Corned beef and cabbage, Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

  Never pass up an excuse to corn beef. Start now for St. Patrick’s day dinner. Or for whenever. The cure takes five days, so plan ahead. I recently got a question about curing it at room temperature. The brine is a nearly 10 percent salt solution, so I imagine it would be fine for five days. Also remember that after it’s cured you can keep it refrigerated for about a week before cooking. And you could keep it indefinitely in the fridge in the brine, but you’d have to be sure to cook the salt out of it after. Any cut of beef can be “corned.” (See my pastrami short ribs.) But the best cuts are the tougher, less-expensive cuts such as brisket. The only uncommon ingredient is the sodium nitrite, pink salt, available here and Read On »

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greyhound

The grapefruit, as I’ve mentioned before, was my introduction to the notion of seasonal. It was 1989, I was not yet 26, and I’d moved into a little bungalow on the sweet island of Palm Beach to work on my novel. Deep into January and through February the trees in back of my hutch hung heavy with grapefruit. The best grapefruit I’d ever had. I don’t know what I was thinking before I actually saw grapefruit on trees, Cleveland boy, that I was. I suppose only that citrus grew in warm weather places pretty much year round, since I can buy them year-round. Well, no. They have a time of year when they naturally appear and this is when you should eat them (which is now). You should also know that if you buy grapefruit Read On »

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Key-Lime-Merigue4

Down in Key West on my annual boondoggle to cook for my cousins Rob and Ab and their merry band of sailors as they narrowly hang onto second place in their J-111 class, and their son, Ryan, skippers the 88, with his sister cousin Maegan aboard. And so, in honor of place, I’m posting this recipe from my book Egg: An Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient: a key lime tart. It is indeed one of the finer desserts I know, custard made with yolks, topped with sweetened, whipped egg whites that are lightly browned. It’s been a week of fun food, fish tacos (using beautiful yellow tail snapper), a lobster night which is always something of a celebratory meal (with leftover strip steaks), last night an easy protein for me, D’Artagnan’s most excellent duck Read On »

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Chicken Provençal

Sunday night my dear friends JD and Catherine Sullivan invited me for dinner. JD is a good cook (see the sausage making video we did together; video also feature my partner in tools, Mac Dalton, an appearance by my young son, James, who now, lean and tall, looks me straight in the eye, and JD at the end; it’s a good primer on making sausage). But when I arrived to find that JD’s chicken Provençal was simply baked chicken with herbs I was prepared to be underwhelmed. JD explained that it was a recipe from the estimable Sam Sifton who runs the excellent NYTimes cooking site. Chicken is seasoned, floured, put in a baking dish and roasted for about an hour. It turned out to be a terrific preparation, thanks to the aggressive herbage, and also, importantly, Read On »

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Start the new year off with a bowl of hopping john. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I read this excellent NYTimes article on field peas by Kim Severson yesterday and already started hungering for Hoppin’ John, a traditional dish for New Year’s Day. The article is a good reminder too that all peas are not alike so, while the dried peas in your supermarket are perfectly fine, there are other sources for different varieties of field peas for those looking to explore different flavors. The below is my go-to recipe for Hoppin’ John. It will work with just about any dried bean, but I do love the earthy flavor of the black-eyed peas. Wishing all a festive New Year’s Eve, and a healthy, prosperous 2016 filled with good food and lots of home cooking! Hoppin’ John 1 pound black-eyed peas, rinsed 2 large Spanish onions, 1 peeled and halved through the root, 1 Read On »

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