This Hoppin’ John recipe is a dish from the American south featuring black-eyed peas, often included in southern food and soul food recipes, traditionally served on New Year’s Day by those angling for good fortune all year long. I make Hoppin’ John every year for this very reason (also, it’s inexpensive, easy, nutritious and satisfying).  There are all kinds of variants (here’s the wikipedia description of Hoppin John), but they all share three features that I think must be a part of the dish or it’s not Hoppin John: black-eyed peas, smokey bacon, and some kind of heat. I always include onion and I also always include tomato, which is not traditional but I think it gives great acidity and flavor to this bean dish.  This year I threw in some Mangalista guanciale because I Read On »

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YES! It’s true!  The mad genius at Polyscience, Philip Preston—creator of the anti-griddle, the smoke gun (looks like paraphernalia I used to oogle at High Times on Coventry in the 70s), and other magico creations to make cooking more fun—has sent me the latest version of the Polyscience professional immersion circulator for sous vide cooking to play with, something I am eagerly doing.  But as I already have one, there is nothing for me to do but give this sleek machine away to one lucky reader! First, the circulator: the original now seems like a little Datsun compared to this sleek Beemer. Its design has been honed, its size has been tightened, its power enhanced. This baby operates great. Leave a comment on how you want to use the circulator along with a working email Read On »

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I asked two friends, Emilia and Marlene, for help in developing an English Muffin Recipe for the first in a few more #fromscratch challenges.  This single challenge was more daunting than expected. There’s not much out there in the way of English muffin recipes, and the ones we found were lacking and even our original attempts weren’t appealing. I first had a look at Jane Grigson and Elizabeth David, returning to the source of English muffins, just called muffins, of course, along with their sibling, the crumpet, which should have holes in the surface. Both recipes used what amounted to a standard 5:3 bread ratio that was cooked on a griddle. Marlene worked with a buttermilk version for flavor.  We had issues with the proper amount of holelyness, important in a good English muffin. Ultimately Read On »

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December is the month for making brioche at home. It’s the great holiday bread.  Though calling it bread doesn’t do it justice.  Good brioche is like a cross between bread and cake.  Hell, it’s really cake sneaking in as bread. Nothing better on Christmas morning. It’s a celebratory bread—rich with butter and eggs.  Toast it and eat it with butter. Toast it and eat it with foie gras. It makes extraordinary and delicate croutons.  Nothing makes better French toast.  And it’s fabulous on its own, straight out of the oven. I made it once for my daughter Addison.  When she asked for a repeat performance, I wrote the below recipe so that she could make it on her own. She first made it when she was eleven, four years ago, and she still makes it Read On »

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Introduce yourself to jarrahdale, kabocha, red kuri, and a few other squash.  Find interesting facts, recipes, and quick hints about these winter fruits, via NPR.

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