Stinger-cocktail-@1020

Friday Cocktail Hour today is devoted to the memory of my dad, who hated to see guests leave and always asked if they’d stay for a nightcap, saying, “Can I make you a Stinger?” The Stinger, a cocktail that dates to the early 20th century is a combination of brandy and crème de menthe, indeed a refreshing cocktail after a meal. Rip would have used an inexpensive brandy for this mixed drink and he always served them over crushed ice (we owned an actual crusher that sat on the back kitchen counter next to the toaster oven and the Mr. Coffee). But it’s also a drink, according to The Philadelphia Story (one of my favorite movies), that is a great hair-of-the-dog solution. This I’ve never tried, but surely in the future shall. My father died of Read On »

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Barber-Moca-@1020

I had the great good fortune to interview Dan Barber before a sold-out crowd at Cleveland’s MOCA last night, talking to him about his fine book, The Third Plate (NYTimes review here). Barber, chef and owner of New York’s Blue Hill restaurant and maestro of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, is the most vocal and articulate chef soap-boxing for a sustainable food future. The problem has long been that, while he’s been very good at articulating the problems, he’s never had a realistic solution. Americans can’t completely opt out of the industrial food system by relying exclusively on CSAs and farmers’ markets (much as we cherish them). And chefs must cherry-pick the best ingredients if they are to keep their restaurants filled. Until this book, that is. Barber, through excellent reporting (how many chefs record interviews Read On »

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MELT_chocolate_pasta

When I was in San Francisco promoting Egg, my friend Stephanie Stiavetti, who writes The Culinary Life (see current post, 5/23, on making your own ricotta from an interesting new book, One-Hour Cheese), took me for a fab meal at State Bird Provisions. We walked through the lovely Pacific Heights after, and I kept on walking to my hotel through the Tenderloin. I have never been accosted by so many beggars. (What are they thinking?) I wrote the introduction to the book she mentions below with gladness; I’d never thought to elevate the American classic by using great American cheeses. The below recipe takes Mac and Cheese to a new level (and for those in my neck of the woods, Ohio, feel free to substitute Mackenzie Creamery goat cheese instead of the Bucherondin).—M.R. by Stephanie Read On »

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Metropolitan-Cocktail@1020

Last week’s delicious Sidecar got me onto drinks featuring brandy. This, combined with my interest in how changing the spirit changes the name, brings me to today’s cocktail (photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman), the Metropolitan. The Manhattan is a beloved Ruhlman family cocktail; the Metropolitan is essentially a Manhattan made with brandy. This is a delicious cocktail, made especially fine with these genuine maraschino cherries. Donna says a single one of them can be considered an entire dessert. Indeed, this is a garnish that truly completes this cocktail, which is a complex mixture of brandy, sweet vermouth, bitters, a small bit of simple syrup, and the cherries. I’m happy again to feature Hella Bitters, from my downstairs neighbor in New York, Tobin Ludwig, currently visiting Cleveland I’m proud to note—and what a glorious day it Read On »

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Fritatta-X3@1020

  Egg promotion is winding down, but what a lot of attention it got! (NPR’s Steve Inskeep talked to me about it on Morning Edition. It inspired an egg-centric stroll through Manhattan with NYTimes reporter Alex Witchel. It was covered favorably in Sunday’s NYTBR by William Grimes. Debbi Snook covered it for my hometown paper. And the Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt on page one of its weekend section.) But now that the fun is subsiding, I reflect on where it began: for me with this humble frittata. In fourth grade someone told me or I saw on TV how to make one. And so, home alone with only four channels to entertain me, the video game Pong a blip on the horizon, and hungry, really hungry, I made the above. It was not just the creation itself that Read On »

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