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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Michael is taking a break from the blog for 10 days. He remains, he says, “very grateful to the readers and especially to the commenters who have offered so much great thought, information, skepticism, and humor.” He hopes to be back a week from Wednesday, provided he does not lose his way, and until then is reposting some of the posts other readers have found useful. — Emilia    Weekly Menu Planning Originally Posted November 15, 2010 Alton Brown’s voice was hoarse from three performances at Cleveland’s Fabulous Food Show Saturday and from shouting in conversation to fans in the noisy I-X center. But the white Burgundy and clams with foie gras at Greenhouse Tavern that night were going a long way toward soothing the chords and the soul. “I always say, cooking isn’t hard,” he Read On »

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  On Saturday night, sitting in the Ohio State Theater waiting for Jim Gaffigan to go on, I got a tweet from Elise alerting me that a website had stolen my text and Donna’s photos from the following post. Elise, creator of the site Simply Recipes and vigilant crusader for blogger rights and general Internet justice, also sent me a link to the Google page to report copyright infringement. I wrote to Google, and the folks there had the theft taken down within days. So here’s a prime example of the very hard work Elise does, not just her consistently excellent publishing at Simply Recipes, but also her work on behalf of other bloggers. And also the mighty Hollandaise, one of the all-time great sauces for eggs, for vegetables, for fish … hell, I could just eat it Read On »

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The best, I mean the very best and most useful kitchen tools, are almost always the simplest. Yes, you’ve got the kitchen workhorse, the standing mixer, the food processor (I almost never use mine), the hand blender (my favorite small appliance). But really what I love most? Two really sharp knives. A thick flat hard surface that gets really hot. A heavy wood cutting board. And these: Rocks and sticks. Point is: fewer rather than more, simple rather than complex. (One clarification in the video that I failed to make clear at the time. For testing the temperature of frying oil, I use the chopsticks I save from Chinese take out, not really nice ones.) Once again, many thanks to Todd Porter and Diane Cu. I called them saints among us in the last “something to say” Read On »

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