From the folks at Food52, here’s a cocktail with a different twist: plum slices! I like it. Of course you don’t need to make it with that particular bourbon: I am sure it will be delicious with any version you prefer.
From the folks at Food52, here’s a cocktail with a different twist: plum slices! I like it. Of course you don’t need to make it with that particular bourbon: I am sure it will be delicious with any version you prefer.
What’s nice about the bamboo and other sherry+vermouth cocktails is that they seem familiar, but different enough to break you out of your rut (assuming you are having a cocktail rut). Plus they are easy to make, and because they are lower ABV, easy to drink. Sound good? You can get a recipe for the bamboo here.
For more recipes, you can go Bon Appétit
Yaaaas. At least in the US, the McRib sandwich from McDonald’s is coming back in December, according to this. I hope and pray it comes to Canada, too. I love that sandwich: saucy, porky, with pickles and raw onions and that bun. Perfection.
Almost a decade ago I came across an intriguing theory as to why McDonald’s sells the McRib only at certain times. I wrote about it, here.
One of the better things that came out of the pandemic is this series of recipes published in the New York Times and written by Melissa Clark: From the Pantry – The New York Times.
I loved how each recipe is really a cooking lesson more than a step 1-2-3 recipe. By the time you made a dish, you can already imagine making it a dozen different ways with the suggestions she provides. That’s especially good for people who are not comfortable changing recipes around. If you are one of those people, you’ll be much more confident improvising with ingredients after you have made a few of these meals.
I also liked that the recipes really cover a range of meals, from breakfast to dinner, from salad and soup to dessert. Now that there is quite a few recipes listed here, you can pick and choose what suits you.
Finally, I like that the Times didn’t firewall off this content. Anyone can see the recipes: you don’t need a subscription to the Cooking section of the paper/website.
I highly recommend these recipes. Go use some and become a better cook.
A wonderful cocktail, here brought to you by smitten kitchen. All you need are:
2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
1 ounce red vermouth
1 ounce Campari Ice
An orange peel is a good touch. Boulevardier: simple, but delicious.
It can be expensive for people living in parts of the world to follow it because of the way food is priced, according to this. Key quote:
The results indicate that it’s not enough to follow the Mediterranean diet simply by changing the quantities you’re eating of certain foods. The foods need to be of a high quality, too, and you need to eat a diverse range of them.
Both of those things are harder to do on a budget. Fresh produce and fish are often only available at higher costs and in certain areas (this disparity leads to the food desert phenomenon), which makes them harder for low-income people to access and afford.
Everything is harder when you are poorer, including eating healthy.
You create an entire web site about it! This is a pretty amazing project. The author cooked his way through over 100 recipes, took a picture, and rated them (with emoji no less!) It took him over a half a year, but I am impressed by it all.
I find if I cook 20 recipes from a cookbook, I am happy with the results. To cook over 100 recipes like this is impressive imho.
To see what I am talking about, checkout “A little fancy”.
If you are a martini fan but want to changing up your Friday night cocktail, then consider this Gimlet Cocktail Recipe.
A fine drink while the weather is warm. Also good to battle scurvy. 🙂
To your health!
(Image via liquor.com)
Sure, it costs $150, but look at that marbling. And as this states, it is impossible to overcook, due to that incredible amount of fat.
You may think that is terribly decadent. And it is! If you want to know more, see: Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye Steak | Uncrate
Ok, you can argue that Sangria is not a cocktail, but I disagree. Also, sangria is great, and it’s especially great in the hot days of summer.
You can buy sangria premade, but if you want to make your own and make it well, then read this: How to Make Sangria – Bon Appétit
Even if you already make a pretty good batch, it’s worth reading for tips on how to change it up and possibly even improve your current recipe.
And the result, if you are a fan of French wines, is tragic: Of Wine, Hand Sanitizer and Heartbreak – The New York Times.
You can read it straight up, but it’s worth pondering what it tells us about our values right now, and what they were before. Times are tough in the pandemic era, for winemakers in particular as well as all of us in general.
(Image thanks to Sven Wilhelm).
