Aug 24th, 2011
While stuffing tortilla chips into paper bags in preparation for the second-ever Salsa SF Food Wars last Sunday, a fellow volunteer wondered aloud whether many of the contestants would stick to making salsa,
as the locals all know it. "Not pico de gallo," she clarified. I had to squirm. As a New Yorker, I'm used to a chunky mixture of fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro and peppers -- pico de gallo -- as the quintessential bowl of "salsa" at a barbecue. Not a thin, flavorful sauce that you can blanket a chip with, or drizzle onto a taco for extra juice, be it red, green, creamy-orange, or anywhere in between. Well, I was certainly schooled in salsa-making over the course of the day.
Serious Salsas Win Big at SF Food Wars
Jul 11th, 2011
There's a lot of excitement in the city, but sometimes you have to step back from it for a while to see the big picture behind the Big Apple. That's what happened to Anna Mumford, who's working on a documentary film, Mumford Farms
, now in its final leg of fundraising. After working tirelessly for various food justice causes and filming urban farms, local food advocates and events, she took a stint on her family's farm in Indiana, and came back with a sharper sense of how our food system works.
From Homeland to Heartland: Support Mumford Farms, A Documentary on Food
Jun 25th, 2011
We've all heard about kimchi and its intoxicating powers of addiction, but July 10th on Governor's Island, get ready to become acquainted with the fermented vegetable in a major way. Kheedim Oh, founder of the small-batch artisanal Mama O's Kimchi based in Queens, is holding a Kimchipalooza, which will take place as a highlight of CookOut NYC. Just say, yes, we kim!
Kheedim Oh Wants You to Kimchi Me!
Jun 17th, 2011
I'll admit, I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by all the greenery that's coming in from my CSA -- and growing on the roof. I hit a breaking point when my friend Wen-Jay (of Local Roots CSA) offered me some leftover stinging nettle from a pick-up day, and I found myself biking home with two swinging backs full of stinging weeds, wondering how I was going to stuff them in my fridge. I thought of buying a juicer -- a quick, mindless solution to getting it all in my body like a transfusion of deep-green. But a classic Spanish recipe, made with mountains of muddled greens and fresh herbs, came to mind instead.
Green Gazpacho (and a preview of the Feast of 61 Local Ingredients)
Mar 28th, 2011
We're happy and hungover at Sixpoint and BeerAdvocate, and want to thank everyone who came out to our inaugural fundraiser event, Beer For Beasts, at the Bell House on Saturday. I had a fabulous time, and am eager to share a recipe for one beer I heard many compliments on... me and Robert's Triphop Grapefruit IPA! But first, a quick recap of how the event went down:
TripHop Grapefruit IPA (and a recap of Beer For Beasts)
Mar 23rd, 2011
These past few warmer weeks, I haven't been able to get the song, "Here Comes the Sun" out of my head. Spring means a lot of things to a lot of people, whether it's cleaning or getting out of dodge with your "fling." But to me it means a few things: asparagus, pea shoots, dandelion greens and a general presence of chlorophyll. Those are all just around the corner and coming to a Greenmarket soon. So in anticipation of that, let's have a little blogging challenge that captures the essence of spring.
Food Blogger Contest! Post a Spring Recipe to Win Classes at Ger-Nis
Mar 3rd, 2011
photo by MHT
What do figs, spice and everything malty and nice have to do with one another? They're all ingredients of a specialty beer I helped brew this week, for Sixpoint and BeerAdvocate's Beer For Beasts festival. It's an event we've been "brewing" up for a while, and the pieces are all coming together in the form of twenty-some unique, one-off beers that will be served for it. This is just one of those among the lineup, but an exciting one that I just had to share a homebrew recipe for. Inspired by the African title for queens, Kandake, this beer is flavored with honey, birdseye chili (or peri-peri), cardamom, cloves, Ethiopian coffee and dried figs.
Kandake, the Queen of Beers
Feb 13th, 2011
This Thursday, I'm pleased as hot punch to announce a special get-together in the back room at Jimmy's No. 43. I'm throwing a party for the paperback release of The Art of Eating In
, and want to share a whole lot of other books as well. See, I recently moved, and upon packing up boxes of cookbooks, foodie lit books, and books of all sorts, it dawned on me that instead of keeping all the ones I've read and enjoyed several times over, I'd rather give them to those who might do the same, too.
Come Out To a Paperback Book Launch & Book Swap Party (with Cookies)!
Jan 10th, 2011
For a long time, I could never fathom making many beloved, wintry foods without meat. It seemed like if you took the meat away, you'd lose the whole hutzpah of the thing. And besides, we need something to fortify our chilled bones with. Well, it's taken a long journey but in the case of cassoulet, I've decided that it isn't the pork, or duck fat that is the whole hutzpah, it's the tender, melt-in-your-mouth beans swaddled in a creamy, baked-in sauce.
Incredible Vegetable Cassoulet
Nov 4th, 2010
Another weekend in New York, another cook-off to attend! However, this one's for a brand-spanking new cause. Held at Jimmy's No. 43 this Saturday, from 1-4pm, pots of chowder will be steaming up the back room in a seafood-filled fest to raise better awareness of what's in that soup. This cook-off will be a benefit for the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) and its continuing efforts to bring seafood into the sustainable food discussion. A $10 donation will get you in the door to taste all the chowders, and will go right to the non-profit organization.
Cook-Off With Chowder This Saturday
Oct 28th, 2010
This past Monday, the 6th Annual Casserole Party was just as promised the biggest and best one yet. The casseroles were good, but what was truly golden was the giving community spirit from everyone there. This event was free and open to the public, and any donations received was purely optional. Yet between the 44 teams of chefs who entered their casseroles in the cook-off, its organizer Emily Farris, the Brooklyn Kitchen who held the event at their space, Brooklyn Brewery who donated beer, the judges, their appetites, and all the volunteers and fellow foodies who came, ate and helped out, we turned what could have been an average gluttonfest into fun, charitable mission that raised more than $1,000 for the Greenpoint Interfaith Food Team (GIFT) and their weekly soup kitchen efforts. Because everyone needs to eat!
Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake, the Winning Casserole Party ’10 Entry
Oct 1st, 2010
It's a simple conceit: peanut butter and jelly, America's favorite sandwich combination, in America's favorite dessert, pie. You could approach this in many ways, and one other person at the pie contest that I baked this for actually did, layering a peanut butter mousse with concord grape mousse in a thin crust. But the way I went about it was more in keeping with pie tradition than pb&j: I made a fresh fruit filling, and instead of just butter in the crust, added peanut butter, too.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Pie (at the Greenpoint Open Studios Benefit Pie Bake-Off)
Sep 16th, 2010
Two weeks ago, I invited food bloggers to a challenge: to cook (and blog about) a unique recipe from their home kitchen to our computer screens. The incentive? To win a ticket to Let Us Eat Local, the food-filled annual fundraiser party put on by Just Food. And, publication in the non-profit's upcoming Veggie Tipsheets handbook, a how-to on everything you might come across at the market, or in your CSA share. Four brave bloggers took it on, and here's what they made. Though we may not have room for them all in the handbook, I hope they're online inspiration for years to come.
A Veggie Tipsheets Recipe Contest Recap
Aug 27th, 2010
It's back to school time in the city, and it's my favorite season for eating. Pumpkins and other winter squashes are fattening on the vine while heirloom tomatoes and outdoor barbecues are still going strong. It's no wonder Just Food has chosen this time of year to hold its annual fundraiser feast, Let Us Eat Local. This year's party is on September 16th, and it'll be outside, at the South Street Seaport Water Taxi Beach. And it's truly going to be the biggest, best, most delicious and inspiring one so far. I'd love for you to see in person. So once again, I'm holding a recipe contest where one food blogger will win a ticket, and more!
Cook Your Best Veggie Recipe, Win a Ticket to Let Us Eat Local, and Have it Published in Just Food’s Tipsheet
Aug 3rd, 2010
The Sixth Annual Great Hot Dog Cook-Off took place last Saturday, and what a competition we had! The little cook-off that began in Kara Masi's backyard has blossomed into a full-blown block party in front of Kelso Brewery in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. As always, this event was a charity fundraiser for City Harvest, who received all of the proceeds from the 300 ticket sales. Kelso has been sponsoring the cook-off since the very first year, and last year held it inside (and on the streets outside) the brewery. This year, a deejay, announcer, ice cream sponsor (Adirondack) and hot dog (Hummel) sponsor were added. And there were twenty wildly different hot dogs on display from the contestants -- including mine, a green curry mayo-slathered cucumber dog.
The Green Curry Cucumber Dog (and a recap of the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off ’10)
Jul 20th, 2010
We have a new champ of the Food Obstructions, and a winning recipe that I hope everyone cooks up real soon. But first, a big, fat thank-you from Karol, David and myself to everyone who came, ate, and cooked. Together, we raised almost $600 for Just Food, the nonprofit promoting access to fresh, good food for all residents of NYC. It seems that definitely includes us, because what was even more impressive about Sunday was the smorgasbord of delicious, summery treats prepared by our new friends and neighbors. And all of them followed these rules: 1) Must be vegetarian; 2) Must contain locally-sourced honey; 3) Must contain a locally-grown vegetable; 4) Must have an ingredient that's spherical in shape; 5) Must have a crunchy garnish.
