Having drinks last month with Shaw Lash, a Chicago chef, after a steller meal at Frontera Grill (Shaw works for executive chef Rick Bayless, renowned Mexican cuisine authority), and the subject of Cinco de Mayo came up. Shaw, who had a few month earlier showed me how they make their own chocolate, above, shook her head and said, “Don’t get me started.” But she started anyway. I said, “Want to write a guest post for my site?” By Shaw Lash I grew up in Texas, a state that shares a 1,200-mile-long border with Mexico, and “carne asada” and slushy-swirled margaritas were as ubiquitous as longhorns and oil rigs. As a family, we’d take vacations as far past the border as we could get in a comfortable day’s drive.  We’d walk across the bridge, never with passports, to Read On »

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Try a new parsnip latke to spice up your holiday season, via Smitten Kitchen.

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It’s been a long day of wrapping and cooking in preparation for Christmas, amazingly stress free because of my amazing wife and colleague Donna. Her photo above is something of a self-portrait of us on the Christmas tree. Mom and James made cookies and I made our annual Addison’s Brioche.  Mom wants to use it to make sticky buns so we’ll fill some muffin pans with brown sugar, butter and pecans, top each with the brioche and refrigerate till tomorrow morning. It’s become a tradition. As has the reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas before bed. Traditions are powerful indeed. The day has also been occasion to think about how lucky I am, for Donna, for Donna’s work, for the health of my children, on this bountiful holiday. I miss my dad who was Read On »

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I’d been looking for a long ago recipe card used by my parents titled “Britta’s Glogg” to do a post about it (and because I hadn’t made it in years). Then all of a sudden I start seeing recipes for mulled wine all over the place. I don’t remember seeing any in years and then, two different ones from just in the NYTimes alone, one in the Sunday Magazine, another by writer Melissa Clark. It was not the drinking of the glogg that stays in the memory—it wasn’t till later that I would actually have been drinking it—it was the aroma of it. I’ve recently become aware of how powerful the smells of food cooking in house are. They are a natural stress reliever. When I made a batch of glogg this year, the first Read On »

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On Thanksgiving, I offered a roast/braise combination cooking technique for turkey. Interesting that I use a dual cooking technique for our traditional holiday Christmas meal as well. The Grill/Roast method, which I write about in Ruhlman’s Twenty. I don’t think there’s a better way to cook a rack of beef (or a whole beef tenderloin) than this combination grill-roast method. It gives the meat great grilled flavor and allows you perfect control of temperatures and timing. I use the method in during holidays, to serve beef tenderloin sandwiches on a buffet or a rack of beef for a large group of people because I can grill the beef a day ahead if I want and then just finish it in the oven. Flavor the meat on the grill, finish it in the oven. It’s beautiful. Read On »

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