Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, will be available October 22 from Little, Brown, and it’s superb, the best one I’ve seen, in fact—accept no imitations! Her last guest post was something of a rant, which I’m always in favor of! This is a lovely primer on something we do often but tend to ignore the finer points of, boiling pasta, and to me, the finer points are what make cooking fun  Take it away, Steph! —M.R. A few weeks ago I talked about the demerits of cheap pasta and left you with the notion that artisan-made dry pasta is leagues ahead of its tasteless, texture-less, mass-produced cousins. It’s also worth noting that cooking dry pasta is an art in and of itself; while it’s a Read On »

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Mint is still in full flourish here and, having just had two splendid events in Chicago (and one in Milwaukee) I’m reposting this most excellent cocktail occasioned by a visit to the windy city by Brian Polcyn and me on behalf of the newly published Salumi. This time it was to promote Charcuterie, the updated version (and The Book of Schmaltz). After a really fun conversation with Chandra Ram at Balena to a house packed with cooks young and old, a young man approached me with a new Charcuterie to sign, explaining, “This is the first Charcuterie I’ve bought because every kitchen I’ve ever worked in already had it.” Todd Moore, chef de cuisine at Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro in Milwaukee, told a filled room the impact the book has had on chefs, and I wanted to Read On »

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Emilia Juocys has been my assistant for several years, first from Chicago now from her home town in Michigan. She has recently, at the age of 35, made a major transition in her life. Major transitions require reflection, reevaluation; curiosity and fear about the future are also inevitable consequences. When you are a cook you turn to food for some of the understanding and grace you need. – R By Emilia Juocys @jaldona Summer is nearly over, and the fall is closing in, and the bounty of the summer is entering our kitchen in droves. I devour the sweet summer corn and beautiful heirloom tomatoes, but for me summer would not be summer unless I had a specific summer treat. I’m also stuck in a great period of reflection, wondering where I will end up Read On »

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Pizza pan winners from Thursday’s post were chosen by randomizer: Anurag Mehrotra, of Athens, GA Two favorites: one is grilled eggplant and feta topping. The other is a butter chicken sauce with chicken tikka/ tandoori chicken.   Laura Jane Elgass, of Forest Park, IL Probably not original, but for making good use of seasonal ingredients I made a charred corn and cherry tomato pizza with goat cheese, arugula and (ahem, aged) balsamic vinegar the other night. It was pretty tasty! Otherwise, any pizza with prosciutto or good Italian sausage is a winner in my book.  Matt (who preferred not to share his name, which is fine by me as long as he shares his pizza) Spread caramelized onions over the dough and then add some sauteed chard, goat cheese, and sausage.  Thanks to all the rest. Read On »

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Lollygagging in the West Village a few weeks ago, Donna and her pal Lee wandered into the Fatty ‘Cue, and there found one of the servers experimenting with fat-washed rye. I had that very week been working with a schmaltz-washed rye (whiskey infused with the fat’s flavor), so I took it as an omen owing to my wife’s unfailing good karma. She fired off some quick shots and I asked Wilmer, above, for the story and the results.  Here with the Friday cocktail, a spicy take on the classic Manhattan that morphed into a kind of Old-Fashioned, thanks to the ingenious Massa Syrup, and Fatty ‘Cue’s “master fat,” combination of fat from various meats, clarified. This drink takes some planning, so if you’re drinking along with the Friday Cocktail hour, in lieu of the Old Read On »

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