[Update 1/16: Winners have been chosen; their dishes are at the bottom of this post.] Two and a half years ago, I wrote a post on staple meals because I’m fascinated by what people eat at home when they don’t want to think about what to make, what their go-to, middle-of-the-week meal is, because they are invariably quick, efficient, economical, and well, good enough to eat once a week forever. (I think they also tell us a lot about who we are). The woman who has been cutting my hair for 12 years, three kids 16 and younger, husband not always at home, an “I don’t have a lot of time” mom. She makes chicken legs on a small rotisserie, and will do lamb or steak, with beans and rice.  Soup once a week with what’s Read On »

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The dastardly minds at OpenSky have created an extraordinary collection of kitchen tools to lure you into their clutches. You are hereby forewarned! But the fact is, they really are offering all of these great tools to one lucky winner who will get all of the above.  All you have to do is follow me on OpenSky and you’re entered.  (For those who already follow me there, you are already automatically entered!) Click here for a chance to win these kitchen essentials at OpenSky. For those of you not familiar with OpenSky, it’s a relatively new ecommerce site sourcing cool stuff recommended by food, health, style and design experts. They allow me to recommend kitchen tools I personally love. I only offer tools and food products I would buy and use myself, and only if Read On »

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First, I love love love all these suggestions from the Veal Stock Contest post.  There were great drinks, including jello shots. I love the Bloody Mary with diced demi cubes (see below).  The above is the cocktail is a meal; veal stock gives it body and umami and nutrition: 1 ounce tomato juice 1 ounce veal stock, 2 ounces of gin (or OYO vodka), 1/2 teaspoon horseradish, shot of Worchestershire Sauce, lemon juice garnished with scallion, and garnished with the overall winner: Veal Salt! Veal Salt is my personal pick of favorite veal stock innovations, offered by Josh Kantor, a 21-year-old senior economics at Occidental College in Los Angeles and part-time garde manger at Hatfield’s Restaurant.  It makes everything taste better.  I’m not usually a fan of flavored salts, but this salt puts veal stock’s 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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As some readers know, I and my buddy Mac have begun to manufacture new cooking tools that we love, and we’re already getting great feedback. We love The Spanker, above (photo by Donna, thanks hon!)—the big paddle for stirring big pots. There’s simply nothing out there like it that we could find. I’ll be using it to stir a double batch of Hoppin’ John for a New Year’s Day fete. But my mom said it was too big for her—she never cooked in batches that would require this bad boy.  Another reader said the same, but added that she loved the paddles she’d received so much that she’d have been happy to pay the same amount for two small paddles.

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