A tasty mashup of sweet fruit streusel and rich vanilla ice cream
Rao’s Restaurant in NYC is perhaps best known for its Lemon Chicken, a dish that recently inspired my friend and co-worker, Annie Petito, when developing her “Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Lemon Sauce” for Cook’s Illustrated. I’ve never eaten at Rao’s, but was so impressed by the bold lemon flavor of their chicken, that when I recently saw a recipe for their classic Italian meatballs, I thought I’d give them a try. I was not disappointed.
It seems like its been years since I cooked a lamb curry, so long in fact that I’m afraid I’ve long lost my go-to recipe, and had to do a quick on-line search for this one when my wife and I both had a craving for the dish over the weekend. Many that I came across were fairly elaborate dishes requiring building curry flavors through a combination of up to a dozen spices, not exactly what I had in mind as I raced around on Saturday afternoon pulling together ingredients. The base of this recipe is by Mark Bittman and is a simple curry made with not much more than a handful of ingredients, and store bought curry powder.
These tasty wings are a mash-up of two great recipes from work, a baked chicken wing recipe from my friends at Cook’s Country, and a killer sauce developed by my CI teammate Andrea Geary for incredible Korean Fried Chicken Wings. I had a hankering for Andrea’s wings last weekend, only to discover that I didn’t have enough oil to properly fry them when I set to work, and so did a quick pivot and dug up the baked wing recipe rather than venture out in the cold for frying oil.
Were they absolutely as good as Andrea’s original recipe for fried Korean awesomeness? No. There really is no substitute for frying when you’re looking to deliver super crispy wings, but the baked recipe did the job well enough and her sublime wing sauce dressed them up in spicy style. To get crispy chicken wings without frying, the Cook’s Country team found a way to dry out the skin. Baking powder was their secret weapon; it helps break down the proteins within the skin, and aids in browning. After you toss the wings with baking powder and salt, you start them cooking in a low oven to render their fat, then crank the oven to finish roasting the wings and crisping the skin.
I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but there are days at work when I struggle to find something decent to eat. In fact, most days seem to fall into one of two categories, either feast or famine, and not anything in-between. There aren’t many famine days to be sure, and most days I struggle to eat dinner when I get home because I’ve noshed at so many tastings over the course of my work day, that I barely have an appetite when I sit down to our table at night. These swings in my at-work food intake are all the result of our teams’ schedules. While all of the “teams” that make up the America’s Test Kitchen family; “Cook’s Illustrated”, “Cook’s Country”, as well as “Books” and “Photo”, all share the same kitchen space, we are pretty tightly aligned within our team with regard to how we spend our day. For instance, during a week when we at Cook’s Illustrated are up against writing deadlines, and are desk-bound and working to deliver stories to our editors, it’s not unusual that all five of us that cook for CI never even see the kitchen. On those days, a quick spin downstairs MIGHT land you a snack snagged from one of the other ATK teams who are busy in recipe development, but timing can be tricky, and more often than not you’ll return to your desk empty handed.
As has been our custom for about 5 years now, my sibs and I exchange cookies at the holidays rather than shop for store-bought gifts. These Pecan Sandies were the hands down favorite of the three different cookies we baked and shipped this year. While not exactly a “holiday cookie” by the strictest definition (no cute cut-out shapes or colored icing), these easy to make treats elegantly blend-in with the more traditional spritz or gingerbread cookies that adorn most holiday dessert tables. A sprinkle of crystal sugar lend them a little holiday flare without making them overly sweet, and their tender, shortbread richness will have your guests begging you for the recipe.
Excellent by the handful, or sprinkled over a salad or tender fish filet.
As much as I love a good pumpkin pie, when my wife requested a “pumpkin dessert” to serve at a dinner party we had last weekend, I found myself fishing about for something that was a twist on the traditional. I found this deeply flavorful and quite beautiful tart in Bon Appetit’s November 2015 issue, and just from the picture in the magazine knew we were in for a treat. The secret to this little number is the caramel you make as part of the filling. It adds such a great depth and complexity to the confection, that I’m quite certain my next slice of standard issue pumpkin pie will taste meh by comparison. As always when making caramel, taking care to let it cook until its the color of an Irish Setter dog and is just whisping smoke, will be the difference between a good and GREAT result. Pulling the caramel from the heat while still too pale will produce a filling with much less depth of flavor. Trust me on this. Take it a little further than feels totally comfortable, and you’ll be amply rewarded with a richly flavored result.
In my experience lamb is a polarizing meat, people either love it or hate it. Some don’t like it because they find it too gamey and strongly flavored, others find the prospect of cooking lamb stressful knowing that its taste and texture deteriorate quickly when overdone. Even those who love the flavor of the meat, shy away from cooking it at home and enjoy it only as a restaurant meal due to its relatively higher cost, and a fear that they might screw up an expensive piece of meat when cooking it at home.
I’ve ALWAYS loved the taste of lamb, but totally relate to the anxiety many feel about cooking the meat at home. Long cooked dishes like stews and tagines are a piece of cake, but quicker cooking methods where the goal is meat served up a perfect medium-rare always made me sweat a little. Happily, my years of experience with these cuts have helped me to overcome my anxieties, and I now cook lamb legs, racks, chops, and kebabs without a second thought.
Rich in flavor, tender and moist, and practically impossible to overcook; when we’re not roasting a whole bird, we are almost always cooking up chicken thighs in the Oui, Chef kitchen. There are probably dozens of chicken thigh recipes in our archives here, so the bar is set pretty high for another to be added to the collection. When I saw this recipe recently on Epicurious, I suspected that it might make the grade, but one whiff of the seductive marinade as I poured it over the chicken sealed the deal. The potent flavors of garlic and curry, tempered by creamy, Greek yogurt and left to infuse the chicken overnight (the recipes says you can let it sit for as little as 3 hours, but overnight is the way to go) is only half the magic. The rest comes when you mix pan drippings with some fresh yogurt, lemon juice and herbs for a sauce to serve up with the roasted chicken.
To die for!