I had an unstoppable hunger this past weekend for old-Chicago-style all-beef hotdogs from Vienna Beef, the best hotdog in the country in my opinion. I wanted that charred skin flavor of summer, the grill smoke from fat dripping on coals, the juicy snap when you bite into them. I decided to make buns. Why? Because, we were inviting friends (great food must be shared); I had a cool hot dog pan from American Pan; I had never made them before; and most important, the best hot dogs deserve special treatment. One of the great things about cooking is that you’re subliminally eating the entire time, a kind of calorie-free spiritual nourishment, and I was thinking about the hot dogs the whole time in the kitchen (with good mustard and minced sweet onion). Hot dog buns Read On »

Share

I accidentally upgraded my wordpress account and it wreaked havoc.  Lost all kinds of posts and it broke countless links.  F@$#!  One of the many post sent off unanchored into the ethernet was this guest post (and photo) by freelance writer Stephanie Stiavetti. As with her gluten-free fried chicken, enough people have asked about it that I’m reposting it again. I’ve really only recently become aware of what a rotten disease celiac is, especially for people who love to cook, and to eat, and to write about it.  This post with Carol Blymire (alineaathome.com) describes the situation, um, vividly (the post also has glutenfreegirl‘s awesome pizza dough recipe). It’s also impressed on me how important it is for chefs to understand celiac disease and gluten-free cooking. Stephanie Stiavetti, a social media consultant and reluctant techie based Read On »

Share

Baking bread is one of the oldest forms of cooking, fundamental to civilization and satisfying to the individual soul. Is it because baking bread is so powerful that so many fear it, feel that it’s beyond them? Baking bread is easy and and its pleasures are deep, not just for the one baking but for everyone in the house. The smells of baking bread are a natural analgesic and stress reliever, the bread itself nourishing. This fall, talking with my partner in digital productions Will Turnage (by day, Will is the upstanding VP of Technology and Invention at R/GA, a digital ad agency—I want to be a VP of Invention!; by night he’s a digital Mr. Hyde), about what kind of App to do next, we looked to the iPad because tablets are the future, Read On »

Share

Here is a bagel recipe worthy of the best New York or Jersey deli from a baker in Boone, North Carolina. Bruce Ezzell commented on this blog ages ago and elicited a discussion about bagels, which led to his inspiring journey from being laid off to opening his own bakery. professional baker. I’ll let Bruce, @thebreadlist on Twitter, tell the story.—M.R. by Bruce Ezzell I’ve been baking for 20 years now. Five years professionally from 1989-1994, then what I called ‘sanity baking’ after that. Newly married, kids on the way, I had to find work that gave me a steady paycheck so I left baking for new careers. The ‘economic downturn’ changed things for me. I lost my job as the office manager of a high-end construction company in January 2009.  Boone, NC, where I live, is a Read On »

Share

When I used to read bread recipes, I feared yeast for good reason: Bad bread recipes.  So many instructed me to heat the water to specific temperatures, between 110 and 115 degrees F., and bloom the yeast.  Some wanted sugar in the water.  Some told me to wait till I saw bubbles.  Or they were neurotic about when to add the yeast.  Or the amount, 1-1/4 teaspoons exactly.  Rest the dough in a warm place (because of the yeast), they said, or away from drafts. Or you have to bloom active dry but not instant.  Or don’t add the salt until the yeast has started its work. Hogwash, all of it!  Truth of the matter is you can play fast and loose with the yeast and you can use any kind you want. I often Read On »

Share