Category Archives: cookbooks

TV Beckons…Well sort of.

51E2np9vRVL._SY300_Over the past year in addition to my other assignments, I shot a cookbook for the ABC TV show The Chew. Some of the other things I have been doing outside of my studio, as many of you know, is teaching food photography workshops and speaking at blogger conferences about food photography. On top of that the Outtakes column on The New York Times Diner’s Journal has given me the opportunity to share what I know with a broader audience still. Well, I am getting yet another wonderful opportunity to do more of the same.

The Chew has invited me to be part of a segment on “Taking Better Blog Pictures” and it will run Wednesday May 22nd at 1pm ET. It will also be available on the web later that week. I hope you will be able to check it out.


Filed under Books, cookbooks, Food Photography Workshops, Food Writing, NYT Diner's Journal, Photography

What is Dukkah?

What is Dukkah?

Maybe I missed something over the past ten years but I had to ask myself that question when I got this assignment. It turns out that since the publication of the Jerusalem Cookbook these spice mixtures are really making their way into the mainstream. This week’s Recipes for Health focuses on dukkah used in salads, as a fish dredge, for crudite as a dip and as a topping for poached eggs. It is quite delicious. Pictured here is the peanut dukkah. Give it a try.


April 30, 2013 · 6:26 pm

FFT# 167 Gratuitous Food Porn 60

IMG_7478 copy


January 23, 2013 · 4:47 pm

Cook This Now…

This is the title of Melissa Clark’s new book. Melissa and I have long discussed a project like this one where the flavor and tone of our long collaboration at The New York Times could shine in a longer form venue. I am so happy and proud to have photographed this book and to say that this book looks and feels just like we envisioned. Cook This Now is available on Amazon and if you purchase be sure to chime in on the comments…it actually means an awful lot.

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Hometown Treasures…

People give me and send me a lot of information about food. Websites, links to blogs, recipes, magazine articles and especially cookbooks. Everybody has a cookbook…well everyone except me…but just about everybody else has a cookbook.

I recently I received a cookbook as a gift from Micki Connolly, mother of a good friend. She was part of a group who organized a cookbook for her Florida retirement community comprised of family recipes from resident snowbirds from around the world. It’s a fascinating treasure trove of regional specialties from folks like our parents and grandparents. I leafed through and found things like Super Bowl Chili from Edna Scipione of Wickliffe, Ohio and Scallops a la Crabtree from Dan Crabtree hailing from Lancaster, England. It goes on and on.

The chapter I am most anxious to dive into is the dessert section. Desserts that harken back to before the age of the Hostess Cupcake are the glue that have kept family gatherings fun and memorable for generations. I feel honored to have copies of Heinz and Hella Wartski’s French Sable Cookie recipe, Celeste deCapua’s Mexican Wedding Cookies and Peggy Tuffo’s Penuche Nut Fudge.

The book is from the Winterpark Community in Naples, Florida and is titled Hometown Classics. The real charm of it is that the proceeds they raise from the cookbook go toward things like fixing up the community pool, the shuffleboard courts and the clubhouse. Hometown Classics represents a small group’s big effort to preserve their prized recipes and make their community a better place. They did a wonderful job. The great test of a cookbook is if it can arouse our curiosity enough to make the recipes…and I can’t wait to try some.


Filed under Books, cookbooks, Food Writing, With Recipes

Cookbook Pix…Yea or Nay?

Come over to the DJ and participate in our discussion on whether or not cookbooks need to have photos to capture your attention. Our friend Melissa Clark tossed out the question on Twitter and we are running with it.


Filed under Books, cookbooks, NYT Diner's Journal, Photography

ALCS Chicken Recipe #3

With the Game 2 loss and the prospect of a tough game against Lee…I’m countering with Chang. David Chang has taken the downtown restaurant scene by storm over the past few years and like the Yanks he is pure NY.  I first ate at Momofuku Noodle Bar just weeks after it opened and have been a big fan ever since.  One of my favorite dishes in Chang’s arsenal is his chicken wings. Chang admits in his book that it is the “world’s longest recipe for chicken wings“, so I’m using the simplified version that CHOW concocted for the home cook. Eat wings…Go Yanks!



Momofuku Chicken Wings

20 chicken wings with wing tips attached
8 cups lukewarm water
1 c. sugar
1 c. kosher salt
2 strips smoky bacon
1/4 c. vegetable oil
5 c. rendered pork or duck fat
1 c. mirin
1 c. sake
1 c. light soy sauce
Ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5-6 pickled chiles
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1. Separate wings into 3 pieces (tips, wings, and drumettes) by cutting at both joints. Reserve wing tips for the tare.

2. Combine water, sugar, and salt in a large container with a tightfitting lid or a large resealable plastic bag (at least 4 quarts) and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add chicken wings and drumettes to brine mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

3.To make the tare, heat the oven to 400°F. Combine wing tips and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large oven-safe pan and toss to coat. Roast until wing tips are dark golden brown, about 1 hour.

4.Remove the pan from the oven, place over medium heat, and slowly add sake and soy sauce, scraping up any browned bits with a flat spatula. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/2, about 40 minutes. Strain and set tare aside (discard the wing tips).

