Saddened by yesterday's news
that historic Guss’ Pickles is moving out of Manhattan’s Lower East Side after 89 years (and some sour legal issues
), I’ve resolved to make my own batch. Here are a few I’ll try from the F&W archives:
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Saffron Cucumber Pickles
(amazing with grilled food, pictured here).
F&W Best New Chef 2009 Linton Hopkins’s Bread-and-Butter Pickles
(crunchy, sweet and tangy).
F&W’s own Grace Parisi’s Winey Briny Quick Pickles
(total prep time is only 20 minutes, plus overnight brining).
OR these 13 fantastic pickled vegetable recipes
I hadn't cooked for my kids for more than two weeks, but all that changed when they returned from camp yesterday. Maybe I was out of practice, maybe I was feeling a bit defiant or maybe I was just hoping for a change, but given how much I enjoyed superspicy broccoli rabe last week, I wanted it again. There were sweet Italian sausages in the fridge, some homemade focaccia buns in the freezer and, of course, broccoli rabe—all ready to come together. I thought about sautéing the broccoli rabe, chopping it and kneading it into the sausage meat, but that would've been too cruel to my kids, not to mention self-defeating (I would surely have wound up making PB&Js). To satisfy everyone, I sautéed the broccoli rabe with garlic and so much crushed red pepper flakes all our mouths were vibrating, grilled the sausage patties (and the buns) and sandwiched it all together. A little aioli with olives, capers and herbs from my garden finished the dish. Malcolm, my 7-year-old son, passed on the aioli and broccoli rabe, but my 12-year-old daughter, Pia, ate it all.
I’m wild about the taste of kimchi, but the Korean condiment’s pungency is renowned. It can overpower a fridge in hours—a friend of mine was actually forced by housemates to keep hers in a second refrigerator, which otherwise held only beer. So I’m curious to see if the promise of odorless kimchi pans out. Kim Soon-ja, who in 2007 was declared by the South Korean government to be a kimchi master, says she has created a freeze-dried version that doesn’t smell. I’m not sure I’d use it to make kimchi fried rice or pot stickers, but I bet I could find a place for it in my fridge.
Don't get me wrong—I love my kids, and I love eating with them. Some days I challenge them with unusual foods, but mostly I take the path of least resistance. But since they've been away at camp, I've rediscovered the joys of eating whatever and whenever I want (if at all). Tuesday's dinner was a bowl of cereal (Chex, granola and Grape-Nuts), Wednesday's was a peach, Thursday's was a PB&J (natural peanut butter and homemade berry jam) and Friday's was sautéed broccoli rabe with anchovies, olives and so much crushed red pepper that my mouth was vibrating. Maybe someday, my kids will appreciate stinky, spicy and bitter foods, but right now, that's a challenge I'm not ready to take on. Till then, I'll seize every opportunity to satisfy my own appetite.
I spotted an unusual cheese on both of Le Bernardin’s tasting menus recently: la faisselle. When I asked about it, I discovered that it's a soft, creamy cheese handmade exclusively for the restaurant by the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company.
La faisselle looks like fromage blanc, but tastes extraordinarily different because of what’s in the cultures. Also, the fromage blanc found in stores is made with skim milk, while la faisselle is made with whole milk and has a little crème fraîche added at the end. The result is a delicate texture and a fresh, milky flavor with a hint of hazelnuts and a bit of acidity.
© Michael Laiskonis
La faisselle cheese at Le Bernardin.
Part of the fun is how the cheese is served at Le Bernardin: The cheese is ladled into special ceramic pots (faisselles) that have holes to allow the whey to drain out. Michael Laiskonis, Le Bernardin’s pastry chef, pairs the cheese with honey, toasted almonds and a coulis of local strawberries.
Boston’s David Ortiz (a.k.a. Big Papi) won’t be slugging it out for this year's title at the MLB All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby
tonight, but I can still get my fix at home with his new line of Big Papi En Fuego
hot sauces. The Red Sox star may have had a severe cold streak earlier this season but these sauces deliver plenty of heat; sales benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. We liked the Orginal En Fuego for its spicy but balanced tomato flavor and the Double En Fuego, which has a jalapeño kick. The Off the Wall Triple and Grand Slam En Fuego are a little more smoke and heat than flavor. Perfect for a chili dog!