Saru Gazpacho, and a Food Obstructions IV Recap
Jun 22nd, 2010
It's been a while since Karol, David and I have hosted a Food Obstructions, the cooking competition based on five ever-changing rules. It started out in November at The Gutter, and we held two more Food Obstructions there over the following months. But now that it's the start of a new season, we're bringing it back with some twists. In celebration of all that's local, edible and in season right now, this time the cook-off will be a fundraiser for Just Food. And because it's warm, it'll be held in the backyard of East River Bar in Williamsburg. We're taking it outside -- let the food fight begin!
The Biggest, Best, Most Outdoors, Food Obstructions IV is July 18th
Jun 16th, 2010
Welcome to summer, New York City, and with that, barbecue season. I hope you've gotten to enjoy the food at a few ones already. But I dare say you've never had anything like what we're going to put on the grills tonight, at Good Company bar (formerly known as Hope Lounge) in Brooklyn. It's Finger on the Pulse's annual BBQ Blowout series, and I'm chef of honor along with my friends at Mrs. Kim's restaurant. Get ready for a crazy Korean-infused barbecue meal, made with local produce and trusted meats.
BBQ Blowout is tonight at Good Company
Jun 9th, 2010
It's summer. There's produce, plenty of it local. It's coming to supermarkets, restaurants and Greenmarkets throughout New York City. But one place you won't hardly ever find it at is a bodega, those convenient, often round-the-clock shops where you can get toothpaste and telephone cards or tonight's dinner of ramen and chips. Unfortunately, this is the only type of grocery store that exists in increasingly more communities here.
That's why the Healthy Bodegas Initiative was formed in 2005, aimed at increasing access to fresh food and improving the health of all New Yorkers through its bodegas. Targeting the most underserved areas, or healthy "food deserts," the mission has partnered with many bodegas and local organizations, such as the Greenmarket of Grow NYC (previously called CENYC). Check out Kerry Trueman's great interview with the initiative's founder, Donya Williams, on Food Systems NYC. And read below for an interview with Justone Bossert, Director of NYC Operations for Red Jacket Orchards, an upstate, family-operated fruit farm that's joined the cause.
Help Healthy Bodega Initiative & Red Jacket Orchard Bring Local Produce to Bodegas
May 24th, 2010
Get ready to see the films, eat some local food and maybe be inspired to make either at tonight's roundup of food documentaries, Hungry Filmmakers. It's the third event for this series, where we invite the filmmakers, a distinguished moderator and the community to see a sampling of recent and upcoming films. Following a ten-minute screening of each one, a panel discussion will further explore the topics covered in them. We're so proud that this time, the moderator for the panel will be Paula Crossfield, editor of Civil Eats. And that the films are...
Hungry Filmmakers III is Tonight
Apr 23rd, 2010
Just a year ago, I was the only kid at the SXSW Interactive conference without a smart phone; I wasn't on Twitter; I rode a rusty bike to get around (at least until the chain broke), and I didn't bother to bring my six-year-old PC laptop with me there, or anywhere, because it didn't work unless it was plugged directly into an outlet. My philosophy was, "If it ain't broke don't replace it," and my pride, making the best of what was already available. I was a "minimalist," both in and outside the kitchen. Well, the times are changing, but that moniker still has significance. Because longtime food writer and author of my absolute favorite column, Mark Bittman, has teamed up with Culinate and Wiley & Sons to release an electronic application of Bittman's classic cookbook, How to Cook Everything
. I have it on my iPhone now. And soon, five of you can too, for free, by answering a question below.
Win the How To Cook Everything iPhone App (and a conversation with Mark Bittman)
Apr 19th, 2010
Skip the lines at the movie theater. Screw the trans fat-popped corn and jumbo packs of Junior Mints. Try this, once, if you've never done it before: hold a movie screening in your home, and have your friends and yourself make the refreshments. And what better time to do that than this Wednesday, because it's the PBS broadcast of Food, Inc.
That's right, screw the DVD rental and cable, too -- as long as you have an oldschool antenna on your telly, you can get this flick at home.
Food, Inc. is Coming to a Potluck Near You
Apr 5th, 2010
This Sunday, Tastebuds NYC and Hot Bread Kitchen are teaming up to host a charity cook-off like none other. I say that because I have no clue what kind of foods the contestants will come up with! The drill is this: make something
using one of these two standbys of the nonprofit bakery, Hot Bread Kitchen: Organic Corn Tortillas or Nutty Granola. Bring it to Jimmy's No. 43. Smile, serve, and see if you win prizes. But if you're not up for being one of the bold chefs in this challenge (I'm guessing some will go savory with the tortillas, some for dessert with granola), you can still join the fun, and fundraising efforts. Come on down and see what happens on April 11th yourself!
Get it While It’s Hot Bread Kitchen’s Cook-Off!
Mar 27th, 2010
I get off on people doing really bold, honest and active projects with the best of their integrity and muscle. When they happen to involve potlucks, bike riding and healthy, local food, I kind of go all apeshit with appreciation. So I'm very excited to share with you what Aaron Zueck and Robert DuBois are embarking on this summer. Bikeloc is what these two friends are calling their summer-long bike tour across America, in which they hope to connect with local communities through food. And in turn, help America become better connected with their food. They're throwing twelve potlucks in various cities, where they'll be cooking local farms' food, and encouraging others to bring something to the table. Think the Eat-In initiative from Slow Food USA last summer, only a better name for theirs might be Eat-On-The-Road. To kick it off, Aaron and Robert are also hosting what sounds to be a crazy fun fundraiser right here in Brooklyn. Read on for the event info...
Bike to the Potluck!: A Q&A with Aaron and Robert of Bikeloc
Mar 3rd, 2010
Join us at Jimmy's No. 43 for a really warm charity event. The 1st annual NYC Souperama, to benefit Harbor Hope and the Fresh Air Fund, is going to be hot. What better way to escape the wintery mix of slush and snow than slurping up ladles of homemade soup, and craft beer? And, chefs are still welcome to sign up so get your stockpots out and throw in whatever's leftover (my favorite thing to do on a winter weekend).
Souperama is This Saturday
Feb 25th, 2010
Let me confess: my first day of the Week of Eating In was actually Sunday, one day before it officially began. On that day, I managed to leaven two loaves of bread, which would later be baked, roast two trays full of root vegetables, which could be snacked on like popcorn or put into more formal preparations with a little warming up, simmer some tomato sauce from a can of whole plum, and make a pot of stock and some soup with most of it. And I went shopping, too, though the brunt of it was on Saturday, picking up bulk plastic bags of produce like apple and turnips at the Greenmarket. I did about enough to keep me going for two weeks of eating in, over the weekend. I'm still thinking that some of this bread may end up for the birds, or at least, as breadcrumbs.
Week of Eating In Day Two: Preparation Is Everything
Feb 23rd, 2010
flyer by Chow Ciao design
We're pleased to roll out the green carpet at Anthology Film Archives tonight, for the second installment of Hungry Filmmakers! The food documentary screening and discussion event is back, thanks to the enormous response we received to the first one. In all his years of hosting and having fun at food events, Jimmy Carbone, proprietor of Jimmy's No. 43 and Hungry Filmmakers co-host along with Tim Lynch, Shelley Rogers and myself, has said that he had never seen such enthusiasm for anything like we saw for the first event. That's saying something, but knowing the great films involved, we weren't surprised.
Hungry Filmmakers II Is Tonight
Feb 21st, 2010
The Week of Eating In is upon us! Cooks, budgeters, eco-foodies, and anyone looking to join in on this one for the fun, grab your utensils and get ready to not eat out (wherever you are) all week! Last week I listed some essential cookware I couldn't live without; this time, it's all about the food. Here's a list of basic pantry and refrigerator staples to stock up one, the kinds that'll keep giving, and giving. It's a minimal list and keep in mind to adapt some items to your own liking (pick one favorite dried bean and call it a day). And I hope that even if you're not gung-ho about cooking for a week straight, you'll find something useful to your cooking routine, too.
Essential Arsenal For Eating In: Pantry Staples
Feb 3rd, 2010
Guys, I'm almost due. On February 18th, this blog will give birth to numerous identical hardcover books, each named The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove
. Published by Gotham/Penguin, it's my first book, a memoir of the two years I spent eating in, solely, all the while trying to keep a somewhat normal life, a paying, nine-to-five job, a boyfriend, social engagements, etc. It didn't turn out being so normal in the end, but what I ended up losing (jobs, boyfriends) over those years was miniscule compared to what I gained from learning to appreciate everything about making meals from scratch, on a daily basis. It's my requiem to an unconventional urban lifestyle, and all the characters and experiences I encountered while not eating out and blogging about it. The book has nothing rehashed from this blog, but let's just say that it shares the same genes.
