Last Build Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500Copyright: WNYC
Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Sharon Begley, the senior science writer for STAT, joins us for our latest Please Explain on compulsions to discuss her latest book Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions. She explores the spectrum of compulsions afflicting many people, from checking your smartphone frequently to the people who hoard and exhibit symptoms of OCD. Begley finds that the root of compulsion lies in the areas of the brain that triggers anxiety.
Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:40:55 -0500
Why do we fall in love with one person and not another? Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Today’s Please Explain is all about love and attraction! Dr. Helen Fisher, author, biological anthropologist and chief scientific advisor to Match.com, joins us to discuss romance, dating, and marriage. We'll be taking calls from listeners with questions about love.
Helen Fisher will be talking about the anatomy of love, with Jenny Santi, on Tuesday, February 28th at Deepak HomeBase at 888 Broadway. The pre-reception begins at 6:30pm and the discussion begins at 7:00pm. For more information, click here.
Demystifying That Four-Letter Word (Hint: It Starts with L)
Fri, 03 Feb 2017 13:27:40 -0500
Itching to do something that makes a real change, but not sure where to begin? This week's Please Explain with Ami Dar, founder and executive director of Idealist, and Alex Kouts, chief product officer at Countable, is all about social activism. We'll be answering your questions about ways to become politically active, whether that means simply educating yourself on bills, participating in town halls, or contacting your representatives. We'll also be discussing ways to find volunteer opportunities that match your interests, skills, and availability.
Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:31:36 -0500
When is a shrug just a shrug? What are you really saying when you fold your arms across your chest? Whether we know it or not, we’re constantly conveying signals to other people through our body language and facial expressions. On this week’s Please Explain, we’re decoding body language and non-verbal communication, and looking at the psychology behind why we communicate this way with Dana Carney, Associate Professor at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Jonathan Capehart guest hosts today!
This week’s Please Explain is all about the weird and wonderful human body with James Hamblin, author of If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body. Hamblin, an M.D., is also a writer and senior editor for The Atlantic. He’ll answer all of our most pressing questions including, “If I lose a contact lens in my eye, can it get into my brain?” and “When I shave or cut my hair, does it grow back faster?”
Have questions (strange or otherwise) about the workings of the human body? Leave us a comment!Oh, the Things Our Bodies Would Say
Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Our latest Please Explain is all about fat with Dr. Sylvia Tara, author of The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You. Dr. Tara argues that fat, an endocrine organ that’s critical to our health, is one of the least understood parts of the body. She’ll explain how fat can use stem cells to regenerate; increase our appetite if it feels threatened; and use bacteria, genetics, and viruses to expand itself.
Fri, 23 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500
It's widely known that the modern celebration of Christmas has its origins in Pagan traditions. The Roman Saturnalia was celebrated by exchanging gifts and candles. But there's much more to the story than that. On this week’s Please Explain, we’re looking at the pagan origins of holiday traditions rooted in the celebration of the Winter Solstice. Linda Raedisch, author of The Old Magic of Christmas:Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year, discusses the history, folklore, traditions, botany and recipes of yuletide and explains why they linger in our modern holiday celebrations.
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500
As many of us know from childhood goldfish experiences, there’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to keeping fish fed, safe, healthy and stimulated. Imagine how much effort it takes to run a successful aquarium, where thousands of gallons of water housing everything from anemones to sharks and seals are at stake! On today's Please Explain, we're going behind the scenes at aquariums with two experts from the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Norwalk, CT: Publicist Dave Sigworth and John Lenzycki, their animal curator.
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Why can’t we sleep? The CDC estimates that 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder, caused by "broad scale societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules, but sleep disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also play an important role."
Dr. Rafael Pelayo, Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, joins us for this week's Please Explain about insomnia and sleep disorders.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Julia Child once said, "With enough butter, anything is good." Wise words because after all, where would we be without butter, the building block of hundreds of recipes, from flaky croissants to rich buttercream frosting?
On this week’s Please Explain, we are talking all about butter, with award-winning writer and former pastry chef Elaine Khosrova, author of Butter: A Rich History. She traveled across the world to uncover the social and culinary history of butter, from Ireland to Tibet and everywhere in between. She also shares cooking tips and the best butter-centric recipes.
Event: Elaine Khosrova will be doing a reading, Q&A and book signing on Saturday, December 3 at 4 p.m. at The Golden Notebook (29 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY).Behold the Wonders of Butter
Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:34:56 -0500
This week's Please Explain has us on the edge of our seats! From the Klismos, to the Eames, we're talking about the history of chairs and chair design with Witold Rybczynski, an architect, writer and an emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s the author of, Now I Sit Me Down: From Klismos to Plastic Chair: A Natural History.
