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Food + Cooking

Winter of Our Content

Published in Gourmet Live 01.25.12
Tuck into cozy chowder and robust braises, plus food for thought on slow cookers, the amazing properties of yeast, and a farmer’s delight in winter produce

Here in New York, we can’t complain too much about the winter so far—it’s delivered far less wacky weather than the fall, and we’re enjoying spending the occasional stormy day snug in our kitchens, sipping hot cocoa and making the sorts of warming dishes featured in this issue. This week, we’re serving up an exclusive new recipe for Cheesy Corn Chowder from Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez. This colorful stew comes together in about an hour and serves at least a dozen, making it a perfect finish for a skiing, sledding, or ice-skating excursion.

What could be cozier than chowder? Perhaps a braise. Molly Stevens, author of the James Beard Award–winning cookbook All About Braising, shares her eight essential tips for succulent success along with her recipes for Coq au Vin, Zinfandel Pot Roast, and Super Bowl–ready Honey-Glazed Five-Spice Baby Back Ribs. The user-friendly art of braising dates from ancient times, yet in this age of mod cons, many take a shortcut and do their braising in a countertop slow cooker. Food historian Megan Elias explains the rise (and fall and rise again) of this device, which freed women from “pot-watching”—an activity that once monopolized as much as 70 percent of cooking time, according to Ellen Swallow Richards, an MIT-trained chemist who advocated “fireless cooking” at the end of the 19th century. (Playgirl magazine would get onboard in the 1970s, by the way—as would, later, the locavores.)

Also in this issue, farmer/essayist Kristin Kimball pens an ode to the pleasures and provenance of winter foods, including sweet kale, parsnips, and hearty beef bourguignon, a dish that “asks to be cooked long and low, so that it suffuses the air with moist heat and satisfies the skin and the nose before you even think about sitting down for dinner.”

And in a season fragrant with stew on the stove or bread in the oven, we’re pleased to feature master baker and author Peter Reinhart’s reflections on yeast—an elemental ingredient he says has defined his four-decade career. Reinhart demystifies this magical fungus and explains everything you need to know about the three types available to home cooks.

What do you cook in the winter that you’d never make in the summer? Tell us about your winter of content: Get in touch via Twitter or Facebook, drop us a line, or post a comment on our blog.

Stay warm!

The Editors of Gourmet Live