[Update 1/16: Winners have been chosen; their dishes are at the bottom of this post.] Two and a half years ago, I wrote a post on staple meals because I’m fascinated by what people eat at home when they don’t want to think about what to make, what their go-to, middle-of-the-week meal is, because they are invariably quick, efficient, economical, and well, good enough to eat once a week forever. (I think they also tell us a lot about who we are). The woman who has been cutting my hair for 12 years, three kids 16 and younger, husband not always at home, an “I don’t have a lot of time” mom. She makes chicken legs on a small rotisserie, and will do lamb or steak, with beans and rice.  Soup once a week with what’s Read On »

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When it comes to small great gifts, kitchen tools can’t be beat.  Items like the above Benriner mandoline, a tool you’ll find in just about every professional cook’s knife kit, is perfect. But there are many many ridiculous small brightly colored kitchen items out there tempting those who don’t cook with promises of ease and convenience . Last year my mom got me these pink silicone trussing bands —I do not recommend! This is the kind of stupid product that makes me crazy. But a great pepper mill, that’s something truly valuable—there are good ones and bad ones. Pugeot’s are excellent. This one from opensky is top of the line with an adjustable grind. The side towels I offer at opensky (there’s lots of great stuff in my kitchen collection there). Any of the products Mac Read On »

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Donna and I spent half the day yesterday shooting the promotional video for our new book, out next month, and I figured I should ask our videographer, Cynthia Albanese, to shoot as much video as possible.  So in addition to describing the book, I also roasted a chicken, made stock and made a soup from the stock to demonstrate The Generosity of a Chicken.  We had fresh corn, tomatoes from the garden and everyone loves the dynamic flavor the lime juice gives this soup, the richness of the avocado, and fresh crunchy tortillas, so that’s what I made. When you’ve got delicious stock on hand, you’re five minutes away from dozens of possible meals.  I could have used left over chicken and some noodles, I could have cooked potatoes in it, pureed it, finished it Read On »

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