Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Ruffles Potato Chips w/
Lipton Onion Soup Dip
Even David Lebovitz, a favorite food blogger/tweeter of mine has been tweeting it up about Lipton Onion Soup dip. Apparently he is serving it to guests at is home in France, alors, c'est a la mode, non?
It's insanely off-the-charts delicious. I couldn't stop; honestly, I had to push away.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This decade began for me, quite literally, with a wail, and a howl, and a whimper, and a limp. It was not an auspicious beginning.
Foodwise, it began with one of the most delicious--if saddest--meals of my life. A New Year's eve tasting menu at the now defunct Bouley Bakery restaurant. Maybe that food was the augur, telling me that while this decade might kick my arse, it would feed me terribly well. It feels like a long long time ago, and this blog has seen me through a bit more than half of it.
Bring me sumthing good, I say. I'm ready.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
post-game update: we went with the V.A.S.R.K. and they were enjoyed by most, if not all. P.L. declared them "gross" but then couldn't stop eating them saying they were "weirdly addictive."
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
First things first: my Mama bought me a Soda Stream. Have been meaning to get one for oh-so-long now and am the happy owner of this spaceshipesque contraption. No more recycling of plastic seltzer bottles, a behavior that had been filling me with a lot of guilt. You can mix in flavor packets to your homemade seltzer, but I will not be doing that. That is weird. I will squeeze in a real live lemon.
And: speaking of a local supply of clean water, you might be interested in this op-ed piece from Jared Diamond about big companies--like Coca Cola--and how he doesn't think they are pure evil after all. We could go around the block about that one, I suppose. I myself believe in compassionate capitalism. Did I make that term up? I'll have my research intern check it out. OK, I have not research intern, you got me.
Anyway, it's really interesting to me how companies are getting in on the sustainability game because they damn well have to. Cocal-Cola is made of water, and water is becoming scarce in many parts of the world. Will Coke compete with agriculture for water use?
As Diamond explains: "Coca-Cola’s survival compels it to be deeply concerned with problems of water scarcity, energy, climate change and agriculture. One company goal is to make its plants water-neutral, returning to the environment water in quantities equal to the amount used in beverages and their production. Another goal is to work on the conservation of seven of the world’s river basins, including the Rio Grande, Yangtze, Mekong and Danube — all of them sites of major environmental concerns besides supplying water for Coca-Cola."
Marion Nestle takes him to task on her blog (I love her moxie and smarts and sass. Ahhhh): "We need some critical thinking here. If Diamond gave any thought at all to what Coca-Cola produces – bottled water and sodas – he would surely have to agree that less of both would be good for our own health and that of the planet."
Monday, December 07, 2009
It made me think about a fascinating workshop I attended at the conference, one about the relationship between farmer and chef, and led by some of the kitchen staff at Blue Hill at Stone Barns--those cooks who are responsible for purchasing and building relationships with farmers. Let me start by saying that those guys are as real deal as it gets (if you ever accidentally step on a pile of money and decide to make it yours, treat yourself to a meal at Blue Hill at Stone Barns). This is not a post in which I expose them for being fraudulent or farm-washers.
That being said: I think a lot of diners there have misconceptions about the experience. Think all the food is grown there and at their Berkshires farm? Think again. A quick look at the math would help you see that they just can't produce enough food on site to feed all of their diners. As a result they are purchasing from an additional 40 farmers or so, give or take. And the seafood? Do you think there is seafood in Westchester? They are flying it in from Nantucket etc. Also flown in on a regular basis? organic but industrial carrots, onions etc. used to make stock.
I think it's a question of, as a diner, removing blinders from your eyes. Just because you want to believe that the tomato on your burger is local and seasonal (because damn, a tomato slice on a burger is a fine thing indeed), just because you want asparagus risotto in January (a perfect dish when done right, no?) ask yourself: are tomatoes in season around here? Allow yourself to see the truth. Sometimes the restaurant is misleading you and sometimes you are contributing to the deception by misleading yourself.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Good for a laugh: reading all of Sam Sifton's Thanksgiving advice, dispensed on the NY Times' Diner's Journal. I find this guy hilarious. One gem: "That sounds harsh, I realize, but Thanksgiving isn’t just punk rock and cranberries."
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thanksgiving was nice--small, casual, and full of ruckus (baby meets cat; cat runs away; baby searches relentlessly for terrified cats. Dog meets cat; cat runs away; dog searches relentlessly for terrified cats).
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
I know this because I saw on the teevee, on a dunkin donuts commercial, that fall flavors have arrived; they even piled all the customers onto a hay-filled tractor and drove them off the farm over to a dunkin donuts so they could really taste fall in all its glory. True story.
I also know it's fall because of this f-ing hilarious piece in McSweeney's about decorative fall gourds (but really it's about so much more than that; I think that in its funny way it is also about xmas sweaters and window kreshes).
Another tell-tale sign the seasons are changing is that we have an office potluck on Wednesday and the theme is apples. I predict the presence of more bacon than apples, but so it goes.
Plus eucalyptus has arrived at the farmers market; I will perform my annual tradition of buying a ginormous bundle and plopping it on my dining room table for the next three months. At which point I'll look out the window (or turn on the teevee) and will see some other telltale clue that it's suddenly spring.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
What I've been up to:
- Managing Slow Food USA's Time for Lunch campaign, thrilled by the success of our national day of action--300+ potlucks in all 50 states this past Labor Day!
- Seeing movies, writing about them
- Eating beef heart and oysters at Marlow and Sons
- Stuffing zucchini blossoms with goat cheese and frying them
- Attending New Amsterdam Market, already excited for the next one on October 25th
- Supporting Just Food at their Let us Eat Local benefit, eating pork sliders, gazpacho and grilled cheese and Blue Marble's strawberry ice cream and anything else I could cram in my yapper
- despairing occasionally at the state of the world (read: politics, yo)
- Preserving 70 lbs of heirloom tomatoes
Friday, August 21, 2009
Last weekend I spent my birthday--a milestone one, they say--on the North Fork of Long Island, and I focused my activities and my eating on place-based traditions.
I went wine-tasting and swirled in my mouth the product of the relatively new grape growing traditions of the East End. On the island only certain varieties grow well, and as a result, the menus are populated by Chardonnays and Merlots, with some Gruners and Rieslings mixed in. You don't go to Long Island to drink Pinot Grigio; be where you are. Drink where you are.
I ate corn. Lots of it. The North Fork's sweet summer corn is outstanding, and extra good when grilled in its husks by your big brother (hypothetically speaking, of course). I ate homemade lobster rolls, made with local lobster--Una's recipe, via Ethan, and outstandingly simple and good. Also, local wild striped bass, more than once, and tomatoes, tomatoes tomatoes (blight be damned). There were no local peaches, because it turns out all those peaches at Union Square all come from Jersey. So, I guess you don't go to Long Island to eat peaches; be where you are. Eat where you are.
And the birthday thing: I think I am meant to be scared by this birthday, by the fact that I haven't figured out my whole life yet, by the fact that I am getting older and nobody lives forever. But instead I walked on the beach, and I rode bikes with my friends, experiencing what it must feel like to be a kid in the suburbs, learning to feel comfortable on a bike, thrilling at the freedom of exploring the neighborhood, tooling around with your buddies, baking in the hot sun.
My birthday mantra: maintain a place-based tradition. Be where you are.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
It's a nuts and bolts guide and breaks down menu planing in a way I find really helpful. I myself go to the farmers market, grab random things that look tasty, then scramble about to turn them into meals. I shop at the supermarket haphazardly and overwhelmed and then do crazy blog-fueled experiments like "Eating down my larder."
Amy is here to help.
As she describes the new venture: "Weekly advice on changing the way you eat over the course of a year. Healthier, cleaner, kinder, better - and without breaking the bank."
Saturday, August 01, 2009
- Several varieties (different colors, shapes, sizes) of summer tomatoes
- Fresh basil leaves
- Summer corn
- baslamic vinegar
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This news that Coke is marketing fizzy milk is, at first, revolting. I look forward to the future articles debating whether “New Coke” or “Vio” was the more misguided effort on the company’s part. Only time will tell.
As a child, I drank something my parents and brother and I called “milk and soda,” in improbable quantities. As I understand it, it was a “Laverne and Shirley” thing (and let us now take a moment to thank Mom and Dad for resisting the urge to put me in J monogrammed sweaters every day of my youth).
This is how you make it:
- Take a tall glass
- Fill it about an inch up with Coke, or Diet Coke (Laverne, listen up: Pepsi is not acceptable)
- Fill the rest of the glass with skim milk
Once, at a friend’s house, her parents tried to make me feel at home by offering me my favorite drink. I took a sip and, horrified, spit it out. It was not Coke, it was seltzer and I was amazed at their stupidity. Had they never SEEN a milk and soda before? I finally understood at that moment (I was 6) that most people had not, as it turns out, seen this drink nor tasted it; I also understood that this was going to be the beginning of having to explain strange things about myself, like my crazy name and the elevator pass I had at school because of my screwy knees.
