Fresh. Baked. Cookies. Spoken together, those three words conjure feelings of homey warmth and goodwill that are the very essence of the holidays.
Many people consider cookies served straight out of the oven (or, to be a little less evocative but more realistic, cooled briefly after baking) the stuff of family memories. The sweet scent ...Read more
With the first night of Hanukkah around the corner, many friends have asked me for ways to cook something different for their home celebrations of the Festival of Lights. I certainly think about that question myself, since I always want to help make sure that my sons appreciate their own Jewish heritage.
Cooking for ...Read more
All my life, I've loved sweet pastries of every kind; especially cookies. So with plenty of holiday parties ahead, I feel like I'm in pastry heaven. There's the promise of wonderful cookies everywhere I turn.
I learned as a boy that you can never start making holiday cookies too soon. Around late November, my mother and grandmother were already...Read more
I grew up in a country where everyday cooking emphasized the fact that little things mean a lot. Austria's national dish, Wiener schnitzel, literally translates as "Viennese little slice." With spicy goulash, my mother and grandmother always served the tiny homemade dumplings called spaetzle, "little sparrows." And one of my favorite desserts, ...Read more
Cauliflower is the new Brussels sprout. Or maybe it's the new kale. Whatever the latest vegetable trends may be where you happen to live, it's a fairly safe bet that you're beginning to see more of this ivory-hued member of the Brassica family -- which also includes cabbages and broccoli -- among the first-course and side-dish offerings on top ...Read more
After I moved to the United States in 1973, one of the many interesting American phrases I learned about was "to talk turkey." I discovered it traced all the way back to colonial times, and most explanations suggest it was first spoken by a Native American after a settler he had gone hunting with tried, with some deceitful talking, to cheat him ...Read more
The fourth Thursday in November comes early this year. With only three weeks to get ready for Thanksgiving, that can put a lot of pressure on those who rightly consider the holiday their biggest home cooking occasion of the year.
Let me help you take a major step in your planning by solving the question of what to serve for ...Read more
I am often fascinated by the kinds of foods and flavors that some people may love while others refuse to eat them. We call such ingredients "acquired tastes," because those who love them optimistically believe that, prepared properly and served under the right circumstances, anyone can develop a craving for them.
Not every taste, of course, can...Read more
If you've ever hung out in a restaurant kitchen, or been seated close enough to one to witness the chefs in action, you've probably heard the head chef repeatedly calling out the word "Fire!" Rather than sounding any kind of alarm, the command actually means that the time has come for a particular dish to be cooked so that it will be ready to ...Read more
After five decades of cooking professionally, one of the most important secrets I've learned for making people feel a meal is memorable -- whether it is eaten in a restaurant or at home -- is to add special little touches. Garnish a pasta dish with fresh herbs, quickly saute fresh fruit compote to serve over ice cream or alongside cake, or offer...Read more
Having grown up in a town in southern Austria that was less than an hour's drive from the Italian border, I sometimes feel like I'm almost as Italian as I am Austrian. That may certainly help explain why I love to include pizzas and pastas on the menus in many of my restaurants, including my flagship Spago and even two Italian-style restaurants ...Read more
Food lovers talk a lot about "secret menus" at their favorite restaurants (usually fast-food places) that clue people in on all sorts of special variations they order -- only if they know about them. But even at fine restaurants, like my original Spago in Beverly Hills, there are secret items that anyone with the inside knowledge can ask for. ...Read more
We're just days away from the beginning of autumn on the calendar. (Even though the warm days of Indian summer that arrive with it and often stay through October can sometimes make us feel like the season hasn't changed yet.) Still, I don't usually rely on the calendar or the weather to tell me what season it is. One stroll through the farmers' ...Read more
In 1983, after opening my restaurant Chinois on Main in Santa Monica, Calif., I was proud to play a part in the culinary revolution known as Asian fusion. That term refers to combining traditional Asian ingredients, recipes, and cooking techniques with those of other cuisines, particularly western ones. At Chinois, our Asian fusion naturally ...Read more
All across the country, people are at a transition point in their dinnertime habits. We've finished summer's easygoing days, when the evening meal might mean grilled burgers and hot dogs or a quick bite out before a movie or maybe the children heading off in different directions for dinner at friends' homes. It sometimes seemed as if the family ...Read more
Even though autumn is three weeks away, most Americans think of Labor Day weekend as the end of summer. Family vacations are over, children are starting school, and grills are being readied for one more grand meal cooked outdoors.
There's just one problem. Summer doesn't seem ready to go. In many parts of the country, we're only ...Read more
We're now in the middle of a part of summertime known as "the dog days." Although that term began in ancient Rome to signify the time when Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, rose in the night sky, most people today associate it with weather so hot and sultry that dogs and humans alike lie down panting, unable to move.
But autumn is now only a ...Read more