This is really good stuff, I'd say right up there with your best and the best of Serious Eats ever, and that's saying a lot. If this becomes a book I'm buying minimum 5 copies for sure! I've been right in the thick of the food business for a good number of years and it always surprises me that relatively accomplished and knowledgeable folk often have no clue how to build flavor without using standard boosters like rich meat stocks or ground up animal.
Kudos to you for promoting (and inventing) techniques that can deliver deliciousness without the use of animal products. I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I'm in the middle of a long transition that way. So I'm glad to have these recipes to base a mostly meatless diet on. But more importantly to me, you've shown how developing vegan recipes is a fun intellectual and creative puzzle that should appeal to any curious cook.
So many great ideas here! Fuschia Dunlop has at least two versions of this recipe. I have been making it with great success from her first book, which does not use the technique of blanching the beans but instead uses raw beans cooked til blistered in a medium hot wok with a bit of oil (followed by a sauce made in a hot wok). But your new technique variations - broiler for the beans, lower heat for the sauce - are v cool and make sense for western-style kitchens. I've sort of had it with a lot of high temp stovetop cooking, and I appreciate your efforts to come up with new approaches while remaining true to the original spirit of the dish. Kimchi idea is cool too, thought I live in a city where I can easily get the imported Chinese stuff, and I also usually have some sort of homemade kraut sort of thing, which I've used to no ill effect.
Excellent piece, though I'm less dismissive of in-camera flash. I think the example you give with the two lemons the flash one actually looks better than the natural light one, which seems a tad underexposed to me. Flash is fun, and a cheeky counterpoint to the dominant tasteful aesthetic of the day (with proper diffuse lighting, narrow depth of field etc.) Though I guess you could argue that this counter-aesthetic has itself become mainstream.
I like this approach. Pasta might often be minimally dressed traditionally but that doesn't mean it's can't be great when the sauce ratios are non-traditional. I compare it to bread. I can enjoy a traditional loaf just plain or with a bit of butter. But I can also like an Italian sub, where the bread itself is in more of a supporting role.
Love this series and I agree with @Ananonnie - egg and tomato is a favorite too.
Another cool sounding thing I gotta make soon. I've mastered the basic tortilla but haven't really branched out. This might be the way to go - I especially like the idea of doing them ahead and freezing. And sopes are great because you can treat them just like a tostada but they're maybe better at containing things.
I believe there are a couple of Manhattan locations of the New England ice cream shop Emack & Bolio's. They use the word frappe. Frappes taking over!
@HarrietVane @Kenji ...and further, I believe you would go to a "spa" for a "tonic", which were often complicated beverages made from tinctures and extracts of various botanicals and spices and whatever (think early cola, root beer etc.), with soda water added to make a supposedly healthful tonic. So thus the roots of the Olde Timey New Englander use of the word "tonic' generically for soda pop.
My favorite cuisine in my favorite city! Can't argue with the picks, and the comments are great too.
This is just the sort of simple thing I love. I could see having some eggs with it, and rice, and that's it.
Thanks for this - I've been meaning to try things with this type of masa dough. One quibble - the article seems to suggest that a "basic tortilla" is made from a dough with masa harina, lard, flour and baking powder, but a "basic tortilla" is made simply from masa harina and water, no?
Thanks for a great list with many classics and some personal faves. Going to have to try that eggplant. Nice photos, too.
Really enjoyable piece or writing, thank you. You got in an impressive amount of interesting nuance and details. That place seems like a gem.
This post is great on so many levels. Agree about the eternal quest to find something real and personal and quirky in the sea of plastic. Too often it can't ever be found, but you got a great one here, totally new to me (though I too was thinking loco moco as I was reading). The fact of it is interesting, but it also looks delicious to me - a loaded, somewhat Asian scramble, rice and gravy. That could take over my life.
I'm a recent convert to the Aeropress. Tom at Sweet Maria's has a tip for travel (don't know if he invented it but he talks about it): use a Hario Skerton grinder and grind directly into the aeropress instead of the glass jar. He uses a rubber gasket to attach them but I don't think you really need it. This way you don't have to pack the glass part of the grinder.
My first thought was that chunks of liver would distract; I want my very rare serving of stuffing to be fairly classical. But a puree? That's different and I like the sound of it. I like how the concept could veer toward livermush and liver pudding.
Very cool, Hawk. I've never tried one but I love the whole idea. Heard about them from a friend who grew up with them.
People looking for a recipe should know that the Pepperoni Roll was in the May 2012 issue of Cook's Country
@kenji thanks for this one! Going to try it this weekend.
I question your reluctance to take on the ramen noodle. What makes it more difficult than other projects that you have taken on, like, for example, mastering pizza at home? Is noodle making really such a nuanced and practiced art that a good home cook couldn't get a good enough version after a few tries? Why is it insulting to try ramen noodles and not insulting to try other things that also take a bit of care? Is it insulting to try cassoulet? Naturally leavened bread? A shake shack burger? I think it would be a fun project and I want your guidance! Harold McGee's approach - flour and water and 1% by weight of alkalinizing agent (purchased online or at an Asian market, or made at home by baking baking soda in a low oven for an hour). Mix in a food processor with barely enough water to make it moist-ish but still sandy. Cram it together into a sort of dough and work it through a pasta machine a bunch of times, then cut into noodles. Most of us could handle that!
Horseradish is always an option but I think the big canonical version is the Three Way (Sauce, cheese, mayo. Sauce being bbq, usually James River.) But maybe @nycpunk1 is right and that's ultimately more North Shore. Great list, though I need to pile on about the absence of Nick's. I feel it should be noted that All Star and Cutty's, which both offer outstanding roast beef sandwiches, are a different type of place. They are more upscale and chef-y compared to the rest, which are more traditional beef joints. "Upscale" and "chef-y" aren't exactly the right words. They are sort of a Hot Doug's to a Gene and Jude's, food-savvy folks riffing on traditional American sandwiches. A newcomer working closer to the original model is the excellent Roast Beast in Allston, as mentioned above. (By traditional I mean: that it's basically thin sliced rare beef; condiments of choice; cheese or no cheese but definitely not gourmet cheese; a few token veg choices like tomato, pickle and sliced onion; soft supermarket-style bread rolls like a burger roll, bulkie or onion roll.)
@findingmykd don't know if you know this, but the 64 bus from Central makes it pretty easy to get over to Allston from the MIT area. You can get off in Union Square or before at Harvard Ave and walk a few blocks up to Brighton Ave. It's sometimes less than ten minutes and is pretty reliable.
Since we're being thorough, we can't leave off Rendezvous. Steve Johnson is one of the greats.
@kenji Sunny's has closed. Sort of sad since it was the last of that old school type of place in the area. Agree on the Area 4 breakfast sandwich - it's sort of a masterpiece. People's Republik is ok but for a dive bar really the only one left is the Cantab.
A really great list. I'd say only a couple of things - if you have the St. Paul then you should also have the Chow Mein Sandwich, still around in Fall River, MA and the area, and up in Salem too. Also, I don't see any of the Italian American classics - parms, meatball sub, sausage, peppers and onions. I don't know about the rest of the country, but around Boston these have long since spread out from Italian delis and are on the menu at practically every sub shop.
edit - scratch the chacarero - it's on the list!