I always try to have a hunk of bacon in my fridge. Sliced thinly, slapped into a pan, and rendered slowly, it’s breakfast. Chopped into cubes and crisped in a pot, it’s a source of fat and flavor when I’m building a soup stock. It…
Month: October 2019
[Illustration: Biodiversity Heritage Library] You did it! Another week down! We’re putting up a post very much like this one every Friday afternoon, to celebrate the fact that the week is done. Down with Monday-through-Thursday! Up with Friday-through-Sunday! We think of this series as something…
Tucked into a quaint residential section of Old Metairie, Radosta’s is a small Italian-American grocery and deli filled with walls of booze, bags of chips, and taxidermied animals. Come lunchtime, you can find regulars digging into decadent roast beef po’ boys, plates of gargantuan onion rings, and steaming bowls of gumbo, over checkered tablecloths with rolls of paper towels within reach.
The walls are covered in newspaper clippings, photos, and light-up beer signs. There’s a wedding photo on the wall of a customer who comes in every day at 11 a.m. to order a cup of gumbo, a grilled cheese, and cold roast beef. “He even came in at 11 a.m. the day after his wedding,” owners Don and Joan Radosta told me.
Don and Joan have run the restaurant with Don’s two brothers, Wayne and Mark, for 44 years. “Some families get along and some don’t,” Don says. His gets along.
Their seafood gumbo is old-school—thick and aromatic—and just the kind you hope to eat at someone’s family home. Don says he learned the recipe “over the phone, more than 25 years ago” from an employee at De Lerno’s restaurant, a longtime fixture that closed in the 1980s after more than 50 years in business. “When you went to De Lerno’s back in the day, it was like going to [award-winning New Orleans fine-dining institution] Commander’s Palace.”
I asked Don why De Lerno’s was so generous with their gumbo recipe. He explained that they were all friends. Besides, Don told me, he in turn gives his recipes to people all day long, but finds that it’s really difficult to make anything just the way he does. He believes it’s the same with De Lerno’s: He started with their recipe, but it quickly became his own.
Radosta’s seafood gumbo begins with a caramel roux that gives the gumbo a complex flavor without overwhelming the sweetness of the shrimp. Most people think filé should only go in the pot at the very last second, or at the table. But Don says, “Chefs think you’re nuts, but that’s all hogwash.” He puts his in just after he finishes the roux, which he believes gives the stew more body and an earthier flavor. Then he adds diced tomatoes and stirs until it’s thick and stewy.
House-made chicken stock, shrimp stock, some water go in next, and Don simmers the gumbo for a little over an hour, until it’s time for the trinity, garlic, and parsley. After this, he adds the okra, which he grills first to prevent them from developing a slimy texture. At the end, Don adds medium shrimp and a slew of spices (thyme, oregano, garlic powder, Creole seasoning, and a little cayenne pepper). The oregano is his own addition to the De Lerno’s recipe.
Radosta’s is as authentic as restaurants come, built not out of a need to impress anyone with anything other than the food and the hospitality. It’s the real-deal: food for locals, many of whom know how to make a damn fine gumbo of their own.
[Adam Chandler photograph: Katie Basile. Fries photograph: Vicky Wasik] This week’s Special Sauce episode kicks off with Serious Eater Marc Lampert asking Kenji about the process of cooking with ingredients packed with umami. “Does umami cook out like an acid would?” Marc asked. Here’s part…
We’ll admit it: we’re a tiny bit chocolate chip cookie-obsessed. One recipe really isn’t enough, and while a chocolate chip cookie is a wonderfully simple dessert, there’s always room for adaptation and improvement. We’ve developed super thin and crisp ones, enormous chewy ones as big as a baby’s face, vegan ones, and others that are full of butter, because butter is the best. We even have strong opinions about which chocolate chips you should be folding into your cookie doughs.
Kenji has published what he considers the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, and so has Stella, putting her own spin on the dough and technique. Scroll through to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for your tastes, or just stock up on chocolate and cook your way through the entire list.
With slightly crisped edges and chewy centers, these chocolate chip cookies come together in less than an hour, without sacrificing any flavor. We use high quality chopped chocolate in place of commercial chips, which thickens the dough and gives it a boost in flavor because of the cocoa butter. A pinch of nutmeg along with a sprinkling of salt highlights the butterscotch-y flavor profile, and a cold egg ensures the cookies won’t spread too thin in the oven. These cookies are a total package.
Unlike Stella’s super-quick chocolate chip cookies, these will not come together in 45 minutes. Making the cookie batter only takes several minutes, but the dough sits overnight, allowing enzymes to break down carbohydrates, which improves the browning process. Butter for the dough is browned to add a layer of nutty flavor, and chopping chocolate by hand ensures there’s a mixture of small chip-like pieces and larger puddles of chocolate in each cookie.
Super thick and very, very chewy, these cookies are fashioned after the ones made at Levain, an iconic NYC bakery. The dough requires less sugar than flour, and more chocolate chips than sugar. Keeping to this ratio creates a cookie that remains thick while baking, and comes out with a texture that isn’t overly dense or cakey. Raw walnuts or lightly toasted pecans mixed into the dough deliver a buttery crunch in every bite. We just want to say it again, for emphasis: These cookies are big!
If a chocolate chip cookie as thick as a short novel isn’t your thing, try your hand as these super-thin, Tate’s-style ones. They’re crisp all the way through, with a distinct butterscotch flavor. Eat ’em by the stack.
Sometimes, when we’re really craving chocolate chip cookies, not even a stack of six quite does the trick. In those instances, we pull out a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and make an enormous chocolate chip skillet cookie. The recipe calls for a classic chocolate chip cookie dough that bakes up chewy and moist, with crisp edges and a crackly, gooey top. Malted milk powder in the dough encourages even browning, and adds richness. Slice out an enormous piece of this cookie-cake, and finish it off with a scoop of ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream.
Vegans deserve chocolate chip cookies, too, so we developed a recipe that relies on olive oil instead of butter. Instead of trying to mask the oil’s distinctly rich and grassy flavor, we balance it with the bittersweet earthiness of chocolate chips. The resulting cookie is crisp around the edges, with a soft center, and gives non-vegan cookies a run for their money.
There’s more than one way to make a convincingly rich and buttery vegan chocolate chip cookie. Here, we do so with a mixture of dry malt extract and nutmeg, to replicate the nutty flavor that traditional cookies take on as butter browns. An oat slurry takes the place of a whole egg, giving the cookies a subtle earthiness that blends well with the other ingredients.
It could seem that a lactation cookie is a treat designed specifically for those who are breastfeeding. And while we did create these cookies with that demographic in mind, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t want to eat these cookies. The dough combines oat flour, a blend of chocolate chips, and a warming mixture of ground ginger, cinnamon, and plenty of vanilla. We’ve got a vegan version, too, that replaces eggs with the same oat slurry used in our vegan chocolate chip cookies.
These rich and buttery cocoa butter cookies are a little blonder than the chocolate chip cookies you’re probably used to. Using delicate, mild milk chocolate chips in place of the darker ones we usually recommend ensures the flavor of the dough isn’t overpowered.
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[Photographs: Shutterstock, unless otherwise noted] Growing up, our household of four would rise early—way too early—on the first day of Diwali, the Hindu “festival of lights.” It was technically a holiday, but we still had to wake up at 7 a.m. While old-timey Hindi film…
[Photographs: Vicky Wasik] Kaju katli is a cookie-like Indian sweet made from a dough consisting largely of ground cashew nuts; the name translates as “cashew slice.” It’s dense, milky, nutty, and less sweet than many other Indian pastries. The dough is cut into diamond shapes…