cookblog Posts

January 29, 2019

The cuisine of Southwestern France ranks among the most iconic and delicious in the whole country. What would you say to an eight-day culinary tour of this incredible region, living at a gorgeous retreat with a big pool? What if we also had a yoga teacher on site, so we could all eat and drink guilt-free?  

January 11, 2019

There’s a longer post on the subject at the link up top of the homepage, including photos of some of the rooms, but I wanted to share the exciting schedule we’ve worked out so far (still subject to change, but it should give you a good idea what to expect).

July 18, 2018

For someone as passionate about fermentation as I am, it’s surprising that I never made any alcohol until recently. The reason was largely that I figured I’d never be able to replicate anything close to the wines I like, and even if I did the quantity would be too small to warrant the effort. But there’s more to drink than wine, and four years in the new garden is producing a lot more fruit than it used to. And since lactic and acetic acid fermentations (including with koji) are pretty second nature to me, I wanted to try something new.

May 22, 2018
April 9, 2018

Italy taught me to cook. When I moved to Rome at 20, I had rudimentary kitchen skills. Over the course of the next couple of years, when I went out to eat I savored every bite, trying to understand how seemingly simple food contained so much flavor, and then I’d try to reverse-engineer those dishes back in the kitchen. Daily shopping in Campo dei Fiori taught me the central answer: the quality of ingredients, grown nearby, is key. Practice (and lots of what I called “research eating”) taught me the techniques I needed. The rest is history; in the ensuing years I’ve built on that knowledge and turned it into a career as a food writer, photographer, teacher, and gardener. Now I get to share this passionate connection to one of the world’s great cuisines with you as I lead a ten-day cooking class in Umbria this fall.  

April 6, 2018

Okay, as promised I rushed upstairs as soon as I got home from Albany so I could get this up for you all. (I did not take this picture today; we got more snow than this. This one is from a couple snows ago.) Alas, I don’t have a picture of today’s pesto because I left the jar at the WAMC studio so the nice people there could enjoy it with the bread.

March 8, 2018

It’s sugaring season, and Tuesday marked the second boil over at Danny’s place. Sunny and mild, the day couldn’t have been better suited to the occasion. Per normal, he started the fire and filled the pan early in the morning and I rolled in later to stoke the furnace and monitor progress while he did some work in the studio. Also per normal, I brought food to cook.

February 6, 2018

I haven’t used the wok for a while, so the other night I was thinking about some sort of Sichuan stir-fried situation for dinner using the napa cabbage and fennel I had in the fridge. There was also a package of goat stew meat, which enjoys those highly aromatic spices, so perfect, right? But because these goat chunks had some fat and connective tissue on them, they weren’t great candidates for quick cooking; those things tend to be pretty chewy or worse unless they’re cooked long and low and I didn’t feel like trimming them all and ending up with a pile of stringy scraps fit only for stock. So I came up with a sort of hybrid, using slow-roasted goat in an otherwise speedy stir-fry.

December 13, 2017

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.

November 2, 2017

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.