Good Eats 2: The Middle Years
Good Eats 2: The Middle Years picks up where the bestselling Good Eats: The Early Years left off. Showcasing everything Alton Brown fans (and they are legion!) have ever wanted to know about his award-winning television show, The Middle Years is chock-full of behind-the-scenes photographs and trivia, science-of-food information, cooking tips, and—of course—recipes. Brown’s particular genius lies in teaching the chemistry of cooking with levity and exuberance. In episodes such as “Fit to Be Tied” (meat roulades), “Crustacean Nation” (crab), and “Ill-Gotten Grains” (wheat products), Brown explains everything from how to make the perfect omelet to how to stuff your own sausages. With hundreds of entertaining photographs, along with Brown’s inimitable line drawings and signature witty writing, this comprehensive companion book conveys the same wildly creative spirit as the show itself.
Introduction 6 SEASON 6 Use Your Noodle III: Fresh Pasta 12 SEASON 8 The Waffle Truth 266 Hittin’ the Sauce 136 Great Balls of Meat 271 Shell Game 142 Flat Is Beautiful II 146 Curious Yet Tasty Avocado Experiments 276 Circle of Life 150 Salad Daze II: Long Arm of the Slaw 16 Wonton Ways 156 A Cake on Every Plate 20 The Big Chili 160 The Frosting Man Cometh 25 SandwichCraft 164 Beet It 30 Soup’s On 168 Fit to Be Tied 36 Say Cheese 173 True Grits 177 Art of Darkness III: Ganache 182 Stuff It 186 SEASON 7 A Pie in Every Pocket 280 School of Hard Nogs 285 My Pod 291 Tender Is the Loin I 296 Raising the Bar 302 Tender Is the Loin II 307 Flat is Beautiful III: Flounder 311 Thai: Your Pad or Mine 315 Shell Game IV: Scallops 321 Crustacean Nation III: Feeling Crabby 40 Puddin’ Head Blues 190 Q 46 Melondrama 194 The Egg Files IV: French Flop 50 Myth Smashers 198 The Muffin Method Man 54 Cuckoo for Coq au Vin 202 True Brew IV: Take Stock 60 A Taproot Orange 206 A Beautiful Grind 64 Sprung a Leek 210 Raising the Steaks 68 Dr. Strangeloaf 214 The Pouch Principal 74 My Big Fat Greek Sandwich 219 Ill-Gotten Grains 78 Field of Greens 224 The Trick to Treats 82 Do the Rice Thing 228 Potato, My Sweet 86 The Cookie Clause 90 Herbal Preservation 94 Give Peas a Chance 232 Spice Capades 98 Dis-Kabob-Ulated 236 Urban Preservation II: The Jerky 240 Sometimes You Feel Like A... 112 Churn Baby Churn II 244 I Pie 117 Power Trip 248 Toast Modern 122 Wake Up, Little Sushi 252 Acknowledgments 396 Eat This Rock 126 Cobbled Together 256 Conversion Chart 394 Top Banana 132 Good Wine Gone Bad: Vinegar 261 Index 396 The Man Food Show 102 Fudge Factor 106 SEASON 9 Olive Me SEASON 10 Tort(illa) Reform 330 Just Barley 334 House of the Rising Bun 344 Cubing a Round 350 Water Works I 354 Water Works II 358 Behind the Eats 362 Peachy Keen 366 Okraphobia 370 Squid Pro Quo II 375 Pop Art 380 Major Pepper 384 Fry Turkey Fry 388 Pantry Raid VI: Lentils Are a Chef’s Best Friend 392 I’ve always regretted not making this a two-part show about fresh pasta. Sure, ravioli are fun to make (and even more fun to eat), but this paste is capable of infinite shape shifting: Fettuccini, tagliatelle, and pappardelle are easily within its scope, and I wish I’d made that more apparent in the episode. In fact, one of my favorite applications for this dough is to roll and cut thick wide noodles, then simmer them in chicken stock for Chicken Noodle Soup (page XXX). Regardless of how you roll, cut, shape, or stuff it, this dough is as versatile a multitasker as you’re likely to encounter. PARTS LIST Atlas model (or equivalent) manual pasta roller Nuts that fit U-bolt i is The word macaron k makar, meaning ee Gr the m fro derived “blessed.” TIDBIT ly, the average Assembled thus es g board provid residential ironin e. of rolling spac up to five feet rtable, now And since it’s po a in any you can roll past use, e room of th ho rs! oo td even ou Steel plate with holes U-bolt Ironing board 12 ON BOARD KEEP A SEPARATE COTT ING PASTA. COVER JUST FOR ROLL K N O W L E D G E C O N C E N T R AT E Culinary lore holds that the Venetian adventurer Marco Polo first brought pasta to Italy from far-off China in 1295. The fact that fettuccini and ravioli were already popular dishes