Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Secret...

To: Adam, Andrea, Chad, Jeremy, Megan, Rebekah and Tom:

The secret to Eat Life’s success is not only that we have a wonderful handful of creative writers but every person who was chosen gave an energy of trust, dedication, and decency. I want you all to know that I am better for having you in my life. Your talent and passion is infectious. Integrity and instinct is 90% of what drives my decisions, as seemingly good opportunities have been turned down, you were chosen first for your character and then for your tremendous gift of writing! It just so happens we have an artistic team whose talent and spirit match in significance. Thank you for being the heart of this growing program built on sincerity, beautiful words, and simply decent human beings!

May this New Year find you even happier and wiser than the last!


Brandon Johnson

To Meet the Team, Click Here

To Join Eat Life, Click Here

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Monday, December 15, 2008

5...4...3...2....WINE! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

by Megan Moore

Whether it is Champagne, Prosecco, or Cava, sparkling wine always seems celebratory. Just in time for the New Year, wine stores all over New York are having tastings to lure customers during the busy holiday season. The good news is that there is a sparkling wine for every budget. While Champagnes are synonymous with 
luxury and decadence, there are definite values to be had.

A prime example of Champagne that almost everyone is familiar with is Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin. It is a classic champagne with small bubbles and biscuity, citrusy flavors. As an indulgence, Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin is reliably delicious. It is in the mid price range of about $40 a bottle at my favorite wine store.

If you are looking for something slightly different, Prosecco is a nice choice. Prosecco is the most well known of all the Italian sparkling wine and is slightly more affordable yet just as delicious. Less expensive does not mean lower quality in many cases and the trick is to always ask questions at your local wine store. One of my favorites of this variety is Mina, which is well balanced and slightly tart with some mineral tones. It is inexpensive enough to make into a Bellini yet is absolutely delicious on its own.

Of the three most common varieties of sparkling wine, Cava has enjoyed an enormous amount of interest in the past five years or so because of America’s current fascination with Spanish food. Cava is not the sort of thing I think of when El Bulli comes to mind, but it is the perfect wine to drink with friends while enjoying tapas. An excellent Cava to sample is Miro, which is one of the true modern sparkling wines. It is a blend of three very specific Spanish grapes: parellada, macabeo and xarel-lo. It is definitely dry, with bright flavors like lemon and green apple, and biscuity overtones. It is best served by itself, rather than as part of a cocktail.

Whatever the variety of sparkling wine, all go well with a nice toast and a happy celebration.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Fish to Die For

by Chad Fraley

We have all heard great stories about people staking their livelihoods at the poker table, but risking one’s life at dinner? What an interesting proposition... If you’re in the mood for gambling with seafood and betting your life, this is your dish. Fugu, Japanese for
puffer fish, is the most dangerous food being served today and has been for centuries. It is considered a delicacy in the two countries that allow it to be served, Japan and the United States (as of 2003).

The kidneys and the liver of this fish contain a lethal amount of poison called tetrodotoxin. This is a neurotoxin that will shut down electrical impulses of nerves if ingested, binding itself to sodium channel proteins in the nerve cell membranes. At onset, this causes headaches, nausea, exhaustion and dizziness, followed by paralysis. With paralysis comes not only the inability to move muscles, but also leads to loss of speech, and then breath. The victim will finally asphyxiate from the poison and be awake for the whole thing, enduring everything while conscious. Death typically occurred in 50-80 percent of diners within four to 24 hours of ingestion. The whole thing kind of reminds me of a bad episode from “Tales from the Crypt”. Currently, there is no known antidote for fugu poisoning. Trying to sustain the respiratory and circulatory systems are crucial for the victim to have a chance at all of survival. As of recently, however, researchers, along with farmers, have found a way to breed a non-toxic strain of fugu.

Not only is this a risky bet, it's also an expensive one. A single dish of fugu goes for around $50 (but has been found for as low as $20). If you want a complete fugu meal, it will probably be a little more, costing somewhere between $100 and $200. There are 17 restaurants in The United States that serve this dangerous feast, and 12 of them are in New York. These highly poisonous fish require a special license obtained by a chef trained to the Japanese standard of preparing and cooking fugu to certain, safe, specifications.

