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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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MELT_chocolate_pasta

When I was in San Francisco promoting Egg, my friend Stephanie Stiavetti, who writes The Culinary Life (see current post, 5/23, on making your own ricotta from an interesting new book, One-Hour Cheese), took me for a fab meal at State Bird Provisions. We walked through the lovely Pacific Heights after, and I kept on walking to my hotel through the Tenderloin. I have never been accosted by so many beggars. (What are they thinking?) I wrote the introduction to the book she mentions below with gladness; I’d never thought to elevate the American classic by using great American cheeses. The below recipe takes Mac and Cheese to a new level (and for those in my neck of the woods, Ohio, feel free to substitute Mackenzie Creamery goat cheese instead of the Bucherondin).—M.R. by Stephanie Read On »

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