It was my parents’ way to get me to drink milk, just like I imagine it is Coke’s way to get you to drink milk, though not for the same reason--parents: healthy bones, Coke: milk is cheap right now. It just seems like a lost opportunity on their part. Why not mix the milk with the soda? It tastes so damn good.
TRY IT. You’ll like it.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Some good news: right after I posted it, Obama did speak up saying “It also means cutting down on all the junk food that is fueling an epidemic of obesity, putting far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions. That's a lesson Michelle and I have tried to instill in our daughters with the White House vegetable garden that Michelle planted. And that's a lesson that we should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.”
Let's just watch and see if this is a whole lotta B.S. or what.
I'll be holding him to this quote.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
In Bahasi Malay and Indonesian, warung means stall. I am a sucker for a food stall, as we all know. Like my hero Calvin Trillin, I've got the gene that makes me love buying street food and eating while standing up. In just 10 hours in Kuala Lumpur, I ate like a king. Malaysia beckons me back....I had goreng pisang (battered and fried banana, right), and some thin crispy crepe with peanuts (see below).
Rijsttafel meaning "rice table" in Dutch, ends up meaning a kind of lunch smorgasbord. Or that's what it meant for us, anyway, as we sweated it out in the courtyard of the Hotel Mertua, gorging ourselves on a series of small Javanese plates.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
My first day in Singapore, not 2 hours off the plane, we headed to Chinatown for dimsum. I earned my stripes sucking bbq sauce off of chicken feet. Slurping red bean steamed buns and shrimp dumplings, blinking off jetlag and enjoying my new discovery: non breakfast food for breakfast.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
For centuries, travelers and "discoverers" have encountered new countries and new cultures and they have thought or said: "you eat weird stuff here!" Some of those intrepid swashbucklers then add: "Can I taste?" I am one of said intrepid discoverers, leading with her tongue.
avocado "juice": basically an avocado smoothie. hello!
fresh squeezed sugar cane, with one of them mini limes
kickapoo joy juice: this is not a name I have made up. Seriously.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
2 months ago I went to visit my peeps in Columbia, South Carolina, and took a moment to visit Anson Mills (see my photo gallery on the SFUSA blog). Glenn Roberts--heritage grain genius, artisanal food entrepeneur, and all around great guy--handed us bags of rice on our way out, bags that have been idling in my freezer until last week's potluck lunch at the office.
I made two iterations; the first was the filling in Mark Bittman's stuffed peppers (or as I like to call them, "Amy's stuffed peppers"). The second, I made up, and darned if it wasn't good. Mostly, I think, because it showcased the rice-beautiful Carolina Gold.
1 leek, washed, trimmed, and sliced into thin half moons
1 cup Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice
2 cups water
3 tbsp Kerrygold butter
fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded (ribbons)
the zest and juice of one lemon
In a big saucepan, saute the leeks in 2 tbsp of the butter until soft and transluscent, salting a bit as you go
add the rice, stirring to coat
add the two cups of water, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer
cook 15 minutes or so until rice is moist and fluffy
take of heat and toss with remaining butter, lemon zest and juice, basil ribbons
more salt and pepper to taste
if you don't like it, add more butter!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I heard rumors of a divorce.
Then, because I am slow like that, I finally just read an article from October's Atlantic Monthly, written by Corby Kummer, called "Half a Loaf," in which he explores what happened in this situation--as well as the larger issues including who has the rights to a recipe, who can claim a signature delicious loaf (especially if it is merely a subtle riff on a European classic).
A great read.
* An oblique reference to an Alice Walker poem I love..."I am the woman offering two flowers whose roots are twin. Justice and Hope/ Hope and Justice/ Let us begin."
Monday, March 16, 2009
Last Thursday I attended the launch of the USA Network's Character Project, a photo exhibit, and a forthcoming book, as far as I can gather. And there were Anna's pics, alongside the works of luminaries such as Sylvia Plachy and Eric Ogden! The exhibit has left NYC but you can check it out in other locations.
And to gaze at more of Anna Mia Davidson's farmer portraits, including one of her husband John, click here.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Thanks to my buddy Jack for this one. We both agreed that these series of high fructose corn syrup ads that have hit the airwaves and the magazine pages are kind of douche-y (as in Massengill ads from the 80s, though also kind of douche(bag)-y as well).
Friday, March 06, 2009
I miss Brooklyn.
But I work there! But I hang out there! But it still EXISTS! Can I still miss it? Well, I do.
