Blais has a number of what he calls "impastas" in the book--most are in the "I-wouldn't-mistake-this-for-pasta-any-day" camp. However, the potato "linguine" stands out. He first made the dish on Top Chef Masters (those viewers among us will probably remember the chef-testants doing their best to look cool cooking in bathing suits) and appeared to fool the judges into thinking that the potatoes were indeed freshly made pasta. Indeed, russet potatoes make ideal pasta substitutes, as they are mild in flavor and high in starch. Mingled with chopped conch (or clams), parsley, oregano, and bread crumbs, this "linguine" is more than just a substitute for pasta.
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It's stew season, or at least that's what my thermometer has been telling me. Unfortunately, most stews take longer to make than an hour to make, meaning they don't often work for a frantic weeknight meal. But this one is just close enough that it's worth giving it a noble try. If you're quick and efficient this wonderful lamb stew from the New York Times can be whipped up in one hour, but it will taste like it's been bubbling away for far longer than that.
This recipe for Vin d'Orange from Put 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton is an ideal introduction to the world of home infusions. For those of you familiar with Lillet, that lightly sweet, elegantly orange flavored French apertif, this is a do-it-yourself approximation. White wine is mixed with pieces of whole orange (including the skin and pith for a pleasant bitterness), vanilla bean, cinnamon, and a mix of vodka and sugar for sweetness and shelf life.