Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, will be available October 22 from Little, Brown, and it’s superb, the best one I’ve seen, in fact—accept no imitations! Her last guest post was something of a rant, which I’m always in favor of! This is a lovely primer on something we do often but tend to ignore the finer points of, boiling pasta, and to me, the finer points are what make cooking fun  Take it away, Steph! —M.R. A few weeks ago I talked about the demerits of cheap pasta and left you with the notion that artisan-made dry pasta is leagues ahead of its tasteless, texture-less, mass-produced cousins. It’s also worth noting that cooking dry pasta is an art in and of itself; while it’s a Read On »

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Yet again finishing up a manuscript with mayonnaise on my mind, and I always think of Donna’s lovely images, captured when spring light was coming through our kitchen window. I could look at these forever (and now, as I couldn’t five years ago, I can post them to Twitter). Thanks, Donna! And remember, the emulsion is less about the yolk than about the liquid. Originally posted on May 21, 2008 Finishing up the revisions of a manuscript and going over some fat-based sauces has returned me to the mayonnaise. Like the popover, it’s the story of a great transformation. Yolk, lemon juice, salt, and oil. There simply isn’t anything like it when you make it yourself—you can’t buy this stuff. But I’ll bet you have everything you need to make it right now. I’ll include a Read On »

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  I have so much crap on my desk! Being gone for three weeks it piles up. Books I have to at least familiarize myself with, dried soy beans and a tofu press, the manuscript I’ve got to fix, knives and rolling pins and some weird Fagor three-way cooker to figure out, emails to respond to, the ineluctable … not modality of being … but the ineluctable compulsion to check twitter feed. OY! But I never get tired of mayonnaise you make yourself.  I don’t care if it’s with a hand blender or whisk. Helmann’s is fine—I use that too, but it’s not anywhere near homemade mayo. Two totally different products, and that’s and why I love it.  Its goodness is something you can’t buy. You have to make it yourself. I’ve posted on it Read On »

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