© Quentin Bacon
Last week, I was up in Boston to help host a party with rock-star chef Barbara Lynch and the founders of Fresh beauty, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg. The occasion: To celebrate an article in F& W’s September issue, in which Lynch helped her friends add more flavor to their favorite healthy recipes.
After the party, we headed over to Sportello, one of Barbara's newest restaurants, and the dinner conversation veered to keeping fit. Barbara is on a serious health kick. To keep up her energy (she just finished a new cookbook, Stir, out next month), she’s been obsessively juicing every fruit, vegetable and herb she can get her hands and storing batches in her fridge. Lynch also told me about her new favorite energy bar, Green Vibrance. (Cameron Diaz has been in Boston, filming Wichita with Tom Cruise, and her personal assistant introduced Barbara to the dark-chocolate-covered, vitamin-loaded veggie bar.)
In addition to trail-running with the Sportello staff, Barbara has also taken up boxing. And I don’t mean the cardio-punch classes they offer at fancy fitness centers. Lynch works out at Golden Gloves champion Peter Welch’s super-old-school gym in Southie. After a few drinks, Lev (he actually does the cardio-punch gym classes) and I had agreed to join her in the ring the next day. Lev was a no-show (I think he got scared), but Barbara’s publicist, Sarah Hearn, joined me for an intense hour-long session with a group that looked straight out of Rocky. After throwing uppercuts, jabs and hooks and doing what seemed like endless push-ups, I have a new respect for Barbara Lynch, way beyond her extraordinary skills in the kitchen.
© Tina Rupp
If you've ever wondered what wine would be best with red velvet or chocolate cupcakes, James Roth of the wine shop Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church, Virginia, is your man. His motto is, "If you can eat it, you can pair it." So the Falls Church News-Press put him up to the challenge of pairing eight different flavored cupcakes with wines. The results were fascinating-for example, a dark-chocolate ganache with an Argentinean Malbec. Try some cupcake pairings yourself with some of my favorite F&W recipes:
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Devil's Food Cupcakes with Espresso Meringue
Angel Food Cupcakes with Raspberry Swirl
Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling
Andrew Sessa, senior editor at F&W's sister magazine Departures, is adamant that the mini Bundt cake is going to steal the cupcake's role as the darling of the dessert world. "People like cupcakes because they're cute, and individual sized, and, maybe most importantly, vaguely nostalgic," says Sessa. "They're a throwback to mom's kitchen, and mid-century Donna Reed Americana. Mini bundts hit all the same notes, and I think, are even cuter and certainly have an even stronger sense of that nostalgia."T he recreational baker adores the adorable round cakes so much that he has started his own company— Bundt, a Bakery — which debuted last weekend at Brooklyn’s new Greenpoint Food Market. Sessa will be selling a rotating selection of seasonally inspired mini Bundt cakes, like Guinness Ginger Spice and Oatmeal Cranberry Crunch, for $4 each. The best-seller over the weekend was the zingy Caipirinha Sling. I couldn’t get enough of the supermoist Carrot Cake Bundt, which can be ordered with an extra shot of white chocolate–cream cheese buttercream frosting for $1 more.
© Peter Picasa
Mini Bundts baked by Andrew Sessa.
Last week I was sailing through the Pacific Northwest and fell in love with Lopez Island and its food. The island, located north of Seattle, is relatively remote and can be reached by ferry or sea plane. After docking, we waited in line with the locals outside of Holly B’s Bakery to fill up on their almond-studded cinnamon rolls, warm baguettes and crumbly cheddar-herb biscuits. Next door, lattes made with Graffeo beans beckoned us to recaffeinate at Caffe la Boheme. We headed out of town on bikes and stumbled upon Lopez Island Farm’s store, where the cash box was (trustingly) left out for us to ring up our purchase. I scooped up some marionberry syrup, which was perfect with our pancakes the next morning, and a goat cheese spread with apricots and pistachios that became our preferred snack for refueling after hikes. I only wish I had put ice in my day pack, so I could have brought back some of their beautiful lamb sausage to grill as well.
For F&W’s September issue, I wrote about an incredible dinner party that London-based ceramicist Peter Ting hosted at the country house he shares with his partner, Brian Kennedy, and his friend Rachel Lamb. Ting gave F&W an exclusive look at his new Hachi tabletop collection for Royal Crown Derby and also shared some of his best recipes. Though he is an excellent cook, Ting's true passion is baking. He recently launched a London-based group called the Cake Committee that meets every other month (Oct. 18 and Dec. 13 will be the next dates) in Pullens Yards. A minimum of 10 amateur and professional bakers bring at least one cake, pie, tart or brioche to sell by the slice to raise money for charity. I sent Peter my favorite F&W recipe for red velvet cake, which he made for the committee’s inaugural meeting.
Jill O'Connor's Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey is one of my favorite baking books. So I am totally thrilled that Chronicle Books is publishing a much-needed sequel: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids. Even though the book is aimed at kids, everything looks insanely good. I'm planning to start by trying the Holy Moly! Strawberry Jam Roly-Poly (sort of like a jelly roll but with a more flaky, biscuit-like dough), and then I'll tackle the Wicked Good Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cups. The only downside? I can't share the book with friends until October, when it goes on sale. Until then, I'll be baking these great Food & Wine standbys for my kids:
Chocolate Chip–Pretzel Bars
Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
Chocolate Soufflé Sundae
© Eric Biermann
Tariq Hanna and his blue cake