginger. I always serve it with steamed broccoli and rice, and it's the perfect meal.

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