November 2008

Have A Happy Thanksgiving

Either you’re prepping your turkeys or you’re prepping your stomachs or you’re prepping your turkey stomachs (Thanksgiving offal!), but no matter what you’re prepping: I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to share your Thanksgiving pictures in The A.G. Photo Pool. Even if you don’t, though, happy cooking and, more importantly: happy eating.

[Note: The turkey you see above is the turkey I cooked last year and it was a huge hit. The secrets? I brined it in apple cider and cooked at at a very low 275. For all the info, click here. It’s not too late to brine!]

Lunch With Steven Shaw at Ippudo & Momofuku Milk Bar

On October 3rd, 2003, I shared my very first piece of food writing ever on a forum called eGullet. The post was called Charlie Trotter Superdud and it set off a storm of comments from hundreds of subscribers, some of whom were well known entities in the food world (Anthony Bourdain among them.)

After that happened, my friends told me I should start a food blog and that’s why this blog exists. So it’s quite clear that I owe something to eGullet and, more specifically, to its creator Steven Shaw. And yet we’d never met or had any contact until, years later, I met him at an offal tasting dinner at the Astor Center. Then we became Facebook friends. And, most recently, we met for lunch to talk about his new book, Asian Dining Rules.

Improvised Stuffing

The plan was to roast a chicken the way I normally roast chicken (which is to say, the best way in the world!) on a cold winter’s night in November. And then, flipping through the channels, I stopped on the Food Network (surprise, surprise) and there was Rachael Ray making a stuffing.

Normally, I wouldn’t care to watch Rachael Ray make a stuffing but there she was chopping apples and onions and celery and I thought to myself: “I have apples and onions and celery.” Then she tore up pumpkin muffins and added the vegetable mixture and put it in a pan with some chicken stock and baked it. I thought: “I don’t have pumpkin muffins, but I do have bread and a pan.”

So I decided to improvise some stuffing to go with the chicken.

A Thanksgiving Confession (with Two Recipe Suggestions)

One week from today is Thanksgiving, and it’s time to tell you the truth: I’m not cooking dinner this year!

No, after cooking last year (see here) and the year before (see here) I’m giving myself a break this year, and enjoying time with my family instead. So there will be no frantic posting, no group therapy, no live video feeds from dinner at our house.

But fear not; the funny thing about Thanksgiving is that a good Thanksgiving menu is still a good Thanksgiving menu from one year to the next. Which means that the PDF file I made last year, with all the recipes and detailed instructions and a game plan for getting it done (starting on Sunday), could still work for you–click here to check that out.

I’m a Top Chef Hypocrite


Last week I groused about too much Top Chef coverage and here I am, one week later, and I really want to blog about it. So call me a Top Chef hypocrite, I can take it; the show is good, I can’t lie. And tonight’s episode was a good one. But I’ll just make a few observations in this one little paragraph and be done with it. Observation 1: isn’t it fascinating that two of the most confident chefs–corn soup gal and Fabio–were in the top 3 and two of the most aimless, insecure cooks–Ariane and ostrich egg gal–were in the bottom? I haven’t read Oprah’s “Secret,” but doesn’t that book say if you believe you’re the best you’ll be the best? I think there’s something to that. Observation 2: we all know the adage “write what you know,” but tonight’s episode proved you should also cook what you know. The second the ostrich egg gal said “I’ve never cooked with an ostrich egg” I knew she’d be in trouble; whereas Fabio, who served his dish hundreds of times at his restaurant, came out on top. Finally, I think it’s cute that Amanda Hesser and her husband Tad Friend Plodted the whole episode which you can check out here. And now I feel completely purged of tonight’s “Top Chef,” thank you for letting me blog it off my chest.

Perbacco, Scarpetta, & Dirt Candy

Somehow, in the past two weeks, I’ve eaten at three new and relevant New York restaurants. Instead of typing up three separate restaurant posts, I decided to make a video summarizing all three meals. The only thing I think I got wrong is the price of the spaghetti and tomato sauce at Scarpetta; it’s $24, not $26.

Related Links:



Interview with Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy

Cream Scones, 1 2 3

We are about to conduct an experiment. For this experiment you will need a person; the person should be a person who: (1) loves scones; (2) is a self-professed non-cook. The purpose of this experiment is to prove that a self-professed non-cook who loves scones can whip up a batch of cream scones so quickly, so easily, that they will: (1) no longer consider themselves a non-cook; and (2) eat scones to their heart’s content.

Don’t believe me? I can get them there in three steps, using a Molly O’Neill recipe from The New York Times (courtesy of Amanda Hesser.) Are you ready? Here we go.

Gourmet’s Pre-Opening Preview of Susur Lee’s Shang

If Gourmet Magazine ever invites you to a party–and I’m still not convinced Gourmet Magazine’s ever invited ME to a party, they must think I’m someone else–three words of advice: go go go!

First comes the fancy cardboard invitation in an envelope with erotic Chinese drawings; then there’s the event itself at the new Lower East Side restaurant Shang with a velvet rope and a walkie-talkie crew with clipboards checking for your name on a list. Then there’s the crowd–where to begin? In one corner, Tom Colicchio, in another corner, Calvin Trillin. Last night alone I spotted: David Chang, Daniel Boulud, Marco Canora, Rocco DiSpirit. Then I had a few celebrity chef encounters of my own, which I’ll tell you about after the jump.

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