Edward Lee's unlikely journey

Buttermilk GraffitiEdward Lee is a multiple James Beard award nominee, chef/owner of several restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky, and has been on both "Top Chef" and "The Mind of a Chef." His first cookbook, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, was an EYB Pick and has received a four star rating from EYB Members. Lee has just released his second cookbook, which is far more than a mere collection of recipes, titled Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine.

A natural-born storyteller, Lee decided to hit the road and spent two years uncovering fascinating narratives from every corner of the country. He spoke to chefs across the nation, including many small entrepreneurs as well as more well-known names. In addition to the stories, Lee developed forty recipes that highlight the great evolving story of American cuisine. 

As Lee was flying from stop to stop on his author tour in support of the cookbook, he carved out time to talk to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about why he wrote 'Buttermilk Graffiti' and how it relates to his own journey from Brooklyn to Kentucky. One item that piqued the curiousity of the interviewer was that there are no photographs to accompany the recipes in the book. This was not an oversight, says Lee. 

The first reason he gives for not including pictures is a nod to old-school cookbooks, but the more important reason stemmed from the comments he received from readers of his first cookbook. "They would send me a picture of their meal and say they really liked the recipe but it didn't come out as pretty. That upset me, because they said it tasted good. And they put all this effort and joy into it, then somehow they felt like a failure because it didn't look like the work of a food stylist and a professional photographer."

Three recipes from 'Buttermilk Graffiti' accompany the interview: Korean Doughnuts (Hoedduck), Pollo a la Brasa, and Green Ají Sauce. Lee's author tour continues through June, so check out the EYB Calendar of Cookbook Events to see if he is coming to a location near you. 

The truth comes out of the oven

Bread cookbookI love to bake, but I consider myself a dilletante when it comes to this hobby of mine. I flit about from cakes to pies to laminated doughs and various types of breads, never spending too much time on any one of them. Since I have a 9-to-5 office job, I haven't dedicated myself to the craft, although I greatly admire the professionals who commit to baking with passion and intensity. That's why I was enthralled by Saveur Magazine's discussion with Jeffrey Hamelman, one of the few certified Master Bakers in the US. 

Hamelman has been baking for over forty years, and has taught thousands of home bakers through his work with King Arthur Flour in Vermont. He loves all types of bread, from artisan rustic loaves to flatbreads to egg breads to rolls and beyond, and says that "If a bread is made with respect for fermentation and ingredients, if it's made with care and authenticity, then I think it has a place in our collective bread basket."

This egalitarian attitude comes about partly because Hamelman believes the bread culture in the U.S. did not develop in the same way as it did in other countries. Here, we borrow bits of this and that, choosing pieces that suit our needs, tastes, and desires. While this means we don't have a uniquely defining bread, it also allows us to experiment in ways that would seem blasphemous elsewhere.  Hamelman refers to a saying by French baker Professeur Raymond Calvel: "La vérité sort du four," meaning "The truth comes out of the oven. If the breads are better-please keep it up."

Rediscovering Russian cuisine

 Russian cookbooks

When you say the words 'Russian food', most people immediately think of borscht, beef Stroganoff, or possibly golubtsi. Many dishes everyone believes are classic Russian foods are not, in fact, Russian, according to Maksim Syrnikov. He has spent over twenty years researching pre-Soviet Russian foods, writing several (Russian language) cookbooks in the process.

Syrnikov is a man on a mission, to reclaim the heritage of Russian peasant food that spanned eons before the Bolshevik revolution. He believes that many of the foods that predated this cultural upheaval are in danger of being lost, so he travels across Russia searching for old family recipes. He also looks for clues in novels by writers like Dostoyevsky and Gogol. His goal is to "help Russians reacquaint themselves with the country's agrarian roots" and discover that the classic foods are as worthy as any imports.

