I’d long been taught that the germ of garlic released enzymes that changed the flavor of garlic. In Skills class at the CIA in 1996, my chef instructor said in the finest starred restaurants you’d find that the cooks removed the germ before mincing, but that for our purposes it was unnecessary. That same chef, 5 years later, now asked his class to always remove the germ because it did affect the flavor.  Harold McGee discusses garlic and its science in his book. I too noticed differences, not that the garlic was bitter, as some claim, only that if the garlic sat for a while before using it developed to me an off flavor. This blogger did a test finding that the flavor was different but not worse, in fact that the garlic with the Read On »

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I’ve been slammed this week, and now have to travel, if I can get out in this blizzard. But last week I put a whole pork belly on the cure. I’d given it a sweet cure, brown sugar, maple syrup and black pepper, because I wanted to smoke it rather than make pancetta. It was done yesterday but I had no time to smoke it.  Our lives get busy, we don’t have time to finish something, sometimes we’re too tired or the kids have a snow day. What’s so great about charcuterie, as with this bacon, is its preserved.  There’s no hurry. I’ll smoke it next week, and until then, it’s going to sit out, somewhere out of the way. The salt cure has taken care of the bacteria. Its drying will prevent new spoilage Read On »

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A couple years ago, nosing around in McGee’s On Food and Cooking, I came across his suggestion that one could make neater poached eggs by getting rid of the liquidy, flyaway whites before poaching.  And it works! (There’s really no point in adding acid to the water.) Regrettably, I left my good perforated spoon at a Macy’s demo and was left a generic slotted spoon with a shallow bowl and the egg always wanted to jump out. So when my friend Mac suggested we make some kitchen tools, a great perforated spoon was high on the list.  And here it is, The Badass Perforated (aka Egg) Spoon, now available at OpenSky, a new, still evolving e-commerce site (follow me there for weekly special deals they put together).  It not only easily holds any egg, but Read On »

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I recently posted on twitter that I don’t believe in no-knead bread, the phenomenon started by Jim Lahey—chef of the excellent pizza restaurant Co., and owner of Sullivan St. Bakery in Manhattan, and author of My Bread—when Mark Bittman wrote about Lahey’s no-knead technique in The New York Times. (Here’s Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe.) After tweeting, I almost immediately received an email from Nick Fox, a New York Times Dining editor, perplexed. The next day Bittman DM’d me on Twitter asking why? Jeff Hertzberg, an author of the popular Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, RT’d my comment, adding “Say it ain’t so!” Not long after that the eminent author and Vogue columnist, Jeffrey Steingarten, in an unrelated email, asked me what I had against no-knead bread. Time to address the issue. The fact Read On »

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I’ve been fascinated with gluten-free bread recipes because they attempt to do what shouldn’t be possible: create a network of pliable solids that can expand and trap gas released by yeast, giving you a leavened bread without gluten. It’s also invariably a good-for-you loaf, with a rich variety of grains. Shauna Ahern, aka gluten-free girl, author of her the eponymous book and recently Gluten Free Girl and the Chef with husband Daniel, is among the best and has developed this seriously good gluten-free loaf for my bread-baking month. (There will be one more bread baking post; I know, it’s February, but who cares. Bread is Life. Remember these awesome rolls.) Celiac is a very real intolerance to the main proteins in flour (and soy sauce and many many other things, see frank conversation with Carol Read On »

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