When it comes to great barbecue, our thoughts usually travel south – to Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, the Carolinas. But last night at the New York City Wine & Food Festival‘s Barbecue and the Blues, New York made a strong case for itself as a barbecue powerhouse. More than a dozen spots from around the Big Apple served up their best smoked meat and sides to hungry ‘cue fans, including the cast of The Kitchen: Sunny Anderson, Jeff Mauro, Marcela Valladolid, Geoffrey Zakarian and Katie Lee.
Who knew brunch — that seemingly innocuous meal that ambivalently straddles the line between breakfast and lunch, that daytime gathering opportunity for those who stay out late and sleep in on weekends, that blood-sugar boon for those enamored of eggs Benedict and fancy frittatas, Bloody Marys and mimosas — could spark such controversy?
“Brunch Is for Jerks,” The New York Times declared on Friday (just before the weekend’s brunch-eating commenced), in a headline atop an opinion piece in which writer David Shaftel declares that he’s “through with brunch” and gripes that the hybrid meal has “spread like a virus from Sunday to Saturday” and “jumped the midafternoon boundary.”
The simmering “brunch backlash,” Shaftel observes, broke through to the mainstream after Strokes front man Julian Casablancas blamed brunch (and those who eat it on Saturdays) for his departure from New York City for parts less urban.
Oh, ho, ho, Shaftel, a former brunch admirer who traces his conversion to hitting 40 and having a kid, has some choice words for brunch. He calls it “a twice-weekly symbol of our culture’s increasing desire to reject adulthood” by throwing three-meal-a-day convention to the wind and “reveling in the naughtiness of waking up late, having cocktails at breakfast and eggs all day.” It is, he says, “the mealtime equivalent of a Jeff Koons sculpture.”
Being a recreational athlete means you take your sport and training seriously, but you have other priorities as well, such as work, family, and friends. Multiple demands can create a hectic schedule, and result in imperfect fueling choices for train...
I was chatting with one of my girlfriends on the phone a few days ago. She’s expecting her first baby in a few months and is balancing that with a full-time career — two big tasks that I know from experience can exhaust even the most-energetic person. I had a sense of wanting to jump through the telephone line (and across the 2,500 miles that separate us) to bring her dinner. Yes, it would take a task off her plate, but more than that, preparing food for someone sends a message of love. Food nourishes both body and soul, which is why a shared meal comforts when we grieve, celebrates when we are joyful and is the catalyst for getting acquainted (think how many marriages began with a dinner date). Food connects us.
Why not connect with someone this week?
We’ve all heard the timesaving advice to “cook once, eat twice” before, which refers to making double dinner and freezing half for a future meal. But what if this week you cooked once, ate once and gave the other half to someone whose day could use a little lift? Maybe you happen to know of a new mom who would rather get an extra hour of sleep than cook, or perhaps you read about a neighbor who just lost a loved one and would appreciate the thoughtfulness. But more likely, you don’t have someone top-of-mind who you know needs a meal. Think a little harder. Because almost everyone is going through something, and everyone loves to feel connected, even if it’s just on a stressful day when the kids are out of control, or traffic was extra-awful or the electricity bill was through the roof.
With views of the Hudson River to the west and the bright lights of the Big Apple to the east, dozens of A-list Food Network stars on hand, and the sweet summertime smell of grilled burgers wafting through the autumn air, the scene was set to kick off the New York City Wine & Food Festival‘s much-anticipated Burger Bash atop Pier 92 in Midtown Manhattan. This marks the seventh-annual celebration of all things between the bun, and in true Festival fashion, there was no shortage of eats, drinks or chefs as the walk-around tasting unfolded. Once again, Rachael Ray hosted the sold-out event as fellow Food Network favorites like Marc Murphy, Alex Guarnaschelli and Robert Irvine joined her to show off their signature offerings, and Anne Burrell and Andrew Zimmern, among others, judged the 30 burger offerings enticing the hundreds of fans.
After hours of deliciously meaty indulgence, guests’ votes were tallied and Marc earned the judges’ pick of the night with his Lamb-Marc burger (pictured above). The first-time winner wowed the panel with a tender lamb patty and a fresh mint chimichurri on top.
There are some dishes that are emblematic of a culture. Fried chicken is as Southern as kudzu and sweet tea. Lobster defines the food of New England, and chili peppers speak to Southwestern cuisine. There are many others to consider, but red beans and rice, a true Creole classic, means Louisiana country cooking. Like many of the best recipes from simple food, red beans and rice is made up of humble ingredients that, after a slow simmer, are transformed into a sustaining, nourishing bowl of down-home comfort.
Ah, the open road. You know you are really and truly on a road trip when you pull into your first gas station and start gorging on gross snacks. What if, however, those snacks weren’t gross? There are only so many Corn Nuts and pieces of beef jerky a person can eat, after all. Some gas stations across this great land of ours have eschewed the gross in favor of the gourmet. On tonight’s season premiere of Offbeat Eats with Jim Stacy, you’ll get to pull off the tourist-jammed highway to fuel up on some of these secret gas station restaurants.
You’ll have to tune in at 9:30pm ET to see Jim’s picks, but in the meantime, here are some of our favorite fancy-pants gas stations that serve fancy-pants grub.
Dominique Ansel made his mark on the dessert world with the invention of the Cronut and its subsequent and meteoric rise to culinary fame. He’s been lauded as the Willy Wonka of modern pastry, and, flipping through the pages of his new cookbook, Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes, it’s not hard to see why. The book is fun, imaginative and innovative. Ansel’s penchant for playing with food is written into every recipe, and when you bring this book into your kitchen, you’re unlocking delicious possibilities for you and your family.
The book begins with a foreword by Daniel Boulud and an introduction by Ansel himself. Then seven chapters cover the tenets on which he rests his baking philosophies: Time is an ingredient; Beyond the comfort zone; Don’t listen; What’s in a name?; Create and re-create; Everything but the flavor; and Never run out of ideas. After that come the recipes, separated into sections based on difficulty: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The book closes with a section on additional techniques called for in the recipes, skills like cooking custard, tempering chocolate and piping.
Ansel’s tour through his approach to pastry is fascinating. The insight he lends to his inspirations and process for developing new, innovative desserts is enthralling. Take, for example, the casual retelling of how the Popcorn Chouquettes came to be: He was inspired by customers who came into his bakery late and wanted a snack that they could enjoy while watching a movie they were en route to catch. A light bulb switched on and a new treat was born. The recipes are a lovely mix of classic favorites (like the Mini Madeleines, the Cannelé de Bordeaux, the Pink Champagne Macarons and the Mini Mes meringues) and inspired new bites (like the Ibérico and Mahon Croissant, the Frozen S’mores and the Angry Egg, which resembles an adorable popular mobile-phone game character). Give the Chocolate Pecan Cookies a try at home (recipe below) and make some magic for yourself. Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes goes on sale October 28. You can preorder your copy here.
We have no myth-busting news to impart about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but we do have one bubble to burst: That little ball of green stuff you’ve been mixing into your soy sauce and calling wasabi all your life is, in fact, not wasabi at all, reports Washington Post Wonkblogger Roberto A. Ferdman. So, um, what is it?
Ferdman quotes sushi expert Trevor Corson: “ … it’s just plain old horseradish, plus some mix of mustard extract, citric acid, yellow dye no. 5 and blue dye no. 1. It comes in big industrial bags as a powder, and the chefs mix it with water before dinner to make that caustic paste.”
In this week’s news: Energy drinks may not be worth the energy, or the risk; eating right and exercising during pregnancy is a big boon for your baby; and researchers find yet another reason to start eating a Mediterranean diet, pronto.