Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat gives a detailed look into the science behind cooking. Knowing how fat works can help you cook bacon to perfection or grill the best steak of your life. Which salt should I use for baking vs. salads vs. meats? It’s the science behind getting air into your batters to ensure they won’t be flat. This book teaches all of this MAGIC and SOOO much more. If you want to improve your cooking skills, this is the book for you.
There is a funny story behind this book and me. Several months ago I called a friend to catch up and while talking she started describing the Netflix series associated with this book and could not say enough good things about it. The next time I spoke with her she told me that she had purchased the book and her husband had made a few recipes out of it – and that they were fantastic! With rave reviews from these couple of foodies, I had to check it out – this time, actually I bought the book first.
While reading the book, I found it was bursting with amazing tips on how to take your cooking to the next level. When I finished reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, I called my friends again, this time with an idea to have a dinner party, cooking only recipes from the book that we both had enjoyed. This couple was ALL IN (as I knew they would be) and even offered to bring the Buttermilk Marinated Roast Chicken and the Asparagus and Feta with Mint Salad which they already LOVED!!!
I knew immediately I was going to make Lori’s Midnight Chocolate Cake for dessert. Samin, the author, could NOT SAY ENOUGH about this incredible cake. She described it as “a birthday cake so moist and rich that I nearly fainted from delight.” This cake uses oil rather than butter, so it has a different texture than what you are used to – you should definitely try it.
What else to make…Hmmmm. I went with the Garlicky Green Beans, because the combination was intriguing, and I thought they would be delicious. And who doesn’t love a good biscuit with chicken? The Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits were a perfect pairing. I also threw in the Greek Salad with the Red Wine Vinaigrette at the last minute because I had some extra time – and couldn’t resist.
I have to say that although the things I made were good, the best recipes of the night were those cooked at my friend’s house, from their kitchen to our table. The Buttermilk Roasted Chicken was the STAR OF THE SHOW. Because it was brined overnight in buttermilk, it was beyond a shadow of a doubt the juiciest, most tender roasted chicken that I have ever eaten. The perfectly browned outside crust looks amazing when you pull it out of the oven. I WILL BE making this one soon.
The Garlicky Green Beans combined two cooking styles- steamy sautéing and steaming (at the same time – WHO KNEW). Basically, you put your largest frying pan over medium-high heat and bring ½ cup water to a simmer. Add the beans, cover and remove the lid every minute or so to stir. When they are almost completely tender (4 minutes for haricots verts and 7 minutes for regular green beans), tip any remaining water out of the pan. Make a little hole in the center of the beans, turn up the heat and put the olive oil and garlic in the middle of the beans. Cook for 30 seconds or so until garlic is fragrant and serve. So simple and so good.
As I learned from making other biscuits, this Light and Flaky Biscuit recipe must be rolled and folded several times to create layers. We ate these tasty biscuits smothered in honey – because isn’t that how you are supposed to eat biscuits? It’s surely how it’s done at the Bayer house.
MY MUST-MAKE LIST:
Garlicky Green Beans
Lori’s Midnight Chocolate Cake
Greek Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette