It’s been a long day of wrapping and cooking in preparation for Christmas, amazingly stress free because of my amazing wife and colleague Donna. Her photo above is something of a self-portrait of us on the Christmas tree. Mom and James made cookies and I made our annual Addison’s Brioche.  Mom wants to use it to make sticky buns so we’ll fill some muffin pans with brown sugar, butter and pecans, top each with the brioche and refrigerate till tomorrow morning. It’s become a tradition. As has the reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas before bed. Traditions are powerful indeed. The day has also been occasion to think about how lucky I am, for Donna, for Donna’s work, for the health of my children, on this bountiful holiday. I miss my dad who was Read On »

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Marlene Newell, who runs an excellent cooking forum called CooksKorner tested all the recipes for Ratio and Twenty. She’s a friend and excellent cook. One of her passions is Yorkshire pudding, in effect, a savory popover, which is how she bakes them (as above). I, too, make roast beef for Christmans dinner and Yorkshire pudding. I believe it’s critical to cook it in beef fat, for flavor, so I buy and render suet for this purpose. I’ve also poured the batter straight into the roasting pan which works great so long as there are no burnt bits (the pudding ripples and puffs like crazy; I then cut it to serve). I imagine the roasting pan method was how it would have originated, the batter cooking in the fat and meat juices in the roasting pan. Read On »

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Of the many many reasons I have to be thankful, one of them is this blog and the enormously thoughtful, intelligent readers who drop by to read and comment. I truly am grateful. Thank you. I wish you all happy Thanksgiving (and hope that you have tons of fun in the kitchen today)! The above photo was taken on Thanksgiving 2007 (I’m struggling to hold the turkey up, but I think it’s important to parade the bird before carving it—my mom found the platter in Mexico). That’s my dad, Rip, with me. It would be the last Thanksgiving I would have with him. Three weeks after this day, he sat me and Donna down in front of the fire after dinner at his house. He had something to say. Recent X-rays showed a spot on Read On »

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Video: Grant Achtaz’ restaurant Next is taking on a v try creative menu featuring the idea of childhood memories, via You Tube.

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Three years ago on this date, a Saturday, Donna, my mom, I, the kids, our dear friend Stu, and the dog spent the morning standing vigil as my father succumbed to the lung cancer. Mom had gone to the farmer’s market and gotten corn and she and I stood at the kitchen island plowing through a dozen and a half ears, butter dripping off our chins. My dad, Rip, hadn’t been conscious since very early in the morning, 3 am, Donna and I on the bedside, holding his hand. Realizing the end was truly near, he wanted our assurance that I had indeed returned his library books. I had.  “We love you, Dad, we’re going to be fine, don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK.” By eleven a.m., he breathed sporadically. I hoped he could Read On »

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