I have two copies of Ad Hoc, signed by Thomas Keller, to give away, courtesy of Artisan (thanks, Amy!) This is an even more valuable offer than I thought it would be because I see that Amazon is sold out until February, as are many bookstores. More than 100,000 copies of this book have been printed, with more on the way, making Ad Hoc one of the best selling books of the season. There's a reason for it: it's a fantastic book, with everything from burgers to bread pudding with leeks to cheesecake, and great discussion of cooking issues and technique from Thomas himself (who would have imagined a chef could be so uncommonly articulate on the page?!). A few namby pambies in the media have whined that some of the recipes actually ask you to cook when you use this book (there's a broad range of recipes, appropriate to every skill level, some simple, some labor intensive, but none that compromise). But it's been chosen one of the best books of the year by others. (Here's a great series of four videos by borders; watch the one of Thomas and Ad Hoc chef de cuisine Dave Cruz making the bread pudding.)
One of the things I love about this book is the design, by David Hughes of Level in the Napa Valley. There's an ease and comfort to the book that makes it a pleasure to peruse. I also love the small asides and tips throughout. This most excellent tip on slicing chives, for instance. I used to lay them flat on a cutting board but would often end up kind of mashing them, and often not slicing all the way through, leaving me to pick big pieces out of my fine slices. Keller suggests folding a damp paper towel into a wide strip and rolling the chives into a bundle. This allows you to slice cleanly through the whole bunch, keeping all their delicious oniony fragrance in the chive, not on your cutting board. It keeps them together neatly, and results in perfectly sliced chives.
So, you're wondering: "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SHUT UP AND TELL ME HOW DO I ENTER THE DRAWING TO WIN MY SIGNED COPY OF AD HOC?!!!"
Simply leave a comment here with your favorite kitchen tip or trick. Not technique, like, get your pan really hot before you put the meat in, but a tip like the one above. I'll pick randomly rather than judging them, so don't worry if it's not as good as others. I'll leave this post open and choose the winners Friday at noon eastern time via Twitter (follow me there and have a hand in the choosing). With apologies, I can only offer these copies to addresses in the United States because of shipping costs and customs headaches. Sorry!
I can however guarantee they'll arrive before Xmas for two lucky people who share their kitchen tips here! Good luck!
[Update: it should be needless to say, but only one entry per person, those who make multiple entries will be disqualified.]
[Update: the winners have been chosen! They are Aaron Haley (http://blog.sektormedia.org/) and Jason Davies! Will you two pls email me your mailing addresses? Thanks everyone for all these fantastic kitchen tips! I love them!]