November 12th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Food writer Alex Lobrano met the late, great Julia Child at a Paris bistro. She was eating sliced radishes with butter and sea salt flakes. JC remarked to Lobrano that a radish always reminded her how wonderful a very simple thing can be. HG agrees. HG also loves sliced red radishes from Santa Fe’s Farmer Market. Stronger black radishes from the Farmers Market are another HG fave. The red radishes are good with butter but HG prefers to smear the black guys with some duck fat. Icy vodka with the blacks. Red or white wine with the reds. BSK delights HG with a special salad of sliced red radishes, sliced baby white turnips, chopped fennel and chopped red onions. A savory accompaniment to fish dishes.

Al Dente Vegetables? Not on HG’s Watch!

April 6th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

There seems to be a prevalent belief among American professional chefs and home cooks that vegetables should be cooked al dente — just a shade softer than raw. The technique (fostered by the late Julia Child): Blanch vegetables in boiling water. Remove. Stop the cooking by rinsing in ice water. Saute briefly. Serve. HG disagrees. Like our neighbors in the Southern states, HG likes soft vegetables cooked into creamy goodness. (There is an exception. BSK cooks a very al dente broccoli di rabe with lots of garlic and red chili. It’s good. Would be better if she left it in the pan for another ten minutes). HG likes the well done haricot verts in Paris (and the glazed carrots served in bistros with some beef stews). Italians, who can be immoderate in politics, choose a middle way in cuisine. They don’t like things too hot or too cold. And they like–as is proper–vegetables cooked beyond the al dente stage. HG has very few cooked vegetable allies. But, an outstanding advocate of slow and long vegetable cooking is Lesley Porcelli (a woman of Italian lineage, of course). You can find an excellent article by her in the October 2011 issue of Saveur Magazine. Take a peek at her recipes: Slow-coked broccoli di rabe with crushed red chiles and garlic; olive oil braised mixed vegetables; Indian- style carrots with mustard seeds; braised celery and tomatoes; Lebanese-style green beans with chick peas in olive oil. All savory and full of lush flavors.

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