Last night after work I headed deeper into Brooklyn with one of my favorite food buddies to Buttermilk Channel for a cocktail and some bacon nuts and other treats; then walked up to Black Mountain (a little gem) and sat by the fire eating truffle-y, mushroom-y mac and cheese and sipping red wine.
It was awesome, because how often do you get to scratch the missing itch like that?
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
"According to a 2008 report from Carnegie Mellon University, going meat- and dairyless one day a week is more environmentally beneficial than eating locally every single day."
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
As posted on CivilEats.com today (and as pinged by Mark Bittman on his blog today--sweet!):
The fact that the cabinet door to my “pantry” is suddenly busted has made ignoring its contents difficult. For example: two cans of tuna packed in oil, and I cannot remember the last time I ate canned tuna. My concerns about seafood (un)sustainability have made me shy away from eating fish lately. When did I even buy those cans, and why?
Then there’s that half bag of quinoa. Um, how long until quinoa goes bad? Half bags, too, of pearl barley, lovely little green lentils, couscous, risotto….the list goes on.
Also, there’s the matter of my freezer, which given other freezers I’ve seen (like the one at my Mom’s house—sorry, Mom) isn’t so bad. But it’s got two big bags of corn kernels I froze in late August, and if I don’t eat them soon, they’ll be losing a competition against fresh summer corn at the market. Also, a plastic liter seltzer bottle full of whey, and about a dozen bagel halves from my nephew’s bris (n.b. he was born September 20th).
Eating what you have on hand has been a much-discussed topic these days for the food obsessed. For example, I’ve just discovered that our editor here at Civil Eats is also participating, via the Washington Post's blog "A Mighty Appetite," in what Kim O’Donnel is calling "Eating Down the Fridge," a title I like.
I discovered the idea on the New York Times Diner’s Journal blog, which alerted me to a contest brewing on eGullet: “National Eat the Stuff in our Freezers and Pantry Week.” I don’t have the stocks to participate in this contest full on (I love eGullet because it’s hard core—these people have boxes of Parmalat, powdered milk even, for crying out loud); but I decided to read about the contest and shadow, as best as I could.
First, there are rules, as explained by the staff at eGullet:
1 - No stockpiling.
2 - No endangering your children.
3 - No making yourself miserable.
4 - If you decide to participate in this experiment, you’re making a commitment to chronicle a week’s worth of meals starting on whatever day you normally shop.
5 - Have fun, and keep everyone posted on your progress!
SobaAddict70 shares a list of everything he had, and whoah—this dude must live in the suburbs, because where would I put all that? Steven Shaw (aka “Fat Guy”) discusses the merits of freezing milk and I feel like I am back in the scary wilds of my mom’s freezer; I may have a dozen bagels from 2008, but darnit, I have my limits.
OK, so first things first, I decide to use the quinoa. I cook up a half box and it makes an insanely large bowl of quinoa, more than I can imagine eating this year, let alone this week. I douse it with sesame oil from the pantry, and toss in some peanuts from my freezer (I keep a lot of nuts in the freezer: pecans, pignoli, hazelnuts, walnuts). It was pretty dull. The prospect of eating 85 servings of this makes me very sad indeed. So I go out and buy out-of-season-but-organic scallions and red bell pepper, and a small bottle of sake in which to sautee some onions from my fridge drawer. The first assignment and I have already broken the rules! In fact, these past few days, I keep learning this sad lesson again and again. I try to use the things in my larder, and to make anything halfway decent, I need to buy more things. And then to use those things, I need to buy even more things. It’s a vicious (if often delicious) cycle.
I take comfort in the loosey goosey goings-on over at eGullet. Plus, the photos are riveting. I cannot believe all the cool (and, well, strange) things people have kicking around. It kind of makes me want to live with some of them, or at least you know, hang out together at mealtime. One person harvested dandelion greens from their backyard in Texas! Also worth mentioning there seems to be a deep love of Costco over there on the boards.
OK, next dish. With the corn, a peak-of-summer corn chowder with a fridge drawer potato, some fridge drawer onions and celery, and the remainder of the red pepper. Then I buy some fresh basil—doh! I am really very bad at this indeed. (But, but, but, remember how Mark Bittman said dried basil is bad? I had agreed with him, but now I wish I had some so I didn’t have to transgress like this….)
But all is not lost; tonight I will defrost the pork chops from Bradley Farm, and with the rest of the frozen corn, a little of the precious remaining milk I’ve got, as well as the half bag of Wild Hive Farm stone ground cornmeal from my freezer (ohhh yeah, cornmeal and flour go in the freezer at my house) I will make a corn pudding.
