If you ask the professionals, the best restaurants in America are fancy-pants establishments like Alinea in Chicago, the French Laundry in Napa Valley, and Le Bernardin in New York, where a meal will set you back hundreds of dollars per person. But if you ask the foodies on the customer-reviews…
- 1 week ago
Athletes and spectators are giving the food in Sochi rave reviews. But what are they eating, exactly? It’s a mashup of Soviet-era Russian faves, punctuated with foods of the Caucasus that have long been special treats for people visiting the Russian Riviera.
To be in D.C.! (Or Sochi!)
This is a great read, even if you aren’t in Seattle and don’t know the area. You will learn more about all the US’s presidents than you ever did memorizing their names in grade school.
- 1 month ago
A Chicago restaurant offers an impossible mix of doughnut-fried sweetness and crumbly biscuitness.
How timely that we posted about cronuts just last week. The internet is already trying to show us up. While the link above focuses on doughscuits, the cragel was in the news the other day.
Optimism at the table, or why the dark void of the soul can’t be stuffed with spaghetti. Given my voracious appetite for unusual cookbook
Proof that food can be art— and art can be food!
- 1 month ago
Rice is a great canvas for sauteed, streamed, grilled or roasted veggies. It’s also a good addition to lentil or veggie soups that need some extra substance. But if adding a bit of bouillon and spices to a pot of rice doesn’t make your dish more exciting, there are a couple of other grains you should consider as alternatives to boring old rice.
Perhaps the most obvious is quinoa. But give these less common grains a shot for starters:
- Kasha (buckwheat groats)
Most of them are available in the bulk section of stores like Whole Foods, and natural and organic grocery stores. You can also find a solid selection from Bob’s Red Mill.
And of course, you can always experiment with different types of rice if you’re not quite ready to try the more exotic grains yet.
Belated Remarks on the Cronut Craze
Now that the (sugar) dust has settled, maybe it’s time to go back to the Cronut. You know, the big fad food craze of 2013?
Lucky New Yorkers got to encounter the croissant-doughnut hybrid first, with renditions of the pastry rolling out later as bakers across the US sought to come up with their own creative name for the trademarked pastry. (Seriously, who trademarks a pastry?)
By the time the craze reached the West Coast, maybe it was a bit late to be excited. Or was it?
In Seattle, Ba Bar was the first to roll up their own croissant-like doughnut food, renamed the Double Happiness after some legal threats from the original cronut’s creator. But then Ba Bar put the delicacy on hiatus because of a staffing issue. I had the pleasure of coming to the game even later, and trying the froissant at Frost Doughnuts in Mill Creek, Washington.
Let me tell you, these little whatever-you-call-thems are worth the hype. And if you think they are so passé, you might want to reconsider. With croissant-doughnut hybrids from NYC to the suburbs of Seattle, you can be sure a pastry chef near you has sought his or her own rendition of the delight.
If that chef’s is anything like what I ate at Frost, then you are in for a taste of something flaky, fluffy, lightly sweet, and perhaps available in a small variety of flavors. When I sunk my teeth into that froissant, it was a big, deep bite — satisfying and super tasty; slightly crispy, but buttery smooth.
You could just eat a doughnut or a croissant. But why choose when you can have both in one bite?
Or, you can make your own.
The U.S. didn’t even make the top 20, even though it has the greatest abundance of cheap food.
*In case you haven’t already seen this.
Sometimes it’s important to be reminded in our fabulous foodie world that not everyone has the same opportunities to experiment with flavors and recipes in the same way that many people on the internet are able. That basking in the glow of food porn, crazy foodsperiments (think back to the cupcake-stuffed strawberry and cronut here), and then being able to partake in them, is somewhat of a privilege.
It’s also important to reflect on what a healthy diet really means.
- 1 month ago
What has a lot of protein whether it’s vegetarian or not, provides great winter warmth and goes really well with cornbread?
It’s also surprisingly easy to improv. You can either throw all the ingredients in a crock pot, or keep them simmering on the stove for a couple of hours. This is also a great meal idea to make over the weekend and serve up later for weekday lunches or dinners.
The main things you need are beans. Black peans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, adzuki beans — you can use just one kind of beans, or any combination of kinds of beans. Beans need to be soaked first, at least for a couple of hours but preferably overnight.
Once you get a pot of water boiling (or your crock pot out and ready to go), add the beans and any chopped veggies you’d like to include. Good ones are tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, corn, cabbage, zucchini and bell or other kinds of pepper. You can add a bouillon cube to the water for flavor, and/or you can add spices like rosemary, sage, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper.
If you’re a meat eater, you can include ground beef or turkey, chopped-up sausages (Italian, andouille, hot, whatever), or shredded chicken, beef or pork.
If you’re not using the crockpot, I’d recommend bringing it all to boil before reducing the heat to a simmer. Keep it simmering for several hours, until the beans are tender and the meat is cooked all the way through. It’s a good idea to check in on the chili every now and then to give it a good stir.
Serve it up with a side of cornbread, and you’re golden.
Not everyone has the luxury of having a pasta maker at home. Maybe not everyone thinks that would be a great thing to have in his or her kitchen. But let me tell you: there is nothing in the world as amazing as fresh homemade pasta.
I recently received the queen supreme kitchen gadget for Christmas (a KitchenAid stand mixer! Thanks, mom!), and along with it a pasta roller and a couple of pasta cutters. There’s definitely a learning curve to figuring out the best way to get the dough right, then to figuring out how to get the pasta roller to roll the sheets just right, and then figuring out how to keep the freshly cut noodles from sticking together.
We definitely started out with a dough that was too dry, but then learned from the internet that adding a little bit of olive oil and water can help remedy the dryness. Then we figured out we had to make our dough sections much, much smaller for them to fit properly through the roller. And finally, we figured out that it’s maybe not a great idea to cut the pasta, fold it into bird’s nests, and then freeze it like that – because when it unfreezes, the pasta remains in the bird’s nest, even after boiling, and takes forever to cook (and then is a blob of partially overcooked, partially undercooked, but still flavorful pasta ball).
The biggest lesson we learned was that it’s a good idea to separate and flour the pasta after it’s been cut, and to only cut as much as we’re going to use right away. Last night I made 1 ¼ pounds of pasta dough, and after cutting enough for three servings to make last night, I separated the remaining dough into five portions, rolled them in a little flour, and then froze them like that. Then it will be easier to unfreeze the dough one meal at a time, rather than all at once. Once it thaws, we can re-moisten it, roll it, cut it, and not have to worry about sticky dough balls ruining the memory of how good the pasta was the first night the dough was made.
Whether you have a KitchenAid pasta making set or any other way of making pasta – and of course, the time to devote to figuring it out the first few times – I highly recommend making your own. It’s SO good. The noodles have this velvety smooth texture, the flavor is buttery and rich. I can’t recommend it enough.