Corned Beef and Braised Cabbage with Red Potatoes, photo by Donna

  It’s time for my yearly re-post of a recipe for corning your own beef. If you can brine a chicken, you can cure your own beef. Start by Thursday and it will be ready to cook on St. Paddy’s day. Of special note here is my partner in charcuterie Brian Polcyn’s recipe for a fabulous pickling spice. You can buy pickling spice, but Brian’s is over-the-top delicious. Any cut of beef can be “corned.” (See my pastrami short ribs.) But the best cuts are the tougher, less-expensive cuts such as brisket. The only uncommon ingredient is the sodium nitrite, pink salt, available here, and also from Amazon. If you know of any local shops that make their own bacon, hams, or smoked sausage, they may have some on hand. This is what accounts for the deep red Read On »

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Paddlefish-@1020

  My dear friend Annie LaGravanese sent us a whopping big tin of paddlefish caviar (from Paramount Caviar). Paddlefish are native to the Mississippi basin and offer great roe. Caviar and hen eggs go great together. Throw in a little fat and something crunchy and you have a great bite. It’s definitely a luxury item, but at this time of year when we do a lot of entertaining, it’s worth it (especially when you have a friend like Ann!). And this pie goes a long way. It made a great hors d’oeuvre on Christmas Eve for a family of twelve. We then brought it to a friend’s dinner party three days later where it did the same, accompanied by some generous champagne from one of the guests (the preferred accompanying beverage). And yesterday, Donna and I Read On »

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cookie-1

Guest post by (my dear friend and assistant) Emilia Juocys It was just Thanksgiving last week, right? Oh, wait, Christmas is this week. That means I have to get into high gear for cookie baking and prepping Christmas Eve dinner. Time has flown by so fast, and I’ve been curling across the Midwest and up in Canada. No matter where I am, I am drawn to local bakeries to see their holiday offerings or talk about baking traditions from local hosts. Home baking soothes me, calms me—even if I bake at 2:00 in the morning listening to dance music, my bake rave time. Measuring ingredients, creaming the fats and sugars, rolling out dough, cutting shapes; I just love it all. Cookie baking is my passion. Cookies are the best to share with friends and family. This year I Read On »

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Scamper-Juice

    Holiday parties call for punch so I’m reposting the post and recipe from my friend Crashy and her Scamper Juice (pictured above with citrus ice ring, photo by donna). But there are all kinds of fun punches out there. Here are a few links with other ideas. One of my faves is the milk punch, which my pal Blake introduced me to the perfect sunday morning hangover cure which of course lead to mondays hangover (back in the eighties, no longer an option thank god.) Herewith a variety of punches and the venerable Scamper Juice. Rum Punch Punch, from the NYTimes Festive Punch Recipes from The Independent Milk Punch is Coming Back Shandy Punch from Heidi Swanson’s 101Cookbooks.com Best punch bars in the USA Holiday punch was out of fashion even in Charles Read On »

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cook-books-@1020

  I get sent a lot of cookbooks throughout the year, some from publishers looking for blurbs, others just wanting me to know a book has been published. Recently I reviewed some select books out this season for the Wall Street Journal (it will be online for everyone here after a couple weeks). One of those books, which I highly recommend for baking, is Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi. But it is not featured above because I am giving it to someone who can actually bake. What is the story about the five books above? As I said, I get a lot of books throughout the year, more than I actually have room for in the downstairs of our house. Cookbook space is now severely rationed. After much difficult thought, the above books are the ones I Read On »

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