Go ahead, cook with your good olive oil!



Unrefined, cold pressed virgin olive oil (VOO) is rich in interesting compounds including many blog mediterranean-346997_640 unique antioxidants. Without them, olive oil would not be the healthy oil it is. A number of studies have looked at how cooking affects those antioxidants and VOO generally. This research definitely contradicts current wisdom that we should not use our good olive oils for cooking at other than very gentle heat.

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The Egg Basket Says it All


TBN Ranch Chicken Keeping Resources

Chickens are incredibly adaptable to almost any living condition. They are hardy in inclement weather, require few amenities, no luxuries, and will thrive in modest accommodations with gratitude.

It’s amazing how little chickens really need. But, my hens have proved me guilty of not practicing what I preach.  I didn’t really learn this valuable piece of information until our farm was recently hit by a massive storm, destroying our chicken housing.

Chickens have been around for thousands of years, I knewthat, and without anyone endlessly fussing over them either… I knew that too! They’ll eat whatever you give them, and are smart enough to find their own groceries if given the opportunity. Chickens also have a built in GPS system! Like clockwork, they will always return home every night at dusk to roost… once again,I knew that! But regardless, I still searched for my feathered lost storm victims…

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Duck, Duck, Peach!


The Garum Factory

Grilled Duck Breast with Peaches-8494

Menus from proximate restaurants in rural France can seem eerily similar, as though all aligned along the same invisible lines of culinary force emanating from the specialties of the region. This restaurant has fois gras; that restaurant has foie gras. This restaurant offers grilled duck breast; that restaurant offers grilled duck breast. Whether you find this state of affairs delightful or vexing depends on your perspective.  If I were living in the same village for several months then menu similarity might start to get tedious, but in the Sud-Ouest, that lower left corner of France heading toward Spain, I had no problem with encountering a familiar selection of foie gras, duck and rabbit, accompanied by eggplant and tomatoes, not to mention the incredible local dessert pastry, Pastis de Quercy, the subject of a future post.  I enjoy foie gras, but I love duck.  For me, duck has more there there than any other…

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Peach Dumplings With Bourbon Hard Sauce


Lea & Jay


Peach Dumplings! And as if that didn’t sound delightful enough, the following words, Bourbon Hard Sauce, just might just zombify you.  What do I mean by zombify? You know how zombies are just shuffling forward, driven by a burning desire to eat something, in their case brains, in your case these Peach Dumplings with Bourbon Hard Sauce. Zombified…you get what I’m saying right? And I have to tell you that when I served these Peach Dumplings I didn’t just stop after dolloping out a generous amount of that Bourbon Hard sauce which promptly began to melt and trickle down over the sides. Nope. I added a big old scoop of ice cream. Oh yes. I did. Sheer summer-time dessert bliss!


I don’t usually make a lot of peach desserts. It’s not because I don’t like them, cause believe me I do. I just have really bad luck with them. I…

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Lavendar Shortbread Cookies – James Beard

Photo by Stephanie Bourgeois


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on cookies
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespo
 Yield: About 2 dozen cookies
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose and cake flours. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Add the lavender and mix to just combine.

Roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the dough into 2 x 1-inch bars and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies until just golden at the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let cool completely before serving.

Seven Sauces That Taste Better Homemade – Mark Bittman


7 Sauces That Taste Better Homemade

Two weeks ago I provided nine nonbeef burger recipes. Consider these recipes an addendum: homemade alternatives to the bottled and jarred condiments that are lined up like summer’s foot soldiers on our refrigerator doors.

Why spend time making your own condiments? A legitimate question, even for cooks who embrace the D.I.Y. mentality that yields things like homemade salad dressings, salsas and hummus, all of which could be considered “condiments” in their own right. But when it comes to ketchup and its brethren — relish, barbecue sauce and the like — most of us cave and revert to the store-bought versions.

Resist that impulse. The reasons are the same as they are for countless other foods that you can readily grab at the store: controlling and customizing flavor and avoiding worthless (or harmful) artificial ingredients. Those are enough for me.

My ketchup, for example, is a respite from the commercial brands laden with high-fructose corn syrup. I know that neither you nor I will ever rely exclusively on homemade ketchup, but it’s a super option.

In addition to classic burger and dog accompaniments, I’ve included condiments that will find their way onto things other than meat in a bun, like corn-and-tomato relish — a quintessential summer sauce to spoon over simply grilled fish, chicken or meat — and teriyaki sauce.

None of these can languish in your fridge for months on end, which is what happens when you don’t load things up with preservatives. The recipes here all yield quantities that you’ll use over the course of a few grilling sessions, or at one big party. The exception is chimichurri, the addictive Argentine herb sauce that you’ll want to use right away. But that’s O.K.: You can’t buy anything nearly as good at the store.


In a large pot over medium heat, sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped red bell pepper in 2 tablespoons neutral oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, and stir until the paste darkens a bit, 2 or 3 minutes. Add one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (roughly chopped, with their juice), ⅓ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon ground mustard, ⅛ teaspoon each ground allspice, ground cloves, cayenne and cinnamon, a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about an hour. Let cool for a few minutes, then purée in a blender until completely smooth. (For supersmooth ketchup, pass it through a fine-mesh strainer.) Taste, adjust the seasoning and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.



In a food processor, combine 1½ cups fresh parsley leaves, ½ cup cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, 3 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon red-chile flakes, 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons neutral oil, salt and pepper. Process until combined, then stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil by hand. Taste, adjust the seasoning and use immediately.



In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups ketchup (the homemade version would be good), 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 tablespoon chili powder, ½ cup dry red wine, ¼ cup cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 chopped onion and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and the flavors meld, 10 to 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. For a smooth sauce, purée in the blender. Store in the fridge for up to a week.



In a food processor, combine ¼ pound hot red or green chiles (like Fresnos, cherry peppers, serranos or a combination), 1 roughly chopped onion and 1 garlic clove. Pulse until finely chopped. Add 1½ pounds roughly chopped bell peppers (some combination of red, orange and yellow), and pulse until chopped into roughly ⅛-inch pieces. Put ½ cup red-wine vinegar, 1 cup water, ¼ cup sugar and a big pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then add the pepper mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft and almost all the liquid has evaporated, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.



Husk 2 ears of corn, and strip the kernels off the cobs. Put 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it’s hot, add the corn, and cook until lightly browned. Lower the heat to medium, and add 1 large chopped tomato, a pinch of red-chile flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds, then turn off the heat. Store in the fridge for up to a day or two, and serve at room temperature, with some chopped fresh basil stirred in at the last minute.



Combine ½ cup soy sauce and ½ cup mirin (or ¼ cup honey mixed with ¼ cup water) in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the mixture bubbles; turn off the heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and ¼ cup finely chopped scallions. Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.



Put 1 egg yolk and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard in a food processor or blender, and turn the machine on. While it’s running, start adding 1 cup of neutral oil in a very slow, steady stream. Once an emulsion forms, you can start adding the oil a little faster, until it’s all incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or sherry vinegar if you like. Store in the fridge for up to a week.