It's a daunting task, as Russians don't hold their national cuisine in high regard. That's because what most people think of Russian cuisine is based on post-revolutionary foods that lack the character and flavor of the ancestral meals that few people in modern Russia have even tasted. 

While Syrnikov is exploring nearly-forgotten foods like nyanya (lamb's stomach stuffed with buckwheat, brain and legs) and kulebyaka (a huge pastry stuffed with fish, mushrooms, rice, and crêpes), others are also turning their attention to Russia and its former satellite states such as Georgia. More and more cookbooks are bringing the flavors of this area to new audiences.

While recent books like Kachka, Kaukasis, and Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking may not dive quite as deep into the history of the region as Syrnikov does in his tomes, they do provide us with insights into cuisines that haven't been properly recognized before. In the last five years, over 25 new Russian cookbooks have been added to the EYB Library. There are even more when you add in regional specialty books focusing on Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, and others. 

Since my German forebears lived for a time in the Ukraine and Moldova before arriving in the United States, I find these volumes fascinating. It's amazing to me how much my own family picked up from the region in less than a full generation. I hope that this trend continues and that other small countries in Europe and beyond have their heritage cuisines examined and explained to a new generation of cooks. 

Retro cookbooks on the rise

 new vintage books

Remember the old saying that 'there's nothing new under the sun'? That applies to just about every aspect of life, including, as it turns out, cookbooks. Perhaps it started with the classic cocktail revival or maybe they grew together, but whatever the reason, cookbooks that revisit classic recipes are on the rise

Dishes that were popular as far back as 100 years ago are finding a new audience in a surge of 'retro' cookbooks. Sarah Billingsley, executive editor at Chronicle Books, thinks that today's turbulent times is part of the reason we're seeing more books and recipes from bygone eras. "In fraught or trying times, people return to familiar flavors and experiences, looking to the past for comfort," she explained to Publisher's Weekly.

Baking books are especially well-suited for this trend, because baked goods are often cloaked in a robe of nostalgia. Who doesn't wax poetic about a favorite childhood treat? That's why books like The Vintage Baker: More Than 50 Recipes from Pecan Butterscotch Curls to Sour Cream Jumbles by Jessie Sheehan are receiving rave reviews. Here Sheehan tweaks recipes from pamphlets dating from the early 1900s to the 1960s, providing a backstory for the recipe along with possible ingredient substitutions for items no longer found.

Sometimes an entire cookbook gets a second look, as is happening with Graham Kerr's seminal work. The Graham Kerr Cookbook: The Galloping Gourmet is a reissue of the 1966 book of the same name. This release is part of a larger project by Matt and Ted Lee, called The Lee Bros. Classic Library. The brothers plan additional vintage cookbook reissues (this is the second one - Princess Pamela's Soul Food Cookbook was released early last year). 

Sometimes older recipes need a bit of updating to make them better suited to our modern lifestyles. In Something Old, Something New: Classic Recipes Reinvented, Tamar Adler takes some of the fuss out of classic foods like crepes Suzette and Coq au Vin. Another thing that all of these titles have in common besides a retro theme is that we'll be featuring promotions of the books in the upcoming weeks, so watch for Jenny's review and giveaway posts.

Shaya by Alon Shaya

The moment I received Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya I posted on social media that our beloved, member favorite Ottolenghi might have some strong competition for best book of 2018.  In the cookbook reviewing world, I struggle every day with adequate descriptions in my writing - beautiful, stunning, gorgeous, inspiring - are overused (not to mention the word delicious) but what am I left with? This book embodies all those descriptors and more.

Alon has put his heart into the creation of this odyssey of food and delivers a soulful, touching book that is as much a joy to read as it is to cook and learn from. Just from his writing, I feel he is a gentle, caring soul that is deeply connected to his vocation - feeding people. His passion for food flows through his words both in his personal narrative and in his recipe writing.