Compete with Crostini at my Book Launch Party! (and everyone wins books)
Jan 31st, 2010
It's on! Soup and Bread, a cozy tradition from Chicago, is making its way to Brooklyn for the first time this Thursday. Over in the windy city, it's a free, open-to-the-public weekly dinner at the Hideout bar and music venue, where staff, friends, cooks, musicians, and whoever's willing donate pots of homemade soup to serve. It's a culi-charity (has that been coined?) event designed to be low-key, easy to participate in, and fun for the community, especially in the middle of a freezing Midwest winter. And, it's raised thousands of dollars for the Chicago Food Depository, by passing around a bucket for donations at each Soup and Bread.
A Chat with Soup & Bread Founder, Martha Bayne
Jan 20th, 2010
It's time once again, folks. The Food Obstructions III is happening at The Gutter on Sunday, February 7th, and of course we're giving it a corny Valentine's Day kiss. Reddy or not! Here are the five obstructions to your dish:
-Cannot contain onions or garlic
-Must contain hearts (of palm, artichokes, celery, an animal, candy hearts... you name it! Just don't say you simply cooked it "with heart")
-Must include an ingredient that is red
-Cannot require utensils to eat
-Must include an ingredient that is rumored to be an aphrodisiac
Food Obstructions III is February 7
Jan 19th, 2010
I've been having a love affair with beans lately. This may have happened by default, with so few fresh muses in season to cook with, or else a newfound appreciation simply gained on its own merit: beans are infinitely versatile, used in every cuisine, hearty, and nutritious. They are the main ingredient in comfort foods of so many cultures, like the French cassoulet. But beans also have a stigma attached to them, especially in our meat-loving culture -- that of a "poor man's protein." (And please hold the gas jokes.) "Beans are not enthusiastically embraced by everyone," Ken Albala wrote in Beans: A History.
"More than any other food, beans have been associated with poverty."
Yet thanks to them, and to a dizzying bar full of folks enthusiastically embracing them, beans have made the Greenmarket of New York City $2,500 richer.
Cassoulet Marocaine (and a recap of the Greenmarket Benefit Cassoulet Cook-Off)
Jan 2nd, 2010
The perfect date meal, you name it, go! This has been one of my favorite questions of 2009 (happy New Year, by the way!). Until recently, I may have asked the same friends to describe their dream dinners way too many times, but now on nearly every episode of Let's Eat In, I get the chance to put it to a great new pair of guests each week. From food writers, sex writers, musicians, and overall food fanatics, each awesome expert has had something equally inspiring to say. It's a bit of a research project, for no good reason but fun. Two of the most commonly voiced food choices I've heard overall on this have been devilishly spicy, or deliciously sweet. So now, I wonder, what is the most romance-worthy flavor profile: spicy or sweet?
What’s Hotter: Spicy or Sweet? (call in to chat!)
Nov 30th, 2009
If you're anything like me, then cooking for someone is definitely an act of giving. And now that we've officially reached "the season for giving," I can think of nothing better to give someone special than some home-cooked food. This is a rich topic, and one that never fails to fascinate me. So I'm curious, what foods do you like to cook for someone else... and specifically, for those of the male species?
Make Your Best Dish For Dudes and Win a Copy of Mad Hungry
Nov 17th, 2009
For many folks, the kitchen is a creative outlet for expressing one's belief in healthy, more sustainably grown food for all. For others, it might be the field, where they grow and harvest. Other movers and shakers in the food movement, as it were, publish books and articles, teach, or lecture the masses. But on December 15th, 2009, we're celebrating a handful of filmmakers, whose documentary films vividly illustrate their unique and thought-provoking messages on many of today's urgent food issues.
See “Hungry Filmmakers” December 15
Nov 12th, 2009
When Taylor Erkkinen and Harry Rosenblum opened their Williamsburg store for kitchen appliances and cookware in 2006, they'd had a notion about cultivating a community around cooking through occasional classes and demos. But who knew that the educational programs they would hold at the store would soon become The Brooklyn Kitchen's biggest draw, with classes frequently selling out a day after being announced?
Reason For Not Eating Out #37: Going Back to School
Nov 10th, 2009
A second helping of fun! You asked for it, and we've come to serve: Karol, David and I will be manning the mic and passing out plates at the next Food Obstructions, the only cook-off (we know of) based on a little-known film experimentation called The Five Obstructions.
It'll be held once again at The Gutter, on Sunday, December 6th, right in time for your awakening from that post-turkey roasting slump.
The Food Obstructions II is December 6
Oct 13th, 2009
On Friday, as I sat in the converted shipping container outside of Roberta's Pizza that's home to Heritage Radio Network preparing for the first Cheap Date episode with my guests Keith and Rachel, we were interrupted by a series of loud, clanking noises coming from the roof above. "Can they stop farming now?" I think I muttered. But really, it was music to my ears. There is more than a tree growing in Brooklyn, or for that matter, cities all over: a bonafide agricultural movement. And it was happening above our heads on the rooftop garden of Roberta's Pizza that day, as well as at farms, community gardens and backyards throughout the city. Tonight, Roberta's Pizza is holding a celebration of all that, as well as what more can come. You're welcome to come join the party, the dialogue, the movement -- and with your contribution to a new rooftop farm next spring, one of the most delicious feasts I have ever heard of.
Support Urban Farming at Roberta’s Pizza Tonight
Oct 9th, 2009
A while ago, I was asked by the New York Daily News
to cook a "romantic" meal for two that cost less than $15, including the bottle of wine. When the story ran, the paper concluded that I had given special meaning to the term, "cheap date." While this might sound a little so-so, at best, for a single in New York, I've decided to embrace that title ever since. And I hope to give it new meaning each week, by talking about cooking and dating with a number of guests. It's my new radio show! And it launches today on Heritage Radio Network, from 3 - 3:30pm.
Cheap Date airs on Heritage Radio Network, 3pm EST
Oct 8th, 2009
Whether you're cooking for one or preparing a huge feast, there's always some obstructions in your path -- a too-small kitchen, not enough flour. Instead of cursing bloody hell, let's have fun with that concept, and cook up something great given five obstructions. It's a cook-off -- yes, another one! -- with a twist, and the first installment of the monthly series of them will commence October 18th, at The Gutter.
The Food Obstructions Cook-Off Series at The Gutter
Oct 6th, 2009
You can't exactly sit through a restaurant meal and claim to have the best culinary know-how of a group by pooh-poohing this, or extolling that. Well, maybe you can to an extent, and many people do -- and I have, too. But it's much more convincing, in my opinion, if you walk into a social setting with your own homemade dish, and compare it against those of all the others in the room, who did the same. And that's what I'm speaking to in this Reason, perhaps long overdue: the competitive aspect of eating in.
Reason for Not Eating Out #36: For the Sport
Oct 1st, 2009
Okay, it's not summer anymore, and Indian summer has not yet arrived. Instead, this is about the time of year people start taking flu shots, and sweaters and scarfs out from hibernation boxes and changing their sheets to flannel. I do all these things minus the flu shots. But I do have a good way to boost the immune -- fresh veggies and bloody, bloody, antioxidant-rich beets. To keep that blood pumping.
Sep 24th, 2009
So, we've mastered the art of French cooking, thanks to the wild resurgence of Julia Child via Julie & Julia
(sales of her classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking
have put it on the bestseller list!). Some of us may have even mastered the art of local cooking, by joining CSAs, shopping at farmers' markets and growing food in their backyards, thanks in large part to Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food
(he's now receiving rockstar treatment at campuses all over). Now, it's time to try our hand at mastering something else: sustainable cooking, which takes into consideration the carbon footprint of our cooking techniques as well as our ingredient choices. Thanks to the founders of the practical solution-oriented environmentalist site, Brighter Planet.
Master the Art of Sustainable Cooking with Brighter Planet
Sep 16th, 2009
A couple weeks ago, I asked food bloggers to participate in Just Food's annual fundraiser party, Let Us Eat Local, by hitting their kitchens at home. The event, which takes place tonight at Prince George Ballroom, will feature small plates from many of the city's most renowned restaurants, like Blue Hill, Gramercy Tavern and Jean-Georges. In celebration of Just Food's mission, each restaurant was asked to present courses that showed off the local and seasonal harvest. But before they unveil their offerings, here are five food bloggers who did an exceptional job at just that. Including the judges' chosen winner, Laena McCarthy, who made a pink pearl apple (above) jam and won a ticket to Let Us Eat Local.
Let Us Eat Local, at Home!
Sep 15th, 2009
"I'm not really a cheese person," I told Nick Suarez a month or so ago, when he mentioned that the next Brooklyn Food Experiment would be based on cheese. That might be a problem, we nodded. And it's been my lifelong Achilles' heel as a foodie. Pungent blue cheese makes my face contort as I strain to complete the task of getting it down. Fluid, stinky cheese like Camembert can stay out of my range. I'll blame it on my Asian side, but cheese can be more work than fun for me. How unlikely, then, that I managed to make a batch of homemade cheese for the event that was not only more creamy and delicious than any ricotta I've bought, but very little work and actually fun to create from scratch? And it's no surprise that Nick and Theo's Brooklyn Cheese Experiment itself was a blast.
The Brooklyn Cheese Experiment: A Recap, and Ricotta
Aug 31st, 2009
So, you're wondering what to do this Labor Day. Bumming around town? Hitting the beach? Picnicking in the park? Wherever the venue, I've got the perfect activity for it. It's a sleepy day for businesses anyway, so why not do as Slow Food USA is urging and Eat-In? That's right, it's a national call of not eating out... everywhere!
