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
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!
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)
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
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 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 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 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)
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 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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?
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.