HIs dedication "To my mother, Aliza. You have spent your entire life living for mine, and have always loved, believed, and trusted in me, even when I gave you reason not to," cut me to the core. As most of you know, I have a young son with bipolar and autism issues who has a 130 IQ and can be very sweet. Most days we deal with abusive language, physical threats (with punches landing) and more. I needed to read that dedication today to remind me to continue to have hope for him and for life in general. It is easy to become buried in negative thoughts but when we take a step back and breathe - our lives are wonderful - it is the bumps that make us appreciate the smooth sailing, and sometimes a capsize can put it all into focus.

Even sans the personal narrative, the photographs and recipes in this book are worth the cost of the book - but we are gifted with both a moving story and incredible dishes. There are more than one hundred recipes that range from Roasted chicken with harissa, Marinated soft cheese with herbs and spices (the recipe we are sharing today); Buttermilk biscuits; to Whole roasted cauliflower with whipped feta. Alon's pita and slow-cooked lamb recipes are both shared here. I have a friend in New Orleans who said, "I'd pay $80.00 for the book for those two recipes alone." The measurements are Americanized for those outside the US, don't let that deter you from the greatness of this book. 

Alon is on tour and his schedule is shared on our calendar. He took time to answer a few questions for us and for that we are grateful. I wrote him to thank him for writing such an amazing book and for sharing it with us - I hope you find as much joy in this title as I have. Special thanks to Knopf for providing a recipe for our members to try now and for providing three copies of Shaya in our contest below. 

Q: Being a chef is a calling - your love of food is obvious - when did you first know that cooking was going to be your life. Was it also one of your dreams to write a cookbook - how did the book come to be?

A: I always realized from the age of 7 that I really loved food. Probably even earlier but at 7 years old I knew I had a special connection with my grandmother's cooking. I wouldn't say writing a cookbook was always a dream, but I knew that it was the right time in 2015 when I began to finally embrace my heritage through food.

Q: Someone once said that writing a book was like having a child - or giving birth. What was the hardest aspect and what was the most gratifying?

A:  It was a very intense process that was very emotional and personal. I'd say the hardest part was opening up so much of my history to the world. It's something I've always kept private. The most gratifying part was getting to become closer friends with everyone involved in the production of the book. Vicky Wilson with Knopf helped us see our vision through, Tina Antolini co-authored the book with me, Rémy Robert developed the recipes and cooked every dish in the book multiple times, Rush Jagoe took beautiful photography and Francis Rodriguez drew powerful illustrations.

Q: What is one thing that you want your readers to take away from Shaya?

A: I'd like the recipes to mean more than just a meal after they read the stories leading up to it.

Q: If you could use one sentence to describe your food what would it be?

A: Simple and tied to a story that is meaningful and genuine.

Q: Who are some of your food/chef heroes?

A:  Chris Bianco, Faith Willinger and Ashley Christensen.

Q: We are cookbook lovers and collectors. Are you? If so, how many cookbooks do you have, which are your favorites?

A: I have probably 50 or so. Jerusalem by Ottolengi is a favorite as is Eating in Italy by Faith Willinger. Also love The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

Q: How do you keep the inevitable headaches of the business side from diminishing the obvious joy you find in cooking?

A: You can't seperate the two and they work hand in hand. Business has never diminished my joy of cooking and cooking has never taken away from the importance of running a solid business.

Q: New Orleans is a cliche for people who don't know the city. What is your favorite "secret" of New Orleans?

A:  Pho Tau Bay Vietnamese Restaurant. Their pho is incredible and they are a New Orleans Restaurant through and through. 