Join Slow Food’s Time For Lunch Campaign and Eat In
Aug 22nd, 2009
Psst... Hapa Kitchen is having a luau next Friday. Stay in town! Get down! See more details here!
Aug 20th, 2009
What's more wakeup-worthy than bacon and eggs? How about Italian pancetta, yolky free-range eggs, and fried sage atop a homemade crust? Followed by six other tantalizingly-topped slices of the good stuff, all freshly baked by yourself with some expert guidance? Actually, I'd say that's a good recipe for an afternoon nap. Whichever the case, these pizzas were all delicious, and the occasion that spurred them (and that nap) is chef Mark Bello's Pizza a Casa class.
Pancetta, Egg and Fried Sage Pizza (at Pizza a Casa with Mark Bello)
Aug 18th, 2009
win the Souperdouper Soup Kitchen Sandwich Special, that is! It was a sweltering hot Saturday like most of the scorchers this week, but we saved a hearty appetite for the twelve different sandwiches, soups or combos of both at this benefit cook-off. And soon, we hope even hungrier people from the neighborhood will get to enjoy the best of the bunch, too.
The Combo That Could
Aug 3rd, 2009
flyer by Patrick Moberg
It's a charity cook-off of an entirely new breed! This soup and sandwich-off, which will take place in two Saturdays in the backyard beergarden of t.b.d., is not just an opportunity for amateur cooks to serve the best combo special the city has seen. It's a chance for them to roll up their sleeves in community service afterward (at a date to be determined by the winner), and serve the winning dish to the needy at the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen. It's souper.
Enter the Soup Kitchen Sandwich Special
Jul 23rd, 2009
It's the kind of cook-off that was my dream come true: the emphasis? Local food. The dish's requirements? Nothing, aside from being local. The judges? Three established food writers whom I admire. The fundraiser's cause? Slow Food NYC. The location? The sandy Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, where I'd spread out my toes shoeless on several occasions. So maybe not everything turned out to be really dreamlike: it was raining all day, at some points more furiously than others. But I couldn't have had a better time, as it was, after all, a feast of local food fun. And to top it off, my Grill-Off dish took second place.
Savory Corn Pudding, part of my Local Grill-Off entry
Jul 22nd, 2009
Really! Nora Ephron's latest film about the woman we all admire, and the woman who admired her the most, Julie & Julia
hits theaters on August 7th. But, if you're in NYC on August 3rd, you can catch a sneak premiere with a friend for free -- ten of you, that is!
Play Julie OR Julia for tickets to advance screening!
Jul 20th, 2009
Is anyone surprised that the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off, which had raised $1,000 last year for charity with a sold-out crowd of 120, would quadruple its success this time around? Not I! And guessing from the way this year's event sold out well in advance, it could have been even "greater." The sizzle of competition gets hotter by the minute.
Sizzle is an excellent word for the action last Saturday at Clinton Hill craft brewery Kelso, where the 4th annual cook-off was held. The beer was flowing, condiments were flying, and frankfurters, wieners, dachsund-shaped sausages -- hot dogs, were blistering on the outdoor grills all afternoon. It was a hot day in full sunlight, but the competition took place both inside the brewery and on the sidewalk just outside. With giant tanks of brew doing its thing inside the industrial space, graffiti on the brewery's exterior, and new construction taking place on the street just opposite, this was a real Brooklyn block party. (Platters of hot dogs were passed around to the construction workers a few times.)
The Great Hot Dog Cook-Off ’09
Jul 17th, 2009
Chef Geetika Khanna did not have to make the best tomato curry-drenched lamb and turkey meatballs at the Curry Takedown to make me sign up for a class of hers. She didn't even have to introduce herself to me at the event, proving to be as friendly a culinary expert as the rarity goes (in this world of Gordon Ramsays). When a class called "Simple, Healthful and Economical Weeknight Indian Meals" appeared on the calendar for the Indian Culinary Center, I was sold. And actually, she didn't even need me to be sold on it, either; a full class of students, including some who were turned down after the seats were filled, were eager to learn these lessons.
Savory Chickpea Flour Pancakes (at the Indian Culinary Institute)
Jul 8th, 2009
Two weekends ago, I woke up early to tend to the hens. Okay, so they were not my own; and I only got up early because I had to get to the Bronx, where a chicken raising workshop was held. Part of the Edible Garden educational series by the New York Botanical Gardens that was sponsored by Just Food, it was a beginner-level crash course in keeping America's favorite poultry for companionship, eggs, and more benefits which I'll get into soon. But most of all, for a better sense of connection with one's food.
Urban Chicken Raising 101
Jul 2nd, 2009
To the BBQ and cook-off nation: A call to tongs! Slow Food NYC and The Good Beer Seal are hosting a benefit grill-off at Harry's Water Taxi Beach Long Island City on July 21st, 6-9pm. This event is all about location, location, location: instead of focusing on a certain ingredient or dish, cook-off contestants must use locally-sourced foods and be prepared to tell which farms they got their grub from. There'll be more food to go around than theirs, too, with chefs from Fette Sau, Fatty Cue, Rub BBQ, Gusto and Jimmy's No. 43 serving feasts from local farms. The event is the crown jewel of Good Beer Month, just declared of July by the mayor himself. So Sixpoint Craft Ales will be sold to the masses along with the regular potions at the Water Taxi Beach bar. With numerous organizations participating, rivers of beer, beats by Finger on the Pulse, and twenty amateur chefs vying for the favor of food-celebrity judges, it'll be a locavore luau like none other, and quite possibly the cook-off to end all cook-offs (just kidding!). All proceeds from the event benefit Slow Food NYC, and it's $35 to get in and eat all you can. Get your tickets now.
It’s a Slow Food Grill-Off at the Water Taxi Beach
Jun 19th, 2009
Get your goat fix! Tomorrow, rain or shine, a block party takes place in Carroll Gardens to benefit the Greenhorns, a Hudson Valley-based non-profit that promotes and recruits young farmers. This event is just too packed with stuff to really fit on a poster, or a proper blog post. But there will be a screening of the trailer for the documentary about young farmers by Greenhorns founder Severine von Tscharner Fleming, also called The Greenhorns
, a performance by Reverend Billy, an urban gardening workshop led by Ben and Annie of the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, an auction, farming and animal raising demos, and a bike-powered spit rotating baby goats for savory sandwiches. The organizers promise a few more surprises. I'll be there, too, helping to feed the masses.
The Greenhorns Goat Spit Menu Sneak Peek! (and a chat with its founder/filmmaker)
Jun 16th, 2009
At the first-ever Curry Takedown, that is! And what a blend of spices we ate and smelled on Sunday. Forget the phrase curry in a hurry, these chefs were none to take the easy road, drop a Golden Curry cube into their pot and let it spread. What I saw was really a work of slow-simmered art -- a United Nations of Currydom, convened at the Loki Lounge in Park Slope.
It Smells Like Curry In Here!
Jun 8th, 2009
So we all knew that Brooklyn knows how to cook... off. But what of home beer brewing? Turns out that these are some mean streets for that trade, too. And we wouldn't have known it if it hadn't been for the Brooklyn Beer Experiment, the brainchild of two of my favorite cook-off fanatics, Nick and Theo. Joining forces, these once-rivals from many a local cook-off (just look at their resumes) decided to host a joint beer and food competition. Unlike the East New York Farms' benefit "Chew 'n Brew" of last fall, in which teams had to cook small plates and brew beer both, the Beer Experiment paired beer with food in two ways: hold a cook-off for food that's cooked or flavored somehow with beer, and hold a beer-off for amateur home brewers under the same roof. The result is what looks to be an enduring annual event.
The Brooklyn Beer Experiment: Success!
May 25th, 2009
How to say... thanks? For coming out to serve delicious, unique and inspired food, for eating and enjoying the fruits of everyone's labor, for lending your discerning criticism of said dishes as an audience member or one of the expert judges, for donating your money to Just Food, and for essentially making Karol and myself's dream come true. From the bottom of our butter-clogged hearts, thanks to all for Risotto Challenging it up yesterday at Jimmy's No. 43. Especially to Jimmy Carbone, for graciously hosting the fete at his bar.
The Risotto Challenge ’09
May 14th, 2009
Now if only I could miniaturize myself after this string of cook-offs the past two weeks. Brooklyn Kitchen's 3rd Annual Cupcake Cook-Off, held Monday night at Union Pool, was the last straw -- yes, the Risotto Challenge is still on, and yes, it will be still awesome, and will help raise money for our friends at Just Food. But until then, folks, I'm staying away from the trays and snaking lines of homemade eats for a while.
Green Tea Coconut Mini Cupcakes (official losing entry of the Brooklyn Kitchen Cupcake Cook-Off)
May 12th, 2009
Nobody was to-fooled by what was in their food Sunday at the Highline Ballroom: it was the first-ever Tofu Takedown. As an antidote to last month's Bacon Takedown, Matt Timms turned his popular Takedown series upside-down by taking on that versatile and very un-carnivoric delight. Tofu, in all forms, firmnesses and flavors found their way into the contestants' 17 unique dishes. And as one half of the lucky ("celebrity"?) judging squad (the other half being my half-Asian sista, Akiko), I got a taste of them all.
