Emilia Juocys has been my assistant for several years, first from Chicago now from her home town in Michigan. She has recently, at the age of 35, made a major transition in her life. Major transitions require reflection, reevaluation; curiosity and fear about the future are also inevitable consequences. When you are a cook you turn to food for some of the understanding and grace you need. – R By Emilia Juocys @jaldona Summer is nearly over, and the fall is closing in, and the bounty of the summer is entering our kitchen in droves. I devour the sweet summer corn and beautiful heirloom tomatoes, but for me summer would not be summer unless I had a specific summer treat. I’m also stuck in a great period of reflection, wondering where I will end up Read On »

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I’m a cook, not a baker. There are few professional chefs who are both. Cory Barrett, formerly of Cleveland’s Lola, was its pastry chef and then its chef de cuisine, very rare. Michel Richard is an anomaly in being both a world-class pastry chef and a dazzlingly ingenious savory cook, as his book Happy in the Kitchen shows (I highly recommend this book, by the way, and his restaurants). That savory cooks and pastry cooks are different creatures is also why writing the new best-selling Thomas Keller book, the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook—stunning in its recipes, photography, and design—was both so hard and so exciting for me, as I tried to understand the whys behind the craft of baking and pastries and write about them through executive chef Sebastien Rouxel. But it’s holiday-time, Christmastime, the season of baking! Read On »

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  Guest post from My Girl Friday, who loves loves loves cookies—M.R. by Emilia Juocys December is here and it is time to bake cookies. It is not as easy of a task as one might think it is. I spend about two days thinking of the combination of cookies that I will be baking and presenting for Christmas. I review classic cookies that I make year round, seasonal cookies, and ones that take a bit longer to make. My labor of love are these cookies. The two dozen that make it in the box to share with friends, loved ones, and co-workers. This is my way to share my skill and love of baking with those around me. This year will be a more meaningful Christmas baking season since my mentor has passed. I Read On »

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I’m such a homebody, I dread book tour trips and typically stress about them, and I nearly always return thrilled to have gone and surprised and amazed by what I encountered. Last week was Chicago and the schedule was so tight that I took a taxi from O’Hare straight to the Chicago Tribune’s test kitchen where Monica Eng, formerly a food reporter now on the investigative beat, reverted to her former purview to join me in making an easy Coq au Vin from Ruhlman’s Twenty (I forgot how good it was till I tasted it—haven’t made it since Donna took the pix). I had time for a quick lunch after across the street at The Purple Pig (pig ears and the artichokes), excellent casual place recommended by a twitter friend. That night there was a Read On »

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Biscotti is the perfect accompaniment mid-morning when I’m into my fifth or sixth cup of coffee.  I drink coffee all morning long and I’m able to do so because I don’t use one of those horrible drip machines, but rather what I think of as my personal 1956 Lincoln Continental of a coffee machine. The problem has always been that I’ve never really liked biscotti.  Maybe because I’ve only ever had the stuff that comes in a gift basket from Gallucci’s (a store I adore).  Or the one time I tried to make it myself.  It was rock hard and tasteless, so I figured I’d done a perfect job. But a while back, someone asked for a biscotti recipe, perhaps even a ratio.  My able colleague Emilia Juocys was intrigued and so recently set to Read On »

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