Porchetta

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My Twitter followers are a fervent bunch. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was in the East Village, getting a haircut at Sei Tomoko (the best haircut deal in town), and thinking of going to Porchetta for lunch. “Ooooh!” they cheered, “you’ve gotta go!” “I’m jealous!” “Porchetta is AMAZING.” Then, later, when I confessed that I skipped Porchetta for Hummus Place–where I had a lighter, healthier lunch–the Twitter crowd was not happy. “Boooo!” they booed. “Grrrr!” they growled. “Hiss!” they hissed. (Wow, this post sounds like a children’s book.) I thought they’d unfollow me and spurn my name forever, but now they should be appeased: I went with Diana to Porchetta for lunch last week and now I get what got them so worked up.

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Easy Biscuits

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It’s a good thing to know how to make biscuits. I mean, at what point of the day would you say “no” to a hot buttermilk biscuit, fresh from the oven? The answer is: “No point of the day, Adam. I would eat a biscuit any time.”

I’m right there with you, imaginary person. I love biscuits and I try to make them whenever I can, especially on Sunday mornings when I send Craig to the store to buy eggs. “Buy some buttermilk too,” I often say because, really, if he buys buttermilk, I have everything else I need to make biscuits. To make fresh biscuits all you need is butter, buttermilk, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. Everything else is technique.

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Watermelon Salad

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Have you been watching “The Next Food Network Star”? It’s a good show: an honest look at what it takes to become an on-air food personality.

Last week’s loser, Eddie, forgot what show he was on–he probably thought he was on “Top Chef”–when he razzed working mom Melissa in the kitchen. Eddie, this show is all about image: you can’t pick on sweet, warm mother figures if you want to go far! Plus, for his dish, which he served to the grandest dame on FoodTV, Ina Garten, he pilfered a recipe from Paula Dean; a watermelon salad that I’ve shared with you before. Except, in Eddie’s version he used way too many onions. Those onions sent him packing: no one gives Ina Garten onion breath. But that salad is worth revisiting–it’s one of my favorites.

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Food Inc.

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What are you having for dinner tomorrow night?

It’s a simple question, isn’t it? Tomorrow’s Friday night, so maybe you have plans? Are you going to meet friends? Cooking a romantic dinner at home? Going out for pizza?

So let’s say you go out for pizza with a big group. Your group, including yourself, is made up of happy carnivores and as you’re sitting around the table, yelling out toppings, someone shouts out “sausage!” Everyone cheers, “yeah!” and 20 minutes later your pie arrives, glistening and bubbly from the oven, and that sausage looks perfect on there: meaty and brown and substantial. This is food that’ll fill you up.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

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My proudest kitchen moments are the ones where I am at my most resourceful. On Sunday, I opened my refrigerator to find two raw chicken breasts leftover from a chicken segment we shot for food2.com. The easy option would’ve been to roast them in the oven (I was going to write “bake them in the oven,” but doesn’t roasted chicken always sound better than baked chicken?), but instead I decided to channel my inner Chinese cooking goddess. I flipped open my copy of “The Breath of a Wok” by Grace Young and looked for recipes you can do easily with chicken breasts. I found one for Sweet & Sour Chicken and, even though I didn’t have a wok or several of the ingredients, I proceeded anyway. This is my story.

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Roasted Rhubarb

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Another quick, seasonal recipe from Dorie Greenspan. Take one pound of rhubarb, cut it into 2 inch pieces, place in a pie plate with 1/2 cup of sugar, orange zest (or lemon zest) from one orange or lemon and let sit for five minutes. Preheat oven to 400, cover dish with foil, and cook for 15 minutes. Check to see if sugar is dissolved: if not, stir around, and let it go a minute or two more. Then remove the foil and cook another five minutes. That’s it! Let it cool and serve with yogurt. A lovely, healthy spring snack.

Skoaling

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A few weeks ago, Steven Shaw of eGullet invited me, along with Adam Kuban and Deb Perelman, to speak to his food blogging class at the French Culinary Institute. After we answered his student’s questions about traffic and advertising (quick tip: if you want to make money, don’t go into food blogging!), we were ushered into a secret room where we were asked to skoal on camera. “Skoal?” we asked. “Skoal!” they answered and we all looked at each other, wondering if our reputations would ever recover. And then they explained skoaling and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

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A Picnic in the Park

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There are random acts of kindness and then there are random acts of picnics. Or random picnics of kindness. I need to work on the name, but here’s how it works: you have a friend or loved one who works in midtown Manhattan. You offer to meet them for lunch. When they say, “where?” you say: “Let’s meet in Central Park, I’ll bring the food.”

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