The ever popular Tool Bundle. It features our most popular kitchen items. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

  Finishing up an interview with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at his restaurant day before Thanksgiving, I asked if his long-time right hand man Greg Brianin and his ace executive chef Mark Lapico were around. I wanted to give them one of my offset spoons (middle of the top three, and my favorite all time spoon). I showed Jean-Georges and he said, “This is yours?” Yes. “I love it!” And then “Can I have one?” Bien sur. When we found Mark, buried in Thanksgiving prep, I gave a spoon to him he said, “You have your own spoon? Oh my god. Every time I would go on the meat station, I would take their Kunz spoon and bend it. they would say, ‘Why are you fucking up my tools.’ I’d say, ‘I’m telling you, it’s going to Read On »

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Braise-roasted-Turkey

Last year my cousin Ryan, feeling overwhelmed by the task of hosting his first Thanksgiving dinner, wrote to me for advice. I’m reposting the advice I gave him here, along with the roast/braise method. The bottom line is this and it’s the mantra I want all anxious cooks out there to repeat continually: Everything will be fine. Really. Everything will be fine. Really. (Thank you @SamSifton.)  Below is a collection of posts that cover all the fundamental dishes. Nothing new here; the good stuff always stays the same. Remember, no one step is particularly hard, so it’s simply a matter of being organized. For last minute questions, I’ll be taking them online at the @Food52 hotline, Thanksgiving day from 2-3. Homemade Turkey Stock The Original Roasted/Braised Turkey Post with Illustrative Photos and Slide Show. If you want Read On »

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eggnog1

My trusted assistant, Emilia Juocys, emailed to say she was making her holiday eggnog and I said, “Take pix! I want to remind people to get their eggnog made!” She did, see above, then pointed me to this intriguing Food Lab article on aged eggnog: http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/09/is-aging-holiday-eggnog-worth-it.html. It seems intuitive to me that the longer anything ages, the more complex and funky it will be. But is it better? That was the case with two-year eggnog, which had turned a kind of dangerous-looking brown, but I enjoyed the deep funk. How can you keep dairy and eggs in your fridge for a year or three? The alcohol kills the bacteria that cause food to spoil (not to mention salmonella that might be in raw egg). This is a good thing to remember if you need to leave Read On »

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Start the new year off with a bowl of hopping john. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I read this excellent NYTimes article on field peas by Kim Severson yesterday and already started hungering for Hoppin’ John, a traditional dish for New Year’s Day. The article is a good reminder too that all peas are not alike so, while the dried peas in your supermarket are perfectly fine, there are other sources for different varieties of field peas for those looking to explore different flavors. The below is my go-to recipe for Hoppin’ John. It will work with just about any dried bean, but I do love the earthy flavor of the black-eyed peas. Wishing all a festive New Year’s Eve, and a healthy, prosperous 2016 filled with good food and lots of home cooking! Hoppin’ John 1 pound black-eyed peas, rinsed 2 large Spanish onions, 1 peeled and halved through the root, 1 Read On »

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photo by Donna

A friend said something important to me this morning: “There’s always a big component of sadness in Christmas. If there isn’t, then you haven’t had a lucky life.” I hadn’t recognized this explicitly until that moment, but I think I’d known this since I was a boy. I still remember one particular Christmas Eve, I must have been six or seven. My parents were upstairs dressing for a series of parties we attended in those days, especially the open house at Peter and Connie Zacher’s. Peter, life-long friend, was a great gourmand and the house was filled with food and cooking and laughter, kids and adults of all ages. But in the quiet, as my parents dressed, I wandered the living room of our small colonial on Norwood Road, in Shaker Heights, OH. The room Read On »

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