Between you and me, putting a salted bird in a heavy-duty pan and popping the pan into a really hot oven is almost too simple to be called a technique, but one of the most frequently asked question I get is, “How do I roast a chicken?” So, it must be a technique! In Le Creuset’s third giveaway (ten awesome roasting pans—for chicken, potatoes, brownies, cornbread, just about anything!), we’re roasting. We roast a chicken in this pan because it has low sides, allowing great circulation for the moist bird, and because we can put it on the stovetop to make the sauce after we’ve cooked the bird. How to roast a chicken: Either truss or stuff the bird (with a lemon or onion) so that hot air circulating inside the cavity doesn’t overcook the breast. Put Read On »

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Last election, I put up a big “Vote Obama” post in light of what I considered to be eight disastrous years of Bush, unnecessary war, and an economy that was going to take well more than four years to fix. I was at first surprised by some of the angry comments I got. A reader named Art wrote, “You’re a consommate [sic] chef. Leave it at that. Keep your friggin’ political opinions to yourself,” followed two minutes later by Joe: “Because you can cook, you can tell me for whom I’m to cast my vote? I don’t think so. Keep it in the kitchen—not the voting booth.” My response was more or less, “This site is my fucking yard and I can put up whatever sign I want.” And this led to more comments, pro Read On »

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Cleveland’s amazing West Side Market turns 100 years old and celebrates tomorrow with a great big bash of chefs and food. Greenhouse Tavern’s Jonathon Sawyer had it right when he called it “a cathedral of meat.” Right on! The building itself, completed in 1912, one of the few municipally owned and continuously running markets in the country, is flanked by vegetable venders. Cheese and dairy run the inside north wall. Nuts and prepared food and pastry run the southern boundary. Kate’s Fish on the eastern side of the market sells pristine fish. Near her, I buy coriander seed, curries, and pink salt from Narrin Carlberg’s amazing spice booth. French lentils and other spices are on the west side of the cathedral, across from Sawyer’s Noodlecat, selling steamed buns and fresh ramen. Can we just take Sawyer’s Read On »

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Wishing all a Happy Scary Halloween, America’s great pagan holiday. Friday is reserved for another post, so this will stand in for The Friday Cocktail Hour. And in the wake of Sandy, many Halloween celebrations are rightly delayed till Sunday, as they are here in Cleveland Heights. Donna loves spiced cider, and since it’s so miserable and cold, she asked if I could make a hot cider drink for her to photograph. Perfect idea to keep the chill out of the body as the tots and teens come ringing with open bags, or simply to warm the soul after this awful week for the American East Coast all the way into the Midwest. This is a simple one, cider reduced by 1/4 with cinnamon and cardamom (I like cloves, but Donna doesn’t), dark rum, bitters, Read On »

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My dear old pal Blake, author of two superlative biographies of American authors, Richard Yates and John Cheever, and currently the authorized biography of Philip Roth, ended a recent email with “and send me that damned curry recipe.” Blake works very hard, both as a writer (he has not one, but two new books coming out, a memoir and a biography of Charles Jackson), and as a teacher at Old Dominion University. His wife, a psychologist, works as well. They have a young daughter, and provided they aren’t flooded out of their home in Virginia and their generator is working (weather tends to follow him—read his Slate stories on being a Katrina victim), one of them will be charged with putting dinner on the table tonight. Both he and Mary want their meal to be Read On »

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