When she said it to me, it rang in my head clear as a bell.  I’ve repeated it a hundred times.  I was talking with Carol Blymire last spring about Ratio, and how to promote it.  I was biting my knuckles over this, terrified no one would understand it or even care—it used weights, required a scale, looked like math might be involved, was incredibly presumptuous, etc.  Carol was behind me all the way and said, “No, you’re right.  The book is good.  Americans are being taught we’re too stupid to cook and it’s simply not true.” That one sentence crystallized the issue for me, turned my frustration from a wall into a lens.  Americans are being taught that we’re too stupid to cook.  That cooking is so hard we need to let other people Read On »

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I’m so pleased with results of the cooked eggnog I wrote for the last post, I wanted to give an official tested recipe.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m a fan of raw egg eggnog, as well as aged-for-two-years raw eggnog. I don’t believe anyone should be afraid of eating raw egg (especially if you buy organic or well-raised eggs).  Raw yolk on raw ground beef is a delight, a kind of ready made sauce. I love a homemade mayo, a runny poached egg.  Indeed, raw or warm egg is one of the great pleasures of cooking and eating.  So here’s to lots of eggs in 2010—may more of them be laid by healthy happy chickens! But there are those who may be concerned or have reason not to take any chances.  There are also those who Read On »

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Linus said it simply enough: “Peace and good will toward men.  That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”  Regardless of faith, race, sex. Peace and good will to all men and women. And holiday cheer!  I’ve written about aged eggnog (that’s it above, last year’s shot; sorry, didn’t want to make Donna work today!), aged for at least three weeks and up to several years (longest I’ve managed to hang on to it is three years).  This experiment by NPR’s Science Friday proves that alcohol takes care of salmonella bacteria over a period of three weeks (and likely all other bacteria that would cause spoilage, thus its ability to age indefinitely).  I’ve also written about how to make eggnog on the fly in a comment on that post. But for those who fear bacteria Read On »

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The guy I buy arugula from at our market has a neighbor who raises quail and he brings a few dozen of the eggs each week to sell for his neighbor. I got a batch of each not too long ago (he grows lettuce under plastic well into December).  I’ve scarcely touched quail eggs.  A couple times in culinary school (garde manger, quail egg and caviar pizza). But they were not something I thought much about.  That’s changed. If they’re available to you (I’m told you can often find them at Asian markets) they’re a lot of fun, special because of their size, and easy to work with. They make an impressive canapé.  This is a take on eggs Benedict: arugula sautéed with shallot, bacon, English muffin croutons, topped with a little fried quail egg Read On »

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Last year, The French Laundry Cookbook Team, published Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, a book spearheaded by per se chef de cuisine Jonathon Benno and featuring the dishes of him, his French Laundry counterpart Corey Lee, and Thomas Keller.  The book was explicitly geared toward professional chefs (recipes are in metric weights) because this form of cooking was at the time most applicable to restaurant kitchens.  The capacity to cook food sous vide, that is vacuum sealed and submerged in water kept at low precise temperatures, is perfectly suited to the demands of cooking for large numbers because food hit a specific temperature and stays there, no real chance to overcook.  But also the equipment was prohibitively expensive, with chamber vacuum sealers and immersion circulators (the device that heats the water) costing several thousand dollars. Read On »

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