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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Chef Pardus blew through Cleveland a couple weeks ago, and with summer in full swing we had loads of little cukes on hand (we also did veal heart again, got it on video, stay tuned).  While there was much to do in getting dinner out (tongue salad with new potatoes, calves liver and onions, corn relish, cucumber sunomono, grilled foie gras (grilling foie takes some serious attention!), and the grilled heart with an herb shallot vinaigrette—Pardus found time to get my pickles on the cure.  Because of time constraints and other issues, he didn’t add aromatics.  What he did was make a 3% brine. I have for years been using a 5% brine for everything, pickles, chicken, pork, etc.  But this 3% worked great and I’m thinking that if you’re not going to be removing Read On »

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Flew out to southern California last week to be with one of Donna’s oldest and dearest, almost entirely beaching it, but found time for one great restaurant meal and one day exploring little Saigon south of LA with the extraordinary White On Rice Couple, Todd Porter and Diane Cu. Diane, born in Vietnam two years before the family fled in 1975, and Todd, a native of Oregon, are photographers, videographers, writers, cooks and gardeners.  I met them in Ixtapa last January and was immediately impressed with their energy and work, but I didn’t quite appreciate how fine these two souls were until they invited me and Donna and the kids into their home, gave us a tour of their truly remarkable garden, then took us on a culinary tour of Little Saigon, including a bahn Read On »

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You’ll never guess what was included in our CSA haul this week.  Zucchini!  That’s right, amazing as it may sound, there they were, three big fatties at the bottom of the bag. Seriously, it’s not that I have a problem with zucchini, itself (though I did publicly disparage the zucchini a while back on Iron Chef America, which had a few zucchini lovers up in arms).  I like zucchini.  Julienned and sauteed in butter it’s a simple summer side dish.  Add some nuts, herbs and a vinaigrette to zucchini you’ve salted for ten minutes and it’s a revelation (raw zucchini salad). There are indeed all kinds of things you can do to zucchini.  I guess my problem is how much of it is grown.  Why do people grow so much zucchini? Just because we can Read On »

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Butter-Braised Radishes with Snow Peas, photo by Donna This was a last minute dish on Saturday to follow the fritters.  We had radishes, we had snow peas.  I had some mint in the garden.  Why not?  Crunchy, refreshing, satisfying, a fine vegetable dish.  You see, I don’t ALWAYS have to throw cured pork products in (though, come to thing of it, this would be delicious with some bacon or pancetta thrown in!).  When you get your CSA goods, remember that it would be hard to combine them in ways that do not go together.  I wouldn’t serve blueberries and chard but for the most part all this stuff goes well side by side. Butter Braised Radishes with Snow Peas a few tablespoons of butter Radishes, as needed, trimmed and quartered Snow peas, as needed, picked Read On »

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