photo by Donna

A friend said something important to me this morning: “There’s always a big component of sadness in Christmas. If there isn’t, then you haven’t had a lucky life.” I hadn’t recognized this explicitly until that moment, but I think I’d known this since I was a boy. I still remember one particular Christmas Eve, I must have been six or seven. My parents were upstairs dressing for a series of parties we attended in those days, especially the open house at Peter and Connie Zacher’s. Peter, life-long friend, was a great gourmand and the house was filled with food and cooking and laughter, kids and adults of all ages. But in the quiet, as my parents dressed, I wandered the living room of our small colonial on Norwood Road, in Shaker Heights, OH. The room Read On »

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Reposting this method because, well, if you’re going to cook a standing rib roast now or ever, this is THE best way to do it. Every Christmas Day our family cooks a prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and a beef jus (made from beef-veal stock), and there’s no better way to cook a rack of beef or a whole beef tenderloin than this combination grill-roast method, which I’ve written about here before and in Ruhlman’s Twenty: A Cook’s Manifesto. It gives the meat great grilled flavor and allows you perfect control of temperatures and timing (the grilling can be done up to three days before the final cooking). The ribs themselves are an added benefit. You can serve them immediately, but I like to save them for a second leftover meal the next day. They’re Read On »

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I typically get sent what must be hundreds of pounds of cookbooks in the fall and so have a fair idea of the landscape of new books. Owing to an uncommon amount of travel, I haven’t had the opportunity this year. But I was sent one book to blurb (“say nice things about”) that goes above and beyond any cookbook I’ve seen since Nathan Myrhvold and company’s Modernist Cuisine. That book is The Food Lab, by Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats, named for his cooking column there. That column first appeared in 2009. Over the next half-decade, this uber food geek tackled all kinds of cooking experiments to determine the very best way to cook, say, eggs. Kenji has combined knowledge gleaned over half a decade, reshaping it and putting all this knowledge, all this work, Read On »

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Eggnog-2009

I am traveling once again, but when I arrive back home I’ll be making my aged eggnog in preparation for the holidays. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. -MR Plan ahead! Not long after I began this blog in 2006, I wrote about and made aged eggnog upon reading about it at CHOW. Two years later Donna photographed it. A year after that, we finished the batch. It was a little funky and that was part of its deliciousness. I’m writing about it now so that you can, if you plan ahead, make it this weekend or next, for this holiday season, and the next, and, if you have the discipline, for December 2016. It needs at least 30 days for the aged flavor and for the alcohol to take care of Read On »

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Guest post by (my dear friend and assistant) Emilia Juocys It was just Thanksgiving last week, right? Oh, wait, Christmas is this week. That means I have to get into high gear for cookie baking and prepping Christmas Eve dinner. Time has flown by so fast, and I’ve been curling across the Midwest and up in Canada. No matter where I am, I am drawn to local bakeries to see their holiday offerings or talk about baking traditions from local hosts. Home baking soothes me, calms me—even if I bake at 2:00 in the morning listening to dance music, my bake rave time. Measuring ingredients, creaming the fats and sugars, rolling out dough, cutting shapes; I just love it all. Cookie baking is my passion. Cookies are the best to share with friends and family. This year I Read On »

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