Chicken that has been given an aggressive salting before roasting.

My new book, How to Roast, may have begun in Portland when a fellow scribe claimed that people no longer had time to cook and I called bullshit. And then at some point during my rant-cum-roast-chicken recipe I noted possible activities to while away the hour that the bird was in the oven. That was the beginning of this new book. But it was fueled by my conviction that the world doesn’t need more recipes, it needs deeper understanding of the fundamental techniques. Because when you know technique, you don’t need to rely on recipes and you don’t find yourself at 5 pm with hungry kids thinking, now what am I going to do? How to Roast is the first in a series of technique-based books. They’re short. They include only 25 recipes or so. Because we don’t Read On »

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Making risotto properly is a technique that everyone should have, via WSJ.

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I’m starting to get Thanksgiving meal questions in my email, so I guess it’s time to review for our great shared secular holiday, Thanksgiving, our only holiday anchored by food. Time to start planning! I’ll have other posts later in the week, dressing, and stock-making for this weekend (have to have plenty of stock for dressing and gravy). Today, it’s the big one. How to handle the big bird. I find it amusing how every year the major food media come up with some new way to do the same old thing. Last year The New York Times told you to steam your turkey! Not that there’s anything wrong with the story or the technique (by the Jacques Pépin, after all). My view is why mess with what works? For important occasions, the rule is: Read On »

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When I was working on the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook with Thomas Keller and Dave Cruz, they showed me this excellent method of chopping chives. Wrap a bundle of chives in a damp folded towel and then cut. It solves two problems: you don’t crush them as you can when they rest flat on the board; and you don’t wind up with long strings of half-cut chive where they knife didn’t go all the way through. You end up with PERFECT chives. It’s also cleaner generally. I love this technique. If you liked this post, read: My past post on drying herbs from your garden. Spillover from the bacon photo: bake some cheddar, bacon, and chive biscuits. Anna Hewitt discusses making container herb gardens for those who lack space or are city dwellers. Making candied herbs shared Read On »

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I love how every year the major food media come up with some new way to do the same old thing. This year The New York Times tells you to steam your turkey! Not that there’s anything wrong with the story or the technique (by the Jacques Pépin, after all). My view is why mess with what works? For important occasions, the rule is: go with what works. And of all my years roasting a turkey, I’ve found that the braise/roast method works best, as I wrote last year. The reason is that this method solves the two great Turkey Conundrums: 1) how to have both juicy breast meat and tender dark meat, and 2) how to serve it all hot to a lot of people. Answer: the roast/braise method. Year before last, I was Read On »

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