5.Once chicken wings and drumettes have finished brining, heat duck or pork fat in a large pot with a tightfitting lid over low heat until fat is 190°F to 200°F. Drain wings and drumettes from brine and pat dry with paper towels.

6.Add wings and drumettes to hot fat and cook, covered, over very low heat until just cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. (Don’t overcook the chicken; there should still be texture and bite to the meat.) When wings and drumettes are done, remove to a baking dish or baking sheet using a slotted spoon and reserve fat for another use.

7.When ready to finish wings and drumettes, heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack at the top. Broil wings and drumettes, rotating the pan halfway through, until skin is crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes.

8.Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once shimmering, add garlic and chiles and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. (Make sure the garlic does not brown.) Add mirin and cook until the alcohol smell is gone, about 2 minutes. Add tare and reduce sauce to a light syruplike consistency, about 10 minutes.

9. Add wings and drumettes and pickled chiles and toss to coat, top with sliced scallions, and serve.


Filed under alcs, baseball, Books, cookbooks, Food Writing, NY Yankees, With Recipes

ALDS Chicken Recipe #2

Tex in the 7th, Mo in the 8th and 9th and we are off and running again.  With their opening come-from-behind victory over the Twins the Yanks picked up where they left off last October.  It seems our opening combo of Chicken recipe from a New Yorker, a friend I work with, who happens to have a new cookbook out, was pretty successful…so back to well we go.

Martha Rose Shulman’s new book The Very Best of Recipes for Health arrived in bookstores in August and is loaded with terrific recipes and pictures from your’s truly .  Martha’s Caesar Salad is a personal favorite.  This one is simple to make, so with a 6pm start this evening it won’t take you long to get it ready before first pitch.  Go Yanks!

Chicken Caesar

For the salad:

1 head of romaine lettuce

1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached and shredded (about 2 cups shredded chicken) [editor: link shredded poached chicken breasts]

1 cup garlic croutons (see below)

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or shaved Parmesan

Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives, marjoram

For the dressing:

1 small garlic clove

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 anchovy, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, then rinsed and drained on a paper towel

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon wine or sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 coddled egg yolk (optional: see below)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Remove the tough outer leaves of romaine and discard. Wash and dry the remaining leaves. Tear into medium pieces and place in a salad bowl with the chicken, croutons, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.

2. Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle with a little salt and mash to a past. Add the anchovy and mash together with the garlic. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the vinegar, mustard, coddled egg yolk, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Shortly before serving, toss the dressing with the salad. Sprinkle on the herbs and remaining Parmesan, and serve.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


To make garlic croutons, lightly toast slices of French or country bread. Remove them from the toaster and immediately rub with a cut clove of garlic. Cut into small squares or break into pieces.

To coddle the egg yolk, bring a small pot of water to a boil, slowly add the egg in its shell, and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then carefully crack the egg and remove the yolk.

Advance preparation: The poached chicken breasts will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. The dressing can be made several hours ahead.

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Filed under baseball, Books, cookbooks, Food Writing, NY Yankees, With Recipes

ALDS Chicken Recipe #1

Last October, when the Yankees were making their run to their 27th World Series Championship we piggy-backed onto the famed superstitions of former Yankee third baseman Wade Boggs (note here the omission of those other teams Boggs played for) for good luck.

Boggs believed that eating chicken brought him good juju with the Baseball Gods. We began posting chicken recipes during last year’s ALDS against the Minnesota Twins to fall into good favor with the supernatural forces all baseball fans pay homage to. We did so every game until they raised the trophy in their victory over the Phillies. The Yankees begin their title defense against none other that those Twins again tonight…so…here we go again.

We will open the series with a recipe from my friend and colleague Melissa Clark’s New cookbook, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite.  Melissa is admittedly not a baseball fan…but she is a New Yorker and this recipe is a cross cultural New York favorite.  My grandma made one that is almost identical when I was kid.  Make this one tonight. Go Yanks!

Not-My-Grandma’s Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Oregano

Time: 40 minutes

1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed (but use a lot)

5 garlic cloves

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1. Preheat the broiler. Rinse the chicken, pat dry with a paper towel, and place in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Broil the chicken, turning once, until light golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

2. While the chicken is broiling, make a garlic paste by either using a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or mincing the garlic with a heavy knife, then using the flat side to smear and mash the garlic and salt into a paste. Alternatively, you can make the paste in a blender, if your blender can handle such a small amount. Stir the lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper into the garlic paste.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 425° F. Using a pastry brush or spoon, slather chicken on all sides with one-third of the garlic mixture, a sprinkling of the oregano, and a drizzle of oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, slathering on more of the garlic mixture, oil, and oregano in 2 more additions (approximately every 7 to 10 minutes). The chicken is done when it’s golden brown and cooked through.  Serve with the pan juices or the tasty sludge on the bottom of the pan.

Serves 2

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Filed under baseball, Books, cookbooks, Food Writing, NY Yankees, With Recipes

Guest Blogger: Helen Boltson, Proverbial Foodie

Today’s guest Blogger is Helen Boltson a self-styled foodie who has studied cooking and baking in the US, Thailand, and France. She started a cookie business while in college and worked at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, volunteered for charity events such as Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation and the Food Bank of NYC. She has eaten her way through over thirty countries and in addition to having lived in California, Colorado, and New York, she has also resided in France, England, and Brazil.

