“Small victories” are designed to make home cooking accessible to all.
This is fresh air. Looking for stress in your fridge, trying to figure out how to eat dinner? Do you want to know how to cook the perfect omelette with ease? Our next guest’s recipe may be what you need. Julia Turshen wrote her recipe to help ease the stress of family cooking. It is called “little victories: hundreds of ideas for recipes, advice, and home cooking.”
‘if you know how to do two things in the kitchen, you have more than 200 skills,’ says Ms. Turshen. “Small victory” is the first solo song Turshen cooking books, but she and to the several best-selling books, including gwyneth paltrow “all is well” Mario bata “Spain: gourmet tour”. She is also a private chef. She spoke to FRESH AIR producer Sam Briger.
SAM BRIGER, wired: Julia Turshen, welcome to FRESH AIR.
JULIA TURSHEN: thank you very much, Sam. I’d be happy to talk to you.
Brig: so you said the goal of your recipe “small victory” was to show that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated to be satisfying. And you do that by using these little victories. So you – in every recipe, you include at least one small victory. So what is the concept?
Turfan: sure. B: yes. So each recipe brings a small victory. So for me, it’s a hint or a trick to make cooking more approachable. And then what’s interesting is that every recipe has some — I call them by-products, but they’re variants.
So once you know tips or tips, once you know a little victory, you can do this great thing, but you can do a lot of other things. So, you know, in the whole book, all of this is to enhance the ability of the family cook.
BRIGER: that’s right. It’s neat, just like you have a recipe for oil strips. I can’t remember what the main recipe is, but it’s – one of them has chickpeas, but the other – by-product – you can do it with a bean or some other kind of bean. So you have four or five different recipes, from a base, it’s neat.
TURSHEN: yes, yes.
Brig: well, let’s look at a small victory. Since reading this book, I’ve been using it to roast the perfect egg. Can you describe the method?
TURSHEN: yes, this recipe is very interesting. I think this is probably the easiest recipe. But it’s really popular, it’s nice to see. The recipe is – they’re Fried eggs with olive oil, which means you fry them with olive oil, you use yogurt, which is an unusual yogurt in the United States. But it is very popular in other countries. So the first thing to do with this technique is to use non-stick pans, because why make things complicated (laughter) and give yourself some insurance. Heat a little olive oil in the pan and open the egg.
Then my little secret is to put a few drops of water in the pan – in the pot, not on the egg. Then cover the pot immediately. What happens, just a little bit of water — like a teaspoon, just a few drops, you know, your fingertips — creates a little steam. The lid will stop the steam there. So you can almost create this tiny stove, like a steam stove. And, you know, your eggs are cooking from the bottom.
It has a nice hot pot. It has beautiful hot olive oil. But the steam at the top ensures that the top egg is cooked. But this is not a positive hot spot. You know, you didn’t turn the egg over, so you don’t eat the cooked yolk. So what you end up with is a very good Fried egg, and the top of the egg is completely cooked, because I think I’ll definitely eat anything. I’ll try anything. I really, really don’t love one thing is undercooked or undercooked protein…
Brig: yes, that could be terrible.
TURSHEN: so (laughter) stops that.
BRIGER: yes, yes, I did. I do it all the time. It works very well. You get a very good hard-boiled egg white and an uncooked egg yolk, so it’s great.
TURSHEN: I’m glad to hear what happened in your kitchen.
TURSHEN: that’s great.
Brig: so what do you do with yogurt? When will you join this dish?
TURSHEN: so, when you scrambled eggs, you just need to mix some plain yogurt – you can use a thick Greek yogurt – you know – a – any kind of yogurt, yogurt is just plain yogurt. All you have to do is mix some lemon juice with a pinch of salt and spread it on a plate so you can get the yogurt. Then you put the Fried egg on top then, basically the same as you eat it, you know, the fork pushed down by the eggs, a little acidification some yogurt, it created this – it is a bed and a sauce, put a few fresh herbs in the above. It’s delicious.
In case: ok, in the part of the break-up of a boiled egg, suggest you make a stew eggs (eggs), where you need to cut a boiled egg, and then wipe on a bit on mayonnaise, maybe like a drop of hot sauce. How did you come up with this idea? It was great, because I felt like every time I tried to make a rotten egg, it looked like a mess.
Twain: many of my ideas and decisions in the kitchen can be called laziness or efficiency.
TURSHEN: this is your choice. But I like eggs. I think they are delicious. But, you know, take out all these egg yolks, make a mixture, put it back, you know, if you think you like it, and you want to know, it’s worth it. You can get a piping bag. It’s really crazy. However, these same ingredients can be added together. It still tastes delicious. So it’s — basically, you’re just, you know, a little bit of mayonnaise on half of the hard-boiled eggs — just a little bit of hot sauce. If you like that, you can have some mustard. Whatever you like when you boil an egg.
You don’t have to do all the work to remove the yolks and refill them. So I like these shortcuts, and you can still get very good results. But, you know…
Brig: like half the effort.
TURSHEN:…… It’s just a little less time and energy. Yes, I think it’s easier if it makes people start from scratch in the kitchen, and that’s what I do.
