Have you ever tasted a restaurant dish, and sat back in wonder, flat-out amazed over its intense depth of flavor? Whether it’s a tomato dish that tasted more tomato-y than even the most perfect peak-grown tomato off the vine or the beef dish so boffo meaty it was like tasting beef for the first time again?
Turns out it’s not all about just using the best ingredients. It has even more to do with combining the right ingredients to magnify their shared flavor attributes.
It’s by James Briscione, a former culinary instructor who worked with IBM on its “Chef Watson,” which develops cognitive computing applications to create better ingredient combinations. Briscione also was the first two-time “Chopped” champion. He wrote the book with his wife, Brooke Parkhurst, a former culinary instructor. Together, the couple run Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano in Pensacola, FL.
You know that perfect eggplant consistency, where it’s so supple, it’s almost like custard?
It’s not always easy to achieve that texture.
But thanks to James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson, there’s a fool-proof method that will not only render it with that exquisite consistency but give it an edge of smokiness, too. And all without a grill.
Just put the whole eggplant in a 425-degree oven and let it do its thing for 45 minutes or so. It will emerge sublime.
Acheson made sure his two daughters knew how to cook before they went off to college. In this book, of which I received a review copy, he showcases the foundational building blocks that every home-cook ought to master, such as knowing the proper way to cook rice, beans, poach an egg, make vinaigrette, pan-fried fish and roast chicken.
Ah, yes, it seems like a lifetime ago — though it was merely a few bewilderingly months back — that I was contemplating a trip to Chicago later this year.
How I looked forward to taking one of those architecture-themed boat ride tours on the lake that I’d heard so many good things about. How my husband was salivating at the thought of deep-dish pizza and loaded Chicago-style hot dogs. How I had looked forward to trying one of the restaurants by chefs Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan. How I had already circled on my calendar the exact week I should start trying to snag a coveted reservation for my bucket-list meal at Alinea.
So much for that.
I have friends who swear they’re curtailing any traveling whatsoever until a vaccine is available to defeat this deadly virus. Me? I can’t say that getting on an airplane holds any appeal for the foreseeable future. If I do venture out of my area when restrictions are finally lifted, I think the car is the way to go, because I wouldn’t want to be too far from home with so many ifs, ands or buts still looming on this precarious horizon.
Sweet — and yes — snappy, sugar snap peas don’t need much to enjoy fully.
In fact, just the opposite is true — we often do too much to them or overcook them so their delightful crispness is obliterated. As simple as they are to prepare, they can be tricky to get just right. A few seconds too long in a steamer, saute pan or boiling pot of water, and they turn wrinkly and mushy.