Earlier this spring, my high school pal, JD, called and asked if I wanted to make sausage on Saturday. It’s much easier with a few folks to spread out the work, but I wasn’t prepared for something like 50 pounds of sausage. Nor did I expect JD to film the event.  But, ever the overachiever, he did. Our other pal, Mac, the bearded one, joined us. So please forgive the Saturday shadow and numerous chins and the unscripted nature of the video and my limited editing skills, but do follow the basic steps to awesome sausage.  There are five, follow them all, keep your meat really cold, and you’ll have great links (or skip step 5 and make patties or use it loose).  It’s summer grilling season and there’s nothing better to sizzle on a Read On »

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[Please note additional thoughts following comments here and on Twitter] Elise emailed a couple weeks ago to ask if I’d posted on Hollandaise.  She’d posted the blender version, first popularized by Craig Claiborne in the 1970s in The New York Times, and wanted to link for contrast to an old-school version.  The blender version is unquestionably a no-brainer and results in a delicious Hollandaise-style sauce, a lemony yolky butter, thin enough to pour. A classical French Hollandaise sauce is an emulsified butter sauce that is almost like a mayonnaise, nearly that thick, and, as I was taught it, includes an additional flavoring step, a vinegar reduction.  It’s considered difficult and temperamental but it’s neither, as long as you pay attention and don’t let it know that you’re afraid of it.  Emulsified butter sauces can sense Read On »

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More than a year ago, the editor of Parade magazine was abruptly fired from his job, a job he cared deeply about and a job he worked very hard at, sometimes at the expense of his wife and three kids. Lee Kravitz and I went to the same high school, not ten years apart; when I was there, he’d taken a job in the alumni department but, an apprentice writer himself, he occasionally joined our weekly, after-hours writing seminars.  Years later, an editor in New York, he met his wife, by chance the literary agent who had years earlier agreed to represent me and subsequently agented all my books.  They had kids, both were successful in business, had a home in Manhattan and a home in the country…and then he was fired. At first adrift, Read On »

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We joined a CSA this year to see how it compares with simply shopping at the North Union Farmer’s Market.  A friend suggested I write about how I use what find in our bag.  When Donna dropped our daughter off at a friend’s, the friend’s dad appeared and asked, “How are you going to cook your kale?”  He too was part of the CSA.  Donna recounted that he intend to saute it, which reinforced the notion that this could use some writing about.  Kale is not tender, needs lots of cooking. The morning we returned with our organic booty, there was delicious toast, raspberry jam, strawberries and poached eggs.  The garlic scapes I intend to saute tonight and serve with stir-fried broccoli.  The hot house tomato is gone but there’s still some red leaf lettuce Read On »

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I rubbed the brass pig snout in Florence hoping to rid myself of bad Florence karma (first time there, my girlfriend left me for another guy, second time there, Donna and I parted for what was planned to be a year’s separation; this time, only a crummy dish of carbonara happened to me, which wasn’t bad at all, so it seems the brass pig works). But even in May the place is thick with tourists, so I was only too happy to say arrivederci and head for the rural shelter of the Spannocchia.  This trip was filled with out-of-the-way places not much written about.  Like, Spannocchia.  Loved this place.  They raise the hogs on beautiful pasture and in woods, the interns take them to slaughter in as stress free a way as possible; they do Read On »

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