Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.
Jam, jelly, and preserves are great for adding flavor to breakfast foods, sweets, and meat dishes.
Jam enhances muffins. geminigirl makes jam-filled muffins by putting some batter in the muffin tin, placing a bit of jam on it, and covering with more batter; bake as usual. Val likes these jam muffins, in which the jam is stirred into the batter. For dessert, these raspberry oatmeal squares are good made with any flavor jam, says maplesugar.
Jam is great in sauces or marinades for meat and chicken. Melt it and mix to taste with good vinegar, or with stock and drippings from roasted meat, and use as a sauce. domestikate combines apricot preserves, whole grain mustard, and garlic to glaze pork chops on the grill; othervoice marinates pork chops in orange marmalade, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger; and BeefeaterRocks likes peach-mustard pork chops.
More ideas for using jam:
• Mix into plain yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta, or oatmeal
• Use to flavor milkshakes or smoothies
• Use to fill rolled crêpes or thin, plain omelets
• Add a bit of apricot jam or orange marmalade to butternut squash soup
• Stir into herbal or fruit-flavored tea to sweeten
• Combine with oil and vinegar to make salad dressing
Board Link: Help! Multiple open jars of jam and jelly!
I've got zucchini if you've got tomatoes. READ MORE
Steel-cut oats are a step up in the oatmeal department. They “have a kind of flavor and personality that rolled oats just do not have,” says LauraGrace.
alanbarnes starts by toasting the oats dry over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the color starts to change and they become aromatic, then adds three times as much water as oats, and simmers slowly for half an hour. By toasting the oats, “you’re not completely transforming the flavor, but definitely adding significantly to it,” he says. “It’s like the difference between toast and plain bread.” mobirose toasts the oats in a bit of butter, then cooks them in water and milk.
LauraGrace cuts down on the cooking time by bringing the oats and water to a boil the night before, then removing from the heat and covering; return to a boil in the morning and cook until thick. She also cooks a large batch on the weekend, and reheats it for breakfast during the week. “The stuff reheats like a champ!” she says.
Some hounds bake with steel-cut oats, too. They’re “killer in bread,” according to Fritter, and greygarious substitutes them for half the rolled oats in oatmeal cookies for a nutty chew.
Board Link: I bought a can of Irish Oats-now what?
Seething with barely contained contempt and ire, Slate writer Dan Mitchell tears into writer Ronald Bailey of libertarian Reason magazine for his assault on Michael Pollan and sustainable farming. Mitchell opens up with a blanket attack on the right wing in general and Reason in particular:
“Reason stands as the most rational media outlet of the ‘right’ these days, but that says lot more about the sorry state of the conservative media than it does about Reason itself. Its rationality is strictly relative, as this ‘Hit & Run’ item illustrates nicely.”
Mitchell’s basic point seems pretty sound: Bailey makes Pollan (and his “elitist” friends) out to be a bunch of far-left extremists who want to dismantle all industrial farms. The problem with this approach, which works fine on paper, is that it fundamentally mischaracterizes Pollan, who is nothing if not careful about his language, and not particularly prone to extreme pronouncements. Mitchell’s piece makes for good reading: It’s an attack on an attack on a thoughtful work of criticism.
Image source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USF35-208
It’s hard to imagine Gwyneth Paltrow sticking her hand up into a chicken’s body cavity. But she DOES! The aching need to make fun of her conflicts with the impression that maybe she’s not that bad of an entitled, privileged mega-celebrity. But she peels fingerling potatoes! THE HORROR. The Hungry Beast features this seven-minute masterpiece this week.
You know you never eat the whole container. ... WATCH THE VIDEO
That's been hanging around for a while. ... WATCH THE VIDEO
Does it matter whether wine is served in a varietal-specific glass, an old jelly jar, or a green plastic cup? The material the glass is made from matters a great deal, says maria lorraine. “I can taste and smell paper cups, so no-go there,” she says. “Plastic only if there is no glass. Plastic glasses usually aren’t shaped to concentrate aromas, nor are they as fun as glass, but they can get you by.”
EmyLouie agrees. “Plastic does have a scent that I can pick up at times that must mingle and interfere with the wine smells,” she says. “Plus wine drinking is sensual. Putting plastic in the mouth feels different then putting glass on the lips.”
But given that your vessel is glass and has no odor, does the shape matter? carswell thinks varietal-specific glasses are a “gimmick,” but concedes that shape can seriously affect the experience of different wines. “The bouquets of some wines—old Burgundies are a classic example—need a lot of space to develop to their fullest,” he says. “Chilled wines are best served in glasses smaller than would be ideal for room-temperature wines since they lose their chill and so should be replenished often.”
fourunder thinks nice wine glasses can be an important part of creating a mood, but doesn’t care much about the vessel when at home alone. “A long as it’s glass, I don’t care if I’m drinking out of my Fred Flintstone jelly jar glass from my youth,” he says. And some people like to drink wine by the tumbler.
EmyLouie thinks the glass matters for reasons of mystery and beauty. “My gypsy Grandmother gave me a thick antique lavender goblet that I had when I was a young woman; every sip out of that thing took on mystical properties,” she says. “The cup was old, weird, beautiful and my grandmother was mysterious. The right accoutrements create an ambience. The whole experience can transport a person to a different time and place, like opening theater curtains to watch a story unfold.”
Board Link: Does The Vessel You Drink From Matter?
SaltyRaisins finds that “ignoring (or, rather, intentionally neglecting) certain steps while cooking can really add unexpected benefits to overall flavor of a dish.” There is a certain serendipity that can come from neglect. “I was browning chicken in olive oil for some arroz con pollo, and I had a phone call that took my attention completely from the matter at hand,” says SaltyRaisins. “Came back to find the meat had a seriously wonderful brown crust that ‘made the dish.’”
nofunlatte credits benign neglect for creating a lovely form of yogurt: “I made some homemade yogurt last week, using up the whole milk and cream I had leftover. The instructions said to incubate for 4-6 hrs, but I let it go for 8.5 hrs. What a great, thick, substantial product!” says nofunlatte. “I ate the ‘skin’ and used the rest for vanilla frozen yogurt.”
HLing had a similar experience creating a dish he now calls “forgotten green beans.” “One time I was heating up my All-Clad dry, while French-cutting the green beans,” he says. “Something took me away for a while, and when I came back, I realized the pan was dangerously hot.” Thinking quickly, HLing turned off the flame and put some olive oil in. “It was almost smoking,” he says. “I then just put all the beans and some crushed garlic in. Hearing the explosive sizzle I quickly put the lid on and walked away. 10 minutes later I opened the lid, and found the beans to have a pan-seared quality as well as the plump juiciness that came from the closed lid, and have been perfectly cooked through even though the flame was off and stayed off when the beans went in.”
Board Link: Ignoring your food