Key-Lime-Merigue4

Down in Key West on my annual boondoggle to cook for my cousins Rob and Ab and their merry band of sailors as they narrowly hang onto second place in their J-111 class, and their son, Ryan, skippers the 88, with his sister cousin Maegan aboard. And so, in honor of place, I’m posting this recipe from my book Egg: An Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient: a key lime tart. It is indeed one of the finer desserts I know, custard made with yolks, topped with sweetened, whipped egg whites that are lightly browned. It’s been a week of fun food, fish tacos (using beautiful yellow tail snapper), a lobster night which is always something of a celebratory meal (with leftover strip steaks), last night an easy protein for me, D’Artagnan’s most excellent duck Read On »

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Chicken Provençal

Sunday night my dear friends JD and Catherine Sullivan invited me for dinner. JD is a good cook (see the sausage making video we did together; video also feature my partner in tools, Mac Dalton, an appearance by my young son, James, who now, lean and tall, looks me straight in the eye, and JD at the end; it’s a good primer on making sausage). But when I arrived to find that JD’s chicken Provençal was simply baked chicken with herbs I was prepared to be underwhelmed. JD explained that it was a recipe from the estimable Sam Sifton who runs the excellent NYTimes cooking site. Chicken is seasoned, floured, put in a baking dish and roasted for about an hour. It turned out to be a terrific preparation, thanks to the aggressive herbage, and also, importantly, Read On »

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Food Lab_978-0-393-08108-4_frame

I typically get sent what must be hundreds of pounds of cookbooks in the fall and so have a fair idea of the landscape of new books. Owing to an uncommon amount of travel, I haven’t had the opportunity this year. But I was sent one book to blurb (“say nice things about”) that goes above and beyond any cookbook I’ve seen since Nathan Myrhvold and company’s Modernist Cuisine. That book is The Food Lab, by Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats, named for his cooking column there. That column first appeared in 2009. Over the next half-decade, this uber food geek tackled all kinds of cooking experiments to determine the very best way to cook, say, eggs. Kenji has combined knowledge gleaned over half a decade, reshaping it and putting all this knowledge, all this work, Read On »

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MR-xmas-books-@1020

I would of course be remiss in the eyes of my venerable publishers if I did not recommend my own books as being splendid gift ideas for the holidays. So herewith my not-so-humble descriptions of some of the books I’m most proud of. My favorite and most useful cookbook, especially for young cooks, home cooks who want to get better, or parents who want to help teach their kids to cook, is Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto. It identifies the twenty fundamental ideas, foods, and techniques required to cook just about anything. It won a James Beard Award in the general cooking category when it came out. The egg is a miracle of nutrition, economy, deliciousness, and utility. There may be no more valuable food to the cook. So I wrote a book Read On »

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4-Onion-Garbure

Continuing a series of soup posts as the weather cools (here in the Northeast at least), I’m offering this rich vegetable garbure. Garbure hails from my favorite food region, Gascony, in the southwestern corner of France. (I wrote about it here for Conde Nast Traveler.) It would traditionally include some kind of confited meat and cabbage. This version, which I included in Ruhlman’s Twenty, gets its depth of flavor from bacon rind, but you could substitute several slices of rind-on bacon, diced, or omit the bacon completely for a vegetarian soup. But pig skin, connective tissue, is loaded with a protein called collagen, which breaks down into gelatin to give the soup great body. If you can’t find slab bacon with a rind to remove yourself, order it from your butcher or meat department. Or, better Read On »

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