Am I the only one to ever wonder how
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a recipe we read about in a magazine goes from a twinkle in one's eye to a wonderfully photographed magazine spread?
Well, this past week, the editors Bon Appetit have revealed what it takes. Turns out, it's a heck of a process and more involved than I ever would have imagined. The levels of commitment they have toward getting it right, are nothing short of impressive.
After spending weeks developing their recipe, a food editor's first official hurdle is to “put it up” before a panel of their peers at one of the magazine's daily tasting sessions. This isn't a walk in the park; whoever brings their dish to the panel has to sell it hard.
What makes the dish special, is it an ingredient, or cool technique, what would it be served with are just a few of the questions to expect. Even if the powers that be give it an initial pass, that's still only the first hurdle.
From there, the kitchen team puts a picture of all of the potential dishes on a wall to asses the mix of recipes in the upcoming issue.
Then it's on to cross-testing, cross-testing, and more cross-testing by people from all walks of life. Their instructions follow the recipe exactly as written. Don't assume, don't use basic cooking instincts, no thinking, “Oh, they must have meant.” The article emphasized (more than once) the importance of getting it right, with the home-cook in mind
Trivia: about 50% of the recipes, it turns out, are well-written (and that's from a group of food magazine recipe editors!)
The article is well worth a read and should give us all a bit more confidence when we thumb through that magazine in the check-out line and think, “That looks great, but there's no way I could make it at home.”
Yes, you can!
I couldn't resist a recipe from this month's issue, being just on the cusp of fresh summertime tomatoes here in Iowa. Love the roasted lemon, along with the complexity of flavors from the pomegranate molasses, parsley, and mint.
Thought I'd better do something a little out of the ordinary while it's still July. Come August, when fresh tomatoes are plentiful; I have a feeling I'll leave the oven off and choose instead to simply chop a few, toss them with olive oil, salt, and some herbs.
After all, with produce as sweet and fragrant as that the last thing I'll want to do in the kitchen is get clever.
I've got all fall and winter to do that
~ Adapted from Bon Appetit
Tomato, Onion, and Roasted Lemon Salad
- 1 lemon, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- ¾ tsp ground allspice
- pinch each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pound mixed small tomatoes, halved
- ½ small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large
- ¼ cup purple sprouts or microgreens, optional
- Roast the Lemons
- Preheat oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Fill a medium saucepan half-way with water & bring to boiling. Add the lemon slices and boil 2 minutes (this removes the bitterness). Drain, pat dry, and let cool.
- In a medium bowl, gently toss the lemon slices with sage, sugar, and 1 Tbsp oil. Spread them out the prepared baking sheet and bake until the lemons are dry and slightly colored (~ 15-20 min) Let cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk the pomegranate molasses, allspice, and remaining 1 Tbsp oil
- In a large bowl add the roasted lemons, tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, and sprouts, if using. Drizzle the pomegranate molasses mix over the top, and toss gently
- Season with salt and pepper