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 … Read More
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 … Read More
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 … Read More
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 … Read More
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.
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 … Read More
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 … Read More
photo courtesy of ABC News Or rather, “Who is Cassoulet?” as George Stephanoulos questioned 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 2008. I didn’t know what cassoulet was, either, and I completely missed this bit of intrigue at … Read More
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 … Read More
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.