Roast chicken is a symbol, an emblem of easy exquisite home cooking, of cooking together. And really satisfying, nourishing food. The world is better on days when we roast a chicken for our family, friends (and lovers, of course—the best roast chicken of all). Which is why I’m posting another shot of one of our roast chickens. With hope. I’m cooking for a band of sailors prone to shouting “FUCK OFF!” at one another and then laughing uproariously. No roast chicken for them. Steak, lobster, pulled pork, and duck cooked in duck fat. (I cheated a bit by ordering these amazing ones from D’Artagnan; leftovers will become duck rillettes tonight; I have to get some work done, after all.) No better crowd to cook for, than these hearty blokes. …Ah, Key West… Other links you Read On »

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Last summer when Donna and I traveled to Italy, our first meal happened to be at a lovely hotel and home of a great wine maker and his wife, who prepared us a feast that began with zucchini soup. It was zucchini season and so they featured it in three courses without apology, just an explanation. “It’s zucchini season.” The soup was so simple it inspired. Onion, water, and zucchini, seasoned with good oil and salt. This week, while I work in Key West, I’ll be posting some of my wife Donna’s favorite pix from last year. She likes this one for the way it shows off the power of back lighting. I like it because it brings our first meal in Italy back to me in its entirety. Other links you may like: My Read On »

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I first read about a new self-published iBook, 25 Classic Cocktails, published to iTunes, when Tampa journalist Jeff Houck wrote about entrepreneurial food people turning to digital devices. Donna and I recently published The Book of Schmaltz to the iTunes app store, a short cookbook on making and cooking with rendered chicken fat, an underappreciated cooking technique. Meanwhile, ingenious folks in Tampa came together to publish a book whose title requires no explanation. But the book does warrant explanation. Each recipe, some common, some I hadn’t heard of (one per screen), includes the recipe, a very brief history, one instructional video of the drink made and one quick montage video. At the bottom of the screen is a fat bar that, when tapped, displays all ingredients and, with a tap, their definition and description and helpful Read On »

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  Dull knives. It’s the single biggest problem in home kitchens. The. Single. Biggest. Problem. It’s the main reason cooking seems more difficult than it should be. And I’ll say this again, too. Guys and girls, the best Valentine’s Day gift you can give your lover/cook, get his/her knives professionally sharpened or buy a good sharpener. Again: Nothing says “I love you” like a really sharp knife. I get mine—I use Wusthof, btw—professionally sharpened at a wet-grind sharpening place, and OpenSky found this astonishingly effective and easy-to-use sharpening “stone,” called the DMT Sharpening Stone. (It’s not really a stone, but rather a patented diamond-dust coated perforated steel sheet on rubber; see video below.) If you have to saw on a lemon rind to get the cut started, your knife is dull. Dull knives force you to Read On »

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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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