I’d been looking for a long ago recipe card used by my parents titled “Britta’s Glogg” to do a post about it (and because I hadn’t made it in years). Then all of a sudden I start seeing recipes for mulled wine all over the place. I don’t remember seeing any in years and then, two different ones from just in the NYTimes alone, one in the Sunday Magazine, another by writer Melissa Clark. It was not the drinking of the glogg that stays in the memory—it wasn’t till later that I would actually have been drinking it—it was the aroma of it. I’ve recently become aware of how powerful the smells of food cooking in house are. They are a natural stress reliever. When I made a batch of glogg this year, the first Read On »

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On Thanksgiving, I offered a roast/braise combination cooking technique for turkey. Interesting that I use a dual cooking technique for our traditional holiday Christmas meal as well. The Grill/Roast method, which I write about in Ruhlman’s Twenty. I don’t think there’s a better way to cook a rack of beef (or a whole beef tenderloin) than this combination grill-roast method. It gives the meat great grilled flavor and allows you perfect control of temperatures and timing. I use the method in during holidays, to serve beef tenderloin sandwiches on a buffet or a rack of beef for a large group of people because I can grill the beef a day ahead if I want and then just finish it in the oven. Flavor the meat on the grill, finish it in the oven. It’s beautiful. Read On »

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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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  The two great turkey conundrums: 1) how to have juicy breast meat and tender dark meat and 2) how to serve it all hot to a lot of people. Answer: the roast/braise method. Last year, chatting with my neighbor, the excellent chef Doug Katz (Fire Food and Drink), described how he cooks the turkey in stock up to the drumstick so that the legs braise while the breast and skin cook in dry heat. Last year I tried it and it works brilliantly. Thank you, Doug. Doug posted his version on the restaurant’s blog. I’ve simplified and added a couple steps to make it easier for perfect doneness. (Step-by-step pix below.) The basic idea is this: cook the turkey half submerged in flavorful liquid and lots of aromatic vegetables. When the breast is barely Read On »

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People freak out about gravy. I don’t know why. Gravy is easy as pie. Actually, a hell of a lot easier than pie. All it is, is a delicious, rich stock thickened with flour. In cooking school, they call it velouté, French for velvety. You take a great stock and give it a velvety texture. Flour-thickened sauces got a bad name when bad “French” restaurants served heavy terrible sauces. Properly prepared, flour-thickened sauces are light, flavorful, and refreshing. I prefer them to heavy reductions which, prepared thoughtlessly, are gluey with protein and make the tongue stick to the palate. The key is dispersing the flour uniformly through the sauce. We do this by combining the fat (butter, rendered chicken or turkey fat) so that the granules of flour are each coated with fat to prevent Read On »

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