Spices, Rubs & Marinades

White ceramic mortar and pestle with rosemary

Spices & Herbs: A Quick Lesson

As this terrific video by Consumer Reports shows, you don't need to spend a lot of money on fancy spices. However, the key element is when spices get old. Ground herbs and spices are more exposed to … [Read More...]

Macro cayenne pepper isolated on white

How to make Cajun seasoning

I generally don't add salt to my seasoning mixes; instead I add it separately when cooking. A recipe that specifies a commercial blend assumes it has salt, so adjust accordingly. Be sure to use garlic … [Read More...]

Upcoming Events

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Michigan Notable Books Tour

I'm delighted to announce that The Library of Michigan named Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good a 2015 Michigan Notable Book earlier this year. The program has generously agreed to support a two-week … [Read More...]

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Devour! Seattle Food Film Event June 4th

Local chef John Sundstrom of Lark fame and I have partnered with Devour! The Food Film Fest, the world’s largest food film festival, to bring a feast for the senses to Seattle on June 4th. It's … [Read More...]

Cooking fundamentals

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Cooking in Parchment (video lesson)

Cooking en papillote (French for “parchment”) is a wildly overlooked method of cooking in America. It’s an easy method for a quick weeknight dinner that’s also elegant enough for guests. The smell that escapes when the package is reason enough to try it. This works well for salmon and mild-flavored white fish such as snapper, cod and so […]

roasted green beans

Recipe: Rosemary-Thyme-Lemon Oil

Adapted from a story by editor Jennifer Armentrout from Fine Cooking, this infused oil can be added to roasted vegetables before cooking or to steamed vegetables afterward. It provides a lovely complement to roasted beets, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Yields enough for about one to two pounds of roasted vegetables.  […]

veg stock after cooking

Recipe: How to Make Vegetable Stock

Despite the name of this recipe, there’s actually not such a thing as vegetable stock. By definition, stock is made from simmering bones in water. No bones? Then it’s broth. So, let us commence with vegetable broth. In my own kitchen, I collect and save the trimmings from the likes of carrots, celery, onions, the […]

Spices collection

A “Cheat Sheet” to Flavor Profiles

What makes something taste Italian or Cajun or Moroccan? Whether crafting vinaigrette, seasoning chicken, or developing a soup, understanding the flavors of ingredients that help to define various cuisines can be deeply useful. Every cuisine has its regional variations; Basque cuisine is vastly different from the classic dishes from Provence, but they’re both French. So […]

Balsamic vinaigrette

Vinaigrette Basics [video lesson]

Do you have so many bottles of vinaigrette in your fridge that when you open the door it sounds like wind chimes? Vinaigrette is one of the first things that any home cook should master for a couple of reasons. One, it’s expensive to buy and tends to be loaded with ingredients. I did a […]