I get sent so many cookbooks we had to build more shelves. So while I don’t get deluged the way the NYTBR does, I do see a good deal of what’s being published. The stuff I get seems to be what publishers are most hopeful about (and therefore worth the price of the book and postage). I will note below the books that I actually purchased (because I already have more cookbooks than I need or even want, that’s saying something), as well as my pick for favorite book of the season (it’s not my own, btw). I was sent the above Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold with chef Maxime Bilet, a pared-down version of the incredible multi-volume version published last year. Myhrvold was peeved by my 90% positive and awe-struck review in the NYTimes (that’s an Read On »

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  Kitchen tools need not be expensive to be valuable. The above Benriner mandoline is one of my most valued kitchen tools for uniform slicing, julienning, and making brunoise (a julienne turned into a dice). By far my most valuable electric device in my kitchen is the hand blender—I use Braun that seems to be unavailable, but I bought this Cuisinart version for my mom  ($47) and it works well—these devices all do the job of pureeing soups and sauces, easy whisking, quick mayonnaise, and I make vinaigrettes in the cup attachment, which will even emulsify a great Caesar dressing will pureeing the garlic. Every kitchen needs a scale, the most reliable way of measuring, especially if you’re baking (which is why more cookbooks are including, if not leading with, metric weights, as does the ground-breaking Bouchon Bakery cookbook—another Read On »

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It’s time again for my picks for the big-ticket items, those expensive appliances and pots that are game changers, but real investments. I’ve just started a relationship with Le Creuset, the company that makes the best enameled cast-iron cookware on earth. My go-to pot is the 7-quart Dutch Oven (they’re made in France and the company wants me to call them French ovens, which I find interesting since there really should no longer be a nationality attached to the thing; my preferred name for this one is “My Favorite Pot”). It’s what I bought my beloved Dad long ago; now, sadly, I have two of them. My other favorite is the braiser, the everyday pot in which you can cook just about anything. (Here’s one of the videos we did, where I use this pot Read On »

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This week’s posts will be devoted my personal kitchen tool gift guide, starting with the big guns. I got my first KitchenAid stand mixer 20 years ago as a Christmas gift from my mom’s boyfriend, Hap, and it was one of the best gifts I ever got. It’s the most used appliance in my kitchen. I’ve beaten the hell out of it, even flipped it off the countertop while trying to grind something particularly difficult. And it still runs. When Donna and I began doing photography for Twenty, we wanted something a little better to look at and so now use the above “Artisan” 5-quart model (linked to above). If you’re looking for that over-the-top gift for the one in your family who loves to cook, this can’t be beat. It’s what we tested all Read On »

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I was speaking with my dear friend Lee Jacobs over a pint of Great Lakes Dortmunder at our local pool hall yesterday and she told me after much deliberation, she’d decided on asking for Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Greenspan, of course, is prolific cookbook author (and blogger) who has focused in the past on baking and sweets, but here she both broadens and personalizes her approach, which may account for the gangbuster start for her book.  Dorie, who’s so admired she has entire blog groups devoted to her work, is always excellent and this is a gorgeous well done book. Lee had asked me what books I would recommend.  Here are a few of the books that have caught my attention this season. For Read On »

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