I first heard of  Robert Danhi from my friend Michael Pardus, who teaches Asian cuisines at the Culinary Institute of America, who said I should check out his book Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore. Dahni, a long time chef currently in southern California, had self-published it, which used to mean not good enough for traditional publishers to take a gamble on (but not necessarily any more). This book went on to get a Beard nomination, and Pardus, an expert in the subject, said the information was solid. What I like about the book—as much a travel book as cookbook—is that Danhi goes out of his way to talk about technique and the hows and whys of cooking. Here, he talks about peanuts and how they differ Read On »

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I demoed home-cured bacon at the Blogher 2010 after party Saturday night, with the help of the excellent students of the California Culinary Academy (thanks for the perfect set-up, chef-students!).  I couldn’t do it start to finish, of course.  You need to give the belly a dry rub for a week.  Then you need to cook it for an hour or so.  People drinking bacon martinis on a Saturday night don’t want to stand around watching pork belly cure. I showed the steps though, cooked some up (the folks at CCA had cured it perfectly). I thought everyone was good to go. But the next day, as I waited for the airport shuttle, a woman told me she wanted to cure bacon, even had a smoker (nice but not essential).  She said, “But I’m afraid.” Read On »

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Tomato Basil Garlic Pasta with a Tomato-Butter sauce, via my iPhone; and frankly, I’m not happy with the quality, but you will get the idea of the tomato water use; next time back to the HD camera (and now, back to the gym). When I was courting Donna in southern Florida more than 20 years ago, I made a pasta dish of nothing more than tomato, basil, garlic and butter that we both loved for its simplicity and big garlicky flavor.  It’s still a weekday staple for us, especially at the end of summer when basil and fat tomatoes are plentiful.  (Part of the original plan was to load Donna with so much garlic that she would ooze it from her pores the following day to keep other suitors away—so there is a lot of Read On »

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Earlier in the season, I taped a grilling demo for a new Cleveland company called Sideways, specializing in digital publishing, including the eponymous magazine for the iPad (next issue is out Monday, youtube promo here). It accompanied my story on grilling. The idea that the iPad can include multiple pix (even a flip-pad presentation of cooking technique), video, text and recipes is exciting and Sideways was the first company I know of to create such a work.  I think this video is too long, more than 15 minutes, or it needs to be broken into shorter chapters, but it’s not bad for a first try.  They recently posted it to youtube, so here it is. Grilling 101, human’s original cooking method: Spatchcocked chicken, grilling asparagus, and grilling sausage.  I believe Hank Shaw made fun of Read On »

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Why DON’T we trace a cake pan and cut out the circle with scissors?  Because its easier faster and more accurate to fold and cut with a knife! I line a cake pan with a circle so that it comes out clean. I put a parchment circle with a hole in the middle over braising things like lamb shanks and short ribs to allow some reduction. Video by Donna using my iPhone (gosh I love my ((G3)) iPhone).

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