© Kristin Donnelly
Here are more recipes I’d add them to:
Deviled Egg Spread
© Dogfish Head Brewery
Dogfish Head Brewery's new maple syrups.
Usually when Dogfish Head Brewery’s founder Sam Calagione drops me a note it's to share details about his latest brewing innovation or some radical new beer. But he surprised me (as he usually does) with his newest release, an artisanal, naturally-spiced maple syrup. Calagione has been using maple syrup harvested from his family’s western Massachusetts farm in Dogfish Head’s original might put something in here like "beers like" - wasn't clear to me until i got to IPA that these were beers. Immort Ale, 75 Minute IPA and Life & Limb. He’s now working with Ripley Farm Sugarhouse to make small batches of exotic maple syrups that echo the flavors of some of Dogfish Head’s best brews (the Immort maple syrup has been simmered with organic juniper berries and Madagascar vanilla beans for a sweet and sticky riff on Dogfish Head's Immort Ale. There’s also one modeled after Dogfish Head’s Belgian-style wit beer, flavored with organic orange peel and coriander. The syrups will be sold on Dogfish Head Brewery's website and at the Rehoboth, Delaware, brewery starting May 19. The syrups are lovely on pancakes but even more fantastic drizzled on vanilla ice cream.
Spring Onion Soup from James.
The trend of foraging for ingredients continues to grow, even in New York City. To promote the 778 plant species native to the five boroughs, botanist Mariellé Anzelone created NYC Wildflower Week, which runs May 1-9. New York City chefs are featuring dishes made from native edible plants like ramps, fiddlehead ferns and nettles on their menus and hosting salon-style “Wild Tastings” (dinners with guest foragers). Galen Zamarra of MAS Farmhouse is preparing trout piscator stuffed with wild ramp and smoked trout mousse and Bryan Calvert of James is serving an awesome spring onion soup with boar lardon and pecorino. Foragers looking for new recipe ideas should check out chef-author Louisa Shafia’s native edibles cooking class tomorrow where she’ll be teaching guests how to make stinging nettle pesto and lamb’s-quarters-and-pea-shoots soup.
It seems that this year, the popularity of ramps is at an all-time high. But it saddens me to see ramps on every menu and in huge bunches at farmer's markets. The Canadian Biodiversity Project states that over harvesting is the number one cause of ramp-growth decline. And according to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, ramps are “a species of conservation concern.” (Canada even has harvesting restrictions on the slow-growing plant—a sign of how serious they consider the issue to be.) When I forage, whether it’s for wild boletus mushrooms (also known as porcini), fiddleheads or ramps, I only pick a few and leave most behind. I'd like everyone to please do the same. Don’t be ramp hogs.
© Taj Hotels
Varq's haute take on jalebis.
For our May travel issue, we polled chefs, sommeliers and food writers around the globe to come up with the 100 best new food and drink experiences on the planet. Varq restaurant in New Delhi made the cut, and it ended up being my most revelatory meal in India.
Chef Hemant Oberoi, the Taj hotel group's corporate chef and the visionary behind Varq, and his right-hand man at Varq, executive chef Ankit Sharma, have taken India's street foods and traditional regional dishes and modernized them by applying new techniques and introducing new ingredients, like scallops and foie gras--then serving those dishes on Thomas Keller–designed Limoges china in a very glamorous dining room.
Ganderi kebab, minced chicken marinated with spices, gets deep-fried on a sugarcane stick so that it looks like a corn dog and served in a shot glass with amchur chutney in the bottom. Atta raan, perhaps the most theatrical dish on the menu, is a supertender leg of lamb that has been marinated in mace, cardamom and red chile and baked in a saffron-dough shell. I adored his refined take on the street snacks that I'd been dubiously eating the past week. I'd become addicted to jalebi, a sticky, sugar-high-inducing sweet that looks like a mini funnel cake and has the electric orange color of Cheetos. On the street they are fried in enormous cast-iron pans, fished out of sizzling pools of oil and eaten piping hot. At Varq, they are perfectly shaped spirals of warm, crunchy dough, more yellow than orange (the result of less-sugary syrup), decorated with silver leaf and lined up side by side with a pistachio yogurt for dipping.
When I later met up with Oberoi, I asked him why I can't find that kind of Indian restaurant in New York City. He let me in on a little secret: He's planning a stand-alone Varq in NYC for the near future.
© Con Poulos
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb
Here are a few recipes for ramps, spring peas and rhubarb to help kick off the season. Plus, check out these 100+ recipes in F&W’s Guide to Fresh Spring Produce:
White Cheese Pizza with Ramps
Spring Peas with Mint
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb (Pictured)
Tara Austen Weaver's The Butcher and The Vegetarian
© Danielle Falcone
Bouley's Japanese bites on imari porcelain.
Last night, star chef David Bouley turned his fabulous Tribeca test kitchen into a showroom for the latest interpretations of Imari porcelain, a style of porcelain made in the tiny town of Arita in Japan’s Saga prefecture. Young artists and designers like Tsuji Satoshi are making cool new designs inspired by traditional style. Bouley plans to use many of the pieces at his forthcoming Japanese restaurant. And of course, the dishes weren't left empty. Bouley, along with chefs Isao Yamada and Tadao Miakmi (Bouley Upstairs), Noriyuki Sugie and chefs from the Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan prepared some ridiculously good dishes using wild Japanese ingredients like barafu, a leafy green that looks like it's covered in dew, with a salty taste and great crunch.
© Adam Erace
Green Aisle Grocery in Philadelphia.
At F&W lately, we’ve been talking about the reinvention of the general store. My favorite new example is Green Aisle Grocery in South Philadelphia, opened by Philadelphia Weekly restaurant critic Adam Erace and his brother Andrew. Are there cult favorites like Stumptown coffee, Anson Mills grits and DRY soda? Check. But the thimble-sized space also manages to stock locavore staples like pastured eggs, seasonal produce and grass-fed milk (including raw milk—for the cats, of course). And cocktail hounds will love the Fee Brothers bitters and Q Tonic water. (Sadly, only state-controlled stores are allowed to sell liquor in Pennsylvania.) Perhaps the most exciting items for sale are the prepared foods from Philadelphia restaurants—Zahav chef Michael Solomonov’s hummus, Pierre Calmel’s pumpkin bread from the white-hot Bibou, and the seasonal mostarde from James's Jim Burke (an F&W Best New Chef2008). If you’re not quite local (and gosh, I wish I were), you can order products by e-mailing the Erace brothers at email@example.com.
Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.