"amateur gourmet" news and stories
Many of vegetables, that they are at their very best when they're fresh, new, young and crisp. But oftentimes, we can't get to our veggies before they've lost some of the glowing exuberance that comes from being just off the vine or plant. And so we look for ways to make those bunches of broccoli and heads of cabbage delicious, despite their imperfections.
In the last few days, bloggers all across the internet have been posting recipes for ways to take these fall and winter veggies and make them heart-stoppingly delicious.
The Amateur Gourmet tries out Ina Garten's recipe for roasted broccoli and announces that it's the Best Broccoli of his life. Over at Grub Street, they're featuring the Broccoli and Cheetos dish that Chef Craig Koketsu makes at his New York restaurant, Park Avenue Autumn. Molly of Orangette is making a gratin out of Savoy cabbage and Ree the Pioneer Woman is using her trusty cast iron skillet to prepare a turnip gratin that would be perfect for Thanksgiving. I can't remember the last time vegetables have been quite so tasty!
Filed under: On the Blogs
Hanukkah starts tomorrow at sundown and with it brings an assortment of yummy seasonal foods. It is traditional to eat food that are fried during Hanukkah because the cooking fat symbolizes the oil that burned for eight days instead of one in the temple. My favorite Hanukkah food is the humble latke, because really, there's very little that's better than the fried potato.
The first time I made potato latkes was my junior year of college, when I was an RA. I decided that I wanted to do a Hanukkah-themed study break and so determined to make latkes. For 75 people. Thankfully, someone in my hall had a salad spinner, so I didn't have to do all the shredding by hand. But let me tell you, it was worth the three hours of shredding, mixing, draining and frying (we kept them warm and mostly crisp on a sheet pan in the oven). They were delicious.
If you're searching for latke recipes, look no further. I've searched far and wide for an assortment of links to good recipes, from the basic to the more unique. Happy frying!
1. Last year, Deb stayed fairly traditional with a latke recipe adapted from Food and Wine. These puppies are what I think of when someone says the word latke to me.
2. If you want to start getting a little fancier, check out these Potato-Turnip Duck-Fat Latkes over at Chow. Even just thinking about them makes me start to salivate ever so slightly.
3. Epicurious offers five variations on the latke theme. I am particularly intrigued by the New England-Style Cod and Potato Cakes with Tartar Sauce latkes.
4. Over at That's Fit, one of our sister sites, they have taken the greasy latke and made it low fat. It's a good recipe, if you want to go that direction (although it does sort of defeat the purpose. I'm just sayin').
5. For those of you who aren't fans of potato, you might be thinking about how to turn other veggies into latkes. Look no further than Elana's Butternut Squash Latkes.
6. Another variation on the theme, Eat Like a Girl does it with beets. They look a little disconcerting, but I'm sure they taste wonderful and earthy.
7. From the archives at the Amateur Gourmet, Adam makes latkes with apples and celeriac. Yum, yum!
8. And for the visual learners, check the episode of Fork You that Scott and I filmed last year in which we made latkes. Or as Scott calls them, kosher hashbrowns.
Get More Hanukkah Recipes and Tips from KitchenDaily:
Latke Recipes for Hanukkah
How to Make Latkes Video
A Festive Hanukkah Menu
When it comes to cooking at home in the colder months, I'm a big fan of blended veggie soups. Back in August I posted the recipe for the Moosewood Carrot Soup which is one of my very favorites. I'm also a big fan of roasting a chicken and turning the leftovers into soup the next day. There's just something about a big pot of aromatic chicken broth dotted with veggies, rice and shredded chicken to make my day a little bit brighter.
What are you favorite cold weather foods?
What ever is a food blogger to do when offered a free lobe of foie gras from Mirepoix USA? One option is to do nothing. Another is to call Peta and complain. The best option, however, is to gather recipe suggestions, find a second blogger who received one and challenge her to a virtual face-off over who can prepare the better torchon of foie gras. In this case, the showdown was between Adam, the Amateur Gourmet, and Meg, of Megnut. Take a look at Adam's account of his adventures with the fatty liver, as well as at Meg's account from her kitchen. Since we weren't there to taste either of the finished products, we only have photos and Adam's video of his friends' reactions to the tasting to help us decide whose cuisine, in this case, reigns supreme.
Also, if you think that foie gras comes in those nice little rounds you see above, think again. Click past the jump to see what it looks like as it is being prepared.
If you are anything like me, in addition to being a fan of Iron Chef America, you've wondered what it's like to actually be inside kitchen stadium during a culinary battle. Not as one of the chefs, of course, but simply as a spectator. Unfortunately, due to the confidentiality agreement that studio audiences must sign, it seems unlikely that many first hand accounts of what the live show is like are going to come our way. Fortunately, though, the Amateur Gourmet is a risk taker (who read the confidentially agreement carefully) and decided to reveal as much as he could about the taping without facing a $1,000,000 fine.
I had heard a rumor that Kitchen Stadium was on the West Coast, but it turns out that it is filmed in New York in the same studio where Emeril Live! and 30 Minute Meals are taped. Despite the fact that Adam couldn't say who participated in the battle he saw, we can safely assume that it was an episode scheduled for next season. He also seemed to share my suspicion that the secret ingredients are not very secret to the Iron Chefs, since not one of them looked surprised to hear what it was. But even with some of the magic missing, the Amateur Gourmet couldn't praise Alton Brown's performance as commentator highly enough and really enjoyed watching the top class iron chefs cook.