When my latest, The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat, came out last week, I got an enthusiastic tweet from a London chef, Michael Harrison, about a schmaltz-infused cocktail. I immediately asked for a guest post. I learned not only a daring new cocktail—not for the faint of heart—but I also learned about “fat-washing” alcohol, infusing alcohol with the flavors of fat—here, rendered chicken fat, glorious schmaltz. —M.R. by Michael Harrison and Marlowe Harris “There is a time and a place for every cocktail. The Man Harrison is made for the man who has exhausted his palate on fine wine and rich dishes, the man who enjoys his whiskey dry and flammable, the man who is afraid of neither an onion nor onion brine, the man who always has time for chicken, Read On »

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I’ve written about fried chicken a lot because, well, it’s pretty high up on the list of best possible things to eat, period. Given that it’s one of the best possible things to eat, it’s imperative that we make fried chicken as often as possible. We can’t know when we shall leave this mortal coil; therefore: the more fried chicken you eat, the better your life will have been. It’s in your hands. Here, I not only give the recipe, but I demonstrate how I personally prefer to cook this infinitely variable preparation. The technique is pan-frying, which I use for chicken and pork chops. Unlike deep-frying, the items are not completely submerged. Ideally the oil level will come halfway up what you’re cooking (I have slightly more oil than I need in the video). Read On »

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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! I’m always game for a rant, especially first thing in Monday morning. Take it away, Steph! —M.R. You’ve heard Michael’s spiel on Americans being trained to believe they’re too stupid to cook. It’s an unfortunate reality that people in this country place a higher priority on time than they do nearly everything else, which greatly affects what we eat. Which affects our health. Which, in the end, affects EVERYTHING. When you eat poorly, guess what? You feel poorly too. You don’t have the energy to do the things you want to do: hitting the gym, playing ball with the kids, actually getting Read On »

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I am normally straight at you like a knife, cocktailwise. A martini is gin with vermouth you can taste, and a twist. Period. Either there is no other martini or the name doesn’t mean anything. (I refuse to back down on this one, sorry. I like vodka, I own vodka, I drink vodka, but vodka and vermouth is a stupid drink with an appropriately stupid name.) I want plenty of bitters in my Manhattan. After the martini, there’s no better drink than an old-fashioned. So you’d think I’d pooh-pooh infusing decent spirits with shit from my herb garden. And I did. Until a new pal made Donna a gimlet with basil-infused gin. And he made a delicious summer cocktail with cantaloupe and basil-infused tequila. Basil is in full growth now, and it takes only a Read On »

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We’re back again with another valuable technique, the water bath, essential for gentle cooking. The water bath uses the miracle tool, water. Water makes life as we know it possible. It’s one of the only substances that expands when it freezes rather than contracts (if it didn’t, ice would sink, not simply ruining your gin and tonic, but rendering the gin and tonic moot, as most of habitable earth would be flooded). Water cannot go above 212°F in normal circumstances (it can if you heat it under pressure or, with less pressure, specifically at high altitudes, it turns to gas at lower temperatures). And importantly, it cools as it evaporates (which is why sweating cools our body). In this video we use it to gently cook emulsified shrimp and cream, mixed with whole chunks of Read On »

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