The most bizarre part of my research was that in some parts of Japan, a fugu victim is placed next to a coffin for three days and if the body does not start to decompose, it’s not dead. They then start a revival procedure that is not in any medical books. This happens especially in the most primitive areas of the country. There are some stories of victims showing death like signs after laying there for a few days and being completely conscious, then coming out of this coma like trance just moments before being cremated. I’m not sure if any taste is worth that gamble.

I have read and heard it’s a slight cross between flounder and the freshest of cuttlefish in flavor and texture. Rated by NY Magazine as having the best tasting fugu in New York City, is none other than Morimoto, at 88 Tenth Ave. The dangerous delicacy is served between October and March, which is prime fugu season. The Iron Chef has never had any fatalities after dining at his restaurant, undefeated, if you will (knock on wood). The fish are cleaned and dressed in Japan, flash frozen and flown over here, where they are safer by the time they get to your plate. The innards are disposed of in a hazardous waste container like syringes in a hospital.

I think I’ll keep my gambling to cards and leave the fish to those who dare to digest it. If you ever decide to try it, make sure you do a little research on it first, and eat at a reputable restaurant like Morimoto. Good luck and safe eating.

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Chef Wannabe

Dear Foodie:

I have been trying to recreate things I’ve seen on T.V. and magazines.  I am getting better, but just haven’t gotten where I want to be with cooking.  Do you have any tips or can you tell me what inspires a Chef to do what they do with food?  

Earnestly Trying,

Chef Wannabe  

Dear C.W.B.

Cooking is like everything else in life, it takes practice to get better.  Finding your way in the kitchen can be a fulfilling experience or on an off night, it too can be a bad day at the office.  These days happen to everyone, even Chefs, don’t get discouraged.  The passion about the food you’re cooking is a key ingredient to being a chef or a great cook as well.  Preparations such as mice en place, the right equipment, and the right attitude make all the difference in preparing a great meal.  A lot of getting better at anything is trial and error; my philosophy is “If it turns out great, do it again, if it doesn’t, don’t”.  Start out doing things you know you can do easily, such as easier recipes or a smaller amount of food, but bring them up to another level.  You can surprise yourself sometimes.  Just remember, bettering yourself, whether it is with cooking, golfing, playing a musical instrument  or any skill is a time consuming project so have fun with it, and remember, “If your aprons not dirty, you’re not cooking”.

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Payard Presents Buche de Noel

by Rebekah Peppler

As Christmas lights blaze and chestnuts roast, what’s left to complete this holiday season? Three words: Bûche de Noël.  

The traditional French yule log, composed of richly filled and rolled sponge cake, can be arduous to make. This year splurge on one of four upscale flavors from Payard Patisserie & Bistro.
I was honored to taste the staggeringly delicious Louvre, with its Chocolate and Hazelnut Mousse and Hazelnut Dacquoise. I can’t imagine its siblings: the hazelnut-laden Piémont, mascarpone and strawberry-filled Montmartre or the chestnut-infused Bagatelle tasting any less decadent. Prices start at $26, available starting December 15th.

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Feast of the Seven Fish

by Andrea Scalici

In the Italian culture, there are a lot of traditions. Some make sense, some don’t, some can be explained, some can’t. We are so rooted in custom, often based around the Catholic religion, that most of the time the reasoning doesn’t even matter. One such tradition is the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, or La Vigilia. This celebration is a commemoration of the wait, Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. Despite the fact that fish dishes make excellent meals anyway, the symbolization comes from (most popularly believed) the seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. Or, in the 13-dish version, it pays homage to Jesus and his 12 apostles. In Italy, what was served during the Feast also showed the wealth of the family with the well-to-do enjoying roast capitone (eel), and the less fortunate making do with baccalà.

