The first table I ever waited on would comprise two serious chefs, Richard Czack and CIA prez Ferdinand Metz, and the parents of a seminal American chef. It was in the St. Andrew’s restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America and it is forever linked in my mind with two similar drinks, the Sea Breeze and the Madras. The following is from the book that forever altered my course: Chef Czack did not look like a chef—balding, glasses, slight of frame; I didn’t know his age but he seemed elderly. His voice was nasal, fussy. He looked and sounded more like an accountant’s clerk. But Chef Czack was in fact a certified master chef and I was excited to be serving him and his guests, Mr. and Mrs. Forgione, parents of celebrity chef Larry, and Read On »

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Lisa Ludwinski, 29, is a baker and cook living in Ferndale, Michigan. She recently returned to the Great Lakes State after a six-year stint eating bagels, nannying, and mixing many pounds of cookie dough in Brooklyn, finishing with stints at Momofuku Milk Bar and Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Now she is the owner of Sister Pie, a from-scratch home bakery serving the Detroit area via the Facebook page, and aims to celebrate the seasons with pie and other sweets through unique interpretations and natural ingredients. For now, she’s able to bake pies from home for sale under Michigan’s Cottage Food Law, but her goal is to open a full-service breakfast/lunch/pie shop. Here she offers her take on one of my favorite pies. I like to make a lattice top, which allows all of the moisture to escape Read On »

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This Friday cocktail recipe is posted with heavy shame. I’m sorry, but it’s the way it sometimes goes with blog posts. I’ll always be honest with you. Regrettably, there are multiple levels of shame here. Ignorance, laziness, bad planning, haste, forced collusion. It all started when Jeff Houck, the Tampa journalist (the sounds so much more formidable than a, doesn’t it? and since I like the guy’s work, he’s definitely a the), wrote an article about digital food books, which noted this excellent iBook called 25 Classic Cocktails. I asked the guys who made it to do a guest post and offer some cocktails. They chose a Pink Lady and also gave the recipe for a variant, the Clover Club, which is a Pink Lady without the applejack. While on a trip to LA, I Read On »

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  Making delicious agnolotti. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman. Saturday I was reminded of the efficiency of using ratios when I wanted to make a crepe and was so moved to post on the subject that I put up crappy photos of the actual crepe I ate while at my desk. Still with ratios on my mind, and given that my wife has abandoned me for NYC for a few days, I asked for some proper food photography using a ratio—here with pasta, so easy, so good, and the amazing, self-sealing ravioli, referred to at The French Laundry as agnolotti. In fact, agnolotti are three-tipped ravioli reminiscent of an Italian priest’s hat, but where Thomas learned about them, these here were referred to as agnolotti and so that was how Thomas would always refer to Read On »

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I am determined to get my shopping done NOW—so I can concentrate on the fun stuff on the days leading up to Christmas (eg Pork Pie, Brioche, Chocolate Truffles).  I started my shopping today at my own Open Sky shop (my first time ordering, very easy and free shipping!). The following are gift ideas for the cook in your life are very cool in that they’re not easy to find, incredibly useful, and eminently affordable gifts. Want your lover to make you the above quiche?  Here’s the ring mold he or she will need for the proper depth and that voluptuous texture that made Keller refer to quiche as the sexiest pie. I love the Mag Blok magnetic wall mounted knife holder.  It’s gorgeous wood and won’t ding your knives. Especially great for tiny kitchens Read On »

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