Introducing the first of a new series of cooking videos on technique, though admittedly this one focuses on an actual Le Creuset piece, the cocotte. I love these little dishes. They’re great to cook in and great to serve in. I’m dying to do a little snail potpie in them. In this video, though, I’m cooking my favorite ingredient, the egg. How many ways can this little miracle of nutrition and economy be brought to ethereal heights of soul-satisfying deliciousness? Enough to fill a book or ten (wait for mine, coming in April). Here, I’m going with perhaps the easiest way of all to cook an egg, baked in an enclosed vessel. There are three different terms applied to eggs cooked in an oven. The second, after baked, is coddled: covered and baked in a Read On »

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One of the conundrum of grilling meat is that the process of cooking doesn’t start a sauce for you, as a roast chicken does, as pan roasting a pork loin does, as all braises do. What then to sauce the meat with?  An emulsified butter sauce is the perfect answer.  And there is no better emulsified butter sauce than the Béarnaise.  This French classic was a childhood staple, a symbol for me of plenty, and also of the security my mom and dad gave me.  I wrote about it for Parade Magazine many years ago. My mom made it the old fashioned way: a reduction of shallot, tarragon, tarragon vinegar, and egg yolks in a double boiler.  She used the recipe from James Beard’s Menus For Entertaining.  (It’s also in his superb American Cookery, one Read On »

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Photo by Donna I screwed up the brine for these and wound up with amazing short rib pastrami, below, but I remade the brine and got it right, nothing but tarragon and garlic.  I like dill and dill pickles, but I love tarragon flavored pickles, which is the dominant herb in cornichon. I also prefer the flavor of the "natural" or "traditional" pickle, one that uses no vinegar.  Allowing lactic acid bacteria to feed on sugars in the vegetable and release acid, you create a sharp, but not vinegar-sharp, flavor. You also get the pleasure in this style of pickling of working with something that’s alive, like yeast or creating your own vinegar.  This works with most vegetables, not just cucumbers.  How do you do this, get those bacteria working for you?  By leaving the Read On »

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