Category Archives: Featured

curing corned beef

With assists from Michael Ruhlman and The Spice House, I began curing a brisket this past Saturday for St. Patrick's Day on Thursday.  I used Ruhlman's recipe, which calls for corning spices and curing salt (a.k.a. InstaCure #1, Prague Powder #1, pink salt, or by its chemical name: sodium nitrite), both of which I got via mail order from The Spice House in Chicago.  It's essentially a long, slow brine, so you have to know ahead of time that you want to do this.  I almost didn't have enough time Read more [...]

[recipe review] dry-brined turkey

Just to recap, I followed the advice of Russ Parsons (Food Editor of the LA Times) and dry-brined the turkey.  The process began on Monday afternoon with the application of 3 TB kosher salt (Morton's) to a 16 lb. fresh, free-range turkey.  Double-wrapped in plastic bags (no leaky turkeys here), it was flipped and turned around and around for a couple of days until I pulled it out on Thanksgiving morning. I made an herb butter with fresh sage, thyme, and unsalted butter and smeared it underneath Read more [...]

gaggia mdf grind settings chart

I've had a Gaggia MDF coffee grinder for a while.  It's a great "pro-sumer" burr grinder, with 34 distinct grind settings.  Over my history using it, I've really only used steps 5-6 (for espresso) and 30-34 (for French press).  Recently, I got into manual pour drip coffee (Hario/Clever).  Most people recommend a "medium-fine" grind, but there isn't a chart for my 34 settings that tells you where that is.  To help anyone out who has one of these, I decided to explore all 34 settings and figure Read more [...]

sous vide chicken

There's really no meat that is better served by being cooked sous vide than chicken.  That's bold, considering how well pork does in the low-n-slow cooking environment, but it's true.  Maybe it's because chicken is so often mangled by being dry and overcooked or, worse yet, bloody, gelatinous, and undercooked.  The truth is that chicken (white meat in particular) has such a small window of perfection that if you miss it at all you wish you had ordered a pizza instead. The issue is mainly that Read more [...]