Chicken that has been given an aggressive salting before roasting.

My new book, How to Roast, may have begun in Portland when a fellow scribe claimed that people no longer had time to cook and I called bullshit. And then at some point during my rant-cum-roast-chicken recipe I noted possible activities to while away the hour that the bird was in the oven. That was the beginning of this new book. But it was fueled by my conviction that the world doesn’t need more recipes, it needs deeper understanding of the fundamental techniques. Because when you know technique, you don’t need to rely on recipes and you don’t find yourself at 5 pm with hungry kids thinking, now what am I going to do? How to Roast is the first in a series of technique-based books. They’re short. They include only 25 recipes or so. Because we don’t Read On »

Share
BH1

In June I interviewed Dan Barber at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland about his superb new book The Third Plate. Barber is not only one of the country’s leading chefs, he’s one of the foremost thinkers and writers on the state of how we grow, distribute, cook, and eat food, which is quickly becoming one of the dominant conversations of our generation. He implored me to make the trip to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, comprising a high-end restaurant plus 80 acres of farmland and pasture and woods for growing and raising the plants and livestock he and his brigade serve at the restaurant. The following month, Donna and I drove up to Blue Hill to take him up on his offer (a full ten years since its opening), arriving early enough to talk with Read On »

Share
The-Ben-Smith-cocktail-@102

I read about this impromptu cocktail in Molly Wizenberg’s new memoir, Delancey, about her and her husband’s opening of a restaurant in Seattle, one specializing in pizza, her Jersey-born husband’s culinary love. Wizenberg, author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette, is a felicitous writer, and her latest is a lovely memoir about love and food and the crazy decisions we make based on nothing reliable and the risks we take, and the really, really hard work of running a restaurant, even a casual pizzeria. Molly and Brandon’s good friend, Ben, offered this cocktail, which appealed to my inner skinflint, with its insistence on cheap gin. Love that. Wizenberg names it grandly: The Benjamin Wayne Smith. I am adding vermouth (because it benefits from it), which Wizenberg also suggests, and because of the modification Read On »

Share
eggs on blue plate

At an event to promote my new book on the mighty egg, I did a demo of some simple egg dishes with my friend and Cleveland chef, Doug Katz. He had prepared deviled eggs ahead of time, and I was struck by his decision to cut the eggs through their equator rather than lengthwise. He then sliced off some of the white at the bottom so that the eggs rested flat in a large tray. What a brilliant idea! Why hadn’t I thought of this? My only problem with deviled eggs is that I love them so much; but, because they’re so big, I can eat only so many. Doug came up with a solution: Removing a chunk of the white means that each deviled egg is a little smaller and easier to eat, and Read On »

Share
Barber-Moca-@1020

I had the great good fortune to interview Dan Barber before a sold-out crowd at Cleveland’s MOCA last night, talking to him about his fine book, The Third Plate (NYTimes review here). Barber, chef and owner of New York’s Blue Hill restaurant and maestro of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, is the most vocal and articulate chef soap-boxing for a sustainable food future. The problem has long been that, while he’s been very good at articulating the problems, he’s never had a realistic solution. Americans can’t completely opt out of the industrial food system by relying exclusively on CSAs and farmers’ markets (much as we cherish them). And chefs must cherry-pick the best ingredients if they are to keep their restaurants filled. Until this book, that is. Barber, through excellent reporting (how many chefs record interviews Read On »

Share