You learn to cook so you don’t have to rely on recipes — Julia Child

Julia is right, of course, but if you didn’t learn to cook when you were a child you have to start somewhere. I began teaching myself to cook when I was six or seven and received my first cookbook for my eighth birthday. I loved the process of cooking at least as much as the final results, and sometimes more so. It was the exploration of ingredients, the alchemy of transforming them, and my growing ability to make foods taste delicious that enchanted me.

If you want to become a good or better cook, my advice is to first become a good eater: savor your food, indulge your curiosity, be brave and daring, eat outside the box—both figuratively and literally. Get to know fresh foods in their own true season, rather than out-of-season foods from far away. Simple cooking will follow naturally and I’m here to help. This section includes the basic recipes every home cook should know by heart, along with techniques, recommendations for equipment, and more, with new posts weekly.


Bean Pot Cooking

In Sonoma County, several farmers grow delicious dried beans, available at farmers markets and farm stands. Rancho Gordo, located in Napa, has an extraordinary selection, available in many local stores ...

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Cherry Tomato Salsa Sauces & Condiments

Cherry Tomato Salsa

Make this salsa from the time the first cherry tomatoes appear in late spring or early summer until the first fall storm. And for the most beautiful results, use a ...

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Avocado Sauce Sauces & Condiments

Avocado Sauce

This is the sort of dish that doesn't really need a recipe, especially once you've made it a couple of times.

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Meyer Lemon Risotto Grains

Meyer Lemon Risotto

I first made this tangy yet voluptuous risotto to go with Iron Horse Vineyards 1998 Classic Vintage Brut and it was one of those flawless matches that sent the wine soaring. ...

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Deviled Eggs Eggs

Deviled Eggs

Please note that you can use all mayonnaise (4 tablespoons) instead of a combination of mayonnaise and creme fraiche. It will be delicious just not quite as voluptuous.

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Man pouring craft beer Drink Pairings

Beer and Cheese: A Starter Guide

  Wheat: Bright, light on the palate, ideal with both young, high-acid white cheeses, from fresh chevre, burrata and farmers cheese to feta, mozzarella and mascarpone and with soft-ripened cheeses ...

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