Back again with another technique and recipe—here the classic béchamel sauce, one of the great, yet rarely used, sauces for the home kitchen. We don’t always have veal stock around for classical demi or Espagnole, or often any stock for a velouté. But milk we do have: flavor it with some shallot, a little nutmeg, salt and pepper, thicken it with cooked flour and you have a dynamite all-purpose sauce, for chicken, fish, or my favorite sandwich on earth, the croque madame. So, so good. This is a great weekend lunch or anytime dinner. (FYI, I love the montage that opens these videos but if you’ve seen it, the technique begins at 1:11.) I asked to use this particular Le Creuset vessel because of its clever utility. In restaurant kitchens, sauté pans regularly double as Read On »

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I’ve written about fried chicken a lot because, well, it’s pretty high up on the list of best possible things to eat, period. Given that it’s one of the best possible things to eat, it’s imperative that we make fried chicken as often as possible. We can’t know when we shall leave this mortal coil; therefore: the more fried chicken you eat, the better your life will have been. It’s in your hands. Here, I not only give the recipe, but I demonstrate how I personally prefer to cook this infinitely variable preparation. The technique is pan-frying, which I use for chicken and pork chops. Unlike deep-frying, the items are not completely submerged. Ideally the oil level will come halfway up what you’re cooking (I have slightly more oil than I need in the video). Read On »

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For her high school graduation lunch last week, my daughter asked for my fried chicken. Normally, I break down a chicken into 9 pieces and cook it and serve it. But we’d invited friends, bringing our total number to 20. Fried chicken for 20 is different from fried chicken for four. I had no intention of spending all that time frying while hosting the lunch. But it wasn’t until we were seated and one of the guests, while biting into a juicy drumstick, asked, “You can do this ahead of time?” did I realize that I must, must post on this subject, to deepen our understanding and encourage more cooking of one of the greatest dishes in the American repertoire. Yes, this can be done the day ahead. Follow all the steps below, though you Read On »

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  Dull knives. It’s the single biggest problem in home kitchens. The. Single. Biggest. Problem. It’s the main reason cooking seems more difficult than it should be. And I’ll say this again, too. Guys and girls, the best Valentine’s Day gift you can give your lover/cook, get his/her knives professionally sharpened or buy a good sharpener. Again: Nothing says “I love you” like a really sharp knife. I get mine—I use Wusthof, btw—professionally sharpened at a wet-grind sharpening place, and OpenSky found this astonishingly effective and easy-to-use sharpening “stone,” called the DMT Sharpening Stone. (It’s not really a stone, but rather a patented diamond-dust coated perforated steel sheet on rubber; see video below.) If you have to saw on a lemon rind to get the cut started, your knife is dull. Dull knives force you to Read On »

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Was it two years ago? Three? Donna and I had people over on New Year’s Day and an old high school friend, Mac Dalton, said, “Michael, I gotta show you what I do. I make things. What do you want to make?” “This,” I said, standing at my stove, and held up a spoon I’d awkwardly bent for basting. “I can make that,” he said. And he did. Chef Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern picked it this year as one of his holiday gift ideas for Food & Wine. I love these spoons. They’re elegant just to have in your hand. We immediately started to make more useful kitchen tools. Here’s our whole catalogue, available on my site. Another thing happened. I’d partnered with OpenSky, an Internet commerce site that finds really cool products, sends Read On »

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