Wheat-X2-for-blog

I want to call attention to an op-ed by Mark Bittman in The New York Times last week, headlined “What Is the Purpose of Society,” because it’s particularly incisive. He rightly asks us to reconsider how we think about the production and distribution of our food. He calls on us to ask the right questions: What is the purpose of agriculture? And he asks that we come to a common agreement on what that purpose is. He writes: “… [I]s contemporary American agriculture a system for nourishing people and providing a livelihood for farmers? Or is it one for denuding the nation’s topsoil while poisoning land, water, workers and consumers and enriching corporations? Our collective actions would indicate that our principles favor the latter; that has to change. “…[i]f we had a national agreement that food Read On »

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Lamb-Shank18

  First, the following five people (and their favorite braise) will receive a signed copy of my new book How to Braise. Congrats! —Steve W.: Braised oxtail and pumpkin with chickpeas over couscous! —Cindy M: Braised pork shanks…. yum! —JAvera: Oven-Braised Corned Beef. Yum. Sliced thin and served on Kings Hawaiian Bread. (I know, I know. Just try it sometime!) —Fran: I’ll pretty much take anything braised, but currently I’m loving chicken braised with carrots, leeks and sherry. —Tom Abella: My favorite braise is Cheating Pulled Pork Shoulder, which is what I call it when I combine an hour of heavy smoking over a grill at night with putting the shoulder in a covered Dutch oven at 225 overnight. What emerges in the morning is a glorious fall-apart piece of meat complete with drippings for Read On »

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Braise-Cover-@72-for-blog

  My book Ruhlman’s How to Braise: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes for the Home Cook is published today, February 10. To celebrate its arrival I am giving away five signed copies. How to Braise is the second in a series of technique-based books (the first was How to Roast). Like its predecessor, this book is short on recipes (25 or so, including the Orange-Braised Duck Leg, pictured below) and long on nuance. It includes finished shots by my wife, Donna, of every dish and many process shots of how dishes, such as a Lamb Tagine, come together, how the Braised Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps should look, or just a beautiful image of braised fennel and baby radishes. When you know technique, you need to rely less on recipes. When you know technique, cooking is easier and more efficient and more fun. (What exactly is Read On »

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The Boulevardier with the twist

  Just home from a quick trip to Chicago (have started the reporting for a new book!) and have piles of notes to transcribe. Will be having the above if I can get even halfway through by 6 pm tonight. Happy Friday, all! Originally posted in February, 2013: Were it not for the Internet, my guess is that only the most devoted barfly would know about the Boulevardier. It’s not in any of my cocktail books, not the standard-bearing The Standard Bartender’s Guide, my Madmen-era dad’s paperback. I only heard about it from a reader of this blog (with links below). And an email this week pushed me into a tasting, happily! I love how various flavoring components (bitters, vermouths) become different cocktails when you change the spirit. How the Manhattan becomes a Rob Roy when you Read On »

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Lamb-X3

Having come into the possession of several exquisite lamb tenderloins from the well-known and much admired John Jamison, and it being too cold for pleasant grilling, I pondered what to do with them. I wanted to flavor but not overpower them. So I returned to an old idea: the cooked marinade. Marinades do one thing: they flavor the outside of the meat. That, combined with a grill pan, would give just the flavor I wanted. If you infuse the oil with aromatics and partially cook those aromatics, the aromatics themselves (here, garlic and shallot) are more deeply flavorful. I’m loving my grill pan this winter. It does add flavor in ways that oil in a skillet does not. It helps to have one with a top piece that you can use to press down on Read On »

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