Now that we are in the middle of the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere), it’s time to add spritzes to your cocktail repertoire. If you are in need of ideas, I recommend this: Six Delicious Spritzes to Make from Cup of Jo. From the still trendy Aperol Spritz to white wine spritzers, there’s like at least on drink in here you’ll want to make while the nights are hot and the days are even hotter.
Also a good idea if you still want a drink but want to cut down on your alcohol consumption.
And by feed it I don’t mean drink more coffee. I mean eat foods that have been shown to help our brains work better. The author of this piece ate food considered best for our brains for a week and recorded what happened. Surprise: you don’t turn into a genius. But you will see some benefits. And that’s a good thing.
(Image from healthline.com)
An oldy but a goody from Vox: I asked the experts how to eat healthy on a budget. Here’s what they told me. – Vox
It’s common sense, but like much in the pandemic times, I suspect a lot of common sense has fallen by the side. If you want to get back to eating healthier, consider reading that.
Food52 has a number of great looking non-alcoholic drink options, here: Drinks & Cocktails on Food52 – Shop Spirits, Shrubs, Mixers & Bitters.
This is for a rose, but there is a gin and some sparking beverages. They have some other good products too, if you want to make something with your favorite alcoholic beverage.
Pricer than the canned fish you are used to getting in stores, but it could be a wonderful gift for someone. Great packaging too. Happy to see it is from Canada, too. There is different versions of this too; you could just get the lobster, for example.
Food52 has lots of wonderful products. Even if you don’t care for this one, I recommend checking them out.
I don’t know, but I do know this is a good piece to read for anyone interested in establishments having some degree of success with them: Meal kits were dying. Covid-19 brought them back to life. | The Counter.
I am not sure what the future of restaurants will be. Or any places that depend on having many people close together for periods of time. If COVID-19 sticks around for months and years, we are going to be forced to find out. Whatever that future is, it will be substantially different to the time before the arrival of this disease.
After the controversy regarding Alison Roman written about here and elsewhere, I started thinking about recipes, where they come from, how I use them, and how I think about them.
A recipe is usually instructions for how to do something. Typically we associated it with food preparation. Recipes list ingredients and steps to prepare the ingredients. They tell you how many people the recipe typically feeds. Sometimes they tell you other things, like nutritional information.
Some recipes are like open source software. You can take a recipe and modify it to make it your own, just like open source software. Other recipes are not open and kept secret, like the formula for certain soft drinks, or the recipe for a certain fried chicken. Some are even patentable (although good luck with that).
Some recipes are associated with regions or cultures. If you think of bouillabaisse, you think of France. Risotto: Italy. Sushi: Japan. Some recipes and dishes transcend regions and become universal. Dumplings are like that. Noodles too. The same goes for ingredients: you can find basil and oregano in many recipes all over the world, and garlic is about as universal ingredient as any.
Some are associated with certain people, such as Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. You can claim making tomato sauce with butter and onion and tomatoes is a recipe of yours, but by now it is associated with Marcella Hazan. Likewise with Martha Stewart’s One-Pot Pasta. It’s not like no one has ever made such a dish before, but now we associate them with one particular person.
Alison Roman is a person who has had success with recipes that became associated with her, namely her chocolate chunk shortbread cookies (” the cookies”) and her chickpea stew (“the Stew”). The Stew in particular got me thinking about recipes and ingredients and how people go about making recipes. For example, if a recipe is based on another recipe, should the author mention that? It likely depends on the publication and other factors. For example, with someone like Deb Perleman, you get a lot of detail about the recipe before she goes into it. Or with Hugh Acheson where he talks about the origin of his catfish stew recipe before proceeding to list the steps and ingredients.
Some people (like me) prefer recipes with those details; other people just want the recipe. Anyone creating and publishing recipes needs to decide how much detail to include, depending on their audience. In publications like Bon Appetit, there is often space allocated only for the recipe itself. I don’t know what the text was wrapped around this recipe for a Zingy Red Sauce when it was published, but I assuming it matched the minimum detail found on the web site. Now is this recipe a derivation of a Romesco Sauce (also in Bon Appetit)? Possibly. Likewise this Seafood Stew for Two Recipe in Bon Appetit. This stew shares a lot of ingredients with this classic Cioppino Recipe also in Bon Appetit, but it is also varied enough to consider it to be it’s own recipe.
