Earlier this week, I shot a video on grilling for a new digital magazine being created by Sideways.  I did a spatchcocked chicken, grilled asparagus and also sausage, because, after the infrenal boneless skinless chicken breast, it’s the most overcooked meat in America, and yet it’s rightly beloved here. In my experience people err because they’re afraid of not cooking it enough.  So they either cook it over really high heat, overcooking the outside, busting open the sausage, or they kill it with too much moderate heat. As we move into grilling season, and there’s no better way to cook a sausage than over the smoky heat of live coals, I encourage you to grill sausages often.  All carnivores around you will be happier. There are two stages to grilling a sausage to perfection.  Start Read On »

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Originally posted, 8/13/07 (alas, I have yet to rid America of this tragedy): Does anyone know who first put cooked chicken breast on a Caesar salad and called it a Chicken Caesar?  I wish I did.  I’ve been upset about this at least for two years now because I remember railing to Todd English and Ming Tsai about it as we traveled together for an erstwhile cooking show.  “The Chicken Caesar is an emblem of the mediocrity of American cuisine!” I would cry.  Ming would chuckle and turn up the volume on his iPod, and Todd more or less ignored me as a run-of-the-mill crank screaming into the nor’easter of American food culture. Or so I thought. Last week I had lunch at a Cheesecake Factory in Cleveland, and of course, there it was, Caesar Read On »

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I normally don’t brine chicken.  I roast a chicken about once a week and it’s a step I just don’t think about since salting the bird before I roast it works perfectly fine.  Also, I don’t like the skin of a brined and roasted bird—it’s too thin and dehydrated.  But on Sunday, I had the time and was curious to find out if, as I’ve read and repeated, meat that has been brined is heavier (and therefore potentially juicier) than non-brined meat.  I also had fresh herbs left over from the dumplings in the previous post.  While I always use a rosemary brine for fried chicken, I was curious to find out if the more delicate tarragon flavor would come through in the flesh of the bird.  So I made a brine using my standard, Read On »

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I lead my too-stupid-to-cook post with Donna’s roast chicken photo (a spur of the moment shot while I finished the meal) because roast chicken is the iconic home meal.  It’s delicious, satisfying, economical, and easy. But why I love roast chicken is that it keeps on giving if you’ll let it.  I almost always throw the carcass into a 2 quart sauce pan and cover it with water for stock (here’s my oven method for making stock).  One carcass will give you a quart of great stock. If I also have plenty of leftover chicken, I’ll make chicken and dumplings, especially in the winter (basically an inverted chicken pot pie!).  When you’ve got this delicious stock, it’s impossible to wind up with anything other than fabulous.  Two hearty meals from one little chicken. The dumplings Read On »

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Say you didn’t listen to me.  Say you disregarded my warning and made stock anyway. Or say you just like to cook and want to put the leftover chicken to use in a really cool way. I love chicken pot pies.  I grew up eating frozen ones and all I remember is the nasty peas and the fact that chicken pot pie for dinner meant mom and dad were going out for the evening (my dad was a classic ad man, creative director, and even resembled Jon Hamm as much as my mom resembled January Jones—still does in fact!).  Suburban sixties. But now I know how fabulous a chicken pot pie can be if you do it yourself.  And you don’t have to add peas if you don’t want.  I make a buttery crust (3-2-1 Read On »

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