tag: kitchen basics
November 5, 2012
You know what I don’t understand? Crustless quiche. First of all, isn’t that just a frittata? Secondly, the crust is clearly the best part of quiche, so why would you want to get rid of it? (I know, I know, it’s because it’s fattening… but seriously people, we need to get over our fear of butter for some things, and quiche is one of those things.)
Perhaps I’m biased because, well, I make some excellent pie crust. It’s the easiest thing, and I like to have a couple of discs of it in my fridge at all times just in case some fruit takes a turn and must immediately be turned into pie, or I have savory leftovers begging to become pot pies.
The only equipment you need is your fingers, a counter, a bowl (though this is optional), and about ten minutes of your time for an outstandingly flaky, buttery, versatile crust. Here’s how I do it.
September 14, 2012
“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime. Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations, the garlic press, are all disgusting. Please treat your garlic with respect. Sliver it for pasta, like you saw in Goodfellas; don’t burn it. Smash it, with the flat of your knife blade if you like, but don’t put it through a press. I don’t know what that junk is that squeezes out the end of those things, but it ain’t garlic. And try roasting garlic. It gets mellower and sweeter if you roast it whole, still on the clove, to be squeezed out later when it’s soft and brown. Nothing will permeate your food more irrevocably and irreparably than burnt or rancid garlic. Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screw-top jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”
— Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Mr. Bourdain has said it perfectly. Garlic is one of those transcendent ingredients that will permeate a dish with its heady flavor and aroma from just a small clove, it’s in nearly everything worth eating, and it should be treated with respect.
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.