by Amy Reiter in News, March 22nd, 2014
by Amy Reiter in News, March 20th, 2014
The “Crustmaster” Moves On: Bill Yosses, who has been whipping up pies (President Obama’s preferred dessert) and other confections at the White House as its executive pastry chef since his appointment by Laura Bush in 2007, is packing up his whisk and leaving his post for new, as yet unspecified, ventures. Bill, whom President Obama affectionately called “the Crustmaster,” is credited with bringing a healthier approach to White House desserts and integrating more seasonal ingredients, including those grown in the South Lawn Kitchen Garden he helped the First Lady create. He has also worked closely with Michelle Obama on her Let’s Move! campaign. She said she was “incredibly sad” to see him go. Bill called the decision to leave — for personal reasons — “bittersweet.” [Obama Foodorama]
Chocolate — Best Health Food Ever: If you ever wonder who or what to thank for all that is good about chocolate — in addition to the unparalleled joy of eating it — look down at your belly. The bacteria in your gut, NPR reports, are responsible for breaking down the antioxidants in dark chocolate and converting it into the compounds that help our hearts, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and help regulate appetite. The findings, presented this week to the American Chemical Society by Louisiana State University, hold for cocoa powder. Alas, John Finley, the food scientist behind the study, says the results “don’t translate to a Hershey bar.” He notes, however, that “cocoa powder goes well with many foods. I put it on my oatmeal every morning with berries.” [NPR's The Salt]
by Amy Reiter in News, March 19th, 2014
Trend Watch (for Cooks with Deep Pockets): What’s the the newest ‘it’ ingredient among discerning New York City chefs? Ramp seeds (“not the fawned-over leaves or bulbs”), according to Food Arts, which describes them as “tiny, with a pungent punch and an equally sock-it-to-me price tag.” Often preserved using salt or vinegar, the caper-like green seeds have a taste that evokes garlic and onion, and they are being used to add punch to dishes. One chef calls them “tiny flavor bombs.” But even extravagant chefs are sprinkling them sparingly: Labor intensive to harvest, ramp seeds cost about $120 per pound. [Food Arts]
Spare Your Schnoz: To tell if your milk has spoiled, you probably subject it to the sniff test — which really means subjecting yourself to the sniff test, but is still better than skipping directly to the taste test. (Yuck — yet expiration dates are not always reliable freshness indicators.) Now you can spare your senses such unpleasantness. Chinese scientists have come up with “smart tags” — small, gelatinous squares — you can stick on containers that change colors to indicate when the food in them has gone bad. [CBS News]
by Amy Reiter in Events, News, March 18th, 2014
The nominations for 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards — the food industry’s version of the Oscars — were announced Tuesday in Chicago. The awards honor excellence among chefs and restaurateurs, cookbook authors, food journalists, broadcast and media producers and personalities, restaurant designers, architects and other culinary professionals. Winners will be named in a ceremony in New York City in early May.
Food Network’s own Ina Garten was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Broadcast and New Media Award in the category of Outstanding Personality/Host for Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. The other nominees in that category are Sara Moulton, host of Sara’s Weeknight Meals on PBS, and Andrea Robinson for The 30-Minute Wine Whiz on Andreawine.com.
Heartland Table, hosted by chef and connoisseur of all things Midwestern Amy Thielen, was nominated in the Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location, category, alongside Lidia’s Kitchen and Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, both of which air on PBS.
Amy was represented in another category as well. Her cookbook, The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes (Random House), was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Book Award in the American Cooking category. Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes (Ten Speed Press), and John Currence’s Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some (Andrews McMeel Publishing) are the other nominees in that category.
Click here for the full list of nominees. Our deepest congratulations to Ina, Amy and all!
by Amy Reiter in Events, News, March 17th, 2014
The 2014 NCAA tournament brackets have just been released, and while the sports media is busily parsing the surprises among the selections and seedings — Louisville, last year’s national champ, is ranked only fourth in the Midwest region and Larry Brown’s SMU didn’t even make the cut? — food-focused college hoops fans may be contemplating another question: What should I serve at my March Madness party?
Your guests will dribble — er, drool — over healthy March Madness munchies like Game-Winning “As You Wish” Guacamole (customize the recipe to suit your taste), Crowd-Pleasing Parmesan Chicken Fingers (ultra-simple and great for dipping in tomato sauce), and Olive and Caper Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. (For more game-day snack ideas and recipes, check out Guy Fieri’s tailgating guide here.)
by Amy Reiter in News, March 14th, 2014
The International Association of Culinary Professionals presented its prestigious annual awards, honoring food literature, journalism and digital media in a variety of categories, at a ceremony in Chicago on Saturday.
The 2014 winners of the IACP cookbook awards, which aim to “promote quality and creativity” in culinary writing, include Matt and Ted Lee’s The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (in the American category — get the authors’ recipe for Shrimp and Deviled-Egg Salad Rolls), Jacquy Pfeiffer’s The Art of French Pastry (in the Baking: Savory or Sweet category), Andrew F. Smith’s The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, Second Edition (Beverage/Reference/Technical) and Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Suzanne Goin’s The A.O.C. Cookbook (Chefs and Restaurants). John McReynolds’ Stone Edge Farm Cookbook was named Book of the Year; it was also honored in the First Book category.
Pastry chef and Institute of Culinary Education creative director Michael Laiskonis was named Culinary Professional of the Year. Biochemist and author Shirley Corriher was presented with an award for Lifetime Achievement. (Try Shirley’s recipes for Homemade Mayonnaise, Chipotle Salt, Juicy Roast Chicken, Marinated Grilled London Broil, and Fresh Green Bean Salad with Basil and Tomatoes.)
