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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

Confessions of a Cooking Fanatic: Fruity favorites

With fall in full swing, some fruity recipes can make anyone’s day.

Confessions of a Cooking Fanatic

Graphic by Rachel Wong

My cooking origin story begins with the first phase of the COVID-19 lockdown, between March and June of 2020. As a high school senior, I was (very validly) going through a bout of self-isolation. I barely left my room during those first few months of the pandemic. What was I doing with my time? Watching cooking videos: primarily Bon Bon Appétit’s YouTube content.

For anyone unfamiliar with Bon Appétit’s “From the Test Kitchen” videos, the food magazine’s test kitchen staff, which consists of a dozen or so charming chefs, cook and explain their dishes to the camera while their peers develop recipes in the background and occasionally make guest appearances. When it started, this communal approach to cooking was revolutionary compared to Tasty’s viral “hands and pans” style. 

However, their cooking video empire crashed when allegations of unequal pay for their staff members of color were published in June 2020. The podcast, “The Sporkful,” (2010–) published its first episode on the situation. The Sporkful’s host, Tufts Daily alumnus Dan Pashman (LA’99), has since made a name for himself as the inventor of cascatelli pasta.

The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen staff have dispersed: some have stayed with BA, some have developed their own YouTube channels and some have contributed to the New York Times Cooking channel.

Claire Saffitz has developed her own channel and has been featured on New York Times Cooking; Priya Krishna has expanded into food journalism and interviewed restaurant owners, bagel makers and cafeteria workers for the New York Times and Sohla El-Waylly just released her first cookbook, “Start Here,” in October and has starred in several YouTube series, including History Channel’s “Ancient Recipes with Sohla” and NYT Cooking’s Mystery Menu with her husband, Ham. Together, Sohla and Ham create some of the most delicious and creative recipes. I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes by Ham, along with another brilliant, fall-themed, fruit-based chicken recipe.

1. Sheet-pan chicken with shallots and grapes

Quintessentially autumnal, Colu Henry’s sheet-pan meal is ready with five minutes of prep time and about 30 minutes of roasting time. To once again build on the “greens and grains” approach described in my last column, pair with a hearty grain (like farro), a green (like baby kale) and some feta for a week of lunches. This recipe is quickly becoming one of my new favorites.

Vegetarian modification: swap chicken for cubed tofu. In your quick marinade, add cornstarch so that the tofu will crisp up while roasting.

Most difficult step: slicing shallots and chopping garlic.

2. Roasted Chicken Thighs With Blueberries

This is a masterpiece by Ham El-Waylly. If you’re still hoping for a taste of summer, this one-pan, eight-ingredient meal delivers all of that and more with a pint of blueberries. The tarragon is a brilliant addition and, surprisingly, worth the splurge on fresh herbs. Crusty bread is necessary because you’ll be trying to soak up every last drop of the sauce.

Most difficult step: brushing the blueberry stains off of your teeth.