Asparagus, Amanda Hesser & Food52

Dip into the archives of my blog, go way back, and you’ll see that at the very beginning one of my very first gastronomical spirit guides was Amanda Hesser. I read her book, “Cooking For Mr. Latte,” while studying for the bar exam (here’s my 2004 post about it) and then proceeded to cook my way through the book. I’ve made her vanilla bean loaves, carrot fennel soup, chicken roasted with sour cream and mango chutney, salt and pepper shrimp, and, of course, the almond cake that is my go-to dessert when I’m entertaining distinguished guests.

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The Best Meatloaf I’ve Ever Had

It’s hard to get excited about meatloaf. That is, unless you’re standing in the kitchen at Craft in New York and Chef Damon Wise (Tom Colicchio’s right-hand man) is mixing together ground beef, pork, crisp shitakes (that taste like bacon), golden soffrito, soy sauce, fresh oregano and Parmesan cheese. The resulting meatloaf–which Chef Wise called “Umami Meatloaf”–was, without question, the best I’ve ever had. And then, as you’ll see in the following Food2 video, I went and recreated it at home. All the proportions and ingredients and steps are listed in the video, but, just in case, I’ll share them after the jump. And now, without further pause, here’s one killer meatloaf:

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How To Make Fried Chicken

The undisputed master of fried chicken here in New York City is Chef Charles Gabriel of Rack n’ Soul and now Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken (there’s a big article about it in today’s New York Times.) Chef Gabriel is such a master, it was an absolute privilege this summer to stand at his side in his Harlem kitchen watching him pan fry chicken the way it’s been done in his family for generations. What follows is our latest Food2 video, which not only gives you the recipe for Chef Gabriel’s legendary chicken, but also shows you my efforts to recreate it at home (with some comedy thrown in):

The only note I’ll add here is that, in the video, it doesn’t mention that Chef Gabriel also puts the spice mixture on the raw chicken too, so it gets seasoned on three levels: the chicken, the batter and the flour. I’ve now made this chicken several times and it really cant be beat.

How To Make Doughnuts

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can delay gratification and those who can’t. The following video, our latest from, explores this subject with two recipes for doughnuts; one for those who like slow authentic doughnuts (recipe courtesy of Emily Isaac from Trois Pommes Patisserie in Park Slope) and the other for those who like ’em fast and dirty (recipe courtesy of our friend Krisse, my director Josh’s wife (you can see her making them in an old post here)). These recipes are like mirrors; whichever one you choose will reveal the real person within. So which are you: slow and authentic or fast and dirty? Choose a doughnut and choose YOUR DESTINY.

How To Make a Chocolate Souffle

One of the highlights of making our Amateur Gourmet show for, was the day we got to visit the kitchen of Le Bernardin–one of the nation’s, if not the world’s, great restaurants–to learn how to make a chocolate souffle from revered pastry chef (and blogger!) Michael Laiskonis. What follows is the video we made, with step-by-step instructions that result in a chocolatey souffle that’s as ethereal as it is delicious. Hope you enjoy! [For the full typed-out recipe, click here.]

David’s Sweet Life


Several years ago, when I went to Paris, I rode the Metro from my teensy hotel in the 80th arrondissement, to meet a food blogger I admired but had never met, Mr. David Lebovitz. As I came up the stairs (or was it an escalator?) I beheld a vision: there, standing before me, was a smiley man holding what looked to be the world’s largest picnic basket. David toured me around and I made a video, which you can watch here (sorry for the song choice! (what was I thinking??)):

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Food Tech #4

Doesn’t he look a little familiar? And why does he smell so much like wood?

[Ok, I’ll explain: when I hosted The FN Dish, I interviewed Ted Allen on the set of his show “Food Detectives.” They asked if I wanted to be a “food tech” and there I am! Not sure if this clip is online legitimately, so watch it before it’s taken down.]

The Big Reveal: Introducing The FN Dish

Today’s my birthday–I’m 29 today–and though I’m usually a birthday junkie, exhausting friends and relatives with desperate cries for attention, presents, phone calls, etc–my focus is not on my own birth today. Instead, it’s focused on the birth of something that’s been gestating for the past three months; a project so big, so exciting, it’s been almost impossible contain it. And now I finally–finally!–get to share it with you. Are you ready America? Are you ready Lithuania? Here we go… I proudly present to you: The FN Dish!


What’s The FN Dish? What’s going on? What are you talking about?

Settle down, reader! Allow me to explain it. The FN Dish is my very own show on Food Network’s website (hey look, my mug is on the main page!), a show that will allow me access to Food Network’s stars, kitchens, events, and giant cookbook collection. But even more than that, this is a platform for me to share my love and passion for food and cooking: with Food Network’s blessing, I’ll get to steer the show into the kitchens of my favorite chefs, authors, and people–celebrating all of the food-related ideas, recipes and stories that excite me, excite you and that make you check this blog every day.

I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am about this show. Maybe I should stop yammering on and let you watch the first episode–click here to do that.

Wasn’t that fun? And now that you’ve seen that, watch longer versions of my interviews with Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, The Neelys, and Rachael Ray. And then join me as I watch and comment on Ace of Cakes and The Barefoot Contessa. Finally–and best of all–you’ve got to watch these 23 Awkward Seconds with Rachael Ray. See, they sat her down and I introduced myself and then it got weirdly quiet. The discomfort, as you’ll soon see, is palpable. I love it.

Actually, that last clip captures best what I love about this whole thing: I get to be me–strange, uncomfortable, nervous, anxious, excitable me–I get to ask the questions I want to ask, I get to react naturally to whatever circumstances they put me in. And I feel that my loyal readers–and I count you among them–will be grateful that the “me” they’ve grown to love, won’t become a different “me” just because there’s a Food Network stamp on it.

It being “me.”

What was I saying? Oh yes, The FN Dish. Isn’t this exciting? As you can tell, I’m stoked. And you have no idea how much awesome stuff I’ve already done for future episodes: there’s a trip to Cleveland, a California wine tasting, an intern cook-off. It just gets better and better and this Thursday I leave for South Beach to cover the Wine and Food Festival.

I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally get to share this with you. Of course, once the excitement dies down I’ll be happy to answer questions about meeting the stars, where the show is headed, incorporating your ideas for what you’d like me to cover. But in the meantime, let’s wish a happy birthday to The FN Dish. It’s going to be a great year.