How many of you thought that Brussels sprouts grew in the ground like little cabbages?  Or like me, never really thought about how they grew until you were forced to consider it?  Last Friday, Thomas Keller flew to Cleveland to promote Ad Hoc At Home, a paean to family-style cooking, and among the many things we talked about were ways people can improve as cooks, such as being more organized (mise en place!) and shopping better.  As Thomas has always said, “If you’ve got better ingredients than I, then you can be a better chef.” One of the ingredients he happened to mention was Brussels sprouts—eat them in season.  The very next day at my farmers market, there they were. So I had to buy.  Had to. Brussels sprouts are delicious—if you cook them right.  Read On »

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Photos by Donna I posted this photo last September and was going to repost the actual post shouting the joys of baked buttered corn, but deleted it by mistake!  But I thought of it because after the sadness of finding a squash in my CSA, the changing of corn for tiny tender and sweet, to fat and starchy, is yet another sign of summer’s passing. A way to bring some happiness to the end of summer is to take that corn and simply bake it with butter.  It’s fabulous.  The starchy corn juices create a virtual custard and the long high heat transforms the flavors in a way that a quick boiling of the corn can’t. I use the Lee Wooden Corn Cutter, above.  It goes against my advice to rid your kitchen of unitaskers—it’s Read On »

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Photo by Donna I screwed up the brine for these and wound up with amazing short rib pastrami, below, but I remade the brine and got it right, nothing but tarragon and garlic.  I like dill and dill pickles, but I love tarragon flavored pickles, which is the dominant herb in cornichon. I also prefer the flavor of the "natural" or "traditional" pickle, one that uses no vinegar.  Allowing lactic acid bacteria to feed on sugars in the vegetable and release acid, you create a sharp, but not vinegar-sharp, flavor. You also get the pleasure in this style of pickling of working with something that’s alive, like yeast or creating your own vinegar.  This works with most vegetables, not just cucumbers.  How do you do this, get those bacteria working for you?  By leaving the Read On »

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