Throughout the early part of December 2011 I’m going to publish posts with my suggestions for cookbooks to give as gifts this year. I’ll summarise the suggestions here and organise them into categories.
If you buy the books through these links to Amazon I get a small commission but the percentage is the same across the board and Amazon pretty much covers the universe of possibilities for me to recommend. In other words, I don’t think that induces any bias but you can be the judge. Also, if you’re looking for anything on Amazon and type it into that search box in the right sidebar I get the same commission.
Cookbooks That Will be Spattered in Oil and Fish Sauce by Next Year
Almost all of the books I’ll be recommending for the foodster set have recipes in them and this is not to say that the recipes from the books in the other categories are less deserving of culinary attention. It’s just that if we’re being honest with ourselves we should admit that some cookbooks are published and bought for purposes other than cooking. (more…)
We’re just back from five fantastic days in San Francisco. Obviously, we ate as many meals as we could stomach and here are some of the highlights. I’m going to spread this over two posts. Post one will be all the food we ate from establishments with walls and a roof and the rest (trucks, carts, and market vendors) will go into the second post.
San Francisco is one of the best food cities in North America and therefore one of the most visited and written about. Not much of what I have to say here is new ground, I know, and we’re very grateful for all the suggestions we got through Twitter friends Eric, Lauren, Renée, Natalie, and so many others. Thanks, guys. (more…)
I remember that Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is set in Brooklyn during one of the infamous power outages that plagued the city during the 1970s, centres around a neighbourhood and its pizza joint, and features violent racial tensions as its core conflict. That’s a pretty shoddy movie synopsis, I know, but it was what came to mind when I visited Bigabaldi’s Pizza on a recent hot July evening when their air conditioner had failed.
The logo's resemblance to chef Sandro (left) and co-owner Rob (right) is uncanny.
It’s not just that the heat had us talking about opening a fire hydrant for some spontaneous fun but also that owner Rob Prete has taken care to reproduce a New York atmosphere in his restaurant. In fact he calls the decor “a cross between Welcome Back, Kotter and Bensonhurst” and says that his motivation was to create a nostalgic environment for the twenty-five to thirty-five year-olds who are now starting families. (more…)
The bacon I have made over the past couple years has been really delicious. If I had to name its one weakness, though, it was with the smoking stage. I used lump charcoal and built small towers of pork belly on top of my Cobb BBQ but still fell short of total excellence. I’ll get to a description of the solution for this stage (though the pictures should make it obvious) but first a few words on the meat and the cures I used.
Basic cure on the left, Bertolli's tesa cure on the right.
Cinnamon bacon went into my bacon blondies but otherwise I’ve kept pretty close to the basic bacon cure from Ruhlman and Polcyn’s Charcuterie. I wanted to stretch my bacon-y wings this time and try something a little more complicated. Few cookbooks are better for that sort of thing than Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Hand. Just today Corey Mintz referred to the gazpacho recipe here and for a while it was Grant van Gameren’s only recommended cookbook on the old Black Hoof blog. (more…)