Today I wish a happy Independence Day to all my smart, vigorously commenting, articulate, wonderful readers who make this blog so exciting to write. Many of you come here to read about food and drink, for the occasional recipe, or to enjoy my wife’s excellent photography, but I’m guessing from the comments and from which posts are most read, that people come back because I’m an independent thinker and writer about food and cooking. I, with my friend and collaborator, Brian Polcyn, wrote a love song to animal fat and salt in a fat- and salt-phobic country. Earlier this week, I moved to make July Butter Is a Vegetable month (because it is, if you think about it right) even though every doctor in America will warn you away from too much butter (no matter that Read On »

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Looking for a new summer dessert, check out these pies, tarts, cakes, and more, via Huffington Post. 

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I’ve written about pastrami short ribs, and love them because they’ve got the perfect meat-to-fat ratio. But ever since the arrival of a Big Green Egg (planning a review soon), I’ve wanted to do a proper pastrami, which is essentially a corned beef brisket, coated with pepper and coriander and smoked (the result above was perfect—look at that awesome fat). While I’ve published the corned beef recipe from my book Charcuterie, I haven’t really talked about smoking strategies at home. I recommend two different methods: stove top and in a kettle grill. Stove-top smoking is easy with an inexpensive ($43) Cameron smoker. I bought one a few years ago and it works great for bacon and would work great for this brisket. Briskets require long low heat though, and this is tricky on a stove Read On »

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I’ve been finding amazing garlic at our farmer’s market, the skin thin and tight around the cloves, the cloves clustering around the hard core. (Why is only soft core garlic available in grocery stores?)  Garlic that is visibly juicy when you cut into it.  Garlic whose germ is small and white.  When I find garlic like this, I like to feature it, whether in tomato water pasta (this is a fabulous technique if you’ve got tons of tomatoes), plentiful and barely cooked; in a Caesar dressing, cooked only by the lemon juice; or minced and tossed with asparagus and olive oil then grilled. We did this last night at a friend’s, a boy’s night out, overlooking the Chragrin River Valley, humid-hazy as the sun set, playing with fire.  And a dinner consisting of nothing more than Read On »

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