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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Black Tea Vodka


Absolut Vodka Blackberry

© Courtesy of Absolut Vodka
Absolut Boston Blackberry

When angry colonists threw tea into Boston Harbor in 1773, they had no idea that their rebellion would eventually lead to the American Revolutionary War in 1775, or that it would inspire the creation of another kind of beverage in 2009: Absolut Vodka Boston, a limited-edition vodka infused with black tea and elderflower.

Recently, mixologist Jamie Gordon hosted an Absolut Vodka Boston Tea Party at Food & Wine's New York City office. He gave the editorial staff a taste of some fantastic cocktails he created with the spirit, such as the juicy and aromatic Absolut Boston Blackberry.

Makes 1 Drink

4 large blackberries
1 ounce agave nectar
4 ounces Absolut Boston
1 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
4 dashes rhubarb bitters

In a cocktail shaker, muddle 2 of the blackberries with the agave nectar. Add the Absolut Boston, lemon juice, bitters and ice. Shake well and double strain into a chilled large martini glass. Garnish with the remaining 2 blackberries.


25 Reasons to Love the Spoon: Incredible Stews, Stocks, and Chili Recipes


© Quentin Bacon

Tonight at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: a discussion on “From the Spoon to the City,” the current exhibition of 20th century design pieces named after Italian architect Ernesto Rogers’ famous declaration that he wanted to design everything from “a spoon to a city.” Our own way to honor the spoon is through these excellent stocks, stews, and chili recipes:

Stews: 15 hearty stews like a Catalan chickpea stew with spinach and chorizo (pictured), a sweet and tangy Middle Eastern lamb-and-eggplant stew, and Yucatán pork stew with pleasantly bitter ancho chiles and lime juice
Stocks: 3 versatile stocks to give a flavor boost to soups like Mario Batali’s chicken stock (excellent in a lentil and linguine soup), rich beef stock (superb in a Hungarian beef soup), and oregano-and-thyme-flavored vegetable stock (terrific in a 30-minute minestrone)
Chili Recipes: 7 outstanding chili recipes like pork cheek and black-eyed pea chili, turkey chili with hominy, and fragrant, cumin-accented chili


Nonna for a Day


© Chris Quinlan
A student gets pointers

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my grandmothers more than I can say. Nanny Quinlan taught me to mix a perfect cocktail and Nanny McGrath could make a mean Irish soda bread. But sometimes I wished I had an Italian nonna to show me how to make flawless pasta from scratch or a rich meat ragù. My wish came true this past weekend, when Dora Marzovilla of Manhattan’s I Trulli did just that at a demo in which she showed how to prepare classic Pugliese dishes, like a moist focaccia with tomatoes and oregano and handmade cavatelli with broccoli rabe and almonds. But what I really can’t wait to make is the panzerrotti (fried dough filled with tomatoes and mozzarella). I think it would pair perfectly with one of Nanny’s cocktails!

If you also crave nonna-worthy recipes, try these Italian dishes from Food & Wine's recipe archives:

Cavatelli with Spicy Winter Squash
Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies and Pistachios
Pappardelle with Veal Ragù



The Next Pork Personality


© National Pork Board
German Cuban Reuben Pork Burger

On a drizzly morning last week, I sat next to the Food Network’s Guy Fieri in a park near New York City's High Line to help the National Pork Board crown the Next Pork Personality. Judging the tastiest dish was easy: It was the German Cuban Reuben Pork Burger from chef Robert Burmeister of CHOW Gourmet on Staten Island.


First, he marinated pork shoulder with sweet pickle relish and mustard before grinding the meat and forming patties, which he then topped with a bacon-sauerkraut mixture, sliced Bratwurst and snappy rounds of dill pickle. But unfortunately, taste was not a factor in this competition, and each recipe's creativity only counted for so much; instead, the contestants' spiel about their dish was everything. Robert had that natural New York swagger and a thick accent to match—it was clear he loved pork, and not just from his pig tattoo. But it was tough to compete with actress and comedian (and former recipe contest winner) Kristina Vänni’s engaging routine. Although Kristina's "Spicy" Asian Pork Tenderloin, marinated and glazed with hoisin sauce spiked with five-spice powder—was not as impressive as Robert’s burger, she ultimately won the title and the $5,000 prize. But Robert might have received a better reward: Guy gushing about his burger during the awards ceremony.


© National Pork Board
Kristina Vänni wins the Next Pork Personality.










Superb Comfort Food Dishes, John Lennon-Style


© John Kernick

Out this week: Corn Flakes with John Lennon (Rodale Books), in which longtime Los Angeles Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn chronicles his relationship with the legendary Beatle—plus reveals juicy tidbits like Lennon’s habit of eating corn flakes with cream after dinner. Here, terrific British comfort food dishes to honor the Liverpool native like lamb-filled shepherd’s pie (pictured), beef stew with potato cakes, and sticky toffee pudding.


Plus More Great Dishes to Pay Tribute to Lennon:
- 10 excellent white dishes for a White Album-listening party like hot, buttered cauliflower puree and a jasmine rice, chicken and almond stir-fry
- 10 terrific egg dishes to salute the “Eggman” like a warm spinach salad topped with soft-poached eggs and sherried mushrooms with fried eggs on toast


An Ode to Thomas Keller


© Kana Okada

November will be a big month for superstar chef Thomas Keller (an F&W Best New Chef 1988): He’ll release Ad Hoc at Home (Artisan) and has plans to open a Beverly Hills outpost of Bouchon. Reasons to honor him now: his birthday this week, plus stellar dishes like his over-the-top mushroom quiche with buttery pastry shell (pictured), BLT fried egg-and-cheese sandwich, and a whole grilled chicken with arugula.

More Incredible Dishes by Our Best New Chefs:
- Our 2009 Best New Chefs’ easiest dishes like Kelly English’s meat pies with spicy buttermilk dip and Paul Liebrandt’s beet-and-red sorrel salad with nutty pistachio sauce


Simple Japanese Recipes


Everyday Harumi
Last weekend I tried a few recipes from the new cookbook Everyday Harumi. The author, Harumi Kurihara, is a homemaker-turned-cooking-star in Japan, where she has a TV show, magazine, tableware line and restaurants. The photographs in her book are beautiful and the recipes are very doable. I tackled the Tofu Steak, a homestyle version of agedashi tofu, a popular appetizer in Japanese restaurants. I rubbed slices of tofu with grated garlic, dipped them in potato starch and pan-fried them. I then topped each piece with scallions, ginger, bonito flakes and a soy-mirin sauce. I've never grated garlic for a recipe before, but it was worth the effort—the flavor is more delicate and I don't think minced garlic would stick as well to the tofu.

If you can't get a copy of Harumi's book, try these delicious Japanese recipes from Food & Wine:



Ode to Old Bay


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


Pasta Sfoglia Cookbook



© Sfoglia
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.


Knockout Seafood Dishes for a Seafood Shack Party


© Cedric Angeles

Summer may officially be over, but the seafood shack trend is just hitting its stride—New York City alone is expecting three new seafood shack-inspired spots this fall. Keep the beach vibe going with these superb takes on shack classics like a creamy clam and white bean chowder (pictured), fish tacos with lime guacamole, and crispy cayenne-spiced crab cakes.

More Seafood Dishes:
- 20 quick shellfish dishes like scallops with tarragon butter sauce and a shrimp and avocado salad
- 15 healthy fish dishes like spicy snapper sandwiches and monkfish in tomato-garlic sauce

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

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