Fri, 11 Nov 2016 13:22:34 -0500
Where would music be without the electric guitar, the instrument that gave us everything from the quintessential rock n' roll sound of the 1960s, to hardcore punk, and face-melting metal? On this week's Please Explain, Brad Tolinski, former the editor-in-chief of Guitar World, and author of Play it Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound, and Revolution of the Electric Guitarintroduces us to the inventors and musicians who developed the instrument that defines so many genres. Also joining us is Roger Sadowsky, the owner of Sadowsky Guitars who’s made instruments for Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Paul Simon, Lou Reed and Joan Jett, among others.
Event: Brad Tolinksi and musical guest, Lez Zeppelin, will celebrate Play It Loud at Rizzoli Bookstore (1133 Broadway, between 25th and 26th Street) on November 11th at 6 p.m.
What are some of your favorite electric guitar songs? We've made a playlist, and we want your contributions! Send us your favorite songs, and we might add them to the playlist. Check out the playlist here or below.
frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Auser%3Aandresop%3Aplaylist%3A4gsLqDdCXWflhYieELsd75" width="300">How the Electric Guitar Revolutionized Music
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 13:01:03 -0400
Ever wonder why Swiss cheese has holes? Why are so many types of cheese yellow in color? Or, what kinds of milk are best for making cheese? Chemist Michael Tunick has spent almost three decades working with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service creating new dairy products and improving existing ones. On our latest Please Explain, he’ll address the chemistry, physics and biology that results in cheese! He's the author of The Science of Cheese.
Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400Tis the season for squash! Although most of us are only familiar with a handful of squashes, there are 150 varieties of heirloom pumpkins, squash, and gourds. For this week's Please Explain, Chef Alfred Portale, executive chef and co-owner of the Gotham Bar and Grill, shares his favorite ways to cook different kinds of squash. Zaid Kurdieh, a professor and partner operator of Norwich Meadows Farm, LLC, a certified organic, diversified vegetable farm in Norwich, NY, also joins us to discuss squash varieties and share growing tips. Recipes (Courtesy of Alfred Portale) Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Crème Fraîche Makes 6 servings The porridge like consistency of this soup preserves all the distinguishing characteristics of butternut squash, to which hints of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon are added for a soul-warming autumnal starter that’s as comforting and nurturing as an evening in front of a roaring fire. To coax out as much flavor as possible, the squash is first cut into cubes that are heated slowly in butter until thoroughly caramelized and just beginning to break down around the edges. When shopping, look for a butternut squash with a long neck and pick it up to gauge its weight: if it feels heavy for its size, it will have a small seedbed, which means more usable flesh inside. The crème fraîche behaves almost like a condiment here; swirl it in, or let it rest decoratively on top. Thinking Ahead: The soup and the crème fraîche can be made a day in advance; if you do this, do not enrich the soup with butter until reheating the next day. SOUP: ¼ cup unsalted butter 4 pounds fresh butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1-inch cubes Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste 2 shallots, peeled and sliced 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced 2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 2 cups White Chicken Stock In a 12-inch saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the squash and season it with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely caramelized but still firm. When the squash is nearly cooked, heat 1 more tablespoon of butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until translucent. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf, and stir for about a minute. Add the squash and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, and purèe until smooth. Return the soup to the pot to keep warm. Stir in the last 2 tablespoons of butter to enrich and thicken the soup. Ladle it into bowls and garnish each serving with a swirl of crème fraîche. Variations: You can vary the squash, using buttercup or sugar pumpkin if you prefer their flavor. SPICED CRÈME FRAICHE 1/3 cup crème fraiche 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste In a stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour. Whisk again before serving. Flavor Building: Stir in pieces of duck confit to add gamey punctuation, or top the soup with chopped, roasted chestnuts. Squash- Avoid acorn squash in recipes that call for peeling and dicing; its deep ridges make this task almost impossible. Instead, use acorn squash for roasting, after which the pulp can be easily scooped out. Butternut Squash Risot[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400
We're taking you behind the scenes at The Leonard Lopate Show on today's Please Explain with Executive Producer Melissa Eagan! She and Leonard will talk about the history of the show, share some of their favorite stories and look back at a few of our most memorable guests.
Please Explain: The Leonard Lopate Show!
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Centuries before the restaurant became a dining destination, a "restaurant" was actually a medicinal broth that contained ingredients like capon, gold ducats, rubies and other precious gems. So how did restaurants become what they are today? When did eating become an enjoyable, leisurely activity?
