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Dec 16, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Sauce Celebrity Chef Series’

By the Book: Michael Ruhlman’s Thanksgiving Turkey

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

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I’m no stranger to roasting: leg of lamb, whole chickens, pot roasts, pork loins. But the one roast I’ve yet to tackle is arguably the one most Americans have made: the Thanksgiving turkey. That bird is my mom’s domain; she even has a separate roasting oven that makes an appearance once a year just for the task. So when I picked up a copy of Michael Ruhlman’s new book How to Roast, I immediately knew the recipe I was going to try. (And I hoped that, should questions arise, I could always ask Ruhlman in person at the next installment of the Sauce Celebrity Chef Series Nov. 19.)

Whereas his last cookbook, Egg, was dedicated to a single ingredient, How to Roast focuses on the versatility of a technique. He goes into great detail about what happens to different proteins while roasting at high, medium and low temperatures and explores specialty techniques like pan-roasting and spit-roasting. Compared to most cookbooks, How to Roast contains only a modest 20 recipes. However, once you’ve mastered the technique with dishes like the iconic roast chicken, rack of lamb or roasted root vegetables, you can apply it to an infinite number of proteins, veggies or even fruit.

 

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Ruhlman’s turkey recipe largely follows that of his roast chicken. Stuff the cavity with aromatics, truss the bird, coat the skin in butter and salt and roast to burnished perfection. However, a larger bird means the breast often dries out before the legs are finished cooking, relegating white meat fans (allegedly they exist) to dry, flavorless morsels. Ruhlman aims to solve this annual Thanksgiving conundrum with an unusual solution: break down the turkey halfway through cooking. He removes the legs and returns them to the roasting pan to continue roasting while the breast rests. This, he says, prevents the breast from overcooking while the legs finish. Then, the meat is carved and returned to the roasting pan to rest in a pool of hot stock, thereby ensuring juicy turkey for all.

 

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Of course, the recipe entails trussing and breaking down a 12-pound bird; thankfully, detailed illustrations show how to tackle both actions step by step. Except for one slightly mangled thigh, I kept both legs intact and returned them to the roasting pan to cook, noting how hilarious a partially carved turkey carcass looks.

 

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While the legs rested, the roasting pan took a trip to the stovetop – not for making traditional gravy but a rich stock, almost like a turkey jus. I sliced up the meat and returned it all to the pan, where Ruhlman says it can remain in a warm oven up to four hours. By this time the smell of roast turkey had filled the house, and no one was going to wait that long.

As promised, the recipe delivered juicy, succulent white meat, though the skin lacked that tasty brown crispness that develops with more time in the oven. Meanwhile, the gorgeous-looking legs seemed a tad dry, possibly from carving them from the bird without letting it rest longer than a few minutes. Still, the turkey jus added moisture and there was plenty leftover to make a fine gravy, which will be my contribution to our real Thanksgiving meal. After all, Mom has already prepped her turkey oven.

 

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Michael Ruhlman’s Thanksgiving Turkey
10 servings

1 (10- to 12-lb./4.5- to 5.5-kg.) turkey
Kosher salt
2 celery ribs, cut into large chunks
½ Spanish onion, quartered
½ lemon, halved again
1 bunch thyme (optional)
1 bunch sage (optional)
½ cup (110 g.) butter, melted
1 cup (240 ml.) dry white wine
2 cups (480 ml.) turkey or chicken stock, preferably homemade