I think Roman does variations of recipes not infrequently, which aligns with her belief that she won’t ask you to do any more than you have to, while still making it a good dish. So this recipe for Summer Greens with Mustardy Potatoes and Six-Minute Egg Recipe in Bon Appetit is not unlike a stripped down Nicoise salad, but it is not a Nicoise salad despite some commonality. That I think explains the success of her recipes: she takes ingredients and recipes and strips them down somewhat while still making them look good, taste good, and accessible for home cooks to make.
She has not been called out for making recipes with strong European origins. But where she ran into trouble with The Stew is that she seemed to take some ingredients that resembled a curry and had it identified with her. If The Stew associated with her was the seafood stew above or this Fish Stew with Fennel and Baby Potatoes, then she still would have had a problem for the insulting things she said, but it is less likely she would have been criticized with terms like “Columbus Cuisine” and accused of ripping off other cultures and enriching herself at their expense. I don’t believe she does that, but that has been a lively topic of debate with smarter food writers than me.
I don’t think her approach to writing recipes is wrong. I can’t say that recipes going viral is bad. What I will say is ultimately it is better if we read from a diverse range of food writers who can bring not just interesting recipes to publication, but the interesting stories that go with them. I also think it is good when people from different backgrounds can explore the recipes and ingredients of other cultures and make something new with them while acknowledging what the inspiration is. This is much better than remixing an older recipe without attribution. I’d add that acknowledging the origins of an ingredient can’t hurt either. After awhile some of those ingredients may seem universal. Perhaps kimchi will become as common as dill pickles in North American kitchens, and turmeric becomes as frequently used as cumin.
I think publications can do a better job of not just publishing recipes but educating their readers. Likewise, I think sharing, innovating and educating others on food is a great thing, and I hope recipe writers from all background can borrow and improvise and create new dishes. They won’t be quite as eclectic as these recipes that resulted from a collaboration with IBM’s Watson computer and Bon Appetit, but they will inspire us and help us prepare better meals and make our lives better.
David McMillan, who is responsible for some of the great restaurants in Montreal, wrote this love letter to Toronto and it’s restaurants a few years ago. It’s wonderful. Reading it over again, it has a bittersweetness as I read the names of some of the wonderful Toronto food establishments he mentions. I wonder if many of them will still exist after this pandemic. I want to hope that most will and I want to hope that the Toronto food scene will still be great. Just like I want the Montreal food scene to recover and thrive. I will say a prayer that both those things come true.
I started thinking about the Silver Palate cookbook again after reading this piece in Bon Appetit:How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking
It’s funny to read the staff of Bon Appetit talk about this as their parent’s cookbook. To me the tone is nostalgic. Perhaps they believe it is dated. Like any decades old cookbook, it is dated in a way. There’s lots of things in there that was novel and daring at the time but now are passe, and ingredients which are now commonplace were once hard to find.
But there is much about the book that is still great. The layout and design, for one thing. And some recipes stand the test of time and became classics. It’s so much more than a collection of recipes.
In some ways, publications like Bon Appetit are the same. Many of the things I’ve said about that cookbook will apply to Bon Appetit over time. And like the Silver Palate cookbook, I believe people will look back on Bon Appetit in this era the way the folks at BA look back at this kitchen classic.
If you haven’t read the Silver Palate cookbook in some time (or ever), you can read (at least some of) it online.
What is a Bronx cocktail? David Lebovitz explains:
Not as famous as its “other borough” cousin, the Manhattan, the Bronx is a fruitier, lighter alternative to the rough-and-tumbler whiskey-based cocktail. However one sip and you may find yourself visiting the Bronx a little more often!
I’ve had one recently and it’s delicious. Get your ingredient list, here: Bronx Cocktail – David Lebovitz Bronx Cocktail recipe.
Many many people were blown away by this piece written by Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune fame: My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore? in The New York Times.
She’s a great writer, and a great restaurateur, writing about a time of peril for all restaurants.
