Just over a decade ago, journalist Michael Ruhlman donned a chef's jacket and houndstooth-check pants to join the students at the Culinary Institute of America, the country's oldest and most influential cooking school. But The Making of a Chef is not just about holding a knife or slicing an onion; it's also about the nature and spirit of being a professional cook and the people who enter the profession. As Ruhlman—now an expert on the fundamentals of cooking—recounts his growing mastery of the skills of his adopted profession, he propels himself and his readers through a score of kitchens and classrooms in search of the elusive, unnameable elements of great food.
Incisively reported, with an insider's passion and attention to detail, The Making of a Chef remains the most vivid and compelling memoir of a professional culinary education on record.
Early in his career, food writer Michael Ruhlman had his first taste of duck confit. The experience “became a fascination that transformed into a quest” to understand the larger world of food preservation, called charcuterie, once a critical factor in human survival. He wondered why its methods and preparations, which used to keep communities alive and allowed for long-distance exploration, had been almost forgotten. Along the way he met Brian Polcyn, who had been surrounded with traditional and modern charcuterie since childhood. “My Polish grandma made kielbasa every Christmas and Easter,” he told Ruhlman. At the time, Polcyn was teaching butchery at Schoolcraft College outside Detroit.
Ruhlman and Polcyn teamed up to share their passion for cured meats with a wider audience. The rest is culinary history. Charcuterie: Revised and Updated is organized into chapters on key practices: salt-cured meats like pancetta, dry-cured meats like salami and chorizo, forcemeats including pâtés and terrines, and smoked meats and fish. Readers will find all the classic recipes: duck confit, sausages, prosciutto, bacon, pâté de campagne, and knackwurst, among others. Ruhlman and Polcyn also expand on traditional mainstays, offering recipes for hot- and cold-smoked salmon; shrimp, lobster, and leek sausage; and grilled vegetable terrine. All these techniques make for a stunning addition to a contemporary menu.
Thoroughly instructive and fully illustrated, this updated edition includes seventy-five detailed line drawings that guide the reader through all the techniques. With new recipes and revised sections to reflect the best equipment available today, Charcuterie: Revised and Updated remains the undisputed authority on charcuterie.
When you know a culinary ratio, it’s not like knowing a single recipe, it’s instantly knowing a thousand.
Why spend time sorting through the millions of cookie recipes available in books, magazines, and on the Internet? Isn’t it easier just to remember 1-2-3? That’s the ratio of ingredients that always make a basic, delicious cookie dough: 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour. From there, add anything you want—chocolate, lemon and orange zest, nuts, poppy seeds, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, almond extract, or peanut butter, to name a few favorite additions. Replace white sugar with brown for a darker, chewier cookie. Add baking powder and/or eggs for a lighter, airier texture.
Ratios are the starting point from which a thousand variations begin.
Ratios are the simple proportions of one ingredient to another. Biscuit dough is 3:1:2—or 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, and 2 parts liquid. This ratio is the beginning of many variations, and because the biscuit takes sweet and savory flavors with equal grace, you can top it with whipped cream and strawberries or sausage gravy. Vinaigrette is 3:1, or 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, and is one of the most useful sauces imaginable, giving everything from grilled meats and fish to steamed vegetables or lettuces intense flavor.
Cooking with ratios will unchain you from recipes and set you free. With thirty-three ratios and suggestions for enticing variations, Ratio is the truth of cooking: basic preparations that teach us how the fundamental ingredients of the kitchen—water, flour, butter and oils, milk and cream, and eggs—work. Change the ratio and bread dough becomes pasta dough, cakes become muffins become popovers become crepes.
As the culinary world fills up with overly complicated recipes and never-ending ingredient lists, Michael Ruhlman blasts through the surplus of information and delivers this innovative, straightforward book that cuts to the core of cooking. Ratio provides one of the greatest kitchen lessons there is—and it makes the cooking easier and more satisfying than ever.
