Giveaways

Garlic: To Press Or Not To Press

Garlic

{See below about winning the garlic press to end all garlic presses.}

Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth on this burning issue: is it a good idea to press garlic?

The question sparks surprisingly violent debates, and often there’s an undercurrent of judgment (“real cooks just chop”) that I find out of place in any cooking discussion: there’s no single right way of doing anything, just different skills and circumstances.

As far as I can tell, here are the pros of each method:

Pros of pressing garlic:

– In just a few seconds and a single gesture, you get garlic pulp that you can add to your dish right away.
– If your knife skills aren’t those of a pro, it can be a challenge to get the garlic chopped evenly so it will cook evenly.
– Pressed garlic blends smoothly with other ingredients, which is particularly useful if you use it raw.
– It limits the lingering smell on your fingers, since you can avoid touching the garlic altogether if you prefer.

Pros of chopping by hand:

– It takes more time to clean the average garlic press than a knife and a cutting board, which you would probably have to clean anyway.
– No one-trick pony taking up space in your utensil drawer.
– You have control over how finely or roughly your garlic is cut.
– You use the whole clove, with none wasted in the crevices of the press.

In my own kitchen, I use a bit of both methods, and sometimes I’ll use my Microplane grater, too. I will usually chop my garlic if I’m already chopping other ingredients, but I reach for the garlic press when I’m pressed for time (ha ha), especially if I add the garlic as a second thought when I’m improvising a dish.

Continue reading »

Desert Island Dishes (Contest Results)

Seychelles house

Many thanks to those of you who participated in the Desert Island Dishes contest! It was a treat to read through your entries.

It was hard to pick just three, but it had to be done, and Thomas Blythe and I narrowed it down to the following, which showed inventiveness and common sense, and just plain made us hungry. Their authors will receive a Desert Island Dishes cookbook and a Maldon seasoning box.

Continue reading »

Desert Island Dishes: A Contest

Ilet Saint-Pierre

You’ve likely heard of Maldon sea salt, an English salt that comes in large, pyramid-shaped, flaky crystals, a format that makes them both very pretty, and easy to pinch and crush and sprinkle.

The Maldon Salt Company is a fourth-generation family business that’s celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, and they’ve invited me to participate in the Desert Island Dishes campaign* they’ve launched to mark the occasion.

The idea is to ask chefs and home cooks to play this little parlor game: “You wake up and find yourself on an empty beach; a castaway on a desert island**. Water is in good supply and there’s a handy cave for shelter just around the corner. Food is what you’re worrying about. Luckily, you’ve been given the miraculous option to create any dish in the world. The catch is: you’re stuck with it.” What would that dish be?

I love this sort of game, and in fact, we play a similar one on roadtrips with Maxence. (“If you could only watch a single movie for the rest of your life, would it be… Scarface or Blade Runner?” or “If you could only pick one vacation destination for the rest of your life, would you choose… Japan or Italy?” It’s as much fun to come up with the questions as it is to ponder one’s options.)

So I was happy to play along, and my answer — “Pasta with radish greens, briefly sautéed with garlic, topped with toasted almonds and a pinch of Maldon Sea Salt” — is printed on the side of Maldon Salt boxes now up on grocery store shelves across the UK, which is fun to think about.

{Read on for the contest details!}

Maldon Salt

Continue reading »

Pastries for Hope

Menu for Hope
Image courtesy of Heidi Swanson

For the second time now, Pim has put on her fundraiser hat and enrolled us food bloggers to help: in this new Menu for Hope campaign, she is organizing a virtual raffle to raise money for the earthquake victims in Northern India and Pakistan, who are still in dire need of help. The funds will be collected by Unicef through the First Giving website (and no money will pass through our hands).

How does this work? Each participating food blogger has donated a prize for the raffle, and the list can be found here — quite the Prévert inventory. Readers are invited to donate $5, which will get them a raffle ticket and a chance to win the prize of their choice. You are more than welcome to give more if you can: each $5 will get you one chance to win. Don’t forget to note, in the comment section of your donation, which prize(s) you are interested in. At the end of the campaign on Dec. 23, we will have a drawing and pick one winner per prize. The results will be announced after Jan. 1.

The gift I am contributing is the gift of haute-couture sweets: I will treat the winner to pastries at Pierre Hermé as soon as he or she sets foot in Paris, to be gaily sampled (read: devoured) with a cup of tea at the nearby Café de la Mairie, sitting at the terrace if it’s sunny. For examples of what that might entail, you can read some of my past accounts. Think you might like that? Then head over to the First Giving website and donate $5 for your raffle ticket!

Get the newsletter

Receive FREE email updates with all the latest recipes, plus exclusive inspiration and Paris tips. You can also choose to be notified when a new post is published.

View the latest edition of the newsletter.






[13]
[13]