During the pandemic I’ve thought about it often, as well as the future of restaurants. I don’t know a fraction about the business Hamilton excels in, other than to recognize that even for someone good at it, it’s a hard business. It was a hard business before when places were jammed with hungry eaters. It may well be impossible now.
My hope is that knowing that restaurateurs are smart, hard working and passionate people. They have managed in difficult situations before. They will find a way to make the foods that they love and feed them to us. And we will find a way to get out and support them.
I have had a number of meals at Prune, and they have been some of the finest of times for me. Here’s to it and many more places coming back soon and giving us meals and memories that make life worthwhile.
(Image is a link to the Village Voice.)
The pandemic working from home has been hard, and for some of us, eating has been a source of joy. However, I am feeling the need to eat better and maybe even shed a few pounds. For help, I am turning to one of my favorite sites for this: Darebee.
I love DareBee.com for it’s fitness routines and the great posters they provide. They have made getting in some exercise a breeze. But they have other things to help you get fit and live better too. One section of the site is dedicated to Meal Planning. You can find lots of great items there, including ones to help you transition to a vegetarian meal routine
If you feel like eating better, consider checking this out.
David Lebowitz has a new book out now called “Drinking French”, and it possible that we need it more than ever. Here’s a recipe from it, a nice spin on the classic Manhattan. Enjoy: French Manhattan recipe
You can buy it everywhere, including here.
We have tons of upscale coffee shops, and wine is more popular than ever in North America, so Eater asks what seems to be a simple question: Natural Wine Is Everywhere in America. Where Are the Wine Bars?
I say “seems” because the answer is long and fascinating for a number of reasons: economic, cultural, and gastronomical. It’s a smart piece. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a snippet of what I mean:
It’s sad to see something so ostensibly simple become another exclusive pleasure, so I keep looking for the neighborhood wine bar of my dreams — which is honestly just a cramped room with bottles of interesting, affordable wine on the wall and, like, a cheese plate? Yet this seemingly simple thing is stupidly hard to find. It’d be sort of funny that cosseted American wine bars struggle to attain the loose charm of Paris, given that France is stereotyped as the place that’s snooty, rules-bound, and tradition-obsessed, if the result wasn’t such a bummer. While yes, there are a lot of rules, France also has a more open culture of public life; you don’t need to make plans to go out to drink wine. And though wine signifies many things in French culture, an air of sophistication because you drink it is not one of them. The appeal of enjoying wine in France, at least as the kind of person who’s moved by wine but still needs bolds on the list, is that French wine culture feels so much less precious than in America.
According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…
Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.
That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.
I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.
No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.
Not just for people with kids: Giadzy 5 Quick and Easy School Night Meals
Your week is going to be busy enough. You need a meal plan. That list can help.
Looks like autonomous robots have a way to go. So while Kiwi’s food delivery bots are rolling out to 12 more colleges (TechCrunch), they aren’t exactly autonomous robots. Instead…
The robots are what Kiwi calls “semi-autonomous.” This means that although they can navigate most sidewalks and avoid pedestrians, each has a human monitoring it and setting waypoints for it to follow, on average every five seconds. Iatsenia told me that they’d tried going full autonomous and that it worked… most of the time. But most of the time isn’t good enough for a commercial service, so they’ve got humans in the loop. They’re working on improving autonomy, but for now this is how it is.
The future is weird. Also, good luck with those in places with hostile weather, architecture, or people.
There are a million or so cookbooks for the Keto Diet. If you’ve been tempted to buy one and try it, read this first: What is the Keto Diet—And Does It Work? (Spoiler: Nope) | Chatelaine.
Sounds like a poor idea. Judge for yourself.
You might argue that spritzers and shandies are not cocktails, but that is just classist nonsense! 🙂 Besides, not everything needs to be prepared by a fancy mixologist. These cheap and cheerful mixes may be some of the best things to drink during these late great summer days.
I started thinking this when I read this: How Tech Bros Fell in Love With Baking Bread – Eater.
First thought, I think this is something tech bros do to any subject area they stumble into: they are the equivalent of European explorers “discovering” places that have been inhabited for ages. Second thought, there is something patriarchal about men discovering and improving something as basic as bread.