In my family, the tradition was set long before I came along. My father’s grandparents brought it with them from Napoli and Sicily to Staten Island, like many of their neighbors around them. My dad and his siblings always recount the stories of the good ol’ days while cooking our own annual Feast. They talk about Grandpa Angelo, the baccalà guy, soaking the big cardboard looking dry cod in the bathtub 24 hours before Christmas Eve and how Grandma Rosie hated the smell. Angelo cooked the baccalà in a thin and spicy tomato broth with onion and celery (with pepper he called red cheese). This was my dad’s favorite, as was the oily eel that he baked with garlic and breadcrumbs. Naturally, my dad’s younger sisters don’t remember this because, as he points out, “Grandpa and I were the only ones who ate it!” Angelo also prepared clams oregenata (something we always try and recreate). Grandma Rosie did her thing with squid, stuffing the bodies with breadcrumbs, egg, parsley and garlic, and sewing them shut to cook in sauce. She always kept the skin of the eel to soak and put around sprains, which was supposed to take the pain and swelling away as it shrunk and tightened while drying. Another standby dish was the baked whiting, served hot or cold with lemon and parsley and crusty Italian bread. On the Sicilian side of the family, my dad’s Grandpa Antonino and Grandma Mary made "pulpo and scungilli", cold with oil, celery, parsley and lemon. This also still makes it to our table every year. The one thing in common in all Catholic-Italian homes however was, no meat allowed before midnight on Christmas Eve, so, as my father says, “we all slept with the fishes.”

Today many of the same customs live on, especially in the Scalici household. The baccalà has always been my dad’s favorite, but I don’t think it has ever been the same since the bathtub days. While we always have some variety of the basics, a baked filet (sole, flounder), a seafood marinara medley (shrimp, lobster, scallops), pulpo and scungilli salad, and clams oregenata of course, we put our own twist on things, making new memories with each passing Christmas (a “Mob Hits” sing-along ensues in the kitchen every year). And while we always have another extravagant feast of antipasti with sopressata and parmigiano-reggiano, fist-size ravioli, and a big roast on Christmas Day, nothing tops the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Though my aunt’s annual batches of biscotti and Venetian cookies are a close second.

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Seven Fish Holiday Recipes

7. Jumbo Shrimp with Pine Nuts and Currants 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium diced onion

4 Roma Tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon toasted pine nuts

1 Tablespoon black currants, plumped in white wine

2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed

1 cup dry white wine

½ teaspoon fennel pollen

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp

Sliced fennel

Fennel fronds for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet until hot. Sautee the sliced fennel and toss so that it cooks evenly. Cook until tender and caramelized. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and reheat the skillet. Add the onion and sautee until golden. Splash in the white wine and reduce slightly. Add the tomatoes, currants, capers, pepper flakes, and bring to a simmer.

Remove the pan from the heat and on top of the tomatoes layer first the fennel and then the shrimp.Cover the skillet and cook the shrimp for 4 minutes. Let the skillet stand off the heat and keep the cover on for 4 more minutes so the residual heat finishes the shrimp. Sprinkle with Fennel Pollen and Fronds.  

6. Garlic Shrimp

2 pounds of medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined

3 minced garlic cloves

½ cup white wine

¼ Cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and drop in the garlic. Do not let the warm garlic brown. Sautee the shrimp quickly until they just curl. Add the white wine and let reduce until the sauce thickens and just coats the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed rice.

5. Sautéed Sole with Lemon

6 Sole fillets

Flour for dredging

½ a stick of butter

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

2 Tablespoons of chopped herbs

Place flour in a shallow dish and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick pan, heat the butter until the foaming ends. Add the oil. Lay the fillets in the hot skillet and cook until golden brown, turning only once so that the fish does not get damaged.  Remove the fish from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate. Add the lemon juice to the cooking fat for 4 minutes. Place the fish on a serving platter, pour the sauce over the sole and scatter with fresh herbs. Serve at once.

4. Baked Eel with Bay Leaves

1 large eel, skinned, cleaned and gutted.

Coarse Salt

Fresh Bay Leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eel into 4 inch pieces and cover the eel in coarse salt and Bay Leaves. Place the eel on a baking sheet.  Bake for 35 minutes until a skewer goes into the eel easily.  Remove the eel from the oven and wipe off the salt. Serve immediately.

