Ten days in Italy with Brian Polcyn and Nic Heckett for a salume tour of northern and central Italy—primarily Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria and Emilia-Romagna. Damn, Italy is beautiful.  There’s a reason Tuscany in particular is so romanticized.  Its rolling, forested hills and little towns perched on hillsides are breathtaking, particularly, I assure you, if you live in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. I’m buried in work after being gone, so I will note a few highlights but of course keep the salume revelations for the book—there was one huge transformative one.  The book, a follow-up to Charcuterie and the reason for the trip, is due to the publisher September 1.  Yikes. The top photo was what our nightly table tended to look like in the beginning, salume tasting and notes.  What a pleasure it was to travel Read On »

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[This will be the last of my archival posts as I get my notes together from the Italy trip and try to catch up on 5000 emails I ignored while traveling the hillsides of Tuscany and the flatlands of Emilia-Romagna.  I chose this one because I recently made some compulsively good jerky using a recipe from Adam Sappington, of Portland’s Country Cat Dinner House and Bar.  Instead of the below seasonings, he uses tons of brown sugar, celery seed, onion and garlic powder—awesome.  Please feel free to improvise.  One key issue for me now: find hand raised beef.  Supermarket beef just doesn’t cut it for me when its dry cured, mainly I think because you’re simply concentrating the bad quality.] Among the most easy and satisfying preservation techniques is beef jerky: cut strips of lean Read On »

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Photo by Donna Ruhlman Summer is flying by too quickly and I’ve been buried in all the good things–work and family and friends and food.  Ma was here and I showed her the Iron Chef show with Symon v. Bloomfield and she was so enamoured of Symon’s idea of putting a yolk inside pasta, I made some for her (above, on a bed of sheep’s milk ricotta I got from Paul Minnillo at Baricelli Inn, seasoned with citrus and espelette), served with a simple brown butter sauce.  Sooo. Good . Yolk spills out into the butter.  Then off to NYC to judge an Iron Chef competition, then back home on the 4th for Old Chicago’s on the grill at my Dad’s and fireworks viewed from the first fairway of a local course, then Pardus, my Read On »

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Photos by Donna [I’m on a blog break from 5/17 through 5/31, so I’m putting up favorite food posts from the archives.] It began with pickles. I’d bought a quart of small cukes to pickle with tarragon but I wasn’t thinking as I made the brine.  I wanted some spice in there so I added black peppercorns.  Then, here is the not thinking part, I put in a load of coriander seed, then the tarragon, but as I smelled the brine coming up to heat, it was clear that pepper and coriander would completely overpower the tarragon, and simply don’t belong together.  So I removed the tarragon.  Donna arrived just then and said, “Mmm, smells good in here. Like corned beef.” Having ruined the brine for the pickles (using the standard 5% brine ratio from Read On »

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Photos by donna [I’m on a blog break from 5/17 through 5/31, so I’m putting up favorite food posts from the archives, this one on quiche published last July] On Wednesday I flew to Washington to make a quiche at the restaurant Proof for a segment on “All Things Considered” with one of the show’s new hosts, Guy Raz.  Guy said he read the Slate review of the book, which called my book Ratio “fascinating and pompous,” and was intrigued.  So he and his producer, Phil Harrel, requested a dish that combined two ratios.  Quiche immediately came to mind, using both the 3-2-1 pie dough ratio (I’ve lost track of the number of people who have written to thank me for getting them over their fear of pie dough) and the custard ratio (2 parts Read On »

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