in Rome at the time should have put the matter to rest. The reason the legend persists is that it isn’t very old. In fact, the earliest reference to it I’ve been able to unearth is a rather whimsical article by S. Gibbs Campbell in the October 1929 edition of Macaroni Journal that tells of a sailor on Marco Polo’s expedition named Spaghetti, who had seen a Chinese girl preparing long strands of pasta. Marco Polo did bring knowledge of the foods and culture of Asia to Europe, but not so the noodle. ridicuFor an even more ry, check sto me sa the of lous version The in the 1938 flop out Gary Cooper rco Polo. Adventures of Ma TIDBIT Dry pastas contain nothing but flour and water, and their flavor and body alike stem from the use of high-protein flour ground from durum wheat. Fresh pastas, on the other hand, can be made from a wide array of flours (including all-purpose) because they contain eggs, which increase the protein content of the dough considerably. The yolks also contain fat, which tenderizes the noodles or dumplings and helps to amplify any fat-soluble vitamins present, including A, D, and E. When pasta dough is first formed, it’s brittle and prone to tearing. An hour in the refrigerator will give the flour granules time to hydrate—that is, absorb moisture from the eggs. The result will be plastic and elastic and easy to handle. Although the rolling pin is still the choice of purists and Italians everywhere, I’m neither purist nor Italian, so I prefer the mechanized version. The classic manual pasta roller, commonly called an “Atlas” after the company that first drew up the design back in 1938, is to my mind still the best machine for the home cook because it’s small and stout. This knob changes the space between the rollers, which in turn changes the thickness of the dough. The roller settings are indexed, meaning that they snap into place when positioned properly. Regardless of what thickness you’re shooting for (many recipes reference Atlas roller numbers), you’ll want to start on #1 and gradually work your way thinner. Impatience will only buy you torn, rough dough, and that’s rarely good eats. Most manual machines come with a cutting attachment that converts sheets into “ribbons” of varying size. Of course, if a pasta machine’s going to do you any good at all, you’ve got to be able to securely anchor it to a respectable range of real estate, which is a challenge in many modern kitchens. It doesn’t help that the wimpy clamps Atlases and their ilk use for anchorage further limit positioning. My answer: Skip the counter altogether and go with an ironing board. was filmed, since this episode NOTE: In the years to convert ing us scenarios seek I have tested vario er-market Aft c. ati tom au nual to , my Atlas from ma rthless and weak t the unit are wo k tas the motors made to fi drill to to put a cordless I used and my attempts g some reviews, din rea er Aft st. roller/ a were iffy at be up er ord World Wide Web to front that newfangled the on t tle ou ory t the access cutter made to fi position is mixer. Although the Aid en ch Kit my of ’s got the ine ch ma the high), awkward (as in too on the weak ly’s mb The docking asse guts for the job. s is a decent thi , Aid en ch Kit got a side, but if you’ve nd cranking. alternative to ha OD LE II US E YO UR NO 13 IF STUFFING IS YOUR GOAL: TIDBIT Examples of other stuffed noodles around the world: POLAND: Pierogi CHINA: Gao gai or wonton JAPAN: Gyoza UKRAINE: Varenyky JEWS: Kreplach KOREA: Mandu SIBERIA: Pelmen y TIDBIT From 1700 to 17 85, pasta shops quadrupled in Naples, result ing in pasta drying ev erywhere, including in the streets, an d on rooftops and balconies. 1. Spread the rolled pasta sheet out on a lightly floured counter and gently mark the sheet lengthwise down the middle using a yardstick, but donâ€™t press so hard that you split the dough. 2. Use a teaspoon measuring spoon to deliver a dollop of filling (see application on next page) every couple of inches along one side of the mark down the middle, spacing them evenly at least 1 inch from each other. 