I lead my too-stupid-to-cook post with Donna’s roast chicken photo (a spur of the moment shot while I finished the meal) because roast chicken is the iconic home meal.  It’s delicious, satisfying, economical, and easy. But why I love roast chicken is that it keeps on giving if you’ll let it.  I almost always throw the carcass into a 2 quart sauce pan and cover it with water for stock (here’s my oven method for making stock).  One carcass will give you a quart of great stock. If I also have plenty of leftover chicken, I’ll make chicken and dumplings, especially in the winter (basically an inverted chicken pot pie!).  When you’ve got this delicious stock, it’s impossible to wind up with anything other than fabulous.  Two hearty meals from one little chicken. The dumplings Read On »

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Say you didn’t listen to me.  Say you disregarded my warning and made stock anyway. Or say you just like to cook and want to put the leftover chicken to use in a really cool way. I love chicken pot pies.  I grew up eating frozen ones and all I remember is the nasty peas and the fact that chicken pot pie for dinner meant mom and dad were going out for the evening (my dad was a classic ad man, creative director, and even resembled Jon Hamm as much as my mom resembled January Jones—still does in fact!).  Suburban sixties. But now I know how fabulous a chicken pot pie can be if you do it yourself.  And you don’t have to add peas if you don’t want.  I make a buttery crust (3-2-1 Read On »

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When she said it to me, it rang in my head clear as a bell.  I’ve repeated it a hundred times.  I was talking with Carol Blymire last spring about Ratio, and how to promote it.  I was biting my knuckles over this, terrified no one would understand it or even care—it used weights, required a scale, looked like math might be involved, was incredibly presumptuous, etc.  Carol was behind me all the way and said, “No, you’re right.  The book is good.  Americans are being taught we’re too stupid to cook and it’s simply not true.” That one sentence crystallized the issue for me, turned my frustration from a wall into a lens.  Americans are being taught that we’re too stupid to cook.  That cooking is so hard we need to let other people Read On »

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I’m so pleased with results of the cooked eggnog I wrote for the last post, I wanted to give an official tested recipe.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m a fan of raw egg eggnog, as well as aged-for-two-years raw eggnog. I don’t believe anyone should be afraid of eating raw egg (especially if you buy organic or well-raised eggs).  Raw yolk on raw ground beef is a delight, a kind of ready made sauce. I love a homemade mayo, a runny poached egg.  Indeed, raw or warm egg is one of the great pleasures of cooking and eating.  So here’s to lots of eggs in 2010—may more of them be laid by healthy happy chickens! But there are those who may be concerned or have reason not to take any chances.  There are also those who Read On »

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Last post on the astonishing versatility of five parts flour, three parts water.  First it was pizza (remember this awesome pizza?… hmm, maybe a bacon and egg pizza this weekend).  More recently, I made these delicious pretzels.  Same dough, different products. And here it is in yet another form. Every now and then, when I or Donna stop at On the Rise bakery, where Adam Gidlow and staff bake bread, bread, bread—the best baguette in the land, as far as I’m concerned—we pick up a loaf of sandwich bread, which young James calls “the most awesome bread ever.” Last time I was there, jealous of the light airy crust and soft kid-friendly texture, I asked Adam, “What makes it sandwich bread?” He said, “It’s the exact same dough as the baguette, but a longer ferment.  Read On »

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