 

Marinated soft cheese with herbs and spices
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Yield 6 to 8 servings

  • 8-ounce wheel of soft goat or mixed-milk cheese, such as La Tur
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds 

  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 1 dried árbol chili pepper, or 1⁄4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  • 1 star anise pod
  • Two 2-inch strips of orange peel, orange part only, divided
  • A crusty baguette
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt, to finish

This dish was a revelation when Emily and I ate it in Milan: when you start with great ingredients, you're wise not to mess with them. It's a moment of perfect simplicity; at the right temperature, olive oil and cheese can be as flawless as any- thing that costs you far more time, money, or energy. Any brand of soft aged cheese will do-I like La Tur, a mixed-milk cheese that's as creamy as goat, with just a little sheepy funk, softened by the cow's milk. Mt Tam, a domestic triple-cream cheese, is a great alternative. Have fun with the spices: throw in a couple cloves instead of the star anise, add a sprig of rosemary instead of the bay, or use lemon instead of orange.

1. Heat the oven to 325 ̊F. Put the cheese in the bowl or rimmed plate from which it'll be served, to let it soften.

2. Use the side of a knife or a rolling pin to crush the garlic lightly, just so it starts to open up in its skin. Lightly crush or roughly chop the allspice and coriander, and add them, with the garlic, to a small ovenproof saucepan, along with the olive oil, bay leaves, árbol chili, star anise, and one strip of orange peel. Cover with a lid, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes; the garlic will be very golden and the orange rind will have darkened quite a bit.

3. Once the sauce has come together, remove the saucepan from the oven and increase the heat to 425 ̊F. Take the second strip of orange peel and give it a little twist over the pan to release the oil, then drop it into the pan and let the oil cool down.

4. Cut the baguette on a bias into 1⁄2-inch slices, and arrange them on a baking sheet. Toast at 425 ̊F for 6 to 8 minutes, until they've built some nice color along the edges.

5. Pour the seasoned oil over and around the softened cheese, letting the spices run free, and sprinkle on the salt just before serving. Slather the toasts with the cheese, and encourage your friends to dab up every last drop of the infused oil.

Recipe used with permission of Knopf from Shaya by Alon Shaya ©2018. Photograph credit: Rush Jagoe

The publisher is 3 offering copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on May 8th, 2018.

A cook and a book

 cookbooks

Members of cookbook clubs like the EYB Cookbook Club are used to working their way through cookbooks, asking others for advice, and offering their own. It's a great place learn how to decipher what a cookbook author means, or expound on changes that worked out better than the original text. 

If there is anything better than learning from your peers and hearing their thoughts on the latest cookbooks, it might be having your favorite cookbook author try a few recipes from someone else's book and provide commentary. If that sounds like an excellent idea, head on over to Food and Wine's website. Charlotte Druckman has a new column there called 'A Cook and a Book' that features cooks and authors trying recipes from new cookbook releases

Druckman described the new column in a recent tweet as "sorta like a cookbook review & sorta like a profile of a person of interest in his/her kitchen. sorta both those things but also not."  In the first installment, esteemed chef and author Nancy Silverton tries a couple of dishes from Nigella Lawson's new book At My Table

Even though she's written nine cookbooks, Silverton admits that she is terrible at following other people's recipes. She is dubious about some of Lawson's suggestions, including heating Greek yogurt and straining some of the excess egg white before poaching an egg. Nevertheless, she gamely follows the instructions and in the end is pleasantly surprised by one of the techniques. 

Wild Honey & Rye by Ren Behan

Last September, Wild Honey and Rye: Modern Polish Recipes by Ren Behan was published in the UK (by Pavilion) and I absolutely fell in love with it. I've been biting my nails waiting for its March 2018 release here in the US (by Interlink Publishing) so that we could do a joint promotion and finally the time has arrived!

Ren is a food blogger whose approach to Polish cuisine is met with modern flair, fresh ingredients and fun. In the opening pages, you discover that you are in for a good time when you read number five of her five reasons to fall in love with Polish food. Reason number five is that the fare is condusive to pairing with vodka and spirits. That's my kind of cuisine. Don't fret the other reasons are all based in health, comfort and cultural influences from other countries.

