Dear Milk Streeter,
I recently interviewed a cookbook author who said, “The great thing about cooking is that you are always a beginner.” Odd, perhaps, but true. Every time I step into the kitchen, I come across an unanswered question, I discover something new, or I make a mistake and learn from it.
Here at Milk Street, we have been giving ourselves an intensive culinary education. Use salted butter instead of unsalted. Turn to carbon-steel pans for non-stick cooking. Under-whip egg whites and under-fold batters. Let shrimp cook gently in a sauce using residual heat. Undercook pasta and grains so they absorb dressings and sauces better. Why “salt and pepper to taste” is an outdated concept. Here’s a tip for storing and grating ginger, an aromatic we use often and generously here at Milk Street:
GRATING GINGER: Fresh ginger lasts about three weeks in a refrigerator’s produce drawer. We prefer to store ours in a zip-close bag in the freezer—not only does it keep for months, it also is easier to grate. Grate it directly from the freezer—no need to thaw—using a fine wand-style grater. If you’re on Facebook, you can ‘like’ our page and watch our grating ginger video.
We are proud to announce that the next issue of Milk Street Magazine is off to the printer shortly — you can expect to see your copy in late February if you already have subscribed. If not, this would be a good time to subscribe to Milk Street Magazine. The issue includes some of my favorite recipes including tahini swirl brownies, cracked potatoes, Cuban pork, smashed cucumber salad, chipotle shrimp (from Diana Kennedy in Mexico), a quick Peruvian pesto, and stir-fried rice from my trip to Thailand in December. We also take a look at how to use vegetable cleavers and come to some surprising conclusions about which knives to use and when.
PREVIEW: The next issue premiers a series called Tuesday Nights, which features flavorful meals that come together quickly—often using just pantry staples. As a sneak peek, try this weeknight spaghetti with lemon, anchovies and capers, inspired by Lidia Bastianich. She uses reserved pasta water to make the sauce. (I should start remembering to not throw mine out!)
FREE RECIPE: One of the best recipes in the new issue is a Georgian chicken soup. It’s easy to make, light, and uses whisked egg yolks to add a silky, smooth texture. Fascinating approach. Get the recipe here.
Milk Street Radio, our weekly radio show and podcast, ended the year with my favorite interview of all time: Ziggy Marley. Coming up, I chat with Damon Baehrel about his mysterious $400 per seat restaurant in Coxsackie, New York (he was profiled in The New Yorker); discuss how the Great Depression shaped America’s approach to food and eating; speak with Diana Henry (author of “Simple”) about the principles of great food fast; and talk to Pierre Thiam about the foodways of Senegal. You can listen to the show by going to our website or subscribing on iTunes.
The first season of Milk Street Television starts broadcasting in September. Also coming in the fall of 2017 is our first book, “The Milk Street Cookbook.” And we have lots of new classes planned at our cooking school right here on Milk Street, including live sessions with some of the top folks in the world of food. (Go here for more information.)
I leave you with a thought from Dorothy Parker about writing. “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of ‘The Elements of Style.’ The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now while they’re happy.”
Founder, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street