Our Verdict: NYT Cooking App

Kirstin: This is one of my favourite apps. It never ceases to cheer me up.

Maureen: There’s so many recipes to choose from! I would think of a recipe we wanted to eat and inevitably they would have one.

Kirstin: But we should point out that it’s crazy busy because it’s the end of term and other stuff happening, but we used this app way more than it would appear on the blog.

Maureen: That’s true. I made dozens more recipes than I actually got around to posting.

Kirstin: The comments are often worth having a peek at.

Maureen: There’s usually lots of good tips in there.

Kirstin: But just this week they announced that they’re going to start charging for access.

Maureen: They’re going to put a metered paywall, which means you’ll get a certain number for free, but after that you’ll have to start paying. It makes sense. I’m also from the school of thought that good content shouldn’t be free.

Kirstin: It’s a great app when you go on holiday because all the recipes are right on your phone.

Maureen: It’s also great when you’re out in the middle of the day when you don’t know what you want to make for dinner, so you can decide on the hoof and then stop at the shops for what you need.

Kirstin: Also, it’s got Melissa Clark and Sam Sifton. Do I need to say more?

Maureen: No. You do not. They are brilliant. I also liked the featured recipes at the top. They gave good suggestions.

Kirstin: Absolutely.

Maureen: It’s almost not a fair fight because the New York Times has so many good recipes over the years, and they’re all there. If you published all these recipes in books, it would be a multi-volume encyclopedia.

Kirstin: Also, the e-mails make my heart so happy. They just are so lovely. They have great suggestions. Sign up for the e-mail!

Overall Grade (A- F):  A (Maureen)  A (Kirstin)
Best recipes:  Salmon roasted in butter (Kirstin) The Katharine Hepburn brownies were definitely the most memorable, but the macaroni and cheese is a desert island dish in this house (Maureen)
Grade for Photography (A-F): A
Any disasters? Maureen: No. Kirstin: I’m trying to figure out how to spatchcock chicken.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Not applicable, but we’d put it on the front page of our phones.
Would you give this to a friend? (Both) Yes, though we would tell them to install it and to sign up for the daily e-mail.

Our Verdict: NYT Cooking App

“Steak Mock Frites” from “NYT Cooking App”

Here in London, we’re experiencing something that suspiciously feels like summer. I say it’s suspicious because I’m doubtful it will last. It never does. But in the meantime, we’re maximising our enjoyment of it while we can, which includes eating in the garden under the setting sun eating simple dishes that we love.

To wit: steak. Takes minutes to prepare, is delicious and we love it. As this is a rib-eye steak, it’s definitely a treat and not in the regular rotation, but still… full of yum. Also, we have a friend staying with us from the U.S. for the next week, so we wanted to treat her to one of the legendary steaks from our local butcher, Dring’s.

I’ve cooked steak enough times that I’m pretty confident on how to do it. But this recipe helpfully included a method for Maître d’Hôtel butter, which is pretty simple (butter, thyme, shoot, lemon juice & a splash of white-wine vinegar), but the real revelation was the recipe for “Mock Frites.” For this, you basically just boil new potatoes, dry them and smash them on a greased baking sheet and then bake them some more.

They. Were. Delicious. And so easy! Sam Sifton says in the introduction that the potatoes have “a terrific quality of French fry-ness, supreme crispness, with soft and creamy flesh within.” They really did all of those things. I plan to make these mock frites again. And again. And again.

If you’d like to make this yourself, click through this sentence to see the original recipe in the New York Times. 

 

“Steak Mock Frites” from “NYT Cooking App”

“Spice Rubbed Spatchcocked Chicken” from NYT Cooking App

Kirstin: Melissa Clark is VERY keen on spatchcocking chickens. So this is not the first time I have been inspired to make one of her recipes with the exciting part of spatchcocking beforehand. I’m definitely getting better at the part where you remove the backbone of a chicken, put it that way. Also the squashing part. And, as Melissa says in her video for this recipe, it is SUCH a good word! SPATCHCOCK! I particularly love it when she has all her utensils out and ready to use in the video. She is brilliant.

(And another small digression: I didn’t have any of the ancho chile powder for this recipe, so I found some of the dried whole peppers and ground them down in my new grinder which was very exciting, as you can imagine!)

And now to the recipe itself. The spice combination itself smelled incredible as I put it on the chicken. It’s one of the Top Ten recipes made from the New York Times this week and I could see why as I rubbed the spices on. However. There is just something about me and these spatchcocked chicken recipes that I am not getting right. Is it the temperature of the oven? Is it the length of time to cook? There is something that I continue to get wrong every time. While the chicken was not pink, it was chewier than usual despite me effectively burning all the spices on the top and also leaving the chicken to rest for a full ten minutes, or in fact longer as Tom had to edit something which took longer than I had anticipated. And I note that she adds olive oil before she cooks hers on the video, but not in the recipe. Maybe that made a difference.

So, the question is would I make this again? No. Would I try spatchcocking a chicken for Melissa? Probably not. No, not even butterflying one. But I might try spatchcocking for someone else’s recipe to see if I could get it right. And yes, that might be just so I could use the word again!

“Spice Rubbed Spatchcocked Chicken” from NYT Cooking App

“Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma” from NYT Cooking App

Nicholas (14): We’ve had this before, haven’t we?

Maureen: Impressively remembered. Yes, we have. It was the Nigella Lawson version from “Simply Nigella” [Editor’s Note; I just went back to see if I blogged about it. Alas, I did not. But we do love it so.] That recipe was based on this version, which I’ve also made before. So I was hedging my bets because I already knew we all liked it.

Andrew (17): What is it?

Maureen: It’s chicken shawarma.

Tim: I remember now. We all liked it.

Maureen: Indeed we did. Which is why I’ve made it more than once. This is from the new cookbook.

Andrew: What’s the new cookbook?

Maureen: it’s not actually a cookbook. It’s the New York Times Cooking App.

Nicholas [Incredulously]: An app???

Maureen: Yes. We’re embracing the future. It’s going to be great. We have so many favourite recipes that come from the New York Times. We will eat well this month.

Tim: Maybe there will be too much choice, actually.

Maureen: That’s a real possibility. I fell down the rabbit hole of options when I was trying to figure out what we were going to have for dinner tonight. This wasn’t even what I intended to make. But I stumbled across it, knew we had it before and liked it, so thought we’d just have it again.

Andrew [As he quickly polishes off his second one]: It was a good choice. It’s delicious.

If you’d like to make this yourself, here’s a link to the original recipe in the New York Times. 

“Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma” from NYT Cooking App

Cookbook of the Month, June 2017: New York Times Cooking App

Kirstin: Finally! I’ve been desperate to write about this app!

Maureen: I know. You’ve been suggesting it for months. I just had to sort out my phone situation first. I won’t bore our readers with the details.

Kirstin: Do you think it means we can do more Melissa Clark recipes?

Maureen: Yes! Which is great news because we loved her book so much. But even better than that is that this app will have all of our favourite recipes on there. My family’s favourite macaroni and cheese, or brownie recipe or really anything else. We will be spoiled for choice.

Kirstin: Bring it on.

Cookbook of the Month, June 2017: New York Times Cooking App