I hope we all have a happy new year, and definitely a more prosperous one, with good food and wine. New Year’s Eve, I’ll fillet out a wild sea bass, pin-bone the fillets, salt and pepper them, place them skin-side down in a little hot olive oil in my cast-iron skillet, scatter a tablespoon of mixed chopped chives and parsley over them, followed by a short squeeze of lemon, turn them over and finish the other side, serve on a bed of pilaf-style rice (steamed in light chicken stock and tossed with toasted pine nuts), with some baby peas and caramelized mushrooms. Simple, quick, lovely. The wine will be white Burgundy, Louis Jadot’s Macon-AzĂ©, inexpensive, very nice, just right for the occasion and the food. (Much earlier, the kid will get his favorite food and beverage, sausages and French fries with lots of ketchup, and a rare Diet Coke.) We’ll all be in bed early and happy, and wish for the same for you.

Booked Up

Every Christmas, I get cookbooks, but the two food books I’m already enjoying, really quite wonderful, aren’t cookbooks at all. The surprising one is called Notes on Cooking, by Lauren Braun Costello and Russell Reich (RCR Creative Press, $21.95). Ms. Costello was one of the team who revised the 75th Anniversary edition of “The Joy of Cooking” (as I was, though we never met). It’s a

RECIPE: Chicken Pot Pie, French-Style

Some time back in the days of nouvelle cuisine, the idea of thickening sauces with flour was discarded by big-time chefs, and reductions became the thing; they’re fine, but there’s something supremely comforting about the mellow richness of the older style they can’t quite match. This recipe is adapted from a fairly standard country-French

Health Advisory

Please don't get swine flu, okay? Aside from the pain (considerable) and the discomfort (even more so), it interferes with blogging and anticipating the epicurean delights of the holidays to come. (Which resumes tomorrow.)