Food Network’s own Alton Brown won the Culinary Audio Series award for the Alton Browncast (pictured above). Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan was honored along with Katy Sparks, Alex Raij, Rita Sodi and Kathleen Squires in the E-Cookbook category for the online cookbook series The Journey.
Check out a full list of winners after the jump or click here.
by Amy Reiter in News, March 12th, 2014
Gaga Unfiltered: Introducing Lady Gaga on Thursday night, Jimmy Kimmel noted that the “best thing” about having her on his show while it was shooting in Austin for South by Southwest was that she “could barbecue her own dress.” But Gaga showed up wearing a frock made of, no, not meat, but coffee filters. “Upcycling,” she explained, adding that she’d chosen the modest outfit, a fluffy white Gareth Pugh creation with jacket and hat to match (natch), because she’d gotten “really fat” from overindulging in BBQ while in Texas. After naming her favorite local BBQ joints (Stubb’s, Salt Lick), Gaga added, “If I see any meat on the street I just will eat it because I like it.” [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]
And the James Beard Awards Go To … The James Beard Foundation has announced the 2014 inductees into its prestigious Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. The six inductees, culinary pros who were determined to make “a significant and unique contribution to the American food and beverage industry,” are The Art of Eating editor and publisher Edward Behr, New Orleans Chef John Besh, New York Chef David Chang, food writer Barry Estabrook, Chicago Chef Paul Kahan and Los Angeles Pastry Chef Sherry Yard. The awards will be given out in a ceremony in New York on May 5. Congrats to all. [Eater]
by Amy Reiter in News, March 11th, 2014
You, like everyone else, have probably always assumed the “five-second rule,” which posits that food dropped on the floor is fine to eat if it gets snatched up right away, is an urban myth. Until now, the studies have backed up your skepticism.
But this week biologists at Aston University, in Birmingham, England, have released the results of a study they say proves the rule actually holds true. The researchers measured the transfer of common bacteria from various floor types (carpet, tile and laminate) onto dropped toast, pasta, cookies and sticky sweets in time periods ranging from 3 to 30 seconds, and they concluded that time was a “significant factor in the transfer of bacteria from a floor surface to a piece of food.” The type of flooring, as well as the moistness of the food, also played a role.
As it turns out, carpeted surfaces were found to be less likely to transmit bacteria onto food, whereas if you splat your spaghetti on your tiled kitchen floor and take your time scraping it back up again — uh — don’t reach for your fork.
by Amy Reiter in News, March 8th, 2014
The food press is chewing over Cronut® creator and New York Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel’s latest edible mash-up, Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots, which he revealed last week on Instagram and debuted as a midnight snack at South by Southwest.
Some tastemakers have avidly devoured the idea of crispy cookie shot-glass-size cups with dollops of dairy in their hollow insides. The Huffington Post said Ansel had “managed to capture everything comforting about childhood and adulthood all at once.”
by Amy Reiter in News, March 6th, 2014
Attention, grocery shoppers: The fashion world now thinks you’re cool. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has a history of creating over-the-top settings for his Paris fashion shows — an airplane, an art museum. This year he built a faux supermarket stacked with brightly colored goods labeled with Chanel-inspired names — Coco Chanel Coco Pops, anyone? — which models plopped into Chanel-branded shopping baskets. (We’d like to see those couture catwalkers try this.) “Fashion editors posed with shopping trolleys amid this Warholian fashion extravaganza,” the Guardian reports, adding that a full-on riot broke out when show attendees briefly believed they could take the cleverly labeled goods home. [Guardian]
What food are you? The line at the top of Buzzfeed’s What Food Matches Your Personality quiz — “God, you’re such a burrito” — made us laugh, but only until we diligently answered all the questions and were labeled a burrito ourselves. “Here comes the burritoooooooo! (That’s you.),” the results jeered. “You’re a Renaissance man/woman. You’ve got a little bit of everything. And everybody better watch out because your flour tortilla is homemade.” Not satisfied, we took the quiz again and totally changed our answers. (Whatever, we’re such a burrito.) This time, we were cheese: “You go well with almost anything … and … make a lot of people happy.” Yeah, that’s better. [Buzzfeed]
Chef Watson is on wheels. In New York City, you can find food trucks that purvey pretty much anything you can think of: Crepes? Curried goat? Schnitzel? Edamame? Ecuadoran fish soup? Check, check, check, check and check. But now, roaming the country (last week in Las Vegas; this weekend in Austin for SXSW Interactive), there’s a food truck that sells exotic delicacies that neither you nor anyone else would probably ever imagine. That’s because the dishes its chefs are whipping up have been conceived by a supercomputer (remember Watson, who triumphed on Jeopardy! a few years back?), to bring together ingredients in unusual combinations too complex for mere humans to come up with. The IBM researchers who’ve teamed with New York’s Institute of Culinary Education to make the truck happen call the process Computational Creativity (or Cognitive Cooking). Diners sampling dishes like Baltic apple pie — which includes pork loin, apples and garlic chips — apparently call it mind-bendingly delish. [NPR's The Salt]
What’s in a name? Ever wonder how cobb salad, oysters Rockefeller and bananas Foster got their names? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel fills you in on the origins of these and other food monikers. But just so you know: Chef Bob Cobb’s surname was bestowed on the salad he made from leftovers at Hollywood’s Brown Derby Restaurant in the 1920s. Oysters Rockefeller’s buttery sauce, when it was created in 1899, was thought to evoke the richness of ultra-wealthy oil baron John D. Rockefeller. And the famous banana dish, which made its debut in New Orleans in the 1950s, was named in honor of a humble restaurant patron. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]