Each recipe in Wild Honey and Rye is approachable and appealing from something as basic as a Soft cheese with honey and walnuts on rye to pages devoted to pierogi all the way to her beautiful, homey Polish apple cake. This book is a feast for the eyes and the appetite. I have a few polish cookbooks in my collection, but this book tops the list as my favorite. If you buy one book on this cuisine, let it be this one.

Ren was gracious enough to answer a few questions for our readers:

Q: Tell us about yourself and your journey into the culinary world.

My journey into the culinary world began seven years ago, when I decided to take a Diploma in Food Journalism whilst on maternity leave with my second baby. My first assignment was to start a food blog, which I was very happy to do since I had already started to follow a few U.K and U.S. food blogs and was keen to join in. I have made some really great friends through blogging and still read and keep in touch with some of the bloggers behind the first few blogs that I followed, cooked from and read. For the first couple of years, I blogged as a hobby, developing my writing and photography skills. I also took a course in food styling, which I found helped me along a bit. After a year or two, I started to get approaches to work with brands and began freelancing for sites such as JamieOliver.com and for magazines here in the UK. Although I mainly wrote about seasonal food and family friendly food, my Polish heritage also often inspired me to share some of my favorite Polish recipes and they were always really well received.

I think the explosion of food blogging around the world really helped people to become more interested in global cuisines; suddenly the world was smaller and our plates were more influenced by food from other cultures. Also, I think home cooks were becoming more interested and curious to try new things. When time allowed, I wrote and pitched more articles on Polish food and travel. I was also a big fan of reading Polish food blogs and magazines and could see that the Poles were really embracing street food and supper clubs; just as we were. Polish ingredients were also becoming more commonly available over in Britain and I was often asked to talk about Polish food on the radio. I was keen to keep on bringing Polish food to a new audience through my own food writing adventures.

Q: How did Wild Honey and Rye come about? How was the process? A labor of love?

I had, for a long time, wanted to bring my Polish family recipes together in a cookbook, but with three children and a house remodel underway, things were quite busy. However, I was starting to see this growing interest in Polish food and believed that I had something to bring to the table. I was lucky enough to meet a literary agent who supported my ideas for a Polish book and as discussions progressed, I realized I was quite keen for the book to have a contemporary edge and to really show Poland how it is today. My agent introduced me to my publishers, Pavilion Books, who loved the idea of a modern Polish recipe book and things developed quite quickly from there. Wild Honey and Rye is really a merging of traditional Polish recipes, with some more modern elements, which is reflected by the bright and airy photography by Yuki Sugiura. Some of my photographs from recent food-led trips to Poland are also featured and I was able to weave in snippets of my childhood and my huge respect for Polish culture throughout the book, too. I was so ready to write this book that it was a joy from beginning to end. My publishers pulled together an incredibly creative team, from the prop stylists to the designers - it was truly a dream come true. As a debut author, I am always so grateful for all the guidance and support I receive along the way.

Q: What is your most favorite recipe in the book?

My favorite recipe in the book is probably the one I cook most often for my family, which is Polish meatballs with mushroom sauce, which I serve with Mizeria, a Polish cucumber salad, and with a grated beet salad. I also love baking, so the Plum and Poppy Seed Cake and the Polish Cheesecake make regular appearances in our home. As we gear up for Christmas, we bake Pierniczki, which are Polish Spiced Christmas Cookies and I fend off winter bugs with my Dad's version of a Polish hot drink made with vodka, lemon and honey, or Krupnik, which is vodka infused with honey and spices.

Q: Can you share a bit about Polish traditions? I'm really interested in Polish desserts what are some of your favorites?

As we head into the Christmas holiday season, I look forward to spending Christmas Eve or Wigilia with my family. Traditionally, we eat 12 courses to represent the 12 apostles, we place hay under the tablecloth to represent the manger, we always leave a space for the unknown guest and we begin eating when the first star appears. This is meatless meal, so we eat plenty of fish, beetroot soup and pierogi made with cabbage and mushrooms or with potato and cheese. For dessert, we have a Polish cheesecake or a yeasted poppy seed roll. There's also a great day which is celebrated in Poland called Fat Thursday, or Tłusty Czwartek, when we eat doughnuts and sweet things before lent. At Eastertime, we tend to make Babka's, which are yeasted bundt cakes and cheesecakes, too.

