"The Best Mexican Recipes": Bueno!

Even if you’ve never cooked Mexican food before, you’ll have no trouble navigating the recipes in America’s Test Kitchen’s “The Best Mexican Recipes.” Virtually all of the ingredients are readily available in mainstream supermarkets, and there are step-by-step photos to guide you through the essentials. The editors explain, “We think this book presents the very... Read more »

Hot Weather, Cold Soups

Right about now, the people who moaned about our chilly spring are moaning about our mid-June heatwave. The first is a memory, and the second will eventually move off to the east. Until then, think soup, not the hot steamy soups of winter, but the chilly soups of summer. The following are two of my... Read more »

Cabo: Mexico with Pasta

“How was the food”? people ask when I get back from anywhere, and my recent trip to Cabo was no exception. As it turns out, this year’s “best” was a tie between La Forchetta (the last visit’s best) and the mushroom quesadillas at Wirikuta, an outdoor, culturally-oriented production that starts with cocktails and ends with... Read more »
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A Fleet of Food Trucks

In our hurry-up world, nothing is more “now” than food trucks, and nowhere are they more popular than in Austin, Texas, home to one of the country’s hottest food scenes. With close family members living in the Austin area, I’m a frequent visitor, even in the summer when the temperature is routinely 100-degrees plus. My... Read more »

New Cookbooks, Vintage Recipes

I admit to remembering a time when a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup was the basis for many of my family’s favorite dishes, everything from tuna casserole (a riff on the green bean casserole typically served for Thanksgiving) to the round steak that cooked for three hours in a slow oven (a great... Read more »

"Just Add Sauce"

A few weeks ago I made fried rice that tasted just like the fried rice at my favorite Chinese restaurant. The only parts of the meal cooked especially for the occasion were the rice and the “Classic Fried-Rice Sauce” from America’s Test Kitchen’s new cookbook, “Just Add Sauce.” I deliberately cooked more rice than I... Read more »
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Two Interesting Cookbooks From America's Test Kitchen

Etiquette says you shouldn’t serve anything to guests that you haven’t made before. It’s a good idea, but it’s not always possible in today’s hurry-up world. With that in mind, I’m updating the recommendation: Don’t serve anything to guests that doesn’t come from a reliable source, a source like America’s Test Kitchen. In the introduction... Read more »

Slurp the Noodles

Asian noodles may have Chinese roots, but ramen, the beautifully balanced bowls of broth, noodles, and toppings that are one of the decade’s hottest trends, are unmistakably Japanese. They are comfort food imbued with a mix of craftsmanship and culture, the broths carefully constructed, the noodles and toppings chosen with an emphasis on creating a... Read more »

What Do the Irish Eat on St. Patrick's Day ?

If you go to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day expecting an over-the-top celebration coupled with a dinner of corned beef and cabbage, you’re likely to be disappointed. St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, died on March 17th, and the anniversary of his death typically includes a religious observance and a traditional Irish dinner, a category that-for... Read more »
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Come for the Champagne, Stay for the Uni

Chicago has a lot of steakhouses, but the opening of the Esquire Champagne Room at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse on Oak Street makes it the only steakhouse in the city with a separate, Champagne and caviar-focused lounge. And in contrast to most spots specializing in sips and nibbles, the Esquire Champagne Room is secluded... Read more »