12 Things to Do with Hard-Boiled Eggs

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.30.12 AM

Now that Easter is over, it’s time to stop thinking about hard-boiled eggs as something to hide and once again start thinking of them as food — and a versatile one at that. Hard-boiled eggs are worthy both as self-contained snacks and as main ingredients in more substantial dishes. The key in either case is cooking them so that the yolks are firm but still creamy rather than chalky, and peeling them without either tearing the egg to shreds or driving yourself mad.

The first part is accomplished easily enough by following the master recipe; I’ve found that nine minutes in hot water yields the perfect consistency for large to extra-large eggs, but if you prefer your yolks on the softer or firmer side, adjust the timing as needed. If you’re going to simmer the eggs in tomato sauce, hard- boil them for only seven and a half minutes, because they’ll continue to cook in the sauce. To minimize the dreaded green color, which comes from not cooling the egg quickly enough, dunk the eggs in an ice bath immediately after cooking — and don’t skimp on the ice.

Read the rest of this article and get the recipes here

Posted in Uncategorized

Why Care about the McCutcheon Decision?

In the food world, change from the ground up is all well and good. We desperately need cooks, gardeners, farmers and teachers. But we also need legislation. The recently passed and almost uniformly abysmal Farm Bill is a lesson in how legislation affects those of us working to change the chaotic so-called food “system.” Pittances were tossed at supporters of local and organic food, fortunes’ worth of agribusiness subsidies were maintained, and much-needed support for the country’s least well-off was slashed.

That’s a Republican-led Congress at work, but when it comes to supporting Big Ag and Big Food, most of the Democratic representatives from states where farm income matters most are not much better: While the majority of Big Ag’s financial support for candidates goes to Republicans, Democrats are close behind. For big-time change on a national scale, we need representatives who put the needs of a sustainable food system and all that goes with it ahead of those of the chemical and processed food manufacturers who are currently running the show.

Read the rest of this column here

Posted in Uncategorized

Spring Stews with Crunchy Crusts

 Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.54.50 AM

April is a transitional season, not only for weather but also for cooking. More produce begins to appear at farmers’ markets, and even supermarket asparagus begins to come from places closer than Peru. In most of the country, though, it’s not yet time for hot-weather eating; we still crave more than a light salad.

Light stews with springtime ingredients and satisfying crusts are the perfect dish for this time of year. These are neither the gut-busting braises that we’ve been eating all winter nor the cold soups that we’ll eat in a couple of months, but something in between. The most famous example of this kind of dish, of course, is chicken potpie. The version I offer here is a modern take that celebrates spring with the addition of peas (traditional) and asparagus (less so) and the exclusion of cream.

Read the rest of this article and get the recipes here.

Posted in Recipes

A Cappuccino for Public Safety

In New York, many things are referred to as jokes. The Van Wyck “Expressway,” for example, a coarsely paved road that has been under repair for as long as anyone can remember, is a joke. Compared with those of other world capitals, our mass transit system is a joke. And every now and then we’re reminded that underground is a bewildering mess of pipes, wires and fibers, the stuff that keeps the whole semi-anarchic mess running. That’s a joke, too, one that The Times called “a glaring example of America’s crumbling infrastructure.”

Although black humor is dear to New Yorkers, these are not funny jokes. No one likes the service interruptions and long waits for a train. But when gas pipes explode, as they did in East Harlem last month, killing sleeping innocents, it’s tough to remain stoical. This isn’t the Blitz or 9/11, events on which we could blame an embodiment of malevolence for random deaths of fellow citizens. Deaths like these are largely preventable.

Read the rest of this column here

Posted in Uncategorized

Special Gift with VB6 Cookbook Preorder

Preorder a copy of The VB6 Cookbook by May 5, submit your proof of purchase in the form below, and receive a bookplate signed by me, plus a voucher code for a free month trial to Eat Your Books, where you can access all 15,217 of my recipes in one place.
 
Plus, share this preorder offer online using #VB6Cookbook and you will be entered to win one of five 15-minute phone consultations with me (we can talk about VB6, or any other food issues you’re interested in).
The VB6 Cookbook is on sale May 6, 2014, everywhere books are sold.
 
PLEASE NOTE: The bookplates will be individually signed but not be personalized (sorry), and will arrive by June 15th. You can preorder The VB6Cookbook at Amazon, Barnes and NobleiBookstore, or Indiebound.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Years of Living Dangerously

ss-mark-1

Posted in Uncategorized

The Aliens Have Landed

In the ’30s, as Germany rearmed, we said, “Yeah, France can handle that.” Earlier this week, the Panzer Corps of climate change zoomed right around our Maginot line of denial, and we all became the retreating French.

The disaster we refused to acknowledge has arrived. And now, as then, many people are just giving up. “Oh, well,” countless friends and co-workers muttered Monday, “nothing to do now.”

Read the rest of this column here

Posted in Uncategorized

Not Enough Cooks in the Kitchen

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 8.23.15 AM

Last month I ate at Camino, a Cali-Med-Asian (that is, no-holds-barred) restaurant in Oakland, Calif. Camino is funky and open, and its look, which lacks pretense, offers little clue about the delights that await. There are long wooden communal tables for you and 29 of your closest friends, over which hang chandeliers that could pass for medieval drying racks. There’s live fire in a wide-open kitchen. The whole effect is even more casual than the upstairs at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, which was perhaps the original setting for tablecloth-free four-star food. It was also the place where Russ Moore, Camino’s chef and co-owner, worked for 20 years.

Moore is a self-described half Korean, half “New England white mix.” He grew up in Redondo Beach and, he says, “ate almost exclusively Asian food, except for fast food and garbage like that.” At some point, he did a three-month stint at L.A. Trade Tech, which he quit to take a job at “a crappy Italian restaurant.” He eventually moved to the Bay Area, where David Tanis, who was then a chef at Chez Panisse, took him on.

Read the rest of this article here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Butter is Back

Julia Child, goddess of fat, is beaming somewhere. Butter is back, and when you’re looking for a few chunks of pork for a stew, you can resume searching for the best pieces — the ones with the most fat. Eventually, your friends will stop glaring at you as if you’re trying to kill them.

That the worm is turning became increasingly evident a couple of weeks ago, when a meta-analysis published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that there’s just no evidence to support the notion that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. (In fact, there’s some evidence that a lack of saturated fat may be damaging.) The researchers looked at 72 different studies and, as usual, said more work — including more clinical studies — is needed. For sure. But the days of skinless chicken breasts and tubs of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! may finally be drawing to a close.

Read the rest of this column here.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Magic of Masa

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 8.34.52 AM

If you’re interested in a serious project, you can make the best tortillas you’ve ever had by soaking and washing dried hominy — corn that has been treated with slaked lime — then grinding it to produce masa, or “dough.” Then you press out small discs and griddle them. Do that, and you’ll have my admiration.

Or you can do what so many people do: Start with masa harina, or “masa flour,” which you mix with water and a little fat. The dough takes five minutes to make (it’s better, but not essential, to let it rest for a while), and the pressing and griddling is simple and fun. If you buy a handy tortilla press, you can skip rolling or hand-pressing, but you don’t need one. (You can also buy freshly made masa, sold at many Latino supermarkets, which will also save you a step, and whose quality is usually quite high.)

Read the rest of this column and get the recipes here.

Posted in Mexican