The New York Times
has just reported that a 20-year study of rhesus monkeys suggests a restricted-calorie diet may ward off the usual diseases of old age—primarily diabetes, cancer, heart disease and brain disease. Here's some great advice from the pros on how to limit calories without sacrificing any taste:Tim Cushman:
“Really spicy salsas give me a ‘chile buzz,’ almost an endorphin rush, so I tend to eat less,” says Cushman
, an F&W Best New Chef 2008
at O Ya
. His tangy tomatillo-cumin salsa
can be either mild or fiery—leave the jalapeño seeds in if you prefer extra heat. Marisa Churchill:
The Top Chef
Season Two contestant offers innovative tricks to cut fat and sugar
out of her recipes—for instance, she uses thick and creamy fat-free Greek-style yogurt in her honey-topped panna cottas
“Diets are like Band-Aids—just a quick fix,” says the cookbook author. Instead, Anderson relies on smart techniques
like using low-fat evaporated milk to gives sauces and desserts creaminess, as in her brown-sugar custard with orange zest
The best part about researching F&W’s August ice cream roundup was tasting stellar ice creams and sorbets from shops across the country. Here, four of our favorite regional producers:
Carmela Ice Cream: Los Angeles–based Carmela makes bright, fresh-flavored Lavender Honey ice cream and Lemon Basil sorbet with fruit and herbs from Silver Lake Farms, a local organic farm. A three-ounce “taster” is the perfect summer pick-me-up.
Morelli’s Ice Cream: Some of Donald Sargent’s best ideas have come from his customers at this Atlanta shop, including a spiced East Indian Mango Kulfi. His motto: “If it’s a cake or pie, we’ll throw it into ice cream.” Don’t miss Sargent’s Sweet Potato pie ice cream, made with his mother’s top-secret pie recipe.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream: Molly Moon Neitzel recently opened Seattle’s second Molly Moon’s, where her ice creams—made with locally sourced milk and beet sugar—await a mess of house-made toppings: double-fudge chocolate sauce, balsamic reduction and seasonal fruit compotes like rhubarb-grapefruit.
Cool Moon Ice Cream: Memories of family gatherings around a hand-crank White Mountain ice cream maker inspired Eva Bernhard to open her Portland, Oregon, shop. Flavors like Buttermilk Marionberry Swirl, made with local blackberries, and Willamette Valley Hazelnut celebrate iconic Oregon ingredients.
Chefs have proclaimed pork their favorite sandwich filling, creating everything from new takes on banh mi to messy pork-belly sliders. But recently I've been spotting uni (sea urchin) on sandwiches all around New York City. Uni-obsessed chef Michael White is serving sea-urchin-and-lardo crostini at his new seafood restaurant, Marea. Chef George Mendes has created a stellar sea urchin toast with cauliflower cream for his menu at the recently opened Aldea. And the Chelsea tapas spot El Quinto Pino does a clever sea urchin panino.
© Melissa Hom
Uni-obsessed chef Michael White.
I have piles of information to sift through from the NASFT Fancy Food Show—an annual trade show in which food producers display their wares hoping to find distributors and retailers. This gluttonous parade of cheeses, cookies and everything edible you could ever buy in a jar is now at New York City’s Javits Center. I’m not a huge fan of bottled sauces, but I did find two new delicious truffle-based products and a worthy prepared pesto.
- Céline Labaune has been importing truffles and selling them to chefs since 2003. She has just launched a line of products, including a lovely white truffle cream that would be wonderful with a little butter as an almost-instant pasta sauce.
- Acadamia Barilla’s new spread is made with Pecorino cheese from Sardinia, porcini and truffles. It's excellent on crostini or tossed with pillowy gnocchi.
- Sauces ‘n Love, the Boston-based company responsible for well made pasta sauces sold in the refrigerator section of specialty markets, just released a vegan pesto, with tofu standing for the cheese. Its light flavor is perfect for summer.