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Perfect for long-term reference, the Cook's Country 2009 Annual contains all six of the 2009 issues bound in one sturdy plaid-covered edition. Bound inside you'll also find an invaluable 2009 Recipe and Article Index to help search a year's worth of test kitchen recipes and cooking information- fast.

Recipe highlights include: Spicy Spaghetti Pie, Slow-Cooker Meatballs and Marinara, Make-Ahead Blueberry Pie, Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes, Roast Lemon Chicken, Lemon Sour Cream Cookies, Stuffed Onions, Slow-Cooker Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs, and Icebox Strawberry Pie— all obsessively tested and retested by our test cooks (as many as 50 times!) until we are confident they will work in your kitchen. Every time you make them. As we like to say here in the test kitchen, "We make the mistakes so you don't have to."

You'll find these and more than 250 other recipes, taste-tests, equipment ratings and easy cooking solutions in the Cook's Country 2009 Annual.

2009 offered some startling (even to us) results from our blind taste tests of name brand foods . . . fresh, jarred, canned, frozen, "gourmet," as well as "natural". In our test of canned baked beans we made a sweet discovery that the best-tasting brands all contained this ingredient - don't buy any can without it! And we also made the not-so-surprising discovery that the best low-fat strawberry yogurts were the ones made with real strawberries. And you may be surprised to discover that your favorite brand doesn't contain any at all.

We also tested a huge range of kitchen equipment without any preconceived notions equating price to quality — and got eye-opening results that can save you substantial amounts of money. We wanted to see if any of the new 'high-tech' pie plates made from new materials like silicone could outperform grandma's old-fashioned pyrex (they can't), whether vacuum sealers are worth the money(only if you are bulk buyer), and whether any hand mixer could mix it up as well as a standing mixers (not really- they are fine for infrequent bakers).

Featured Discoveries from 2009 include:

What's the secret to great Crispy Baked French Fries? Paper towels.
There has to be a better solution for fast fries at home than the dreary prospect of baking up a bag of frozen fries that taste more like a freezer than a potato. Classic French fries are fried twice- the first time to cook the interior, the second dip crisps the exterior. We wanted a simpler, fryer-free option. Before baking our fries, we tried pre-cooking them in a microwave oven, but our baked fries were still coming out of the oven wet and soggy. We peeled pounds of potatoes with poor results until we tried blotting the nuked potatoes with paper towels before baking. As simple as it seemed- it soaked up just enough moisture to allow the fries to crisp to potato perfection.

The road to our foolproof Roast Lemon Chicken is littered with lemon peels, bland chickens, and puckered lips.
Flavoring a chicken with lemon seems easy enough, but simply placing lemons in the bird's cavity, brining with lemon, or rubbing lemon butter under the skin still left our early birds with lackluster lemon flavor. But then we developed a surprisingly simple three-step technique that infused our chicken with the bright, deep lemon flavor we craved.

Bottled Barbecue Sauces- The sweeter the better. But not all sugars are created equal.

While barbecue styles vary by region- there is an all-American supermarket style of sauce- sweet tangy, smoky, tomato flavor. To find the best 'barbecue in a bottle , we tested eight national brands and sampled each sauce cooked (broiled on chicken thighs) and straight (as a dip for chicken nuggets). Sugar was the deciding factor- but not all sugars are created equal. The deciding factor depends upon the amount of this ingredient; and the more the better. While none of the sauces blew us away, we did find several that would do fine in a pinch. Our advice? Make it yourself- it's quick and easy- but if you are pressed for time, look for this ingredient.

Can any paper plate take the grease of a pizza slice and the heat (and weight) of a summer cookout?

These days, disposable plates may be made from crushed stone, sugarcane fibers, clay, even potatoes and corn. (That's the plate, not the meal.) Whatever the material, we wanted one large enough to hold food without crowding, strong enough to not buckle, substantial enough to keep pizza's moisture and grease at bay, and tough enough to prevent knives from shredding it. We put seven brands to the test by loading each plate with a pound of picnic fare: hot chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and coleslaw. Holding the plate in one hand, we even walked around the test kitchen to simulate mingling at a party (and ignored the stares of our colleagues). And our prize-winning paper plate? Paper-less.

With a full year of Cook's Country recipes, quick tips, and ratings in one convenient, comprehensive edition, the Cook's Country 2009 Annual is a great resource for the kitchen and an excellent addition to any cookbook library

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