The Takedown Tackles Tofu
May 6th, 2009
Yesterday I certainly got my greens judging the 2009 Guactacular Invitational, though they were none the unsaturated fatty type. I can't say how much I ate of the goopy goodness, but in attendance, more than 300 made it to the Bell House in Gowanus for the first-ever cook-off event.
Oh My Guacness
May 5th, 2009
So, there's a swine flu, you say? Sure. I saw it all at Loki Lounge yesterday, in the form of sixteen tasty samples, and a throng of hungry carnivores. The Park Slope Pork-Off, it was called! And many familiar faces cooked up their best for this one-off event, a fundraiser for the charity Kamay at Puso.
Pork Love Prevails at the Park Slope Pork-Off
Apr 22nd, 2009
It's been fun trawling the Internet today for Earth Day-related articles and blog posts. There's a lot of positive energy out there, and I've been seeing much murmering about how to eat more green, or garden more green, how to drink, or not drink, more green, even date more green. Even the prophet Pollan has spoken on this national holiday, with some urgent calls to action and praise for the rise in home gardening. But I thought I'd mention another aspect of eating and living green, that has less to do with food than what it's cooked in. It comes to me by way of a prize that I'm pleased to offer to a winner of the upcoming Risotto Challenge and Just Food benefit: a cookware set from the eco-friendly Danish manufacturer Scanpan.
Eco-friendly prizes aplenty at the Risotto Challenge
Apr 21st, 2009
Guac and corn chips it is not. Plain-old hummus and pita it's neither. Just as munchable as either of the above, I'd say definitely, as well as easy to prepare. It's edamame, or soy beans, cooked and mashed up just like chickpea hummus (minus the tahini), and eggy wonton wrappers baked with a coating of oil and sesame seeds. And -- with a little modification -- it's one of the four canapés that will precede the five-course dinner on May 1st, at Queens County Farm Museum.
Edamame Hummus with Wonton Wrapper Chips (and a May Day menu teaser)
Apr 11th, 2009
It's been a busy spring, and this holiday weekend I'm excited to finally share two projects that I've been cooking up. (When it rains, it pours!) First up is the Hapa Kitchen, a supper club and collaborative cooking project co-founded with my friend and frequent kitchen comrade, chef Akiko Moorman. To kick off its launch, we're proud to be working with Queens County Farm Museum for a local lamb-based benefit dinner on May 1st, or May Day.
Introducing Hapa Kitchen and May Day benefit at Queens County Farm Museum
Apr 6th, 2009
It's here: the 2nd Annual Risotto Challenge! Last spring, eighteen contestants answered this call-to-cooking action with imaginative risottos seemingly spawned while on crack. (The ultimate winner? A citrusy, brown rice "Scarborough Fair" ordeal, named for its profusion of four singsong herbs.) And since there's never an end to variations on the delicious dish, co-host Karol Lu and I are giving the cook-off another spin -- or stir. This time, the event will benefit Just Food, New York City's local and sustainable food think tank. We're also proud that it'll be held at the fundraiser-friendly bar and restaurant, Jimmy's No. 43. Mark your calendars for May 23rd!
Enter the Risotto Challenge & Just Food Benefit
Mar 30th, 2009
To all those tired of the pork belly and bacon food fad, I've got bad news for you. It's far from over. Anyone who might have walked within a one-block radius of Radegast Biergarten in Williamsburg sometime between 4:45-7pm yesterday would have seen the hoards of hungry bacon lovers lining up outside the bar ("Is this for the bacon festival?" I heard a lot of). When I arrived at the time the first-ever Bacon Takedown officially began there, 5pm, that line reached well down the block.
The Bacon Takedown: Holy Smokes
Mar 23rd, 2009
Thanks to fourteen chowders, it was warm and clammy in the back room of Jimmy's No. 43 on Saturday. Fifteen, if you counted the pot of Manhattan-style chowder that the restaurant's resident chefs cooked up as extra, which was still going strong by the end of the event and made a perfect straggler second-course. But the real battle was fought by the amateurs. This time, the cook-off community of NYC was drawn a wildcard dish du jour: chowder. And a mean chowder they responded with, which was for many of them their first try at cooking the dish.
The Chowder Slam results!
Mar 20th, 2009
I do love a new cook-off! Tomorrow, a smattering of home chefs will be bringing their best to Jimmy's No. 43 in celebration of local, sustainable and artisanal foods which New Amsterdam Market vigorously supports, and winter's favorite soup: chowder. There may be few parameters on what makes a chowder just that, but no one can argue that the best chowders are usually chock full of chunks, every spoonful of the stuff a claustrophobic array of deliciousness. And that's probably just what the backroom at Jimmy's No. 43 will be like tomorrow from noon to 5pm.
New Amsterdam Market benefit chowder cook-off is tomorrow!
Feb 27th, 2009
What happens when you: 1) make a great batch of something, eat it, and love it; 2) eat it for leftovers, and love it; 3) eat it for leftovers again, and kind of loved it more the first or second time you ate it; 4) can't stand to look at it in the refrigerator anymore? I know. Even with my favorite foods, there comes a limit to my tolerance to it after consecutive encores. That's where the brazen versatility of leftovers comes into play. In the case of this raw, slaw-like salad, it knows no cultural boundaries, either.
Cabbage, Pear & Pistachio Salad (and Leftover Chutney)
Feb 9th, 2009
Welcome to 2009, Chili Takedown. This is no time to be splurging on pounds and pounds of beef. Sorry, heritage pork (except for your bones and spare ribs, which I'll get to in a bit). I'm not even doing the fresh garnish doodads anymore. This is recession era chili. And I'm going back to the basics of peasant home cookery -- that is, minimal amounts of meat, used for flavor mostly, cheap winter vegetables, and lots and lots of B-E-A-N-S.
Recession Chili (and the Curious Case of the Ridiculously Packed Chili Takedown)
Jan 22nd, 2009
Okay, forgive my very poor journalism for a moment, and let me just relate to you the dilemma I'm faced with right now. I went to a first-ever macaroni and cheese cook-off hosted by Midge Pingleton cutely named the s'MACdown last night. It was held at Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a music venue that I believe has never hosted a cook-off before in its existence. I fought my way through the herds of hipsters to get a taste of every one of those 20 macaronis and cheeses. I voted for my favorite. Then I had to leave, to check out my friend's music show. Out of all the people I knew and trusted to tell me who won the s'MACdown, NOBODY SEEMS TO KNOW. Help me out here -- will the winner please speak?
Who took the s’MACdown crown?
Jan 21st, 2009
It was a frigid Saturday in New York when seven chefs gathered in the back room at Jimmy's No. 43 to unveil their steaming pots of the French countryside comfort food, cassoulet. A fluid stream of Greenmarket supporters sampled each one throughout the afternoon until pretty much every bean was scooped up. Asked to vote for their favorite takes, each taster turned their attentions to printed sheets describing the cassoulets, their creators and affiliations. Among them were local and seasonal culinary expert Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance, former Greenmarket Manager and chef-to-be Melissa Rebholz, Jimmy No 43's own chef John Crabbs, Italian chef and traveling pizza teacher Mark Bello, Rockaway Beach surf taco shop extraordinaire Andrew Field, and former Pegu Club and wd-50 (whoa!) chef Phillip Kirschen Clark. Then some blogger and cook-off fanatic of Not Eating Out in New York.
I'd be lying if I told you that the dish I prepared was pronounced the best cassoulet of the day. Actually, I'd be very publicly, foolishly lying, since the event has been recapitulated (promptly, I might add) by Time Out New York
already, as well as Jimmy's No. 43's blog. I'd be drawing out the non-suspense in lame melodrama to continue this post without just declaring a winner. So the top honor was given to...
Pommes de Porc Cassoulet (and Jimmy’s No. 43 Greenmarket Cassoulet Cook-Off Recap)
Jan 16th, 2009
photo courtesy of ABC News
Or rather, who is Cassoulet? as George Stephanoulos quipped on ABC when a large banner bearing the word was held above the crowds gathered in Times Square during the station's election night coverage. The question of cassoulet echoed throughout the world afterward, as the word rose to the top 100 most searched terms in Google on Election Day. I didn't know what cassoulet was, either, and I completely missed this bit of intrigue at the time. I first heard of cassoulet when it was announced by Jimmy Carbone as the dish to prepare for a cook-off at his restaurant, Jimmy's No. 43, to benefit the Greenmarket. It takes place tomorrow at noon!
What is Cassoulet?
Jan 14th, 2009
Chinese New Year is coming up, and as with every holiday save for maybe President's Day, that means one thing to me: FOOD! Great food. Excesses of food. And the first food that comes to mind for this one is dumplings. But instead of throwing a dumpling party like I did last year, forcing my friends to roll up their sleeves in the wrapping process, the talented food writer Winnie Yang and I are going to teach a class on dumpling making at The Brooklyn Kitchen!
