You may have heard the Blog Buzz that I'm blogging Every Day (except the weekends) in May about magazines. I'm on a quest to see if magazine reading is a worthwhile pursuit for an educated, savvy, middle-age (if I live to be 106) modern woman like myself. And of course, I want to share my findings with you. Because I'm just selfless like that.
After much thought, and two comments, I've decided not to limit myself to one particular magazine.
I'm going to be reporting on the wealth of knowledge I glean from the magazines pictured here:
The picture is a little blurry, but I think you can make out most of the titles, and of course you can see Dolly on the cover of the AARP magazine. Can't really miss her. In that issue she tells about getting her exercise by picking cotton, since she finds treadmills too boring. Looking at her waist size in that photo makes me actually consider getting a membership to a cotton field.
But you'll have to wait to hear more about Dolly since my magazine Pick for the Day was Cook's Illustrated (which I think is going to turn out to be one of my favorite journals....even though I don't really cook and when I do it's not really something one would want to illustrate) where today I learned the answer to a question I'm sure you've often asked yourself.
Is draining canned beans really necessary?
Turns out the answer differs according to what you're making. "Canned beans are made by pressure cooking beans directly in the can with water, salt, and preservatives. As the beans cook, starches and proteins leach into the liquid, thickening it." (I may not be a writer for a cooking magazine, but I know better than to use the word leach when talking about food....)
What I like the most about Cook's Illustrated is that they have a test kitchen that experiments around to find the best recipes, tools, ingredients, etc. - then they report their results.
With the canned bean dilemna, when they did not rinse the beans it made no difference in recipes with mixed flavors and different textures - like chili. Some recipes actually tasted better with the unrinsed beans. However, the hummus they made with unrinsed chick peas was too pasty and had less flavor.
So, there you have the definitive answer, dear readers. Sometimes you should rinse, and sometimes not.
Another really cool tip was to use a metal cheese slicer instead of a spatula when you're trying to remove warm cookies from a cookie sheet without breaking the cookies. The thin, sharp blade is better suited for this task than a thick spatula.
I definitely plan on trying that tip tomorrow!
Isn't this fun?!
In the issue I read today (March/April 2008) I also learned whether Super-Premium Orange Juice was worth the super-premium price. They compared five different juices ranging in price from $3.99 to $9.99 for 64 ounces. Tropicana Pure Premium, one of the lower costing juices, beat out Naked All Natural Juice. I'm sure it was neck and neck all the way!
And the most riveting article of all, "Can One Serrated Knife Do It All?"
And yes, wonder upon wonders, if you get yourself a Wusthof Classic Bread Knife ($79.95) or even a Victorinox Forschner 10 1/4 Inch Curved Blade Bread Knife ($24.95) you can have one knife that cuts bread, tomatoes, cake, sticky dough, and even club sandwiches.
And apparently, you can even go online and watch some behind the scenes test kitchen videos.
The recipes in this issue were also good, but I didn't feel right reporting on them until I had actually cooked something. Which may or may not happen in May. (Get it? MAY or MAY not.....)
For a free trial issue of Cook's Illustrated go to www.cooksillustrated.com
It's a cool site with tons of good recipes.
See you tomorrow, when I tell you a couple of things I am NOT going to do that were suggested in the May/June 2009 issue of AARP (which mistakenly gets delivered to my address every month. They must think some old person lives here!)