October 17, 1990 |
We may say we eat for our health, to control our weight or to satiate hunger, but what really draws us to that next morsel is more often than not its flavor. What is flavor? Flavor is our perception of volatile molecules that are released into the air when the cells of foods are broken by crushing, chopping or heating. These molecules can be received through the mouth, but most of them come through the nose in the form of aromas. The more finely chopped the ingredient or the more it is heated, the more volatile aromatics are released, resulting in greater flavor.
September 12, 1999 |
Why marinate? For added zing, flavor, punch and tenderness. You can marinate almost anything. Fish, steaks, prime rib, shrimp, mushrooms, chicken (of course), pork chops, pork roasts, lamb chops, onions, elk. The original thought behind marinating was to tenderize tough meat, making it palatable enough to eat. The acids, such as vinegar and lemon juice, break down the protein fibers. Were you faddish in the "natural" '70s, using papaya seeds in your marinade instead of Adolph's Meat Tenderizer?
August 9, 1987 |
No doubt about it, it's my favorite flavor, especially at the height of summer when its refreshing acidity seems to have a special sparkle. Happily, summer is when limes are at their most abundant, high in quality and inexpensive. More sour than lemons and somehow fresher tasting, limes are the most versatile of the sharp citrus fruits. Anything lemons can do, limes can do, well, not better exactly, but differently. Salad dressing made with lime juice instead of vinegar or lemon lets the fresh flavors of vegetables and fruits shine through clearly.
August 25, 1991 |
The most democratic religion in America has no chapel. Its altar is a glowing bed of briquettes and its priesthood an army of aproned suburbanites brandishing spatulas and bulb basters. Its rituals follow a pattern that has not changed for generations. From marination through the whitening of the first ash to the ceremonial flipping of the last burger, Americans are fanatical about their barbecue. Even this summer's widespread media reports linking outdoor grilling to carcinogenic nitrosamines have not dampened the fire.
August 19, 1992 |
Ahhh, the '50s, those were the days . . . . . . when a thick hamburger, french fries and a sundae piled high with whipped cream were considered a good meal and could be enjoyed without guilt. . . . when Coke meant only cola and a longing for James Dean had nothing to do with breakfast sausage. . . . when Pennsylvania still ranked No. 1 in the nation in ice cream production and Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe were always in the news. Well, some things haven't changed!
February 6, 2000 |
Mushrooms have been associated with magic ever since the Middle Ages, a time when sorcery was an obsession. Alchemists then believed that mushrooms contained the secret of creation, how to create life out of death (or decaying matter). Early authors theorized that mushrooms came into being by spontaneous generation. Their apparent lack of roots also makes them seem supernatural. These days, a small handful of dried wild mushrooms can impart a deep, dark, woodlands flavor to your food - like magic.
February 22, 2013 |
Stuffed cabbage recipes are the realm of grandmothers and winter. I grew up with a sweet-and-sour beef and rice version simmered in lemony tomato sauce, just like many other Philadelphians of Jewish descent. We called it prakas, a Yiddish name with roots in Eastern Europe. Whatever your background, there are likely cabbage roll recipes in your family ancestry. Poles have golabki, Czechs and Slovaks call it holubky; Turks and Armenians eat dolmas. In Quebec you can ask for cigares au chou.
July 22, 2011
I LIKE MY COFFEE black, my whiskey straight and my hefeweizen without a lemon slice. But I'm a total sucker for that green syrup they pour into Berliner Weisse. It's called woodruff, made from a sweet, aromatic herb, and it's usually served as a dessert topping. How anyone thought to spike a wheat beer with the stuff is beyond me. Yet, if you order a goblet in any Berlin beer garden, the waiter will almost surely ask: "Rot oder grün?" A schuss (or shot) of red or green? The red is sweet raspberry syrup, which is kid stuff.
January 17, 2013 |
Few things are more promising than a piping-hot bowl of French onion soup placed before you on a brisk day, its fragrant liquid beneath a toasted raft topped with golden cheese that will soon be stringing from your mouth. How frustrating, then, to discover something skimpy, with bready mush and pale onions, devoid of flavor. Having been subjected to three such disappointing examples at restaurants in the fall, I decided to work through what it takes to make a soul-satisfying version.
May 6, 2012 |
Provençal rosé is doing the quick fade, at least when it comes to color. Popularity of the refreshing southern French pink, in fact, has never been stronger, with a 62 percent growth in U.S. imports between 2010 and 2011, according to the French customs agency Ubifrance. "It started with the yacht crowd in the Hamptons," one distributor told me, "and spread from there. " The fashion among Provence's modern rosés, however, has been to make them as pale as possible, and the best, like Château D'Esclans, manage to achieve this without sacrificing fullness of flavor.