Things I’ve Been Spreading on My Toast


My love affair with toast hasn’t waned since it began back in May. Sure, there’ve been some breadless mornings where I eat a piece of fruit or don’t eat anything at all, but most mornings there I am in my kitchen, slicing a big slice of bread, popping it into my cheap-o toaster and slathering it with something interesting.

The slathering, as you might imagine, is the most exciting part. That’s why I keep my eyes peeled wherever I go for potential toast toppings.

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Drunk Blondies


Repeat after me: Butter. Chocolate. Pecans. Coconut. Bourbon.

Again: Butter. Chocolate. Pecans. Coconut. Bourbon.

On Saturday night, we joined our friends Brendan and Danny for a screening of “Sunset Blvd.” at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. (You can read all about that in this week’s newsletter.) I was assigned the task of bringing a salad and a dessert. The salad was cous cous with roasted broccoli; let’s not dwell on that. Instead, let’s talk about the dessert… a dessert that featured (everyone!) butter, chocolate, pecans, coconut and Bourbon. A dessert so addictive no one could stop eating it.

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Honey Butter Biscuits


Andrew Carmellini, in his new book American Flavor, shares a biscuit recipe that he calls “the world’s best biscuits.” This is a bold claim, even for a chef as revered as Carmellini, but in his defense, when he started serving biscuits (and fried chicken) at his pre-The Dutch Italian restaurant, Locanda Verde, the critics gushed. In fact, while working on a different book proposal, I called Carmellini to have him coach me through biscuit-making on the phone. The man knew his stuff.

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Gourmet Grilled Cheese Night


Here in L.A., there are restaurants that do a gourmet grilled cheese night. It’s a nice idea: you get to go to a fancy restaurant (like Campanile, for example) and spend far less money than you’d normally spend there for dinner. Only, I find it hard to justify spending ANY money on grilled cheese. It’s the kind of thing anyone can make at home (in fact, this may be the one dish that Craig–who doesn’t cook at all–is better at cooking than I am). Last night I decided that I’d do our own Gourmet Grilled Cheese Night to prove that you don’t have to be a fancy restaurant to spend your night frying bread in butter and waiting for the cheese to melt.

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The Corn Cookie


Delaying gratification is an exercise few food lovers can comprehend. We nibble the hors d’oeuvres before the guests arrive, we gobble up the bread basket before the waiter puts pad to pen, we’re ready for seconds while most people are still on their firsts. Which is why I deserve some credit for not devouring the Corn Cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar on my walk home from the East Village last week.

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The Easiest Pasta Dinner in the World


There are certain readers of my blog–and I know they exist, I’ve met them in real life–who see the food I make as aspirational. Instead of thinking, “Oooh, that’s easy, I can make that” (as many of you think when you read my posts), they think, “Oooh, that looks tasty, I wonder if someone will make that for me?”

To those readers, then, who think these recipes are outside of your reach (and, again, I acknowledge that I’m not describing most of you) I have a recipe for you. It’s Penne with Brown Butter, Nutmeg and Parmesan and I used to write about it all the time on the blog when I was a bachelor; it’s a dinner you can whip up easily for yourself after coming home from work. All you need is a pot, a pan, a box of penne, a stick (or less) of butter, whole nutmeg (so much better than the pre-ground stuff), a hunk of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. This is comfort food with a sophisticated flair.

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Radishes with Butter & Salt


Everyone has a favorite dinner party moment. Me? I have to confess that my favorite moment comes at the end: when the food’s been served, the wine bottles are empty and I collapse on the couch with an extraordinary sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and relief.

For Craig, it’s the opposite: he loves the moment at the beginning, when people arrive, the wine gets poured and we sit around chatting until the first course begins. I can’t wait to serve the first course but Craig often tut-tuts me for rushing the pre-dinner portion. Which is why, last week, I put out a big bowl of radishes.

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