Q: Tell us about your favorite cookbooks in your personal collection? 

My personal cookbook collection is made up of cookbooks from all over the world - I probably have 300 or so books, and I organize them by colour, rather than cuisine. My sister lives in Seattle, so we love sharing recipes and I'm a big fan of Ina Garten. In terms of British cooks, I have pretty much every book by Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver, Diana Henry and Nigella Lawson. I also have a growing collection of Middle Eastern cookbooks and I love anything by Sabrina Ghayour or the duo behind Honey & Co. My Eastern European collection is growing too. I'm a big fan of Olia Hercules' Mamushka and her latest book Kaukasis and I was super proud to be able to add my voice to this genre with Wild Honey and Rye.

Q: Are there plans for a second cookbook? (I hope so).

I have had such a great experience and a great reception to my first book that I'd absolutely love to write a second. I have some travel plans to explore more of Poland next year, so who knows?

Special thanks to Pavilion and Interlink for providing the following recipe for our members to try now. Each publisher is offering two copies of the book to our members in the US and UK. Four books total! Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter.

Meatballs with mushroom sauce
Kotlety mielone z sosem pieczarkowym
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One of the first recipes I asked my Mama to write down for me when I was leaving home to go to university was her kotlety mielone, or meatballs, a dish she often made for supper, served with mashed potatoes and Mizeria, or Cucumber and soured cream salad, and grated beetroot salad on the side. I missed her cooking so much when I left home. Traditionally, Polish meatballs are coated in breadcrumbs or flour, but I cook mine without to lighten them up. I love eating leftover meatballs in sandwiches with plenty of mayonnaise and pickled cucumbers.

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 400g/14oz minced beef
  • 400g/14oz minced pork
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup beef stock (you can use a stock cube), cooled
  • 2 slices of bread, preferably sourdough rye, soaked in a little water
  • freshly ground black pepper


For the mushroom sauce

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 250g/9oz fresh white mushrooms, sliced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ vegetable or chicken stock cube, or ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup single (light) cream

Heat a splash of vegetable oil in a frying pan, add the red onion and fry for 5 minutes until soft. Leave to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the minced meat, beaten egg, mustard and parsley. Tip in the cooled onion and pour in the cold stock. Crumble the soaked bread into small pieces and add to the meat. Season the mixture with pepper and mix everything thoroughly with a fork.

Keep a small bowl of cold water nearby, to wet your hands. Take small amounts of the mixture, roughly a tablespoonful at a time, and shape into small balls, then flatten slightly. Between making each meatball, dip your hands in the cold water, to prevent stickiness. You should have enough mixture for 12 meatballs.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan, preferably non-stick, over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs, in two batches, for 4 minutes, turning occasionally until golden all over. Remove and transfer to a plate and continue browning the rest of the meatballs.

Once they are all browned, put the meatballs back into the pan, add 2 tablespoons cold water, shake the pan around a little, cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil, and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes.

To make the mushroom sauce, heat the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and lemon juice, and cook for 5 minutes. Crumble in the stock cube and about 125ml/4 fl oz/½ cup of water and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cream and stir well.

Serve the meatballs and mushroom sauce over mashed potato with cucumber and soured cream salad and/or grated beetroot salad on the side.

The publisher is four offering copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and UK (two winners from each region). One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on April 20th, 2018.

How to rescue over-proofed dough

 bread

Has the following scenario ever happened to you? After you have mixed, proofed, and shaped your bread dough, you walk away to do another task while the dough undergoes its final rise. One thing leads to another, until a sudden panic strikes: you forgot about the dough.

