This summer, I’ve been having an affair. No, not in the bedroom, in the kitchen. I’m passionately in love with a vinegar; not just any vinegar, but white balsamic vinegar.
It all started when I was ordering groceries to pick up from McCalls Meat & Fish (yes, I know I mention them a lot). Their online store has an oils and vinegars section, so I checked out their offerings and saw that they had white balsamic. I’d never used white balsamic before, but I was intrigued, so I bought it. And that’s when everything changed. I started feeling feelings I’d never felt about a vinegar before.
Ever since I made that 60 second aioli, I’ve been thinking a lot about hand blenders.
Ferran Adria, one of the world’s great chefs, uses a hand blender; that was his aioli recipe, after all. If a chef of his stature uses a hand blender, surely there must be something to it. Off the top of my head: it’s easier to clean than a regular blender. Whatever vessel you use for blending (a nice big jar, for example) can also be used for serving. Because you can move it around, you can make sure that you blend every last bit. It works better for smaller quantities. Plus: it’s kind of fun.
Many of my best food memories from childhood occurred at chain restaurants. It’s an old story by now–how my parents didn’t cook, yadda yadda yadda–and we ate most of our weeknight meals in Boca Raton at restaurants owned by athletes (Pete Rose’s, Wilt Chamberlain’s) or country-wide chains like Chili’s, Friday’s and The Cheesecake Factory. At the top of the chain restaurant hierarchy was a restaurant that’s still in business around the country, and still just as good as it was the first time we ate there; that would be Houston’s.