Before Yom Tov, a large-scale butcher called me up to request that our meat recipes offer several alternatives of different cuts of meat. I told him he was 100 percent right, but we find that offering too many alternatives confuses people and won’t result in the outcome that the recipe writer had in mind. He told me, “Most customers come into my store asking for the exact cut of meat down to the size listed in the recipe.”
It’s flattering, but I want people to feel comfortable to veer off the exact recipe — especially when the ingredients are pricey. Intuition plays a large role in cooking, and it’s that intuition that our recipe developers try to give over when they write up a recipe.
Yet recipe writing requires an entirely different skill set than cooking does. It requires careful thought and attention to detail to record all the ins and outs that make a difference in the recipe result. For example, when we tell our readers to sauté an onion, it helps if we record for how long, over what kind of heat, and until it turns exactly what shade to eliminate the guesswork.
Miriam (Pascal) Cohen is the master of giving as much information about a recipe as possible, making her recipes super user-friendly and easy for people to follow. At the risk of possibly implicating myself, writing “salt and pepper to taste” in a recipe isn’t that helpful, because the proper amount of salt plays such an important role in getting the flavor right! You won’t find that in Miriam’s recipes.
This week, we feature the mother of vague recipe categories: soup. Miriam shares delicious recipes complete with clear, thorough directions so that you can confidently and comfortably make them yourself.
Food Editor, Family Table
Editor in Chief, Kosher.com
Avocado Ripening 101
It’s not just the expediting, it’s also even ripening so that you don’t end up with some over-ready spots and some hard ones. The best bet is to keep the avocado in a brown paper bag with another fruit. This usually takes two days if you’re starting with a very firm avocado. If you want it right away, you can try the oven-ripening method:
Set your oven to 200°F (90°C). Wrap an avocado in foil and bake it for as long as it needs to soften — anything from 10 minutes to a half hour. Don't overdo it.
The reason this works is because as the avocado bakes, ethylene gas surrounds it, which expedites the ripening process.
I recently bought XL sandwich ziplock bags because they were on sale, and I think this is a new size I need to keep in stock. The best part is that you can easily get a plastic bowl into them, which I find to be a very easy way to store leftovers.
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 816)
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