This week we're celebrating the Fourth of July and the start of high summer. Gourmet magazine's John Willoughby talks smoke roasting, a much-ignored technique worthy of revival for its easy and succulent results. John's latest book, Grill It!: Recipes, Techniques, Tools, co-authored with fellow grilling guru Chris Schlesinger, is hot off the press. The Sterns feast on only-in-America fried clams and onion rings at Champlin's Seafood Deck in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Sally Schneider, author of The Improvisational Cook, has ideas for summer coleslaw. Gary Nabhan, co-author of Renewing America's Food Traditions, looks at America's endangered foods, and David Rosengarten, creator of The Rosengarten Report newsletter, talks burger bliss.
We're big fans of chicken thighs because they're very tasty and easy to prepare, and they have just enough fat to stay moist on the grill. This is a deliciously sweet, sticky, old-school treatment most often used with wings, but we like it even better with thighs. These are not only great hot off the grill, but when they're cold, too, making them perfect for picnics. Get the full recipe.
This is a permutation of the vast universe of simply dressed, grated, or julienned raw vegetable salads that includes France's grated carrot and celery root salads and the endless variety of shredded cabbage slaws in America. They all share a purity and directness of flavor, with a pleasingly rustic, elemental look. Get the full recipe.
The following recipe for bean salad comes from the Far Western Tavern near Santa Maria, via the California Farm Bureau Federation. Get the full recipe.
Recently, someone made me a "burger" out of fresh Italian sausage meat - which was good, but made me miss the beefy taste of a real burger. Then the flash of intuition crackled: why not mix a little fresh Italian sausage meat into a good hamburger? The result was terrific: a meaty, beefy burger with an extra dimension. Give it a try; I'm sure you'll agree that it's a really wonderful hybrid. Get the full recipe.
I've always been fascinated by hamburger meat mixed with bread in various forms: crumbs, soaked bread, etc. So after coming upon a recipe for bitiki, or Russian hamburger "cakes," I thought I'd take a shot at homage. Oh, man! I love these things, caught in the interspecies synapse between hamburgers and meat loaf. Your result will be nothing like a burger - but excellent in its own right. Get the full recipe.
Iced coffee is a deliciously refreshing way to enjoy your favorite coffees in warmer weather. Our preferred "Japanese" iced coffee method is a surefire formula for iced coffee success. Get the full recipe.
Of the three styles of clam chowder - creamy New England, red Manhattan, and Rhode Island style - Jane's personal favorite is the one found at restaurants, diners and clam shacks along the Rhode Island shore. Briny, sweet, grayish colored clam broth is loaded with clams, potatoes, salt pork and some seasoning. It's pure simplicity, and Jane says the best of the best is at Champlin's in Narragansett, the home of Rhode Island's commercial fishing fleet. Besides stellar chowder, a full shoreline seafood menu is offered at Champlin's, including excellent fried clams, stuffies, fritters, clam cakes, and nearly every fish you can think of. And don't forget the snail salad unique to Rhode Island. In fine weather you'll want to dine outdoors overlooking the fleet.
Champlin's Seafood Deck
256 Great Island Road
Grits are to the American South like pasta is to Italy: the name may stay the same from place to place but the actual form can change, or the form stays the same but the name changes. A very basic definition is that hominy grits are usually dried corn that has been soaked in lye water to loosen the husk. These whole kernels are called "hominy." One authority says when these kernels are dried again and ground, you get hominy grits. If the corn isn't soaked but just dried and ground it is cornmeal and called "grits" in the south. An exception is Charleston, where this isn't true at all, and different kinds of corn are used from place to place. It gets confusing.
What isn't confusing is that you should buy whole grain and stone ground as fresh as possible from sound sources like www.ansonmills.com, www.crookscorner.com or www.oldmillofguilford.com. Cook them long and slow (Lynne does the double boiler method, cooking the grits for 2 hours) for wonderful eating. Finish them with butter, perhaps cheese and, right now, sweet peas.