Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Last night I made the creamiest, smoothest mashed potatoes ever. The secret? I cut the potatoes up into even smaller chunks (about one inch) than usual, and the simmered them for the same time, around 45 minutes. They basically mashed themselves when I looked at them, and barely needed any buttermilk. And they were so, so good.

On top of them (Jeff had asked, "Maybe sometime we can serve mashed potatoes with something on top of them, like at a restaurant." I am nothing if not obliging) we had Niman Ranch pork chops, which I brined with a modified version of a brine Julia Reed ran in the NYT magazine* and then seared in my cast iron skillet (and the pork fat seemed to help with the seasoning of the pan enormously. Clearly, I must use it for bacon soon.). They were so, so good. Y'all, a mere year or so ago, I thought the pinnacle of pork chop cookery was sprinkling them with Tony Chachere's and slapping them on the Foreman. Clearly, I was wrong.

*Okay. Have y'all seen the alleged new food section in the NYT magazine? I liked Amanda Hesser's first article a lot, and like the idea: " In The Industry, Matt Lee and Ted Lee will introduce us to the people who make today's ever more ambitious and specialized food industry tick -- from the sommeliers at the world's finest restaurants to the scientists in the cereal lab. Jonathan Reynolds, our Kitchen Voyeur columnist, will seek out and learn from all kinds of successful people who also happen to be terrific home cooks. In Eat, Memory, well-known novelists, screenwriters and playwrights will share their gastronomic stories. Hesser will also contribute her own column, The Way We Eat, which will respond to the moods and trends of the culinary world. . . . There will also be detailed recipes each week, presented in a new, easier-to-follow format." Except I'd much rather have Julia Reed in place of Jonathan Reynolds. Who's with me?