• About 4 hours before you plan to start roasting, remove the turkey from the refrigerator, rinse it, pat it dry and let it sit at room temperature.
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, or 400 degrees if you have convection.
• Liberally salt the interior and jam the celery, onion, lemon and herbs (if using) into the cavity of the bird. Truss the bird as you would a chicken. Rain salt evenly all over the bird. Put the bird in a low-sided pan (or elevated on a rack in a roasting pan; you want plenty of circulation around the bird) and put it in the oven.
• Roast at that high temperature for 20 minutes. Pour the melted butter evenly over the bird and lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees, or 350 degrees for convection. Continue to roast until the breast reaches 155 degrees, 60 to 90 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of the bird, basting as you wish.
• Remove the pan from the oven. Show off the bird to your guests. Bring it back to the kitchen. Slice through the skin between the legs and breast. The breast should still be pink, but if it looks cold and raw you can return the entire bird to the oven for 10 more minutes. Put the bird on a large cutting board (preferably with a channel or a depression to hold the bird). Remove each leg at the joint connecting it to the carcass. I reserve the wings for stock the following day rather than serving them, as they’re tough and not terribly meaty.
• Pour off the fat and juices from the roasting pan (I reserve the fat to make a roux to thicken stock for gravy, and I add the juice to the gravy or stock). Return the legs to the pan and return them to the oven. Roast the legs for at least an additional 45 to 60 minutes; if you intend to leave the legs for longer than an hour, turn the oven down to 200°F (95°C) (without convection). The legs will only get better with time and can be left in the over for up to 4 additional hours; don’t worry about the breast, as it will reheat in the stock at the end.
• Remove the legs from the roasting pan. Put the pan over high heat on the stovetop. Add the wine and bring it to a simmer, scraping up the stuck-on skin and browned juices. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low.
• Carve the dark meat from the drumstick and thighs and put it in the hot stock in the roasting pan. Remove each breast half from the turkey (be careful not to tear the skin.) Don’t worry if the breast is a little pink; this means it will be juicy as it finishes cooking in the hot stock. Cut the breast crosswise into ¼ to ½ inch (6 to 12 millimeter) slices. Transfer the pieces to the roasting pan with the stock. Turn the burner to high and bring the stock to a simmer. Simmer for a minute or two to ensure that everything is hot and then serve.

The finer points

Gravy
Gravy, a critical part of the Thanksgiving meal, is nothing more than rich turkey stock thickened with flour. To make turkey stock, follow the instruction for Brown Veal Stock (recipe follows), using turkey wings and necks instead of veal bones. Make the stock ahead of time – several days or even a month in advance – and store it in the freezer. To make gravy, simply saute a diced onion in butter, add flour – 1½ tablespoon per cup stock, and cook the flour till it smells like pie crust. Whisk in the cold stock until it has thickened and begins to simmer.

Stuffing
I make a turkey dressing, in effect a savory bread pudding, using plenty of turkey stock for flavor. I call it dressing rather than a stuffing because I cook it separately from the turkey. But if you want to go classical, by all means do so. My recommendation is to roast the stuffed turkey as described above (it will take an additional 30 to 60 minutes), remove the stuffing to the roasting pan with the legs and finish cooking it along with the dark meat until it’s piping hot in the center.

When all have been served
Relax and enjoy this most special of American holidays.

And be sure to save the carcass for making more stock the next day. Just follow the steps for Brown Veal Stock, only there’s no need to roast the bones, as you’ve already done it. Simply break up the carcass, cover with water, heat gently for many hours (adding the vegetables and aromatics at the very end), and then strain.

Brown Veal Stock
1 4-lb./1.8-kg. veal breast or 4-lb./1.8-kg. meaty, cartilaginous veal bones
3 large carrots, cut into large dice
1 large Spanish onion, cut into large dice (if the papery brown skin is clean, include this as well)
5 to 10 garlic cloves
¼ cup/60 g. tomato paste
2 tsp. black peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar or beneath a saute pan
3 bay leaves

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (use convection if you have it).
• Cut the veal breast into 2-by-3-inch/5-by-7.5-centimeter pieces. On a baking sheet, arrange the pieces so that there’s plenty of space between them to allow for good circulation. Roast them until they are golden brown and look like they’d be delicious to eat (and they would be), 30 to 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees (without convection).
• Choose a pot that will hold the meat and bones snugly in two layers and cover with about 4 inches/10 centimeters of water. Place the pot, uncovered, in the oven for 10 to 12 hours. If possible, check the water level midway through the cooking to ensure that the bones are covered. If they aren’t, add more water.
• Remove the pot from the oven. Add more water to cover the bones by a couple of inches if it has cooked down. Add the carrots, onion and garlic (saute the vegetables until caramelized first, if you wish, adding the tomato paste toward the end and cooking that as well), along with the remaining ingredients. Add more water as necessary. Bring the pot just to a simmer over high heat, reduce the heat to low (the pot should be too hot to touch but the water should not be bubbling) and cook for 1 hour.
• Strain the stock through a colander, basket strainer or chinois. (If you intend to make a remouillage, discard the vegetables and put the bone back in the pot, cover them with water and cook them again in a 200-degree oven or over low heat on top of the stove for 6 hours and add this to your stock. Strain the stock again through cloth.)
• Chill the veal stock completely and lift the fat off the surface. The stock will keep refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.

