Friday, 14 February 2014 | 40 comments

Whole roasted cauliflower

Snowed in, for the second day in a row. We’re keeping busy digging the birds out of the 16 inches of snow and trying to keep water un-frozen. (They–the chickens in particular–hate the snow, so it’s pretty hilarious to watch them dubiously eyeing the precipitation and then deciding to stay in.) Inside, other folks might be baking cookies or braising short ribs, but I’m roasting cauliflower. For the third time in a week.
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Friday, 31 January 2014 | 7 comments

Field notes

Conakry, the capital of Guinea, in West Africa, is on a very narrow peninsula projecting out into the Atlantic. I was there all this week. You can’t really drive from one part of the city to another without seeing a glimpse of water, and my commute from my hotel to the office was no exception. The driver weaved in and out of the hordes of uniformed kids walking to school, vendors selling soap, people burning trash, and then, boom, la mer. It nearly reaches the road in some protected areas when the tide is high.
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Wednesday, 22 January 2014 | 38 comments

A cup of kindness, yet

After Christmas, we packaged up the remains of the rib roast with horseradish cream, the mashed potato casserole, the creamed kale; stuck the house keys and car keys in someone else’s hand (along with instructions for chicken and duck care and keeping); and got on a plane.
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Friday, 20 December 2013 | 36 comments

Dennie’s molasses cookies

Four Decembers ago, my friend Jonathan and I went camping. (If you know both of us, this is only mildly absurd.) We went to Assateague—you know, the island where the wild ponies are?—and the freezing rain started on our drive there. It didn’t stop as we pitched our tent. It was so windy we couldn’t even get a fire lit to heat water for coffee. After one night, our spirits weren’t totally dampened, so we went hiking on the beach. We got back, freezing, wrapped ourselves in sleeping bags and ate cheese and apples in the tent. Jonathan produced some Ziploc bags full of his mom’s molasses cookies. The rain turned to snow, and we decided to leave, cutting the trip short.

We took a lot of pictures on the trip—Jonathan sitting on some driftwood as grey, winter-storm surf rolled in, me running on a beach that looked like the craggy surface of the moon with the grey sky hanging low—so it looms large in my memory. The whole affair was brief and completely miserable, but somehow we both remember it as this pinnacle event of our lives.
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Thursday, 5 December 2013 | 18 comments

John Besh’s sunny-side up egg

How quickly are you going to tune out knowing that this post is about how to fry an egg? There is more than one way to skin a cat, the saying goes, but I don’t think there are infinite ways to do it. Which is why I’m suspicious whenever some celebrity chef takes one of the simplest types of cooking and “reveals” it as a special technique (I always think of this Rachel Ray recipe—be sure to delve into the comments). So when I was listening to The Splendid Table a few weeks ago and heard New Orleans chef John Besh gush over how he thinks every cook should know how to make this particular creamy, perfect sunny-side up egg, I rolled my eyes and almost turned it off. » Click to read more