A Celebration of Desserts at the 2012 Vendy Awards

by in Events, September 18th, 2012

2012 Vendy Awards

If you’ve ever been to New York City, then you know that there is no shortage of places to eat here. Michelin-starred, James Beard-awarded, see-and-be-seen hot spots? We have plenty. Hole-in-the-wall joints with just 20 chairs and one server? Yes, they’re here, too. One of New York City’s most-beloved eating traditions, however, takes place not inside a room or at a table, but rather behind the windows of the street carts and food trucks that line the streets of almost every neighborhood in the city.

Every summer New York comes together to celebrate the city’s best sidewalk vendors and street food of all kinds at the Vendy Awards, an afternoon food festival that brings together big-time vendors and newcomers alike to support The Street Vendor Project, “a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights.” Vendors set up shop then dish out signature plates to lines of hungry locals while entering their food in one category to win the Vendy Cup, People’s Taste Award or the title of Best Dessert, Rookie Vendor of the Year or Best Market Vendor. This year’s awards took place last weekend on Governors Island, and we were there to taste the very best bites.

Savory plates of deliciously salty and spicy Mexican tortas, all-American cheesesteaks, Asian-style noodles, meaty kebabs and more filled the outdoor space, but it was the sweeter treats, the sugary, creamy and chilled desserts that wowed us the most.

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On the Road: A Tour Through Music City, USA

by in Shows, September 18th, 2012

on the road nashville
This week the final four trucks of The Great Food Truck Race took a small detour to Pottsville, Tenn., before cruising into Nashville. There they met on a farm owned by country musicians Joey and Rory Feek. Instead of sending the teams to sell, host Tyler Florence immediately introduced the week’s Truck Stop cooking challenge.

Once the teams pulled up to the curbs of Nashville, they then had to deal with an unprecedented Speed Bump: The lead cooks on each truck had to sell with two students from the International Culinary School at The Art Institutes, not their teammates, who were forced to watch the action from afar.

For the next couple of weeks, we’re following the Food Trucks city by city with our guide of the best eats, compiled by the On the Road app and website. Today we’re exploring the best that Nashville has to offer. Come back next week for our picks in Cleveland.

Bongo Java
Start your day at Bongo Java, Nashville’s oldest coffee company. It gained notoriety in 1996 when an employee discovered a “nun bun,” a cinnamon bun that looked remarkably like Mother Teresa. You can order a breakfast of bagels, burritos or baked goods, plus a hot cup of their fair-trade coffee.

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Breakdown: Frozen Treats

by in Uncategorized, September 18th, 2012

ice cream
Even a frozen treat connoisseur like myself can get confused with all the icy options out there. Grab your ice cream maker, you’ll be itching to make something after you read this.

Ice Cream
The classic: sweet, velvety, delish. Ice cream is typica...

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The Power of School Lunch

by in Family, September 18th, 2012

school lunch box
My daughter played “What food am I?” in preschool the other day. When I came to pick her up, her teacher gave me an odd look. “What happened?” I asked. “All of the kids had to describe what kind of food they were today,” she began. “Most kids said apples, celery, oranges, hamburgers, tomatoes, etc., but your daughter told us she was a mix of quinoa and gooseberries…”

Good or bad? I wondered to myself. Probably some of both.

In my mind, that definitely tells me I’m going to be “that mom,” the one whose kid constantly feels embarrassed about. And “that mom” was originally my mom: the mom who dares to be different when, among other things, it comes to packing a school lunch.

My mother lovingly packed soggy, lopsided and sometimes grease-stained paper bags carrying oddball sandwiches or various leftovers from dinner.

Delicious? Totally. Awkward to eat? Totally. Not like any of the other kids’ lunches at a time when you did not dare to be different? Totally.

What was a classic lunch for me?

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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Pasta

by in Shows, September 17th, 2012

iron chef america battle pasta
Everybody has their favorite memory of a perfect pasta dish. My own came during a visit to a small restaurant in Rome where I was presented with a plate of Bucatini All’Amatricana, made with the tubular pasta and a spicy sauce containing guanciale (cured pig jowls). As I travel the globe eating the weird and the wonderful, it is often this comforting bowl of pasta that I recall and crave the most.

Pasta is such a familiar ingredient in the United States that it is often all too easy to take it for granted. There are few people who don’t have at least one type of pasta in their store cupboard and if you were to walk down the aisles of any supermarket, you would have to take off your shoes and socks to help you count the fresh and dried varieties now offered.

Despite its ubiquity, however, there is something about a beautifully prepared pasta dish that is very hard to beat and I hope you were as excited as I was by the way that the Iron Chef and their challenger brought a new spin to such a classic ingredient last night.

Given that pasta is, I suspect, so familiar to everyone who will read this, I thought I would stray from the normal format for these features and instead give you 10 interesting things you may not know about pasta.

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Lentil Quinoa Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 17th, 2012

Quinoa and Bean Pilaf
Many vegetarians struggle to track down filling sources of protein, since it’s most often found in meat. But maintaining a meat-free diet doesn’t mean that you have to gulp protein shakes in order to get enough of this essential food group. Quinoa is a go-to grain that’s packed with protein and easy enough to make on a weeknight.

Melissa d’Arabian makes a five-star Lentil Quinoa Salad (pictured above) that works well as a hearty side dish or a brown bag-ready lunch option. After combining tender quinoa with smooth lentils, she tosses the mixture with green onions and fresh cilantro and dresses it with a light mustard vinaigrette. Watch this video to see how Melissa prepares this simple-to-make salad.

Similar to other healthful grains like bulgur, barley and farro, quinoa is a blank canvas that can be dressed up with your favorite ingredients. Check out more quinoa recipes below, and experiment with different combinations of vegetables, cheeses, crunchy nuts, simple dressings and more to find what your family likes best.

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