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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Events

New Classes for Pasta-Cravers

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Sage mafalda pasta at Il Corvo.

© Mike Easton
Sage mafalda pasta at Il Corvo.


There’s a good reason why we’re not all eating fresh pasta every night: Making it (or making it well, anyway) is not as easy as the pros might lead you to believe. But Seattleites with pasta intimidation can now conquer their fears at Il Corvo, the brand-new pasta shop and lunch counter within Procopio Gelateria at Pike Place Market Hill Climb. Starting this weekend, chef Mike Easton will lead pasta-making dinners (make reservations here) the last Saturday of every month, teaching guests to roll out pastas like a delicately flavored sage mafalda (my favorite of the different pastas we sampled here at F&W's Test Kitchen). "The classes are hands-on," says Easton, who pairs wine with each dish to shake out kitchen inhibitions. “They're more like a dinner party where you’re going to get your hands dirty in the kitchen." And those who still feel shy with the pasta roller can pick up ready-made packs of his fresh pastas at Il Corvo, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Beer

Exclusive Preview: Garrett Oliver’s 'Oxford Companion to Beer'

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© PIKE MICROBREWERY MUSEUM, SEATTLE, WA
Sneak peek inside: c. 1933, Prohibition caused a lack of public knowledge of how to serve alcoholic beverages, an issue addressed in this nationally syndicated photograph.

When American Craft Beer Week concludes on May 22, events will have taken place in every state for the first time in the celebration’s six-year history. No one understands the rise of local beer better than Garrett Oliver. The Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and award-winning author of The Brewmaster’s Table (2005) is finishing up his latest feat as editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer. Considering the honor attached to a first edition in the food reference series, it's funny to hear Oliver's take on the publisher's pitch three years ago. "I went quickly sprinting in the opposite direction. The project seemed so overwhelmingly huge, and obviously I already have a job over here as brewmaster," he remembers. With the encouragement of friends who knew he'd regret the lost opportunity, Oliver embarked on the work over a year ago with a preliminary list of 500 topics;1,120 references and 160 additional writers later, the tome will drop in October. Here, Oliver reveals some of the groundbreaking subjects that will be covered and what he thinks you should be drinking (and eating) now.

© PIKE MICROBREWERY MUSEUM, SEATTLE, WA
A closer look reveals various beer glass shapes.

What convinced you to sign on? There are a lot of subjects that we in the craft-brewing community might use every day that are literally not written down. So if you want to know about, say, dry-hopping—adding hops after fermentation for extra flavor and aroma, which is done by 80 to 95 percent of all the breweries in the United States—there is precisely nothing to read.

What other categories are you breaking ground in? Sour beers. Barrel aging:There's a huge movement all over the world now interested in deriving flavors from wooden barrels. You will read about Amarillo, a hop variety: where it comes from, how it developed, what its genetic parents are, how it grows in a field, and how people tend to use it. But then, right before that, you'd read [an entry called] Ale House, about the history of the ale house from Roman times to its development into the modern pub. So it really covers not only things scientific and technical, but also cultural and historic things.

What's the most surprising country making beer? Of course when we think of Italy, we think of wine. But Italy has 350 breweries, and Italian brewers are really excited, creative and using a lot of their background in food to inform what they do on the beer side. Scandinavia is also a big story. We might think of one or two beers, like Carlsberg, but there are many dozens of breweries in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc.

Do you cover foods to eat with beer? What's your favorite pairing? There are sections on food-and-beer pairing. I've done about 700 beer dinners in 12 countries, and I wrote a 360-page book on beer-and-food pairings. But this time of year, for example, I love saison, which is a Belgian-style wheat beer. [At Brooklyn Brewery] we have a new one coming out called Sorachi Ace, based on a particular hop variety of that name, and I think it's really great with grilled salmon and shrimp dishes—lighter dishes you might grill in summertime.

How much has beer culture evolved in the last decade? It's really pretty incredible. When I first started traveling, I would go overseas and say, "Oh, I'm an American brewer," and people would just be dripping with disdain: "Oh, yes, we have heard of your American beer." Because they were thinking about just the mass-market beer. We now have over 1,700 breweries in the United States, and we have the most vibrant beer culture in the world, bar none. What's amazing is that now, we go to Germany and Belgium and Italy and, to a large extent, brewers all over the world look up to the United States. Twenty years ago it was exactly the opposite.

Restaurants

Highlights, Chefs Cook for Japan

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© Dean Roman
Masaharu Morimoto in Action at Chefs Cook for Japan fundraiser.

