Stock-Mise-en-place

  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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4-Onion-Garbure

Continuing a series of soup posts as the weather cools (here in the Northeast at least), I’m offering this rich vegetable garbure. Garbure hails from my favorite food region, Gascony, in the southwestern corner of France. (I wrote about it here for Conde Nast Traveler.) It would traditionally include some kind of confited meat and cabbage. This version, which I included in Ruhlman’s Twenty, gets its depth of flavor from bacon rind, but you could substitute several slices of rind-on bacon, diced, or omit the bacon completely for a vegetarian soup. But pig skin, connective tissue, is loaded with a protein called collagen, which breaks down into gelatin to give the soup great body. If you can’t find slab bacon with a rind to remove yourself, order it from your butcher or meat department. Or, better Read On »

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Sweet-Bell-Pepper-Soup-Fini

This is a fabulous all-purpose soup method, here used with sweet bell peppers. But you can use it for just about any vegetable—asparagus, mushroom, pea, carrot. I learned it from Thomas Keller and wrote about it in his French Laundry Cookbook. Then I wrote about it again in Ruhlman’s Twenty because it’s such a versatile method. It’s very rich, so I only serve about 1/3 cup per person. This soup makes a great appetizer. (And a reminder: my partner in tools, Mac Dalton, suggested running a sale on our soup and serving spoons through this October.) Also, if you’re in Cincinnati tomorrow, come see me at Books by the Banks, where I’ll be signing my book, In Short Measures, a collection of novellas, reviewed today, happily, by Tara Laskowski. Have a great weekend, all. Sweet Bell Pepper Read On »

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EyeCandy_oct_ruhlmanstwenty

One of the books I’m proudest of having written is Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto. The publisher, Chronicle, is now promoting it by offering a great deal on the e-book, $3.99. I love the heft of the actual book, but frankly, if I’m looking for the seasoning for my fried chicken or the sauce for the Carolina BBQ, I open up my iPad and search the electronic version. The book came about when, having a cocktail with an editor, I said, “Bill, there are only twenty things you need to know to cook anything.” He pointed his finger at me and said, “That’s a book!” And so it was. The electronic version is available using the following links: Kindle Apple ibookstore Barnes & Noble Google Play Kobo Bookshout   If you liked Read On »

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cookie-1

Guest post by (my dear friend and assistant) Emilia Juocys It was just Thanksgiving last week, right? Oh, wait, Christmas is this week. That means I have to get into high gear for cookie baking and prepping Christmas Eve dinner. Time has flown by so fast, and I’ve been curling across the Midwest and up in Canada. No matter where I am, I am drawn to local bakeries to see their holiday offerings or talk about baking traditions from local hosts. Home baking soothes me, calms me—even if I bake at 2:00 in the morning listening to dance music, my bake rave time. Measuring ingredients, creaming the fats and sugars, rolling out dough, cutting shapes; I just love it all. Cookie baking is my passion. Cookies are the best to share with friends and family. This year I Read On »

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