Friday, May 28, 2010

Grilled Garlic-Rosemary Potatoes & Apple Cake {Cook’s Illustrated Challenge}

This is the second month of my personal challenge to myself to cook two random recipes from my collection of Cook’s Illustrated magazines. And again, instead of cooking throughout the month, I waited until the last week.

Will I ever learn?

Probably not.

This month, my recipes were Grilled Garlic-Rosemary Potatoes (July/August 2007) and Apple Cake (September/October 2001).

The potatoes involved an interesting method of infusing oil with the rosemary and garlic flavors and then brushing that oil on the potatoes for the cooking process. And the real shocker, to me at least, is that the majority of the cooking happened in (hushed voice) the microwave.

I know, right. I didn’t think the test kitchen at Cook’s Illustrated EVER used the microwave.


I served them alongside a steak with a red wine peppercorn sauce that I made up as I went. It was okay, but nothing to really write home about, so I didn’t really write down what I did with the sauce.

100_8260 I think the larger potatoes in my dish were done just about right while the smaller ones were a little over-done. However, they were good and had really good, yet subtle, garlic and rosemary flavor. And since I always love to have another way to use the fresh herbs out of my garden, this is definitely one that will stay in my repertoire.

Next up was the Apple Cake.

A while back I made an Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. It was good, but much like the author of the Cook’s Illustrated article mentions about some recipes that she tried, it was a little soggy. I was very interested to make this one to see if I liked it any better.

The answer: yes…. and no.


I loved the texture of the cake. The batter was very similar to my pound cake in thickness and texture. But the finished cake was quite a bit lighter. I think this is due to the almost “muffin method” that was used of incorporating the butter into the flour (to resemble coarse meal) then adding the liquid. While I’ve done that method in other baked goods, it was a new technique to use on a cake for me.

The presentation of the apples on top was really pretty (and quite photogenic as evidenced by the sheer number of pictures I took of it).



However, the most important element, the flavor, fell a little flat for me. I’d like to do some tinkering with this recipe to see if I can bring out some more apple flavor or enhance the apple flavor with the addition of a spice or two.

Don’t get me wrong. It was good as pretty much anything out of Cook’s Illustrated is, but I think I would probably try adding another ingredient or two to give the flavor more depth.

I must say that I am enjoying being exposed to new techniques and dishes on a regular basis.

Have you tried anything new lately?



My next two recipes are:

Issue #70, September/October 2004, page 20, Sesame Noodles with Chicken

Issue #53, November/December 2001, Page24-25, Buttery Shortbread

Feel free to cook along with me.


Kay said...

Garlic and rosemary anything sounds deee-lish! Everything sounds just too yummy. : )

Anonymous said...

FYI that Cook's revisted shortbread again sometime in the past year. Maybe you've made that already? It was interesting because it incorporated oats, which is apparently the way they did it in ye olden times.

Found your page via facebook...,-bars,-and-brownies-recipes/great-britain/miscellaneous/toasted-oat-shortbread-recipe/