“You’re gonna be a Scotch drinker,” my Grandma Rose said to me at the end of a Christmas dinner, with an approving smile. I was all of about six years old. This was still the 1960s and everybody drank. I had asked for, and was given, a sip of my father’s after-dinner cordial, a tiny glass of Drambuie, and had claimed to like it. I did like it, in fact—unlike that nasty martini my father would often have (story of that first taste here). The Drambuie was syrupy sweet and I marveled at the way the alcohol seemed to blow up inside my mouth. Alas, a sip was all I would get. My tastes today, contrary to Rose’s prediction, run to bourbon, but I still love the flavor of Drambuie, the Scotch-based liqueur. It and Read On »

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The last Le Creuset video of the year is also my favorite, and one of the great celebratory meals available: goose! Le Creuset actually makes a goose pot—it’s even called a goose pot—and it is one big mother of a cooking vessel. I absolutely LOVE it. You could give a baby a bath in it. You could plant an herb garden in it during the summer. But here, we’re cooking goose! Believe it or not, it’s a relatively simple, make-ahead meal, using a dual cooking method. The goose is first braised in wine and water, which renders the abundant fat, cooks and tenderizes the goose, and becomes in itself a rich stock. Everything can then be chilled for up to three days and finished in an hour. Every december, a group of my oldest pals Read On »

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This is a repost from November 21, 2012 featuring Michael’s Cranberry Sauce and Gravy from scratch. My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, and set a timer for 90 minutes. Read On »

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  It’s Friday in NYC, a week before Thanksgiving, and I’m concluding last leg of what seems a forever road trip, concluding at Miami Book Fair tomorrow (I’m told I was on NPR Morning Edition today but haven’t heard and will be on The Chew on Tuesday cooking kreplach with my pal Michael Symon). Per our tradition we’ll be driving to the Hudson Valley to celebrate Thanksgiving with Donna’s big and growing family—something like 21 adults, a few teenagers, and a few great grand-kids. Donna volunteered me for the gravy because, gravy is a no-brainer, I love making stock, and frozen, it will travel well. (Recipes for stock and Friday Cocktail below.) A no-brainer if you make excellent turkey stock now! I’ll be doubling or tripling the below recipe this year. When I’m home I’ll be Read On »

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I stopped stuffing our Thanksgiving turkey reluctantly, as the stuffing was always my favorite part of the meal when Grandma Spamer made it. But my goal became a perfectly cooked bird, and you can’t cook a turkey perfectly if it’s stuffed. So now I make what we must refer to as dressing, no matter what Mario says (“That’s what you put on a salad.”). Dressing denotes that it’s stuffing cooked in a pan. And it can still be the very best part of the meal! Thanks to a versatile ratio, it’s a no brainer. Dressing, and there are infinite variations, is little more than a savory bread pudding. To make a great dressing you make the liquid a custard, the ratio for which is 2 parts liquid and 1 part egg, here 24 ounces stock Read On »

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