All Posts By Andrea Strong

The Chef’s Take: Green Olive Tapenade from David Lebovitz

by in Chefs and Restaurants, August 20, 2014

olive tapenade
“When you cook at home, you know exactly what is going into the food you’re eating,” says David Lebovitz, who has been cooking and baking for most of his life — much of it in restaurants. He spent nearly thirteen years at Chez Panisse, working with Alice Waters and pastry chef Lindsey Shere, who became his mentor. He left the famed Berkeley restaurant in 1999 to coincide with the release of his first book, Room for Dessert. And five years later, he moved to Paris with little more than a cast-iron skillet and one French phrase: pain au chocolat.

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The Chef’s Take: Chickpea Crepes from Ryan Angulo

by in Chefs and Restaurants, August 13, 2014

socca
When Doug Crowell opened Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn in 2008, the crowds were lured by chef Ryan Angulo’s hearty Americana fare: buttermilk fried chicken and cheddar waffles with savoy cabbage slaw, duck meatloaf with corn pudding and blackberry gastrique and St. Louis ribs with new potato salad and mustard glaze.

But Crowell and his chef knew their audience included almost as many vegivores as carnivores. Instead of cobbling together an array of vegetable sides to satisfy these guests, they created a separate vegetarian menu that included a house-made mushroom-barley burger, a warm mozzarella and romaine salad with a soft poached egg and roasted cauliflower, grilled flatbread with snap peas and ricotta, and locally made Caputo’s linguine with summer squash, tomatoes and basil. “There is such demand here for vegetarian dishes and recipes that are just a little lighter,” Angulo says. “So many people are eating that way. They don’t want steak frites every night. We wanted to give them a menu that included as much variety and thoughtfulness as the regular menu.”

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The Chef’s Take: Chilled Strawberry and Date Oatmeal from Josh Feathers

by in Chefs and Restaurants, August 6, 2014

strawberry oatmeal

“Nutrition was always something I was interested in,” says Josh Feathers, corporate chef at Blackberry Farm, the acclaimed Tennessee hotel and restaurant in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. A veteran of the Navy, where he was an admiral’s cook for seven years, Feathers was in fantastic shape when he joined Blackberry Farm in 2000. But as time went by, things changed. “I spent more and more time than ever in the kitchen and middle age started creeping up on me,” he recalls. “I looked at myself and said, ‘’Wow, I need to lose about 30 pounds.’” By focusing on portion control and adding a regimen of running and weigh- training at the gym, Feathers shed the weight in six months.

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Spreading the Joy: Halva Gets a Healthier Makeover

by in Grocery Shopping, Trends, July 9, 2014

halva
Halva, the Middle Eastern sesame candy, is a dessert favorite. Dense and rich, it tastes like peanut buttery fudge and is often layered with ribbons of chocolate. What could be better? Just one problem: It’s traditionally loaded with sugar. Israeli native Shahar Shamir was a huge halva fan too, but as a former dancer keen on keeping healthy, he was hesitant to dig in.

A home cook since the age of eight (his mother taught him everything he knows), Shamir decided to fiddle with a recipe of his own, grinding sesame seeds with honey and roasted nuts, and making something that more closely resembled a nut butter than a candy. His rendition also dispensed with the usual hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. He served his new-fangled halva spreads to friends at dinner parties. They went wild.

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DIY Hummus from the Silk Road Vegetarian Cookbook

by in Cookbooks, June 28, 2014

hummus
These days, it’s all the rage to join a community supported agriculture plan, or CSA. But as recently as 2008, it wasn’t quite as easy. That was the year Dahlia Abraham-Klein, frustrated with the lack of locally sourced food in her Long Island, NY, town, gathered enough signatures to start a CSA out of her garage.

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On the Trail of Delicious Food (and a Happier Life)

by in Books, June 18, 2014

eating wildly cover

If you were to take a little bit of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, cross it with some of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, and set the story in the fields and parks of New York City, you’d come up with Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal, a touching new memoir by the New York Times “Wild Edibles” columnist Ava Chin. Confronting the demise of a relationship she thought would end in marriage (but instead just ended), and reeling from the loss of her beloved grandmother, Chin takes to the urban forests of New York City, hunting for blackberries, dandelions and wild greens, ultimately finding herself (oh, and a new guy too.)

It’s crazy to think that you can find wildly healthy foods in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park or even your own backyard, but Chin proves it’s easy once you know where (and how) to look. You’ll never stroll through a park again without looking for something to eat growing right beneath your feet. Chin beautifully threads foraging tips and terrific recipes (wild greens pie, field garlic and hummus, and mulberry-balsamic jam) through a heartfelt memoir that is honest, real and inspiring.

You’re a professor of creative writing at the City University of New York. How did you get started foraging?
I was the kind of kid who grew up pulling onion grass from the back courtyard of my apartment building and eating it. I would also go fishing in New York City waters during summer camp and bring the fish home for my family to eat. I loved that kind of thing. But I didn’t start foraging in earnest until I became an adult, and I went on a foraging walk with a naturalist, Wild Man Steve Brill.

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Chef Dan Barber on Why “Whole-Farm Eating” Is the New “Farm-to-Table”

by in Chefs and Restaurants, June 14, 2014

the third plate
You may not be eating a lot of mustard greens, kidney beans and millet these days, but if Dan Barber has his way, you will be very soon.

Barber is the award-winning chef of Blue Hill, an elegant respite for sustainable cuisine in New York City’s West Village, and Blue Hill Stone Barns, a locavore’s paradise located within the nonprofit farm Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Tarrytown, NY. Since his early days as a cook, he’s been a pioneering advocate for the farm-to-table movement. But in his revolutionary new book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, Barber reexamines the farm-to-table movement, and comes away from it a new man, one championing the whole farm, not just what’s most prized for the table.

“For all its successes, farm-to-table has not, in any fundamental way, reworked the economic and political forces that dictate how our food is grown and raised,” wrote Barber in a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times. “Big Food is getting bigger, not smaller. In the last five years, we’ve lost nearly 100,000 farms (mostly midsize ones). Today, 1.1 percent of farms in the United States account for nearly 45 percent of farm revenues.”

His solution? Eat more cowpea. Seriously. Instead of cherry-picking crops like tomatoes, strawberries, asparagus and other blockbusters that deplete soil of their most crucial nutrients, Barber proposes we start supporting more humble offerings like buckwheat, cowpea, barley, and mustard greens — which are often used by farmers to enrich the soil in rotation with those A-list vegetables.

The “first plate,” argues Barber, was a classic meal centered on meat with a few vegetables. That gave way to the “second plate,” a new ideal of organic grass-fed meats and local vegetables. Now, he proposes a “third plate”— a new way of eating that’s rooted in cooking with and celebrating the whole farm: vegetables, grains and a smidge of protein. It’s a juicy new holistic approach to food and farming that’s bound to put Barber in the company of legendary food policy gurus like Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.

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