Cooking a Steak

The first step in cooking a steak is picking the right steak. Part of it comes down to personal preference, and part of it comes down to having the right eye for it. The cut you choose is mostly preference. My favorite cut is the New York Strip. The Ribeye…

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Oof!

This is what 23 pounds of beef short ribs looks like, or about $60 worth of meat from the warehouse store. Whenever my extended family gets together, my two brothers and I engage in a little — ok, quite a bit — of friendly competition. We each agree to make…

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What’s the Aversion to Kneading?

Well, I tried the modified “no-knead” bread recipe in the most recent Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required), and I guess it was ok. It’s not completely no-knead, but it’s pretty close. It calls for just 15 seconds of kneading the dough in on itself, just to distribute the long protein chains,…

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My Favorite Knives

They say that a cook’s knives are a very individualized thing. What works for me probably won’t work for you, and that you should never buy a knife without holding it — feeling its balance and heft in your hand. When I first started getting serious about cooking, I tossed…

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What’s for dinner? Roast Duckling

Harris Teeter had fresh duckling on sale the other day, and I just couldn’t resist. I used Ina Garten’s technique of lightly scoring the duckling’s skin with a fork, and cooking it in hot chicken stock for 45 minutes, which gets rid of a lot of the fat, letting it…

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Unusual Meat in the Mail

Here are some sources for unusual products. (If you’re on this list, and you’d like to send me samples, by all means…)   D’artagnan (Newark, NJ) is a pretty well-known supplier of packaged pàtés … in fact, my supermarket carries it for the holidays in the specialty cheese case ……

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The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine

I found this to be a surprisingly readable book. The author, Steven Rinella, is a writer for sports magazines, and he and his friends spend much of their free time hunting and fishing. When he got a copy of The Escoffier Cookbook, it started him on a year-long quest to…

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Scaling Up a Recipe

I’ll be cooking for a crowd in a couple of days over the holidays, and I have a recipe that I’ve settled on. Unfortunately, the recipe as it’s written says that it serves 4, and I’ve got to make it so that it feeds 18. I was able to find…

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White and Brown Stock

When making chicken stock, using raw chicken will give you “white” chicken stock, while using a roasted bird will give you “brown” chicken stock. According to Escoffier, white stock is used for the base of white sauces. Brown stock should be the color of “fine burnt amber” and used for…

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Smoke in the Night

The other night, I had a bit of a harrowing experience. I woke up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke in my apartment. When I got out to the living room, I could tell that I wasn’t dreaming and the whole place really was filled…

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Creamed Shallots

A nice side dish for steaks or roasted chicken. 10-12 shallots 1 tsp. salt 1 T sugar 2 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded 2 oz cream salt & pepper ¼ t thyme Clean the shallots by slicing each end, and peeling it down to the first clean layer without the papery…

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Grilled Beer Brats

Here’s a recipe my brother makes for cookouts. It’s pretty simple, but surprisingly flavorful and a nice change from hamburgers and hot dogs. These go better with a crustier roll than a regular hot dog bun, but those would do in a pinch. 2-3 lbs. bratwurst 2 large onions sliced…

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101 Simple Appetizers in 20 Minutes or Less

Mark Bittman at the New York Times suggests dozens of ways to make fast hors d’oeuvres. Link (See also his list of 101 Quick Meals, published in July, 2007, as well as 10 more he added to the list a month later.)

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Preserved Lemons

This is a north african condiment, sometimes served chopped as a relish, or added to a braise or roast. A strong citrusy flavor that’s very different from fresh lemons. You’ll want 8 or 9 of the lemons to be large good sized and unblemished. The rest are just for their…

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Tuscan Bean Soup

This recipe is really enhanced by the garlic. The more, the better if you ask me. And I don’t personally care for the quality of the meat from the ham hocks, but if you want to economize or be frugal, use it instead of the additional country ham. You can…

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Pie Crust Recipes

Haven’t had a chance to try this recipe. It’s in a cookbook that I’m giving away, so I thought I’d save it here. According to the book, “This dough rolls easily and will take a lot of handling and still make a flaky crust.” I’ve never seen a recipe for…

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