From the desk of Christopher Kimball
Order Your Copy of The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook and receive the 2010 season DVD boxed set free
Photos of Kimball Farm Over the Holidays
Antique Cookware Photos
I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s rabbit hunting with Tom, president of the Old Rabbit Hunter’s Association, and my 14-year old son, Charlie. The first day was all browns and grays—there was no snow on the ground—but then it got colder and we had snow. Charlie finally got his first rabbit (see photos of our farm over the holidays) in the middle of a snowstorm but afterward we ran across one of the smartest, wiliest rabbits in Vermont. He took off up the hill and down the other side. He popped out from a stone wall and Charlie shot but missed. Then he ran Tom’s dog, Bernadette, all over the backside of the hill, turning, backtracking, and running in circles. Then he popped out for a peek but we missed again. The last sight I had of him was running flat out back into the woods. He beat us fair and square, including Bernadette, who took two days to recover.
Adrienne and I were invited to dinner recently and one of the guests posed the following question, “Push a cork into an empty wine bottle. Okay, how do you get the cork out of the bottle without breaking the bottle? You can only use whatever tools are on the dining table.” I suggested something about lighting a fire in the bottle (the old hard-boiled egg trick) but that wasn’t it. Maybe floating the cork up to the neck with wine from another bottle and…nope. He finally demonstrated how to do it and it really works-no gimmicks. Want to see how it is done? Just watch my YouTube video.
Our best-selling cookbook this fall was The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook which contains all of our recipes, taste tests, and equipment reviews from 10 years of the public television show. It is over 600 pages long, contains more than 500 recipes, and is the result of many thousands of hours of kitchen work. It also contains all of the recipes from the current 2010 season. I can offer you a copy of this comprehensive volume for just $29.95, 25 percent off the cover price. That works out to be about $3 per year of work, a pretty good bargain. Plus, I’ll also send you a free 4-disc DVD boxed set of the 2010 TV show season (the regular price of the DVD set is $39.95). Order your cookbook and DVD set today!
Caroline, our 19-year-old, decided to spend the night up at our small hunting cabin in single digit temperatures. She hauled up two loads of wood in her backpack, banked the small woodstove, and had a warm, comfortable night of it. Then we got almost 3 feet of snow toward the end of vacation, and that means out come the snowshoes. It looks like it is going to be an old-fashioned Vermont winter.
I have spent a lot of time researching 19th century cookware lately and have come across two items that I really like. The first is the Combined Pitcher, Can-Opener Holder. It looks like a beer mug. You slip a can of condensed milk or similar item inside, close the top, and a hinge on top of the mug punctures the top of the can. You can then pour out the contents using the pitcher handle. Great idea! The other item is the Crown Fryer, which is a deep skillet with a wire basket that sits in it, suspended by two upright flanges. It’s great for shallow frying. Good ideas from our past. (View photos of unusual antique cookware.)
As for cooking, I made the Cook’s Illustrated Cassoulet for Christmas dinner and loved it. I also made the Ricotta Cheesecake, which is both easy and fabulous, and during our week of vacation Adrienne and I cooked out of our freezer, making brisket, pork roast, and a huge 15-pound ham from one of our pigs. I also whipped up the Lemon Cake fromCook’s that is just about to die for (the recipe was featured in the 2008 season of the TV show and is in The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook).
Since politics seems to dominate conversations these days, I thought that you might appreciate this story from Allen Foley, author of What the Old-Timer Said:
“Would you tell us, my friend, how it happens you’re a Republican?” asked the chairman.
“I’d be glad to,” said the Vermonter. “Two reasons only. In the first place I come from Vermont. And in the second place my father was a Republican before me.”
“That is a very poor reason for being a Republican,” the chairman said, “a very poor reason indeed. Suppose your father had been a horse thief?”
“I reckon in that case,” replied the Vermonter, “I’d been a Democrat!”
I leave you with a description of a Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese that you will find highly unusual. It is called casu marzu, which translates as “rotten cheese.” It is riddled with insect larvae that are deliberately introduced into the cheese to provide an advanced level of fermentation and to break down fats. Here is the truly revolting part: The larvae appear as translucent white worms, 8 millimeters long. Ready for this? When disturbed, the worms can launch themselves for distances up to 6 inches! The citation went on to say, “Some people clear the larvae from the cheese before consuming and others do not.” Think that I would stand at least 6 inches away!
On that note, enjoy the New Year, and I hope that you get to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Founder and Editor
America’s Test Kitchen