Corned beef and cabbage, Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

  Never pass up an excuse to corn beef. Start now for St. Patrick’s day dinner. Or for whenever. The cure takes five days, so plan ahead. I recently got a question about curing it at room temperature. The brine is a nearly 10 percent salt solution, so I imagine it would be fine for five days. Also remember that after it’s cured you can keep it refrigerated for about a week before cooking. And you could keep it indefinitely in the fridge in the brine, but you’d have to be sure to cook the salt out of it after. Any cut of beef can be “corned.” (See my pastrami short ribs.) But the best cuts are the tougher, less-expensive cuts such as brisket. The only uncommon ingredient is the sodium nitrite, pink salt, available here and Read On »

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  Just back from a fabulous trip to Hawaii on a magazine assignment. Such a great time, wanted to share some iPhone shots. Top: Opah, at the Honolulu fish auction. Terribly shabby view from my hotel in Maui, the Andaz resort. Breakfast at Lee Anne Wong’s Koko Head Cafe (garlic rice, beef patty, mushroom gravy, egg). Below: Adam Watten of the soon-to-be-opened Hanai, a market and eating venue, standing at his makeshift smoker. Lee Anne Wong with chef Mark Noguchi. A farmers’ market on Kauai. Watten’s menu for the night he cooked for a group of us. Chickens on the beach in Kauai, where the birds run wild all over the island. The Papahana Kuaola, a restoration site on Oahu. Soursop fruit at farmers’ market. The biggest Spam display I’ve ever seen. Smoke-roasted baby pig from Steelgrass Farm, Kauai.   My final mai tai, alas. The Read On »

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steak florentine

When I’m in NYC, I live in a studio in the West Village with a teensy kitchen. I see why New Yorkers don’t cook more often. But I’m trying to develop strategies for cooking for one in tight quarters (and keeping a journal about it). This means one-pan meals (my go-to pan is a 12″ cast iron skillet), and dishes that result in a second and third leftover meal. The first, on a frigid weekend night, was a simple milk-based bolognese (diced San Marzanos added late). The next day I asked a friend what I should cook next and she said immediately, “Steak Florentine!” There seems to be no agreed-on specifics as to what this dish is. I presumed it involved spinach. But no. It seems only to designate a steak from particular Florentine breeds of Read On »

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greyhound

The grapefruit, as I’ve mentioned before, was my introduction to the notion of seasonal. It was 1989, I was not yet 26, and I’d moved into a little bungalow on the sweet island of Palm Beach to work on my novel. Deep into January and through February the trees in back of my hutch hung heavy with grapefruit. The best grapefruit I’d ever had. I don’t know what I was thinking before I actually saw grapefruit on trees, Cleveland boy, that I was. I suppose only that citrus grew in warm weather places pretty much year round, since I can buy them year-round. Well, no. They have a time of year when they naturally appear and this is when you should eat them (which is now). You should also know that if you buy grapefruit Read On »

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I’ve been exploring Neapolitan pizzas in NYC, but I haven’t had a better one than I did yesterday at Citizen Pie, a new addition to the Cleveland food scene, in a once gritty neighborhood directly across from Beachland Ballroom, one of the most cutting-edge/eclectic music venues in the state. Chef Vytauras Sasnauskas, Chef V, a native of Lithuania who arrived here in … No, stop … That was how I intended to begin this post, until now, having returned home from my second consecutive meal there. You see, on this night (last night) I’d brought my 16 y.o. son, James, and his friend there on the pretext that they would eat the best pizza they’d ever had. These boys like their pizza so much that they once actually bought a pizza at Brothers pizza on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, Read On »

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