Reprinted with permission from Little Brown Publishing

What’s your worst Thanksgiving disaster story? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a (signed!) copy of Michael Ruhlman’s How to Roast.

By the Book: Edward Lee’s Curry Pork Pies

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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Edward Lee is the Brooklyn-bred son of Korean immigrants who has grown to become an acclaimed chef. He’s a three-time James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef: Southeast, an alum of Top Chef: Texas and the chef-owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, Ky. His debut cookbook, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, is a must-have for adventurous cooks, Top Chef junkies and anyone who wants insight into the mind of a chef whose creativity is redefining American food. (Lee will be in St. Louis Aug. 13 to discuss the book at the next Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event. Details and ticket information can be found here.)

There are so many dishes in Smoke & Pickles that showcase his ability to seamlessly tie together Korean and southern cuisines. I wavered between cooking up southern fried rice and a meatloaf sandwich made with bourbon and Coke. Then I spotted his recipe for curry pork pies. Who can resist a handheld savory meat pie?

The ingredients list may be a bit long, but none of the items are out of the ordinary. If you have a well-stocked kitchen, the goods are probably already in your fridge and pantry. Nor is the technique tough. For the pie filling, all you’ve got to do is saute meat and veggies – along with fresh ginger and garlic – then spike it with flavor using chicken stock, curry powder, soy sauce and a bit of S&P. While the filling is tasty as-is, I love ginger so much that next time I plan on doubling the prescribed 1 ½ tablespoons. Ditto for the 2 teaspoons of curry powder.

 

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There are home cooks who can boast about their pie crust-making skills, and those who take the storebought route because they view it as faster and fail-safe. I will never claim “perfect crust” status, but I still make my own because homemade always tastes fresher, and I love the Zen moment when my hands massage flour, butter and shortening into a cornmeal-like texture.

 

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My biscuit cutter has gone AWOL. But I think Lee would have given a slow, southern nod of approval if he’d been present when I used a screw cap from a Mason jar to punch out the rounds.

 

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The hardest part of this entire recipe is the waiting. Those mini-pies bake for 15 long minutes and are supposed to cool for 10 even longer minutes. Leave the house. Take a walk. Burn off some calories. When you come back, you’re going to finish every last one.

 

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Curry Pork Pies
12 Servings

Filling:
½ cup bacon, chopped
¾ lb. ground pork
¾ cup onions, chopped
¼ green bell pepper, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
¾ cup chicken stock
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Pie crust:
10 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cubed, plus softened butter to grease muffin tin
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
8 to 10 Tbsp. ice water
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. whole milk

• To make the filling: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 3 minutes, until the bacon is lightly crisped and some of the fat has rendered out.
• Add the ground pork, onions, bell pepper, carrots, ginger and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have started to soften and the pork is cooked through.
• Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and pork and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, curry powder, soy sauce, salt and pepper, stir well, and cook for about 2 minutes. Has the liquid cooked off but the filling still looks moist? Good. Transfer it to a bowl and let cool in the refrigerator while you make the crust.
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with a little soft butter. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.
• To make the pie crust, measure the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the shortening and butter and, using a fork or your fingers, work them into the flour until you have a granular texture (like cornmeal). If the butter starts to soften, stop and chill the mixture in the refrigerator. Add the water gradually and work it in just until the mixture clumps together to form wet dough; don’t overwork the dough. Dust with a little extra flour and divide the dough in half. Shape into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.
• Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and put it on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 15-by-20-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass jar, punch out 12 5-inch rounds of dough, rerolling scraps if necessary.
• Line the prepared muffin tin with the dough rounds. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg with the oil and milk in a small bowl. Brush the inside of each crust with some of the egg wash to seal it, reserving the remaining egg wash for the top crusts.
• Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the chilled filling into each pie crust.
• Roll out the second disk of dough on the floured surface about 1/8-inch thick. Using a slightly smaller biscuit cutter or a 3-inch ring mold, cut out 12 rounds. Drape a round over each pie and use your fingers to crimp the edges together.
• Brush the top with the reserved egg wash. Use a fork to poke holes, or a sharp paring knife to cut an X, in the top of each pie.
• Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pies are puffed and golden; you should see a little bit of the juices bubbling up through the holes. This will make you hungry, so take them out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins to prevent them form crumbling. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permissions from Artisan Publishers