BRIGER: all of these are your first recipes. You’ve got a lot of popular recipes, including Mario batali and gwyneth paltrow. I want to know if you can explain to us your role as a co-writer in this situation. For example, do other people come up with the idea of a dish, and then you turn them into recipes? Is it more collaborative? Has it ever been told, like, what to do with chickpeas and come back to me in a week? Like, how does it work?
TURSHEN: I’d love to. I like chickpeas. (laughter) It’s different every time. So, yes, “little victory” is my first book, personally. But – I think – I should know that. I think this is the tenth book I have ever worked on. So I work with a lot of people. I close a lot of books. Each time is different. It depends on the material that already exists. For example, I’ve worked on some restaurant recipes. I work with some of the restaurant, you know, there are full of recipes of adhesive, it is my job, type of vocabulary translation from the restaurant to home cooking, which means that they are often zoom to a lot of, don’t have much as it is, you know, this is a cook for another chef written instructions.
So, you know, one person speaks to another person who knows all these skills. So it’s my job to take… …
Bridger: well, it’s like that language.
TURSHEN: yes, yes. Sometimes, I think of myself as a family cooking translator, how can I translate these materials so that someone can successfully do this at home? Usually, this means taking a lot of excessive steps. I used to work with a restaurant chef who didn’t have anything — or didn’t — a lot of great stuff, but didn’t write it down.
Brig: well, you have a delicious lasagna in the book. Usually when you do a lasagna, you either add whey cheese, or you make white sauce, just like a sauce. But you’ve come up with another way. What’s that?
TURSHEN: yes, so it’s kind of like a deviled-ish egg, and in order to get a very good result, you can reduce some of the steps. This is definitely what happened to this lasagna. So I brought out ricotta. I took out the sauce. Ricotta because – I like ricotta, but I think it sometimes gets a little stiff when it’s baked in a baked pasta dish. I like it, like a rich lasagna. So I’m inclined to choose a sauce of lasagna. But the idea of making a sauce may lead to some home cooks, especially those who are new, and there are a lot of things that are not going well.
Brig: because you have a flour and milk, right? Just…
TURSHEN: yes. You do – yes. You mix some flour and butter. You basically make a pasta sauce, and then you slowly make a smooth look in the milk – just like the cream sauce. Then you can add cheese. You know, that’s how you make macaroni and cheese. The foundation of souffle, etc. But basically, I think it’s not impossible to do anything, but it’s an extra step. This is an extra cleaning tank. It’s always in my mind.
But I thought, oh, I want that cream layer, but I don’t want to do that. So I went to one of my favorite ingredients, the cream fraiche, basically like French sour cream. And, if that’s all, you can use sour cream. But fraiche is worth looking for, because it’s richer, why not add more fat?
TURSHEN: life is short. So I made a super simple tomato sauce. This is some garlic from olive oil. You throw in some canned tomatoes, and then I just add the cream fraiche, because it’s not layered lasagna – all the different sauces, and, you know, what’s the most important thing to keep track of…
BRIGER: that’s right.
TURSHEN:…… You know it’s all mixed up anyway. So I’m going to mix it up. So you have this basically creamy tomato sauce. And then I’ll show you how to make homemade pasta, because that’s what I love to do. But you can definitely buy fresh pasta in the store. I’ve done it many times with a box of lasagne noodles like no chef.
So basically you only have your noodles – your pasta layer. Another one of the lasagna that I think is very annoying is to pre-cook the huge pasta, because again, you are – this is another one that can be washed. You have to manipulate these big, hot spaghetti. So don’t do that, and, you know, cook them first, and then slice them up with sauce. I just did the extra sauce, so lasagna – the dough and all the delicious creamy tomato sauce layered – it threw it into the oven, all these extra fluid in the sauce can be perfectly cooked pasta. It’s such a simple recipe for lasagna for a lasagna recipe.
It’s just one of my favorites. I love it. You can add, you know, cooked sausages. You can start with some meat. Whatever you want, you can add a layer of spinach and roast pumpkin. You can fill in whatever you like. But that’s the basis of it. It’s a great recipe.
GROSS: we are listening to the producers of the FRESH AIR Sam Briger with Julia Turshen recording, it’s a new cookbook “Small Victories” of the author. We’ll hear more about it after the break. This is fresh air.
MAO: it’s fresh air. Let’s go back to interview the producers of the FRESH AIR Sam Briger and Julia Turshen recording, it’s a new cookbook “Small Victories” of the author. It simplifies recipes and techniques for family cooks.
Brig: okay, that’s another little victory in your book. It is always very difficult to peel the ginger root because it is really hairy and unique. And, when I had to cook with it, I usually cut 40 percent of the root because it was difficult to peel off. So I usually cut it like that. So, out of this strange circular object, I got this perfect rectangle, you know – lost a lot. But – so – how do you suggest getting rid of the skin?
TURSHEN: I recommend – this is – yes – I see it in a lot of places, but – yes – just with a spoon, like a regular – a spoon that you want to eat cereal. And you just have to scrape the edge of the spoon on the ginger, because you know, the ginger root has a completely different shape, you know, rough and moving in different directions. This is not a perfect rectangle.