February 1, 2015
The Difference Between Porter And Stout Beer: It’s Complicated
Let’s just say this right off the bat: trying to understand the difference between a porter and a stout in today’s craft beer world can be a pretty dizzying experience. That’s because over the past ten years or so, in many craft circles, the names have been used pretty interchangeably when categorizing darker beers. It’s this occurrence that caused us to want to understand the different nuances between these two types of beer, because more often than not, someone will tell us they prefer one to the other or a recipe will call for one specifically, and yet it’s pretty hard to find a person who actually knows the difference.
January 30, 2015
I came across this article from Food and Wine Magazine this morning and thought that it was worth sharing. What’s interesting to me is that broth has now become the newest food craze, primarily for its incredible nutritional value, ease of preparation, and waste not want not philosophy. This rendition of broth may be on the extreme side but maybe not? I’ll let you decide.
Like many Twitter users we love, Stu primarily tweets about what he eats. He eats a lot: everything from kabocha squash to beef trimmings to lobster shells. He loves lobster shells. That’s because Stu isn’t a person. He’s a stew—one that has been given an affectionate nickname (and a handle, @perpetual_stew) by the kitchen staff that has come to know him during the five months he has been simmering at New York City’s Portuguese-influenced Louro restaurant.
Chef David Santos prides himself on avoiding food waste and decided to create a broth from kitchen scraps last August—and it’s the same one still simmering on the stove today. Here’s why that’s not terrifying and actually pretty cool: Constant simmering means bacteria can’t develop, and Stu is frequently and thoroughly strained. Every bit of solid food is removed, and what’s left is an incredible broth that contains layers upon layers of savory flavor. Fed every couple of days with a mix of vegetable peels, fish heads, shrimp shells, chicken carcasses, water and other edibles on hand, this Perpetual Stew forms the umami-packed base for some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, like garlic soup and duck ramen. And, starting today, customers can get more intimate with Stu: The broth will be served à la carte, flavored either Japanese-style with mirin and soy or Portuguese-style with wilted greens, black pepper and olive oil.
Santos swears by the stew not only for its ever-evolving taste profile but also because of its curative properties. “The health benefits are amazing,” he says. “When a chicken carcass is in there simmering for two days, you get every vitamin and mineral in the marrow—it all goes into the broth. All of the kitchen staff has at least a pint of stew every day, and none of us has gotten sick this year.” We don’t have scientific evidence, but that sounds more effective than this year’s flu shot.
January 29, 2015
Thinking of getting away from the cold winter? Why not consider a short trip to Belfast? I know that it’s not warm or tropical, but it might just be the right tonic for those who are looking for something different. Belfast, and its environs is full of life: wonderful people, amazing food, and dramatic scenery worthy of any Braveheart fan. If you click on the image, you will be transported to the New York Times article about this amazing destination. From personal experience, it is a trip worth taking… Sláinte.
January 27, 2015
Every so often, I crave Indian food. The subtle aromas of exotic spice combinations permeate everything … food, kitchen, nostrils, and tastebuds. Curries, naan, tandoori chicken … wow! Why do I cook this exquisite cuisine so seldom? I can’t speak to the past but I can assure you that Indian nosh has become a more frequent guest in our kitchen.
A classic dish that I recently made, and hope you will to, is Tandoori chicken. Traditionally it is marinated overnight in yogurt and spices, then grilled in a clay Tandoor, hence the name. Most of us do not own a Tandoor and while grilling the chicken on a conventional charcoal grill is a more than acceptable alternative, winter precludes that option for many of us. Fear not, for the following recipe by the noted Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey calls for baking the chicken in a very high heat conventional oven. The results are exceptional and will make this slightly time consuming recipe worth every minute of effort. Don’t be turned off by the time however; there’s a lot of hurry up and wait here. I hope that you enjoy your Tandoori chicken as much as I enjoyed sharing the recipe with you…
January 22, 2015
Single malt Scotch. Sure, the flavor profiles can be complex. Adjectives used to describe the taste of various Scotches can be bewildering. Like leather. Can a Scotch really taste of leather? And how do you know this? Peaty, smokey, austere, honeyed, phenolic… I could go on. But I won’t.
