|Help make Fresh For All happen.|
Foodies have the luxury of plenty of good food. We spend hours thinking about and preparing the best bites, including lots of fresh, local produce and nice grass-fed meat, while thousands of folks right here at home go without even the basics. Since guilt is an unproductive emotion, add your energy to hunger relief by donating your time.
PhilAbundance has been working to fight hunger since 1984, and is the largest food bank and hunger relief organization in the region. A new initiative, Fresh For All, is seeking volunteers to aid in the distribution of fresh produce to people in the neediest neighborhoods. Volunteers can donate time to answer phones or post mailings, or sort and hand out produce at six pick-up sites in the Delaware Valley.
With the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables rising, increasing numbers of people will find these critical food groups unaffordable. Contributing time to PhilAbundance's efforts ensures that more than just foodies are able to access the natural bounty of the Delaware Valley.
To volunteer or donate, contact Tunisia Garnett (215-339-0900 ext. 238 or firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information, visit philabundance.org
Thanks to Daily Candy Philadelphia for sending out this volunteer opportunity.
If only there was an easier way
April is official Grilled Cheese Month, dubbed so by grilled cheese scientists and the president of Wisconsin. The rainy-day staple is perfect for recession dining ï¿½ comforting, economical and infinitely variable according to whim and what's hanging out in the fridge.
I used to flip grilled cheese on Phish tour on occasion. I'll give you a chance to groan, right now. Now that that's out of your system, I will say that hippie entrepreneurship made me a grilled cheese expert. Below, tips on making every grilled cheese a legendary one.
- Temper, temper. Whack a stick of butter in half and let it sit on the kitchen counter for a few hours before cooking. Cheese can temper for just half an hour.
- Butter the bread, not the pan. This is crucial. The tempered butter should be thickly spread on the outside of the bread, all the way to the edge, to ensure a crisp and toasted exterior.
- Apply flavors. You can use any old cheese you want if you add flavoring elements to your sandwich. Once your butter is tempered, mix in dried herbs and spices like garlic powder, dried parsley or basil, cayenne or paprika. Keep in mind cayenne and paprika are the main ingredients in blackening spice and will burn quite dark, so go easy.
- Keep it low and slow. A perfect grilled cheese requires an evenly heated pan over a low flame. Since you have buttered your bread, you have plenty of time to toast after melting the cheese thoroughly.
- Think outside the box. Aged cheddar and bacon is nice; or avocado and a squeeze of lime with queso fresco. Caramelized leeks go well with a spicy Gorgonzola dolce, or gruyere with caramelized onions and a pinch of brown sugar and sea salt. Add a layer of thin-sliced apples and mustard for a twist, or melt together mozzarella, basil and sun-dried tomatoes for an Italian version. Go wild.
|Become a novice Itame (sushi chef) at Otolith|
This Saturday, March 21, you can learn to make sushi at home with Otolith's Amanda Bossard, using only sustainably caught seafood.
Bossard's novice sushi-rolling winter session concluded on March 7, and she is progressing onto intermediate work.ï¿½ Classes are held on the first and third Saturday of every month. "I whipped up a program for people who are pure novices, or had maybe attended a class or rolled sushi at home," Bossard explained. "I'm hoping as the students progress, we can move on to crazy fun things." She pauses. "Provided I have the liability insurance to hand out that many sharp knives."
This week's class will focus on rolling maki with king salmon, king crab and sweet pink shrimp, all wild-caught from unthreatened fish populations.
Otolith's entire raison d'etre is to provide consumers with fish that is environmentally responsible. When asked about farmed fish, Bossard noted that wild-caught does not always equal sustainable. "We look at them both [wild-caught and farmed fish] as extremely challenging, requiring oversight and responsible managing."
"It's easier to characterize certain wild-caught fish as sustainable," she said,ï¿½ "But fifty percent of seafood consumed is farmed.ï¿½ It's not something that is going away, so we have to find ways to farm fish better.ï¿½ There can be no world without it."
Otolith sushi classes are held every first and third Saturday, 7-9 p.m., $25; 124 W. Girard Ave., 215-426-4266, otolithonline.com
It's here, it's here!ï¿½ As the Keg Hammer of Glory is conveyed from The Grey Lodge to the Comcast Center for Opening Tap tonight, the start of Beer Week inspires feelings both delightful and dreadful.
Ten days ofï¿½ happenings last year were a Herculean feat for those working (and enjoying) the festival.ï¿½ This year, the ante has been upped in every way.ï¿½ Beer Week has grown in size and scope -- last year, we had one Tuesday night of Meet The Brewer events. This year, the schedule is so clogged with brewer appearances, I'd be surprised if these men and women have anything more than bones left of their shaking hand.
Brewers are not the only ones overbooked. Chances are, you're not getting a seat at your usual bar unless you arrive at 11:30 a.m. with the staff.ï¿½ In all this mania, it's easy to overdo it --coming out the other end of the week without walking pneumonia or being brandedï¿½ "permanently banned"ï¿½ takes a bit of strategy.
MAKE A PLAN: You can't get to everything. Hit up the Beer Week Web site now, pull up each day's calendar, and write down which events you must attend.ï¿½ Scope start-times, especially.ï¿½ A few popular events last year -- like the South Philly pub crawl -- were so crowded they became miserable.ï¿½ Arrive early and exit when things become too reminiscent of a sweaty frat party.
GET ON THE BUS: How cool are you going to feel if all you get out of Beer Week is a DUI?ï¿½ Lose the car keys for the week and grab a SEPTA Sip Safely pass that grants you all-day travel on bus, subways, trolleys and regional rail for $9.ï¿½ Also, temperatures are predicted to be in the fifties and sixties for much of the festival -- let's you and me walk to the bar!
HYDRATE: The pros know, you gotta drink water.ï¿½ Tip your bartender a buck to keep a pint glass full of H20 alongside that 12 percent barleywine, and things will look a lot rosier in the morning.
FEED: High-grav brews are guaranteed to wreak havoc on an empty stomach.ï¿½ Thanks to PA's puritanical Blue Laws, the majority of bars participating in Beer Week also serve damned good food.ï¿½ Get a burger, or join your fellows streaming towards Center City Pretzel Co. (819 Washington Ave.) at midnight for a trio of fresh-baked, hot soft pretzels.
MOVE IT: Take part in one of the runs or bike rides scheduled for each weekend of the fest.ï¿½ Your fat ass will thank you later.
Sectioned citrus is a healthy and flavorful addition to spring salads. You can apply the method below to any citrus fruit; larger specimens are easier to section.
First cut the stem end off the fruit to create a flat surface, then use a sharp, serrated knife to cut away the peel and pith.
Hold the skinned fruit over a bowl to catch the juices, and use a smaller knife to cut the flesh out of the membranes in wedges.
Once all of the flesh is cut away in sections, squeeze the membrane skeleton to extract all the remaining juices.
|Sectioning a grapefruit|
|Photos l Michael Persico / Animation l Neal Santos|
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