4-Onion-Garbure

Continuing a series of soup posts as the weather cools (here in the Northeast at least), I’m offering this rich vegetable garbure. Garbure hails from my favorite food region, Gascony, in the southwestern corner of France. (I wrote about it here for Conde Nast Traveler.) It would traditionally include some kind of confited meat and cabbage. This version, which I included in Ruhlman’s Twenty, gets its depth of flavor from bacon rind, but you could substitute several slices of rind-on bacon, diced, or omit the bacon completely for a vegetarian soup. But pig skin, connective tissue, is loaded with a protein called collagen, which breaks down into gelatin to give the soup great body. If you can’t find slab bacon with a rind to remove yourself, order it from your butcher or meat department. Or, better Read On »

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Sweet-Bell-Pepper-Soup-Fini

This is a fabulous all-purpose soup method, here used with sweet bell peppers. But you can use it for just about any vegetable—asparagus, mushroom, pea, carrot. I learned it from Thomas Keller and wrote about it in his French Laundry Cookbook. Then I wrote about it again in Ruhlman’s Twenty because it’s such a versatile method. It’s very rich, so I only serve about 1/3 cup per person. This soup makes a great appetizer. (And a reminder: my partner in tools, Mac Dalton, suggested running a sale on our soup and serving spoons through this October.) Also, if you’re in Cincinnati tomorrow, come see me at Books by the Banks, where I’ll be signing my book, In Short Measures, a collection of novellas, reviewed today, happily, by Tara Laskowski. Have a great weekend, all. Sweet Bell Pepper Read On »

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French onion soup. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Without question, French onion is my favorite all-around soup. It’s a satisfying, nourishing meal. Not only does it have all the components of a meal—a nutritious broth, a vegetable, cheese, bread, and a big glass of a big red wine—it’s also got all the textural components that satisfy: it’s soft, voluptuous, gooey, chewy, and, if the cheese is properly browned, crispy. It’s an easy and economical soup. And best of all, it requires no stock, either homemade or store-bought. Yes, the best onion soup is made with water alone, seasoned at the end with wine and, if you wish, a few drops of vinegar. And we’re using this great soup to announce a month-long special offer on our offset soup spoons and offset serving spoon (I especially love how their being offset prevents spoons from slipping Read On »

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photo-2

In May 2011, I traveled to my alma mater, Duke University in Durham, NC, to attend the memorial of my mentor, Reynolds Price. Returning to the school felt like returning to my youth there, where I’d pursued my dream of writing fiction, in Reynolds’s class and then beyond. I felt out of my body, seeing myself as I was then, my friends, my life there, and also all the selves I’d been in between, sometimes worse for wear, sometime better. Upon leaving Duke, I wrote two novels over the course of five years, neither of which sold and, despite Reynolds’s urgings to carry on, I gave up. I’d had such a powerful response to Reynolds’s memorial, though, to returning to that hallowed place, that I began to write an essay about it. But soon a voice from those Read On »

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EyeCandy_oct_ruhlmanstwenty

One of the books I’m proudest of having written is Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto. The publisher, Chronicle, is now promoting it by offering a great deal on the e-book, $3.99. I love the heft of the actual book, but frankly, if I’m looking for the seasoning for my fried chicken or the sauce for the Carolina BBQ, I open up my iPad and search the electronic version. The book came about when, having a cocktail with an editor, I said, “Bill, there are only twenty things you need to know to cook anything.” He pointed his finger at me and said, “That’s a book!” And so it was. The electronic version is available using the following links: Kindle Apple ibookstore Barnes & Noble Google Play Kobo Bookshout   If you liked Read On »

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