Our amazing editorial assistant Alessandra Bulow shares a few thoughts on fenugreek:
"When New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed yesterday that the aromatic herb fenugreek is the source of a mysterious maple syrup-like odor that has pervaded the city’s streets periodically since October 2005, I immediately asked “What’s that and can I put it on my French toast?”
Although commercially-processed fenugreek seeds yield a sweet extract that can be used to make artificial maple syrup, in a home kitchen, the hard golden seeds have a slightly spicy aroma and a bitter flavor and are often used in Indian-inflected recipes.
So while I won’t be sprinkling fenugreek over my brunch tomorrow afternoon (I’ll be having crisp Blueberry Corn Cakes with Maple Syrup), I'm feeling inspired to incorporate it in a hearty Sunday supper. Now my only remaining question is which recipe should I make: Beef Stew or Spicy Chicken Curry?"
I like to think of myself as resourceful and clever and not just cheap, especially when it comes to scraps ("orts" if you do crosswords...). But this new use of broccoli stems is SO resourceful and clever, it makes me angry I didn't think of it first.
There's no lack of great small-batch pickles —ramps, beans, okra, watermelon rind, you name it-and no lack of great recipes, but I am definitely looking forward to trying these pickled broccoli stems, published in yesterday's New York Times Health section. Most of the nutrients in broccoli are contained in the crown, or the florets. But there is loads of much-needed fiber in those stems, and all it takes is a clever and resourceful cook to find ways to use them.
Super Bowl Sunday is one of my favorite day’s of the year and I’ve been finding inspiration for dips, drinks and snacks on foodandwine.com's fantastic Game Day package.
I’m still in denial about the Patriots not being in the Super Bowl (or even making the playoffs for that matter!) but since I had to pick a team for my Super Bowl pool I decided to go with the Steelers. Some of the players shared the foods they love to nosh on when they’re watching a game instead of playing on the field. Not surprisingly, they go for quintessential bar snacks. Here are the players picks, and F&W's delicious riffs on the recipes.
#7 Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Pizza, Wings, Fries
#86 Wide Receiver Hines Ward: Nachos
#51 James Farrior: Wings
#99 Brett Keisel: Pizza
#50 Larry Foote: Chicken Nachos
I'd buy Country Life butter—for no other reason than because I can't imagine a bigger disconnect between product and spokesperson. In this spot on British TV , John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, is seen in a stuffy private-club reading room, at a cricket match, driving through the countryside in a vintage Bentley and on a country estate running from cows. All silly, indeed, but the biggest disconnect is the twee suburban kitchen where he breakfasts on tea and toast in a boring plaid bathrobe. (Probably not that far from the truth.)
There are more widely available (and less hawked by notorious D-list celebs) butters, like Meyenberg (pale white) goat-milk butter, which is so delightfully goaty that I find it irresistible. Organic Valley cultured unsalted butter is another one of my favorites, with a slightly tangy flavor and lovely yellow hue. Both are great with steamed fish, which allows the sweetness and silkiness to come through.
For quite some time now, the only lamb I've been able to buy is from New Zealand. Thanks to Costco, it's cheap and sold in bulk (good for feeding my family). The only downside is that I never find it all that flavorful. I guess that's fine if you don't like the taste of lamb, but then you should just buy beef...
A friend sent me eight lamb loin chops from an American lamb farmer, and I was eager to try them. After a quick marinade in garlic, olive oil and a hit of balsamic vinegar, I seared them and finished them in the oven. They were tender, succulent and lamb-y (not a baaaad thing, in my book). It was like the lamb of my childhood—packed with flavor, not like the overbred bland lamb I've grown accustomed to.
Here's my easy recipe:
8 lamb loin chops, (preferably American), about 1 1/2-inches thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the lamb with the garlic, rosemary, vinegar, 1/4 cup of the oil and very generous pinches of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain the lamb, reserving the marinade. Heat the remaining oil in a large ovenproof skillet until shimmering. Add the lamb and cook until browned all over, about 6 minutes, turning once. Add the marinade, transfer to the oven and roast for about 5 minutes longer for medium-cooked lamb.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, Barack Obama's first meal as president will be inspired by Abraham Lincoln's favorite foods: seafood stew, pheasant and duck with cherry chutney and apple-cinnamon sponge cake. No big shock here, considering Obama also plans to be sworn in on Lincoln's bible, and Tuesday's theme, "A New Birth of Freedom," comes straight from the Gettysburg Address. The more colorful tidbits of the piece, though, come from snapshots of inaugural dinners past. A crib sheet:
Most recurring food: ice cream (Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Lincoln, George W. Bush)
Most austere party: FDR's fourth inaugural meal, with cold chicken salad (spoiled), rolls (no butter), cake (no frosting) and coffee (no sugar).
Most raucous: Jackson's, in which unruly guests were lured from the White House with tubs of whiskey-spiked punch.
Most color-coordinated: Harry Truman's, with green turtle soup, baked asparagus tips, and a mixed green salad.
Most politically incorrect: Eisenhower's "Minority Dinner" of gefilte fish, minestrone and Greek salad.