3. Brush the pasta sheet with egg wash (1 egg, lightly beaten together with 1 tablespoon water) on one edge lengthwise down the entire sheet and in between the piles of filling. Fold the un-egg-washed side of the sheet over and seal, removing any air bubbles as you go. 4. Cut into even squares using a sharp paring knife or pizza cutter. 5. Place the finished ravioli on a parchment paperâ€“lined half sheet pan and cover with a damp towel. 6. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough half. 7. Add the ravioli to the boiling water 6 to 8 at a time and cook until they float, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with a spider and set on a half sheet pan lined with parchment. Repeat until all the ravioli have been cooked. NOTE: I never boil more than 8 pieces at a time in 1 gallon of boiling salted water. N: IO T P O G N I P A SH NI TORTE L L I OD LE II US E YO UR NO 16 S P I N A C H A N D R I C O T TA F I L L I N G A P P L I C AT I O N E N O U G H F I L L I N G F O R A B O U T 3 0 R AV I O L I S O F T WA R E , the first Franco-American uce, sa d an sta pa company to can using a French re we y the t tha boasted recipe. TIDBIT ½ cup ricotta cheese 1 ounce Parmesan cheese grated chopped 2 tablespoons cooked spinach 1 large egg ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground 1 pinch nutmeg freshly grated t potentially Since fats attrac ms containing ite zen fro s, nasty aroma ould be caresh i, iol them, such as rav ent airtight containm fully packaged in a small in s Tos m. ter gto be stored lon ch to prevent stick amount of cornstar p bag and -to zip a in 12 to ing. Place 10 suck the air out. TIP PROCEDURE Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. R AV I O L I I N B R O W N E D B U T T E R S U B - A P P L I C AT I O N Although Chef Boyardee may toss his ravs in tomato sauce, I prefer a quick sauté: S O F T WA R E 6 tablespoons 30 3 unsalted butter cooked fresh ravioli (previous page) tablespoons fresh sage chiffonade 4 to taste black pepper freshly ground PROCEDURE Place a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. The butter will melt, then foam as the water cooks out, then it will begin to brown as the milk solids cook. When the butter just starts to smell nutty, turn the heat down to low, carefully add 8 to 10 ravioli and fry, tossing often, until they start to turn brown around the edges. Add a little sage and a grind of pepper and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and grab a fork. Repeat with the remaining butter, ravioli, and sage. 3 2 1 4 Small shreds or ribbons. To cut, roll up the leaves like a cigar and slice across the roll. g in center. s and place fillin 1. Cut into circle al. fold over, and se 2. Moisten edges, le nd finger or ha 3. Place against of n. Bring corners OD LE II of a wooden spoo US E YO UR NO er. folded sides togeth 17 I don’t think any food delivers as much flavor, nutrition, and versatility as nuts . . . at least, not in such a small, easy-to-store, long-lasting, convenient, and almost watertight containment unit. Squirrels know it, which is why they spend all spring and summer hoarding these woody jewels with their spooky little hands. To the average tree rat, a nest full of walnuts, pecans, or cashews could mean the difference between waking up in the spring and ending up a squirrel-sicle. But to the average American, nuts are for bowls on bars and, well . . . that’s about it. we call Ever wonder why e in the us ca Be ”? uts “n crazy people slang for s wa t ry, nu nineteenth centu s off his nut. wa e as t-c nu a “head,” so t boiled that down Eventually, we jus to nuts. TIDBIT 112 G G N I L L A C HO YOU W "NUTS"? PROTEIN! GET YOUR FRESH, HO T PROTEIN! FIBER, ANTIOXIDANTS, OMEGA-3S! That’s right, omega-3s, the very same fatty acids found in fish oil, are also found in nuts. What’s more, nuts can lower your risk of heart attack and type-2 diabetes. Sure, tree nuts contain fat, but most of it’s that “good” fat you hear so much about, the unsaturated kind that can lower cholesterol and the dreaded LDLs or low-density lipoproteins. And don’t forget, nuts are a great source of vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, and zinc. K N O W L E D G E C O N C E N T R AT E Although most of the “nuts” consumed