The Year of the Ox (Dumplings)
Dec 31st, 2008
Really, now? Fennel pie? Are you going to eat (and cook) that? I asked myself these same things, too. And while I was making this pie, at the Photojojo Food Photo Safari on Sunday, I heard many similar concerns from lookers-on. (I told you winter was a tricky time of year for finding seasonal pie fillings!) But, the great thing about cooking, especially in the name of fun with friends, is that nothing worse than a pile of dog's dinner will result in a failed effort. I therefore gleefully submit to the anti-theory of "Why not?"
Dec 21st, 2008
There's no place like Brooklyn for the holidays. I'm sticking around this year, except for a Christmas trip over to Jersey. And if you're also kicking it in NYC, then there's plenty of fun to be had. Specifically, this fantastic day of food and photography that my friends at Photojojo, the Whisk & Ladle Supper Club and I are collaborating on.
Come on a Food Photography Safari with me
Dec 4th, 2008
I was reading one of my favorite kill-time-with-funny blogs, Passive Aggressive Notes, today when I came across this post.
For those not familiar with the blog, readers from all around can submit notes and other examples of passive aggressive (or just aggressive)-ness in action so that everyone can laugh at someone's petty tyrancy. After the giggles had faded out, I couldn't stop thinking about this one's message: "If you can’t cook, don’t try." I wonder how many people have thought this about someone else's cooking but were too polite to say it. I also wonder what horrible past potluck experiences has led this poor host to such austerity. Perhaps you could provide some insight to that question, with your most hilariously awful potluck food photos.
Scare Clare: The Potluck Photo Contest
Nov 26th, 2008
I think the makers of those aerosol cans of spray-cheese need to merge with Silly String. Then we’d have the perfect, edible orange goo to epitomize the celebration that was the second Fondue Takedown this past Sunday. And to clobber the winner with for a photo -- "Say Cheese!" So maybe Sunday night's winner was spared of the cheese sliming (she was wearing a handmade apron, though), but the back room of Union Pool, Brooklyn's popular bar and now mecca to cook-offs, was not. Venerable Chili Takedown host Matt Timms told me the clean-up afterward was something epic and, well, kind of stank.
Oh! You Cheesy Things
Nov 14th, 2008
You know what? After all the lovely compliments you've given me on my Orecchiette and Arugula casserole, I'm not sure how it would have fared, head-to-head, with the winner of the fourth annual Casserole Party. Nor the rest of the amazing twenty-eight casseroles that were brought to the cook-off this past Monday. Emily Farris, author of Casserole Crazy
, has clearly inspired casserole craziness in Brooklyn since she created the cook-off four years ago. Of the very best kind.
The King of Cauliflower Casserole
Nov 12th, 2008
Last year it was the Bodega Challenge, this year it was the instant Ramen-Off, I swear, Harry and Taylor of The Brooklyn Kitchen have a thing for bringing out the best in the worst of foods. Perhaps terrified that I would endanger this reputation by bringing in something awful (i.e. my bodega-inspired Potato Chips au Gratin), they named me judge for this year's Ramen-Off, held in celebration of the two-year anniversary of the independent kitchen store. Mission accomplished, if so.
Who’s the Top Ramen?
Nov 1st, 2008
Look, I know we're all frightened about the economy, but that doesn't mean we have to resort to eating instant ramen every day... Not convinced? Okay, neither am I. What I meant to say, really, is that you don't have to resort to eating blah
men every day. As long as there's still a few leafy green vegetables left to pick, and as long as eggs aren't a luxury item (which they actually might become soon), you can still cook up a mean bowl of soup noodles using your bodega-bought block of instant ramen. Or how about something new altogether, with said noodles? Hear, hear, Brooklyn's favorite kitchen store is calling on folks to do just that.
From Instant to Awesome Ramen (and The Brooklyn Kitchen Ramen-Off)
Oct 28th, 2008
I don't have a recipe to share from this year's winner of the Brooklyn Underground Chili Extravaganza (BRUCE). But I have two words that could change your future chili-making extravaganzas for life: coconut milk and duck. These unlikely ingredients were paired by local (and contestant of past local chili cook-offs) Greg Erskine in a top-secret chili recipe that took the trophy at the event's fourth annual enactment at Barcade. I'll leave you (and me) to imagine the possibilities from there.
Coconut & Duck: Secrets to Chili Success
Oct 20th, 2008
Things I like about fall: apples... sage... toasty, nutty flavors like browned butter... Oh wait, I guess I'm only referring to food I like in the fall. I have a one-track mind much of the time. Good thing there are occasions for such obsessiveness, one annual Brooklyn tradition being the apple pie contest at Enid's.
Brown Butter Sage Apple Pie (and Enid’s Apple Pie Bake-Off recap)
Oct 12th, 2008
As with my other attempts at Chili Takedown championship, this was a very time-consuming process. In keeping with tradition, it also did not succeed in receiving first-place honors. However, this was no ordinary chili cook-off; I was competing against four other veteran Takedown contestants, hand-selected by our ringleader, Matt Timms. The bar was high, and the secret ingredient, à la Iron Chef
-speak, was heat. At least, that's how I would describe my approach to this chili. You see, our special venue for the battle was the Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Chile Pepper Fiesta -- an annual, all-day celebration of the fiery capsicum featuring tasty demos, workshops, and a live performance by none other than Pete Seeger (now get the recipe name?).
“If I Had A Pepper” Pork Chili
Oct 2nd, 2008
This fall, we're starting something new. An idea fledged by myself and Liz Carollo, Greenmarket Publicity Coordinator for the Council for the Environment of New York City (CENYC), the Shopping Club & Tour Series begins this Saturday, October 4th at Brooklyn's busy Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. To kick it off, I'll be making an early-fall veggie risotto at the information stand at 12:00 noon beforehand, so I hope you can come for some freshly-made grub, and stick around for the first many weekly meet 'n greets.
Announcing the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket Shopping Club & Tour Series
Sep 25th, 2008
Okay, so maybe that's a pretty big
pig. Last week, I shared with you four lessons I learned in the geeky, futuristic world of high-tech food science. Perhaps I should have preceded it with this post, on a much more primitive practice: butchering. Still, it requires no less skill, experience and serious passion to hack up a hog than it does to turn sauces into silly string. I'm grateful to have learned these lessons at a sold-out pig butchering class at the Brooklyn Kitchen, under the expert guidance of Tom Mylan.
4 Things Everyone Can Learn from a little Pig Butchering
Sep 18th, 2008
Isn't that term just scary? Doesn't it make all you wholesome, organic, farm-to-table types just squirm? Indeed, "food science" used to be a derogatory way of describing the process by which overly processed foods are hatched in labs. Michael Pollan may have made a mockery of the industrial food industry's overuse of it in The Omnivore's Dilemma,
but like it or not, molecular gastronomy is everywhere right now. After being embraced by chefs like Wylie Dufresne, among many others, these studies have even trickled down to curious home cooks. One good example, and good way to roll up one's sleeves in the craft, are the workshops led by the husband-and-wife written website Ideas in Food.
4 Things Everyone Can Learn from a little Food Science
Sep 15th, 2008
It's really the last week of summer. The skies are really becoming darker sooner, and that chill breeze in the evening is really happening. But on the flipside, and in celebration of late-summer local fruits, this watermelon pie is also real. I didn't think it would make it past the dream stage for a while.
Fresh Watermelon Pie
Sep 7th, 2008
Some people like to do a lot of canning, jamming and pickling this time of year, to preserve summer's harvest of ripe fruits and vegetables. Others simply chop them up and throw them in the freezer. In something of a cross between jamming and throwing in the freezer, I decided to take up the age-old tradition of boozy sorbet-making.
Peach Watermelon Sangria Sorbet
Aug 27th, 2008
Some of you may have heard certain stories about New York
magazine’s Highbrow BBQ last weekend. You may have seen a video about it on Grub Street, and if so, caught an unsightly glimpse of me chewing, or something. You may have even been there yourself, under the clear, blue sky at Solar One’s East River waterfront playground. But in any of these cases, what you probably haven’t seen is an up-close account of the cook-off that took place toward the end of the event. As one of the judges of this amateur grilling competition, I can share the inside story. And as promised, exclusive to Not Eating Out in New York, the winner's homemade recipe.
How the Highbrow BBQ Cook-Off Was Won
Aug 12th, 2008
What you’re looking at is the title card for the first-place judge’s choice chili of the latest Brooklyn Chili Takedown, made by first-time cook-off contestant Zeph Courtney. With a dark, earthy flavor and thick, rich sauce surrounding golf ball-sized hunks of beef, it’s as in-your-face as its name suggests. And below, exclusive to this blog – I think – is the winning recipe for it.
Brooklyn Takes Down Chili
Aug 4th, 2008
You know that summer is in full swing when there's a barbecue to attend to every other day. But the best ones always seem to roll around just at the cusp of Labor Day. This time, New York Magazine
is upping the ante with a waterfront BBQ of unprecedented heights: Announcing the first-ever Highbrow BBQ on August 23 -- an afternoon extravaganza of charred, smoked and spice-rubbed goodness, plenty of beer, and live music by Islands. If the lure of Top Chef contestant CJ Jacobson's highbrow feast isn't enough, there's just one more perk I can't wait to share with you...
BBQ your best (for me!) at Highbrow BBQ
Jul 29th, 2008
Tomorrow is going to be a silly day. I've got a nine o'clock call time on my agenda tomorrow morning, when I'll start the day by making 300 servings of cornbread with one oven. I can't wait to not sleep.
