Start the new year off with a bowl of hopping john. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I read this excellent NYTimes article on field peas by Kim Severson yesterday and already started hungering for Hoppin’ John, a traditional dish for New Year’s Day. The article is a good reminder too that all peas are not alike so, while the dried peas in your supermarket are perfectly fine, there are other sources for different varieties of field peas for those looking to explore different flavors. The below is my go-to recipe for Hoppin’ John. It will work with just about any dried bean, but I do love the earthy flavor of the black-eyed peas. Wishing all a festive New Year’s Eve, and a healthy, prosperous 2016 filled with good food and lots of home cooking! Hoppin’ John 1 pound black-eyed peas, rinsed 2 large Spanish onions, 1 peeled and halved through the root, 1 Read On »

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Cranberry-Sauce

I’m reposting this Cranberry Sauce and Gravy from scratch from November 21, 2012, because they’re every bit as good now as it was then: My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, Read On »

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Turkey-Dressing2

I’m in the Miami airport, Cleveland bound, having been a part of the amazing Miami Book Fair to promote my new collection of novellas, In Short Measures, love stories. Met some hero fiction writers, such as Elizabeth McCracken, whose “Thunderstruck” is one of the best short stories I’ve read in years. Also Mary Gaitskill, who scares the shit out of me, Rick Moody, who does not, Mary Karr, on whom I crush, and new writer friends Les Standiford, John Dufresne, and Cindi Chinelly. What a great fair, thanks to Mitchell Kaplan and Books & Books. Reposting the following for those looking for a delicious and simple Thanksgiving dressing: The nice thing about blogging as opposed to newspapering is that I don’t feel the obligation to always come up with a new way of roasting turkey Read On »

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Braise-roasted-Turkey

I received the following email today from my beloved cousin Ryan, husband to the smarter-than-he-is Tesse, father of a toddler with another on the way, and they’ve just moved into their first house: Michael, I am undertaking my first thanksgiving and have responsibility for all the cooking.  I am starting to think I am a bit over my head and was hoping you could help me get things under control.  I’m not even sure where to start?  Other than turkey. Ryan Dear Ryan, First, make a list of everything you’d like to serve, write it all down on a piece of paper, then make a plan for cooking it. (The last thing you want to be doing is entering a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. You’re smarter than that.) Have plenty of onions and carrots Read On »

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Roasted-root-vegs

Here are two fabulous side dishes to consider for the holidays (and throughout the winter). I love the roasted vegetables—easy, delicious, nutritious. And the beets, with their color and sweetness, are the linchpin of this dish, so don’t omit. My editor made these and said, “I can’t believe my kids ate beets! And loved them.” This recipe appears in my book How to Roast, FYI. The gratin is great for three, reasons. They’re so good, for one. I made the below dish when I was working with Le Creuset (great gift idea, that dish, btw). My daughter actually got mad at me and said, why don’t you make those cheesy potatoes for us? So I did. Reason two: golden brown crispiness combined with gooey cheesy goodness. Reason number three: These can be made three or Read On »

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