I actually met Helen’s homemade marshmallows before I met her. She gave some to Soo at the gym. They were delicious and she tells a funny story about how upon the first attempt of the Francois Payard recipe these same marvels of fluffiness came out like soup. Maybe she’ll share that story next time.

RYE NOT? by Helen Boltson

I am the proverbial foodie. I love to cook, bake, read cookbooks, food blogs, recipes on the Internet, from magazines and yes, I even love to grocery shop.
My cookbook collection is vast. Stacks of books are piled on the floor but my ceilings are 15’ high, so I still have plenty of space to expand my collection.

I recently acquired the book “Good to the Grain”, by Kim Boyce, a former pastry chef at Spago and Campanile. What attracted me to the book was its focus on using whole grain flours. There are entire chapters on barley, kamut, quinoa, teff among the 13 grains covered.

I decided to try to make something I had never made before, something familiar, yet with a twist: soft pretzels. The recipe in this book uses rye and all-purpose flour. Reading though the recipe it sounded like it would be fun to make.

Yeast and honey with a little water, I added some rye and all-purpose flour and was soon ready to knead. Worked out my upper arms for a bit, and then the dough was ready to rise.

The next steps were fun: cutting the dough into pieces, rolling each piece into a long snake-like shape, forming them into pretzels, and letting them proof. Here’s what they looked like after they had this second rise:

So far, so good and we are on to boil the pretzels. A very innocuous looking paragraph states “fill a large pot with 10 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once the pretzels are proofed and the water is boiling, add the baking soda [1/2 cup] to the water.” I follow the instructions to a tee, and then BOOM, Mt. Vesuvius erupts and the 10 cups of water and ½ cup of baking soda from my 5 ½ quart Le Creuset are now on my oven, under my oven, under the wine rack, under the kitchen stool, and around the olive oil bottles, tool chest, tin of tomatoes, empty mason jars, and vacuum cleaner, all of which, due to lack of sufficient storage space, reside on the floor of my kitchen. Let’s just say that chemistry was not my strong suit and the words “boiling water” and “baking soda” did not cause alarm. Pause here for clean-up.

Eventually, the pretzels made it into and out of the pot, were sprinkled with some lovely chunky gray salt, and placed into the oven.

The pretzels had a lovely crunch on the outside and were chewy on the inside. You might not guess that there was rye flour in the recipe…at first taste you may think that they were made with whole wheat flour.

I still find evidence of some dried baking soda from time to time, but I would definitely make this recipe again, I think I’ll put my 12 quart pasta pot to good use!

Photos by Helen Boltson for making SundaySauce…

Soft Rye Pretzels (makes 12)

(Adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood)

For the proofing bowl and for the baking sheets:

2 TBL unsalted butter, melted

For the dough:

1-1/2 cups water

1 package active dry yeast

1 TBL honey

1 cup rye flour

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 TBL kosher salt

For the water bath:

10 cups water

½ cup baking soda

For finishing:

Course sea salt, such as Maldon or chunky gray salt

In a small saucepan, heat the 1-1/2 cups water over low heat until it is warm to the touch (approximately 100°). Put the yeast in a large bowl and add the water. Add the honey and stir to combine. Add the rye, all-purpose flour, and salt and stir again.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead. Add up to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour as needed, until the dough is tacky, but not sticky. Knead until soft and supple (approximately 12 minutes).

Lightly brush a large bowl with melted butter. Using a dough scraper, scrape the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and let rise until doubled in size (approximately 1-1/2 hours).

While the dough is rising, place two racks at the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 450°. Brush two baking sheets generously with melted butter.

Once the dough has doubled in size, place onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 12 even-sized pieces. Roll each into a snake about 17” long, with thinly tapered ends. Form each snake into a pretzel shape by folding one-third of the left side over the center of the snake, and then one-third of the right side over the left. Place the shaped pretzels onto the buttered baking sheets. Let proof for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill the largest pot you have with 10 cups of water and bring it to a boil. If you have a tall wide pasta pot, that would be best. When pretzels are proofed and water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda to the water. Caution: if your pot is not tall enough and you add too much baking soda too quickly, the liquid may erupt out of the pot.

Place 2-3 pretzels at a time gently in the water. Boil one side for 30 seconds, and gently flip over and boil the other side for 30 seconds. Use a strainer or large slotted spoon to remove the pretzels, pat any excess water with a towel, and transfer onto the buttered baking sheets. Boil the remaining pretzels. Sprinkle with salt to your taste.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through (sheet on top rack to bottom rack, and turn front of sheet so that it is now in the back). When ready, they should be dark mahogany in color. Original recipe notes they are best eaten the day they are made, but I had great success refrigerating them and reheating them in a toaster. I even froze some and thawed them for a short while in a microwave and then toasted them. I know microwave plus bread product is usually not a good idea, but in this case, it worked quite well.


Filed under cookbooks, Food Writing, With Recipes