Results tagged Michael Ruhlman from David Lebovitz

Chicken Liver Pâté

chicken liver pâté

Somehow, I have a lot of fat. Fortunately most of it is in my freezer. I love duck fat and if you haven’t tried potatoes cooked in duck fat, I urge you to step away from the keyboard, go buy yourself a duck, render the fat, pluck some potatoes from your rooftop garden (if you live in Brooklyn), and fry them up. Then…Oy!… as anyone is likely say when they taste them.

But in spite of its slippery, unctuous qualities, fat isn’t necessarily a sexy subject to publishers. Niche subjects often get bypassed since they are always looking for the “market” for a subject or cookbook. And schmaltz? When was the last time you did a search for a cookbook on chicken fat? Yet certain things need to be written about, and I’m sure no one was all that interested in the dictionary before it was published, or a book about religious folks wearing flesh-cutting devices under their frocks, à la The Da Vinci Code.

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Favorite Cookbooks of 2011

cookbook pile up

As 2011 draws to a close, I look at the stack of books that I’ve collected on my bookshelf (and piled up on my floor…and beside my bed, and stacked in my kitchen…) and wonder how I’m going to cook and bake from them all. I just can’t help it, though—I love cookbooks. And these are the books that I couldn’t resist tackling in 2011, although a few are filled with bookmarks intended for future dinners and desserts, and blog posts. Some are traditional books bound with nice paper, filled with recipes, others are food-related books; memoirs and remembrances. And there are a few entries I’ve chosen that push the boundaries of traditional text, electronically and otherwise.

This year, I found myself drawn to cookbooks with a story to tell, not just mere collections of recipes. Books with a distinct point of view by an author, and essays which took me beyond the page and into their lives, which veered in some rather compelling directions. A few of the books were chef’s memoirs, which I did include even though they don’t have recipes. But something about them added to the canon of cookery books I have and referenced cooking in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Because I live abroad and have limited storage space (and deliveries can be a challenge), I wasn’t able to procure all the books that I wanted to. But this year saw a big uptick in publishers – and readers – jumping onto the e-book bandwagon. While not everyone wants to cook from a computer screen, one advantage is that foreign cookbooks, or out-of-print titles, may have new lives and can downloaded anywhere in the world within seconds.

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Blog Notes

BLT

Dinner at Hidden Kitchen

On May 13, I’ll be hosting a dinner at the always-booked Hidden Kitchen in association with the folks at Context Travel. Local food gem Meg Zimbeck will join me, and aside from a super dinner, guests will also get a copy of my upcoming book, Ready For Dessert.

There’s just a few spaces left, It’s now sold out, so if you’ve been dying to try Hidden Kitchen, or would like to get a closer look at that worrisome bald spot that appears to be growing on the backside of my head, you can e-mail your name to be on the waiting list.

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Food Blogger Camp, part 1

buttered tortillas

Yesterday was the best day of my life. Okay, it was the best day of the year. And since the year is only a couple of weeks old, there’s probably going to be a few other contenders in the next fifty weeks. But still, yesterday would be pretty hard to beat.

tortillas

To any ‘normal’ person, they might think that lazing in the sun for a few hours was bliss. But for me, it’s all-you-can-eat tortillas. And I’ve been doing my best to make the buffet here at Club Med in Ixtapa live up to that designation.

mexican cuisine

It’s nice to know that even after living in France for a number of years, I still haven’t lost my uncanny ability, like many Americans, to be able to pile our plates to the max of whatever we feel like shoveling in our craws.

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My Favorite Cookbooks of 2009

I have a stack (actually, about four stacks) of cookbooks that arrived this year, many of them riddled with bookmarks for recipes. Some of them I managed to get to, presenting recipes on the blog or baking for friends and neighbors, and a few I didn’t get around to yet. In this year’s round up, I did sneak in a few recipes from favorite classics cookbooks in my collection, but there’s a nice representation from books that came out in 2009. Included are a few guidebooks that I found indispensable, plus I tossed in a couple of cookbooks that I’ve had my eye on, which are en route, that I’m looking forward to getting dusty with flour, and smudged with butter.