I may not have much of a larder, and I may be buying a lot of supplements, but I am a) having a blast following the contest and b) doing a fine job of clearing out my stores, and c) spending less money as I do it.
This week I have made egg salad (very tasty on ancient toasted bagel); I have used those frozen overripe bananas to make a banana bread for my new parent friends; I have eaten down my fridge. I have looked it in the eye and shown it who’s boss.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
This weekend's event is sold out but I hope you'll come chew the scenery with the AVGR in April...?
PS also check out TONY's David Cote's blog post with our Butternut Squash soup recipe.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I am a good American, inasmuch as I really like peanut butter and I eat it an awful lot. As you can imagine, for this and other reasons, I have been following the peanut recall with more than idle curiosity.
Please see the Slow Food USA blog today for my woefully belated Peanut Butter Recall Redux.
Also, please see my old post, from the early days (4 years ago!), on Peanut Butter Bumpers. n.b. this week Whole Foods was having a sale, and now the top of my fridge looks like a PBB convention.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I already miss his shpiel.
I spent my childhood watching my father's alter ego--antique book salesman--and admiring its unlikely bravado. My weekday policy/finance Dad wore a suit, carried a briefcase, and went to an office. I don't know exactly what his work persona was like--though a memorial service last year gave me the sense that he was more outgoing and more gregarious than I ever imagined--but his salesman persona always seemed like a funny role he was playing.
"Antiquarian bookseller" sounds genteel, I realize, but ofttimes this involved selling at streetfairs (back when NYC streetfairs were eclectic and interesting, not just sweatsocks and funnel cakes). On certain occasions, he was a carnival barker, calling passerbys to his booth, promising 50% off. I was usually plopped on a lawn chair at the front of the booth with my mother, making sure nobody stole anything, making transactions, and watching my father doing what he loved.
Somehow I think Joe Ades the vegetable peeler seller reminded me of that unabashed salesman spirit I used to see in my Dad...
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Now the soup I ended up with does not taste like Laura Caponetti's minestrone, not even close, but yo it's really good!!
1/2 bag dried beans (I used Ojo de Cabra, kind of like pinto)
1/2 box orecchiete or any kind of smallish pasta
1 smoked ham hock (mine came from Ray at Bradley Farm, up near New Paltz)
1 rind from a wedge of parm.
1 can tomato paste
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
4 carrots, peeled and trimmed and diced
3 stalks celery, cleaned and trimmed and diced
2 small onions, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
The night before, I soaked the beans in a bowl on my countertop
The next day in a very tall soup pot I sauteed the onions (in oil) until glassy and translucent
then added the garlic
After a minute I added the carrots and celery
After another minute I added the tomato paste and stirred it all around
Then I put in the giant ham hock, the drained beans, and about 8 cups (?) of water, basically up towards the top of the pot
And the two bay leaves, and the cheese rind
I brought it to a boil then down to a simmer
Cooked it, covered, for about 2 hours
(About an hour in, I added the kale)
Then I removed the ham hock and used a fork and sharp knife to remove all the meat from the bone and put the meat back in the soup
then I added a lot of salt and pepper and cooked it uncovered at a boil for another 30 minutes
Then I put in the pasta and cooked it, uncovered at a boil for about 12 minutes
Pull out beans, taste 'em--are they done?
Do you like the salinity?
Don't be afraid to taste your way to what you like...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
We are in a financial panic, underemployed and underfunded, finally ready to stop shopping and do more with less (or as my buddy Woody Tasch said in his New Year's poem over on powells.com "Let us imagine a consumer putting down the purse").
For me this means trying to make new food out of old leftovers, though I haven't quite perfected this--every dish I want to make with leftovers requires the purchase of slightly more food, and the cycle persists.
That being said, old bread is a marvel (oh and speaking of bread, do check out the travel blog of the newest employee at my office, who spent last year on a Watson fellowship studying bread around the world. For real.)
Savory Bread Pudding (a riff on 101cookbooks asparagus bread pudding)
You've got half a loaf of Grand Daisy filone petrifying on your countertop. And half a head of Savoy cabbage in your crisper, starting to sag. Enter, milk/eggs/cheese to the rescue.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cut the bread into cubes (you might feel like Rodin, chiseling at stone)
Beat three cups milk and 3 eggs and a cup of chicken broth
Shred the cabbage and cut a few shallots into slivers
Toss the bread and cabbage and shallots into the egg mixture
Grease a casserole dish with butter
Pour the mixture in
Cover with a generous layer of shredded Gruyere
Bake for 45 minutes
Seems to me you can do this with just about anything, from kale to asparagus, to mushrooms to whathaveyou.