If you’re on the road and will be cooking in unfamiliar kitchens, what are the essentials you cannot afford to be without? Thomas Keller once told me he always brought three things, kosher salt, string, and his pepper mill.  Everything else, a restaurant kitchen was likely to have. But what about when you’re traveling to a rental house, as I did last week. A rental house you count on providing you with one crappy non-stick pan, a small plastic cutting board, a cheap pot just big enough to cook a box of spaghetti in, and an array of dull and serrated knives. Donna photographed the tools I brought with me to Key West to cook 9 consecutive dinners for 16 people.  A big cutting board is the first thing I set out. You’re badly handicapped Read On »

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It requires a certain amount of stress to cook for a lot of people. Otherwise you won’t get it done. Too much work, and therefore too much focus and efficiency to both get everything done and also enjoy yourself. You’ve got to like this very peculiar kind of stress.  Or like the release that inevitably follows. And it’s not the same kind of release as it is for the guy who, when asked why he’s banging his head against the wall, responds, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”  But it’s close. You’ve just got to have that kind of love-the-pressure, love-the-release to cook for a lot of people night after night. If you do, you can make a good and happy living as a cook and maybe chef-restaurateur. Me, I really only liked Read On »

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A hearty winter recipe for steak and kidney pie, via Guardian UK.

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The economy struggled but cooking and writing about food sure didn’t! My colleague Emilia and I decided to have a look at the most popular—or most viewed is perhaps the better phrase—posts from this site this year. By far the most exciting blog event of the year was Cathy Barrow‘s and Kim Foster‘s Charcutepalooza. What an amazing thing happened, and all because of that catchy hashtag on Twitter. This would not have happened without Twitter. Congrats to all who participated and who pushed themselves to cook in unfamiliar and often difficult ways! Special congrats to Cecilia, who blogs at One Vanilla Bean, and Peter, who blogs at Cookblog, as the two year’s end finalists. Good luck to you both! Top ruhlman.com posts from 2011, in no particular order: Stock Convictions & Stock Clarifications In which I Read On »

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Try a new parsnip latke to spice up your holiday season, via Smitten Kitchen.

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