This week it's the domestic goddess of the British Isles, TV star and author Nigella Lawson talking those oh-so-evocative summer fruit dishes of England - from fools to flummeries to an unusual take on raspberry jam. Nigella's latest book is Nigella Express. It's burnt ends sandwiches at LC's Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Missouri for Jane and Michael Stern. Wine wizard Joshua Wesson says we need to be putting a chill on some of those reds. He'll tell us which ones. Chad Ward, author of An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives, has advice for getting the best knives for your money, and Dave Broom has some surprises from the World Whisky Awards.
This is the best jam to start with as it doesn't need any testing or temperature taking or indeed anything much. Get the full recipe.
Honey gives this recipe its edge. Once the steak is cooked, you taste only the barest hint of sweetness, yet the sugar opens up all the meat's bold beefiness. Each mouthful delivers fabulous crustiness and a hum of black pepper. Get the full recipe.
The Sterns have been researching barbecue and say that few locations are as good as Kansas City for serious investigation. Their effort paid off when they discovered LC's. This humble little place with bare tables and a TV blaring in the corner serves up some serious barbecue indeed. Jane loves the practical roll of paper towels on each table in lieu of napkins!
Beef, ham, turkey, pork sausage and ribs are cooked long and slow, getting basted with their own juices and becoming more succulent the longer they stay in the pit. But the real claim to fame here is the burnt ends sandwiches. Crunchy, crusty, well-done outside edges of a smoked brisket are chopped together and piled onto white bread, and then the whole thing is bathed in a ladleful of rich beef juices. Jane adores these sandwiches while Michael likes to split his order between the sandwich and a barbecued slab of something else.
Don't expect a salad or a side or two with your order. It's all about barbecued meat here.
5800 Blue Parkway
Kansas City, MO
Joshua Wesson, that free thinker of the wine world, says put a chill on certain reds and they'll taste better for it. Refrigerate the bottle for an hour then let it sit on the counter to come back to optimal "cellar temperature" (between 55 and 60 degrees). For fun and an interesting taste sensation, taste the wine as the temperature is rising and note the differences.
Chilling isn't recommended for all red wines; you want ones from cool climates that are made from wildly fruity grapes that have thin skins, such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Austrian Zweigelt
Chad Ward, author of An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2008), offers some brands to consider when shopping for kitchen knives.
German Knives: the best are made by Messermeister, especially their Meridian Elite series. They are not as well knows as Henckels and Wusthof but they are more comfortable and come with a significantly better edge.
Japanese Knives: The most readily available brands are Shun, Global and Mac. They are all excellent and reasonably priced, with the Macs offering the best value. In the splurge category - when you really want to get a feel for what high performance is all about - look to Misono, Hattori, Glestain, Suisen and the drop-dead gorgeous knives from Nenox.
The best places to find the high-end lines are Korin in New York (www.korin.com) and Epicurean Edge in Seattle (www.epicureanedge.com). Both stores have well-designed and robust online catalogs that make even the most exotic knives accessible to anyone with Internet access.
Check out Chad's book for in-depth information on choosing, using and maintaining quality knives. The sources list alone is worth the price of the book.
At the recent World Whisky Awards, two of the top winners were whiskeys made in Japan. The top Single Malt Award went to Yoichi, twenty years old; and the winner for Blended Whiskeys was Suntory Hibiki, thirty years old.
David Broom, contributing editor for Whisky Magazine (UK), authored an article on the awards. For more log on to http://www.whiskymag.com/awards/wwa/best_blended_whisky.php. David is also the co-author of Drink! Handbook of Whisky, Spirits & Cocktails, The Connoisseur's Guide to Whisky and High Spirits, his latest title.