October 18, 2012
We’ve talked about braising in Coke before, and I’m still a huge fan.
Especially after this recipe. It sounds weird if you’ve never done it before, but I promise the dish doesn’t end up tooth-achingly sweet the way Coke classic sometimes is, especially since it’s balanced by the salt from the soy sauce. The soda just lends a subtle sweetness and a slightly acidic braising liquid that penetrates the chicken and makes it tender and juicy. Honestly, after making this dish, I wondered if the “secret ingredient” my grandmother used for her braises wasn’t Coke.
And really, there’s nothing better than a hearty, one-pot braise on a cold evening, especially when that braise only took a few minutes to throw together, then perhaps a half hour of happy bubbling on the stove.
August 7, 2012
As some of you may know, I’ve been reading An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by the incredibly inspirational Tamar Adler. You may know because I cannot. Stop. Talking about it. If I know you in real life, I’ve probably told you to pick up this book. Maybe twice. It’s not only because the writing is so eloquent and personal — which it is. It’s because Adler has summed up the essence of what it is to cook, and to do it in a way that makes it feel as if everyone were born to make food, which, of course, we are.
Which is why I’ve decided to start a new intermittent series here that I’m calling Back to Basics. These aren’t recipes; they are more like guidelines, techniques. Things you can do with the last bit of this-or-that so it ends up contributing to something delicious instead of ending up in the trash, and things you can do when you first get a batch of food home so that it’s more likely to end up in your belly in the first place. Simple fundamentals to make cooking feel more like alchemy than chemistry.
That isn’t to say that I’m going to stop giving you the usual recipes, too — after all, if you’re craving peach pie, you can’t make it out of the odds and ends of your fridge without having to go out and get some peaches. But food bloggers and people can’t and don’t live on those glossily photographed dishes alone.
“No, the point is not to do everything perfectly. The point is to be able to make great food with what you have.”
And so, we come to broth.
July 18, 2012
Today, I had planned to show you some dainty scones I made the other day. Cream scones, cut into neat little right triangles, with raspberries and chocolate in them. Neatly arranged on a blue china plate, served with tea.
Instead, I’m going to show you this yellow muck.
(Don’t worry, scones tomorrow.)
Why? Because this yellow muck was so, so delicious — one of the best things I’ve made in this kitchen, in my opinion — and it wasn’t planned. Inspired by this article as well as the author’s book, which I’ve started reading this week, I decided to just take whatever I had in the kitchen and make something out of it.