Today's Washington Post food section has a great story from Jane Black on Old Bay, the classic mid-Atlantic spice blend celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Black gets some great material from the 84-year-old son of Old Bay founder and inventor Gustav Brunn, a German who emigrated to Baltimore in 1938, a year before he created the blend of perhaps a dozen spices (the formula is a closely guarded secret). As a native DC’er, I'm proud to see Old Bay showing up on menus across the country, from Momofuku's fried chicken in NYC to the crab boil at Nettie's Crab Shack in San Francisco. I don't think the 70th anniversary has much to do with its newfound popularity, though: There's just something comforting as well as addictively delicious about the retro mix.
Here are three of the finest Old Bay-spiced recipes from F&W:
Melissa Rubel Jacobson's ingenious Shrimp Boil Hobo Packs
Marcia Kiesel's simple Crabby Carolina Rice
DeeAnn Budney's Crisp Cayenne-Spiced Crab Cakes
Chef Tim Love Gets Ready for Austin City Limits
© Christian DeBenedetti
Brian Simpson of New Belgium Brewing Co., in Fort Collins, Colorado, pulls a sample of unblended Felmish-style sour red ale.
An estimated 49,000 craft-beer lovers descended upon Denver last week for the 28th Annual Great American Beer Festival, where they had the opportunity to taste some 2,100 beers in 78 styles from 457 American breweries. Writer Christian DeBenedetti, who recently covered the craft-beer scene in San Diego for F&W, was on the scene.” Here, he shares highlights and a few interesting trends:
“Brett” beers, named for Brettanomyces (bacteria that impart powerful, earthy flavors considered flaws in wine but boons in certain beers), are quickly gaining ground. Standouts at the festival included Odell’s Brett Barrel Brown and New Belgium’s Le Fleur Misseur. Brewers were also collaborating on pairings: Deschutes Brewery’s The Dissident, a sour Flanders brown beer, was amazing with a confit of pork with sage and macerated peaches. Perhaps most surprising was the growing popularity of sour beer styles, which are usually tricky to produce. These beers, such as Berliner weisse, Flanders red and brown ales, lambic and geuze, tend to be an acquired taste due to their acidity. Click here for a list of the festival's award-winners.
F&W's testing kitchen assistant, Brian Malik, spent last week baking cakes for a January story. Here, he reports:
For an upcoming story on bakeware, F&W's awesome food intern Molly and I worked our ovens overtime making yellow cakes, 14 in all, to test different baking pans. It’s amazing how different the cakes turned out in each pan, even though we used the same recipe every time. Some were light and spongy, others were dark and crisp, and in one, the cake overflowed, covering the oven floor with a sticky burned mess. The full results will be in a future article, but until then, use your favorite cake pan for these amazing recipes:
Yellow Cake with Vanilla Frosting
Sfoglia's new cookbook shares the restaurant's best recipes.
The NYC Marathon is one month away, and while I’ve been pretty diligent about getting in my long training runs, I’ve been more lackadaisical about my diet. I’ve learned the hard way that late-night Momofuku pork buns and foie gras ice cream are not the best fuel for a 5 a.m. workout. So I’m making an attempt to cook at home more over the next few weeks, and I’ve found myself turning to the new cookbook from Ron and Colleen Suhanosky, the husband-and-wife chef team behind Sfoglia in Nantucket and New York City. Pasta Sfoglia features more than 100 recipes inspired by Sfoglia’s addictive pasta dishes. While I don’t always have time to make pasta from scratch during the week, I do have the luxury of being able to buy exceptional ingredients, like Sfoglia’s bread and house-made goat cheese, at Tutto Sfoglia, the tiny new market adjacent to the Upper East Side restaurant.
Just heard that F&W American Wine Award winning winery Cliff Lede (the 2007 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc won in 2008) has gone and snapped up F&W American Wine Award winning winery Breggo Cellars (Best New Winery of the Year, 2008). Apparently Breggo co-founder Douglas Stewart will stay on as general manager and winemaker. No word on what Cliff Lede paid for Breggo, but regardless, it's nice when these things stay in the F&W family. I'm sure that had a huge influence on the deal, of course...
On a recent trip to Boston, I stayed at the adorable Beacon Hill Hotel, tucked away down Charles Street. Its 12 rooms are right above its street-level restaurant, the Bistro, which is run by Barbara Lynch alum Jason Bond. In addition to the excellent complimentary breakfast, which included vanilla pancakes and a thick French toast topped with spiced crème fraîche, chef Bond makes some of the best ice cream in town. My friend Katherine and I tasted our way through flavors like Ligurian Olive Oil and Banana Rum, but the flavor that had us coming back at midnight for a second scoop was the Chocolate Almond–Smoked Sea Salt, with a pudding-like texture and crunchy bits of cocoa nibs and toasted slivered almonds. Bond shared his secret: Valrhona Guanaha chocolate and Norwegian smoked sea salt. Thank goodness ice cream wasn't on the breakfast menu.