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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Earlier in the season, I taped a grilling demo for a new Cleveland company called Sideways, specializing in digital publishing, including the eponymous magazine for the iPad (next issue is out Monday, youtube promo here). It accompanied my story on grilling. The idea that the iPad can include multiple pix (even a flip-pad presentation of cooking technique), video, text and recipes is exciting and Sideways was the first company I know of to create such a work.  I think this video is too long, more than 15 minutes, or it needs to be broken into shorter chapters, but it’s not bad for a first try.  They recently posted it to youtube, so here it is. Grilling 101, human’s original cooking method: Spatchcocked chicken, grilling asparagus, and grilling sausage.  I believe Hank Shaw made fun of Read On »

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Week 12 of our CSA. No surprise with the tomatoes and corn, and no disappointment either.  Though five ears corn doesn’t even cover breakfast for me. Beans were great, peaches wouldn’t want to wait longer (and one of those peaches harbors a scary stinging bug that scared the hell out of me when I bit down to the pit.  But damn, Ohio peaches?  They don’t last long but they are amazing—deeply flavored, sweet, succulent.  Georgia may grow more but they don’t grow them better. And those raspberries were more raspberrier than any I’ve had. That acorn squash, so bittersweet.  Are we moving into squash season? Are those leaves outside my window turning to brown already.  Where did summer go?  Oh, sigh.  James started school today.  Where did my youth go? How can squash make me Read On »

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Why DON’T we trace a cake pan and cut out the circle with scissors?  Because its easier faster and more accurate to fold and cut with a knife! I line a cake pan with a circle so that it comes out clean. I put a parchment circle with a hole in the middle over braising things like lamb shanks and short ribs to allow some reduction. Video by Donna using my iPhone (gosh I love my ((G3)) iPhone).

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What does artisan butcher mean?  What does artisan mean, for that matter? I’m grateful to Abigail Blake, an American living, cooking, and blogging on the island Tortola, for her comment on my most recent mini-post: I like this explanation from a 1913 Websters: “An artist is one who is skilled in one of the fine arts; an artisan is one who exercises any mechanical employment. A portrait painter is an artist; a sign painter is an artisan, although he may have the taste and skill of an artist. The occupation of the former requires a fine taste and delicate manipulation; that of the latter demands only an ordinary degree of contrivance and imitative power.” Basically, almost any butcher who doesn’t deal in mass production could be considered an artisan. “Artisan” and “artisanal” are certainly useful Read On »

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