Ruhlman Rules: His Tips & Techniques Will Make You A Better Cook

It’s been awhile since I wrote about cookbooks. Honestly, during the sweltering summer months, I just assumed we were all more interested in gazpachos, ice cold martinis and very barely composed salads. But now that the temperature is dropping, it’s a little more exciting to delve into new recipes and dishes or simply rework the classics that are already a part of your arsenal.

So whether you are the type of gal who relies on healthy take out most of the time and cooks only occasionally or a home cook who can rock any ingredient thrown at you, one of the best books to have on hand is Ruhlman’s Twenty:The Ideas and Techniques That Will Make You a Better Cook.

Author Michael Ruhlman, has been paring down techniques and recipes for years, giving readers the very best, and surprisingly simple, ways to cook at home. Like mothers and grandmothers before us using The Joy of Cooking, Ruhlman has made it so that you can master any dish, whether it’s the first you’ve made it or the 20th.

I have been cooking for almost 3 decades now and I’ve learned a lot from this book, such as tweaking routine steps (salting water – page 21), culled some fascinating recipes for when my cooking needs serious livening things up (Cider Vinegar Tart – page 101) and been surprised by his preferences (he uses salted butter – page 131). It serves as a useful reminder (use a little butter to finish your sauces – page 133), shows unusual methods of cooked (Dutch Oven Bread – page 155), will save you from boring meats and salads with his vinaigrettes (page 205-213) and boasts fantastic soups (Sausage and Escarole – page 220, Cream of Celery Root – page 221).

There are entire chapters on braising, eggs and things you’ll want to try like Halibut Poached in Olive Oil (page 285). It’s more than just a cookbook – it’s a book of instruction and help, but also inspiration. Just watch as you read through, how caught up you suddenly get in watching your onions caramelize or the sudden urge to seek out veal breasts at your local butcher.

Buy Ruhlman’s Twenty now and be a master cook in no time, without the expense or time it takes to go to culinary school.

Shirred eggs, anyone (page 112)?

Stephanie Dickison

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