I’ve spent nearly a week in the Napa Valley working on the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook.  This will be the fifth book in a series led by Thomas Keller that began with The French Laundry Cookbook which is one of the best chef-restaurant cookbooks ever (do we need full dislosure here?). Forget the words I write—these books are truly fine and costly productions, and I think it’s important for people to know what goes into books of this magnitude, because so often people don’t know.  A team of people, from the many at Artisan, an imprint of Workman Publishing, who make beautiful books, to the commis at the restaurants who scale out the mise en place for the recipes for the chefs, and all those in between, including myself. In 1997, I flew out here to Read On »

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I’ve been in Napa learning about bread at Bouchon Bakery and hope to post about later this week—bread is endlessly fascinating, infinitely complex, and to dive deeper into the craft with a baker, Matthew McDonald, who has been working with yeasted doughs pretty much his whole life, is one of the happier circumstances of a freelance life—but I hate to leave home.  In anticipation of being away, I made lunch for Donna so we could have a few focused moments together before I left.  With morels on my mind and a quick preparation required, I put together a simple speedy lunch to feature the mushroom: scrambled eggs with chives, morels with a simple cream sauce (recipe in this post) and an arugula salad dressed with lemon and extra virgin olive oil. I didn’t ask Donna Read On »

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Ranked #44 in the world, Varvary is Russia’s first restaurant to make it into the top 50.  Chef Anatoly Komm uses modernist techniques on Russian cuisine, via Independent UK.

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Two very good memoirs have been published by chefs I admire and whose food I have eaten many times with great satisfaction, though the experiences are wildly different.  Gabrielle Hamilton, chef of Prune has published Blood, Bones and Butter, which I reviewed for The Wall Street Journal. It was preceded by a much talked about, high-six-figure advance, which had to be returned when Hamilton failed to deliver, after which the book was repurchased and published last month. It’s a fabulous read by a very odd creature who has a visceral love of the homey food she serves at her restaurant.  Frankly, it’s exactly the kind of food I love most, personally, braises and bone marrow and offal. It’s the kind of food that chef’s love to eat when they get off work. She cooks the Read On »

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©photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman—see more at: Ruhlmanphotography.com When Donna found herself in NYC at the Ace Hotel last fall, she spent a couple nights in the Breslin kitchen watching executive chef April Bloomfield, Breslin chef de cuisine Peter Cho, and crew rock (that’s Peter and April top right). The trotter caught her eye.  It’s the perfect example of why this post could be called Why April Is Not the Cruelest Month But Rather the Best Porker, or simply Why We Love April.  The British chef takes a great Italian classic, a zampone, as she notes, breads it, fries it in olive oil and butter, and serves it as their “Pig’s Foot for 2.”  It’s the boned out trotter, stuffed with cotechino, a pork and pig skin farce.  Peter says it’s currently served with braised Read On »

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