Off the Menu with Corby Kummer

April 5, 2012


Corby Kummer, senior editor at The Atlantic, brought along Easter Peeps on his visit to WGBH studios.

BOSTON — Corby Kummer, senior editor at The Atlantic, recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards and one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the U.S. returns to The Emily Rooney Show for another conversation about what's Off the Menu and what's on. He questions all the dust kicked-up about pink slime in your ground beef, shares his review of The Blue Room in Kendall Square and saves your Easter or Passover meal with his favorite recipe recommendations from these terrific cookbooks:

Try an Italian Panada di Milano (Rich Easter Soup); Pastiera (Neapolitan Easter Ricotta Cake); Crostata di Ricotta (Italian Cheesecake) from The Italian Baker, by Carol Field.

Ever try an Apple Cider Syllabub? Corby described this version to Emily. It comes from The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes that Made the Modern Cookbook, by Anne Willan.

Apple Cider Syllabub
2 c (500 ml) demi-sec hard cider
1/2 c (100 g) sugar, more to taste
2 c (500 ml) heavy cream

In a bowl, whisk together the cider and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Warm the cream to room temperature, testing it with your finger, then transfer it to a pitcher. Gradually whisk the warm cream into the citder, a few spoonfuls at a time, pouring it from a height of at least 6 inches (15 cm). When all the cream has been added, continue whisking for 1 minute. (You can also use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.) Taste and adjust the sugar.
Spoon the mixture into 8 syllabub glasses, cover loosely, and leave in a cool place. It will soon start to separate into a layer of cider punch topped with creamy mousse, two treats in one. Syllabub can be kept for a day or two in the refrigerator and the flavor will mellow. Serve it cool, or chilled.


To get you up and in the kitchen, here is one of his favorite recipes from The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes, by Stephanie Pierson.


Nach Waxman's Brisket of Beef
  • 1 (6-pound) first-cut beef brisket, trimmed so that a thin layer of fat remains
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 8 medium onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly dust the brisket with flour, then sprinkle with pepper to taste. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy pot with a lid just large enough to hold the brisket snugly. Add the brisket to the pot and brown on both sides until crusty brown areas appear on the surface here and there, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a platter, turn up the heat a bit, then add the onions to the pot and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the onions have softened and developed a rich brown color but aren't yet caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and place the brisket and any accumulated juices on top of the onions.
Spread the tomato paste over the brisket as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle with salt and more pepper to taste, then add the garlic and carrot to the pot. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and cook the brisket for 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and, using a very sharp knife, slice the meat across the grain into approximately 1/8-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice. The end result should resemble the original unsliced brisket leaning slightly backward. Check the seasonings and, if absolutely necessary, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of water to the pot.

Cover the pot and return to the oven. Lower the heat to 325°F and cook the brisket until it is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Check once or twice during cooking to make sure that the liquid is not bubbling away. If it is, add a few more teaspoons of water—but not more. Also, each time you check, spoon some of the liquid on top of the roast so that it drips down between the slices.

It is ready to serve with its juices, but, in fact, it's even better the second day.

Off the Menu: Smuggling Cheese
Off the Menu: Sugar Edition

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