TND – Cognitive Dissonance

October 5, 2012

Do you remember that feeling of disconnect you would get whenever you ran into one of your teachers somewhere that wasn’t the classroom? When you realized that they too visited cafes, bought milk, and went to the movies? I had the grown up version of that moment of cognitive dissonance a few weeks ago when I answered my cell phone and spoke to Christopher Kimball and Bridget Lancaster from America’s Test Kitchen.

Let me back-up a bit. America’s Test Kitchen has recently (well, within the last year or so) expanded their media franchise to include a radio show. Much as I occasionally complain about the fact that ATK is just a tad pretentious, and tends to add seventeen extra steps to every recipe that results in every pot, pan, and bowl in your kitchen being dirty, I religiously subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, set series recordings on my DVR for America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country, and download the podcast of their radio show to my ipod every weekend.

One of the features of the radio show is a segment where you can call in with cooking questions which Bridget Lancaster and Christopher Kimball will try to answer. Usually I can’t think of anything I’d need to ask them that I couldn’t figure out myself with a quarter of an hour of applied googling. However, a couple of months ago I tried to make a recipe that didn’t fail precisely, but also didn’t turn out like I had expected it to, and took about twice as long to cook as the recipe suggested. I did my usual round of recipe googling to try and figure out where I’d gone wrong, and when I failed to turn up any kind of consistent answer it occurred to me that this was precisely the kind of thing that I could ask America’s Test Kitchen.

I emailed in my question, but honestly didn’t particularly expect to hear back. But then I got an email with a release form, and a time slot and a little while after that I was on the phone with people whose voices I’m used to hearing come at me from my television screen. It was geekily awesome and deeply disconcerting. Since then I’ve been listening to the podcasts of the radio show with more anticipation than usual, waiting to hear my voice. Last week I finally heard it – and cringed less than I usually do when I hear a taped version of myself speaking. If you’re curious about what I asked you can download the podcast through itunes, or on their website – Chopped: Inside the World of Food TV (9/15/12) – and my question pops up around minute 36 of the podcast.

(Cold) Roasted Moroccan Chicken
Onion Jam
Corn Fritters

Roasted Moroccan Chicken
I have discovered over time that I prefer this without the caraway seeds. This – possibly not coincidentally – makes putting the marinade/rub together much easier since there’s no grinding of seeds to be done.

Recipe previously given:  Paean to Summer Vegetables

Onion Jam
This is basically just gussied up caramelized onions (although arguably caramelized onions don’t need a whole lot of gussying up because they’re pretty much awesome on their own).

You can serve this hot straight from the pan, or refrigerate it and serve it cold, or refrigerate and reheat slightly to serve warm. Basically you can do anything you want with this, including standing furtively in front of the fridge and eating it with a spoon straight from the container. Not that I have ever done this.

4-5 sweet white onions, halved and thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp butter
Dried thyme
1 Tbsp Calvados (or brandy, or sherry)
1-2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2-3 Tbsp marmalade*

Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan – I use a dutch oven – add the onions and garlic and toss to coat. Season generously with dried thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onions are dark golden brown and starting to stick to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the Calvados (or other alcohol, or chicken stock if you don’t want to use liquor). Stir in the mustard and marmalade and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the onion jam has thickened. Taste & adjust seasonings.

* You could use any number of flavors of jam here – plum, apricot, fig, rosehip, any flavor of marmalade. I don’t know that a really sweet fruit jam like a strawberry, or grape would work as well, although they probably wouldn’t ruin it either.

Corn Fritters
Taking advantage of a smaller than usual crowd for dinner (respectively: teaching class/on call/celebrating Yom Kippur), and the last of the summer corn to make corn cakes.

When we went to dinner at Hen of the Woods at the Grist Mill a couple of months ago we had lighter than air corn fritters drizzled with honey that were out of this world. I nixed the deep fried part of the equation, but gleefully adopted the drizzled with honey part and highly recommend it.

Recipe previously given: Knife Dropping & Other Kitchen Skills


Because I’m taking advantage for as long as possible.



  1. Onion jam is amazing (and I do not use this word lightly) on a toasted brie sandwich. Hmmm, I wonder if I could jar onion jam…

  2. […] Cole Slaw; and some bone-in chicken breasts that didn’t get roasted two weeks ago when I made Moroccan Roast Chicken and were taking up space in my […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: