It’s Thursday as I write this, a week before Thanksgiving. This year we’re driving to the Hudson Valley to celebrate with Donna’s big and growing family—something like 21 adults, a few teenagers, and a few youngsters. Donna volunteered me for the gravy because, well, let’s face it, gravy is a no-brainer and will travel well. (Recipes for stock and Friday Cocktail below.) A no-brainer if you make excellent turkey stock now! I’ll be doubling or tripling the below recipe this year. Today, I’ll be roasting drumsticks, wings, and necks. (I read on Wednesday in the Times that the venerable Jacques Pépin picks the meat off the neck of the turkey and adds it to the gravy. I might try that this year.) Roasting them will give your stock a nice flavor. All that golden brown Read On »

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Weekend before last, I bought, among other things, a butternut squash at the farmers’ market. I had not intended to buy it, but it beckoned. It is fall. It is time to cook fall things. Such as duck confit, and sausage, and bacon, and cassoulet. And rich, soul-soothing soups. Squash soup is easy, nutritious, and delicious. I served it to a bunch of eighth-grade boys. One of them said, “This is phenomenal soup.” I was surprised they were eating it, let alone using the word “phenomenal” with regard to food. This recipe will work with any similar squash (pumpkin would be great). Use onion if you don’t have leeks. The method is standard: sweat the onion in some fat, salt it, add the squash, cook it a little, add enough half-and-half to cover, simmer till the Read On »

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Here are some recipes for you to bake that new pie or tart for Thanksgiving, via NYT.

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Wishing all a Happy Scary Halloween, America’s great pagan holiday. Friday is reserved for another post, so this will stand in for The Friday Cocktail Hour. And in the wake of Sandy, many Halloween celebrations are rightly delayed till Sunday, as they are here in Cleveland Heights. Donna loves spiced cider, and since it’s so miserable and cold, she asked if I could make a hot cider drink for her to photograph. Perfect idea to keep the chill out of the body as the tots and teens come ringing with open bags, or simply to warm the soul after this awful week for the American East Coast all the way into the Midwest. This is a simple one, cider reduced by 1/4 with cinnamon and cardamom (I like cloves, but Donna doesn’t), dark rum, bitters, Read On »

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In the same way you would never think to buy grocery store ground pork to make salami, why should you settle for grocery store ground beef—at least at times when you want to have a really great burger? I understand convenience, but I want to encourage people to grind their own meat. Read more below, in what is becoming an annual post Donna and I are on assignment in Italy and France. In the meantime, don’t forget that Salumi is coming out next month! —M.R. Originally posted on June 24, 2009 Hamburger Technique I published this post almost two years ago, at the end of summer—but a chance email thanking me for the technique dropped into my in-box today and I decided to put it up again at the start of grilling season. I’m not always real quick Read On »

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