March 26, 2015
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Fresh-cut asparagus is spring’s best compensations for hay fever.
Flowers are lovely and all very well, but they satisfy only two of our senses. Asparagus gets all five—even sound, if it’s not overcooked. And when it’s freshly cut (that is, only minutes from the bed), it needs absolutely nothing, not even butter. Strong flavors like ham, leeks, garlic, and even lemon can be paired with it only with care and restraint. (more…)
March 19, 2015
Chilled Strawberry Soup with Orange and just a touch of whipped cream for garnish
Now that strawberries are in season again, we’re constantly making use of them in the dessert bowl at the end the meal. But while they turn up all through the season in our cereal, salad, and snack bowls, we don’t often think of beginning the meal with them.
And yet, a cool, refreshing strawberry soup is a lovely and novel way to tease palates at the beginning of dinner, luncheon, or even brunch. (more…)
February 24, 2015
A Savannah Pineapple Charlotte, photographed by John Carrington for The Savannah Cookbook
My mother got a pineapple for Christmas. Even though canned pineapple and refrigerated shipping have made this fruit fairly commonplace these days, for Mama—and for us—that pineapple, with its prickly, tufted skin and vibrant crown of sword-like leaves still had an air of the exotic about it.
There was a time in my mother’s living memory when a fresh pineapple was a special treat and she has never let us take them for granted. (more…)
February 20, 2015
Broccoli Gratin, broccoli casserole as it was meant to be.
When I began working on my first book, Classical Southern Cooking, broccoli wasn’t thought of as an especially Southern vegetable. But what I found as I delved into the kitchens of our past was a different story. Broccoli had been growing in the South at least since the eighteenth century, and was included in all the old Southern cookbooks, beginning as early as Mary Randolph’s iconic Virginia House-wife in 1824 right through to Mrs. Dull in the twentieth century. (more…)
February 14, 2015
Blanc Manger (or blancmange) for two makes a lovely end for an amorous dinner for two
Why we set aside just one day to commemorate romance (and inadvertently bludgeon those who don’t have any in their lives), I do not know. But since we do, and many a lover will be trying to win (or at least please) the heart they crave by way of the stomach, here are a few thoughts on romance at the table on the Feast of St. Valentine. (more…)
February 10, 2015
Breaded Cutlets made with Pork Tenderloin. Photography by John Carrington Photography
One of the great universal concepts in Western cookery is the breaded cutlet: a thin slice of meat, beaten thin both to make it uniform and to tenderize it, coated with dry bread crumbs, and fried to a delicate brown. Crackling crisp on the outside, tender and juicy inside, it’s arguably one of the most satisfying ways of giving flavor and panache to cheap and bland cuts of meat or poultry. (more…)
January 30, 2015
Penne with Broccoli and Scallions
30 January 2015: Simplicity in the Cold Season
A few days ago, I reflected on how the simple act of peeling and eating a perfectly ripe Clementine orange recalled the fact that the principles of good cooking and satisfying eating are founded less on creativity than on the virtues of balance, simplicity, and restraint.
That wasn’t to suggest that there’s no room for creativity in the kitchen; (more…)
January 26, 2015
A good cook meets an ingredient in peak condition, such as this perfectly ripened Clementine, with a sense of balance and restraint.
What we don’t add to the pot, Marcella Hazan frequently reminded us, is equally as important as what we do. While under-seasoning can make a dish fall short of its potential, it’s a failing that can still be corrected; there’s rarely any hope for a dish that has been over-seasoned or buried under a confusion of other flavors. (more…)
January 17, 2015
My Mother's Sunday Pot Roast with Onions
Nothing recalls the Sunday mornings of my childhood quite like the aroma of onions and beef baking slowly in a pot roast. (more…)
December 20, 2014
Sour Cream Cheddar Drop Biscuits. Photography by Richard Burkhart
A simple way to dress up and stretch a family meal for unexpected company during the holidays, or just make it seem a little more special for the home folks, is a bread basket filled with piping hot, freshly baked biscuits. They never fail to impress, and make everyone think you’ve gone to a lot more trouble than you really have. (more…)