Aug 10

When heirloom beans became trendy in the restaurant world a few years ago I was quite smug about it. My fondness for beans had long been the brunt of jokes among my culinary peers, and during job interviews it was embarrassing to give the honest answer when asked “what is your favorite food?” I am [...]

Tagged with:
Jul 27

On episode 5 of this season’s Top Chef, contestant Chef Kenny Gilbert prepared a curried eggplant dish that won him first place in the challenge. The competition took place on a local farm in Virginia, and given that eggplant is in its peak season right now, he couldn’t have chosen a better ingredient to work [...]

Tagged with:
Jul 03

Two years ago this holiday weekend, the Washington Post chose me and two other local chefs to design, easy-to-make and good tasting homemade menus that could spruce up an intimate picnic.  In the article entitled “The Picnic Spread,” by Bonnie Benwick, I was given the challenge of doing the entire meal under $10 (a much [...]

Tagged with:
Jul 02

Local farmer’s markets transitioned from a scant selection of burgeoning spring produce to full blown summer harvest in a matter of one or two weeks. While the summer season typically just gets rolling with the start of June, this year vendors are pulling all the big guns out early leaving little to the shopper’s imagination. [...]

Tagged with:
Jun 22

On a trip to Sicily my parents took a cooking class with an old Italian grandmother who taught them the most surprisingly simple and delicious recipe for tomato sauce. In our family it is now used on everything from pasta to pizza, and always as a topping on breaded Italian cutlets. True to the Italian [...]

Tagged with:
Jun 06

In the first part of this series I focused on vinaigrettes, which are usually my go-to choice for dressing a salad. I can’t resist a properly made Caesar salad, though, and once I learned how to make an exceptional one from scratch it was hard to have it any other way. Creamy emulsifications have their [...]

Tagged with:
Apr 22

Part I: Vinaigrettes It has been many years since I have counted a store bought salad dressing among my pantry staples. In my opinion, it is pointless to prepare a fresh homemade salad only to offer a selection of prefabricated bottled concoctions along side it. The veggies quickly become muted by an overbearing blend of [...]

Tagged with:
Apr 03

Richly braised meats, heady from hours spent stewing in red wine, aromatic vegetables and herbs, have their right place in the depths of winter. Even knobly root vegetables can be soothing that time of year, when aggressive roasting can charm their nutty sweetness into submission. Somehow the extended darkness and coldness outdoors makes the kitchen [...]

Tagged with:
Mar 25

Good recipes are often the best souvenirs from some of life’s more bittersweet experiences. I have worked in what I consider a fair share of kitchens, ranging from a rundown, unair-conditioned seafood shack in South Florida to a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen equipped to the nines in a private residence. Regardless of location, each came with [...]

Tagged with:
Mar 12

Homemade falafel is amazingly cheap, delicious and easy to prepare at home. However, it’s not without faults. Formulating a recipe where the chickpeas create a thick enough paste, the spice blend is just right, and the batter fries up into cohesive golden balls seems simple in theory but frustrating in practice. The crux of the [...]

Tagged with: