Stock-Mise-en-place

  Want to make Thanksgiving day easier on yourself and ensure you have the best gravy ever? Start now. (Or this weekend.) This, too, planning ahead, is part of mise en place, one of the most important cooking “techniques” to recognize. Mise en place literally translates as put in place. To a cook, mise en place refers to his or her station set-up—having all that you need, at your station and in place, to accomplish the work ahead. Mise en place is shorthand for being prepared, at your station and in your mind. (I write about this more completely in Ruhlman’s Twenty.) It’s the cook’s first order of business, at a restaurant, at home. Making a roast chicken dinner with green beens and baked potato? Get everything out on the counter before you pick that Read On »

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I’m spending time in my studio apartment in NYC now and so have been cooking for one and thinking about the unusual nature of the task: single portions using as few pans as possible. I’ve posted recently on the importance of duck confit, and how it represents for me our ingenuity in terms of preserving food. But sometimes duck confit is just duck confit: a satisfying and delicious meal. And perfect for one in a tiny kitchen. Especially given that prepared duck confit is right around the corner at the most excellent Dickson’s Farmstand Meats in the Chelsea Market (I wrote about them last year). Happily, the wonderful company D’Artagnan makes duck confit and sells to many grocers and they also can ship directly to you. D’Artagnan is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Monday—congrats, Ariane! For this Read On »

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I’m meeting with my editor from Little, Brown at the end of the week to run through ideas for the next cookbook (which I claimed I wouldn’t write … so sue me; perhaps it’s an illness). But I honestly don’t know what to explore. So I’m coming here for ideas. Of course, I always have teaching in mind when I write a cookbook, teaching myself, first and foremost. But I’d like to put the question out to home cooks and chefs alike. What book is most necessary, what cookbook doesn’t yet exist? Sous vide is ever on my mind, but I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. Also, there are now several good books out there on the subject from people who have more experience than I. Modernist Cuisine Made Easy, sous vide Read On »

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Duck Confit with Pepper/Coriander Cure

As fall nears, my thoughts turn to duck confit. I hope you’ll put this excellent and simple technique into your repertoire this fall. It’s a great way to have a delicious meal moments away all fall and into the winter if you make one big batch. It keeps for many months in the fridge. Here’s my method using olive oil, which works great. I love it so much that when Thomas Keller asked me to submit a piece for Finesse, his elegant magazine, on the theme of preservation, my mind went straight to duck confit. I’m reprinting it here in anticipation of fall cooking. It’s about a lot more than deliciousness. (And for the literary folks, I’ll be in Raleigh tomorrow—9/18/15—for the Southern Indie Booksellers Association event, promoting my new fiction, In Short Measures. On Sunday Read On »

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Paula Wolfert busy at work in her kitchen.  Photo by: Eric Wolfinger.

When the formidable Andrea Nguyen, author and teacher, wrote to me asking for help in promoting a kickstarter on behalf of a book about another of the country’s most important writers about food, I was eager to help. Within a day or two, Andrea wrote to say that they had reached their too-modest goal. But I still wanted to help and keep promoting because their print run is far smaller than it should be. This is potentially an important book about food and memory. So herewith, Andrea’s ode to Paula Wolfert (pictured above).–M.R. By Andrea Nguyen “I live in the now. I live for today and I make it work for me,” says Paula Wolfert in the Kickstarter video to fund a new book about her and her work. She’s speaking to lifestyle adjustments she’s made since her Read On »

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