Moreover, have you ever tried to pronounce the names of some of these Scotches? There are so many consonants and vowels jammed together to resemble a word that certainly someone who loves the drink will be able to pronounce correctly. Perhaps not.
January 10, 2015
I love this book. Every amateur of semi-pro baker should own a copy of Flour, Water Salt and Yeast, written by Ken Forkish. In a clear, crisp style, Ken takes you through the wonderful journey of turning these 4 elemental ingredients into a warm, fragrant world of bread. Why bread? Why not … it is basic, it is sensory, it is wonderful. And anyone with 15 minutes of patience can create it. I hope that you enjoy this short video from Ken and become inspired to make your own fabulous bread on a regular basis. Our daily bread is not only a phrase in a prayer but, I would hope, a daily ritual to nourish your soul.
January 4, 2015
Food and Wine Magazine – Digital Edition
Andrew Zimmern names his favorite food markets around the world: “Through all of my travels, I’ve found that there’s no better way to feel the pulse of a city or to understand the local culture than to visit a market. I can learn more about a people and their way of life here than I can in the local museum, that’s for sure. Locavore bazaars—where merchant’s hawk the region’s specialties, artisans sell their wares and residents shop for dinner—offer the most authentic and honest experience.”—Andrew Zimmern.
I have enjoyed F&W Magazine for a number of years, particularly their daily digital feeds. This one does not disappoint and will quickly have you booking your next foodie adventure. I also recommend their Italian Food and Travel site. Al Lees
January 4, 2015
Reposted from the New York TImes Digital Edition of December 31, 2014
“Can I make it ahead?”
Spend any time talking recipes with friends or strangers, and that question will arise. There is great joy to be had in cooking a meal for others, but so much stands in the way of doing it often and well. The chief obstacle is time.
It is possible, of course, to get a fine meal on the table for family or friends in less than an hour, and many people do so regularly throughout the year. But to cook an excellent meal, food that thrills and excites and provides the centerpiece of that amazing rite of adulthood called a dinner party, is a different matter. There is a table to set. There are cocktails to pour. There might be music to choose, or flowers to arrange, and the boss and her husband arriving in 30 minutes, or the new neighbors, or the old friends — and who has time, amid all that, actually to cook
January 3, 2015
Therefore, a six-ounce glass of wine that has an ABV of 15% has about 144 calories compared to a six-ounce glass of wine that has an ABV of 12%, which has about 115 calories. And for the lowest number of calories, based on the alcohol versus sugar formula, select a sparkling wine that is Brut in style to bypass those extra sugar calories.
But how much wine is the right amount?
December 31, 2014
Right now, this is a painful duty. Chenin blanc achieves its most captivating forms in the Loire, in well-known areas like Vouvray and Savennières, and in the hands of excellent vignerons throughout Touraine and Anjou who, for one reason or another, may not use an appellation name. Yet recent vintages have been cruel, particularly 2012 and 2013, and there is sadly not a lot to go around.
Nonetheless, we press on, because these wines are too beautiful to ignore. Our next subject will be Vouvray Sec, with a little help from the neighboring appellations of Montlouis and Jasnières. Ordinarily, I would try to keep the focus narrow, on Vouvray, but if widening the search is the price for finding good, dry chenin blancs from the Touraine, so be it.
While good chenin blancs come from South Africa and, increasingly, California, the Loire is where the wine in its myriad styles reaches the heights. Only riesling rivals it for versatility, possibly because, like riesling, chenin blanc offers great acidity. This permits it to make wines that range from bone dry, or sec, to moderately sweet, or demi-sec, to lusciously sweet and nectarlike, or moelleux, all the while retaining a refreshing balance. It even makes great sparkling wines. Finally, as again with riesling, these wines can age and evolve for decades.
It’s a peculiarity of Vouvray that even wines labeled sec may not be entirely dry. Sometimes they are what the winemakers call “sec tendre,” with just a touch of residual sugar, but they are rarely labeled that way. This is not something to fear if you think you don’t like sweetness in wines, but it is something to notice.