So many people think of sourdough as an all-American -- or at least North American -- phenomenon. Credit that to the fact that sourdough starters (wild yeast cultures regularly fed and nurtured to keep available for leavening bread) were mainstays not only of pioneering life but also among the miners who made sourdough the reliable daily bread ...Read more
It seems to me that people who love to cook at home often have two separate styles of recipes that they rely on. First come the everyday dishes that they make week after week for their family and any close friends who might drop by -- simple, straightforward, delicious food they can cook quickly and easily with minimal fuss. And then there are ...Read more
We all know that there are four astronomical seasons in the year: spring, summer, autumn and winter. But, in our daily lives, we divide up the year into so many more seasons: the holidays just past, New Year's resolutions have just begun; it's back-to-school season, tax season, vacation season, and on and on. And many of those ...Read more
When Christmas celebrations are over and New Year's Eve is just days away, we all face an important challenge that only gets bigger and bigger by the moment: Deciding on our New Year's resolutions. As important as those promises to ourselves may be, however, there is no real mystery over what we'll resolve. In fact,...Read more
At no time of year do children want to help out in the kitchen more than during the holidays. It's easy to understand why.
The aromas are tantalizing. The parade of foods is beautiful and delicious. Plus, school is out and the weather is colder, so the kids are indoors more and probably itching for an activity. Why wouldn't little hands want to...Read more
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
The Shekhinah is ComingValjean Tchakirides
The Shekhinah is Coming: Secrets of the Divine presents a circular study of what Tchakirides calls "the divine plan that ends where it begins - 'in LIGHT'". This work bridges the gap between religion and science, offering explanations of recent NASA discoveries and suggesting what they might ...
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