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)
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
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
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 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