It was cold, windy night, dark by 5 pm, and I was in the mood for chili. I was also alone in my pajama pants and had no intention of leaving my toasty apartment for the tomatoes and onions I didn’t have. I knew I had a frozen pound of ground beef in the freezer, a box of pasta, a stalk of broccoli, though. So instead of putting the meat in the chili, I figured I’d put the chili in the meat, make chili meat balls, serve them on garlic pasta, with a side of good-for-you greenery. I keep a good stash of fresh spices in my freezer. I made the preparation hard on myself by cooking the spices and garlic in some olive oil before adding them to the meat—brings out the flavor in the Read On »

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I’d like to use Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri‘s new book to rejoice in pasta. It’s called Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto I love pasta! Carbs! Bring them on! How have we brought this upon ourselves? This Anti-Carb Nation. This Gluten-Fearing Country. If I were texting this, I would conclude with my avatar and the new Bitmoji offering: Cray-Cray! (I admit to spending too much time trying to create entire narratives with my Bitmoji avatar.) Seriously, it’s time for us to TAKE BACK OUR PASTA! Vetri’s book (written with the excellent David Joachim) is a fine place to start, with everything you need to know about pasta and making it and shaping it. Indeed, I especially liked the chapter on hand-shaped pastas, probably because I will never spend three hours shaping lorighittas Read On »

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    I just spent several days in Philadelphia hanging out with a group of small(ish) family grocers. Food highlights were the excellent burger at Bank & Bourbon on arrival, a Yards rye ale, followed by a flight of bourbons that finished with a very good special barrel from Knob Creek specifically for the bar. Last night’s dinner at Spraga was great—what a lovely room. The starting foie and ginger soup (I think they said foie) was outstanding, as were the duck and lobster pastas. Highly recommend. Also spent some time tasting amazing cheeses at DiBruno Bros. on Chestnut Street. Fabulous Von Trapp Oma, a raw milk cheese that had great balance of flavor and richness. I’m off now to Minneapolis to see some more grocery stores and attend the AWP conference. I’m on the road and busy, Read On »

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I wanted to include spaetzle as a side dish in the new book I’m working on. As I searched for something other than a colander to press the batter through, there, beckoning from a bin of kitchen utensils as if actually waving to me, was the Badass Perforated (aka Egg) Spoon. Would it work? Lo, I scooped up a spoonful and pressed the batter through it into the boiling water. When the batter was through, I scooped up another spoonful. Worked like a charm! I will now be making spaetzle, the homemade pasta translating from German as “little sparrows,” more often. The recipe below comes from my partner in Charcuterie and Salumi, Brian Polcyn, as I can’t give out the recipe that Little, Brown will be publishing. (But, shh, my ratio basically works out to 1:3:3 by weight, egg to liquid to Read On »

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I was thrilled by Kim Severson’s piece on the gluten-free trend because it points a light, yet again, on … but god, aren’t there enough klieg lights on American’s stupidity, gullibility, and laziness already? And yet even Severson herself quotes a chef, thereby giving the piece its own kind of reporter’s credibility, saying that the gluten-free fad is here to stay. This, despite noting that only 1% of the population is actually badly affected by gluten, and that there is scant evidence that there’s anything wrong with this wonderful protein combination. A grocer I know said he didn’t know if it was a good or a bad thing, the gluten-free fad, but he was loving the hell out of it. If Americans’ lack of self-awareness, or even awareness generally, weren’t already on painful display almost everywhere, Read On »

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