For culinary visionary Michael Ruhlman, the question is not whether the chicken or the egg came first, it's how anything could be accomplished in the kitchen without the magic of the common egg. He starts with perfect poached and scrambled eggs and builds up to brioche and Italian meringue. Along the way readers learn to make their own mayonnaise, pasta, custards, quiches, cakes, and other preparations that rely fundamentally on the hidden powers of the egg.
A unique framework for the book is provided in Ruhlman's egg flowchart, which starts with the whole egg at the top and branches out to describe its many uses and preparations -- boiled, pressure-cooked, poached, fried, coddled, separated, worked into batters and doughs, and more. A removable illustrated flowchart is included with the book.
Nearly 100 recipes are grouped by technique and range from simple (Egg Salad with Tarragon and Chives) to sophisticated (nougat). Dozens of step-by-step photographs guide the home cook through this remarkable culinary journey.
Modeled on Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, The Elements of Cooking is an opinionated volume by Michael Ruhlman -- the award-winning and bestselling author of The Making of a Chef and coauthor of The French Laundry Cookbook -- that pares the essentials of good cooking into a slim, easy-to-take-anywhere book. It will also stand alongside a handful of classics of the kitchen, just as Strunk and White's book sits on the desk of every writer and every English student.
Not only does this book deconstruct the essential knowledge of the kitchen, it also takes what every professional chef knows instinctively after years of training and experience and offers it up cleanly and brilliantly to the home cook.
With hundreds of entries from acid to zester, here is all the information -- no more and no less -- you need to cook, as well as countless tips (including only one recipe in the entire book, for the "magic elixir of the kitchen") and no-nonsense advice on how to be a great cook. You'll learn to cook everything, as the entries cover all the key moves you need to make in the kitchen and teach you, for example, not only what goes into a great sauce but how to think about it to make it great.
Eight short, beautifully written essays outline what it takes not merely to cook but to cook well: understanding heat, using the right tools (there are only five of them), cooking with eggs, making stock, making sauce, salting food, what a cook should read, and exploring the elusive, most important skill to have in the kitchen, finesse.
For his previous explorations into the restaurant kitchen and the men and women who call it home, Michael Ruhlman has been described by Anthony Bourdain as ?the greatest living writer on the subject of chefs?and on the business of preparing food.? In The Reach of a Chef, Ruhlman examines the profound shift in American culture that has raised restaurant cooking to the level of performance art and the status of the chef to celebrity CEO. Bibliophiles and foodies alike will savor this intimate meeting with some of the most famous chefs in the kitchens of the hottest restaurants in the world.
Michael is known for his easy, fresh food. He means it when he says that if a dish requires more than two pans to finish, he’s not going to make it. Cooking what he calls “heritage” food–based on the recipes beloved by his Greek—Italian—Eastern European—American parents and the community in Cleveland–Michael draws on the flavors of traditional recipes to create sophisticated dishes, such as his Beef Cheek Pierogies with Wild Mushrooms and Horseradish, which came out of the pierogies that his grandpa made. Michael translates the influences of the diverse working-class neighborhood in which he grew up into dishes with Mediterranean ingredients, such as those in Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Fennel, Rosemary, and Garlic; Italian-style handmade pastas, like Linguini with Heirloom Tomato, Capers, Anchovies, and Chilies; and re-imagined Cleveland favorites, such as Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary.
Part of Michael’s irresistible allure on the Food Network comes from how much fun he has in the kitchen. To help readers gain confidence and have a good time, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook has advice for cooking like a pro, starting with basic instructions for how to correctly use techniques such as braising, poaching, and pickling. There’s also information on how caramelizing vegetables and toasting spices can give dishes a greater depth of flavor–instead of a heavy, time-consuming stock-based sauce–and why the perfect finishing touch to most meat or fish dishes can be a savory hot vinaigrette instead.
With fantastic four-color photography throughout and tons of helpful “Symon Says” tips, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook is bound to get anyone fired up about getting into the kitchen and cooking up something downright delicious.
From the Hardcover edition.