I need your help. I bought a sweet potato to force myself to cook it in a way that was exciting to me. I’m not a sweet potato fan unless they’re fried. Too mushy, too sweet. And yet, because I’ve come to appreciate how intensely nutritious they are, thanks Dr. Health Is On Your Plate, I wanted to cook it and like it, but …. It sat in the fridge for weeks. Until this morning. I was working on the new book, on Pâtés Confits and Rillettes, on some confit recipes. My partner in Charcuterie, Chef Brian, sent me a recipes for tasty morsels cooked slowly in fat, one of them a butternut squash. Of course! This would work beautifully with that neglected sweet potato I have to keep looking at every time I open the fridge. Read On »

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  It’s bacon time again! I don’t know why but I’ve been getting a lot of bacon questions in my email recently, so thought I’d address a few issues I haven’t before. Of course, I’ve long commented on the fact that curing your own bacon is no more difficult than marinating a steak. Mix all the ingredients together and put them in a plastic bag with the meat. Use the recipe below. The aromatics, the bay leaves and everything else below can be considered optional. But there are other strategies. You could make a brine if you feel more comfortable with that. For those of you concerned about reaching the right salt and pink salt levels, you could use a technique called equilibrium brining, which I first read about in Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine. To Read On »

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  This is one of my favorite bistro staples, which I feature in Ruhlman’s Twenty. The recipe uses a classic red wine vinaigrette. Pairing it with a member of the onion family, abundant shallots, results in a great bistro dish, the preparation showcases the power of red wine vinaigrette to illuminate cooked cold vegetables. The quality of the vinegar is critical, so its worth buying a good one. The vinaigrette can also be made with a good Spanish sherry vinegar.   Leeks Vinaigrette Serves 4 4 large leeks or 8 small leeks 1/4 cup/60 milliliters red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon honey Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 3/4 cup/180 milliliters canola oil 1/4 cup/170 grams minced shallots 4 hard-boiled eggs, yolks and whites finely chopped 1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives Trim the roots Read On »

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I’m in the Miami airport, Cleveland bound, having been a part of the amazing Miami Book Fair to promote my new collection of novellas, In Short Measures, love stories. Met some hero fiction writers, such as Elizabeth McCracken, whose “Thunderstruck” is one of the best short stories I’ve read in years. Also Mary Gaitskill, who scares the shit out of me, Rick Moody, who does not, Mary Karr, on whom I crush, and new writer friends Les Standiford, John Dufresne, and Cindi Chinelly. What a great fair, thanks to Mitchell Kaplan and Books & Books. Reposting the following for those looking for a delicious and simple Thanksgiving dressing: The nice thing about blogging as opposed to newspapering is that I don’t feel the obligation to always come up with a new way of roasting turkey Read On »

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I received the following email today from my beloved cousin Ryan, husband to the smarter-than-he-is Tesse, father of a toddler with another on the way, and they’ve just moved into their first house: Michael, I am undertaking my first thanksgiving and have responsibility for all the cooking.  I am starting to think I am a bit over my head and was hoping you could help me get things under control.  I’m not even sure where to start?  Other than turkey. Ryan Dear Ryan, First, make a list of everything you’d like to serve, write it all down on a piece of paper, then make a plan for cooking it. (The last thing you want to be doing is entering a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. You’re smarter than that.) Have plenty of onions and carrots Read On »

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