Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Perfect Baked Potato from America's Test Kitchen

Not too long ago, I happened upon an America’s Test Kitchen show on PBS. One segment featured their take on The Perfect Baked Potato.  There it was in all its simplicity:  Stabbed, Brined, Baked, Coated with Olive Oil, Baked again only to emerge in a flawless-looking potato which, when cut open stem to stern, released its steam and revealed the fluffiest interior I’d ever seen.  To this butter was quickly added melting into the potato as a fork whipped it up.  This lily was then gilded with great dollops of Sour Cream that was then topped with crispy bacon and a shower of chives. Perfection on a plate.  I couldn’t wait to bake my own but first I wanted a taste of the baked potatoes that come from a food cart that’s parked daily in our neighborhood. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pan-Seared Trout with Prosciutto and Chile Garlic Oil from Chef Alex Raij in Food and Wine Magazine

Navarra, tucked up under France in Spain.

I’ll often ask Andrew if he has any requests for dinner.  Most of the time he leaves me to my own devices.  But when he does ask for something, I jump. This recipe is the result of his request for Fish for dinner.  I was happy to oblige because, quite honestly, there’s nothing quite so simple as getting a piece of fish on the table.  Fish cooks in no time at all and fish lets you cover a lot of ground with so many varieties available.  This is especially true in port cities like New York.  To satisfy Andrew’s request, I found a recipe that was beautifully enticing in its photograph.  It was a filet of trout with a layer of crisply cooked Spanish ham atop the tender white fish.  There were slivers of garlic and dark green parsley and discs of tiny red chiles floating atop the ham.  Under the name of the dish there was this quote: “This dish is almost a cliché in Navarra, but it's absolutely delicious," says Alex Raij. "The Spanish ham keeps the fish from drying out, basting it with its inimitable fat."  I had no clue who Alex Raij was, or where Navarra was in Spain or why the dish is almost a cliché.  All I really knew was it was a great way to cook Trout in very little time and with great results.  And I knew I wanted to find out more about who Alex was.