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.

Pinot Noir Lamb Dinner Pairing Drink Pairings

Pinot Noir Pairings

As I say in my posting of links to a couple of dozen Sauvignon Blanc pairings and about a dozen Rosé pairings, any pairing of food and drink is a ...

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Drink Pairings

Rosé Pairings

One of many wonderful dry rosés from Sonoma County As I say in my posting of links to a couple of dozen Sauvignon Blanc pairings, any pairing of food ...

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Sauces & Condiments

Red Onion Marmalade, by request

When I first began making this delicious condiment, I used big red torpedo onions. Today I am just as likely to use locally grown Walla Walla onions or whatever other ...

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Drink Pairings

Sauvignon Blanc Pairings

Angeline Sauvignon Blanc, a favorite quaffer The best way to think of food and beverage pairings are as snapshots in time, shaped not only by the wine itself and the ...

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Glass of Wedding Cuvee at a tasting room Drink Pairings

What To Drink with Potato Salads

A lovely quaffer with potato salads of all kinds. If potato salad will be part of a barbecue or picnic, it is a good idea to offer a selection of ...

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Russian Egg Potato Salad Recipe

Russian Egg Potato Salad

You can make a great warm potato salad by simply combining the warm sliced potatoes with the caraway vinaigrette. Continue on with the recipe and it becomes an extravaganza, a ...

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Picture of the Marshall House Sonoma County Salads

Marshall House Potato Salad

"I always added the bacon drippings to the potatoes," owner Axel Roelz, chef and owner of the Marshall House, confessed when I was working on California Home Cooking. "But I ...

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Roasted Mussels with black pepper Salads

Mussel & Potato Salad

Potatoes just dug from ground For the very best potatoes, with that deep earthy flavor, try to find those that have been dry-farmed. The difference is remarkable.

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