Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have been publishing innovative books about cooking and the chef world for longer than I have. Their popular Becoming a Chef was published the summer I was harrassing the Culinary Institute of America to let me in to write about, well, becoming a chef.  I was mortified they’d beat me to it. It proved to be not just a different book from what I was attempting, but a valuable research tool for me then and throughout the years (its history of American restaurants and chefs with opening dates or significant restaurants is something I’ve  returned to throughout the years).  It remains a valuable book especially for people considering entering the profession. Their most recent book, The Flavor Bible, published last year was one I kept hearing about.  Finally I got Read On »

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The most exciting cookbook of the season, to me, is without question, Momofuku, by David Chang and Peter Meehan.   Momofuku combines great cooking and restaurant kitchen photography in the journalistic style I love, recipes and techniques I was eager to learn about (steamed buns, spicy fried chicken), and an intense, passionate narrative by Meehan that captures the distinctive nature of this unusual chef.  My partner in Charcuterie, Brian Polcyn and I were lucky enough to find a seat at Chang’s noodle bar this fall and had a fantastic meal.  As soon as I read Momofuku, I bought a copy to send to Brian. I think it’s a sad state of affairs that Chang has been getting so much media attention that people have begun to grouse about it.  What I don’t like about it is Read On »

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I have two copies of Ad Hoc, signed by Thomas Keller, to give away, courtesy of Artisan (thanks, Amy!)  This is an even more valuable offer than I thought it would be because I see that Amazon is sold out until February, as are many bookstores.  More than 100,000 copies of this book have been printed, with more on the way, making Ad Hoc one of the best selling books of the season.  There’s a reason for it: it’s a fantastic book, with everything from burgers to bread pudding with leeks to cheesecake, and great discussion of cooking issues and technique from Thomas himself (who would have imagined a chef could be so uncommonly articulate on the page?!).  A few namby pambies in the media have whined that some of the recipes actually ask you Read On »

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We felt it was time to try to add video and here’s the first attempt.  WARNING: very low tech and echo-y sound but we couldn’t wait any longer so my friend Joe appeared one afternoon with a camera and there we are. Like the blog, the videos are a continual work in progress.  Maybe I’ll invest in a microphone! I chose pate a choux because I had  blogged about it (see this post for finished photos of all the preparations).  Also, it was an easy demo of an easy preparation I want more people to do for themselves.  Steamy recently blogged about it, as have others. Also, it’s a great recipe for the holidays and entertaining.  You can make the dough ahead and refrigerate till you’re ready to bake.  They make great canapes.  Fill them Read On »

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I am determined to get my shopping done NOW—so I can concentrate on the fun stuff on the days leading up to Christmas (eg Pork Pie, Brioche, Chocolate Truffles).  I started my shopping today at my own Open Sky shop (my first time ordering, very easy and free shipping!). The following are gift ideas for the cook in your life are very cool in that they’re not easy to find, incredibly useful, and eminently affordable gifts. Want your lover to make you the above quiche?  Here’s the ring mold he or she will need for the proper depth and that voluptuous texture that made Keller refer to quiche as the sexiest pie. I love the Mag Blok magnetic wall mounted knife holder.  It’s gorgeous wood and won’t ding your knives. Especially great for tiny kitchens Read On »

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