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  This is my new favorite cookbook. I’ve long made a fuss about not liking cookbooks, because I don’t. Cookbooks are too often about recipes, and that’s not what cooking is about. I tried to write an anti-cookbook, Ratio, that intended to help the home cook rely on proportions and technique rather than recipes. It had a ton of recipes in it anyway (editor request). I admired books with a genuine voice, David Lebovitz‘s books, Judi Rodgers’s Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Well-written cookbooks. I didn’t dislike recipes per se. I still rely on a page torn from Saveur with a fabulous falafel recipe—too many ingredients to remember, let alone their proportions. I have to look at my own recipe for fried chicken to make the seasoned flour (included in the above book above, happily). So what is Read On »

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_COVER Mastering Pasta

I’d like to use Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri‘s new book to rejoice in pasta. It’s called Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto I love pasta! Carbs! Bring them on! How have we brought this upon ourselves? This Anti-Carb Nation. This Gluten-Fearing Country. If I were texting this, I would conclude with my avatar and the new Bitmoji offering: Cray-Cray! (I admit to spending too much time trying to create entire narratives with my Bitmoji avatar.) Seriously, it’s time for us to TAKE BACK OUR PASTA! Vetri’s book (written with the excellent David Joachim) is a fine place to start, with everything you need to know about pasta and making it and shaping it. Indeed, I especially liked the chapter on hand-shaped pastas, probably because I will never spend three hours shaping lorighittas Read On »

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pasta with asparagus & egg X3 @540

    I just spent several days in Philadelphia hanging out with a group of small(ish) family grocers. Food highlights were the excellent burger at Bank & Bourbon on arrival, a Yards rye ale, followed by a flight of bourbons that finished with a very good special barrel from Knob Creek specifically for the bar. Last night’s dinner at Spraga was great—what a lovely room. The starting foie and ginger soup (I think they said foie) was outstanding, as were the duck and lobster pastas. Highly recommend. Also spent some time tasting amazing cheeses at DiBruno Bros. on Chestnut Street. Fabulous Von Trapp Oma, a raw milk cheese that had great balance of flavor and richness. I’m off now to Minneapolis to see some more grocery stores and attend the AWP conference. I’m on the road and busy, Read On »

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Senses-X3

  Last week I had lunch with Kate Lee, a senior editor at medium.com, an elegant publishing platform created by the Twitter co-founders (she had a salad, which put me on guard until she agreed to taste some of my terrible-looking but most delicious chicken livers on toast). Medium was in search of writers/content, and my book agent, the lovely Cait Hoyt, said she wanted all her writers to contribute to medium. I’m always interested in new platforms, ideas, ways to share and spread information, and promote my own projects. Medium is about three years old and still trying to find its legs, it seems, though no one denies it’s a great place to read interesting stuff, even if it’s often somehow about itself. Which may scarily be what we’re coming to. One of the subtexts Read On »

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Lamb-Shank18

    First, the following five people (and their favorite braise) will receive a signed copy of my new book How to Braise. Congrats! —Steve W.: Braised oxtail and pumpkin with chickpeas over couscous! —Cindy M: Braised pork shanks…. yum! —JAvera: Oven-Braised Corned Beef. Yum. Sliced thin and served on Kings Hawaiian Bread. (I know, I know. Just try it sometime!) —Fran: I’ll pretty much take anything braised, but currently I’m loving chicken braised with carrots, leeks and sherry. —Tom Abella: My favorite braise is Cheating Pulled Pork Shoulder, which is what I call it when I combine an hour of heavy smoking over a grill at night with putting the shoulder in a covered Dutch oven at 225 overnight. What emerges in the morning is a glorious fall-apart piece of meat complete with drippings Read On »

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