Friday, April 24, 2009

They had me at smoked paprika

Because this is one of my new favorite ingredients. Unlike regular paprika, which I've always assumed is more for decorating things like deviled eggs and has a sort of dusty flavor, smoked paprika has a taste that is (not surprisingly) smoky and spicy without being too hot. It more or less gives me what I want but cannot have from chipotles (smokes jalapenos). I love the smoky taste, but most chipotles are just too hot for my white-girl taste buds.

And Bon Appetit, where I found this excellent recipe for rib-eye steaks with balsamic-caper vinaigrette, is becoming one of my favorite magazines. 

Although I've long been a fan of Cooks Illustrated, which my mom gives me a subscription to every year for my birthday, it's seemed to me a little stodgy lately. I do like most of the explanations of how they develop recipes ("The tomato soup now tasted great, but it was orange!"), and I love the pen and ink illustrations of vegetable groups on the back cover , but I miss big glossy color pictures. And I've never thought Cooks ethnic recipes are that good. And besides, I have a subscription to Bon Appetit for free! I was in line behind someone at Sur la Table who qualified for a free subscription because she spent so much money. When she didn't want the subscription, the sales woman offered it to me, who was buying a single rubber spatula. Nice! And I like it so much I will probably subscribe again, which I guess was part of their plan to begin with. 

The May issue takes standard American classics and tweaks the recipes to make them a little healthier and a little more sustainable. I've already made mac and cheese that has a layer of sauteed Swiss chard in the middle. 

Chard is a side dish I would certainly serve with this dish, but I had never thought of sticking it there in the middle. Smart!

I also made Moroccan chicken with green olives and lemon from a different part of the magazine, the standard Fast Easy Fresh. I used boneless chicken breasts instead of a cut-up fryer and served it with steamed couscous and a green salad. This section has lots of great weeknight meal ideas.

And the sausage risotto with spring greens I made last night was delicious, with just enough sausage to prevent my husband from scanning the table and asking "Where's the meat?" (We eat meatless meals fairly often, but that doesn't stop him from looking for the meat.) I don't think I've ever cooked so many recipes out of a single issue of any magazine. Count me impressed.

But back to that smoked paprika . . . The steak recipe uses smoked paprika and salt as a dry rub before grilling. This produced as steak so delicious that it would have been wonderful without the sauce. I'm going to try this rub on chicken and pork now. I'll let you now how it is. 
In the meantime, go get your hands on some of this. It's also great on popcorn.


Angelina said...

I have a hankering for a food magazine. I love Cook's Illustrated but always wish for the glossy pictures.

Smoked paprika- I wonder if it would be good in hummus?

adozeneggs said...

I love my subscription to BA, and Gourmet, but Food and Wine, not as much.
You should also check out Saveur, I think you'd really like that one.
I'm not so into CI these days. (probably O.D'd when I worked there) I do like their product ratings though.

Cindy said...

I've put this in hummus--it's perfect!

I don't think I'll ever give up my CI subscription, and their on-line version (which you cannot get without the paper version--wish they'd change that) is great. I appreciate that they seem to love finding the best of something that is also the cheapest (balsamic vinegar, for example).

Laura, did you work in one of the test kitchens????

Holly said...

I LOVE Bon Appetit and recently bought their huge Fast, Easy, Fresh cookbook as an early Mother's Day present for myself (had a 40% off coupon for B*rders, which made it easier)! It has become my go-to cookbook over the last month and everything has come out well. Last night it was baked shrimp with red pepper, smoked paprika, garlic and a touch of cayenne. They were delicious and also made me a fan of the smoky paprika. I get Cooks as well, but like you I'm a sucker for the pretty pictures!

Laura [What I Like] said...

I agree about Cook's Illustrated! I feel like I should be more into it than I am. But their actual cookbook is fantastic. One of those books where every single thing works. I heart smoked paprika!

Lisbeth said...

I love BA so much that I'm having an overseas subscription and have also logged my favourite issues through 2 international moves where A LOT of things get tossed in the process. And now Holly mentions a cook book.. must investigate now!

adozeneggs said...

Hey Cindy, there is only one test kitchen for CI and America's Test Kitchen. And, yes I worked there while I was in culinary school.
Not too glamorous, I was a Kitchen Assistant, (which translates to dishwasher). I did help out with prep work and also participated in many of the tastings. So much eating goes on there, it's RIDICULOUS!!
I emailed you a couple of days ago, did you get it??

Holly said...

Lisbeth - I don't know where you are abroad, but a friend of mine whose parents are in France were able to order a copy - maybe from amazon uk?

Lisbeth said...

Thanks Holly - yes, I can indeed get one from Amazon. Either in the UK or the US depending on exchange rates (we're currently in Sweden). Now I'm off the find smoked paprika :)