Which local chef would you nominate to go on Top Chef and why? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Ben, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Michael Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers. Ben, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

 

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series Presents an Evening with Edward Lee

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

 

Join Sauce Magazine, in partnership with Left Bank Books, for the next Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event with Edward Lee.

Lee, chef-owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, Ky., came to national attention as a three-time James Beard Award Finalist for Best Chef: Southeast and as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef: Texas. At this intimate event, which takes place at Taste, Lee will mingle with guests over passed hors d’oeuvres as he discusses and signs his first book, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen. The cookbook features 130 dishes that meld Lee’s Korean heritage with his French culinary training and Southern home.

Tickets, available here, are $50 each and include Smoke & Pickles-inspired hors d’oeuvres prepared by the chefs at Taste, a Bourbon Sweet Tea cocktail featuring Jefferson’s Bourbon, and a copy of Smoke & Pickles.

What: A conversation and book signing with chef Edward Lee, food and drink

When: Aug. 13 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Taste, 4584 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.1200

Only 60 tickets are available for the event, which is expected to sell out quickly.

 

 

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an evening with Marcus Samuelsson

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013



Join Sauce Magazine, in partnership with Left Bank Books, for the latest Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event with chef Marcus Samuelsson! Samuelsson is the award-winning chef-owner of Red Rooster Harlem as well as several other restaurants in New York and Stockholm, Sweden. During his impressive career, he has written four cookbooks, received the James Beard Foundation’s coveted Rising Star Chef Award and won Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Chef Samuelsson will chat with the audience over dinner as he discusses and signs his new memoir, Yes, Chef.

Tickets, available here, are $80 and include a 3-course dinner with wine and beer along with a signed copy of Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef.

What: Dinner, conversation, reading and book signing with chef Marcus Samuelsson

When: Monday, June 3 – 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Monarch Private Event Space, 7401 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 314.769.9595

Seating is limited. This event will sell out!

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an evening with Marcus Samuelsson

Thursday, May 16th, 2013



Join Sauce Magazine, in partnership with Left Bank Books, for the latest Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event with chef Marcus Samuelsson! Samuelsson is the award-winning chef-owner of Red Rooster Harlem as well as several other restaurants in New York and Stockholm, Sweden. During his impressive career, he has written four cookbooks, received the James Beard Foundation’s coveted Rising Star Chef Award and won Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Chef Samuelsson will chat with the audience over dinner as he discusses and signs his new memoir, Yes, Chef.

Tickets, available here, are $80 and include a 3-course dinner with wine and beer along with a signed copy of Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef.

What: Dinner, conversation, reading and book signing with chef Marcus Samuelsson

When: Monday, June 3 – 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Monarch Private Event Space, 7401 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 314.769.9595

Seating is limited. This event will sell out!

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an afternoon with Michael Pollan

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013



Sauce Magazine and Left Bank Books couldn’t be more excited to have Michael Pollan as our guest for our next Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event held on Thursday, May 9. From noon to 2 p.m. at Moulin event space, Pollan will chat with us over lunch about his latest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. Pollan will also sign copies of the book and answer questions from the audience.

Globally, through his award-winning books such as The Omnivore’s DilemmaIn Defense of Food and The Botany of Desire, Pollan has been, slowly but surely, changing the way people think about food. Named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2010, Pollan is an advocate for change in food policy (And believe it or not, he knows a thing or two about how to make good food!).

Tickets, available here, are $55 and include lunch and a copy of Cooked. Ticket sales close on May 7; do not delay!

