What I ate at Saison

Saison -1

While the actual day of my birthday this year was less than festive (our dog, Milton, passed in the morning), a proper celebration came a few days later when my brother, David and his wife, Jennie surprised me with an extraordinarily generous and extravagant gift: a meal at the 3-Michelin star Saison. What follows is a short description of the 17 (!) courses we had that night.

1st course

After a glass of sparkling wine from Charles Krug, we were presented with an infusion of herbs gathered from their garden. It was a refreshing way to transition from outside to beginning our meal.

Saison -4

getting it right in (food) journalism

Last week, the NY Times food section had an ambitious compilation of recipes that purported to “evoke” the typical Thanksgiving celebration of our 50 states plus DC and Puerto Rico.

Nice idea, but they blew it. Or at least some of it. From today’s corrections:

An article last Wednesday recommending a Thanksgiving dish from each state, with a recipe, contained numerous errors.

The recipe from Connecticut, for quince with cipollini onions and bacon, omitted directions for preparing the quince. It should be peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks. An illustration with the West Virginia recipe, for pawpaw pudding, depicted a papaya — not a pawpaw, which is correctly depicted above. The introduction to the recipe from Arizona, for cranberry sauce and chiles, misstated the origin of Hatch chiles. They are grown in New Mexico, not in Arizona.

The introduction to the Delaware recipe, for du Pont turkey with truffled zucchini stuffing, referred incorrectly to several historical points about the Winterthur estate. It was an ancestral home of the du Pont family, not the sole one; it was established in 1837, not in 1810; the house was completed in 1839, not in 1837. The introduction also misstated the relationship of Pauline Foster du Pont to Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. Pauline was the wife of Mr. du Pont’s grandson, not his daughter-in-law.

And, finally, the label for the illustration for the nation’s capital misspelled the District of Columbia as Colombia.

Add to that the odd-sounding recipe for Broiled Grape Salad which the entire state of Minnesota seems to be at pains to disavow, you’ve got a few giggles at The Grey Lady’s expense to go with your turkey.

Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving celebration is blunder-free!

NY Times corrections for November 26, 2014

The NY Times: The United States of Thanksgiving

avoid the panic of the pie crust

There was one reason I learned to cook when I was very young: I wanted to eat more pie. After nearly 40 years of rolling out the dough, there’s not much new in pie-making that can impress. Still, even with a solid recipe and technique much can go wrong – doughs that are too tough, doughs that are too short and that the crack trying to get them in the pan, doughs that are sabotaged by substandard butter, shortening or lard, doughs that are just plain moody.

In all this time, the only “trick” I’ve liked and used regularly is stretching your cold water with vodka. Too much water can make the dough easier to handle, but extremely tough to eat. The vodka increases the pliability which actually tenderizing the gluten a bit before cooking away. That trick may be familiar as coming from Cooks Illustrated magazine or from one of the many books where they’ve republished the recipn. It turns out the guy who was working at Cooks and developed that recipe is J. Kenji López-Alt. He has since moved on from the magazine to become a senior editor at the SeriousEats website.

This is the week when folks make the recipes that come out only once a year. If you’re an infrequent pie maker, López-Alt has the pie crust for you. A caveat: it uses my least favorite kitchen machine, the hard-to-clean food processor, but if you cover the bowl with saran wrap before pulsing, the clean-up will be much easier. Also one thing he doesn’t mention: if your machine came with a plastic blade, possibly for kneading bread, use that.

Take at look at:

Easy Pie Dough

The Science of Pie Dough


the new searzall

Last year I took part in a successful Kickstarter campaign to get a cooking gadget called the Searzall manufactured. Today, it finally arrived in the mail. Couldn’t be more excited. I posted a clip to YouTube which you can see above.