One of hard things about writing books is that they are in constant flux and then they are permanent. Thanks to the organic nature of blogs, I can make amends. When I was at the Culinary Institute of America, one of my best and favorite teachers was Eve Felder, who taught Garde Manger. She was the Cheshire Cat of chefs, perched high on stacked stools, who taught us that “Cooking is alchemy, cooking is magic!” And she was right. Righter than I knew, in fact. I’m heading to her native city, Charleston, South Carolina, and so she’s been on my mind. When I wanted to do a butter-poached shrimp for Ruhlman’s Twenty, I naturally wanted to pair it with grits. Who did I call for grits finesse points? Chef Felder. In the editing process of Read On »

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Find out more about winter food classics starting from A to Z, via Guardian UK.

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I made my staple Lemon-Cumin Dal the other day and while I served, Donna brought the pappadams over to the light for this photo. I always serve these Indian—what, crackers?—with dal. They add a delicate crisp crunch to the meal and an exotic (to me) flavor. If you’ve never served them, I urge you to try them. Not only delicious, but fun to cook! Made from lentil or chickpea flour, they’re sold as flat smooth discs. Slip them into hot oil and they puff and fold and are finished in five seconds. While I’m hoping a prominent food blogger, who publishes one of the most lovely recipe blogs I know, will try the recipe for this mung-bean-based dal, featured in Twenty, it reminds me of two other writer cooks specializing in Indian food. The wonderful Read On »

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  These are some of the pix we didn’t use in the new book, Ruhlman’s Twenty, and I wanted to share them because they make me hungry for pork belly. But when I sat down simply to mention this dish, Crispy Pork Belly with Miso-Caramel Glaze, it surprised me with all the lessons it has wrapped up in it. First of all, it’s a delicious dish (I was delighted that Rob Misfud, in his review of the book in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, tried it and loved it—while it’s not difficult, it’s more involved than most of the other recipes in the book).  But go below the deliciousness and you will see it’s a lesson in braising, in understanding the nature of pork skin, of the power of sugar, of using a definitively sweet ingredient in a Read On »

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  Even James, the guy who handed me a bag of 20 pig ears, gave me a funny look.  “What do you do with ‘em?” It’s not obvious, even to farmers, not in America. It wasn’t obvious to me till I had my first one several years ago at Michael Symon’s Lola, fried crispy on the outside, gelatinous and chewy on the inside, their richness offset by the sweet-sour heat of pickled chillis. Michael said he’d had a similar reaction when he’d first had one from Mario Batali. Where did Mario first have them? “The ears were a prized part of eating whole suckling pigs on weekend lunches in Segovia, Spain, near where we lived in Madrid throughout high school,” he said in an email yesterday. “I’ve  lived for ears and cheeks ever since!” How Read On »

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