I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I am for  recognizing good fortune when it comes my way.  In a career blessed with good luck, high on the list are the people I’m able to work with.  The above card lifted my spirits when I received it. It was created by Joleen Hughes, who, with her husband David, run a design firm called Level in the Napa Valley.  David is the one responsible for the playful nature of the book Ad Hoc, and so much more. It is a pleasure to work with these two people who rarely get enough recognition. I’m grateful to you, David and Joleen! Joleen designed the card for Thomas Keller, another person I’m incredibly lucky to work with, along with every single member of his team I encounter.  Brian Read On »

Share

This Hoppin’ John recipe is a dish from the American south featuring black-eyed peas, often included in southern food and soul food recipes, traditionally served on New Year’s Day by those angling for good fortune all year long. I make Hoppin’ John every year for this very reason (also, it’s inexpensive, easy, nutritious and satisfying).  There are all kinds of variants (here’s the wikipedia description of Hoppin John), but they all share three features that I think must be a part of the dish or it’s not Hoppin John: black-eyed peas, smokey bacon, and some kind of heat. I always include onion and I also always include tomato, which is not traditional but I think it gives great acidity and flavor to this bean dish.  This year I threw in some Mangalista guanciale because I Read On »

Share

As some readers know, I and my buddy Mac have begun to manufacture new cooking tools that we love, and we’re already getting great feedback. We love The Spanker, above (photo by Donna, thanks hon!)—the big paddle for stirring big pots. There’s simply nothing out there like it that we could find. I’ll be using it to stir a double batch of Hoppin’ John for a New Year’s Day fete. But my mom said it was too big for her—she never cooked in batches that would require this bad boy.  Another reader said the same, but added that she loved the paddles she’d received so much that she’d have been happy to pay the same amount for two small paddles.

Share

Seasonal high end specialties are under attack in France.  A recent murder, growing thefts, and disease threaten oysters and truffles, via Independent UK.

Share

Excerpts from the 2010 Star Chefs Conference discussion on if cooking is an art or a craft. Featuring Michael and many more, via StarChefs.

Share