Last night's supersonic "Chefs Cook for Japan" fundraising dinner in NYC raised an astonishing $100,000 for the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund. The dinner's highlight featured participating chefs—like Jonathan WaxmanMarcus Samuelsson and Paul Bartolotta—jumping on stage during the live auction. Spontaneous auction packages included Jose Garces and Masaharu Morimoto’s Iron Chef dinner (the two Iron Chefs will cook for a dinner party using a themed ingredient) and  Daniel Boulud and Morimoto creating a package that starts with sushi, sashimi and saki from Morimoto at DBGB followed by burgers, bangers and beer before going out to what will surely be a ridiculous night of karaoke with Boulud and Morimoto. Bonus highlight: Morimoto's karaoke preview of What a Wonderful World for the crowd.

Farms

Tonight's Fabulous Beekman Boys Finale

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Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge are The Beekman Boys.

© Planet Green
Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge are The Beekman Boys.

 

I'm a fanatic for The Fabulous Beekman Boys (look for a feature on them in the August issue of F&W) and am super-excited for tonight's season finale at 10 pm ET on Planet Green. Just two seasons ago the duo made their TV debut as a couple of professional Manhattanites-turned-goat-farmers and already they've become an inspiration for anyone (including me) who has ever dreamed of leaving the big city for the simple life. Although if you ask me — it's really not so simple! 

I reached out to the Boys — aka Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge — who shared a few thoughts about season two and their future plans. Here are the highlights:

What's your favorite moment from season two?

We loved the barn-raising episode, "Food and Whine." It showed how wonderful the community of Sharon Springs, New York really is. 

What is your most memorable meal from season two?

[BRENT] It had to be when we first started working on our forthcoming book, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Recipe Cookbook, and Josh was trying to convince me that we needed a recipe involving eggplant. Personally I have never found a recipe that I liked that used eggplant as a main ingredient, though Josh did end up sneaking one into the book.

If you had to summarize this past season in one sentence, what would you say? 

A million dollars is just not what it used to be.

What is the most significant lesson that you learned during season two?

That dreams sometimes do come true, but more often than not it takes longer than you would like.

What are you most excited for in the upcoming year?

In the fall and through the holiday season (when things on the farm start to slow down), we'll get to tour around the country with our cookbook and hopefully learn about a lot of regional heirloom recipes (every family has at least one).

Events

Nationwide Sugar Rush for a Cause

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Great American Bake Sale


Bloggers around the country are turning off their computers and getting their hands floury this weekend to raise funds for Share Our Strength, a D.C.-based nonprofit that fights childhood hunger. The Great American Bake Sale, now in its ninth year, has raised over $6 million to date to support S.O.S.’s mission to make sure no child in America goes hungry. A huge network of fantastic bloggers are hosting bake sales, like the folks behind Peanut Butter and Julie in Nevada, Green Eats in Durham, NC, What’s for Dinner Mom? in Alaska and Rhubarb and Honey in St. Louis. You can find a bake sale near you on the Great American Bake Sale website.

Gadgets

Supersharp New Knives

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Bob Kramer sharpening his knife.

© Justin Chapple
Bob Kramer sharpening his knife.

 

I would hardly consider myself a knife connoisseur, but when I see a shiny new blade, I can’t help but want to take it for a test slice. When I learned that Bob Kramer, master bladesmith and knife designer, was partnering with Zwilling J.A. Henckels to create a top-of-the line series of chef knives made with straight carbon steel (a material that produces a hard, thin and ultimatelysupersharp blade), I had to experience it for myself.
 
I recently joined our fantastic editorial assistant Maggie Mariolis at a preview party. We watched in awe as Kramer cut through a two-inch-thick rope with one swipe and then proceeded to slice a tomato with sheer perfection. Perhaps the most fascinating portion of the demonstration was witnessing him seemingly destroy his knife’s edge by roughly scraping it across a honing steel—as I clenched my teeth in pain—and bringing it back to life with a few swift strokes on his sharpening stone. It was magic!
 
Prices range from $139.95 to $349.95. The knives will be available at Sur La Table next month and in the rest of the US market in September.

Chefs

The Vongerichtens Premier Kimchi Chronicles

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© Frappé Inc.
The Vongerichtens and Jackmans Cook Together.

If you've checked Eater or Grub Street recently, you've probably seen the preview clip of Kimchi Chronicles (featuring a Hugh Jackman cameo). But if you haven't seen it, and this is the first you're hearing of KC, here’s some background. Marja Vongerichten premieres her amazing new TV show this weekend, which follows her as she travels around Korea (she’s half Korean and was born there) with her husband, the illustrious chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. You’ll see them in a big food market in Seoul, and in Sokcho, a port that’s very, very close to North Korea.