3. Seafood Salad (Insalata di Mare)

2 cloves of garlic

4 lemons, juiced

2 pounds assorted seafood such as shrimp, squid, mussels, baby Octopus, and clams.

¼ Cup Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil together. Infuse for 20 minutes and strain. Season to taste.

Poach (place food in boiling water for 2 minutes then place in ice water) the seafood and discard any shellfish that doesn’t open. Drain.

Pour the lemon dressing over the seafood and stir gently. Sprinkle with parsley. Let sit for 30 minutes to let flavors mingle.

2. Sarde in Saor

1 1/14  pounds Fresh Sardines

2 cups of Flour

2 onions, cut into rings

½ Cup Olive Oil

1 glass red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons raisins

2 Tablespoons pine nuts

Clean and gut the sardines. Rinse.  Meanwhile heat half the olive oil in a medium skillet until hot. Pat the fish dry and dredge in flour.  Fry  until crispy and drain on paper towels. Wipe skillet clean and add the remaining olive oil. Sautee the onion until golden sweet and  translucent. Add the vinegar and reduce slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Add the raisins and the pine nuts. Place sardines in a shallow dish and cover with the sauce. Set aside for up to two days to absorb flavors.

1. Puree of Salt Cod

1 dried Salt Cod

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper


2 Cloves of Garlic


Wash the cod and boil for 20 minutes. Drain and look for bones and cut into pieces. Put in a food processor and while it is running, drizzle in olive oil and add the garlic. The mixture should be creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grate some nutmeg over the Baccala  


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Sunday, November 16, 2008


Click here to view video

Charcuterie is a form of cooking and curing meat and is one of the oldest forms of culinary techniques still used today.  Pate, bacon, sausage, and confit are all types of cured meat. Before refrigeration was introduced in the early twentieth century, curing was originally done to preserve and keep meat for long periods of time and long distances of travel. Pork is the most common ingredient used to make charcuterie. It is the common denominator between prosciutto, Serrano ham, and various sausages. The tradition and techniques of curing pork has changed over the centuries. Now cooks have evolved the craft as well as our technology to do all kinds of different things with meat. Dry Curing, Wet curing, Salting, Aging, and Brining are a few different ways to cure meat.  Go to your local deli or favorite restaurant and try items from the Charcuterie Tray, they mix well with almost anything, especially cheese and a good wine.

Written by Chad Fraley

Photography by Stephanie Garrison

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A Locavore's Love Letter

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it’s impossible not to think about the lore of the holiday in which the settlers and Native Americans gathered together with crops of their own growing to celebrate the New World with food. In that vein, I thought it appropriate to explore the resurgence of this trend in today’s society with a return of ownership in what has come to be known as “farm-to-table” cuisine.

In an effort to ensure quality and reduce the eco-footprint of importing foods, a new wave of “locavores” has taken over the way we approach restaurant food supply. This has brought with it a renewed sense of community not only between farmer and chef, but also consumer as well. A visionary in this genre of course is New York’s own Dan Barber
, co-owner of Blue Hill restaurants. He gets his inspired and fresh dishes from local farms, primarily Stone Barns, around Westchester. Their mantra of “know thy farmer” brings pride and ownership to the restaurant process that others just cannot reach.

“The Stone Barns Center was conceived by David Rockefeller, who helped finance the initial $30 million construction budget, and also donated 80 acres of farmland, to create a grand experiment in the study and practice of sustainable local agriculture,” according to its site (1). The Center offers community outreach and education programs with Blue Hill as the only for-profit component. It is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows visitors to know exactly what they are eating from concept to practice to plate, as well we all should.

On the other side of the country this movement can be credited also to Alice Waters whose restaurant Chez Panisse in California was one of the first promoting organic and small farm products. She also started "edible education" programs that have stretched across the Berkeley school system, advocating health and combating childhood obesity. Waters follows the belief that “international shipment of mass-produced food is both harmful to the environment and produces an inferior product for the consumer” (2).

