Cooking sous vide, wrapped food submerged in warm to hot water, is a relatively new form of cooking now available to home cooks. The method truly does allow for transforming food in ways previously not possible with such precision. The best example of what it can do is short ribs. Short ribs cooked at 140˚ F. for 48 hours results in medium rare to medium meat, still pink, but completely tender. Pork belly cooked for that same time, then chilled is ready to be seared crispy when you’re ready to serve it. Chicken thighs and duck legs the same. Not only does sous vide give you precise control of the internal temperature of meat and fish, it gives you the convenience of preparing food in advance, perfectly, so that it’s ready when you need it. Read On »

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When it comes to small great gifts, kitchen tools can’t be beat.  Items like the above Benriner mandoline, a tool you’ll find in just about every professional cook’s knife kit, is perfect. But there are many many ridiculous small brightly colored kitchen items out there tempting those who don’t cook with promises of ease and convenience . Last year my mom got me these pink silicone trussing bands —I do not recommend! This is the kind of stupid product that makes me crazy. But a great pepper mill, that’s something truly valuable—there are good ones and bad ones. Pugeot’s are excellent. This one from opensky is top of the line with an adjustable grind. The side towels I offer at opensky (there’s lots of great stuff in my kitchen collection there). Any of the products Mac Read On »

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This week’s posts will be devoted my personal kitchen tool gift guide, starting with the big guns. I got my first KitchenAid stand mixer 20 years ago as a Christmas gift from my mom’s boyfriend, Hap, and it was one of the best gifts I ever got. It’s the most used appliance in my kitchen. I’ve beaten the hell out of it, even flipped it off the countertop while trying to grind something particularly difficult. And it still runs. When Donna and I began doing photography for Twenty, we wanted something a little better to look at and so now use the above “Artisan” 5-quart model (linked to above). If you’re looking for that over-the-top gift for the one in your family who loves to cook, this can’t be beat. It’s what we tested all Read On »

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Of the many many reasons I have to be thankful, one of them is this blog and the enormously thoughtful, intelligent readers who drop by to read and comment. I truly am grateful. Thank you. I wish you all happy Thanksgiving (and hope that you have tons of fun in the kitchen today)! The above photo was taken on Thanksgiving 2007 (I’m struggling to hold the turkey up, but I think it’s important to parade the bird before carving it—my mom found the platter in Mexico). That’s my dad, Rip, with me. It would be the last Thanksgiving I would have with him. Three weeks after this day, he sat me and Donna down in front of the fire after dinner at his house. He had something to say. Recent X-rays showed a spot on Read On »

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  The two great turkey conundrums: 1) how to have juicy breast meat and tender dark meat and 2) how to serve it all hot to a lot of people. Answer: the roast/braise method. Last year, chatting with my neighbor, the excellent chef Doug Katz (Fire Food and Drink), described how he cooks the turkey in stock up to the drumstick so that the legs braise while the breast and skin cook in dry heat. Last year I tried it and it works brilliantly. Thank you, Doug. Doug posted his version on the restaurant’s blog. I’ve simplified and added a couple steps to make it easier for perfect doneness. (Step-by-step pix below.) The basic idea is this: cook the turkey half submerged in flavorful liquid and lots of aromatic vegetables. When the breast is barely Read On »

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