Cooking Out in NY: BBQ at Hope Lounge tomorrow
Jul 14th, 2008
I was a proud glutton on Saturday. Not that co-hosting a Great Hot Dog Cook-Off isn't reason enough to celebrate (or pack on five extra pounds), but through it all, we made over $1500 for the Food Bank for NYC from ticket sales and cash donations at the event. Fourteen chef-contestants made trays full of fabulous, fantastical frankfurter creations. We made new friends, lots of them. And it was also a day when the majority of the ballot-voting audience made this fascinating discovery: Goat cheese and hot dogs go REALLY well together. Especially with mangoes.
The Great Hot Dog Cook-Off: It was great
Jul 6th, 2008
The Great Hot Dog Cook-Off is less than one week away, time for our chef-competitors to put on their thinking caps and channel their most dogged determination. Obviously, I've been putting myself in their shoes lately, and this is what I'd do if I were entering the Veggie Dog category next Saturday: layer a heap of sweet vinegar-laced sushi rice atop a sheet of nori, place a cold veggie link inside it with a squirt of wasabi mayo, and roll with it. The Maki Dog: summer's healthy, chilled, surprisingly tasty answer to dull dog boredom.
If I Were Entering the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off Take 2: The Maki Dog
Jun 30th, 2008
Those of you who missed the second annual Unfancy Food Show yesterday, I bemoan your losses. Begun as a locally-focused antithesis to the Fancy Food Show, this slovenly stepsister event took place in the backyard patio of Williamsburg's East River Bar over six hours of scattered thunderstorm. And a good time was had by all.
Unfancy like Me
Jun 18th, 2008
I'm thinking it might be time to upgrade the 'ol NEOINY hideaway with a Kitchenaid stand mixer, equipped with all the meat grinding attachment works. (I'm browsing them on Ebay right now.) The motivating factor is right above: luscious, freshly made, and deceptively simple sausages. Who knew that with the right tools, making sausage at home actually requires little time, prep work and just a few odd ingredients (i.e. hog casing and nitrate)? Matt Greco. A chef at Cafe Gray, Matt led a class at the Brooklyn Kitchen last week on charcuterie basics. By the end, we'd had ourselves a bonafide sausage party -- in that we all devoured plenty of homemade sausages and beer, but also, I was the only chick in attendance. It was the real deal. Woot!
Matt Greco’s Pork Sage Sausage
Jun 8th, 2008
First of all: Holy heatwave! Bake at your own risk! I was kind of wondering when New York City weather would pull its annual trick of mutating overnight into a festering hotbox of city smog, in turn whipping us into hapless victims of stench. I'm still racking my brain for that clean water-saving alternative to showering twice or thrice daily.
Savory Asparagus Pie
May 27th, 2008
Oh yes, you heard it correctly. The Baked Brie Dog, which was born, baked, and eaten at a Memorial Day barbecue this weekend, will not be seen at the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off this July. But it only marks the beginning of the hot dog greatness that the event will doubtless inspire. Who said hot dog competitions were only about stuffing your face 'til you threw up into plastic cups? We, slightly north of Coney Island, have much more respect for our dogs than that.
If I were entering the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off Take I: The Baked Brie Dog
May 13th, 2008
As a friend text messaged me earlier on the night of the 2nd Annual Cupcake Bake-off held by the Brooklyn Kitchen, some milk would be really good to bring along and serve with the cupcakes, instead of drinking pint after pint after beer after eating cupcake after cupcake (after cupcake). Well, a night later I'm finally taking up that advice with the leftover cupcake scraps stashed in Tupperware in my fridge, and damn. Is this ever the best combination.
Mint Chocolate Chip Happy Cone Cupcakes
May 4th, 2008
This has been one of the weeks where I wish I could just put time on hold and say, Wait -- I know it's Sunday, but I still haven't posted my tahiri
recipe from last Wednesday's foodie book club at The Brooklyn Kitchen, nor the seafood skewers from the barbecue after that, nor that little side project from a trip upstate today, the dishes are still piled high in the sink -- can we just digest a moment?? I've been terribly behind. Then, a miracle happened. Before I could blog a belated post about all the great dishes that were shared at Foodie Book Club in honor of Madhur Jaffrey's Climing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India
, another blogger swooped in and did a fine job of it himself. With the help of Midtown Lunch's Zach, here's The Brooklyn Kitchen's round-up of the recipes and good times at the potluck book club meeting.
The Brooklyn Kitchen Cooks Madhur Jaffrey
Apr 3rd, 2008
Challah! The Risotto Challenge has been fought, and by "fought" I mean "feasted"! I hate to say, 'You kind of had to be there' about this event, but I seriously can't even remember enough of it. All I know is that I had to replenish the plates and forks and one point, and we'd put out 100 each. (And not everyone was eating!) Billiardsburg took a field trip to the swank tables of the 'Slope (or just Loki Lounge's), the judges tasted 17 different risottos and came up with 9 spectacular awards, 22 contestants and their friends old and new shared free grub, I got wasted, and you know. It was a good time. But most importantly, this night was all about The Food. To say that I was impressed by the risotto entries so undermines the situation that it would almost be like giving the contestants a slap in the face. All told, ingredients in them included blueberries, plantains, white peaches, goji berries, cranberries, pears, apricots, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, arugula, fennel, beets, peppers, olives, Chinese five-spice powder, sardines, Gorgonzola, Mascarpone, Zamorano, carrot juice, pumpkin butter, coconut cream, turkey sausage, mysterious Korean ingredients, and general insanity. I could not pronounce the names of many of the dishes as they were written in other languages, mostly Italian. In one case, a new Franco-Korean language was invented in naming a risotto.
Apr 1st, 2008
Ladies and fellas: It is with dreadful anticipation that I kick off the twenty-four hour countdown to what I surely hope becomes the risotto event of the year. Big words, huh? But I am confident that our 18 contestants' entries will dazzle the crowds; and that our astute judges' decisions will be wise.
Riso-oh-oh-to Challenge Tomorr(oh!)ow
Mar 4th, 2008
Behold: the work of two stir-crazy minds joined in the common goal of furthering research in the home-cooked field of arboriology--
The Risotto Challenge
Feb 9th, 2008
Is more chocolate! Because thanks to all of you who voted and the esteemed chocolate experts who judged the top ten entries, I've won Culinate's Death by Chocolate blogging contest, hence a weekend trip for two to Napa to attend Copia Center's chocolate festival and a private tour of Charles Chocolates' factory. What?! I'm still getting used to this hallucination. I hope I didn't pull a Hillary on you guys by doing the blogging equivalent of crying on camera to get your votes! But it is personal. This contest is very personal to me.
And the icing on this ‘pain’…
Feb 3rd, 2008
Gee, I'm single. I don't know the way it is with you, but Valentine's Day traditionally falls on a romantically awkward time for me (except for the last two years). This year, it's pretty bad. I'll spare you the gory details, but I essentially returned from my girlfriend-bonding Moroccan vacation to a live-in who'd decided he wanted out. Home sweet home! Of course, now that it's the first week of February, all the aphrodisiac date menus, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, stuffed bears and stupid cupids bouncing around in attempt to stimulate the love sensors only make me sense a party that I'm not invited to. So, I rather liked the refreshingly morbid title of Culinate's new blogging contest, Death by Chocolate.
Pain with Chocolate (and that’s not in French)
Dec 20th, 2007
What could be a better fetch this holiday season than this fetching kitchen apron? At $10 a raffle ticket, no less? You got me there. Tomorrow, December 21st is the last day to try your luck at winning this and other prizes through Chez Pim’s Menu 4 Hope charity event. Check out Serious Eats’ list of less-raffled-on items that you stand a good chance of winning (as of now).
As mentioned earlier, I sewed this apron with the help of some friends out of rescued cotton fabric. It has a darling red, white and navy floral pattern and classic features like an adjustable button neck strap and a front patch pocket. With it, you can cook assured that no one will be wearing the same frock as you at your next dinner soirée. If you’re clever with gardening, this same apron will rise to the task. Also, I’ve found from my experience with aprons that they are not only handy for protecting your clothes or looking adorable, but their pockets are good for keeping your cellphone. It’s always a scramble to find the phone when it rings and you’re busy cooking, and I’ve been known to leave it inside the refrigerator on occasion. And, if your phone looks anything like mine, it has grease, flour and sauces stuck into its grooves. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
So, for your cellphone’s sake – but most importantly, for your heart’s sake – join in the fund-raising fun this year by participating in Menu 4 Hope. Each raffle ticket costs just $10, and all proceeds will be donated to the UN World Food Program. Good luck!
Go here to buy a ticket: ttp://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhope4
Last Chance for Menu 4 Hope
Dec 18th, 2007
It's all over, those of you -- and there are many of you out there -- who missed the third installment of the Manhattan Chili Takedown. Fifteen chilis, two judges, one unpredictable host, a swank club called The Plumm, a motley crew of both carnivorous and vegetarian chili-making characters, their friends, one small child, and it all came down to two champions: one, for the judged contest, and another for the audience's choice. No, my chicken, pumpkin and hominy chili didn't win either honor. And this time, neither did the entries from anyone I know. But such is life, and not eating out.
