Repertoire | The Dinner Party

Rules for success, including porchetta

25th Oct 2011

Ed. note: This is the third post in a "Repertoire" series on the interplay of food and style, with our friends The Midwestyle . We're helping their readers learn a few recipes, and they're teaching us a few things about doing it in style.

To say you’re an accomplished person is putting it lightly. That time you summited Kilimanjaro during a snow storm. The month you took a vow of silen...

An Opinionated Way to Roast a Chicken

What's your favorite way?

24th Jan 2011

Roast Chicken in the Oven

Having roasted many, many chickens in my cooking life, I've come to the opinion that there is no way to roast a chicken without some kind of opinion. You may get away with tossing an untrussed chicken into the oven with a shower of salt, maybe a lemon in the cavity, and calling it dinner, pretending to be as careless as possible.  But that's still an opinion. So is planning days ahead of ti...

Under Pressure: How To Make Superb Chicken Stock In About An Hour

What if there was a method for making stock that not only dispensed with the time-consuming part, but also produced something that tasted better?

10th Jun 2010

pressure cooker chicken stock 1

In practice, significantly more flavor is extracted from the meat. [...] When combined with good ingredients, these factors produce remarkable stocks in significantly less time.

-Heston Blumenthal, The Fat Duck Cookbook

I started making stock when I realized that you could stash the carcasses from roast chickens in the freezer and save them up for an empty Sunday and a few hour...

The Importance of Jus: Two Chickens in One Meal

How the most chickeny chicken dish imaginable.

10th Aug 2009

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Every morning we would roast thirty-six chickens just for their juices, rather than for the meat...Thirty-six chicken provided enough juices for thirty portions of freshly cooked chicken. In other words, the customer had the juice of more than one whole chicken accompanying his dish...It was extreme.
- Marco Pierre White, Devil in the Kitchen

The flavor of natural roasting juices...can...

Easter Dinner and My Mysteriously Cheap Lamb Chops

Cooking Easter dinner with no oven.

14th Apr 2009

lamb easter dinner 6

Easter dinner has always been a giant-baked-ham affair for me.  Glazed with a sticky concoction loaded to its saturation point with brown sugar and splashed with bourbon, studded with cloves, and baked until warm and tender--ah, it's hard to beat.

Living here in a country full of pork , I figured reproducing this wouldn't be too hard to pull off.  But two problems presented themselves:...

Homemade Italian Beef

How to make this Chicago classic.

13th Feb 2009

2italianbeef3

The other issue I had to face was how to cut the meat.  As I remembered from my visit to Al's #1, the beef should be shaved as thinly as possible.  Al's used an huge deli slicer, which I obviously didn't have.  Saveur recommended just tossing the meat in the freezer for 2 hours before serving and then slicing it as thinly as possible with a chef's knife.  Some recipes recommended taking th...

Dipping Into the Italian Beef

Discovering Chicago's distinctive beef sandwich.

11th Feb 2009

The mystery is that while the sandwich's meat is incredibly tender, it isn't made from some expensive cut of beef.  From the research that I've done, most Italian beef recipes call for round or the sirloin tip, which are both tough and lean cuts.  The use of a cheap, neglected cut really interested me.

At first glance, the sandwich looks a lot like a cheese-less Philly cheesesteak.  But I've b...

Crisp-Skinned Roast Chicken, via Baking Powder

6th Feb 2008

crisp skinned roast chicken 01

Sometimes I can’t even follow my own train of thought.  I was buying some butcher's twine at a kitchen supply store because I figured it was time to learn how to truss a chicken.  I had skated around the issue for a year or so because Barbara Kafka had told me not to worry about it.  She said it was unnecessary and even detrimental to the cooking process.  But maybe that was just for her...

The Florets Hit the Fan: Roasted Broccoli

16th May 2007

broccoli 1

"That's it?" you might be saying.  But yes.  This is a recipe for broccoli.  Well, roasted broccoli.  I did salt that beef lurking around out of focus in the background for hours, submerge it in lukewarm water for another hour, and sear it at high heat.  But the broccoli was better.  Even the stems were great.  Long relegated to second class citizens to the beautiful florets up top, whe...

Zuni Cafe''s Roast Chicken

The heat was intense, but this roast chicken was the best yet

8th Aug 2006

roastchicken6 1

Yeah, it's true, I did decide to roast a chicken on the hottest day of the year , much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, my neighbor Jason, and my brow which had to battle the entire evening against a downfall of sweat pouring over my forehead.  And while the hysterics of previously mentioned cocktail mistress (girlfriend) could be seen as an over-dramatization of slightly toasty dinner, s...

Kafka''s Herb-Roasted Chicken

How to roast a chicken at 500 degrees

4th Jun 2006

High heat has its positives and negatives, but one thing for sure is that it definitely tastes much different than whatever the Joy of Cooking will throw at you.

In fact, one of the only downsides is that this recipe is easy to the point of being rather boring.  For the busy this is a godsend, but we cooked it with some much more challenging melting potatoes , that upped the ante on the fat...

Melting Potatoes

Those on a diet should click away now

4th Jun 2006

meltingpotatoes01

Those on a diet should click away now.  Those left will have their heart beat just a few ticks faster when these are finally removed from the oven, and even faster once the oil starts pumping through your system...

Barbara Kafka loves these, and we love her from creating them.  They are horrible for your health, use just a little less butter than a hollandaise, and look like burnt, mushy,...