You rush back into the kitchen only to see a monster loaf that towers over the loaf pan, threatening to subsume the entire countertop. You immediately stick it in the oven, hoping for the best, only to have those hopes dashed when the dough deflates, leaving a sunken loaf. It doesn't have to end that way, says PJ Hamel of King Arthur Flour. She walks us through the steps of how to save over-proofed dough

Hamel says that if your dough rises too far, you can usually rescue it by gently deflating the dough, reshaping it, and returning it to the loaf pan. She notes that most yeasts have enough oomph for a third rise, with the exception of rapid-rise yeast (not to be confused with instant yeast, which should be okay for a third rise). 

The third rise will take far less time than the previous one, so don't walk away from this one. According to Hamel, the rise may take as little as 20 minutes. She shows side-by-side photos of a loaf baked using the normal two rises and a loaf that was over-proofed and rescued. The over-proofed loaf actually ended up just a tiny bit higher in the end. That's a lot better than the loaf baked straight from an over-proofed state - it couldn't sustain the rise and collapsed in the oven. 

What's it like to audition for Masterchef?

 Masterchef

If you have ever watched any competitive reality television cooking show like Masterchef or The Next Food Network Star, at some point you probably think "how did they come up with these people?" or "I know I could do better than that!" Since the competitiors for these programs are chosen from people from all walks of life, in theory you have as good a chance as anyone to be on the show.

So what's it like to try out for the show? Someone who has been there - she applied for Masterchef - tells Salon what the process is like. Jessie Glenn made it all the way from the initial submission of a video to the on-screen tryouts in Los Angeles. She shares her experience, and after reading her story, you will probably not be rushing to submit your application to any cooking show. 

Shows like Masterchef do not want contestants, or even people who try out to be contestants, to talk about the experience. However, Glenn did not submit the forms that bound her to secrecy, so she's sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happens up to the point of getting that coveted apron. 

She describes the obvious attempt to make sure the contestants question themselves and to manipulate their feelings, along with an intense sense of pressure. Glenn's experience rings true to me - I also tried out for the program several years ago, although I did not make it quite as far as she did.

Christopher Kimball talks recipes and more

Milk Street Kitchen cookbookLast month, Christopher Kimball released his first cookbook post America's Test Kitchen titled Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Kitchen. We've reported before on his acrimonious split with ATK, where litigation is still pending on breach of contract claims. Kimball recently gave an interview to a somewhat unlikely publication, The Washington Free Beacon, known more for its political writing than its food reporting. In the article, Kimball discusses how Milk Street is different from ATK, and he also voices strong opinions on everything from Thanksgiving turkey to recipes

Kimball was quick to point out that unlike ATK, Milk Street doesn't do equipment reviews, nor does it do a science segment per se. He also discusses his new philosophy of cooking, where flavors rank much higher than technique. It's almost a 180-degree turn from the ATK method of rigorous testing of recipes, including dozens of ways to roast a chicken. 

Speaking of which, after nearly 40 years of revisiting the same concepts over and over, you can tell that Kimball is tired of the repetition and wants to do something different. "I have spent almost four decades dealing with roast birds," he says. "High heat or low? Flip it once or twice? Salt breast overnight in the fridge? To brine or not to brine? Stuff or not stuff? Spatchcock or whole? At some point, you just have to move on."

Kimball is now more interested in what kinds of rubs or glazes you can put on the bird, incorporating spices from across the globe in pursuit of bolder flavors. "The world thinks differently about cooking," Kimball writes in his cookbook. "While so much of northern European cuisine relies on heat and time to build flavor-long simmers and roasts fueled by fire-elsewhere, flavors are built by layering bold, simple ingredients. The Ottoman Empire had access to 88 spices." 

When it comes to recipes, Kimball provided an outlook that might seem shocking from someone who spent the better part of a lifetime focusing on creating the perfect recipe. "People mistake a recipe for cooking," he says. "Cooking is performance art-it's what one does with a recipe that matters."

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!

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