I've made three new new friends. On Milk Street Radio, Alexis Gabriel Ainouz, the YouTube star behind French Guy Cooking, talked about the perfect Jacques Pepin omelet, DIY dry-aging meat, and his love of instant ramen. Gonzalo Guzman came from San Francisco to host a master class on masa. He also cooked a simple Posole Rojo for the next season of our television show, and prepared a quick blender salsa, which you’ll get to see soon. Finally, Briana Holt from the Tandem Bakery in Portland, ME showed us how to bake the world's best ginger-chocolate scones.
In other news...
Milk Street Cooking School adds new online class, Not Your Mother's Chicken: My mother's chicken was pretty awful, to be honest, but in this class, we use chicken to teach some of our core Milk Street culinary principles. Expect easy recipes and great foundational concepts to help you with your everyday cooking. Check it out here.
The Boston cooking school (at 177 Milk Street), meanwhile, launched a five-week series of free cooking classes with the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, as well as a family cooking class series with a session on meatballs, where parents and kids cook together. Yasmin Khan comes next month for a master class. Don't miss it if you are in the Boston area.
Milk Street Tip: Freeze your rice. When you have a moment, cook an extra batch or two of rice, then cool it and stick it in a zipper-lock bag in the freezer. With a quick defrost on the countertop or in the microwave, it’ll be ready when you are. (To quickly cool hot rice before putting it in the freezer, spread it out on a baking sheet.)
On Milk Street Radio, the mad French food scientist makes the perfect omelet: If you haven’t yet listened to the interview with mad food scientist and YouTube star Alexis Gabriel Aïnouz, also known as Alex French Guy Cooking, it’s a good one. He argues that French cooking isn't dead (I had to ask!). Nigella Lawson returns to Milk Street Radio as well. Plus, we cover the history of pickles and the mystery of the $13,500 Tokyo melon.
Milk Street Tip: How to cool down liquids quickly. If you have a hot liquid–soup, stew or stock–that needs to be refrigerated after coming out of the oven, let it sit for two hours on a cooling rack before placing it in the refrigerator. It will cool down at about the same rate and will not raise the temperature of the fridge. For faster cooling, fill a large plastic soda or water bottle ¾ full of water and freeze. Now place the frozen bottle, with the cap screwed on, into the liquid while it sits on the counter. Now you’re super-cooling.
On Milk Street TV, we learned to make Crispy Sichuan Chili Chicken: Season 2 is in full swing, which means, of course, we're also gearing up for Season 3. (Find your local station here, or watch on our website here.) I really love theCrispy-Sichuan Chili Chicken from Season 2. Small pieces of chicken means more surface area for the batter to coat, resulting in more crunch. Dip it in our spicy oil and tell me if it’s not the best fried chicken you’ve ever had.
The March-April issue of Milk Street Magazine is headed to the presses: In it, we share lessons learned in Belgium (how to build a better meatball by combining sweet and savory traditions); France (that a strong pesto can transform a simple vegetable soup); Italy (less liquid produces a pasta sauce with more flavor); and Egypt (that spices aren’t just about adding flavor, but also texture).
Milk Street Tip: The best way to store ginger. Fresh ginger will keep in the produce drawer for up to three weeks. But try storing it in the freezer, where it lasts months and comes out easier to grate. Note: grated frozen ginger is lighter and fluffier than fresh, so you’ll need to double the volume when you’re grating frozen.
Milk Street Tuesday Nights: If you haven't picked up a copy of our latest cookbook, Milk Street Tuesday Nights, it's a good time to do so. The concept is simple meets big flavor. I love the Turkish Red Lentil Soup, which ends with a drizzle of chili oil. (You can make it at home in 3 minutes). Simple and delicious. (Follow us on Instagram and tag #MilkStreetTuesdayNights to show us what you’re making.)
A Milk Street recipe for the ages: Maple-Whisky Pudding Cakes: Our kitchen couldn’t get enough of these simple-to-make Maple-Whisky Pudding Cakes, with their silky sauce beneath a layer of tender cake. An unexpected ingredient balances out the sweetness. A scoop of vanilla ice cream tops it off. Find the recipe in the January-February issue of our magazine. As Canadian cookbook author Tara O’Brady, who inspired the recipe, says, “When you put it on the table, there’s gasps and sighs and it feels like a surprise. How often are you able to do that?”