Monica Eng, the Chicago Tribune reporter who wrote about Cleveland’s surprisingly wonderful culinary scene a few weeks ago (surprising to her and fellow Chicagoans – not to us), is at it again. This time she reviews Cleveland’s Michael Ruhlman and his new book, Elements of Cooking. I’ve had my copy for over two months now, but haven’t gotten around to reading past the first few chapters. Not because it isn’t a great read, but because I’m notorious for never finishing books. Her article makes me want to finish the book this weekend.
The elements of Ruhlman
Respected chronicler of food scene delivers ambitious (and opinionated) glossary of cooking / By Monica Eng Tribune reporter / January 30, 2008
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS – Michael Ruhlman wants bacon for breakfast.
So he trots down to his basement refrigerator and returns with a big Ziploc bag holding a slab of pork belly that has been curing for a week in thyme, garlic, pepper, brown sugar and pink (curing) salt.
He expertly carves off four thick slices and lets them sizzle slowly while he heats up another skillet to almost smoking for sliced mushrooms that he sears, beautifully caramelizing them before they cook through. He’ll fold them into a perfectly executed omelet and slide the pair onto warmed plates with a chunk of baguette that has been crisping in the oven, all finished with precise timing.
“Sit down and eat,” he urges. “You’ve got to eat omelets hot.”
Welcome to breakfast in the home of one of America’s top food writers. Ruhlman — who penned “The French Laundry Cookbook,” “Charcuterie,” “A Return to Cooking” and “The Making of a Chef” — also is a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, who has spent lots of hands-on research time in some of the country’s top kitchens.
As such, he’s one of the best translators of the chef’s craft to home cooks. And it can be a boon to visitors who stop by his suburban Cleveland home for breakfast and a chat about his new book “The Elements of Cooking” (Scribner, $24).
Get the rest of the article here.