KW-1

  Each January I spend ten days in Key West, cooking for my cousin Rob’s sailing crew, who race the J 111, Spaceman Spiff. Just to be clear, I’m not cooking on the boat. These things are the sheerest, strongest, lightest plastic for maximum speed and they don’t want some overweight guy down below stirring beans in a cast-iron pot while they’re blasting down wind. I cook in a spacious kitchen in a lovely house on Caroline Street. I write in the morning and I cook in the afternoon and happily and unaccountably I haven’t been hung over once. Go figure. Seriously. It’s a first here. But it does allow me to reflect on the methods and importance of cooking for groups. You can see previous posts on how to cook for groups below so Read On »

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Peternell-12

  I want to call attention to a cookbook after my own heart, a cookbook that seeks to encourage and teach the few fundamental ideas on which all cooking is based. It’s called Twelve Recipes by Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell, and it came into being out of the love of a father for his sons. Peternell, on returning from a family trip to Europe, wondered why more cooking wasn’t done at home, notably and especially by his fellow chefs. He understands: fatigue, time, the desire to see new restaurants. But he also knew this: “The ancient acts of gathering foods, cooking them, and then coming together to eat are as profound as any that we do, and as pleasurable.… I consider cooking and eating with my family my best skill.” Yet he’d failed to teach Read On »

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Key-Sunset-Cocktail

(Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman) In one week I’ll be in quirky, decadent Key West on my annual boondoggle cooking for my cousin, Rob, and the crew of Spaceman Spiff. Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour gathering pots and pans, two big cutting boards, a giant cast iron skillet, Lexan tub and circulator, flat-edged wood spoons, side towels, knives, all of which are loaded onto the boat trailer that’s now on the road south. My iPhone says it’s 77 degrees and sunny. Here in Cleveland it’s 18 degrees. Yesterday when I woke it was -2. Tomorrow’s high here will be 16 degrees. Needless to say I am not disappointed that I’ll spend nine afternoons cooking for the sailing droogs, with mornings poolside to get some writing work done. And looking forward so much I intend to Read On »

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small-chicken-stock-x3

  My mom traveled to the crazy garment district in New York for her work when I was a copyboy at the New York Times, five blocks north. I remember once she took me to lunch and ordered a Bull Shot. When I asked, she told me beef broth and vodka. Which sounded whack. But tasted nourishing on that winter day. Julia Moskin’s excellent piece in the Times on stock and broth made me think of that day. At last, stock/broth is being appreciated in its own right. (But it’s not a “trend beverage” as Moskin calls it—I guess she had to justify a story on one of the oldest, most fundamental preparations in the kitchen; “trend beverage,” Jesus. But I’ll take it, and thank you Julia!). Yes, it is delicious sipped from a mug! You can feel Read On »

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carrot

  It’s been a busy year. I published two books, How To Roast this past fall, the first in a series of technique books, and a big book on the Egg this past spring. I continue to love the dialogue that some of the opinion pieces here inspire; I’m gratified by the enthusiasm with which the Friday Cocktail Hour was greeted (and lamented … perhaps it will return). And people enjoy the recipes when they appear, whether from me or a guest poster. The following are the top-rated posts from 2014, and all of these categories are represented. The Opinion Posts, on our health and the importance of cooking, both reported and rant-only: Don’t Eat Healthy Carb Confusion: An internist at the Cleveland Clinic, who has a deep interest in nutrition, talked to me last summer about Read On »

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