Since its ascent in popularity amongst chefs, this novel idea has been cropping up around the country from Washington to Texas to Georgia, all following in the footsteps of not only Barber and Waters, but also in the ever-present memory of the founders of this country. The true pioneers started from the ground up to sustain life in this country and build what we can now appreciate today. So when giving thanks this year, remember where it began and how eating used to be. And let us all give thought to community and quality in our own cooking so we may once again be proud to say “we are what we eat”.


For a list of the top farm-to-table restaurants across the country visit:

Written by Andrea Scalici

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How Did I Mess this Up?

Dear Foodie:
2007 was the year of a disastrous Thanksgiving. I don’t know how I messed this up. I tried to fry a turkey and almost burned my terrace, I over cooked the green bean casserole and the only good but predictable item was a plain mashed potato dish. I am bored of traditional Thanksgiving food but scared to go exotic, in fear of burning my house down. Got any safe and unique Thanksgiving ideas?
Turkey Day Disaster

Dear T.D.D:
Considering that the first Thanksgiving meal between pilgrims and Native Americans did not include pumpkin pie and green bean casseroles (they ate venison and wild fowl), who’s to say you can’t go completely eclectic. We did our homework and found what other countries are eating. The following dishes are from Nigeria, India and Spain and we combined them to create one worldly Thanksgiving Menu. Click Here for Recipes, enjoy! Menu below...


Isu (Spiced Boiled Yams) and Dodo (Fried Plantains)


Curried Lentils and Kale Greens and Palak Alu (Spinach with Potatoes)


Pollo en Salsa de Jerez (Chicken in Sherry Sauce, alternative to Turkey) and Pera en Vino Tinto (Pears in Red Wine, dessert)

Our Turducken Recipe is another fun way to spice up Thanksgiving, recipe -


Isu (Spiced Boiled Yams)

2 pounds yams, peeled and thickly sliced (regular yams can be used in place of African yams)
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Place the yams in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover them.
Add the salt, garlic clove, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain the yams and remove the garlic clove and discard it.
Place the yams on a platter and drizzle the butter over the top.
Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper (be careful, cayenne pepper tastes very hot) and serve.

Dodo (Fried Plantains)

4 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt, to taste

Heat oil in a large frying pan.
Place the sliced plantains in the frying pan and fry, turning as needed, until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
Season with salt and serve hot or warm.


Curried Lentils and Kale Greens

1/2 cup lentils; brown
1 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon raisins; dark
4 whole cloves
1/2 small yellow onion; thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced potato
2 cup (1 small bunch) kale
2 tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt; for topping

Rinse and soak lentils in water for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove stalks and spines from kale; rinse well and tear leaves into bite-size pieces. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and stir in curry powder, raisins, cloves, onion, salt, pepper, carrot and celery; return to a boil. Add remaining water, and return to a boil. Add lentils and potato; return to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.
Place kale on top of lentils, cover and cook until reduced by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. When done, lentils should be tender but not mushy.
Remove from heat. Gently stir to combine kale and lentils. Transfer to bowls. Top each serving with portion of yogurt.

Palak Alu (Spinach with Potatoes)
1 lb new potatoes
1 bunch spinach
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cummin
2 fresh green chillies, slit and seeds removed
1 teaspoon salt to taste
approximately 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Scrub the potatoes well and cut into small cubes.
Wash the spinach in several changes of water. Discard tough stems and put into a large saucepan with just the water that clings to the leaves. Cover and steam for 10 minutes or until tender, then chop roughly. Do not discard any liquid in pan.
In a large frying pan heat the ghee or oil and fry mustard and cummin seeds until mustard seeds pop. Cover pan or they will fly all over the stove.
Add turmeric, coriander, cummin and the chillies.
Add potatoes, stir and fry for a few minutes, then add salt and about 1 cup water, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add spinach, stir, cover and cook for 5 or 10 minutes longer.
Sprinkle nutmeg over and serve.


