Sunday, July 26, 2009

summer bouquet

things i once believed were true:

1. telling my junior high crush i liked him wouldn't totally freak him out.
2. if i slunk down low enough in my chair, i wouldn't be called on in 3rd grade math. or ap biology. or all of my college french classes.
3. she's all that was an awesome movie. (that's the one with freddie prinze, jr. yeah.)
4. i couldn't make french fries. cutting up all those potatoes, soaking them for half an hour, then double-frying them? not worth the trouble, when i could just get them delivered from the local diner.

well, it turns out you don't have to soak or double-fry (you do still have to cut them up, unfortunately), and you'll end up with the crispiest, most delicious fries you've ever had. believe it.

the easiest french fries ever
adapted from cook's illustrated, july/august 2009

4 yukon gold potatoes (this is very important)
vegetable oil
kosher salt

cut the potatoes into 1/4" matchsticks and place in a dutch oven. add enough oil to just cover, about 6 cups (cook's recommends peanut oil; i used canola and it was fine). bring to a rolling boil, about 5 minutes. cook 15 minutes more; stir gently with tongs to keep the fries from sticking to each other. cook 15 minutes longer, or until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp, stirring occasionally.
remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels before serving.

for a delicious, oniony dipping sauce, stir together sour cream, a spoonful of mayonnaise, 2 minced garlic cloves and some chopped chives.

add some iced green tea, a bottle of
côtes du rhône and a beautiful summer bouquet, and you've got a perfect evening. happy weekend!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

exactly what you want to eat

once, during my crazy college days (not exactly a nutritionally sound time, i admit), i went to kfc with some friends and ate three biscuits. true story. another true story: this occurred not thirty minutes after a visit to the cardiologist. hey, at least i skipped the boneless honey bbq wings.

i have a thing for biscuits: buttery, flaky, hot-out-of-the-oven biscuits. this version has crispy, cheesy edges and a middle that's tender enough to take a nap in, with a salty but not overwhelming oniony flavor. it's exactly what you want to eat for breakfast. or second breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea. you get the idea.

cheddar & chive buttermilk biscuits
an old issue of fine cooking

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
3 oz. sharp cheddar, grated or finely chopped
2/3 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. With a pastry blender or two table knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it looks a little like cornmeal, with some butter chunks the size of peas. Stir in the chives and grated cheese. Add the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is wet, sticky and shaggy (some dry spots are okay). Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and knead about 12 times until the dough comes together and is smooth. Add a little flour to the board. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick square; cut into 9 biscuits. bake on a parchment paper- or foil-lined baking sheet until firm and light golden brown, about 18 to 23 min.