Cooking out of season is a little more acceptable on the west coast, where seasons are peripheral. Yes, it got a little chilly out here in L.A. in January and February; I was wearing long sleeves in March, but life didn’t change the way life changes so dramatically when it gets cold back east.
So why not make beef stew in June? That was my philosophy when I unpacked Amanda Hesser’s mammoth New York Times Cookbook and discovered a recipe by that most fabulously ferocious food writer, Regina Schrambling, for Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew.
What if you could make hamburgers for your whole family in a matter of minutes, without dirtying your stove or having to light a grill?
That’s the beauty of this game-changing recipe from Molly Stevens and her latest book, “All About Roasting.” I’ve been a huge fan of Molly Stevens ever since I bought her braising book (“All About Braising”) and, I’ll confess, that when the roasting book arrived (I was lucky enough to get a press copy) I dropped whatever it was I was doing and immediately tore into the pages. The recipes and pictures of glorious roasted meats all screamed out to me (I’ve got like 20 recipes bookmarked already) but the one that intrigued me the most was the one for roasted hamburgers.
There’s a psychological phenomenon–and I’m not a psychologist, so cut me some slack here–by which, even though we know what’s good for us, we don’t do the thing that’s good for us. So, for example, let’s say we’re an aspiring journalist and there’s a convention downstairs, in our building, for working journalists who are looking to hire interns. And let’s say we want to be an intern–it’s a crucial step in our professional trajectory–but, on TV, is a marathon showing of The Real Housewives of New York City and it’s the episode where Jill Zarin shows up, uninvited, to the Caribbean. Even though all we have to do is turn off the TV, splash some water on our face and walk downstairs, we don’t. That’s a real phenomenon (perhaps it’s called self-sabotage?) and I’d like to talk to you about it today in the context of pork chops.
Oh blog, you poor, neglected thing, I’ve abandoned you for almost a week! I was in Washington, D.C. cooking with three chefs for my cookbook and before I knew it I was back and it was the weekend.
So let’s catch up. How’ve you been? As you know, I’ve been busy–scheduling, cooking, writing, traveling–but before I left for D.C. it was July 4th and I made dinner for my brother and his wife Tali. I made those ribs you see above; don’t they look good? They cooked for six hours in the oven wrapped in foil as suggested by that pre-eminent food scientist Harold McGee in this article for The New York Times.
When I think pot roast, I think Americana, I think 50s sitcoms and a beleaguered housewife who intones: “Oh, darn it, I burnt the pot roast!”
It’s not a dish that I ate much growing up, eating–as we did–most of our meals out. My first real pot roast memory, actually, comes from Atlanta. I ordered pot roast at one of my favorite, kitschy restaurants there–Agnes & Muriel’s–and got very sick afterwards. I don’t blame Agnes & Muriel’s, but I did blame pot roast. I avoided it for years.
Cooking a big meal for a friend’s birthday is something that I enjoy, especially when that friend is Diana. But, inevitably, the party will end, the dishes will be stacked in the sink and, most devastating for a food blogger like me, there will 1,000 pictures of the meal in my camera and I’ll feel an overwhelming duty to blog. Especially when I spent the time to make Suzanne Goin’s chorizo-stuffed lamb from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques,” a recipe that Goin herself deems the most difficult in the book; I know my readers will want to hear about it. But the pictures have been on Flickr now for weeks and just the idea of taking you through this whole dinner, step by step, fills me with dread. Do you really want to know how it all went down, to the last detail? Aren’t you happy just to look at that pretty picture of Diana with those pretty flowers? Can we leave it at that? No? FINE, I’ll blog all about it. But first: Diana has a play debuting this week at Brown University called “Girls on the Clock”! For ticket info, click here. To see Diana’s birthday lamb, click ahead!