When it comes to small great gifts, kitchen tools can’t be beat.  Items like the above Benriner mandoline, a tool you’ll find in just about every professional cook’s knife kit, is perfect. But there are many many ridiculous small brightly colored kitchen items out there tempting those who don’t cook with promises of ease and convenience . Last year my mom got me these pink silicone trussing bands —I do not recommend! This is the kind of stupid product that makes me crazy. But a great pepper mill, that’s something truly valuable—there are good ones and bad ones. Pugeot’s are excellent. This one from opensky is top of the line with an adjustable grind. The side towels I offer at opensky (there’s lots of great stuff in my kitchen collection there). Any of the products Mac Read On »

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  The two great turkey conundrums: 1) how to have juicy breast meat and tender dark meat and 2) how to serve it all hot to a lot of people. Answer: the roast/braise method. Last year, chatting with my neighbor, the excellent chef Doug Katz (Fire Food and Drink), described how he cooks the turkey in stock up to the drumstick so that the legs braise while the breast and skin cook in dry heat. Last year I tried it and it works brilliantly. Thank you, Doug. Doug posted his version on the restaurant’s blog. I’ve simplified and added a couple steps to make it easier for perfect doneness. (Step-by-step pix below.) The basic idea is this: cook the turkey half submerged in flavorful liquid and lots of aromatic vegetables. When the breast is barely Read On »

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In preparation for Thanksgiving, America’s biggest home-cooking day, I’ll be addressing a few of the most common issues and frequently asked questions about the basics: roasting turkey and making gravy. Friday, I’ll be introducing an innovate and  in my opinion the best possible way to roast a whole turkey (it involves a dual method and resulted last year in Donna’s saying, “This is the best roasted turkey we’ve ever had.”) But first things first: make turkey stock now so that you have it on hand to make gravy. I don’t know where we got the idea that a roasting turkey results enough juices to make gravy. It doesn’t. And you certainly want to have way too much gravy on Thanksgiving so that you have leftovers. My favorite day-after meal is hot turkey sandwiches, smothered in Read On »

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Easter is nearly here and Peeps marshmallows are in markets. Check out how these Peeps were sacrificed, via 100waystokillapeep.com

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Congratulations on the holiday cookie recipe challenge to Bryony DuPont of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, whose spice cookies wins the drop cookie category, and to Robin Cohen of Arlington, Massachusetts, author of the dovesandfigs blog, who’s Rugalach wins the cut cookie category.  I assure you that my affection for Cleveland Heights and my affection for people who cook with goosefat (see Robin’s current post), did not weigh into the verdict (cookies above, photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman, thanks Donna!). The cookies were executed and evaluated by Marlene Newell and several bakers at her site CooksKorner: Dana Noffsinger, Kim Shook (she has public virtual recipe book here), Kerry Beal, aka The Chocolate Doctor, and Anna Serginson.  Thank you all!  My able assistant Emilia Juocys, also a primary tester, tabulated all results on a spread sheet.  Cookies were Read On »

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