Regular readers know I’m a veal stock evangelist. Veal stock is one of those magical ingredients that can transform a mediocre cook into an ohmyfuckinggodthisfoodisamazing cook. Really, it’s that powerful. My first piece for Gourmet magazine was about veal stock. My veal stock recipe is in the Gourmet cookbook. In Elements of Cooking, a 242-page book about food and cooking, there is but a single recipe: veal stock. I once asked Jacques Pepin about veal stock and he said he didn’t much make it. Ingredients weren’t at his store in Connecticut.  I found this amazing, until I realized something important!  It was Jacques Pepin!  He doesn’t NEED veal stock.  He could probably make Miracle Whip taste good. But for the rest of us?  Slipping a little veal stock into our food has the same effect Read On »

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Biscotti is the perfect accompaniment mid-morning when I’m into my fifth or sixth cup of coffee.  I drink coffee all morning long and I’m able to do so because I don’t use one of those horrible drip machines, but rather what I think of as my personal 1956 Lincoln Continental of a coffee machine. The problem has always been that I’ve never really liked biscotti.  Maybe because I’ve only ever had the stuff that comes in a gift basket from Gallucci’s (a store I adore).  Or the one time I tried to make it myself.  It was rock hard and tasteless, so I figured I’d done a perfect job. But a while back, someone asked for a biscotti recipe, perhaps even a ratio.  My able colleague Emilia Juocys was intrigued and so recently set to Read On »

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A multigrain bread recipe will open the new year for a reason.  Will Turnage (aka @wubbahed), Donna and I finished and submitted to Apple last week a bread baking app for iPad.  It’s time finally to act on a fascinating email I got from a baker in North Carolina about bagel making.  And Shuna privately but with her own inimitable force and clarity begged to differ on my take on English Muffins.  And just yesterday a reader emailed, pleading for a good all-purpose gluten-free bread recipe. So it’s now officially bread baking month here, when the cold and early darkness are subdued by a hot heart and hands-on kitchen work.  (And yes, kneading should be a part of the process—it’s part of the goodness of bread, mediation through kneading. It’s also fun.)  The holidays are Read On »

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Do we need a recipe for Chipotle-Corn Ciabatta?  I’m in the process of developing bread recipes, all kinds, working with sourdough, whole grain, the powerfully flavored rye, but I began with some basic flavored breads. This is one of my favorites because I am crazy for chipotles, and am devoted to corn, which goes great with chipotles.  Cilantro on top of that?  Good for color but optional if cilantro tastes like soap to you but I love it. This is just the basic 5:3 bread ratio with flavors I love.  (For more on basic bread ratio, or any of my ratios, you can of course read this book.)  But really, you can flavor it any way you want to.  I like the ciabatta shape, Italian for slipper, a name marketed in Italy in the 1980s.  Read On »

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How to brine chicken, quick chicken brine recipe—why do we need quick? Because usually when I realize I need to brine something it’s too late to make and cool the brine, and then go through the hours of brining. I always brine chickens that I intend to fry. Always. Well, almost always, sometimes, the urge comes too fast and powerfully even to do this, but normally I have at least four hours before I need to get the chicken floured and plunked into the fat. Here’s what I do when I need to brine fast . As I write in Ratio: The Simple Codes etc., my ideal brine is 5%. That means 50 grams of salt in a liter of water, 1 ounce of salt for every 20 ounces of water, or for those poor Read On »

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