Here’s my annual round-up My Favorite Cookbooks from 2009:

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Rustic Fruit Desserts by Corey Schreiber and Julia Richardson

I met Corey Schreiber a decade or so ago when he launched a restaurant in San Francisco. Shortly afterward he moved up to Portland to re-connect with the outstanding ingredients of the Pacific Northwest. This best-selling book features everything from a lemon-swathed Blueberry Buckle to Caramel Apple Steamed Pudding with Ginger. But it’s the Upside-Down Pear Chocolate Cake that is sitting in my batter’s box (or batter box?) to try.

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New Flavors of Appetizers: Classic Recipes Redefined by Amy Sherman

I’m the first to admit that when I invite people for dinner, because I live in France, it’s easy to stop at the charcuterie for a few slices of country ham or hit the Arab market for a bag of salty olives. But Amy Sherman’s book is full of do-able recipes. I’m a bit fixated on her Baked Asparagus, Leek, and Goat Cheese Bites, and as soon as spring rolls back around, I’m going to tackle that one. In the meantime, there’s plenty to get me through the winter, like Olives and Feta Marinated in Lemon and Ouzo and Smoky Eggplant Dip with Cumin-Crusted Pita Chips.

I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita

I get so many inquiries about macarons that I had to compile a post of the best advice out there. (Making French Macarons.) But this little book, in English, promises a fool-proof method of making the little devils. Because of their popularity, I did a special write-up of I Love Macarons!, which offers more details about the book.

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Announcing Food Blogger Camp at Club Med in Ixtapa

Do you dream of idling away on a sunny beach in the middle of the winter?

Do you want to meet other food bloggers from all over the world?

Do you want to spend your vacation with me?

The Blogger Bunch

Ok, you don’t have to answer that last one. But if you do, I’m going to be a featured participant at Food Blogger Camp, taking place January 9-16th, 2010.

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While camp is in session, each day there will be a seminar by my favorite food bloggers, food stylist, and photographers.

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Pickled Pepper Recipe

jalapenos

I’d say a good 20 to 30 percent of my refrigerator space is given over to pickles. I love anything pickled—onions, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, and chile peppers. If it’s pickle-able, you’re likely to find a jar of it buried away in my far, deep recesses of my refrigerator. In fact, all of the above (and more) are in there right now, marinating as we speak. Or as I type, I should say.

Unfortunately that doesn’t leave much room for anything else, which is something I have to live with. I suppose I could start canning them, but then I’d have to find somewhere to put all those jars. But there’s no way I’m giving up a single pair of the thirty-two sets of shoes in my closet, or a single space on my groaning cookbook shelf, to give way to a place to store them.

I think I’m almost at risk of turning into one of those people who die, and afterward pictures of my apartment filled to-the-brim with stuff, appear on websites and daytime talk shows, to the horror of viewers from coast-to-coast.

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Spring Things

spring flowers

Stop the Insanity!

Michael Ruhlman pointed out the absurdity of sugar becoming the new “ok food”, as reported by the New York Times. The interesting thing about getting older is that you see how foods go out of fashion, then invariably come back.

In my life, I’ve been through warnings about sugar, margarine vs butter, salt, white flour, fat, trans fats, tropical fats, chocolate, eggs, corn syrup, and carbohydrates.

I can’t agree with Michael more: if you want to be sure you’re eating correctly, cut out as many processed foods as you can. You don’t need to wait for the latest medical study to tell you what to eat. (Which will invariably be negated by a contradictory study a few years later anyways.) I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but swilling soda isn’t good for you, sugar or no sugar.

No, not everyone is going to be able to cook a freshly-laid farm egg over an open fire in their kitchen. I know I can’t. But it’s pretty easy to eat decently no matter where you live. To eat well, one needn’t need to live near a greenmarket. The quality of American supermarkets have improved vastly over the past decade and I’m always astounded to see how the selection of things available, from fresh produce to good olive oils and dairy products, has improved dramatically.

Fortunately, rainbow sprinkles haven’t been demonized. But I’m still trying to find some that are locally-produced.

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