As we move toward 2019, Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst joins host Jeremy Hobson to talk about what she’s learned in the kitchen that can help listeners, and share two recipes to help ring in the holidays.
I did a lot of cooking this year. A whole lot. And when I think back about some of the things that I learned in my kitchen in 2018, most of them have to do with intent, instinct, kitchen smarts and focus.
The idea for this segment started when I got a letter from a listener who was making my buttercrunch recipe. He wrote that he was distracted helping kids and did several things “wrong!” The buttercrunch came out just fine, but it got me thinking. People write me all year: “I made your cake but I only had 3 eggs, not 5!” And, “I made your sauce but I didn’t have any fresh herbs or dry,” or, “I made your chicken dish but I used pork” — happens all the time.
So I say, be smart about substitutions! Think it through. Here are several tips:
I love roasted red peppers. I love umami-rich anchovies. But the combination of the two is bigger than the sum of its parts. This is a great first course or appetizer for the holidays, served with crunchy, warm bread or crackers.
by Alice Medrich, from “Food52 Genius Desserts“
Most brownie recipes are remarkably consistent: melt chocolate with butter, then mix with sugar, eggs, and flour. They come together fast, and you are a happy clam.
But pastry chef Shuna Lydon told me about a recipe that changed her life by simply replacing the chocolate with cocoa powder. It did not surprise me to learn that the recipe belonged to Alice Medrich (you can thank her for popularizing chocolate truffles in America in the 1970s at her Berkeley shop, Cocolat).
“Alice knows chocolate. It speaks to her. We’re lucky to have her as a translator,” Lydon wrote to me. Not only is cocoa less expensive than chocolate—a boon to pastry chefs, or anyone who makes a lot of brownies—but the fudgy bars that result are, counterintuitively, better.
By taking out the chocolate, with its variable fat and sugar, Medrich was able to control and fine-tune the proportions of both. When she added the fat back (in the form of butter), the centers stayed softer. With just the right amount of sugar, the crusts were shinier. Commit, as Medrich does, to stirring for forty strokes in step 3—the effort will give you a satisfying jump in heart rate and build structure in the very rich batter.
Makes 16 large or 25 small brownies
Note: There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder—natural or Dutch-processed. Either will work here, but they give you slightly different results. Natural cocoa makes brownies with a more complex flavor and, as Alice Medrich puts it, lots of tart, fruity notes. Dutch-processed cocoa powder makes a darker brownie with a mellower flavor, like old-fashioned chocolate pudding.
Reprinted with permission from Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake by Kristen Miglore, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
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