Cranberry Sauce 101

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Today’s lesson in Thanksgiving prep (are you sick of Thanksgiving yet? Tough!) concerns what is, in my opinion, the best part of the Thanksgiving table. No, I’m not talking about the napkin rings shaped like little turkeys, I’m talking about that glistening bowl of ruby red cranberry sauce. Its combination of tongue-tickling tartness and mouth-warming sweetness makes even the dullest bird sing. Sure, you could get it out of a can, but I won’t be coming back to your Thanksgiving table if you do that. My kind of cranberry sauce is the kind you make yourself and, frankly, it couldn’t be easier.

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How To Shuck An Oyster

Jerry Fraser of Print Hall in Perth, Australia shucks 5,000 oysters a week. He does it with such finesse, with such ease, he can carry on a meaningful conversation and have a dozen oysters shucked by the time you move on to the next topic. He’s an oyster-shucking master who’s so completely passionate about what he does, people from all over Australia come to Perth just to see him in action. I feel incredibly privileged that I had the opportunity to learn from the master directly; what follows are some pictures and more video of Jerry giving his oyster-shucking master course. Turns out you just need one tool and the rest is skill.

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10 Big Pots of Food You Can Make To Eat For A Week

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Well, folks, this is it. I’m packing up my suitcase to head to Australia for 12 days–a journey I plan to document on the blog as I go (we’ll see how I do!)–and Craig is asking me to make a big pot of something to leave him in the fridge so he can have food to eat when I’m not here. I feel very wife-from-Babe. Coincidentally, friends at a Halloween party recently asked me to write a post on this very subject: things you can make on Sunday night that allow you to eat well on Monday and Tuesday. So here, now, is a list of dishes that meet that very criteria; most will taste better the longer they refrigerate. Also: you can store these dishes in the cooking vessels you cooked them in and put them right back on the stove to heat them up. You can also double the recipes and eat for even longer. (As for what I’m making Craig tonight, it’s Gina DePalma’s lentil soup from my cookbook, as documented by Deb here.)

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How To Serve Guacamole On Halloween

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My friends John and Michael hosted a Halloween party this weekend and everyone got a big kick out of how they served the guacamole (see above); they got the idea from Pinterest, so no one’s claiming it’s original, but it’s still a good one to use if you’re doing anything for Halloween this week. The party was a costume party and costumes were REQUIRED and, of course, I left it until the last minute to find mine. Here was the scene at Party City when I arrived on Saturday at 4….

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The Art of Eating Artichokes

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Once upon a time, I Tweeted: “Artichokes: not worth it.”

As with all Tweets like this, it had its share of supporters and detractors. Though I was being tongue-in-cheek, I was also sort of being serious. I hate dealing with artichokes. For my cookbook, the terrific chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero taught me how to make a gorgeous spring vegetable confit with fava beans and asparagus and lots of green things including the dreaded artichoke. In their kitchen at Txikito, Alex showed me how to cut through the top of the plant, how to trim the stem, how to cut out the choke. When we were done, what looked like a bowling ball suddenly looked like a ping pong paddle. Did it taste good after it was confited? Yes. But was this something I’d really want to do in my own kitchen? Not really. When it comes to artichokes, I’m happy to eat them. But prepping them is the pits.

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The Lemon Juice Trick

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Writing my cookbook, I learned a nifty trick from Chef Jonathan Waxman for when you just need a squeeze of lemon. You cut around the lemon like you’re cutting around the core of an apple, leaving the center and creating these flat wedges that squeeze extra easily and produce lots of juice with a minimal amount of seeds. I use that trick all the time, but not when I want to use the juice of a whole lemon. When I want all the juice out of a lemon, like when I’m making a blender salad dressing, I use a technique that makes the job a lot easier, especially if the lemon is full of seeds.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Grilling

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Summer’s almost over which isn’t a big deal here in L.A.–it’s almost always grilling weather here–but for the rest of you, I bet you’re split into two groups: those who are grilling up a storm and those who, like me, don’t have the courage to play with fire. Well, that was me until 24 hours ago when, inspired by you and all of your comments (thanks!) I finally tackled that final hurdle of my culinary education: the grill.

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How To Make A Summer Farmer’s Market Feast

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It’s August and you have no excuse: tomatoes and peaches are calling. Not the ones with little stickers on them at the supermarket, but the superior, positively bursting-with-summer ones you’ll find at your farmer’s market. “Ugh, but do I really have to go to a farmer’s market?” If that’s you, listen up: yes you do. And I’m going to walk you through it, tell you what to buy, in order to make an incredible Summer Farmer’s Market Feast for six. Are you ready? Let’s do it.

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