Rye Whiskey Smash/photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

With Derby Day upon us, our annual excuse to start drinking bourbon early on a Saturday, I must of course give a nod to a great cocktail, the mint julep—bourbon, sweetened, flavored and garnished with mint. My pal Blake Bailey, who introduced me to the drink one ill-fated spring day long ago (read about that day in his gripping new memoir The Splendid Things We Planned) would insist on crushed ice and I wouldn’t disagree, especially if you have swell julep glasses. But my copyeditor, Karen Wise, sent me an article from the Boston Globe on four different cocktails in the Smash family. It’s not a common term, Smash, and there seems to be little definitive consensus. (“A smash is a julep, but a julep isn’t always a smash,” for instance, from Imbibe’s muddled history Read On »

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carrot

I’m on the road today, flying home at long last after my West Coast EGG book tour, so I’ve asked my friend Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo for a guest post and recipe from her dynamic new book while I recover. Thanks, Michelle!—M.R.   Carrot and Cardamom Soup Nothing signals springtime like a bowl of sunshine-orange soup. And surprise: it’s paleo-friendly to boot! After all, paleo’s not about deprivation, eating tons of meat, or simply recreating grain-free versions of your favorite comfort foods. Many dishes that rely on seasonal bounty are naturally paleo-friendly, just like this one from our new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans. 1 tablespoon coconut oil 2 large leeks, white and light green ends only, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced Kosher salt 1½ pounds large carrots, peeled and cut into Read On »

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Crispy-Pork-Loin-Main-Shot_

If you don’t already know Joshua Weissman of Houston, he is the young author of The Slim Palate (also the name of his blog). It’s also a Paleo cookbook, but that’s beside the point (as far as I’m concerned). And yes, it’s a lovely book with intriguing recipes and photographs that floored Donna, especially given that Josh was 17 when he took most of them, and is only 18 now. When I got an email request to blurb the book, I thought little more than “Ugh, OK, send me a PDF, I’ll try to have a look.” And I did, and it was good, and I did a little more poking around on his site. My turn to be floored. Watch this excellent video to meet Josh and hear his uncommon story—he’s an inspiration. This is more Read On »

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Pan fried chicken thighs. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Two things of note here: the technique called pan-fry and the awesome chicken thigh. The latter should be your go-to chicken part. How and why chicken mongers can get away with selling the boneless, skinless chicken breast is beyond me. Then again, why anyone would buy skim milk is beyond me. I love bone-in, skin-on thighs but am delighted that the boned version is available as well. I recommend slicing it thinly for stir-fries, in chunks for chicken stews (curries, fricassee). It’s a well-worked muscle and therefore flavorful (and chewy); it’s also got some fat and is therefore juicy. Not long ago my son James, chewing on a fried chicken drumstick, wondered if we couldn’t have boneless fried chicken, so that he could, I imagine, revel in the unalloyed pleasure of fried chicken—crispy flavorful exterior, Read On »

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I’m continuing the citrus binge as it’s a remedy for the winter blasts we’ve been getting. My favorite vodka mixer had long been grapefruit juice—because I’m a fan of bitter. Bitter is good. But then those tangerines floated into the house and I have to say, The Robertson is one bright cocktail. But back to the basics now, on this busy, busy week, struggling with two manuscripts, a trip to DC to talk Schmaltz, Boston on Sunday, and a manuscript to finish. Something simple and refreshing to end the week. Please, now is the time, fresh grapefruit juice only. That’s what makes the drink. Squeeze it by hand if you don’t have a juicer or a reamer. It’s all about the freshness of the juice. Happy Friday, all. The Greyhound 2 ounces vodka 3 to Read On »

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