I needed a dinner that was easy and delicious, would please everyone, one that also reheated well in case my daughter’s track meet ran late, and I had to be able to make it long before serving so it would be just a matter of reheating come dinnertime.  There are of course a thousand options that fit these criteria, but last week, I was in a nostalgic mood and thought back to school lunches, one of my favorites, macaroni and beef.  We were always famished by lunchtime and this dish was dependable and impossible to screw up by a 1970’s school kitchen. For a midweek meal I went as simple as could be.  The only way I’d change it, I decided would be to pile a monstrous amount of cheddar and mozzarella on top at Read On »

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This was dinner last night, moments before it was consumed.  Donna said, “This is the best cabbage I’ve ever had,” and, back at the stove, looking for thirds on the corned beef, “This is all you made?” All in all, a success.  I’ve used this particular preparation several times and it can’t be beat, a really smart strategy for cooking and serving and making use of all the flavors and juices and soft textures. First cook your corned beef (simmered for a few hours, braised, wrapped in foil with sliced onions for 4 hours at 250—how I did it—or even cooked sous vide). Only way not to cook this is slow roasting (a perfectly fine strategy but won’t give you the liquid you need to finish the cabbage here). To complete the meal.  Saute 4 Read On »

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I’ll never forget the way the words rang in my head, what, four or five years ago, Judy Rodgers, chef of Zuni Cafe in SF: why is this the beginning of the eating season, she asked, why isn’t this a holiday about cherishing our food, about saving it, about putting it up before winter so we don’t starve, about sharing it?  Thanksgiving should be about being with people we care about, about paying attention to what we have so that we don’t waste it, so that we make more of it, so that everyone has it. So as I spend a happy day in the kitchen, I’ll be thinking about the time I live in, a time of unprecedented thoughtfulness about food and where our food comes from.  It’s a lucky time to be a Read On »

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Photos by Donna I published almost two years ago, at the end of summer—a chance email today thanking me for the technique.  So I thought let’s put it up again at the start of grilling season. I’m not always real quick on the uptake, but I eventually get around to the right way, and the right way for perfect (and safe) is to grind your own meat and make sure to include the right amount of fat (I don’t believe that the cut is that critical). Yes, I still buy ground beef occasionally but when I want to make a really good burger, I always grind the meat myself.  Why go to the trouble?  For a half a dozen reasons, all of them important. First and foremost: taste and texture.  When you grind your own, Read On »

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