Rebecca Spang, author of The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture, joins us for today’s Please Explain all about the history of restaurants! Dr. Spang is a Professor of History, Director of the Liberal Arts + Management Program and Director of the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Reports of sinister clowns in the news have us thinking about creepiness. Why are some things simply scary, and other things genuinely creepy? On today's Please Explain, David Livingstone Smith, Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England, offers some insight in an essay for Aeon called, "A theory of creepiness." He tells us how scientists and researchers have attempted to measure and classify creepiness - from robots that are designed to look like humans (but something isn't quite right), to being put off by physical traits like "unkempt hair, bulging eyes, [and] abnormally long fingers."
David Livingstone Smith is the author of seven books, most recently, Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others.How to Define 'Creepiness'
Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Is it worse to be stung by a scorpion or a bee? Ask Justin O. Schmidt, a biologist at Southwestern Biological Institute, who’s also affiliated with the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona and the author of The Sting of the Wild. Dr. Schmidt has let more than 83 different species of stinging insects from all over the world attack him... all in the name of science!
Schmidt is the inventor of the eponymous “Schmidt Sting Pain Index,” which ranks the relative pain caused by insect stings on various parts of the body. On this week’s Please Explain, he’ll explain why insects sting in the first place, and what happens to them (and us) when they do it.
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
Dreams are a natural part of life, and throughout human history, people have tried to interpret their dreams. But dreaming, in many ways, still remains mysterious. On this week’s Please Explain, we’ll find out what happens in our brains while we dream, what causes nightmares and lucid dreaming, and why some of us talk and walk in our sleep. We’ll also learn about the many ways psychologists interpret dreams.
Joining us is Dr. Michael Breus, a Clinical Psychologist, Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He's the author of several books, most recently, The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More and Dr. Kelly Bulkeley, a dream researcher and Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Senior Editor of the APA journal Dreaming and the author of Big Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion.
Events: Kelly Bulkeley will be part of a panel at the New York Academy of Sciences on December 7th, talking about dreams and new research on the unconscious. He'll be giving a talk at the National Arts Club on January 30th about the film "Pan's Labyrinth" and lucid dreaming in Guillermo del Toro's childhood.Sweet Dreams (and Nightmares) Are Made of This
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400
The best ballerinas make it look effortless, gracefully dancing and leaping across the stage in beautiful costumes. But what do ballet dancers really go through, given the physical demands, in addition to the hours of practice, preparation and dedication? On today's Please Explain, we're looking at the secret life of ballerinas with Ashley Bouder, principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, and Tiekka Tellier, who spent 16 years as a professional ballerina and founded Everyday Ballet.
Event: The New York City Ballet Fall Gala opens NYCB’s 2016-17 season on Tuesday, September 20. Ashley Bouder will give her first performance since giving birth to her daughter, Violet, on Friday, September 23 in Balanchine’s Vienna Waltzes. For ticket's and performance information, visit the NYCB website.The Secret Life of Ballerinas
Fri, 18 Mar 2016 16:35:32 -0400
Handwriting has helped shape culture ever since the ancient Sumerians created an alphabet on clay tablets. But are digital communication and the internet threatening to make handwriting obsolete? Anne Trubek , author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, joins us for this week's Please Explain all about handwriting!
Why Birds Are Really Living Dinosaurs
Today's Please Explain: handwriting! We want to see yours. Some pangrams from our show staff to get you started pic.twitter.com/OdFWs6L3la— Leonard Lopate Show (@LeonardLopate) September 9, 2016
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 13:30:30 -0500
Mark Zuckerberg, the 31-year-old co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook, recently announced that he and his wife plan to donate 99% of their wealth - approximately $45 billion - to charity. On today's Please Explain, Michael Hobbes, a freelance writer who also works for a human rights NGO, talks about how philanthropy is changing, from the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations, to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg's altruism.
Fri, 04 Mar 2016 13:49:53 -0500
Tax season is here which means that it’s the best time of the year for phone scams, financial fraud and identity theft. On this week’s Please Explain, identity theft expert Steven Weisman tells us all about the most common scams and how to avoid them. He’ll also offer ways to protect yourself against identity theft. He’s the author of several books on the topic, including Identity Theft Alert, and writes the “Scamacide” blog. He’s joined by Beth Finkel, the NY State Director of AARP, who offers ways to help seniors avoid targeted scams.
Fri, 26 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Kurt Vonnegut once gave this piece of creative writing advice: "First rule: Do not use semicolons... All they do is show you've been to college.”
There's no question that punctuation elicits strong feelings. On today's Please Explain, linguist David Crystal teaches us how to correctly use punctuation, and gives us a history of why we punctuate the way we do. His latest book, Making a Point: The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation, completes his trilogy of books on the English language.