I love bread. I think everyone would get joy out of learning to make it. And while you can really do amazing things in breadmaking, it should not be seen as something only the rarest of bakers can do.
To get you started, here is a bunch of recipes that are simple and varied. Good luck!
For fans of Aperol Spritz looking to branch out, I give you this: It’s Called Spaghett and It’s Now My Favorite Summer Cocktail | Bon Appétit
Ok, you like do not need this. But it is a pretty cool lightbox. Worth checking out, if only to fantasize about.
Two pieces recently make the case for long recipes. This one, directly: The Case for Very Long Recipes | TASTE.
And this one, indirectly: Jerk Chicken So Good I’ve Been Making It Every Summer for 25 Years – The New York Times
The first one makes the direct case that long detail makes for a better recipe, and I agree with that. If you just need a list of ingredients and short steps, go to allrecipes.com and you can find it. If you want to know why things are done a certain way and why certain ingredients are used and how they should be cooked, then a long recipe is preferable.
The second one, by Gabrielle Hamilton, makes the case indirectly. The recipe comes at the end of a long essay that explains the origin of it. You could just read the recipe, but you’d be missing out on so much if you just did that.
I get why people hate long recipes. Not everyone who writes a long preamble before a recipe can writes as well as Hamilton. But it would be a shame if cooks stopped trying.
One site that does this really well is BudgetBytes.com. She has a button at the top that let’s you jump to the recipe, which is in the middle of the piece. At the top of the piece is her thoughts on the recipe. Then the recipe. Then detailed instructions on how to prepare the dish. Smittenkitchen.com also does long recipes, and they are also really worth reading through.
Image from here.
Perfect for summer.
Actually, perfect for any time of the year.
Want one? Go here: Voilà l’Été: The French 75 Recipe on Food52
It sounds hyperbolic, but this piece makes a very strong case for that fact that it is: This Is the Beginning of the End of the Beef Industry | Outside Online
For pro-beef fans, consider this (emphasis is mine)
Sure, steak is great, but ground beef makes up 60 percent of beef sales, and most of it is more Salisbury than salutary, a greasy vehicle for the yummy stuff: ketchup, mushrooms, pickles, bacon, sriracha mayo. I knew I wouldn’t object if my central puck came from a plant, as long as it chewed right and tasted right. I suspected others might feel the same.
Even if people don’t go entirely vegan or vegetarian, there is going to be a lot less beef sold in the future, in my opinion.
Read the article: it’s great.
A thought provoking piece on how we spend too much time on new restaurants and not enough on established ones: Why we should ignore the buzz surrounding new restaurants and give proper due to the ones that have lasted | National Post.
I think this is true. I pay attention to new places and hot places and places closing, but places that are great day in and day out I pay less attention to. I suspect many people are like that.
It would be great if publications that write on restaurants periodically round up places that are consistently great would write about them.
Eating meat is a significant contributor to global warming. I knew this, but the chart above and the article below really drove this home. As the Soviet Union was collapsing, people in that region started eating less meat. The result was a drop in carbon emissions. Now imagine if that was replicated worldwide for many years.
There’s actions we can take to attack global warming. Eating less or no meat is one of them. For more on this, see: Soviet Union’s collapse led to massive drop in carbon emissions
So says this article: The rise and fall of French cuisine | Food | The Guardian.
I tend to disagree with the pessimistic assessment, but regardless, I recommend the piece because it really does cover what has happened to food and cooking in the last 50 or so years. For people who love food, it’s a worthwhile read.
I think the decline of French food is relative. So many more cuisines have been discovered and appreciated, from Italian to Vietnamese, that French cuisine has competition for people’s attention. That comes across in this piece: Bon appétit! How I rediscovered the joys of French cuisine | Food | The Guardian.
It’s a good thing we have so many people writing and thinking and preparing food in new ways. French cuisine may no longer be dominant, but it is still great. And if you are going to Paris, then check out this list of David Lebovitz for what he recommends in his city. Or this list, somewhat dated, may still have value:
Top 10 budget restaurants and bistros in Paris | Travel | The Guardian