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Kugels for Hanukkah

Noodle Kugel Recipe

There are as many different kinds of kugels as there are Jewish cooks. Kugels have a long culinary history: There’s evidence they’ve been around for centuries. The early ones were made from bread and flour and resembled bread puddings, and they would have been savory, rather than sweet, since sugar wasn’t readily available in Europe until the 1600s. About 800 years ago German cooks replaced the bread mixture with noodles, later adding eggs, cheese and milk, thereby transforming the kugel into a creamy casserole. Kugels have been evolving ever since.

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Corky Pollan Celebrates Food Day with a Harvest Menu

Food Day Menu

October 24th is the country’s first ever Food Day, similar to Earth Day but focused on promoting a just, healthy, and sustainable food system. As soon as I learned about it, I began thinking about an appropriate way for me to mark the day. I’m someone who is professionally involved with food, one who loves to eat and loves to cook, and one who has always associated food with meals shared with family and friends. So I decided to bring Food Day into the home with a celebratory dinner for eight special friends.

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Choose-Your-Fruit Crumbles

Summer is crumble season with fruits at the peak of deliciousness, yet I persist in making the same old classic crumbles: apple, or peach and blueberry. This summer I vowed to break out of my crumble rut and so I embarked on an epic bake-off, testing dozens of fruits and fruit combinations. In the process I discovered some surprising new crumble loves — like banana, mango and pineapple — along with the realization that just about any jumble of fruits wrapped in a crumble topping are winners.

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Hakurei Turnips

Hakurei Turnips

It’s not often you hear people waxing rhapsodic over turnips, but these snow white little globes are so crisp and sweet you too will be singing their praises.  I was introduced to the Japanese Hakurei by chef Dan Barber who serves these beauties with just a sprinkling of salt when you sit down to dinner at Stone Barns. Though the Hakurei has developed something of a cult following in recent years, you’re not likely to find them anywhere but at farmers’ markets.

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New Favorite Recipes for the Grill

Grilled Oysters and Clams

Each year we lug out our grill, and each year we wind up grilling the same old foods in the same old ways.  This year I vowed to take advantage of my gas grill’s versatility and in the process I’ve come up with two new favorite uses. One takes mere minutes, the other five to six hours.

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Ready for Ramps


Not long ago the appearance of asparagus announced that winter is over. But asparagus is now available year round in the supermarket, so for me it’s the arrival of ramps that tells me spring is here. Just last weekend I discovered bunches of these fragrant little plants at the Union Square Farmer’s Market and they’ll be around for the next four weeks.

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Pre-Salting Poultry and Meat

Pre-Salting Meat and Poultry

I think it was my love of eating that turned me into a cook, one who is always searching for methods to make what I cook taste ever better. Like many home cooks I’ve found myself in the middle of trying a new recipe when suddenly I realize I’m in trouble–the language is vague and the process inadequately described– so I have to wing it. In my contributions to Devour, I’m eager to define in simple language the terms that recipes often leave vague and explore the techniques, tips, and tricks that chefs and long-time cooks have acquired over the years.

For years now I’ve been brining my chickens and meats to make them tender and tastier, but it’s always been something of a bother, an annoying and time consuming additional step in the cooking process. Recently I tried a pre-salting technique championed by San Francisco chef Judy Roberts (of the Zuni Café) and food science writer Harold McGee. I was attracted by its simplicity, but marveled at the results.

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