So my oldest and dearest pal, Lester, feeling a bit fidgety several Fridays ago, texted to coax me off work early. I had cooking to do so I said, “Come over. I’ll make us some Clover Clubs while I finish prep.” After imbibing, I recalled the savvy note from Danny Guess of Fly Bar & Restaurant and video “host” of the iBook 25 Classic Cocktails, that if you add applejack brandy, you have a cocktail called a Pink Lady (all of which were covered in this post). Having finished our drinks and with more egg white on hand, I made us a second, this time a Pink Lady. Killer cocktail, but such an unfortunate name! This is something you will never hear me utter: “Barkeep, I’ll have a Pink Lady, please.” Can you imagine James Bond ordering Read On »

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  Short version: I ask you, cherished reader, what book would you like me to write next? Update, 5/9, 8 p.m.: A winner has been chosen using randomizer: Aaron Weiss, a journalist and TV news director in Sioux City, Iowa. Thanks for commenting, Aaron, and for cooking with your family! Thank you everyone. Frankly, I was astonished by all the ideas and fascinated by the patterns. Still making my way through the nearly 500 comments. My favorite suggestion, got filtered out due to a spam issue, from regular reader and commenter, Bob Tenaglio: I’d call the book “Time; The Secret Ingredient You’ll Never See On Iron Chef,” and it would delve into dry-aged meat, fermentation, enzymatic transformation, what constitutes “freshness” and “rot,” the role of rigor mortis in meats and seafood, “low and slow,” development Read On »

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Cinco de Mayo is Sunday. How many of you know what it celebrates or why? Shaw Lash is one of the key cooks and brains in the Rick Bayless Chicago operations, places I really admire. Last year she wrote why, having grown up in Texas and later lived in Mexico, the Cinco de Mayo madness drives her mad. She wants you to know what it means and asks should we celebrate it at all. Her short answer: It’s a celebration of being Mexican. And it’s a brilliant American marketing gimmick. Shaw Lash is one of those aware people I admire, so when my able cohort Emilia suggested a tequila cocktail, I emailed Shaw. Shaw suggested a Margarita primer. There’s an extensive discussion of all drink issues in Rick and wife Deann’s book Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles Read On »

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No surer sign of spring, this lovely photo above. And when wild edibles grow together they’re often great cooked together. Last week for one of the final shots for the new book I ordered fresh morels from a fabulous company in northern Michigan called Earthy Delights (thanks, Chip and Ed!). I love the food of Michigan—the stone fruit, the eau de vie made from their skin, the tart cherries, the mushrooms. Same as the Great Lakes territories of Ohio, which booms with ramps right now. We get so many wild ramps that Jonathon Sawyer, who turned 13 today, spiritually (good luck at the Beards, JS, kick those Chicago bastards’ asses!), used them as centerpieces that diners could take home when he chefed at Bar Cento before opening his Greenhouse Tavern. What did Donna shoot for Read On »

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People call me a chef (even says so here). I’m not a chef. Ted Allen is not a chef (as if his round wood spoons didn’t say as much). Rachael Ray is not a chef. None of us ever said we were. (I have on occasion, claimed to be, but that was just to piss off Michael Symon, who is a chef, or was—now he’s a TV cook, entertainer, and successful restaurateur. I cooked at Sans Souci, a Marriot-owned restaurant, ages ago, but I wouldn’t last an hour on the line today.) Terms matter. I say this because today’s guest poster, Patricia Tracey, is and remains solely a chef. Not a celeb chef like Symon or Bobby Flay (both of whom are superlative cooks, btw, another and more meaningful term). She’s a cook’s cook, a woman Read On »

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