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an afternoon with Michael Pollan

Thursday, April 4th, 2013


For years now, Michael Pollan has been acting as a collective food-conscience of sorts. Globally, through his award-winning books such as The Omnivore’s DilemmaIn Defense of Food and The Botany of Desire, he has been, slowly but surely, changing the way people think about food. Named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2010, Pollan is an advocate for change in food policy (And believe it or not, he knows a thing or two about how to make good food!).

Sauce Magazine and Left Bank Books couldn’t be more excited to have Pollan as our guest for our next Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event held on Thursday, May 9. From noon to 2 p.m. at Moulin event space, Pollan will chat with us over lunch about his latest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. Pollan will also sign copies of the book and answer questions from the audience.

Tickets are $55 and include lunch and a copy of Cooked. Buy tickets here.

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents a morning with Richard Blais

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Attention St. Louis foodophiles and Top Chef aficionados, crack open your March calendars because Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais is coming to The Lou.

As part of our Sauce Celebrity Chef Series, Blais will join us on March 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at The Market at The Cheshire. While attendees munch on fresh treats provided by The Market, Blais will provide demonstrations of his expert cooking techniques. From his winning Top Chef dishes (Remember his cornbread with foie gras ice cream and whipped mango?) to his use of liquid nitrogen, ready all your burning questions, for Blais will also be conducting a Q&A session.

Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased here. A ticket includes savory snacks and a signed-copy of Blais’ new cookbook, Try This At Home. Want more Blais? Also on March 30, The Cheshire is hosting a dinner with Blais; find more details here.

An Interview with Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

If you’re anything like us, Deb Perelman is no stranger to your kitchen. We’ve been following the home cook behind the celebrated food blog Smitten Kitchen for years. So when we found out that Perelman was going to be featured in our Sauce Celebrity Chef Series next month, where she’d be demonstrating recipes from her new The Smitten Cookbook and enjoying lunch, we couldn’t hold back our excitement. We quickly set up an interview to chat with Perelman about everything Smitten Kitchen. Read on to see what she had to say about finding inspiration, writing tips for aspiring bloggers and her own celebrity moment.

Apparently, you couldn’t hold back your Smitten Kitchen excitement either, as Perelman’s Sauce Celebrity Chef Series sold out in mere days! Wasn’t able to snag a ticket to the event? You can still catch Perelman as she signs her cookbook at the downtown location of Left Bank Books on March 1 at 7 p.m. And keep an eye out for the blog next month as we cook from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and give a copy away to one lucky reader in our By the Book column.

I noticed there isn’t a lot of overlap between your blog and your book.
I was very concerned that the book would be a value for people who have read the blog for a long time. If it was all the same or sounded the same – well, people have been getting that for free. So I decided that no more than 15 percent of the blog could be in the book, I wanted to make it overwhelmingly new. And I stuck with that.

Did you choose the most popular items from the blog as part of the 15 percent?
[Laughs]. No, or else they would all be chocolate and peanut butter. I chose recipes that best fit the section that I was working on. Like my favorite way to prepare broccoli and my mom’s apple cake – recipes I just wanted people to have.

Going back to chocolate and peanut butter. The first thing I ever made from your blog was your recipe for chocolate peanut butter cake. I made it for a party, and I must say, the compliments I received on that thing truly made me feel like a capable cook for the very first time.
I think that cake was the first thing that broke my server. Sometimes it takes things like peanut butter cake to realize that you need a better server.

It’s so impressive to find great photography, writing and cooking all in one. Were you interested in one before the other? Or did they build off of each other?
Well, my photography comes third and writing second. I’m always been interested in artsy fartsy things; I love taking pictures; I take them of everything. I love Instagram, and I’ve always enjoyed writing – it was never hard for me – but the cooking is my love.



Where do you get your inspiration for the recipes you create?
Mostly cravings. It starts with being hungry. But it also starts with being out somewhere and having something I like or don’t like and figuring out how I might change it. Or if I find a combo I love, but the preparation is really fussy, I wonder if there is a way to pare it down. Or just from things I’ve always wanted to make – like how could you combine the tastes of hummus and carrots? And then figuring it out.       