in the United States are peanuts, peanuts aren’t nuts; they’re peas. True nuts grow on trees. Brazil nuts, beechnuts, kola nuts, walnuts, pecans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds all have considerable culinary cred, but my big three are: cashews, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. CASHEWS are native to South America but are now grown primarily in India, which perhaps makes sense when you consider that they are kin to the mango. Although most of us are familiar with the cashew’s crescent shape, the cashew comes from the tree connected to an odd little fruit called a cashew apple, which has various other culinary uses (down in the Caribbean they’re soaked in rum). Each of these fruits has a shell hanging off the end containing a single cashew. The shell itself contains caustic oils often used in furniture varnishes because it repels termites. Sorry to take that side trip, but when you have an opportunity to put two of your culinary crew in cheap termite suits, you just have to go with it. The point is that getting even a single cashew to market isn’t easy, and that’s why they’re expensive. Still, because of their unique flavor and high fat content, they’re potent players because they can easily be ground into a smooth paste that puts most peanut butters to shame. The PISTACHIO is grown from the Middle East all the way to the far west . . . of Asia, that is, which explains why it’s so ubiquitous in Turkish desserts. After spreading slowly across Europe, the pistachio tree was finally introduced to the United States via California in the 1890s. Pistachio trees seed twice a year, producing clusters of seeds encased in a fleshy yellowred skin. Traditionally they were harvested by hand, but modern machines can shake ripe clusters from the trees so the seeds can be harvested from the ground. They are then soaked in water (to remove the fleshy coating) and dried in the sun. Most of us buy our pistachios in the shell. With any other nut, this would mean a lot of work. But not so here, because the pistachio splits, or “smiles,” when ripe. The MACADAMIA NUT is indigenous to Australia, but centuries of island-hopping through Polynesia brought it to its adopted home of Hawaii, where it’s paired with everything from mangoes to marshmallows to mahimahi. What makes the nut so unique is its texture. Bite into a raw or cooked macadamia, and you get a crunchy snap followed by a melt-in-your-mouth succulence that betrays the nut’s considerable fat content. As for flavor, it is subtle yet faintly tropical, and when toasted reminds me of coconut. Since it takes a tree seven years to produce a marketable crop, macadamias are expensive. Luckily, a little goes a long way. ---------------------- The nutmeat of the pistachio is deep green, thanks to the presence of chlorophyll, and in the nut industry, the deeper the green, the more highly valued the nut. (If you’ve ever seen pistachios with vibrant red shells, that’s not nature. That’s processors dyeing the meats to make them more attractive, or so, I suppose, they think.) Termite 1: This wood tastes nasty. Termite 2: Like... Termites 1 & 2: ...cashews! Termite 1: Let’s go get a box of toothpicks. Termite 2: Sweet! U SO ME TIM ES YO . . FE EL LIK E A . 113 A P P L I C AT I O N R O YA L I C I N G 3½ CUPS, ENOUGH FOR ABOUT 3 DOZEN 2½-INCH COOKIES S O F T WA R E TIDBIT Confectioners’ su gar contains a small amount of cornstar ch, which prevents clu mping by absorbi ng moisture. 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 pound confectioners’ sugar food coloring of your choice 2 as many drops as it takes PROCEDURE 2 Although liquid food colorings are certainly the norm, concentrated gel colorings give you more bang for the buck. ies were prob The first cook ia rs Pe y ur seventh-cent water. ably made in rbs and rose he ith w ed and flavor TIDBIT AU SE TH E CO OK IE CL 92 Combine the egg whites and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip until frothy. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is shiny. Turn the mixer speed up to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Whisk stored icing before using.