Tomsfoolery-1-@1020

Thomas Herbruck’s father came home with a still when Tom was 15; at that tender age he would distill his first spirits along with helping his father make wine from the grapes grown on their one-acre vineyard in Gates Mills, on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. He would go on, happily, to become a 401(k) plan consultant at a brokerage company here and, with his wife Lianne, father of four. In 1991, Tom bought a 50-gallon prohibition-era moonshine still from a New York farmer. It was just too cool not to. By 2008, he’d navigated the bureaucratic waters of making spirits legally in Ohio, just for home consumption and for friends and others who might share his passion for distilling fermented liquids. But interest was great, and he’d jumped through enough legal hoops that he was Read On »

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Apple-Jack-Sour-cocktail@10

Earlier this summer, I met a friend out in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. (Could a novelist invent a more unlikely name for a town?) It’s semi-rural and on the edge of rural, a quaint town with an actual falls, a candy shop, and Jeni’s Ice Cream. Head out of town, south, and you’re quickly passing farmland. This is where my friend wanted to take me. Just over the edge into the next county, Geauga, off the road a bit, so removed we passed the drive and had to circle back, is a house, a small distillery, and a barn filled with barrels. The distillery is called Tom’s Foolery, started by Tom Herbruck, who, with his wife, Lianne, and their kids, make some exquisite applejack, America’s first commercial spirit, and likely the common drink in the new colonies in the Read On »

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FM-comp-2014

  I’m finally home for a spell, long enough to plan out meals from my farmers’ market or, more precisely, growers’ market, and I was eager to see what was available this early in the season and after an uncommonly long, cold winter. Thanks to greenhouses there were plenty of greens, all kinds of them—kale, tatsoi, pea shoots, spinach, beet greens, basil. We have good local cheese makers so I picked up some sheep’s milk cheese and chèvre. Two dozen eggs, of course. Jason from Tea Hill Farms said, “Been so cold the chickens just don’t want to grow.” His chickens were just over two pounds and I bought a couple of them. They are so pristine, with firm, taut skin, they seem a different species from the ones in the grocery store. I bought oats and grits Read On »

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Clover Club. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Gearing up for the publication of EGG: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient, herewith a fab cocktail that uses egg white for body and nutrition. Clover Club is one of my favorite protein snacks! The recipe below is adapted from the new book, which you can pre-order here (and get a signed chart, which is the real innovation—the egg, imagined). I’m getting ready for several weeks of travel and lots of events. Follow me on Facebook for the events schedule. Scroll past the following events to get to the fabulous, the marvelous, the nutritious Friday Cocktail: The Clover Club. Upcoming: Town Hall Series: Continuing my exploration of the theme, “America: Too Stupid to Cook,” at the Ohio State Theater. Monday, February 24, 6:00 pm Cleveland, Ohio Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square Charleston Wine & Food Read On »

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Baby turnips, greens and all, sautéed in butter. 
All veggies from The Chef's Garden. All pix by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I have never seen Donna so unhinged by vegetables, behind the camera or eating them. She moaned when she tasted. I’d done almost nothing to the baby turnips. I’d sautéed them in a little butter. That was it. Salt. Done. She said, “Oh my God, if you had a restaurant that served just this with a small medallion of meat, it would kill.” It once again showed the truth of what Thomas Keller once said to me: “If you have better product than I do, you can be a better chef than me.” This began last week when Donna and I had to shoot really beautiful radishes and peas. But it’s February. In Cleveland. Not likely to happen. Unless I cast a glance about 50 miles west to the rural town of Huron, OH, home Read On »

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