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LA Times Food Section Roundup: Cooking For Two, Crème Anglaise, and Fast Food

Regina Schrambling, on tricks to cooking for two: "The best thing about dinner for two is that you can brave dishes that would be too labor-intensive and time-consuming for a crowd. You can fry up little corn cakes to top with smoked salmon and crème fraîche, or skillet-roast a whole duck cut in half, or sauté two skate wings that can go from skillet to plate without waiting for four or six more to be cooked. But when you want a night to remember, you can pull out more stops and spend a little more money. In polling coupled friends on their ideal menu with wine but no cliché roses, I found the ingredients and dishes always differed, but the underlying philosophy was the same: special but simple."

Other highlights:

Chickenjoy, eel rolls: Pop goes the fast food, by Susan LaTempa and Leslie Brenner: "The new generation of chains, with names such as Santouka or Pinkberry or Pollo Campero, has a youthful pop-culture aesthetic, with food that's a bit distinctive and instantly likable. They've got bubble. They've got swirl. But what do they have to eat? And how does each measure up?"

(I think Pinkberry is overpriced but wow, their green tea yogurt really is delicious; it's light, clean and has that special tang you only get in Asian yogurts for some reason. Also they're either dead wrong about Jollibee's Chickenjoy or the US franchises have a lot to answer for, Chickenjoy is incredibly tasty and crispy in its native market and Jollibee is the biggest fastfood chain—the Philippines is one of the very few markets McDonald's is in that it doesn't dominate.)

"Swirled in soufflés, pooled under pastries, frozen as ice cream, crème anglaise sexes up almost any dessert." Amy Scattergood explains how to make the simple stove-top custard that accompanies many a delicious dessert at your favorite fancy restaurants.

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