I'll admit I subscribe to this magazine, but I can never bring myself to replicate any of their recipes because they are either impossibly time consuming, require extremely hard to find or expensive ingredients, or a combination of them all.
I scanned some of the recipes in the latest issue, and I swear every one of them requires at least one ingredient I don't have or don't want to hassle with finding.
Here are some examples:
1. Fried chicken & biscuits with pink peppercorn honey butter
Sounds easy, but they want you to stock buttermilk, pink peppercorns and clover honey. Cooking should not first require a scavenger hunt.
2. Bloody Mary
Unbelievably, for a simple cocktail they expect you to gather fresh plum tomatoes, a carrot, a golden beet, a fennel bulb, celery seeds, fresh grated horseradish, Sriacha (Asian hot sauce), a cup of Guinness, and for garnishing, pickled okra or green beans.
And a golden beet? Really?
Here's a great Bloody Mary recipe: Some good tomato juice, some good vodka and maybe some salt and pepper. Add whatever else you have around that sounds good. And ice.
I could list a lot more ridiculous recipes from Bon Appetit but the point is, unless you live in a large city with boutique-style comestible markets and have an unlimited grocery budget, Bon Appetit seems to be making things more difficult than they need to be just to be snooty.
I mean come on...
How many of these items are in your pantry or refrigerator?
Ras-el-Hanout (a Moroccan spice blend)
Brown turkey figs
Argan oil (from the nut of an Argan tree)
Pepper cress or watercress
Whole vanilla beans
Miniature red and yellow bell peppers
Lemon grass broth
All of these ingredients are listed in recipes within the first half of the magazine.
I think good cooking requires good ingredients. They can be very simple and still be delicious.
A potato, some unsalted butter, a little kosher salt and ground pepper is not complicated but it's sublime.
A loaf of rye, a pound of corned beef and Swiss, a can or jar of good sauerkraut, and a little mustard or Russian dressing can make a mess of perfect Reuben sandwiches.
So what I think I'll do soon is take a great sounding recipe from Bon Appetit, deconstruct it and replace all the silly, scavenger hunt ingredients with just regular stuff you can find at any decent grocery store. Yes?