Pollo en Salsa de Jerez (Chicken in Sherry Sauce, alternative to Turkey)
1 chicken jointed
4tbsp olive oil
1/4lb ham (slices)
1 large onion
1/4 lb mushrooms
1/3 cup sherry
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish and add the chicken pieces and cook until they are browned
Chop the onion and ham and slice the mushrooms
Add the onion, ham and mushrooms to the casserole dish and sauté for 5 - 10 mins
Pour in the sherry add the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper
Cover and simmer until the chicken is tender (approx. 20 minutes)

Pera en Vino Tinto (Pears in Red Wine, dessert)
6 pears
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups water

Place the pears in boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes then remove from the water and place under the cold tap. When the pears are sufficiently cooled remove the peel
Meanwhile put the sugar, wine, water and cinnamon stick in a pan over a medium heat when it starts to boil add the pears and simmer slowly until the pears become soft
When the pears have softened remove them from the liquid and place them in a glass bowl
Leave the liquid simmering a bit longer until it reduces then pour over the pears
Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream

Our Turducken Recipe is another fun way to spice up Thanksgiving, recipe -

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Autumn Tastes like Rabbit and Apricots: Cookshop

Sitting on the corner of 10 Avenue and 20th Street, Cookshop looks like any other eatery in Chelsea. Upon stepping inside, however, one begins to sense the essence of what Cookshop really is. The duo responsible for Five Points and Hundred Acres, chef Marc Meyer and partner Vicki Freeman, have once again brought sustainability to the New York City restaurant scene. The inside of Cookshop is more country farm than trendy neighborhood hot spot, decorated in pumpkins and gourds with maple, amber and mahogany tones illuminated by candles. Upbeat music plays gently in the background and the restaurant has a quiet buzz filling the room. As we sit down our waiter explains the “Cookshop Restaurant Mission.” The menu strictly adheres to seasonality and sustainability. All produce comes from local farmers markets (the majority from close by Union Square), all animals are grown humanely the way nature intended, and wine is chosen from smaller vineyards, including some local Long Island options. The glasses are even made from recycled materials. While the ethics are impressive, the question turns to taste. 

Our table began with a nicely al dente homemade beet and goat cheese ravioli with butter poppy seed sauce. One bite was all it took for the table to begin rallying behind Meyer’s mantra that seasonal food tastes better. We also shared a playful and well-seasoned Merguez sausage & peppers roll and an order of deviled eggs that were everything you wish they could be at home, but somehow never are.
The meal proceeded on with more hints towards Meyer’s commitment to local ingredients. The marinated Hudson Valley Rabbit was tender and juicy with grapes and apricots that added a nice sweetness to counter the acidity of the accompanying red wine gastrique. Though we did not indulge, our rabbit’s kidneys and liver ended up on the menu as well in two separate dishes. The true highlight of dinner was the multigrain risotto, wonderfully creamy and chewy, with squash and rosemary. Not all of dinner was as successful however, the white pizza with green olives was thought to be “briny,” “oily,” and “overpowering,” by the members of my table.

Dessert brought back another high point for Cookshop. All creamy ice cream and smooth sorbet is made in house. This warranted us trying half of the dozen flavors including coffee, chocolate, gingersnap, apple, banana, root beer, and a slightly over salty yet addictive salted caramel. These were found among our Root Beer Sundae and, the most seasonal dessert imaginable, pumpkin bread pudding with gingersnap ice cream.

Cookshop, similar to its parent restaurant Five Points is the type of place you want to come back to. It is larger than both Five Points and Hundred Acres, but still manages to be just as cozy. Of course when talking about sustainable restaurants, it is hard not to compare them to Dan Barber's Blue Hill. While less elegant than Blue Hill, Cookshop is more accessible. While Blue Hill may be a special occasion type dinner, Cookshop is the kind of restaurant you could go to any day of the week. Not only is it easy on the environment and conscience, it’s also easier on your wallet.

