I asked two friends, Emilia and Marlene, for help in developing an English Muffin Recipe for the first in a few more #fromscratch challenges.  This single challenge was more daunting than expected. There’s not much out there in the way of English muffin recipes, and the ones we found were lacking and even our original attempts weren’t appealing. I first had a look at Jane Grigson and Elizabeth David, returning to the source of English muffins, just called muffins, of course, along with their sibling, the crumpet, which should have holes in the surface. Both recipes used what amounted to a standard 5:3 bread ratio that was cooked on a griddle. Marlene worked with a buttermilk version for flavor.  We had issues with the proper amount of holelyness, important in a good English muffin. Ultimately Read On »

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December is the month for making brioche at home. It’s the great holiday bread.  Though calling it bread doesn’t do it justice.  Good brioche is like a cross between bread and cake.  Hell, it’s really cake sneaking in as bread. Nothing better on Christmas morning. It’s a celebratory bread—rich with butter and eggs.  Toast it and eat it with butter. Toast it and eat it with foie gras. It makes extraordinary and delicate croutons.  Nothing makes better French toast.  And it’s fabulous on its own, straight out of the oven. I made it once for my daughter Addison.  When she asked for a repeat performance, I wrote the below recipe so that she could make it on her own. She first made it when she was eleven, four years ago, and she still makes it Read On »

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Do we need a recipe for Chipotle-Corn Ciabatta?  I’m in the process of developing bread recipes, all kinds, working with sourdough, whole grain, the powerfully flavored rye, but I began with some basic flavored breads. This is one of my favorites because I am crazy for chipotles, and am devoted to corn, which goes great with chipotles.  Cilantro on top of that?  Good for color but optional if cilantro tastes like soap to you but I love it. This is just the basic 5:3 bread ratio with flavors I love.  (For more on basic bread ratio, or any of my ratios, you can of course read this book.)  But really, you can flavor it any way you want to.  I like the ciabatta shape, Italian for slipper, a name marketed in Italy in the 1980s.  Read On »

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Week 15 from Geauga Family Farms.  I think they’re getting better—the lettuce is fresher, there’s less signs of travel in the soft vegetables. As I’ve pointed out before, just because you grow heirloom fruits and veg, doesn’t mean they’re good. You’ve got to be a good farmer or grower.  And just because you grow excellent fruits and veg, doesn’t mean they’re still excellent when they arrive on the table of the family that purchased the CSA.  Every part of the process matters. Fun CSA this week: I’m not a huge fan of cherry tomatoes—too much skin relative to the amount of flesh, and frankly, I don’t love them enough to blanch, shock, and peel them.  But last night, photographing a bacon and eggs pizza for the new book, I had some leftover dough and cheese, Read On »

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[I'm taking a blogging break until 5/31, so am putting up favorite food posts from the archives in the interim] Can we call this national make-pizza-at-home week?  That would make me really happy.  Why?  Because pizza at home is so good, so easy, and so so affordable.  But what I want to focus on here is the EASY part.  This is why I really loved Sam Sifton’s NYTimes mag article on pizza (except for that truly shameless plug of Jay McInerny’s new book—are they pals? Really had to stretch even to make sense).  But: Pizza at home IS so easy it got me wanting to make pizza for breakfast: bacon and eggs pizza?  Why not?! I loved his stressing the fact that you don’t have to have a stone oven that goes to 800 degrees Read On »

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