Posts for April 1st 2011
Many people have an aversion to gin; I think it's sad because gin is an incredibly nuanced, highly drinkable, and totally versatile spirit. Erick Castro, who's the gin ambassador for Beefeater and Plymouth, agrees. "The reason people don't like gin is because the most common gin drinks, the martini and the gin and tonic, don't appeal to everyone." Castro wants to start a gin revolution with this amazing-tasting cocktail, the Southside. This classic concoction is a straightforward mixture of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and mint, and Castro believes it has the power to change the way gin is seen — much in the way the mojito changed people's perspective of rum. After sipping this refreshing, light beverage, I'm getting behind Castro's cause. To do so too, give the drink a try, and get the recipe after the jump.
With the long-anticipated finale of Top Chef All-Stars, it's been quite the week. Have you stayed up on everything that's happened? There's no time like the present to find out.Take the Quiz
We're officially in the throes of Spring and have nothing but warmer weather to look forward to in the weeks ahead. Oh, that and a little April Fools' Day, Earth Day, and Easter fun! Add in a royal wedding, and there's lots to get excited about in the next 30 days. To check out what we can't stop coveting, keep reading.
When it comes to the month of April, it can be hard to decide what to cook. Some days are gloriously sunny and Spring-like, others are chilly and rain-filled. When you find yourself at home on one of those cool April days, whip up a platter of comforting and delicious eggplant parmesan.
This Italian-American favorite is layered with eggplants, tomato sauce, and cheese. While you could use store-bought tomato sauce, the dish will taste so much better if you take the time to make your own.
The recipe doesn't specify what kind of breadcrumbs to use — I made mine with homemade. However, the texture was a little off, and I would have preferred it with more crunch, therefore I recommend making it with purchased crumbs. Eggplant parm is a vegetarian entree that's great for entertaining, so get the recipe now.
Here's a roundup of the best April Food's pranks from the world wide food world.
- Alice Waters is Ruth Bourdain! — LA Weekly
- Meet cardbread, Whole Foods' newest food item that's made from recycled cardboard. — Whole Story
- Creator of Food Network Humor to guest judge on Next Food Network Star. — Food Network Humor
- Guinness to launch a new product, Crystal Guinness, later this year. — Endless Simmer
- Check out Serious Eats' new sites, Serious Wheats, Serious Teats, and Serious Beets. — Serious Eats
- Learn the proper technique for burning toast. — Food52
- NBC to premiere Desperate Chefs' Wives, a reality show that features the wives of Tom Colicchio, Eric Ripert, and Tony Bourdain. — Eater
From Marco Canora's Salt to Taste
4 small or 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons water
About 3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil for frying
2 cups tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups coarsely shredded mozzarella
- Slice the eggplant into disks about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange a layer of eggplant in a large colander. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and then top with another layer of eggplant. Continue salting the eggplant until it is all in the colander. Set the colander over a bowl or in the sink and allow the eggplant to "sweat" for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Mix the eggs, 2 tablespoons parmesan, water, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Mix the bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons parmesan in another medium bowl.
- Wipe the eggplant slices dry. Using a fork, dip each slice into the eggs and then into the bread crumbs. Press the bread crumbs into place with your hands.
- Heat about 1/2-inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, begin to fry the eggplant in batches, never crowding the pan. Cook the slices until they are golden and then flip them and brown the second side, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the fried eggplant on paper towels, seasoning each batch with salt and pepper while hot.
- Assemble in a medium baking dish (11 x 8). Spoon about 1/2 cup tomato sauce into the dish to moisten the bottom. Add a layer of eggplant. Trim the last few pieces so they fit into the pan. Sprinkle the eggplant with about 2 tablespoons parmesan and top with a little less than one-third of the mozzarella. Spoon a little more sauce on top and continue layering until you have used all the eggplant. The final layer of sauce and cheese should be the most generous.
- Bake the eggplant parmesan until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbly, about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the parmesan rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.
Even though you may have passed the whoopee-cushion-planting phase in your life, there are still ways to have a rollicking good time today. How about tricking food-loving friends with some deceptively different versions of your favorite everyday kitchen accessories? These serving items are playful enough to put a smile on your April-Foolish face, but sophisticated and functional enough for use any day of the year. Trump your guests with a little trompe l'oeil when you keep reading.
From Erick Castro
8 mint leaves
3/4 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Place the mint leaves and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Muddle well.
- Add the gin and lemon juice and top with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.
Makes 1 drink.