Here are two fabulous side dishes to consider for the holidays (and throughout the winter). I love the roasted vegetables—easy, delicious, nutritious. And the beets, with their color and sweetness, are the linchpin of this dish, so don’t omit. My editor made these and said, “I can’t believe my kids ate beets! And loved them.” This recipe appears in my book How to Roast, FYI. The gratin is great for three, reasons. They’re so good, for one. I made the below dish when I was working with Le Creuset (great gift idea, that dish, btw). My daughter actually got mad at me and said, why don’t you make those cheesy potatoes for us? So I did. Reason two: golden brown crispiness combined with gooey cheesy goodness. Reason number three: These can be made three or Read On »

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I’m reposting this soup because it’s such a fabulous fall soup, and the weather in the northeast has finally turned into appropriate soup weather. There’s no better fall vegetable soup than this one (ok, well, maybe French Onion). But certainly no easier soup. Even working slowly and distractedly, this soup can be on the table in twenty or thirty minutes. Which can’t be said for onion soup. It would work equally well with pumpkin if that’s your preference. When I made the above soup, I took some extra time to clean and sauté the seeds in some butter for a crunchy garnish. Fresh or whole, dried thyme leaves are the key to the flavor of this soup (don’t use the old, powdered thyme sitting in your spice rack). I still have fresh thyme in the Read On »

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  Want to make Thanksgiving day easier on yourself and ensure you have the best gravy ever? Start now. (Or this weekend.) This, too, planning ahead, is part of mise en place, one of the most important cooking “techniques” to recognize. Mise en place literally translates as put in place. To a cook, mise en place refers to his or her station set-up—having all that you need, at your station and in place, to accomplish the work ahead. Mise en place is shorthand for being prepared, at your station and in your mind. (I write about this more completely in Ruhlman’s Twenty.) It’s the cook’s first order of business, at a restaurant, at home. Making a roast chicken dinner with green beens and baked potato? Get everything out on the counter before you pick that Read On »

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  This is a repost from November 21, 2012 featuring Michael’s Cranberry Sauce and Gravy from scratch. My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, and set a timer for 90 Read On »

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  The nice thing about blogging as opposed to newspapering is that I don’t feel the obligation to always come up with a new way of roasting turkey or a new stuffing or a new cranberry sauce or a new kind of gravy. The classics are classics. So, herewith, the way I make “stuffing,” just as good as last year’s. I stopped stuffing our Thanksgiving turkey reluctantly, as the stuffing was always my favorite part of the meal when Grandma Spamer made it. But my goal became a perfectly cooked bird, and you can’t cook a turkey perfectly if it’s stuffed. So now I make what we must refer to as dressing, no matter what Mario says (“That’s what you put on a salad.”). Dressing denotes that it’s stuffing cooked in a pan. And it Read On »

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