French cuisine

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 … [Read More...]

Upcoming Events

mi_notable_books_2015

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...]

Cooking fundamentals

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 […]

knife anatomy

Knife Skills – The Basics [video lesson]

I’ve interviewed dozens of home cooks and hands down (pun intended), the most valuable thing a home cook can do is to get a decent chef’s knife and learn how to use it. Below, you’ll find a quick video lesson. After that, you’ll find basics on buying and caring for a chef’s knife. A good […]

whole_chicken

Recipes & Fundamentals: Using a Whole Chicken

On Wednesday I bought a chicken on sale for 99 cents a pound, and cut it up, shaving off the breasts to reserve the back for stock. It left two hearty chicken breasts nearly 14 ounces each, or about eight servings in all. I cut up the back, roasted it to a dark brown, then added it with […]

strainer_small

How to Outfit a Kitchen on a Budget or 14 Things Every Kitchen Needs

People have been quite successful making a lot of food in the past centuries with little more than a pot, spoon, bowl, knife and cutting surface. I’ve put together a very general guide that I’ve used for events aimed at college students, and you’ll find the list below. A Good Chef’s Knife Don’t waste money […]

Blueberry jam

Recipe: Blueberry Jam Like My Grandpa Charles’

“Who are you?” Mike asked me last week.  “What are you talking about?” I replied. He waved his hand over the counter and dozens of jars of canned jams, jellies and preserves. “Have you become your grandmother? You’re  canning like a maniac.” “No, I am not becoming my grandmother,” I sniffed indignantly. “You read the […]