Restaurants have flourished in Cleveland over the past decade.  Michael Symon’s places are nationally know; Donna and I had a great summer meal al fresco at Doug Katz’s Fire Food and Drink on Friday (does the best brunch in Cleveland, too), finally got to eat some great food truck food last night from Chris Hodgon, and the place that makes me so happy these days: The Greenhouse Tavern.  They hand grind beef to order for tartare, roast chickens en croute, serve humble clams with snooty foie gras, and roast whole hogs heads and serve them on the bone.  Defiant cuisine in a meat-and-potatoes I-want-my-burger-well-done town.  Or used to be.  No longer. Thanks to everyone mentioned here, and the too many others to even list. We ate one here one night last spring and Donna was Read On »

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Foie gras has a reputation for being fancy.  Many don’t understand what it is.  When I served my dad a seared slice of foie gras, the liver of a fattened duck, he looked at it surprised. “I thought foie gras was pâté,” he said. Often foie gras is made into a pâté, but not always. Foie gras can be sliced and seared in a very hot pan, no oil, crisp on the outside, molten within. It can be roasted whole. Or it can be made into a torchon as Bob del Grosso described on Monday, with a product he and Chef Pardus developed for Hudson Valley foie gras, and served cold. Either way it doesn’t taste like liver, at all.  It’s sweet and fatty, more like butter than liver. To make a “torchon” (French for Read On »

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Regular readers know I’m a veal stock evangelist. Veal stock is one of those magical ingredients that can transform a mediocre cook into an ohmyfuckinggodthisfoodisamazing cook. Really, it’s that powerful. My first piece for Gourmet magazine was about veal stock. My veal stock recipe is in the Gourmet cookbook. In Elements of Cooking, a 242-page book about food and cooking, there is but a single recipe: veal stock. I once asked Jacques Pepin about veal stock and he said he didn’t much make it. Ingredients weren’t at his store in Connecticut.  I found this amazing, until I realized something important!  It was Jacques Pepin!  He doesn’t NEED veal stock.  He could probably make Miracle Whip taste good. But for the rest of us?  Slipping a little veal stock into our food has the same effect Read On »

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This is not just a guacamole recipe and preparation, it’s a broader lesson about aromatics and acid and using seasonal foods.  It’s avocado season, so they’re really good now!  And they will be all summer long.  Avocados are one of my favorite fruits; they’re kind of like butter, a ready made sauce—all you have to do is adjust texture and add flavors. I recently offered this mortar and pestle to followers on OpenSky (more on OpenSky here), and it makes a gorgeous service piece in addition to being a practical cooking tool.  I mash garlic and salt to a paste, then add minced shallot (yes shallots!). Then I add lime juice. This is one of those great all-purpose techniques I use in many preparations, from mayo to vinaigrettes. First, the juice dissolves the salt so Read On »

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©photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman—see more at: Ruhlmanphotography.com When Donna found herself in NYC at the Ace Hotel last fall, she spent a couple nights in the Breslin kitchen watching executive chef April Bloomfield, Breslin chef de cuisine Peter Cho, and crew rock (that’s Peter and April top right). The trotter caught her eye.  It’s the perfect example of why this post could be called Why April Is Not the Cruelest Month But Rather the Best Porker, or simply Why We Love April.  The British chef takes a great Italian classic, a zampone, as she notes, breads it, fries it in olive oil and butter, and serves it as their “Pig’s Foot for 2.”  It’s the boned out trotter, stuffed with cotechino, a pork and pig skin farce.  Peter says it’s currently served with braised Read On »

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