Overall Rating: 3 of 4
Average Entree: $25.00 and under
Dishes to Try: Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli, Hudson Valley Rabbit, Multigrain Risotto, Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Written by Adam Wile
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Fried Coca-Cola

The Texas State Fair was in full swing again this year and to no surprise the fried goodies were back. I grew up going to the fair every year just waiting to see what delightfully fried temptation would be the new delicacy. The fair ran from September 28th to October 21st in "Big D" (for all of you not from the great state of Texas this means Dallas ). With it came some of the craziest creations and most scrumptious concoctions people went home talking about, or feeling the heartburn from. Either way the food always makes memories.

2008 was no different. The Southern-Fried Old Fashioned Apple Pie 
can't be beat, nor can the original Corny Dog, first introduced at The State Fair of Texas in 1942. Brothers Carl and Neil Fletcher invented the batter-dipped, deep-fried hot dog in their Dallas kitchen and sold here where it took off like a Roman candle on the 4th of July. Today, descendants of the Fletcher brothers' sell nearly 500,000 corny dogs during the fair's 24-day run. Even chains like Wal-Mart and Target carry the infamous creation. And this was only the beginning...

I'm afraid of what they might come up with next. Over the past few years, we've seen the likes of fried green beans, fried coca-cola (a sweet dough ball, filled with the ball game beverage that is deep fried, and finished with powdered sugar), and the Belgium Waffle (A fresh butter waffle topped with whipped cream, freshly sliced strawberries and powdered sugar). Messy, yes, but it wouldn't be a trip to the fair without having one.

This year's winners of the "Best Tasting" and "Most Creative" food contests were by far the stuff coronaries are made of. For the "Best Tasting" event, the Chicken Fried Bacon won the blue ribbon, which was a thick and peppery slab of bacon double dipped in a top-secret batter, dredged in breading and deep-fried. It was served with a creamy side of flavored ranch or honey mustard sauce."Most Creative" went to the Fried Banana Split, a mixture of sliced banana rounds and honey peanut butter balls, battered and deep-fried. It was topped with delicious fixings, including caramel and chocolate syrups, chopped peanuts, whipped cream, powdered sugar and, of course, crowned with the traditional perching cherry.

Thankfully, the Texas state fair always happens annually with all its wacky and fun offerings, because should you really take food all that seriously? And thankfully the Texas state fair only happens annually, because once a year is plenty to enjoy the fried revelry.

Written by Chad Fraley
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Julia, Bon Appetit

“I found myself staring at a fresh beef tongue, and I said to it, you ugly old thing, I’d like to fix you up!” Julia says on the French Chef.

Honest, approachable and not afraid of human error, Julia was magnetic on camera. She introduced French cuisine to the masses. Her motto was “If I can do it, you can do it, and here’s how to do it”. She was an unpretentious character with a natural humor and most importantly, she loved her craft. Julia humorously described food as senior citizens, yuniks and ugly. She was also known for making sounds effects. Unafraid to make mistakes, she took on challenges like
flipping potatoes in a pan (sometimes spilling them) and using pliers to truss chickens. Though Julia was known for casual cooking and on-camera mishaps, she was a perfectionist who took tens of hours planning and choreographing one 30-minute episode. The French Chef captured an American audience who increasingly traveled abroad, idolized the French, adored Jackie Kennedy, and were bored of Spaghetti O’s and pre-packaged foods. The kitchen soon became the heart of American homes and Julia soon became the inspiration. 96 PBS stations aired The French Chef in 1965 and Julia won her first Peabody, soon followed by her first Emmy. The Times raved and sales of Mastering the Art of French Cooking soared. With money from book royalties, Julia and Paul bought a remote home in Provence, France, called La Pitchoune (The Peach, in French). This is where the couple escaped media to work on their olive garden and to relax. Paul wrote to his brother, “How fortunate we are at this moment in our lives! Each doing what he most wants, in a marvelously adapted place, close to each other, superbly fed and housed, with excellent health, and few interruptions.” Paul and Julia would travel from the US to France. And in early 1968, Julia would find her health in jeopardy.

