I’ve known of Dorie Greenspan for ages, author of numerous books, highly respected and well-liked in the food world, even has large group of blogs at Tuesdays with Dorie, dedicated to her book, Baking: From My Home To Yours.  But it wasn’t till last fall at a BlogHer gathering did I get to see for myself what a sweetheart she is. She looks like and reads just like who she is, a genuine cook and wonderful spritely soul. Last fall she published Around My French Table, an exquisite book of her favorite recipes (and a steal at $22 from Amazon—how do they do it?!). My dear friend Lee asked for and received this book for Christmas. When we had Lee and her husband Les over for that spatchcocked grilled turkey, Lee appeared with an hors d’oeuvres from Read On »

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I’ve been loving Jonathon Sawyer‘s Greenhouse Tavern in downtown Cleveland recently and after a joyous meal there not too long ago Donna asked to hang out and shoot.  She’ll be posting a gallery soon but the above is of one of my favorite dishes to eat, period. I can almost never help myself from ordering it when I see it on the menu. It’s also something that’s inexpensive and great to serve at home, and easy if you have a grinder (or a sharp knife—some of the best tartare I’ve had is roughly chopped beef).  Chef Brian Reilly (pictured above) made it for us the other day. Greenhouse grinds beef tenderloin to order with an old fashioned hand crank grinder, seasons it with salt and pepper and olive oil, puts a soft poached egg on Read On »

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It is time again to bring out The Chicken-Fried Pork Belly Salad, which I created in August 2007 in the midst of my fury at the chief icon of American restaurant food: The Chicken Caesar.  Today’s post was sparked by Sam Sifton’s NYTimes magazine column on the Caesar salad, which addresses the fact that few dishes are truly authentic, and he uses the Caesar salad as an example. For me putting a chicken breast on a perfectly good Caesar is an emblem of American mediocrity, a lack of imagination, and our fear of food (The Shame of the Chicken Caesar Salad). But Sifton, while he makes the unconscionable error of failing to include my Chicken Fried Pork Belly Casear in his list of famous variations, does us a service by telling us a freeing truth: Read On »

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Great foie gras fun going on in this household ever since del Grosso asked me to write about the foie gras au torchon he and Pardus’s created for Hudson Valley Foie Gras. It’s an excellent product.  And it was fun showing people that serving foie gras doesn’t require a Catholic-length production, but can be simple and casual. Sometimes, though, you do want to elevate it, make it yourself and serve it to people you care about.  So herewith, a step-by-step slideshow of the foie gras au torchon, one of the greatest culinary preparations known to man.  I first learned about the torchon—which means dish towel in French, because the foie is traditionally wrapped in a dish towel (love that this culinary luxury is wrapped in a lowly towel)—while working on The French Laundry Cookbook. I Read On »

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Foie gras has a reputation for being fancy.  Many don’t understand what it is.  When I served my dad a seared slice of foie gras, the liver of a fattened duck, he looked at it surprised. “I thought foie gras was pâté,” he said. Often foie gras is made into a pâté, but not always. Foie gras can be sliced and seared in a very hot pan, no oil, crisp on the outside, molten within. It can be roasted whole. Or it can be made into a torchon as Bob del Grosso described on Monday, with a product he and Chef Pardus developed for Hudson Valley foie gras, and served cold. Either way it doesn’t taste like liver, at all.  It’s sweet and fatty, more like butter than liver. To make a “torchon” (French for Read On »

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