Saturday, April 11, 2015

Melissa Clark's Salmon with Anchovy-Garlic Butter

Melissa Clark
Before you turn the page on this wonderful dish, let me assure that those dried-out and dreadful anchovies that someone left atop your last Caesar Salad are not at work here.  Instead, these flavor makers are worth a great deal more than their weight in making this fast and easy dinner worthy of any Meatless Monday. The New York Times featured Melissa Clark's recipe last week and then added it to its "Food" Email blast this week.  And for good reason. It's a winner. I love Melissa whose recipes pepper this blog because they are always easy for a home cook to achieve using combinations of ingredients most of us haven’t thought of combining before. Certainly anchovies and salmon qualify there.  But the salty little fish really provide a wonderful contrast to the silky richness of the salmon.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Tale of Two Chickens: Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk and Richard Olney's Chicken Gratin

Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk 
Richard Olney's Chicken Gratin 
Jamie Oliver
 I am a sucker for a good chicken recipe.  So the minute I saw that Food 52, one of my favorite food sites, had named Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk a “Community Favorite”, I rushed right out and bought a whole chicken and everything else needed to make it.  There were 85 reader comments about Jamie’s recipe, most of them in the ‘off the charts’ category of sheer love for this recipe.  And as I am a true fan of Mr. Oliver, I felt sure that I had found chicken nirvana. All the photos I take of what I’ve cooked are in files generally labeled with the exact recipe name.  Not so my Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk. Instead its file is entitled “Hideous Chicken”.   What went so radically wrong?  As readers know, I am pretty strict about following a recipe to a tee. I did in this case too. But I think I should have had fair warning when I read the following: “A one-pot technique for the most tender roast chicken, with the most strangely appealing sauce.”  The italics are mine.  The description went further, describing the strange thing that happens to the sauce.  It curdles.  There was an antidote to this curdling but Food52 brushed it away claiming that the curds are the best part and “the split sauce is actually the point”.  Well one man’s split sauce is another man’s idea of how to ruin a chicken. The bird itself was amazingly moist from the lactic acid in the milk I will give you that. But pouring the curdled, overly lemon sauce gave the chicken a terrible bitter taste and ruined it for me.  So you’d think I’d be put off Food52 for a while at least.  But last week, they published yet another chicken recipe. And it was not all that different from my "Hideous Chicken".  But this time, they had me at Gratin.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review of NYC's Tavern on the Green "Mad Men Menu" and their Chef, Jeremiah Tower's, 3 Recipes for cooking Chicken


         Long before food took over my life, I was a fairly normal individual who enjoyed dinner out as much as the next guy but who hardly would sit down and write about it.  I was also extremely fortunate in that I had a job which required a massive amount of travel and therefore a massive number of dinners out.  On one of those trips, I found myself in San Francisco or more precisely at Stars, Chef Jeremiah Tower’s wildly successful restaurant, which he had opened in 1984.  Chef Tower had an Architectural degree from Harvard but literally, on a stopover in San Francisco, his Architectural career took a back seat to his love of cooking.  He was an alumnus of Alice Water’s Chez Panisse, arguably the restaurant that single-handedly changed the way America cooked and what it ate. Stars was his brilliant second act.  How brilliant was it?  Well, I still remember what I ate there…a pork chop.  How it was cooked and what made it so exceptional is completely lost on me now, but I still remember it as one of the best things I ever ate anywhere on earth, thirty years later.