The 2007 Chili Takedown that I did not
Dec 14th, 2007
If it's the season for cuddling up with hot toddies and passing family reunions by in a drunken haze, then I've just sampled two very merry ways to embrace the holiday "spirit." Local author and cocktail expert David Wondrich paid a visit to Lenell's liquor store last Saturday, and I was not alone in imbibing. The quaint, small store was transformed into a a lively cocktail hour as David offered drinks featured in his latest book, Imbibed: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar
. As its title suggests, it pays tribute to the modern father of making sousing look swank.
Imbibed at Lenell’s
Dec 10th, 2007
When Serious Eats wrote me an email requesting my participation in Chez Pim's honorable Menu for Hope 4 charity raffle, there was not a doubt in my mind that I was in. But there was some trepidation. As a holiday-themed fundraising event, Menu for Hope asks food bloggers from around the world to become a sort of merchant for the day -- only all proceeds would be donated to The World Food Programme, expenses and labor spent pro-bono, and the merchandise on each site could be anything from a box of artisanal chocolates to dinner for two at a prestigious locale to a one-on-one cooking class. Essentially, 'tis the season for giving, and here are the goods that we've got. But what can a food blog about not eating out in New York possibly offer to entice potential raffle ticket-buyers? A messy autographed dishtowel? Then I got thinking.
Win this Apron and Be Tidy for a Cause
Nov 21st, 2007
Spicy Honey Aubergines! And that's our official theme song for the finale of the Ugliest Gourmet blogging contest. Huzzah to The Blog That Ate Manhattan for creating what this blog's readers have deemed the ugliest delicious food of the bunch. All told, the results were nail-bitingly close to a four-way tie, with three votes each for the Gnocchi, Corned Beef and Tomato Pie, Kitty Box Cake and Maraq Molokheyia bil Dajaj. Some of these recipes sound so good I still want to make them sometime anyway.
Great Greenish Gobs of…
Nov 17th, 2007
Judgment is upon us for The Ugliest Gourmet! Let's have a big round of imaginary applause for everyone who bravely cooked, photographed and blogged about all the treats below. This home-cooking event was devised to prove that, despite the visual ostentation that professional cooks strive for, great food doesn't always look so great. So for once, the pressure of beauty is off -- and in fact, turned on its head. What will these bloggers have the freedom to cook up with the opposite of great appearance in mind? Let's have a look!
But before we do, a word on how the contest works: In the next four days, ending midnight, Tuesday, November 20th, you may vote for the dish that you feel deserves the title of The Ugliest Gourmet. The dish you vote for should be something you want to eat -- figure in 50% for ugliness, and the other 50% for deliciousness. (Take a look at the contestants' blog posts for more details, too.) To vote, simply leave a comment on this blog. Please state somewhere in the first sentence of your comment the name of the dish and blog that you're voting for. I'll tally these up on Wednesday, and whoever receives the most votes/comments wins -- and will get to see me cook their dish for my family on Thanksgiving. So, without further ado, here are the entries:
Charissa of Foracious Journeys created this Spinach Parsley Scramble -- lots of tasty greens bound with egg. "I realized how ugly this was going to be when the eggs started to turn green from the wilted spinach," she wrote on her blog.
Which is The Ugliest Gourmet?
Nov 9th, 2007
As I've probably admitted more than once on this blog, in times of need, I turn the corner of my block and walk into "my" neighborhood bodega. Here I can score milk, limes, boxes of pasta, snacks, and more often than I'd like, pints of ice cream. Plus, the friendly Korean couple who own it treat me like a neighbor, and will let me get away with a few bucks if I'm short, since they know I'll be back.
Have I ever put together an entire meal with ingredients solely from a bodega? Probably. But the Brooklyn Kitchen recently challenged any contestants to do so with flying colors for their first-ever Bodega Challenge. The theme: a Thanksgiving side dish. The occasion? The contest was held as part of the kick-ass kitchen store's one-year anniversary party. Whoo! I can't believe it's already been a year since I attended their first event last November.
The Bodega Challenge
Oct 11th, 2007
This land is corn land: Curt Ellis (left) and Ian Cheney in Queens
It's not a joke. More than 80 million acres of corn were planted in the US last year. Yet only 253,500 of them were sweet corn, for eating on the cob. Where does the rest of it go? Leave it to Aaron Woolf, Ian Cheney, and Curt Ellis to illustrate this -- and many other crucial facts about our current agricultural system and diet -- in their documentary film, King Corn.
These college buddies did what many a young urbanite might dream of and moved out to the heartland to learn what it takes to grow an acre of corn. If you don't mind a double-dose of my wit and wisdom, read more about the film at The Reeler. Also, check out Curt's ongoing blog on more food insights as he travels for the film, which is up and running at Culinate.
Sep 17th, 2007
As you can see, I'm drinking to the end of summer. Stirred (not shaken) up as a last-minute idea for the Salsa Takedown at Mo Pitkins, this salsa is my sloppy toast to another warm season of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which I feel much closer to in the wake of their departure for the fall.
Bloody Mary Salsa
Aug 4th, 2007
Oh, to the joys of toys. And to learning something new every day.
Let me back up a moment. When I purchased an antique Chinese cookie mold in a curiosity store a month or so back, I thought that the thing itself was so beautiful and ornate that it would engender the most incredible spawn in the form of cookies fit for an emperor. Well, it didn't turn out to be quite the easy process, but in the end (and with some cheating), the apples didn't fall too far from the tree.
The Craziest of Kitchen Gadgets Go to Task: Blogging Event Round-Up
Jul 27th, 2007
What a week it's been. Working and barely playing when it's nice out for me always adds up to a slow way to count the weekdays. But luckily, a blissful way to end it came in the form of the second Foodie Book Club meeting at The Brooklyn Kitchen, where we tried to speak intelligently about Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's bible of epicurean philosophy, The Physiology of Taste
, as translated and annotated by America's pioneering gastronome, M.F.K. Fisher. (It is a work that, aside from all else, couldn't be more pertinent to the young food blogger.) Thankfully, our session wasn't quite as taxing as it might sound, and was complimented with likewise simple recreations of some of the foods that he spoke so fondly of.
Jun 29th, 2007
Announcing the first one-off food blogging event on Not Eating Out in New York: That Crazy Kitchen Gadget. Rules are simple:
1. Identify your crazy, obscure, mysterious, ineffective, obsolete or completely awesome kitchen gadget and remember to photograph it or at least describe it well in your post.
2. Cook a dish using the same crazy kitchen gadget. Provide recipe and photographs in your post. Remember to mention the name of this contest and blog in your post, and link to it.
3. Post your crazy kitchen gadget recipe before August 1, 2007, and email me also before then with your name, blog name, post name, gadget name, mother's maiden name (just kidding), URL to the post, and low-res image of the dish or gadget (320 x 240 is good). I'll post a round-up in early August and we'll have a blast.
Why am I doing this contest? Because crazy kitchen gadgets are wonderful artifacts of our culinary and/or domestic culture. And they can also be hilarious.
That Crazy Kitchen Gadget
Jun 4th, 2007
the tasting frenzy at Mo Pitkin's left no chili standing
For those of you who weren't sweating over styrofoam cups of chili at the Manhattan Chili Takedown 2007 yesterday, I was there; and I survive to tell you of the glory that went down.
Mar 7th, 2007
Being the breadwinner, they say, isn't always fun. I can think of one exception, however, where that's pure pish posh: winning the No-Knead Bread-Off at The Brooklyn Kitchen. Alright, I tied for best bread in show, beating out three of the five different loaves made by locals who each took twists on the no-knead bread recipe-turned national bread craze created by Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery.
I Cracked Peppercorn (and does anyone care?)
Feb 8th, 2007
As a Christmas gift, I was given a one-night class at Camaje cooking classes. The course for the evening at the West Village French bistro that my benefactor chose to enroll me in was "A Taste of Thai." This was the first cooking class I had taken since seventh grade home economics, and I couldn’t wait.
Camaje Cooking Class: A Taste of Thai
Nov 24th, 2006
NYC foodies! What have you got to do this Friday after sleeping off your turkey stupor and shopping 'til you drop? Spicy garlic dill pickles, picklemartinis, kick ass music, and good ol' bar drinking might be just the weekend wake-up call.
What's more, the McClure's Pickles cukes are all primed and prepped for the holiday season, at their most delectable after a 3-month steep. I'd go to this if I weren't in upstate New York visiting my 93-year-old grandfather and yes, still stuck in a turkey-induced sleepwalk (more on that later--how fascinating!).
The Bushwick Country Club in Williamsburg is the place to hit, at 513 Grand St. off the Lorimer St. L stop. Everybody goes home happy. Unless you don't like pickles . . . and that would be strange.
McClure’s Pickles Launch Party
Sep 19th, 2006
On Sunday, the lampposts were decorated with green balloons along Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Down a few narrow blocks to Guss' corner deli, a neighborhood landmark pickle maker, and the garlicky brines of some dozen pickle makers' tents filled the air of the dank, congested streets. It was a beautiful day in the city.
NYC Pickle Day is Not Eating Out