So It Feels Like 1° Outside?
That's because it IS 1° outside!!!!! / RealFeel never lies.
Something warm and soupy,
something borrowed from our favorite diner,
something complicated that’ll eat up your whole day so you never have to go outside.
SO IT FEELS LIKE 1° OUTSIDE
(Palace) Diner French Toast: Golden, eggy french toast triangles from the diner are almost always sublime, but the huge challah slices Palace Diner in Biddeford, Maine serves are thicker than an inch with an interior reminiscent of custard and a crust as crackly as crème brûlée. Ripping into a piece is a truly holy experience, and this French toast recipe is the closest I’ve come to making anything remotely similar in my own kitchen. It starts with letting challah (or if you’re me, ACQ milk bread) slices soak all night in a milky, vanilla and cinnamon-heavy mixture before showering them with white sugar in the morning. Then, you place them on a hot, buttered sheet pan and into the oven until they start to sizzle and caramelize. Butter and maple syrup are, although completely redundant, exactly what Palace would serve each slice with.
Air-Fried Everything: I shit-talked the air fryer for a long time. It’s just a convection oven! There’s no such thing as frying with air! Unitaskers are the devil’s work! But after moving in with an air fryer owner (a.k.a. my best friend), I’m well on my way to converted. It’s faster and cleaner than turning on your oven and succeeds for very specific tasks, like making snacks for the ‘Big Game’, cooking proteins quickly, or generally existing on TikTok. And ~inside time~ is the perfect excuse to get comfortable with any new appliances you may have acquired over the holidays. On my to cook list? An entire head’s worth of buffalo-ed cauliflower (basic? cheugy? what are the kids saying these days?), an air-fried adaptation of this chicken and its craggy spice-dusted crust that I can almost taste through the screen, and this viral yogurt-toast that I’m determined to bostock-ify with almond extract for a frangipane vibe.
Steamed Char Siu Bao: Looking for a day-long weekend (or, TBH, a kinda slow WFH day) project? Boyfriend of the newsletter, Alex, reminded me of this foolproof Woks of Life recipe that we made last winter and are overdue to make again. If you’ve never made a steamed dough like buns or bao, it’s an exercise in pillowy pleasure resulting in an edible version of this dog. That recipe’s sauce is potent enough that you could easily swap whatever protein you like for the filling; we doctored marinated pork from H Mart last year, but I could easily see these buns excelling with slow-cooker pulled pork or braised beef, orrrr tender, cooked-down mushrooms or saucy jackfruit for the vegs among us.
Soups Galore: Soup is the obvious answer when the weather app basically just says, ‘it’s brick’, but instead of giving you one recipe we love, here’s a rapid fire round of our favorite soups du jour. Ottolenghi’s curried lentil. Alison’s potato leek. Union Square Café’s cream-less creamy mushroom. Cook’s Illustrated pasta e fagioli. Or one of Andy Baraghani’s chicken soups: this gingery one that calls for rice and sweet potato, or this recipe, with caramelized onions and lentils.
BEST BITE OF THE WEEK (BBOTW)
Gab: The pastries at Tinder Hearth possess layers so crispy and the bread, innards so chewy, you’d think they came out of a bakery in Copenhagen. But really, these buttery croissants stuffed with planks of chocolate and crusty circles of miche are being baked in a big barn in Brooksville, Maine. They also cook wood-fired pizzas twice a week in the winters, with stretchy crusts dotted with char and toppings like prosciutto and kale, olive and chevre, and buffalo chicken with dill ranch (this week!). I’ve eaten all of the aforementioned baked goods over the last few days, with the exception of the buff chick slice, which I plan to call in an order for tomorrow evening. Everything coming out of Tinder Hearth’s oven is exceptional, but my favorite bite has gotta be the greasy-in-a-good way, almost-burnt-in-the-best-way chocolate croissant. It’s stuffed with two dark chocolate batons and resembles a cute little butt.
Court: Decked out in an XXL freebie shirt from last season and one of Gab’s many Knicks hats, I cosplayed as a sports fan last week. The only way you can get me to a Sport Game is with the promise of good food, which is exactly what we got in a friends’ company’s ~corporate suite~ at the Knicks game last week. Alongside the largest shrimp cocktail I’d ever seen, I ate something I never thought I’d eat at a Sport Game: black sesame & earl grey-tinged cream puffs. They were so, so much better than they needed to be, and ever since I’ve been on the hunt for who t.f. supplies Madison Square Garden’s cream puffs. Unsurprisingly googling Knicks game cream puffs is not particularly fruitful or something I would recommend, so if you have any leads HMU!!! Suddenly choux is everywhere (see examples here, here, and here), so universe— consider yourself heard; choux au craquelin is on le to-bake list this week.