As if they knew we would all be practicing social distancing this week, the Bon Appétit YouTube channel has come through with some truly necessary and incredibly wholesome content to buoy us through these trying times.
First, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Carla, the mother I never had, the sister everybody would want, and the friend everybody deserves, for shouting out our recap last week, if only to reinforce her point that you should never arrive at a dinner party on time. I now also need to say that I do love my mother, my sister, and my friends, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use that Oprah quote.
Second, I did, in fact, make the spatchcocked roast chicken from last week’s recap, and as I suspected it would, it did go absolutely all the way off.
Now, getting down to business, as I said this was an absolutely bang-up week in the Test Kitchen. We got soup! We got Claire! And we only got one “Test Kitchen Talks” video, which didn’t bother me as much as they usually do, so let’s celebrate that, okay!
“From the Test Kitchen”—Andy makes pasta with tomatoes and chickpeas: 5/5 Would Bon
Andy kicks off this episode with a little history lesson about Winona Ryder, which is a great way to begin anything so already we’re off to a great start.
From there Andy dives right into the recipe, which includes a can of whole peeled tomatoes. Usually, I think having a preference for a specific name-brand canned vegetable (or fruit, whatever you consider tomatoes to be!) is pretentious, but after actually trying the brand Andy is raving about, I will concede Bianco DiNapoli is superior. Are you happy BA, I’ve bought into your food elitism. You win!
My main takeaway from this video is that, whether they were intending to or not, BA gave us a great pantry staple recipe that is perfect if you’re looking to cook something cozy while you’re locked up indoors. All the ingredients, minus the garlic, onions, and herbs (which you should have anyway) would last well into a quarantine, and I do think I’ll be getting into this one next week.
“Gourmet Makes”—Claire attempts to make gourmet Bagel Bites: 5/5 Would Bon
This installment of Gourmet Makes starts off with Alex Delaney joking that he would be taking over the show for Claire, and for one moment my heart skipped a beat. Obviously, this is a joke, and obviously no one could or would ever replace Claire, but if someone did I’m just saying we could all use a little more Delaney in our lives. Moving on.
This video is delightful, and I don’t want to spoil it by summarizing it for you here, but wow does it give us the goods. It passes my two “Is This A Good ‘Gourment Makes’ Episode?” tests, which are 1. Does it make Claire happy? and 2. Could I make this at home? Bagel Bites is a yes and a hell-yes, respectively.
In the beginning, we hear what we all know to be true, that Bagel Bites are best heated up in the oven as opposed to in the microwave. It’s a devastating reality for those of us who lack patience and are always hungry, but it’s also a great reminder that good things do come to those who wait.
Halfway through the episode, it looks like Claire has to start over with the dough because the bagels are allegedly too good according to Chris, which is a problem I would love to have. Being the generous queen that she is, she takes her too good bagels and makes everyone tiny tuna melts. At which point it is time for me to say, #IWDFCFTBATK (I Would Die For Claire From the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen).
She also delivers what is absolutely her most wholesome quote to date which is, “I love baking projects that you do overnight and then make the next morning because it’s such an exciting reason to get out of bed.” Really, the only thing left to say about this episode before you go and watch is: “Claire!”
“Test Kitchen Talks”—Pro chefs bake muffins without measuring ingredients: 2/5 Would Bon
“I hate this shit,” Brad Leone says a quarter of the way into this video, and to be honest I couldn’t agree more. Well, kind of.
This was definitely my favorite of the “Test Kitchen Talks” videos so far. The Test Kitchen chefs all got a muffin recipe and had to recreate it without using any measuring tools, which ends up being mildly entertaining, if not entirely unnecessary.
It’s an empty-calorie video, mostly enjoyable, and definitely appreciated during a week when there wasn’t a lot of lightness elsewhere, but it ultimately left me feeling like I wanted something more.
“It’s Alive”—Brad makes master stock: 4/5 Would Bon
Good stock is a gift from God and as such so is this video. The stock starts off with roasted turkey and chicken parts, because roasting them gives the stock more flavor, and then it only gets better from there.
Better, in this instance, means the addition of ham hocks, which my friends continue to pretend to be grossed out by when I add them to pots of greens. But as my Southern upbringing would dictate, just shut up and just enjoy them!
I don’t really get what is “Alive” exactly about this video, as everything is definitely completely dead, but maybe it’s just about how alive good stock makes you feel, in which case I’ll totally buy it.
The most exciting part of this episode for me was when Brad talked about a forthcoming video in which he would be making “powdered stock enhancers,” which is, for a soup slut like me, music to my ears. He also said something about breakfast stock, which is all the encouragement I needed to drink broth for breakfast every day for the next week.
Personally, I keep a giant bag in my freezer that I fill with veggie and protein scraps until it’s full, at which point I dump it all out into a pot and make stock that way, so recipes for making stock from fresh always end up feeling kind of wasteful to me. But, I guess if you’ve gotta do it from fresh, this is probably the way to do it. Where Brad leads, I will follow.