I’m in Traverse City, Michigan, at Pigstock 2013. Herewith, a guest post from Chef Erin Harris. Erin began her culinary adventure in her hometown of London, Ontario, where she started cooking in a local fine dining restaurant at the age of 16. Erin studied Culinary Arts at Fanshawe College, and continued her education at George Brown College, where she studied La Cucina Italiana. This diploma course took Erin to Italy for 6 months where she studied Etruscan-era cuisine in Tuscany, and regional specialties in Trentino-Alto Adige. Erin found her true love while in Europe: cheese. She now owns a small boutique cheese shop in a local farmers’ market—The Cheese Poet—where she sells all of the best Canadian-made cheeses and charcuterie. Erin is also a sales consultant for a respected national wine agency, and teaches cooking Read On »

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I’m presumably in Stonington, Maine, cutting pig and rejoicing in the glories of the hog with Charcuterie pal and co-author Brian Polcyn, to benefit the Island Culinary & Ecological Center. (Join us if you’re anywhere near Stonington! Details here.) From Maine we return to wonderful Traverse City and Pigstock, so I’m reposting this splendid cocktail made from gin and preserved Michigan cherries (don’t have any on hand? improvise!—a gin sour with preserved fruit). —MR A PR firm sent me a bottle of Nolet’s gin, which I was happy to taste (and used in The Southside), but when I was researching the gin I came across a Cocktail Enthusiast review of the gin, and lo! What’s this? The author of the post, Kevin Gray, included a cocktail recipe pairing the gin with sour cherries. His post Read On »

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Ina Garten and I had such a good time on stage at Playhouse Square in Cleveland last year, she’s asked me to join her tomorrow for a similar show at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh (details here). Garten is the brain and heart behind what has become an adored brand. And such is the subject of our talk, business and brands, as well as food and cooking. (Though ask me in the comments field below if there’s something specific you’d like me to address.) She, like me, is something of an accident—that is, Garten never set out to do what she is doing. She knew by age thirty that she didn’t want to be entombed as a policy wonk in D.C., so she put a low-bid offer on a prepared foods store in the Hamptons Read On »

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I love bitters for the complexity they bring to any drink, or situation in life for that matter, and I use them with a heavy hand in cocktails. One of my favorite cocktails is the Old-Fashioned (see below), so simple, so satisfying: whiskey, sugar, bitters. But what exactly are bitters? You don’t really know until you make some yourself. Bitters are simply flavor extractions. Happily, our neighbor Tobin Ludwig is one of the founders of Hella Bitters, which makes a variety of splendid bitters (about 1500 bottles a month), and he gave me a quick lesson in their making. “I totally encourage people to make their own bitters at home,” Tobin told me this summer. “It’s a fun experiment.” There is a single key to bitters: the bittering agent itself, most commonly angelica root or Read On »

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I was so delighted by the Kate Christensen recipe I’m making a version of it here that reflects my way of cooking. Is it a repeat? That’s part of the point—the best dishes in your repertoire are ones you do over and over. Indeed, Christensen wrote about it in a novel, and then wrote about it again in a memoir, and has made it for real herself, so it obviously bears repeating. As do all good recipes. And this one is not only supremely tasty and therefore a pleasure to eat, it’s also deeply nourishing, especially if you use your own stock. I was also intrigued by a few commenters who did not like the narrative recipe, a recipe without ingredient list and numbered steps, but with writerly flourishes—”fragrant brown spice puddle”—which of course I Read On »

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