Cocktail Name Winner “Major Award,” from Stefan Was, of Cleveland, OH This was chosen from many, many wonderful names, by Paulius and Claudia, and I whole-heartedly embrace this great and elegant name, in its saying Cleveland without using Cleveland, its nuanced suggestion of Christmas and fun without saying either. Poetry! “Major Award” is a reference, of course, to one of my favorite movies, “A Christmas Story,” which opens in Cleveland’s Public Square. Donna and I never see a box with “Fragile” written on it without saying aloud, “Fra-GEE-lay.” Darren McGavin’s major award was of course, the famous leg lamp. Stop by Paulius’s Velvet Tango Room, and you’ll see the lamp in an upstairs window. Stefan, Paulius says come on in and you’ll have a Major Award on the house. I’ll get a copy of Read On »

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“You’re not going to be happy,” Bill said. Bill was the editor of Ruhlman’s Twenty, the guy who more or less line-drived it into play. I was meeting him at Chronicle’s offices for the first time. “Why not?” “Twenty‘s going to be sold out.” “I thought you printed a lot of copies.” “Not enough.” “It’s December 1st, Bill—this is, like, the biggest book-buying month of the year.” “I know.” Which is why he said I was going to be unhappy. It wasn’t even on Kindle yet (which is how I usually read my copy today, because of the search function). And which is why I’m printing one of my favorite recipes from the book below. And re-promoting it as a Superlative and Timeless Work of Culinary Artistry, as fun to read in bed as it Read On »

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A few weeks ago when Donna was gadding about in NYC, I asked my dear pal Lester if he’d have a drink with me at the best bar in the world, aka Velvet Tango Room. I wanted to have a look at its menu and to have a cocktail I created, or rather, riffed on a classic, The Martinez. Mine is called The Berkshire Martinez and I am honored to be on the menu. The bar’s owner is Paulius Nasvytis. In a tale too odd and complicated to go into here, he and Claudia Young, longtime Nashville resident, are an item. Before Lester and I could head off for some greezy Chinese chuck, Paulius and Claudia arrived. They had created a new cocktail and were eager for us to try it. It is a fabulous Read On »

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Yep, the good folks at Sous Vide Supreme are doing a promotional giveaway of one of their superb sous vide appliances—and a vacuum sealer! (Details below.) About ten years ago, sous vide cooking (cooking food at low precise temperatures) entered the professional kitchen in America. It’s now solidly in the home kitchen with various devices for sale. For the best price/quality ratio, Sous Vide Supreme has, since its arrival in 2009, been my favorite tool. It’s fabulous for home use. I slow-cook beef ribs for 48 hours for tender and juicy ribs. You can transform eggs in ways no other method can. I love putting a soft-boiled egg into soups, as in the above ramen dish. I use it monthly to make a big batch of yogurt. It’s a great water bath for cooking custards, meatloaf, Read On »

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While I love this video—and, yes, Le Creuset is giving away ten of these awesome oval pots (yes, giving them away)—the video doesn’t show how succulent and delicious and simple these bean dishes are. Kate will be pissed that I’m desecrating her beloved cassoulet with American middle-of-the-week ease. Sorry, Kate (but not really). I got great Tarbais-style beans from Steve Sando of Ranch Gordo; these and a great pot are all you need. Sure, I’d love some moulard duck leg confit, but I don’t have it here! What I have is pork! And I love pork, and it’s delicious, and this dish adds up to just a few dollars a portion (even with Whole Foods meat!). Easy cassoulet, American style: thick chunks of bacon started in water (to speed the fat-rendering), browned, then pork shoulder chunks seared in the Read On »

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