In preparation for Thanksgiving, America’s biggest home-cooking day, I’ll be addressing a few of the most common issues and frequently asked questions about the basics: roasting turkey and making gravy. Friday, I’ll be introducing an innovate and  in my opinion the best possible way to roast a whole turkey (it involves a dual method and resulted last year in Donna’s saying, “This is the best roasted turkey we’ve ever had.”) But first things first: make turkey stock now so that you have it on hand to make gravy. I don’t know where we got the idea that a roasting turkey results enough juices to make gravy. It doesn’t. And you certainly want to have way too much gravy on Thanksgiving so that you have leftovers. My favorite day-after meal is hot turkey sandwiches, smothered in Read On »

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Three years ago on this date, a Saturday, Donna, my mom, I, the kids, our dear friend Stu, and the dog spent the morning standing vigil as my father succumbed to the lung cancer. Mom had gone to the farmer’s market and gotten corn and she and I stood at the kitchen island plowing through a dozen and a half ears, butter dripping off our chins. My dad, Rip, hadn’t been conscious since very early in the morning, 3 am, Donna and I on the bedside, holding his hand. Realizing the end was truly near, he wanted our assurance that I had indeed returned his library books. I had.  “We love you, Dad, we’re going to be fine, don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK.” By eleven a.m., he breathed sporadically. I hoped he could Read On »

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One of the conundrum of grilling meat is that the process of cooking doesn’t start a sauce for you, as a roast chicken does, as pan roasting a pork loin does, as all braises do. What then to sauce the meat with?  An emulsified butter sauce is the perfect answer.  And there is no better emulsified butter sauce than the Béarnaise.  This French classic was a childhood staple, a symbol for me of plenty, and also of the security my mom and dad gave me.  I wrote about it for Parade Magazine many years ago. My mom made it the old fashioned way: a reduction of shallot, tarragon, tarragon vinegar, and egg yolks in a double boiler.  She used the recipe from James Beard’s Menus For Entertaining.  (It’s also in his superb American Cookery, one Read On »

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Been so busy recently have scarcely had time to post.  Just got back from taking James to camp   My chief videographer and dessert innovator. I was in Boston talking salt on Simply Ming.  I was in NYC working on confections with Bouchon Bakery head chef Sebastien Rouxel and putting together a pitch for a chef drama with some friends.  I came home to find a great new ice cream book from Ohio’s own Jeni Britton Bauer!  Salt, sweets, ice cream, and an unused photo donna shot for the new book due out in fall: salted-caramel! Of course.  Caramel is one of those awesome no brainer dessert sauces that more people ought to do at home.  Takes 10 minutes tops, uses inexpensive ingredients, and is easy ( just be sure to use a really big Read On »

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This eggs Benedict post has new recipes for Hollandaise sauce and sourdough English muffins but I have to begin with the angry comment on my Tomato Sauce post. A reader was clearly miffed that I would suggest that anyone who works make their own tomato sauce. Well, I do suggest this, but I hasten to add that it’s not homemade or nothing. I’ve bought jarred tomato sauce when I knew I wouldn’t have time to make it myself. It’s more expensive, doesn’t taste as good and isn’t as much fun, but there are only so many hours in the day, and someday there’s just no time. My second response to Angry Reader is that he should do this: Make Eggs Benedict From Scratch! Yea, verily! And so should you, because the whole impact from flavor Read On »

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