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, September 26, 2005

Buttermilk Pancakes

We've had a lot of recipe testers tell us that this recipe is spot on good. We tested it ourselelves this weekend and agree that it's the best pancake we've ever eaten. We tested both the basic recipe and the variation at the bottom. Approved and ready to roll!

Buttermilk Pancakes
Griddle cakes, flapjacks, hotcakes, pancakes — we certainly have plenty of names for pancakes. Of all the possible pancake batter additions, blueberries are the most popular. Buttermilk makes particularly tender pancakes.

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup melted butter
Butter for grilling
Toppings (maple syrup, butter, etc.; optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200° F. Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat while you prepare the batter.
2. Use a spoon to stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat the buttermilk, eggs, and butter until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until moistened.
4. Grease the griddle with 1 teaspoon of butter. Ladle about 1/3 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook for 3 minutes until the tops are bubbly and the bottoms are browned. Flip them and cook for another 3 minutes. Don’t let the butter burn; adjust the heat as needed. Remove the finished pancakes from the skillet and serve hot, or place them on a heatproof plate and keep them warm in a preheated oven. Continue making pancakes until all the batter is used, greasing the pan with 1 teaspoon of butter before cooking each batch. Serve them with toppings of your choice.

Blueberry Pancakes
Fold in 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thaw and drain if frozen) in buttermilk pancakes (page 000) batter. Complete the recipe as instructed.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Chocolate Souffle--easy and elegant

This weekend we tested Chocolate Souffle. After a lot of research we found this dish made with and without flour. The versions with flour won. Here's the one we're representing as an American classic.

Chocolate Soufflé

Soufflé’s are impressive looking desserts, yet they are easy to make. Slightly undercooking the soufflé will give a desirable, custard-like, center. For best results, eat them soon out of the oven.

4 servings

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar plus additional for dusting the soufflé dish
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 eggs separated
Pinch sugar
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Whipped cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a deep 2 quart baking dish or four 1-1/2 cup ramekins, and dust with sugar tapping out any excess.
2. Warm the milk and sugar in a saucepot over medium heat, until the sugar is completely melted. In a separate saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the four and cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Gradually add the sweetened milk, whisking constantly. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Stir in the eggs yolks until the sauce is thickened.
4. Beat the egg whites with the salt in until they hold stiff glossy peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold about 1 cup of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until the whites are just incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish or ramekins. Bake in the middle of the oven until the top has a crust and center juggles, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar or dollop with a large spoonful of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hash Browns--simple is better

When we were searching for THE classic hashbrown recipe, we found some that parboiled the potatoes first, then shredded them. We found this to be an unecessary step and the results were not as satisfying than when we simply grated them raw. Some recipes called for rincing the potatoes after grating, but we found that it removed all of the valuable binding starch and potato flavor. Here's the recipe that we landed upon for the book.

Hash Browns
Hash browns are generally finer in texture than home fries, and they are cooked long enough to form a crust on both sides. The insides are tender and moist.

Serves 4

3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and shredded
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

1. Using a large spoon or your hands, toss potatoes in a medium bowl with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes by handfuls, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Flatten with a spatula and cook until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Flip the hash browns over and reduce the heat to medium and cook them until browned on the bottom, another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve hot.