If you’re making Thanksgiving dinner next Thursday and want delicious turkey gravy, make a small batch of easy turkey stock this weekend.  If you have delicious stock on hand, gravy is just a little roux away.  We’ll have ten at the table this year and I’m making a batch of stock this weekend from the above legs and wings. It’s simple: Roast them till they’re good enough to eat, then try to eat as little as possible before you put them in a pot and bring the water to a simmer.  As soon as it’s at a simmer, put the pot in a 200 degree oven for 8 hours or so (the longer the better—because of some timing issues mine went 16, so I added a little more water).  Then, add sliced onion, chopped carrot, Read On »

Share

Sweet potato chips beat potato chips by a mile.  I hadn’t cooked these in years, which is a real shame—so many missed opportunities for pleasure! Sweet potato chips are dense, flavorful, nutritious, and compulsively eatable. They all but jump into your hand without your being aware of it. I mean look at them.  Are they not a picture of fall’s beauty? They were to Donna, who, spotting them as I cut up the roasted chicken they accompanied and got off this quick hip shot before they cooled. So good, so easy. How to cook sweet potato chips (points of deep-fried root vegetable finesse): 1 pound/500 grams (or more) sweet potatoes, well-scrubbed and sliced a little under 1/8th of an inch, thin as a large coin. 1 quart/liter canola oil fine sea salt Use a big Read On »

Share

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 »

Share

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 »

Share

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 »

Share