By guest blogger and New York writer Seanan Forbes
NEW YORK -- Sara Moulton, executive chef of Gourmet magazine's executive dining room, has a new cookbook coming out next year.
Last night, in New York Botanical Garden's Edible Garden, she was asked the title of the book. "Oh, I don't remember," she said, laughing, and went back to cutting plums for fruit potstickers. (Yes, fruit potstickers, as in crisp, fruit-filled dumplings. Last night's focus was on summer fruits in pastries.)
Whatever its title, next year's cookbook will be tailored for those of us who like cooking at home but who don't have loads of time.
Moulton, who cooks for a living and then cooks dinner at home five nights a week, certainly understands being in that position. She has loads of tips for the home cook:
* When you're rolling pizza dough, forget the flour. Put a little bit of olive oil - not too much, or the dough will slide all over the place - and roll it out. The dough will stay in place and roll out beautifully.
* Rolling out dough for a circle: rotate the dough in eighth-turns.
* Skinned chicken and lean cuts of pork can taste dry. Soak them in seasoned buttermilk for 20 minutes before cooking, and they'll be as tender as could be desired.
* Soak fish fillets or game in milk for 20 minutes to take the edge off the gamey or fishy scent,
* Buttermilk has two assets in tenderizing: acid and dairy.
* There are only two kinds of dairy you can boil: heavy cream and creme fraiche.
* Choosing oils for cooking: canola is healthy; grapeseed is flavorless.
* Thickeners: flour makes things opaque; cornstarch and tapioca, translucent.
* Refrigerating pastry dough relaxes the gluten (giving you more tender pastry).
* When blending pastry dough, it is better to have more, rather than fewer lumps.
* Wonton skins are a great cheat for everything from large ravioli to miniature lasagna - and nobody has to know you didn't make them yourself.
Moulton encourages people to be creative. You're not stuck with the fruit that's in the recipe. If something else looks good to you, then use that instead. See what's available at the Green City Market.
With Moulton's inclinations, you know that her recipes are going to feed your passions without consuming too much of your time.
Two of Moulton's recipes after the jump.