Who’s the Top Ramen?

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.

From Instant to Awesome Ramen (and The Brooklyn Kitchen Ramen-Off)

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 blahmen 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 … Read More

Coconut & Duck: Secrets to Chili Success

posted in: Cook-Offs, NYC Events | 5

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.

Brown Butter Sage Apple Pie (and Enid’s Apple Pie Bake-Off recap)

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.

“If I Had A Pepper” Pork Chili

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 … Read More

Fresh Watermelon Pie

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.

How the Highbrow BBQ Cook-Off Was Won

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 … Read More

CJ’s BBQ Menu, and Cook-Off Co-Judges

posted in: Cook-Offs, NYC Events | 3

New York magazine’s Highbrow BBQ has sold out, and those who snagged tickets are in for a treat. As for the rest, I can only promise more tales of barbecue bliss, and hopefully a recipe from the winner of the amateur grilling cook-off. Let’s hope he or she isn’t one of those “it’s a secret” types.

Brooklyn Takes Down Chili

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.

The Great Hot Dog Cook-Off: It was great

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 … Read More

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