I posted yesterday on twitter that I began cooking because I was hungry but continued to cook because I loved to eat, and it got me thinking.  There are so many different reasons to cook, as a number of twitters pointed out.  Self-defense was a good one!  And with the state of our processed food, one that every cook can claim!  Can I encourage other bloggers to post about why you cook?  Spell it out.  Writing it down forces you to know what you think.  When I was nine, I cooked because I was hungry and making things was fun.  Today, age 46 and devoted to family, I cook because: —I want my family to have great food all the time that’s tasty and good for their body and brains. —I cook because it relaxes Read On »

Share

James and I made popovers Sunday morning and sprinkled them with vanilla sugar, and this sugar made the popovers appealing in a surprisingly effective way.  Like fleur de sel on caramel.  It brought the flavors and textures together without overtly calling attention to itself.  When I’d posted a while ago in a recipe to discard the vanilla bean, I got what amounted to a scolding from Shuna, who found it appalling that one could so easily waste an opportunity for the pleasures of vanilla sugar.  She was right to scold. I had never really taken the time to appreciate the wonderful aromatic flavor of sugar but now I always will.  It deserves a place in the spice rack.  That it is born of economy makes it all the more enjoyable. If you’ve just made some Read On »

Share

After my minor salt rant, a number of people asked which salt to use and what I thought about various salts.  There are a mind-numbing array of salts out there, even big blocks of salt you can cook and serve on.  But, with apologies to Mark Bitterman, whose work and business I truly admire, I stick to three salts.  Kosher is my all-purpose, everyday, really-don’t-need-any-other-kind salt.  I use Morton’s because that’s what my grocery store stocks. If they offered a choice, I’d use Diamond Crystal, which is flakier and doesn’t have any anti-caking agents in it.  It’s just salt.  I use fine sea salt to season fish and vegetables I eat raw.  And I use a finishing salt for visual and textural appeal, fleur de sel or Maldon. I was given some smoked salt, which Read On »

Share

Last year, The French Laundry Cookbook Team, published Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, a book spearheaded by per se chef de cuisine Jonathon Benno and featuring the dishes of him, his French Laundry counterpart Corey Lee, and Thomas Keller.  The book was explicitly geared toward professional chefs (recipes are in metric weights) because this form of cooking was at the time most applicable to restaurant kitchens.  The capacity to cook food sous vide, that is vacuum sealed and submerged in water kept at low precise temperatures, is perfectly suited to the demands of cooking for large numbers because food hit a specific temperature and stays there, no real chance to overcook.  But also the equipment was prohibitively expensive, with chamber vacuum sealers and immersion circulators (the device that heats the water) costing several thousand dollars. Read On »

Share

We felt it was time to try to add video and here’s the first attempt.  WARNING: very low tech and echo-y sound but we couldn’t wait any longer so my friend Joe appeared one afternoon with a camera and there we are. Like the blog, the videos are a continual work in progress.  Maybe I’ll invest in a microphone! I chose pate a choux because I had  blogged about it (see this post for finished photos of all the preparations).  Also, it was an easy demo of an easy preparation I want more people to do for themselves.  Steamy recently blogged about it, as have others. Also, it’s a great recipe for the holidays and entertaining.  You can make the dough ahead and refrigerate till you’re ready to bake.  They make great canapes.  Fill them Read On »

Share