The mission was this. Make nine great dinners for a big group, but create menues simple enough so that I could get a morning’s worth of work in (ie justify 10 days in Key West) and not freak out at 4 pm. One of the first issues is what to cook food in, the vessels. So a valuable tool was the above Lexan tub which I borrowed from my friendly neighborhood restaurant, Fire (thanks Doug!); the immersion circulator was a huge help (I need to do a post on what lessons from this device that apply to home kitchens without one). I also had two huge pots for boiling green vegetables.  After making sure I’d have the right tools, I planned the main proteins, a few of which I either made in advance or ordered. Read On »

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Wow, what an amazing glimpse into what people are eating.  A lot of stir fries, a lot of curries, pastas, pot roasts, and eggs, American and international.  There are so many ideas in the previous post I feel like I should do something with them, make them more accessible. Of course, people who read this blog are people who care about food and who love to cook already. My goal has always been to encourage people who don’t cook, to know that cooking is not as difficult as people too often think it is.  All these great suggestions are more proof of this. Thank you all for reading and posting and sharing your meals. I’m currently in Key west cooking for a gang of sailors, big family meals, pots of beans and Carolina barbecue, a Read On »

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I’ve written about pastrami short ribs, and love them because they’ve got the perfect meat-to-fat ratio. But ever since the arrival of a Big Green Egg (planning a review soon), I’ve wanted to do a proper pastrami, which is essentially a corned beef brisket, coated with pepper and coriander and smoked (the result above was perfect—look at that awesome fat). While I’ve published the corned beef recipe from my book Charcuterie, I haven’t really talked about smoking strategies at home. I recommend two different methods: stove top and in a kettle grill. Stove-top smoking is easy with an inexpensive ($43) Cameron smoker. I bought one a few years ago and it works great for bacon and would work great for this brisket. Briskets require long low heat though, and this is tricky on a stove Read On »

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By far the best meal of the summer was our crab boil during our week in Ocracoke.  And like many “best” meals, it was unplanned, a surprise, a gift we were smart enough to take advantage of.  Donna has pals from her native Port Washington, NY, who have houses here, one of whom owns a popular restaurant on this lovely barrier island off the coast of North Carolina (a ferry-ride away from Cape Hatteras). So she found us a swank house on the water where we and friends and Donna’s sister and nieces could frolic. In the grass beside the house was an old crab pot. In the house was my sun-averse pal Lester. In the fridge, was a beef heart. As the sun set, Lester lowered the trap, stuffed with beef heart trim, into the Read On »

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A few weeks ago, I made a full meal on the grill, grilled green beans, grilled vidalia onion, and some awesome grilled short ribs.  The following are three recipes, techniques really, for making barbecued beef short ribs, cooking them start to finish on the grill, pre-cooking them and finishing them on the grill, and cooking them sous vide and finishing them on the grill.  (If you don’t have a wood or charcoal grill, I really don’t recommend doing short ribs this way.) Use whatever your favorite barbecue sauce is, store bought or homemade. (I need to do a homemade barbecue sauce post! Anyone wants to make suggestions, feel free in comments.) I recommend the first method because it results in a deeply smokey flavor, and is a good excuse to hang out around the food and Read On »

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