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Kentucky Bourbon Fest: Day 1

by in View All Posts, September 17th, 2009

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This weekend is the annual Kentucky Bourbon FestivalCharlie and I are lucky to be down here as guests of Maker’s Mark — we New Yorkers stand out in this crowd for sure.  This weekend we’ll be hitting up the Maker’s distillery, the Jim Beam distillery, having dinner at Bill Samuels‘ house and much more.  Stay tuned for pictures, and some good knowledge.

Dave Mechlowicz, Culinary Purchasing Manager

Beautiful Soup

by in View All Posts, September 11th, 2009

Returned from two weeks in Bogota, Colombia, with mind boggled by a country at once richer (culturally, agriculturally, ecologically) and more immiserated (4.3 million internally displaced persons, approx 10% of the population) than anything I had imagined.

As home to 10% of the world’s biodiversity and encompassing nearly every imaginable ecosystem–from the tropical rainforests, grasslands, alpine forests, deserts, temperate zones and on and on–Colombian cooking draws from a vast larder, and has evolved a fascinating array of distinct regional variations.

During my two weeks I was only able to sample the tiniest fraction of the country’s culinary riches, but I did bring back an insatiable craving for ajiaco santafereño, a soup of which Bogotanos are justly proud, and which must rival the hat and the scarf in providing warmth to the residents of chilly, drizzly Bogota.

Of course, to call ajiaco santafereño a soup is a bit misleading. And to call it a potato soup seems almost disrespectful. Ajiaco comes to the table as a soup, a yellow broth, full of shredded chicken, chunks of potato and corn. But it leaves as the meal itself. Served in black clay bowls, the soup is accompanied by separate bowls of heavy cream, capers and avocado, which are added according to the eater’s preference and which soon bind the soup into a sludgy, filling, and delicious mass.

I imagine it’s well worth attempting at home, but authentic ajiaco santafereño is near impossible to find outside of Colombia, depending as  it does on 3 native potato varieties–good luck finding them–and, crucially, the herb guasca–good luck finding that too–which gives the soup its unique flavor, one that reminds me strongly of artichokes. I imagine one could substitute cilantro for guasca and produce a perfectly delicious soup, but it would be hard to mistake for the real thing.

Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian

Labor Day Eat-Ins

by in View All Posts, September 4th, 2009

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As a longtime member of Slow Food USA, I wanted to let FN Dish readers know about an important event that kicks off on Labor Day. Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

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From the Slow Food folks:

Slow Food USA is organizing a National Day of Action on Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2009. On that day, people in communities across America will gather with their neighbors for Eat-Ins (part potluck, part sit-in) that send a clear message to Congress: It’s time to provide America’s children with real food at school.
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What’s Shooting Now?

by in View All Posts, August 27th, 2009

It’s time for another round of “What’s Shooting Now?” It looks like last time we made the game a little too easy, so the clues are a bit trickier this time. For new players, here’s how to play. We give you clues, and you guess what show is shooting in the Food Network studios. In a few days, we’ll let the cat out of the bag!

THE CLUES

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Catching up with Aida Mollenkamp

by in View All Posts, August 25th, 2009

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Aida Mollenkamp is back with a brand new season of Ask Aida, and she’s made some exciting changes. We caught up with her to hear all about the new style and to find out what viewer question (almost) stumped this gastronomical guru.

FN Dish: The new season just premiered on Saturday. Loved the first episode! Can you give us a little taste of the rest of the season?
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The Old Man and the Marinade

by in View All Posts, August 24th, 2009

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Although I am the last person who should be casting aspersions on other people’s brand extensions — really? This is a good idea?

…They hadn’t seen a marinated steak in forty days. It made the boy sad that they had marinades but no steak to eat them on. The old man had taught the boy to rope the cows that once marinated would eventually become their steak. The old man had scars on his hands from the ropes used to catch cows but those scars were not fresh. It had been years since the old man had roped a cow and then marinated it. The boy said “Remember how once we roped eighty-seven cows and marinated steak?” “I remember” said the old man.

[EMD via YesButNoButYes]

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer