The Good Home Cookbook (Collectors Press, Fall 2006) is a landmark cookbook that compiles tried and true American favorite recipes. Key to the book's success is the more than 1,000 people currently participating in the first ever national public recipe testing campaign.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Staff recipe testing is party perfect!

We threw a potluck party at our offices recently, and I asked Collectors Press staffers to test out recipes from the book. So what is recipe testing like? Here are some samples straight from the source. Want to be a recipe tester? Send an e-mail to and we'll get you signed up!

From the editorial department:
(Autumn Fruit Salad)
There's nothing like making a couple fruit salads while watching the finale for The Apprentice. As the Donald did a recap of his firing, firing, firing, I chopped and chopped and chopped fruit. I tested the Autumn Fruit Salad because I thought the grocery store would have all the fruit (apples, pears, bananas, grapes); but they didn’t have grapes so I substituted strawberries. I made a double recipe and found that layering the fruit and then adding lemon juice along the way was best. Mixing was out of the question because I didn’t have a bowl large enough and the strawberries would have colored the entire dish. Also, the recipe calls for sauce poured on each serving, but like The Apprentice, I just poured the sauce and hype ALLLLL over the fruit and called it good.

From the sales department:
(Herbed Cheese Spread and Party Cheese Ball)
The first rule in cooking should be to make sure you have the right tools. This is the problem I ran into when making the herbed cheese spread and party cheese ball. I don't own a food processor. Like many people my age my kitchen is made up of hand me downs and worn appliances. As such I made an attempt to mix all the ingredients using a blender, which didn't work out too well. So I used a little ingenuity and elbow grease and did the old fashioned method, a spoon and a bowl. I think sometimes the ingredients speak louder than the method because they both came out great. The Worcestershire sauce in both recipes gave an extra kick and the tangy zesty flavor of the lemon juice to the herbed cheese spread over the top. I really like both recipes and can't wait to try them again when I finally get a food processor

From the intern-turned employee:
(Double Chocolate Cake and White Cake)
So I tested the double chocolate cake, the white cake, and the vanilla buttercream frosting for our office party. Both cakes came together easily and with little fuss. I doubled the recipe for white cake, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the batter still fit into a single large mixing bowl. I baked two white cakes in 9” pans for 30 minutes, one white cake in an 8” springform for 35 minutes, and spooned the remaining batter into 4” tartlet pans, which baked for about 18 minutes. I baked half the chocolate cake batter as cupcakes, and after 20 minutes their tops sprung back when pressed lightly with a fingertip.

From the Good Home Cookbook tester coordinator!
(Orange, Shrimp, and Spinach Salad)
I was really worried about bringing the dish that no one touches. I was supposed to make a double batch but decided to make up only one (just in case) and brought the rest of the veggies and ingredients in containers, ready to be tossed together in a hurry. One thing that is great about this salad is that you can have everything cut-up and ready for travel and toss it all together right before serving. I even made the dressing in a canning jar so I could shake and pour easily. Much to my delight, my salad was gobbled up and I had to make up the second batch quickly because they were scraping the bottom of the bowl!


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