Category Archives: General Cooking

People Who Don’t Wash Leeks Are Living on the Edge (of Poopville)

This isn’t a lesson or anything, except for the obvious one: For the love of God wash your leeks. Split ’em first, because the mud gets down deep. I don’t know what kind of hipboots it takes to be a leek farmer, and I don’t want to know what farming techniques or growth patterns seal that mud so damn far down, but jeez oh pete, that shit is nasty. On the flipside, I’d be nervous if I got a leek that wasn’t muddy. I’d feel like it was grown in a lab, or made in Captain Picard’s replicator, or something.

One quick semi-related tip: Anyone making potato leek soup should do what Julia Child did, and run it through a food mill. I love stick blenders, but I’m never using them on potatoes or leeks again. Food mill doesn’t glue up the potatoes, and it doesn’t let the super stringy parts of the leek through. You get fluffy flavorful soup that you don’t have to futz with to get the right consistency. More on soups later. For now, just wash your damn leeks!

Why I Deliberately Effed Up a Perfectly Decent Lemon Square Recipe

You’re looking at lemon squares. OK, circles. Very very ugly lemon circles, founded on delectable golden shortbread, crowned with mysterious disks of meringue. They taste amazing, but they are the result of a series of fuckups. I committed them on purpose, because it’s the only way I know how to learn. Continue reading

The Feast of February 13: Wooly Pigs, Racked Lambs, Ravicarbonaroli, Batter-Fried Salads and Panna Not So Cotta

Contrasted to the din and bustle of a restaurant, a home cook’s status is positively monastic–solitary, filled with not-entirely-quiet contemplation. So it was with eagerness and a bit of apprehension that I teamed up with my friend Noah (aka Mr. Pushpush) to cook our wives an Italian-slanted four-star restaurant-grade meal on the night before Valentine’s Day. It was a success, but not without its fair share of “oh shit” moments. Continue reading

Salad Theory: No More Excuses, People

Salad. La di freakin’ da, right? Only then how come so many people screw up a salad? I see salads at potlucks, at family reunions, even at friends’ dinner parties, and I’m like “Really?” I don’t really say that. I eat it, slathered in whatever Creamy Chemicals N’ Bits salad dressing that is nearby. But it’s really easy to bring some joy to Saladtown. Trash the Bac-Os. Chuck every salad dressing in your fridge. And pay attention to the Rule of Threes: Continue reading

“Our Ducks Have Untrimmed Bills”

Sometimes you learn of the horrors that go on with the leading food brands by reading the labels of smaller goody-two-shoes brands. “No trans fats” on one package means that everything else in the aisle that doesn’t say so is just lubed to the gills with them. “No hormones” means that if you eat that other guy’s meat, you will most certainly sprout bonus genitalia. And this package of frozen duck breasts? It informs me that Bell & Evans is not party to the heinous practice of trimming ducks’ bills. Thank goodness! Continue reading

Sous Veni, Sous Vide, Sous Vici

As you might have heard, I played around with the SousVide Supreme for a review on Gizmodo. Basically I spent two weeks vacuum sealing meats into plastic bags, then cooking them at precise temperatures–you should read my review for a more clear description.

As overwhelmed as I was by having such a chef-grade tool at my disposal, I did whip up some nice food, though managed to bomb a few dishes too. (Would it feel right if I nailed every challenge? This is about failing and dealing as much as it is about getting shit right.) Anyhow, here’s a quick rundown of my sous vide concoctions, with some commentary I didn’t/couldn’t include in my Giz piece: Continue reading

Roasting the Dickens Out of a Christmas Goose

This Christmas, when my mother-in-law asked me what we should do for dinner, I blurted out, “Goose.” I had no recipe in mind, had no experience cooking a goose, didn’t even know how you’d acquire one. I just knew that goose was at the center of the Old World holiday feast, a fattier, darker, more hallowed precedent to the American turkey, and I wanted one at the center of our table. Continue reading