I’m headed south today for my annual boondoggle, cooking for my cousin and his sailing crew at the annual regatta there, ten days reserved solely for personal writing, reading, and cooking (and occasional carousing—the boys are pretty persuasive in the post-dinner hours). Dinner for twenty every night, and this year a new baby girl has been welcomed to the sailing family. Dinners will certainly feature some of  the beloved standbys—Carolina BBQ, steaks, lobster. Many requested duck confit (I buy them from D’Artagnan; they’re fabulous and easy on the cook). I usually do a huge shopping run the first day and start with six or seven chickens, breaking them down first thing so that I have stock, schmaltz, cracklins to flavor the food all week, and chicken for grilling (jerked last year). Though a cold front is moving Read On »

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A few weeks ago, I made a full meal on the grill, grilled green beans, grilled vidalia onion, and some awesome grilled short ribs.  The following are three recipes, techniques really, for making barbecued beef short ribs, cooking them start to finish on the grill, pre-cooking them and finishing them on the grill, and cooking them sous vide and finishing them on the grill.  (If you don’t have a wood or charcoal grill, I really don’t recommend doing short ribs this way.) Use whatever your favorite barbecue sauce is, store bought or homemade. (I need to do a homemade barbecue sauce post! Anyone wants to make suggestions, feel free in comments.) I recommend the first method because it results in a deeply smokey flavor, and is a good excuse to hang out around the food and Read On »

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Great foie gras fun going on in this household ever since del Grosso asked me to write about the foie gras au torchon he and Pardus’s created for Hudson Valley Foie Gras. It’s an excellent product.  And it was fun showing people that serving foie gras doesn’t require a Catholic-length production, but can be simple and casual. Sometimes, though, you do want to elevate it, make it yourself and serve it to people you care about.  So herewith, a step-by-step slideshow of the foie gras au torchon, one of the greatest culinary preparations known to man.  I first learned about the torchon—which means dish towel in French, because the foie is traditionally wrapped in a dish towel (love that this culinary luxury is wrapped in a lowly towel)—while working on The French Laundry Cookbook. I Read On »

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One of my favorite things on earth to eat is a well made foie gras torchon. It’s a special preparation of foie gras, fat duck liver, that I first experienced at The French Laundry (the recipe is in The French Laundry Cookbook if you have it).  It’s a three day procedure and brings out the very best in the foie gras when done right.  The duck liver is deveined, typically soaked in milk and salt to remove residual blood, then seasoned and, traditionally, rolled up in a kitchen towel (a torchon, in French), poached, rerolled to compact it and chilled. It’s then eaten cold, a big fat slice of it, with some form of bread and a sweet-sour accompaniment.  The biggest producer of foie gras in the country, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, was making and Read On »

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YES! It’s true!  The mad genius at Polyscience, Philip Preston—creator of the anti-griddle, the smoke gun (looks like paraphernalia I used to oogle at High Times on Coventry in the 70s), and other magico creations to make cooking more fun—has sent me the latest version of the Polyscience professional immersion circulator for sous vide cooking to play with, something I am eagerly doing.  But as I already have one, there is nothing for me to do but give this sleek machine away to one lucky reader! First, the circulator: the original now seems like a little Datsun compared to this sleek Beemer. Its design has been honed, its size has been tightened, its power enhanced. This baby operates great. Leave a comment on how you want to use the circulator along with a working email Read On »

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