Fri, 19 Feb 2016 13:37:38 -0500While some may cringe at the thought of eating brains, sweetbreads, also known as offal, are celebrated in many cuisines around the world. On today's Please Explain food writer Robert Sietsema and butcher Brent Young of The Meat Hook, tell you all you'll ever need to know about buying, preparing and eating offal. They'll also share the best local restaurants offering exciting offal options. Do you have questions about offal? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Check out recipes from Chef Chris Consentino of Offal Good! Marinated Tripe, New Potatoes & ParsleyExtracted from Beginnings: My Way To Start a Meal by Chris Cosentino -1 1/3 cups each coarsely chopped carrot, celery, and onion-2 heads garlic, split, plus 5 cloves, minced-1 bunch fresh thyme-2 bay leaves-1 tbsp fennel seeds-Kosher salt-2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise-1/2 cup dry white wine-Juice of 1 lemon-4 tbsp Champagne vinegar-2 lb honeycomb beef tripe, preferably organic and unbleached-10 fingerling potatoes-1 tbsp red pepper flakes-Finely grated zest and juice of 3 Bearss limes or Eureka lemons-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling-3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley In a large stockpot, combine 8 cups water, the carrot, celery, onion, split garlic heads, thyme, bay, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, the vanilla, wine, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Rinse the tripe well under cold running water until the water runs clear and the tripe is free of grit. Add the tripe to the pot, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the liquid just simmers and cook uncovered, skimming any scum that rises to the surface, until the tripe is very tender, about 3 hours. Remove from the heat, let the tripe cool completely in the cooking liquid, and refrigerate the tripe in the liquid overnight. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with salted water to cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until just tender when pierced with a knife, 10-15 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water to cool completely, and then cut crosswise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place in a bowl. Remove the tripe from the cooking liquid and discard the liquid. Using a very sharp knife, shave the tripe into thin, ribbonlike strips. Transfer to a bowl. In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, pepper flakes, lime zest and juice, and remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt. Add just enough of the vinaigrette to the tripe to coat lightly and then toss to mix. Taste and add more vinaigrette to your liking. Add the remaining vinaigrette to the potatoes and toss gently to coat evenly. Add the potatoes to the tripe and toss together. Transfer the tripe and potatoes to a platter and garnish with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve right away. Serves 6 Tuscan-Style Chicken Livers Extracted from Beginnings: My Way To Start a Meal by Chris Cosentino -1 1/2 lb chicken livers, trimmed of any sinew or green or brown patches-3 shallots, sliced-1/4 cup vin santo-2 tsp fresh thyme leaves-1 fresh bay leaf-Finely grated zest of 1 orange-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper-Small pinch of licorice powder-4 tbsp rendered duck fat, plus more melted duck fat for sealing-3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter-24 baguette slices In a shallow bowl, combine the chicken liver[...]
Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500
Processed foods tend to have long lists of ingredients that add flavor, color and texture, along with preservatives to extend shelf life. On today's Please Explain, we'll take a close look at the most common food additives, from xanthan gum to MSG. Photographer Dwight Eschliman and author Steve Ettlinger created a detailed visual guide in Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives and 25 Food Products, and they'll help take the mystery out of the ingredients list. Charles Mueller, clinical associate professor of nutrition at NYU Steinhardt, will discuss the health effects of the common additives.
