Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.
Don’t you think having to wait an hour for a wine to chill in the fridge is a pain? Here’s a secret to cooling down a bottle of wine: Submerge it in ice water. The temperature will drop much faster than if you place it in a fridge or even the freezer. If you can bring the water temperature below 32 degrees, so much the better. That secret, long practiced in restaurants, means salting the water, and periodically swirling the dunked bottle. A gel sleeve around a bottle placed in the freezer also works quickly. The wine will be cold in less than 20 minutes.
In this series, expert Josh Ozersky offers a guide to buying, cooking and eating meat, in particular those unusual and obscure cuts that are rarely seen in restaurants.
The Cut: End-cut rib pork chops, as the name implies, are taken from the front end of the rib cage nearest to the animal’s shoulder. Their technical designation in the bible of the meat business, the National Association of Meat Producers guide, is #1410A rib chops.
The Sell: For most of my life, I had a conflicted relationship with pork chops. I loved their golden crescent edges, sickles of the purest and densest pork fat. I loved to gnaw on the bone, too, both for its rugged, toothsome gifts and also for the self-parodic aspects—comic props in the Josh Ozersky Show. However, in between the bone and that rim of lard, I generally found a featureless plain of dry and tasteless meat, a “food desert” if ever there was one.
One day I found some pork chops that had another layer of meat on top of the first; where the chop should have ended was a second thick slab of muscle that was better than the first. I couldn’t understand why this outer piece wasn’t the star of the show. It was like when Hendrix opened for The Monkees. I would later find out that this was none other than the porcine version of the deckle, that precious and obsessed over cap that sits atop rib eye beef steaks. (Rib steaks and rib chops are the same thing, but from different animals.) But whereas serious beef eaters have gotten the memo, pork enthusiasts have not. That ends here. The spinalis muscle’s unique combination of richness, tenderness and firmness outclasses any other muscle by an order of magnitude. And as a bonus, a kind of insider reward, the rhomboideus muscle comes on the bottom of the end cut. Top that, center loin pork chop!
The How-To: Pork chops, unless double cut, rarely achieve that ideal, robust, sizzling browning from a pan or grill. They overcook too fast; the surface buckles against the pan; open flames get one side but not the precious edge; and other misfortunes follow. So predictably, I think they should be fried.
Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and New York magazines; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival.
This is one of my favorite dishes, made easy for the home cook. If you like a bolder, funkier flavor just add a little more toban djan (chile bean sauce). This superb all-in-one meal is a great way to use a small amount of meat to accent a vegetable. I adore eggplant and I make this dish all the time as part of a multicourse Asian spread or just by itself alongside a bowl of steamed white rice. The eggplants can be roasted, grilled or sautéed on one side. The idea is simply to cook them through and pour the sauce over them...and enjoy. SEE RECIPE »
F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.
When you think about Austrian cuisine, pumpkin seeds (and pumpkin seed oil) aren’t the first ingredients that pop to mind. Since pumpkin seeds seem to be everywhere right now, in sauces, on breads and rolls, and sprinkled on every salad I see, it’s a good time to get acquainted with these beauties. Not only are they five shades darker and triple in size to the pumpkin seeds you know, they're mineral-rich and three times as tasty too. You can used them any way you would use pepitas—for snacking, in baking, in granola, in Mexican dishes or toasted and sprinkled on just about everything from salads and pilafs to breakfast porridge. About $16 per pound at natural foods markets nationwide.