© Frappé Inc.
Bibimbop, one of Marja Vongerichten's favorite dishes.

You’ll also see them making bibimbop, the excellent stone pot rice dish made with meat, vegetables, you name it (Marja loves it as a way to use leftover side dishes). And you’ll also see them back at home in New York cooking with their good friends and upstairs neighbors Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborra (they often have dinner parties together, but I’m not sure if they’re always group cooking like this).
 
Kimchi Chronicles premieres on Sunday, May 8 in NYC on WNET (channel 13) at 4 pm EST.

Restaurants

Inaki Aizpitarte and Christina Tosi Rock Pop-Up Beard Dinner

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© kate krader
Inaki Aizpitarte Helps Count Down the Beard Pop-Up Dinners.

Boy, is the James Beard Foundation on fire with their 27 days of pop-up dinners. Last week, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo from LA’s Animal got me addicted to foie-gras biscuits. And last night, Iñaki Aizpitarte, the chef of Paris’s ultra-cool Le Chateaubriand, and Christina Tosi, with her exceptional team from NYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar, stepped up and cooked. On the menu: Tosi’s chicken and lime soup dumplings and brilliant seven-minute rhubarb with black-pepper gravy (that was dessert; seven minutes is the length of time the rhubarb spent in the microwave after being cooked sous-vide with cherry puree).

© kate krader
Momofuku Milk Bar Team plus Dave Chang.

It helps to eat this kind of ingenious meal with two chefs who have cooked at Copenhagen's singular Noma: If you wonder out loud where the parmesan is that’s part of Inaki’s white asparagus with finger lime, mozzarella and sorrel, they’ll say, pretty much in unison: “Granita; parmesan granita.” Likewise they can identify all the mystery pickles on Iñaki’s lamb with burnt eggplant puree (for the record, apple, turnip and and squash).

Events

Edible Art in Brooklyn

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Former F&W intern extraordinaire Jessica Rivera files this report from a delicious art event in Brooklyn:

They say you are what you eat, and last Friday at the Something I Ate event, the attendees became artists. The melding of food and art is not always so intentional, but that was the point of the evening: To sniff, gaze at and even eat the temporary pieces at Rouge58 Gallery in Brooklyn.

Not all of it was edible, of course. Curators Kat Popiel of On Plate, Still Hungry and Sam Kim of SkimKim Foods included paintings, sculpture and a photography piece documenting what one artist ate for an entire week, a la Bill Rogen’s Digerati Food Journal. However, the gallery showpiece was a large table entitled “Don’t Talk to Me Before I Get My #$%! Coffee.” It was a communal potluck of the featured artists’ favorite foods, such as tamarind carnitas tacos and "faux gras" banh mi.

My favorite, though, was the Plexiglass installation of homemade lollipops spelling out #sweet—an ode to how Twitter has taken over the food world. Standing near the piece, licking a delicious salty-maple pop, several people asked me, "Can I really eat the art?"

Cocktails

How to Drink All 34 Cocktails at LuckyRice's Opening Night Cocktails

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© Richard Patterson
LuckyRice Opening Cocktails 2010

We’re in the midst of LuckyRice, the NYC festival that celebrates so many facets of Asian cooking, from a Night Market in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood tonight to the big gala dinner on Saturday night, La Fête Chinoise, with Daniel Boulud and Susur Lee. (Tickets for some events are still available.) The festival more or less kicked off last night with Opening Cocktails hosted by Opening Ceremony’s Carol Lim and Humberto Leon at the Bowery Hotel. Among the 1,000-person crowd were chefs like WD-50’s Wylie Dufresne and Top Chef star Angelo Sosa, fashion dignitaries like Phillip Lim. And oh-so-many mixologists.

© kate krader
Adam Schuman Demonstrates the Correct Way to Do a Pickleback Shot.

Me, I didn’t try anywhere near the 34 cocktails on offer, but I can vouch for Má Pêche’s Ay Hue (a mix of fried shallot vodka, lime juice and Sriracha hot sauce). I can also speak from experience about Fatty Cue’s self-serve pickleback shots, a creation of bartender Adam Schuman that involves a big bottle of Evan Williams bourbon. But LuckyRice creator Danielle Chang has me beat. Not only did she sample all 34 cocktails, she made it to the LuckyRice after-party at Theatre Bar, where Dave Chang and Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris's Le Chateaubriand were pre-partying for their week of James Beard pop-up dinners.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.