One of my favorite features in bon appétit magazine is their R.S.V.P. section where diners write in asking for the recipe of something they enjoyed at a restaurant. I recently tried the recipe for tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup) from Long Grain restaurant in Camden, ME carried in their September, 2013 edition. Given that the recipe contains some of my favorite ingredients such as ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime, and mushrooms I knew it had to be good and it was. Better than good. They described the soup correctly as “silky and aromatic”. What’s more, once the half hour of prep work was done the soup came together almost instantly making it a very good weekday dinner. I spotted Chanterelle mushrooms in profusion at my local Farmer’s Market last Saturday – I’m thinking they would be delicious in this soup.
I recently wrote to bon appétit‘s R.S.V.P. column with a request to print the recipe for Carpaccio De Betterave, (marinated beetroot carpaccio with raita, mint pistou, toasted sunflower seeds, yam & ginger hay) that we savored at the fabulous Chambar restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia. Considering the dish’s complexity, it has five components, it is likely that the magazine will not pursue the recipe but if they do they will relish the amazing flavors, colors and textures this dish contains. I would LOVE to serve this as a starter course for one of my dinner parties. If your travels take you to Vancouver, BC make a point of visiting Chambar. Show up early and enjoy a superb meal.
Another recipe from bon appetit‘s R.S.V.P. column that I finally got around to making after holding the recipe in the “pending” folder of my loose-leaf binder for many months is Chipotle Meatloaf from The Ranch at Las Colinas in Irving, TX. Unless you’re fast in the kitchen, and I am not, there’s enough prep work in this recipe to make it a weekend dish rather than a weekday quickie. Your reward is an intensely flavorful meatloaf that’s savory, sweet and a little hot at the same time. I served it with a nice tangy and cool cabbage slaw. What’s not to like? It’s even better the next day. In fact, I think I will fix myself a meatloaf sandwich today.
Some of my all-time favorite, crowd pleasing recipes have come from bon appétit magazine over the years. I like that they often feature an entrée, sides and desserts in a given article so that you have some suggested directions when planning a meal. I’ve noticed lately that their editorial direction seems to be slanting toward a hip, lifestyle magazine rather than a strictly cooking magazine. They’ve changed the formatting so that there are lots of pictures of well-off people having a good time with the food becoming almost an afterthought. I suggest that bon appétit goes down the path of the dearly departed Gourmet magazine at their peril. Please bon appetit, stick with what you do so well.