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 24th, 2009
I'm back in the States just in time for the most American holiday of them all: Thanksgiving! Where'd I go? Please forgive the week-long break from blogging -- I took off in a rush for Australia, to attend a very important friend (VIF) Jordan's wedding in Melbourne. It was a blast. But now I'm ready to cook a grand Thanksgiving feast... another one, that is. Shortly beforehand, I got together with Rebecca and Max from Working Class Foodies for a great round of recipes all made from typical Thanksgiving spread leftovers. Here's what they shot! And below, more on what we made.
Thanksgiving Leftovers with Working Class Foodies
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
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!