One of my favorite things on earth to eat is a well made foie gras torchon. It’s a special preparation of foie gras, fat duck liver, that I first experienced at The French Laundry (the recipe is in The French Laundry Cookbook if you have it).  It’s a three day procedure and brings out the very best in the foie gras when done right.  The duck liver is deveined, typically soaked in milk and salt to remove residual blood, then seasoned and, traditionally, rolled up in a kitchen towel (a torchon, in French), poached, rerolled to compact it and chilled. It’s then eaten cold, a big fat slice of it, with some form of bread and a sweet-sour accompaniment.  The biggest producer of foie gras in the country, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, was making and Read On »

Share

Biscotti is the perfect accompaniment mid-morning when I’m into my fifth or sixth cup of coffee.  I drink coffee all morning long and I’m able to do so because I don’t use one of those horrible drip machines, but rather what I think of as my personal 1956 Lincoln Continental of a coffee machine. The problem has always been that I’ve never really liked biscotti.  Maybe because I’ve only ever had the stuff that comes in a gift basket from Gallucci’s (a store I adore).  Or the one time I tried to make it myself.  It was rock hard and tasteless, so I figured I’d done a perfect job. But a while back, someone asked for a biscotti recipe, perhaps even a ratio.  My able colleague Emilia Juocys was intrigued and so recently set to Read On »

Share

I’ve been fascinated with gluten-free bread recipes because they attempt to do what shouldn’t be possible: create a network of pliable solids that can expand and trap gas released by yeast, giving you a leavened bread without gluten. It’s also invariably a good-for-you loaf, with a rich variety of grains. Shauna Ahern, aka gluten-free girl, author of her the eponymous book and recently Gluten Free Girl and the Chef with husband Daniel, is among the best and has developed this seriously good gluten-free loaf for my bread-baking month. (There will be one more bread baking post; I know, it’s February, but who cares. Bread is Life. Remember these awesome rolls.) Celiac is a very real intolerance to the main proteins in flour (and soy sauce and many many other things, see frank conversation with Carol Read On »

Share

Here is a bagel recipe worthy of the best New York or Jersey deli from a baker in Boone, North Carolina. Bruce Ezzell commented on this blog ages ago and elicited a discussion about bagels, which led to his inspiring journey from being laid off to opening his own bakery. professional baker. I’ll let Bruce, @thebreadlist on Twitter, tell the story.—M.R. by Bruce Ezzell I’ve been baking for 20 years now. Five years professionally from 1989-1994, then what I called ‘sanity baking’ after that. Newly married, kids on the way, I had to find work that gave me a steady paycheck so I left baking for new careers. The ‘economic downturn’ changed things for me. I lost my job as the office manager of a high-end construction company in January 2009.  Boone, NC, where I live, is a Read On »

Share

When I asked my friend and primary recipe tester, Marlene Newell, who runs the site cookskorner.com, to contribute a post during bread month, a challah recipe was the first bread that came to mind, and I’m delighted it did, because I love the soft, egg-rich crumb and flavor, probably my favorite of the non-lean doughs. This is Marlene’s favorite recipe and it comes from one of the foremost bread teachers and writers about bread in the country, Peter Reinhart. If you don’t know about him, you should!  See Peter’s blog, as well as his other site and soon to be show, Pizza Quest. “This is my best challah to date,” Peter wrote to us in an email, “and I don’t think I can top it.”—M.R. by Marlene Newell The Jewish Sabbath and holiday bread got Read On »

Share