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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Books

If You Can't Stand the Heat, Read Four Kitchens!

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© Grand Central Publishing

 

The countless hours I spent shaping vegetables, cleaning lettuce and picking parsley in New York City restaurants were an exhaustive blur, but after reading Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey, my memories of hard-knock kitchen work have resurfaced and I’m excitedly cheering on and almost missing that world I left behind.
 
In Four Kitchens, Lauren recounts heartfelt, funny stories of the grueling but invaluable time she spent cooking at Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50 in NYC and at restaurants in Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris. She chats about learning everything (often the hard way), from kitchen hierarchy—like the type of beverage a cook was able to consume at the end of a shift—to the incredible importance of wearing non-skid shoes. And get this: Her book also includes recipes for “almost-Michelin-starred meals.” Lauren has gracefully adapted recipes from the famed Paris restaurant, Senderens, and I was more than thrilled to find a recipe for one of my all-time favorites—pickled mushrooms! I’m going to take a stab at her adaptation this weekend. Truth be told, while I’m cheering for the kitchens, I’m grateful there isn’t a power-hungry executive chef at home ready to critique my every slice.

Recipes

Chicken Dance Goes Bare

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

blank canvas chicken

© John Kernick

Aspiring chefs have always had to decide whether to enroll in culinary school or start at the bottom in real restaurant kitchens, a less formal but much cheaper way to learn. Some recent students haven't been happy with the pricier route, according to the L.A. Times: "For-profit schools across the country are facing a flurry of lawsuits claiming fraud; they're accused of misleading students about tuition costs, job placement rates and how much they'll earn after graduating." Opinions may be divided, but both camps emphasize practicing the basics—a great lesson for professional and home cooks. For the September issue's Blank Canvas Chicken, Philadelphia chef Marcie Turney shows you how to upgrade chicken in three easy ways: with Yucatán spice, Indian barbecue sauce, or artichoke and olives.

Cooking

Cooking Channel Wants to Cast YOUR Grandma in Their New Show

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No one can touch my Ma-Maw’s corn bread. Or biscuits. Or fried pork tenderloin. And I bet no one can touch your Nonna’s red sauce, right? Or Grosspapi’s (really, it’s Swiss, look it up) walnut torte? Your Grosspapi also has a taste for fame, you say? Well, Grosspapi, it’s your time to shine, because the Cooking Channel is looking for kitchen-savvy grandparents in the New York Tri-State area with killer recipes and big personalities to shoot a pilot with food(ography) host, Mo Rocca. Mo, an untrained but enthusiastic cook, hungers to learn your family’s best heirloom recipes, and if you’ve any quirky hobbies, habits or words of wisdom, he'll take those, too. Want to apply (or nominate your Nonna)? Check out the posting from Real People Casting for the all the details.

Recipes

Chicken Dance: A Bargain to Stave Off Debt

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© Martin Morrell

Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

Responding to the U.S. credit downgrade and diving stocks, President Obama kept a positive outlook this afternoon by insisting that America’s economic problems are "imminently solvable" and the country can reduce its debt over the long-term. In line with the government’s belt-tightening, today’s chicken dish requires just a handful of ingredients for an inexpensive meal. Combining skewered pieces of chicken breast and a simple herb marinade, the recipe is also healthy and perfect for summer grilling: Tomato-and-Cilantro-Marinated Chicken Shashlik.

Recipes

Baseball Players' Favorite Foods

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When I’m watching a ball game, I don’t usually care what anyone but me wants to eat. (Another hot dog? No, I’ll switch it up and have a taco.) So I’m not sure why I started to think about what Major League Baseball players like to eat off the field. Maybe it’s the recent book Diamond Dishes: From the Kitchens of Baseballs Biggest Stars. Or maybe I just wasn’t hungry at the moment. Anyway, several heroes from the 2011 All-Star game have strong opinions about what they eat.
 
Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants. Eight Egg White Omelette.
He told ESPN: “I'm an adequate cook. I'm not preparing a five course meal, but I can cook the things I want….For breakfast I'll usually make an eight egg-white omelette with bell peppers, shredded cheese, and slices or ham and turkey ripped up… I probably eat between 54 and 60 eggs a week.”
Here’s why I love Wilson: He name-checked the renowned Bay Area restaurant Gary Danko in an All-Star interview. “If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a 14-star restaurant. It’s got everything that you could possibly want. The lobster risotto—If there was another word for excellent...”
 
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers. Boca Burgers. 
Guess what – Fielder is a vegetarian. (He got grossed out by meat after his wife gave him a copy of the book Skinny Bitch.) So he loads up his Boca burgers with ketchup; on the road he eats meatless burritos. I’m not sure if they offer them at Brewers stadium but they do have vegetarian hot dogs and fried cheese curds, which sound awesome to me, but apparently not to Fielder who doesn’t love cheese.

Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. 
In Diamond Dishes, Berkman says: “One thing I will eat fairly consistently before a game – because you don't want to eat too much before a game – is a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a little honey on it. I like white bread, but sometimes I feel guilty and eat wheat." But when he’s watching football, it’s a different story: "I like the Canadian bacon and pineapple Hawaiian pizza."

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees.  Fish and plain steamed vegetables.  
Here’s a sampling of Rodriguez’s daily diet: fruit, brown rice and scrambled eggs for breakfast, five slices of turkey, no bread and half a sweet potato pre-game and then fish and steamed asparagus – no oil, butter or salt —for dinner. No, Rodriguez and I don’t have much in common diet-wise. Except that when he was at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas he very much enjoyed the paella at Jaleo and a big platter of sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, and separately, I did, too.
 
Related Links:
Baseball Stadium Foods

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