Ask Chef Boy Ari
Good Sauce Trumps Bad Marinade
Q: Dear Ari,
Can you recommend a good marinade for wild game?
A: Ah, yes, hunting season might be over but the eating continues! On any day countless lucky hunters, plus their lucky families and friends, are thawing out chunks of wild meat. Some know what to do with it, some don’t.
In my opinion, my opinion means nothing compared to that of Angus Cameron, author of The L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook. Let me just say that he is the man.
Restaurant criticism has a fairly straightforward formula: Do your homework, visit the restaurant a few times and sample as much of the menu as possible. Keep an eye out for ambience and service and, voila!, you have our jobs in a walnut shell. But even with a rubric, the hard part comes from sitting in front of a blank computer screen, cursor blinking impatiently for input. Analyzing the latest in a string of mom-and-pop joints weighs heavily, because it's not only reputations that are at stake—it's livelihoods. People in the business of serving families have their own mouths to feed. And usually it's those families that are back there cooking, waiting tables and washing dishes.
Tickle Your Fancy, Suckle a Truffle
The Alibi chocolate truffle taste test
It's high truffle season—not the highly prized, exorbitantly priced fungus (that's October through December), but the highly prized, less exorbitantly priced little morsels of cocoa, sugar and cream. Chocolate truffles.
A Moveable Feast
Host a Chocolate-Tasting Party
1) Pick a theme. We settled on milk chocolate truffles, but you could also try comparing chocolate from different countries of origin, chocolate bars within the same cocoa percentage range, exotic spice-spiked chocolate candies or maybe a spectrum of chocolates made by a single maker. Choose between five and 10 examples--much more and you run the risk of fatiguing your palate. (Your tastebuds’ equivalent of going cross-eyed.)
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Glossary
bittersweet chocolate: Dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 35 percent chocolate liquor and less than 12 percent milk solids. Bittersweet and semisweet both fall under this definition, but bittersweet is also often used for chocolate with a minimum of 50 percent chocolate liquor.