Aug 25th, 2010
I was at a backyard party in Brooklyn a few weeks ago hosted by my friend June. I'd been to her paella party at about this time of year last summer, and so I knew what kind of yumminess to expect from this event. I got there a little late, again. June was just adding the shellfish to a paella pan, plunking clams and mussels hinge side down into the rice. The wide, cast-iron pan was placed on top of a blazing hibachi grill on a small space of concrete. On top of another grill, there were sliced zucchini just going down, the smell of blackened shisito peppers was in the air, and trays full of grilled sausages, browned chicken, rabbit meat and beans flocking the station all told me that June had been laboring over open fire for some time now. My cocktail, served up by a guest/friend behind a makeshift bar, must have gone straight to my sun-weary head. I stood before the barbecue, transfixed, and watched the mussels and clams slowly open in the pan and continue to gape wide, as if they were all preparing to sing the Hallelujah chorus.
Here’s Lookin’ At You Cook (Paella), June Russell
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
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 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 1st, 2009
Forgive the excessively esoteric sound of this dish's name. I had tried coming up with other things to call it: Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli and Braised Broccoli and Cauliflower Greens with Navy Beans and Creamed Potatoes? Too long. White Cauliflower, Cheddar Cauliflower, Broccoli and Their Combined Greens Braised with Navy Beans and Roasted Red Pepper and Served on Creamy, Truffled, Mashed Fingerling Potatoes? Too specific. Stuff That I Got From My CSA This Week, Cooked and Piled Ceremoniously Together on a Plate? That sounded better. But it was still pretty dense. I think the main thing to chew on with any dish should be the food, not the words.
White Bean and Brassica Ragout with Creamed Potatoes