October 31st, 2013
10:45 AM ET
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Editor's Note: America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

A crumb crust is a classic choice in many single-crust pies. It’s more durable than classic pie dough, making it the right choice for the moist custard-based fillings in recipes like Key Lime Pie (recipe below).

Graham crackers are the classic choice. For chocolate cookie crusts, we prefer Oreos. While buying a store-bought ready-to-go crust is a tempting shortcut, these are always stale and bland. Making your own is incredibly easy and well worth it for a fresh-tasting crust with a crisp texture and balanced sweetness to do your homemade pie filling justice.
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Baked Goods • Content Partner • How To • Make • Pie • Recipes • Techniques & Tips


October 24th, 2013
08:00 AM ET
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Editor's Note: America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Introduced in the 1950s, the Bundt pan has been used by inspired bakers to create cakes that look like mountains, cathedrals, flowers, and, yes, pumpkins. For this cake, you stack two Bundt cakes, making sure that the flat sides are sandwiched together and the ridges are aligned. Orange buttercream frosting and a cupcake "stem" are the finishing touches.

We wanted a Pumpkin Patch Cake recipe that looked like a convincing, life-sized pumpkin - but tasted like a cake. We used a bread knife to even out the bottoms of the Bundt cakes, ensuring a more even cake after assembly. And we colored our frosting with only a couple of drops each of yellow and red food coloring, adding more if necessary. We found that too much food coloring created an undesirable, dark orange color.
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October 18th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Editor's Note: America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Say “meatloaf” and most Americans think 1950s comfort food and Mom, but this humble recipe has surprisingly elegant roots in a now-forgotten dish called “cannelon.” A typical cannelon recipe from the original "Boston Cooking-School Cook Book" calls for chopping and seasoning beef, shaping it into a log, and basting with melted butter as it bakes. The wide availability of meat grinders and the advent of reliable refrigeration made ground beef a household staple in the early 20th century and meatloaf recipes gained wide circulation.

As a topping, butter was usurped by tomato sauce until ketchup became popular in the 1920s. The Heinz company created a “House of Heinz” campaign to tout the gourmet appeal their products gave to everyday dishes such as meatloaf. Along with their ketchup, Heinz suggested incorporating other Heinz products, such as beefsteak sauce, chili sauce and olives into meatloaf, or serving cubes of meatloaf with pickle slices for an easy hors d’oeuvre.

For our meatloaf, we skipped the gourmet aspirations and unnecessary mix-ins for a stellar version of the 1950s favorite.
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August 29th, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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Editor's note: Welcome to CNN's Open House, an interactive, online tour of iReporters' houses that showcases incredible decor. Space by space, we'll feature beautiful design moments and learn from decorators' experience. Want to show off your decorating skills? Submit your photos to our iReport assignment!

A box of cereal or can of tomatoes is not usually a decorator's first choice to accessorize a kitchen. But when it comes to pantries, your sundries can be an unexpected element of decor.

A pantry is an extension of your kitchen, said Melanie Serra, an interior decorator, staging expert and instructor in Atlanta, Georgia.

"When you are entertaining, that is an area that people will still see, when you open your pantry to grab an appetizer or chips," she said.
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Filed under: iReport • Storage • Tools


August 27th, 2013
07:00 AM ET
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Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's contributor, Virginia Willis, is the author of cookbooks "Bon Appétit, Y’all" and "Basic to Brilliant, Y’all." She is a contributing editor to Southern Living and a frequent contributor to Taste of the South. She also wrote Eatocracy's most-commented post of all time.

In this series for the Southern Foodways Alliance, I'm examining iconic Southern foods that so completely belong to summer that if you haven’t relished them before Labor Day, you should consider yourself deprived of the entire season. My plan is to share a little history and a few recipes that I hope you will enjoy.

This week, I’m finishing up with a recipe for a barbecued pork butt, sharing a bit of history and a practical recipe for those who want to go low and slow, but don’t have the time or patience for a professional Memphis-in-May competition pace.
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5@5 - Rack up on rib pointers
June 26th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

We're positively slab-happy it's summer. There's something inherently appropriate about spending the longer, sunnier days at a picnic table, unabashedly attacking a rack of smoky, pink-tinged ribs with the exhilaration of 300 Spartans.

Perhaps no one shares that sentiment more than Myron Mixon, champion pitmaster, cookbook author and chef/owner of the Pride & Joy Bar B Que restaurants in Miami and New York City.

His pointers for remarkable ribs will stick with you long after you've finished reading. Pro tip: Don't forget the wet naps.

Five Tips and Tricks for Mouthwatering Ribs: Myron Mixon
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Filed under: 5@5 • Barbecue • Grilling • Grilling • Make • Smoking • Techniques & Tips • Think


June 21st, 2013
11:45 AM ET
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Fact: Americans are in a fiery, long-term love affair with their backyard grills, and the CNN Library has the stats to prove it.

62 – Percent of Americans who own a grill.

79.1 million – Americans who have grilled out in the past 12 months, according to the U.S. Census from 2010.

8.3 – Percentage who grill two or three times a month.
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This girl is on fire - at the grill
June 17th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Editor’s note: Last week, an article calling grilling “the domain of Dude” got me a little hot under the collar. It’s since been amended, but here’s why I got so fired up.

I lived in a fifth-floor New York City walk-up apartment with no yard when I started getting the itch to put food to flame. I was drawn to it like a moth, for reasons I couldn’t quite grasp, and which now smolder at the core of my food-loving soul.

Whenever my friend Ali was out of town, I’d let myself onto her back deck to fire up her kettle grill after watering her plants. Since I took pains to replace the charcoal and scrub the grate as cleanly as I could manage, she was kind enough to issue me a key.
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A compendium of grilling greatness
May 24th, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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Some people maintain that Memorial Day officially marks the start of grilling season and Labor Day, the end. Those people, for the most part, are wrong. Some folks maintain the flame in snowdrifts up to their thighs. Others won't haul out the hibachi until late September because it'll finally be cool enough to cook outside without wilting like a hothouse gardenia.

So what we're saying is, so long as our spatula isn't actively frozen or melted to our hands, and monsoon spray does not prevent us from lighting a charcoal chimney, we're going to be outdoors, putting flame to food and quaffing a cold beverage. Why don't you just come along and join us?

Catch up on the rest of our great cookout and picnic tips below, and if you run into a sticky grilling situation - we're here to help. Share your burning questions in the comments or Tweet us @eatocracy and we'll have your festivities back on track in no time.

Achieve Grilling Greatness
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Filed under: Grilling • Grilling • Help Desk • How To • Labor Day • Memorial Day • Smoking • Techniques & Tips


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