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Weights And Measures

One of the things I find irritating about most cook books is the insistence upon using subjective measures rather than weight. For instance, I made onion soup over the weekend. Nothing special about that, but I used the Balthazar Cookbook, so I should get credit for choosing well. Anyway, the recipe called for four medium […]

It Worked! (I’m Still Not A Chef Though)

And it was fun too! The end result was a nicely crisped chicken, with absolutely spectacular roasted potatoes and carrots (yeah, I caved and added something healthy).  I cleverly used duck fat instead of oil, because I have a pint of the stuff from my Thanksgiving multiple-duck-roasting™. Duck fat has a fairly high smoke point, […]

Roast Chicken (With A Twist)

Not of lemon, but of technique. Recently, I watched our chef friend cook a chicken, and I thought that I could steal and then modify his method. Not really, because he roasted it whole, then carved it into pieces and continued roasting, and he knew when each piece was done without the benefit of a […]

One Thousand And One Nights — Of Ragù

For his birthday dinner, a sixteen-year-old, who shall remain nameless, requested spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, Caesar salad, and my justifiably famous molten chocolate cake. Of course, I was insulted and hurt that he didn’t want my roast duck, or pasta with shrimp and arugula, or any of dozens of dishes that actually are interesting. […]

An Unexpected Twist

I cooked in someone else’s kitchen last night. Nothing earth shattering in that news, but it was more difficult than I expected. No, the concept of the silverware drawer being to the right of the stove rather than the left wasn’t the strange part. It was the electric cook top and an excellent electric oven. […]

Goat Cheese Cures All Ills

Remember that duck I brined? Well, we ate the last of it in a quesadilla. But the idea of salsa with duck disturbed me, so I chopped the duck meat, sautéed it in olive oil for a few minutes, then browned it between two fresh tortillas. The trick was the liberal application of goat cheese. […]

Duck Brining Update

I wish I could report, breathlessly, that I have found a magnificent way to prepare duck. Unfortunately, I was completely underwhelmed by the brined duck. I think brining should be reserved for leaner meats such as pork and chicken, where the brine adds moisture. Duck is fatty enough that no additional moisture is needed. The […]

Why I Am Not A Chef

We have a good friend who is a classically trained chef, and a professionally successful one too! That is the rare part. Anyone can go to cooking school, but most cooking school graduates do not move on to become top chefs at serious restaurants in New York City. For my wife’s birthday, he gave her […]

Brining A Duck?

As is my wont, I will be roasting ducks for Thanksgiving. The turkey is being dealt with by my sister and her life partner, and she has caught brining fever, no doubt from me. But brining a turkey simply makes it palatable. I have no interest in food whose claim to fame is that it […]

Duck Redux

So, the big duck roast was last night, and it went swimmingly. When I wrote about the superiority of duck compared with turkey, I also mentioned that I was unsure which cooking technique I would use. I went the low-temperature, then high-temperature route, not out of any strong feelings about its advantages, but because I […]



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