I’m thrilled to announce that Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, has now been published at an enormously friendly price, in pocket-friendly flexibility. That wickedly smart television personality, author and speaker, food guru Alton Brown, chose the book as one his Top 5 cookbooks, period: “This is a refreshing, illuminating and perhaps even revolutionary look at the relations that make food work,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal.  (Brown has a new book out next month, Good Eats: The Middle Years.) My favorite review was in Slate, in which Jennifer Reese asserts that Ratio is a “fascinating and pompous new book.”  Who the hell is Jennifer Reese?! NPR reporter Guy Raz read Reese’s skeptical but ultimately won-over verdict and did this piece for All Things Considered. If you’re new to Read On »

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Cool surprise in today’s CSA.  Okra!  Something I almost never cook, and something that when I’ve had it, is cooked into slime. The key to cooking okra is to not cook it too much.  Saute it in a tablespoon of canola oil in a hot pan, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes if you want some heat, till tender but still crunchy. When I was working on Return To Cooking with Eric, he sauted them this way and served them on mahi mahi with a citrus vinaigrette. They’re delectable.  Truly, and so rarely do I eat them, they taste and feel like a delicacy when prepared this way. Or, cook okra the southern way, dipped in butter milk or egg, rolled in a corn-meal-mixture and fried.  That’s delicious, too.  Goes great with Carolina barbecue! Summer Read On »

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I posted this photo last September and was going to repost the actual post, shouting the joys of baked buttered corn, but deleted it by mistake! So I’ll have to write it again.  I thought of this post and this dish because, having endured the sadness of finding a squash in my CSA, I’m realizing the changing of corn from tiny, tender and sweet, to fat and starchy, is yet another bittersweet sign of summer’s passing. A way to bring some happiness to the end of summer is to take this corn and simply bake it with butter.  It’s fabulous.  The starchy corn juices create a virtual custard and the long high heat transforms the flavors in a way that a quick boiling of the starchy corn can’t. I use the Lee Wooden Corn Cutter, Read On »

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This is week 13 of my CSA from Geauga Family Farms (my iPhone, Donna was on the road).  Very happy (green peppers went into a steak and bell pepper stir fry).  Tomato garlic basil pasta for dinner tonight, along with a green bean, onion and corn salad with a creamy lemon peper vinaigrette.  The cubanos will be stuffed with sausage and cheese and grilled. The photos below show a nice cross-section of CSA’s from around the country, from Cape Cod to San Diago, thanks everyone.  It would be interesting to see fall CSA shares from southern states.  Hold your cursor over the photo for the name and location of the sender.  I was unable to add the name of the farm or the CSA or link to each one, but if you see yours here, Read On »

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I’m finishing up answering copy-edit queries on the new book, my beliefs on the core techniques of cooking due out next fall from Chronicle, and also going over some last minute testing with the good folks at cookskorner.com. One of the recipes being tested is a Moroccan-style braised lamb shank using lemon confit and the blend of spices known as ras el hanout.  The testers asked, for those who weren’t able to find it in their town, should I include a recipe for it. The book is already running long and I’m not an expert on the subject, so I thought why not include a link to it rather than my own version?  Yes, but how do I know the online version I find will be any less spurious than mine? Go to an expert.  Read On »

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