chicken-romano

Last week I turned in the final draft of my book about grocery stores in America, called GROCERY: THE BUYING AND SELLING OF FOOD IN AMERICA. One of the chapters discusses prepared foods in grocery stores, a category that’s growing but which is really hard to make money at if you’re the grocer. The narrative anchor of the book is small chain of stores in Cleveland and Chicago. And one of their most popular prepared dishes is this Chicken Romano. They sell 85,000 pounds of it each year, or about 1,700 pounds a week. I’d recently been sent some chicken breasts by a company called Butcherbox, a mail-order buisness offering grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and heritage pork. I’ve tried samples of all and the quality is excellent. While I still think that the fat of grass-fed beef is a Read On »

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sesame-noodles

  When I began living in a 400-square-foot studio apartment in New York City’s West Village a year ago, I lost my cooking mojo. I had about three dishes I’d cook—stir-fried beef, curried chicken, steak or chop with sautéed potatoes and spinach—and the rest of the home meals were takeout form Mrs. Green’s on Hudson Street. But during a call with my therapist, she asked if I was cooking. I said, No, not much, though I used to cook all the time. She said, I think you might feel better if you spent more time cooking. She was right. So I have determined to cook more. And I’ve turned back to books to jumpstart my imagination. I looked first to Joe Yonan‘s Serve Yourself, a cooking-for-one book. Are these inherently unhappy books? No, but the book Vegan Cooking for One Read On »

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saute

My new book, How To Sauté, publishes tomorrow and Little Brown is giving away the whole set (which includes How To Roast and How To Braise). Enter here for your chance to win— May 23rd is the last day. Or order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or from Indiebound.   People familiar with my work know my conviction that mastering a single technique is better than having a hundred recipes. So I’ve devoted these short books to the finer points of the critical techniques. Sauté is the most used of all techniques and the nuances of it are many. Whether it’s in the preparing of veal scallopine, a classical poulet sauté, shrimp, or a flatiron steak, each sauté is a little different. I discuss types of pans, cooking tools, cooking fats, the critical herbs and aromatics Read On »

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egg1

  (First published in Finesse, Thomas Keller’s superb magazine, earlier this year.) In the 1970s, the egg was bad-for-you food in America. After being a mainstay of the human diet for millennia, doctors here decreed that the cholesterol-laden yolk clogged arteries and resulted in heart attacks. Eat an egg if you must, nutritionists warned, but only in limited quantities. And after 30 years of telling us to avoid eggs and order up those egg white omelettes, the American Heart Association changed its mind—oops!—and declared that eggs, like an unjustly punished child, could once again return to the dining table. As I began to write about the egg, I realized the egg fatwa was no isolated event. Indeed, it came to symbolize for me what was wrong with the way we think about food and how we let others decide what we eat. Read On »

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Cured-bacon-3

  It’s bacon time again! I don’t know why but I’ve been getting a lot of bacon questions in my email recently, so thought I’d address a few issues I haven’t before. Of course, I’ve long commented on the fact that curing your own bacon is no more difficult than marinating a steak. Mix all the ingredients together and put them in a plastic bag with the meat. Use the recipe below. The aromatics, the bay leaves and everything else below can be considered optional. But there are other strategies. You could make a brine if you feel more comfortable with that. For those of you concerned about reaching the right salt and pink salt levels, you could use a technique called equilibrium brining, which I first read about in Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine. To Read On »

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