Any books that you go to for inspiration?
I know it’s an obvious answer but Mastering the Art of French Cooking [by Julia Child]. Onions seem so boring, but browned onions are amazing. The book takes the simplest ingredients and then lovingly coaxes out the most intense deliciousness out of them.

Along with your great recipes, I think one reason people are so attracted to your blog and book is for your writing. Any tips?
I like a voice that is not too writerly but natural. At first, it’s hard not to sound like other people’s ideas of what you should be – you paint in a way you were taught to paint. Finding your voice is a process; it’s not like one day you achieve it. You gradually become more comfortable putting your mark on it. I don’t have a proper writing background, so I just try to write how I speak – for it to sound like a conversation. I like to picture my mom talking on the phone with a long yellow cord that stretched across the kitchen so that she could talk to a friend while cooking. Recipe writing has always been very succinct, write as little as possible, but rather than three sentences, sometimes mine can be three paragraphs. When you are a nervous cook, it helps to have description. I like to know that the dough is supposed to be sticky or that it will taste too salty but will turn out all right.

I love that you stress the everyday ingredients, so that a home cook doesn’t need to break the bank when buying ingredients, but do you have a favorite luxury ingredient?
I have a bunch. If I’m making a spinach quiche with four other ingredients, that’s a good time to use frozen spinach, but if it’s for a delicate salad and it’s the main ingredient, that would be a good time to splurge and get the best from the market. I think good recipes should transcend good ingredients, but it’s also about figuring out when it’s worth it to splurge. Like I have a workday olive oil for something like cooking an egg, but then I also have a really nice olive oil that I use for finishing. I mostly work with regular unfancy butter, but I love the European stuff with higher butterfat. But why make a layer cake with the most expensive butter? Save that for when you’re really going to taste it.

How much do you have to adjust your cooking now that you have a 3-year-old son?
It changes every week. In the last two weeks, my son has wanted to help me cook which has seemed to make him more excited about eating, but I say that and last night he helped and then he only ate one bite. I have two kinds of cooking now, and they don’t always overlap. Where most of my recipes come from is when I’m wondering what will happen when I make this with this and that – my experimental cooking. With a kid though, we have to put out proper meals. Before my son, it was, ‘Oh honey, I just made this carrot soup, let’s eat it for dinner with a hunk of bread.’ But if I do that now, my son will probably just skip the soup, eat the bread and then I haven’t really fed him properly. I started to have dinner panic around his first birthday. But you figure it out. The tricky thing for me is to stay inspired and to not have to cook the same-old, same-old.

I always think my future children will never be the kids who only eat mac n’ cheese, but I have a feeling I’m going to be completely humbled.
We all are. And nobody’s failing. If that’s what the kid wants to eat, they are going to be fine. I try to find something in the middle. For each meal I try to do a carb, a protein, a cold veg and a cooked veg, and I try to make only one a little scary.

Your blog has been successful for a while, but now with the book, have you had any celebrity moments?
[Laughs] Today, actually. I was at coffee with a friend; we go to this place all the time, and I was sitting by the window and this girl walked by, stopped, and whispered that she knew who I was. I was a little embarrassed. It’s okay though. The people who do come up to me have all been very normal, very nice people – I like it, I really do. Sometimes I forget this will happen, until it does again.

With the success of your cookbook, are you planning on keeping the blog going?
Yes. Forever if I can. As long as it’s fun and enjoyable, and there’s stuff to put up there. My plan is to keep making the site as good as I can. 

— photos courtesy of Deb Perelman

Sauce Celebrity Chef Series presents an afternoon with Deb Perelman

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

For you home cooks out there, when it comes to Deb Perelman, creator of the celebrated food blog Smitten Kitchen, we’re willing to wager that your crush on her is just about as big as ours. Well, we have good news. For Sauce’s next Celebrity Chef Series presented in partnership with Left Bank Books, Perelman is our star!

Join us on Friday, March 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Modesto, located on The Hill, as Perelman demonstrates recipes from her long-awaited The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Tickets are $45 and include lunch and a copy of her new book. You can buy tickets here. Seating is limited.

UPDATE: This event has now sold out.

Perelman isn’t a chef or restaurant owner; she simply believes that cooking should be fun, and the results should be delicious. After her presentation, she will be available for questions and to sign copies of her book.

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