I first saw a grill pan used in 1996 at the Monkey Bar when John Schenk was its chef and I was trailing Adam Shepard while reporting The Making of a Chef. I was surprised and thought it was kind of cheating, implying to the diner with those grill marks that some smoky goodness was sure to come with it. But I saw it again and again in kitchens and when I finally was sent one as a gift, a rank second-bester compared with A-1 Le Creuset (which I still don’t actually own), well, I kind of liked it. If I cooked a tri-tip sirloin sous vide from Under Pressure, I could mark it off after in a grill pan and not only did it look great (a matter of no small consequence), but also the Read On »

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I’m an audible memoir junkie. Love to listen to them read by the author. Some are great readers (Mary Karr), some woeful (James Atlas), some as depressing as their subject (Andre Dubus III), some every bit as hilarious as you hoped they would be (Ellen Degeneres, Tina Fey). I recommend every one of these memoirs. The author and NYTimes reporter Alex Witchel this fall published a second memoir subtitled “A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia. With Refreshments.” A memoir of struggle and sorrow and deep grief. With recipes. Witchel reads the recipes. After the first chapter, I honestly didn’t want to listen to the recipe for meatloaf (though I was intrigued by the addition of Corn Flakes). I thought it, like the subtitle, was a gimmicky sales ploy to convince buyers that, yes, it’s a Read On »

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No one is happier than I finally to have some routine again, tree taken down, kids in school, and a plunge back into work with all kinds of exciting projects on the horizon. But I can’t stop thinking about these Yorkshire puddings. I’m always surprised by popovers, how simple they are, and how dramatic they can be. The first time I made Yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner, it was at Dad’s house and I simply poured the batter into the baking dish the roast beast had cooked in. I marveled at its lava-lamp convolutions as it cooked. I love the simplicity of the basic popover, which is all this is (here with some savory mustard). This post and photo long ago inspired readers as far away as India to make breakfast popovers: flour, egg and Read On »

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Time to reflect on the year that has passed, a good one with much productivity here in the Ruhlman household! As our hobbled economy slouches toward recovery (and a fractious House of Reps hides behind a corner, stick in hand, waiting to trip it up), we remain staunchly optimistic! And I would like to publicly thank my amazing wife, without whom none of this could happen. Thank you, Donna! Herewith, a bit of personal horn tooting, highlights of this year’s work, followed by the Top Ten most popular posts of 2012. Best wishes to all for a healthy and fruitful New Year filled with great food and great cooking! Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto won both the James Beard Foundation Award and the IACP award for general cooking. Brian Polcyn and I published Salumi: The Craft of Read On »

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News of tragedies has been heaped upon us, the fortunate, and actual tragedies have made the end of 2012 catastrophic for so many families. Our hearts go out to them, most of all to the parents who lost children in Newtown, CT, and all parents who have lost children of any age. (If any of my readers know actual parents, I urge you to read the novelist Ann Hood’s moving and useful words on helping the bereaved.) Meanwhile Congress seems certain to throw our economy back into recession in what is a colossal disgrace of a house divided, and I think the lot of them should be run out of town on a rail. One of the shamed, Senator Joe Manchin, put it rightly when he said, “Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest Read On »

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