Most cost-conscious: Jimmy Carter's, with only peanuts and pretzels served.
Most charmingly idiosyncratic: Ronald Reagan's, in which 40 million jelly beans were consumed.
F&W's fabulous Washington, DC correspondent Amanda McClements gave me the idea of hosting a Hawaiian luau on inauguration night. I was thinking of serving a Polynesian-themed tiki cocktail like the Mai Tai but have always found the drink a bit too sweet and fruity. If I was serious about becoming a sophisticated cocktail drinker, could I really get away with serving this? Continuing my 2009 mixology appreciation mission, I called Jennifer Colliau, the trendsetting Bay Area bartender at the Slanted Door and Charles Phan's soon-to-open Chinese restaurant, Heaven's Dog. San Francisco is hot on the heels of NYC's mixology scene and Colliau is leading the chase with her fierce obsession with exceptional ingredients.
Colliau said that the 1944 Trader Vic Mai Tai was actually one of her favorite cocktails. However, for years, she shunned the drink and even refused to serve it at the Slanted Door. A great Mai Tai needs orgeat (almond syrup), and in her opinion there was no good commercial orgeat on the market. The solution: She’d make her own. Colliau’s orgeat is made from real almonds, so it has fat and proteins (unlike commercial varieties made with sugar syrup and almond extract) that add a full-bodied, lush richness to the drink. Colliau started making other elusive pre-Prohibition cocktail ingredients like pineapple gum syrup (which I learned adds viscosity to Pisco punch) and a seasonal raspberry gum syrup, and is distributing them to top Bay Area bartenders through her company Small Hand Foods.
Unfortunately for me, Colliau’s orgeat and other ingredients are available only in the Bay Area (score one for the San Fran cocktail scene). They’re available at Cask, the new artisanal spirits store from the team behind the swanky speakeasy Bourbon & Branch, as well as the Jug Shop. Colliau is hoping to start distributing on the East Coast next year.
Click here for her serious-minded Mai Tai recipe.
I'll be on the Today show tomorrow (that'd be Tuesday, the 6th), talking about and making some warming cocktails with the fourth-hour hosts, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotbe. Hot Buttered Rum, Apple Brandy Hot Toddies, Hot Spiced Wine...and a couple of non-alcoholic options, too. Should be fun. If you're at all interested in the subject, tune in or check out our slideshow here.
One of my many new year’s resolutions includes learning to embrace the cocktail. The inspiration: 1) A late night at NYC bar PDT, where mixologist extraordinaire Jim Meehan carefully crafted me a Green Deacon only to have me take a few sips, hang my head and sheepishly ask for a beer; and 2) My miserable score on F&W's spirits quiz. Despite Food & Wine’s trendspotting cocktail coverage and NYC’s radical mixology scene I’ve been slow to find a true appreciation for perfectly made drinks, simply because I never order them.
But I took advantage of the busy end-of-year social scene, and made a concerted effort to expand my mixology knowledge. I’m already off to a pretty good start after trying a fabulous new cocktail at NYC's L’Artusi, my favorite West Village restaurant. I love listening to wine director/owner Joe Campanale tell compelling stories about the esoteric Italian wines he’s always pouring, but on recent visits I've found myself ordering the Jester, a delicious, slightly tart cocktail crafted by Campanale and assistant beverage director Aaron Sherman. The two young talents were experimenting with some of their favorite Italian spirits and came up with this riff on the Negroni Sbagliato. Sbagliato means "wrong" or "incorrect" because you use a sparkling white wine (Campanale is slightly obsessed with white lambrusco, which he uses here) instead of the usual gin. The L'Artsui tweak swaps out the standard campari with amari, a bitter Italian after-dinner drink. The result is my first love affair with a cocktail.
by Aaron Sherman and Joe Campanale
1oz. Ramazzotti Amaro
1oz. Carpano Antico vermouth
.5oz lemon juice
Lini Lambrusco Bianco or dry sparkling white wine
Add Ramazzotti, Carpano Antica Formula and lemon juice to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir. Strain into chilled Champagne flute, top with Lambrusco Bianco and garnish with lemon peel.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's reentry into the steak world, his J&G Steakhouse quietly opened in Phoenix's Phoenician Hotel last Monday. We’ve been given a peek of the sleek Rockwell Group
-designed interior by JGV’s right-hand man, Daniel Del Vecchio. J&G is no V
— promising early reviews
praise the low prices ($18 for prime hanger steak with frites!) and straight-forward, flavor-packed sauces.
We’re running three tenderloin recipes from Jean-Georges in our April 2009 Master Cook column, plus the J&G signature steak sauce. We’ve been testing them this week, and I have to say, they’re phenomenal. One has made me a late convert to beef cooked sous-vide. (Or, as I now prefer to think of it, slowly simmered in a Ziploc bag packed with flavorings. Somehow, that sounds more manageable—and more delicious—than the rather existential “under emptiness,” as the French can be literally translated.) Under JGV's careful instruction, the beef emerged tender, not spongy, as many sous-vide meats can. Recipes to come when the issue hits stands in early March; to tide you over, check out some of JGV's favorite steak condiments here
. Two more photos of J&G after the jump.