I have a new secret passion - Serious Eats. Seriously, check it out. Sign up for their daily emails. Their great recipes always come with thought-provoking history, details of trials and errors, and some zippy discussion. I'm passionately addicted.
Don't you hate it when someone swears the recipe they're sharing with you is the best recipe ever, and when you make it, it tastes like the bottom of a dirty pan? What a waste of time, and how can you ever trust that person again? About anything? No worries here.
Their treatise on chicken stock - pure gold. Love the way they get down in the weeds with the sizes of the aromatics (read the recipe, I'm not your dictionary) the toast of the chicken, and which tasty parts (and unsavory parts - I am so not using the feet!) make the most deliciousness.
Having had some epic fails in the chicken stock department (too much celery, not enough chicken flavor, tasted like muddy boots) I am soooooooo happy they spent weeks - and millions - demystifying all the conflicting advice.
This is from their discussion of the very best ever slow cooked tomato sauce for pasta.
I can't wait to make it, and I completely agree about cooking with olive oil. Plus, if you have read the book 'The Big Fat Surprise', you will know that vegetable oils are poison (olives are a fruit. Pickypants.)
So here's what they have to say about cooking with olive oil: "Some folks will tell you that you should never cook with extra-virgin olive oil, as it ruins its flavor. Poppycock!
"Yes it's true that some of its flavors will break down. But then again, a neutral oil like canola or vegetable has pretty much zero flavor to begin with. You do the math. Or let me just do it for you: A Lot - Some > None. Sauces made with good olive oil will have noticeably better flavor than those made with neutral oil (of course it doesn't hurt to drizzle some fresh olive oil in at the end as well).
"Texture-wise, fat adds a rich, mouth-coating feel to a sauce, both when it's broken out of the sauce on its own, and when it is emulsified with the sauce's liquid phase, making the whole thing creamier.
"Olive oil on its own does a decent job of this. But here's a trick:
"Add a bit of butter in there as well. Butterfat emulsifies much more easily with liquids, and it adds a creamy, fresh flavor to the mix."
See what I mean about the zippy discussion? And about getting down in the weeds? As soon as I'm able to stand I am so making this. Come for dinner. Bring your appetite.