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:43:03 -0500Over the past few years, tacos have risen from humble street food (and Americanized fast food) to trendy options at a growing number of restaurants. A staple of Mexican cuisine, they’ve been adopted by different cultures and are even showing up on brunch and dessert menus. On this week’s Please Explain, Chef Alex Stupak, owner of the Empellón restaurant group, and food writer Jordana Rothman, will tell us how to make fresh tortillas, salsas, moles, as well as traditional and modern fillings. They'll also share tips and recipes from their book Tacos: Recipes and Provocations. Do you have questions about tacos? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Recipe: Tacos al Pastor (From Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak & Jordana Rothman) Short of investing in a vertical broiler, this hack is the closest you’ll get to al pastor tacos at home. We tend to think of pork shoulder as something that needs to be braised, but a well-butchered shoulder steak given a swift ride on a ripping hot grill can be a thing of beauty—the wide surface area means more of that good Maillard char you want from al pastor. Take your time when slicing the finished meat: thin, bias-cut slivers are the ideal texture here. MAKES 12 TACOS ADVANCE PREPARATION 1 cup Adobo (see below) Salsa Roja (see below), for serving Raw Salsa Verde (see below), for serving FOR THE FILLING Vegetable oil, for the grill Four 1⁄2-inch-thick boneless pork shoulder steaks (2 pounds total) Kosher salt, as needed TO ASSEMBLE THE TACOS 1⁄4 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 24 even slices 1⁄2 medium white onion, minced 60 cilantro leaves (from about 15 sprigs), roughly chopped 2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges 1 recipe Corn or Flour Tortillas MAKE THE FILLING: Preheat a grill to the hottest possible setting and brush with vegetable oil. Slather about 1 cup of the Adobo all over the pork steaks and season liberally with salt. Place the pork steaks on the hot grill and cook for 3 minutes. Rotate 45 degrees and cook for another 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for 3 minutes. The finished steaks should have visible charred grill marks. Remove from the grill, transfer to a plate, and set aside to rest in a warm place. Make one batch of tortillas and hold them warm. Cut the pork steaks against the grain and on the bias—you want the slices to be as thin as possible, almost shaved, to achieve the right tenderness and texture for al pastor. ASSEMBLE THE TACOS: Lay out the warm tortillas on serving plates. Evenly distribute the grilled pork and the pineapple slices among the tortillas. Top with some of the Salsa Roja and Raw Salsa Verde, along with the minced onion and chopped cilantro. Squeeze a couple of the lime wedges over the tacos and serve the rest on the side. ADOBO Masa may be the bedrock of Mexican cuisine, but adobo is what makes it sing. The dried chile paste is a component in countless dishes, slathered on robust meats like the pork for Al Pastor Tacos and the lamb for the Lamb Barbacoa Tacos. The dried chile and aromatic spice flavors in this paste are versatile, so adobo is a useful thing to have around to add instant depth—try thinning it with oil and using it to dress a hearty vegetable, like asparagus. Adobo will last 1 week in the refrigerator, and 1 month in an airtight containe[...]
Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0500
The depths of winter make this the peak of sauce season. Whether you love the classic comfort of tomato sauce or a rich, fragrant curry, on today's Please Explain we're sharing the secrets of sauce and answering your questions!
Chef James Peterson, author of the award-winning book Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, will take us through all the sauces, from traditional French hollandaise and béchamel, to Italian Osso Buco and North African Harissa sauce.
From Pesto to Béchamel, Let's Talk Sauce!
Fri, 22 Jan 2016 13:44:36 -0500Cast iron cookware has been around for centuries, but many modern cooks are intimidated by it. How do you clean it? What can (and can't) you cook in it? Should you season it? In this week's Please Explain, Julia Collin Davison, the executive food editor at America’s Test Kitchen and author of the forthcoming book Cook it in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All (Cook's Country), and J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats and author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, answer all your burning cast iron questions and dispel the many myths surrounding the classic cookware. Do you have questions about cast iron cookware? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Recipe: Classic Roast Chicken with Lemon-Thyme Pan Sauce from Cook It in Cast Iron from America’s Test Kitchen Classic Roast Chicken with Lemon-Thyme Pan Sauce from "Cook It in Cast Iron" from America’s Test Kitchen ("Cook It in Cast Iron," America’s Test Kitchen) Serves 4 Why This Recipe Works: Roast chicken is often described as a simple dish, but the actual process–brining or salting, trussing, and turning–is anything but easy. We wanted a truly simple way to get roast chicken on the table in just an hour without sacrificing flavor. We quickly realized that trussing was unnecessary; we could simply tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath the bird. We also found we could skip flipping the chicken during cooking by taking advantage of the great heat retention of cast iron. We cooked the chicken breast side up in a preheated skillet to give the thighs a head start and allow the skin to crisp up. Starting in a 450-degree oven and then turning the oven off while the chicken finished cooking slowed the evaporation of juices, ensuring moist, tender meat, even without brining or salting. A traditional pan sauce pairing lemon and thyme was the perfect complement, and it took just minutes to make while the chicken rested. Pan drippings contributed meatiness, and finishing the sauce with butter gave it the perfect velvety texture. We prefer to use a 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken for this recipe. If roasting a larger bird, increase the time when the oven is on in step 2 to 30 to 40 minutes. 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 1 lemon, quartered 1 shallot, minced 1 cup chicken broth 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place 12-inch cast-iron skillet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with paper towels, rub with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wingtips behind back. 2. When oven reaches 450 degrees, place chicken breast side up in hot skillet. Roast chicken until breast registers 120 degrees and thighs register 135 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes. 3. Arrange lemon quarters cut side down around chicken. Turn off oven and leave chicken in oven until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degree[...]Is Cast Iron Cookware Weighing You Down? We're Here to Help.