Get your BBQ game right with this basic potato salad

With spring comes months of barbecues, picnics and other outdoor parties, and a crowd favorite side dish for any such events is a good, basic potato salad. Potato salad can be jazzed up with all sorts of great ingredients, but sometimes simple is just better. One recipe we have been making for years is a…

Basics: Make your own simple syrup. Please.

I used to work at a liquor store, and I was continually amused at how often I would see people buying bottles of simple syrup. As they were content to pay $7.99 for a 12-ounce bottle, I wanted to scream “It’s just sugar water!” That probably wouldn’t fall under best retail practices, but still. You…

Grilled whole sea bass: Healthy, tasty, primal

At a recent visit to our favorite Asian grocery store, the dazzling array of fresh seafood caught our attention. The live lobsters and blue crabs might have fit nicely in our stockpot, but not in our budget, so we downgraded to Plan B: grilled whole sea bass. It didn’t feel like a big sacrifice, though,…

Basics: Make your own semolina pasta

Sometimes, cooking is just about getting fed. You crank out a meal to get on with your day, hopefully with minimal effort. Think ham sandwich. But sometimes, people like us cook for the sheer pleasure of the process. If there are more steps in the recipe, that’s a good thing. On days like those, sometimes…

Basics: Guacamole

Doesn’t it feel sometimes like guacamole is similar to dancing? Because everyone does it their way, and most are pretty satisfied that their way is the right way. I’m the exception: I’m pretty convinced that my dancing is the wrong way, so when it’s required, I keep it simple. I feel better about my guacamole…

Basics: This wine reduction sauce is as elegant as it is easy

My interest in cooking goes back about 35 years, when I used to work with a French guy named Gilles. He was stereotypically French in that he loved to cook, and we loved to eat his cooking — even if that meant having a second dinner at midnight, which was usually how it went. We…

Basics: Turn day-old bread into croutons

Who doesn’t love a crispy, fresh crouton on the top of a salad or bowl of soup? There are plenty of packaged croutons at the market, but why not use day-old bread and recycle it into crunchy bits of love from your pantry to your plate? Here how easy it is to make homemade croutons….

Basics: Here’s your new weeknight tomato sauce

Here’s a recipe everyone should have in their back pocket. It’s a revered 4-ingredient tomato sauce made famous by esteemed chef Marcella Hazan. It comes together in under an hour with almost no effort, and it shows that good cooking can be simple and stress-free. Try it; you’ll be blown away. Basically you throw the…