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.

Monday, June 27, 2005

All-American Potato Salad

Upon researching classic potato salads, we tested the one below and found it to be fairly straight-forward. We're sending it out to our recipe testers and would like your opinion as well. Thanks!

All-American Potato Salad
Can you even have a picnic without potato salad? A mayonnaise dressing makes this all-American favorite the perfect accompaniment to hot dogs, hamburgers, and deli sandwiches.

Serves 8

3 pounds potatoes (thin-skinned red or white potatoes are preferred)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (Maui, Walla Walla, or Vidalia)
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish or finely chopped sweet pickles
1/4 cup sweet pickle juice or white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 large eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Cook the potatoes in water to cover until tender, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size. Let cool. Peel and cut into cubes.
2. Combine the celery, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, pickle, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl and mix well. Gently fold in the potatoes. Chop 4 of the eggs and mix into the salad. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
3. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Before serving, peel and slice the last 2 hard-cooked eggs and garnish with the egg along with the paprika.

Tip: The best potatoes for potato salads are waxy, low-starch potatoes, not the kind used for baking. Red Bliss and Yellow Finn are both excellent choices. If you don’t feel like peeling your potatoes, choose new potatoes with thin skins.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Creamed Spinach

This classic creamed spinach recipe was a great way to use up the remaining spinach from the huge bag purchased at Costco. It's a delightful recipe. Clean, simple and fresh. Make sure not to overcook the spinach or the nutritional value and bright green color will be lost.

Creamed Spinach
Serves 4 to 6
When Peter Luger opened a steak house in New York City in 1887, creamed spinach was on the menu. The success of the restaurant resulted in many copycat menus. It is hard to even imagine a steak house today without creamed spinach on the menu.

2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, tough stems removed
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons, plus one teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the spinach, cover, and steam until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain into a colander, rinse with cold water, and press out as much water as possible. Transfer to a cutting board and chop. If the spinach seems watery, gather in handfuls and squeeze to remove excess water.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a paste. Cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until hot and thickened. Stir in the cheese.
4. Stir in the spinach and cook until the spinach is hot, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Tip: If you would like to make this ahead, transfer the creamed spinach to a lightly buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with buttered bread crumbs. Refrigerate until 40 minutes before serving. Bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

We tested Sour Cream Coffee Cake yesterday. It was a smash hit around the office. It's like a sponge cake with a layer of sweetened nuts in the middle and more crumbled on top. There's no coffee in it, but it sure goes good with a big mug o' joe. Give it a try!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Serves 12
Coffee cakes are informal cakes, often served for breakfast. The sour cream coffee cake, with its topping and filling of nuts and cinnamon streusel, is one of the most popular of the genre. The cake is similar to a butter cake, but the sour cream gives the cake a richer texture and taste. In recent years, mini chocolate chips have been added to the streusel mixture; it is a fine addition.

2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream

Filling and Topping
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper.
2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Beat the butter until creamy with an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and sour cream (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.
5. To make the filling and topping, stir together the brown sugar, pecans, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and flour in a small bowl.
5. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle about half of the nut mixture on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter and then sprinkle with the remaining nut mixture.
6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.