“Left Breast Off”
When Julia returned to Boston for a routine biopsy, doctors called for a full radical mastectomy, eliminating her left breast. Once hearing the devastating news, Julia showed strength in the presence of her worried husband. Not until she was
 released from the hospital, in the privacy of her home, did Julia weep alone in her bathtub. More bad news came when Julia and Paul heard of the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy from their home in Provence, Julia became more determined than ever to get back to work and finish a new cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2. Vowing to improve the edition, she confined herself to her room and worked tirelessly. After months, Julia became frustrated and resentful of the books’ efforts. Publishing deadlines were constantly pushed back and Julia expressed a yearning to get back into television. Julia then returned to PBS after four years away. Television was in color, more shows of The French Chef were produced and Julia and Paul were elated to be back in their comfort zone.

Julia’s success with Paul behind the scenes
When you watch Julia on television what you do not see is her inspiration. Paul was behind every scene, as a photographer, manager, set designer – designing the island to be tall enough for her height – revising and perfecting Julia’s shows and books. His love was in the details of every set and production. As Julia gained stardom with packed audiences and notable acclaim, Paul was having chest pains.
 During a coronary bypass, Paul suffered multiple strokes, which affected his speech and French fluency. Julia helped the only way she knew how, to keep progressing. She continued with her cooking career bringing Paul along every step of the way. While she came to his aid, she still took his advice for her career. Paul stated, “Whatever it is, I will do it” and that was the commitment they made to each other until Paul became too frail to continue. By the 70’s Julia was competing against a new breed of chefs. Young up and comers were exploring more American cuisine and the media was taking a turn from classic French fare. Julia accepted the movement and encouraged the young chefs while standing by her love of classic French food. She adapted by starring in shows called, Julia Child and Company and Julia and More Company, which would have these new comers accompany her in the kitchen. In her 70’s, Julia began a series with her good friend Jacque Pepin, called Jacques and Julia at Home. During her success, Paul was watching from a nursing home and in May of 1994, he passed.

Julia after Paul
After living in New England, in the home she shared with Paul over the years, Julia became lonely and missed the California weather. In 2001 she moved to Santa Barbra for sun, sand and tranquility. Julia’s career included over five cookbooks, and seven television series. She was the pioneer in food media and continued to star in her own shows well into her 80’s. A witty and charismatic woman, uncertain of her talents, grew from a copywriter to secret agent to culinary legend. Julia passed away two days before her 92nd birthday on August 13, 2004. Onion soup was her last meal. Her devoted audience will always remember her opera like voice and can still visit her set (complete with the same pots pans and tall kitchen island) at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. By watching Julia, we can
 all appreciate that food is meant to be enjoyed and mistakes in the kitchen make it fun.

"It's a shame to be caught up in something that doesn't make you absolutely tremble with joy." -Julia Child

Written by Brandon Johnson

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Turducken Recipe

Serves 12


5 Cups of stuffing prepared

¼  Cup of toasted pecans

¼ Cup of Dried Cherries

1 deboned turkey, 1 deboned duck, one deboned chicken (the butcher will do this for you as long as you ask nicely.)

4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

3 garlic cloves, fine chop

6 sage leaves, small chop

2 Tablespoons of thyme, small chop

1 Tablesppon of soy sauce

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Do not let the ingredients get warm, as you don't want to be responsible for a bad case of food poisoning.

Divide the stuffing into three portions. Use the dried cranberries and the pecans to flavor the stuffing. Season to taste.

Stand the turkey up so the open cavity is facing you. Spread the moist stuffing in the inside of the turkey cavity.

Place the duck in the turkey cavity over the stuffing.

Spread the cranberry nut stuffing in the duck cavity using the same process used to fill the turkey.

Place the chicken in the duck cavity. Fill with the remaining stuffing.

Bring the chicken skin together and skewer it closed.

Bring the duck skin together and repeat the process.

Finally skewer the turkey skin together so that the Turducken is completely closed and looks like a typical turkey.

In a roasting pan, place the bird breast up

Mix the chopped herbs and garlic with the butter. Spread the herb butter under the skin of the turkey and rub with the olive oil, soy sauce on top. Roast at least 3 to four hours until the thermometer reads 165 degrees. Baste frequently.

Let the Turducken rest for 30 minutes and carve across the breast so the layers are visible. 

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!


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