Articles from joe george

  1. Der Kuchen

    It's 8:15 on a chilly November morning and I'm standing in a large empty kitchen stirring flour, yeast, and water in a small bowl and feeling a little stressed. I'm also thinking of my mother. She, of course, is not the reason I am feeling stressed; it's because of the busy day ahead of me. Though my mother has been gone for many years and the thought of her still comforts me. The recipe that I'm making—kuchen, or German coffee cake—is hers, and this is the reason I think of her at this...
  2. How To Make a Really Good Loaf of Whole Wheat Bread

    It's common knowledge that bread made with whole wheat flour is much healthier than if made with refined flour, and it's a misconception that whole wheat bread be heavy and sodden. But expecting a homemade loaf of whole wheat bread to resemble a soft and squishy supermarket loaf is unrealistic; they are two entirely different breads. Plastic-wrapped supermarket breads have paragraph-long ingredient lists—dough  conditioners, additives, and a litany of unrecognizable words—but a loaf you make...
  3. Broth, Bouillon, Brodo

    “Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”–Louis P. De Gouy
    A few weeks ago as I left my sister's house on Thanksgiving's eve I carried with me not only a very full belly but also a picked-over turkey carcass. Safely enclosed in a plastic bag, I placed it in the rear of my small pickup truck and that's where it stayed for the night. In the morning while still in my pajamas and with...
  4. Pickle Me This

     "Preserving was almost a mania with Mrs. Bergson....When there was nothing to preserve, she began to pickle." --Willa Cather, 'Death Comes for the Archbishop' (1927)
    I'm the type of person that tends to wonder a lot, and I've been this way as long as I can remember. Being an avid bicyclist, for example, I often wonder what it was like before the advent of the automobile. People traveled less, no doubt, and worked close to home—indeed, to travel 20 miles may have taken the better part of a...
  5. How To Stew Stuff

    Often when I discuss cooking I try to emphasize how simple it is and that it may sometimes seem overly complicated when in fact it is not. Of course there are certain culinary techniques to follow—rules, if you like—but for the most part good wholesome cooking is pretty easy. And one of the simplest ways to cook—especially heartier foods during the cold months—is a stew. This can be as simple as putting diced food in a pot and simmering it, or as complicated as Julia Child's three-page...
  6. Making Christmas Cookies

    I really believe that food likes and dislikes are ingrained in your memory and on your palate at an early age. The sense of taste and smell are supposed to carry a person's strongest memories. This undoubtedly is one of the reasons home-style meals and "comfort foods" are such big business today. It's "comforting" to recall times gone by when things were simpler, before faxes, e-mails, and wireless everything. Food can really transcend time, for however brief a period. A kitchen in the...
  7. Thanksgiving Left Overs

    Well, here it is November already (can you believe it?), and being a chef/food writer I feel compelled to offer the obligatory turkey article. And as I do, a quote comes to mind. Some years ago while attending a seminar at the New School in NYC one of the speakers was Nach Waxman, owner of the literary cookbook store, Kitchen Arts and Letters. When he sat down he gave the room a long sweeping look and then said, "We do not live in a recipe deprived society." He paused, and then repeated...
  8. Bread In History Religion And As Metaphor Part Iii

    The role of bread in western civilization has been so important that it's ingrained into our very culture. As a food and also as metaphor it continues to be ensconced in everyday life. And its long history is almost beyond belief.

    Wheat, from which most breads are derived, has been cultivated and stored since prerecorded times. And there's evidence that bread has been baked and used as a staple food for more than 6000 years. The truly amazing thing is that other than modern conveniences...
  9. Making Bread Part 4

    The simplest variations are made through substitution or addition. By this I mean substituting a portion of the white bread flour for another, such as whole wheat or rye, or by adding additional ingredients, such as cheese, herbs, or even chili peppers. There's also the option of using the basic dough as a sort of medium for other ingredients, such as pizza, focaccia, and calzone. More abstract variations on the basic recipe lies not only in its ingredients but also in the method in which...
  10. How To Make Gazpacho

    On a recent hot and humid eveni
    ng I was standing in my garden with an empty plate in one hand and a small juice-glass of wine in the other; I was looking for dinner.

    I set down the glass of wine on the edge of the porch and picked a few leaves of basil and a couple small chilies, and put them on the plate. A couple perfectly ripe tomatoes also went in the mix, as did a cucumber and small bell pepper.

    As is often the case, I nibbled herbs and vegetables as I foraged. And as I bent to look...
  11. Resources Guide For Bread Bakers

    Here’s a list of books and websites that are useful for the home baker and also the professional, whether you’re a novice or experienced. Most offer a plethora of recipes, and many include text that is even more interesting. A few in fact could be considered scholarly on the fascinating subject of bread and are as interesting to read as they are to bake from. Some are classics; some are new. These are just a few suggestions; the list could be much longer.
    Books:
    Bernard Clayton’s Complete...
  12. How Bread Works It 039 S Ingredients And Their Symbiotic Relationship

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  13. How To Make A Loaf Of Bread Part One In A Four Part Series

    Because I believe that homemade bread offers benefits on many levels, and that it is neither demanding nor difficult to make—that it doesn't have to disrupt the rhythm of your life but can become part of it—I begin without ceremony.
    For crusty, country-style bread, which is bread in it's original and most basic form, you'll need the following ingredients: bread flour, water, yeast, and salt. As for equipment, a large bowl and wooden spoon are all that are required if, but an upright electric...
  14. How To Roast A Chicken And Other Savory Foods

    To look in any dictionary under the word "roast" will most likely yield a definition such as "to cook foods using dry heat in a contained oven or near an open flame". Sounds simple, right? As with anything though, a roast can be made as uncomplicated or elaborate as one decides. I personally like to keep things simple. Once, while taking a course on French Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, I witnessed a chef roasting three capon. As simple as it sounds it was one of the most beautiful yet...
  15. Preserving Foods

    Noah carried the slabs of meat into the kitchen and cut it into small salting blocks, and Ma patted the course salt in, laid it piece by piece in the kegs, careful that no two pieces touched each other. She laid the slabs like bricks, and pounded salt in the spaces.
     --John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
    Really Slow Food...
    The other day I was rummaging around in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator and what I found was anything but crisp. About a month ago I had purchased two heads of...
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