December 13

Originally—back when I gathered these chestnuts in October—this was going to be the sort of spot-on, autumnal af post that you’ve come to expect from this establishment. But the thing about fermentation is that it proceeds at its own pace. We can goose it by raising the ambient temperature (within reason) but any food that relies on the metabolic processes of a complex microbial ecosystem AND concurrent enzymatic chemical reactions is going to need some time to achieve the magical flavors we expect it to deliver. This is more true of miso than just about anything else.

Read the Post Chestnuts Fermenting In An Open Jar

November 2

Quite a long time ago, I read a post by Aki and Alex about making gochujang with their sourdough starter. Since at the time I didn’t have any experience with koji, it seemed like a great way to get some of the umami-dense, viscous, funky heat that gochujang is justly renowned for. But I forgot about it, because I am old and forget things, until I remembered it last year.

Read the Post Gochulevain

October 25
October 20

When I lived in Chicago, during my brief stint as an art handler one of my colleagues hipped me to Bari Italian Subs west of downtown. It’s an unassuming deli, with the usual assortment of Italian groceries and a deli in back. The thing that makes it so special, and the reason we would often drive many miles out of our way (on the clock, of course) was their hot giardiniera.

Read the Post A Jar Is A Door

October 4

Late tomato season ranks among the most intense and fulfilling stretches of the gardening year, especially since those glorious fruits are accompanied in force by their nightshade cousins: peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, and husk cherries. I can never grow enough tomatoes to get us through a whole year—I’d have to dedicate half the garden to them—so I always order a bunch from my man Jay, the tomato whisperer, who first turned me on to blue beech tomatoes back in the day. They’re prolific, dense, meaty, and above all their seeds aren’t bitter. This last attribute may seem insignificant, but it’s a big part of why I love them so.

Read the Post The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

September 12

I took the kid to Italy for his thirteenth birthday; we just got back a few days ago. I realized when we arrived in Rome that it had been fifteen years since I was last there, an inconceivably long time given the crucial part Italy played in forming who I became artistically and culinarily. The visual influences became apparent immediately in my paintings, and that continued until I left figuration behind entirely a few years later. The culinary influence proved to be even more durable, and increased in importance as I began growing and cooking food all the time when we left Brooklyn for the country. Now that I write about food for a living, the Italian approach to ingredients—the simplicity, the honesty, the glorification of peasant frugality—remains one of my touchstones.

Read the Post We’re comin’ to your town, we’ll help you party it down

June 29

Okay, I need to vent for a minute here about the ubiquitous use lately of the word “humbled” in posts all over the place about various awards/honors/interviews/press/accolades/handjobs that people have received and want to promote and/or link to. Shorter: you’re not. I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Have you been humiliated, chagrined, or brought low before your peers? No? Then shut the fuck up with your humblebragging. See below for a list of words you should use in its stead:

Read the Post No You’re Fucking Not

May 18

We had some friends over last night, and I made a pork shoulder according to my standard method when there’s not enough time to slow-smoke it to a giving succulence: a couple hours in the smoker and then a couple more braising in various liquids until it attains a passable tenderness. While the spice rub (coriander, fennel, cumin, garlic, black pepper, fermented chili powder, salt) contributed significant flavor to the meat, it’s the components of the sauce—those various things that made up the braising liquid—that I want to write about.

Read the Post There Is A Bomb In Gilead

May 10

IMG_4159

Yesterday a friend took me to a morel spot he found last year. A novice forager but avid hunter and outdoorsman, he has quickly become a much better mushroomer than I am because he knows the area intimately and spends more time in the woods than I do.

Read the Post Morel Values

March 30

I saw this link in a friend’s feed recently (30-second read, tops—go!) and went on a bit of a tear in the comments. Idiocracy‘s immortal Gentleman’s Latte (a latte and a hand job) was the first thing I thought of, obviously, and since that movie turned out to be a documentary and “hand salad” is the most abjectly moronic non-political phrase I’ve seen in some time—does nobody at the magazine know what “toss your salad” means?—it positively cries out for promotional slogans fit for America 2.0: The Dumbening.

Read the Post You Use Condo’s Arm For This?