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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This guest post is thanks to twitter, when someone asked me about pressure cooking eggs. I had never done them, but Laura Pazzaglia had. Laura is a pressure-cooker maniac living in Italy and blogging at hippressurecooking.com. My friend Annie LaG took her up on how to cook easy-peel hard-cooked eggs and pronounced them amazing. I have long been a fan of the egg and recently a fan of the pressure cooker (here’s the one I use, via Opensky.com). I love it especially when I want to have a quick stew ready for a weeknight dinner. A 2 to 4 hour stew can be completed start to finish in under and hour.  But the egg and the pressure cooker came together on twitter. I invited Laura to guest post and she eagerly agreed. In fact, she Read On »

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[Update 1/16: Winners have been chosen; their dishes are at the bottom of this post.] Two and a half years ago, I wrote a post on staple meals because I’m fascinated by what people eat at home when they don’t want to think about what to make, what their go-to, middle-of-the-week meal is, because they are invariably quick, efficient, economical, and well, good enough to eat once a week forever. (I think they also tell us a lot about who we are). The woman who has been cutting my hair for 12 years, three kids 16 and younger, husband not always at home, an “I don’t have a lot of time” mom. She makes chicken legs on a small rotisserie, and will do lamb or steak, with beans and rice.  Soup once a week with what’s Read On »

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