Archive: April, 2009
|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 email@example.com). For more information, visit philabundance.org
Thanks to Daily Candy Philadelphia for sending out this volunteer opportunity.
|Rainer Zenz, via WikiMedia Commons
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: white mustard seeds; ground white mustard; Bavarian sweet
Mustard is the only condiment that exists in several different forms in my kitchen. From spicy brown for hot dogs to Grey Poupon for vinaigrettes and tuna salad, many dishes are incomplete at best without the spicy heat and flavor of mustard.
While researching "English mustard" for our upcoming DISH food supplement, I stumbled across the table above illustrating the varieties of mustard on Wiki. The illustration has been tagged "Best of Wiki" by users, who rated it as substantially enhancing the article it accompanies.
Peggy Trowbridge Fillipone writes on the history of mustard for about.com:
Mustard is a member of the Brassica family of plants which bears tiny round edible seeds as well as tasty leaves. Its English name, mustard, is derived from a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens meaning burning wine. This is a reference to the spicy heat of the crushed mustard seeds and the French practice of mixing the ground seeds with must, the young, unfermented juice of wine grapes.
Fillipone notes that mustard was used in medicine before it gained prominence as a food condiment:
In the sixth century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras used mustard as a remedy for scorpion stings. One hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines and poultices. Mustard plasters were applied to "cure" toothaches and a number of other ailments.
|A potent powder|
The English mustard that started me on this journey is a finely ground mustard blended with flour and turmeric ï¿½ the most famous brand is Colman's, sold in a distinctive yellow tin. Founder Jeremiah Colman perfected the technique of grinding mustard seeds without heat, thus preserving the seeds' flavorful oils. For this accomplishment he was named royal mustard maker to Queen Victoria in 1866.
English mustard powder plays a crucial role in Pub & Kitchen's much-vaunted "roll mops," which were until last week a part of the pub's $3 snack menu. Keep an eye out for our DISH supplement in early May, when we share Pub & Kitchen chef/owner Jonathan McDonald's recipe for roll mops to make at home.
Came across this dope and artery-threatening new food blog, eggs benny files, that follows one man's quest to locate the best Eggs Benedict in the city. So far, the author ï¿½ fairly sure it is local DJ Froz1, but hoping to confirm as much soon ï¿½ has hit up a number of well-loved brunch destinations, including many in Northern Liberties (Honey's, N. 3rd, Dos Segundos).
While we work on tracking more details on this adventure down, let's come up with some more destinations for our dude. One of my favorite bennys? Ants Pants, of course, where they smother airy brioche with eggs, spinach, ham and tomato. Leave your pitch in the comments.
After a first-course salad, it's your choice of entrï¿½e (curry chicken, curry goat, jerk chicken, snapper, vegetarian option) and dessert (sweet potato pudding or rum cake). In the event Blue Bananas sells out completely, additional diners will be accommodated at Jamaican Jerk Hut (1436 South St., 215-545-8644).
For reservations, call Blue Bananas or e-mail Blane Stoddart at bfs69 @ verizon.net.
|A party pita tray|
...so they're selling their stuffed pita sandwiches for 1/2 price this Tuesday, April 14.ï¿½ Get on the mailing list today to take advantage of the deal, or drop your business card at their Sansom Street location.
Choose from a huge array of fillings, including barbecued chicken, Philly steak, souvlaki or traditional veggie-and-falafel numbers, all half price with purchase of any beverage, every second Tuesday of the month.ï¿½ Get yours tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Pita Pit, 1601 Sansom St., 215-564-1080, phillypitapit.com.
|Photo | Drew Lazor
|Easter Sunday ï¿½ the McDonald's in my home town of Bel Air, MD.
|Photo l Elizabeth D'Ambrosio|
|A classic 4-Bean Salad, all from cans.|
I don't really get Easter food. The fluorescent pink ham, the marshmallow ambrosia ï¿½ these things are fine, but they don't inspire excited anticipation like a whole prime rib at Christmas, or Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.
One thing I look forward to is my stepmother's mom's 4-Bean Salad. Fran mixes this one up the old-fashioned way ï¿½ that is, straight from cans. It takes 5 minutes from opening the cans to sticking the whole bowl in the fridge to marinate overnight, and comes out delicious, crisp and refreshing with apple cider vinegar.
If you turn your nose up at canned veg, feel free to soak, cook and cool the cannelli and kidney beans before mixing them with snipped and chopped green and yellow wax beans. If you want to get really fancy, Rancho Gordo has been getting serious foodie press as the elite grower of American heirloom beans. Check out their stunningly photogenic selection here.
After the jump, a fast recipe for 4-Bean Salad, infinitely modifiable to your personal proclivities.
Adapted from Pamela Mathieu, RN, CHD, from Successful Operations in the Kitchen, a cookbook compiled by the O.R. Staffs of Kennedy Memorial Hospitals, University Medical Center
Go Get This:
1 (16 oz can) can green beans, drained
1 (16 oz can) can yellow wax beans, drained
1 (16 oz can) can white cannelli beans, drained
1 (16 oz can) can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup green bell pepper, minced
2 tbsp onions, minced
ï¿½ cup sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup extra light olive oil
Now Do This:
Drain all beans and combine in bowl. Mix remaining ingredients in a quart jar, shake to combine.
Pour dressing over beans, cover and refrigerate overnight. Makes 10 servings.
|Keep it simple.|
|"Ruth, a spear is a fine way to catch seafood."|
|Man cannot live on surf alone.|
|So long, Fish Co.|
|Photos | Brian Howard|
|Photo | Drew Lazor
Mediterranean small-plates restaurant Bocca opened last Thursday in the former Amici Noi (it's still owned by Mario and Natale Presta, who also have La Bella Trattoria and Sapphire on Main Street Manayunk). It's located at 236 Market (215-625-6610), just east of Privï¿½, the other Mediterranean small-plates spot on Market Street.
Chef Chris D'Ambro, a Chester County native who's a vet of Savona, Sovana Bistro and the high-end Whitleigh Hotel in Massachusetts, has staged (apprenticed) with Marc Vetri and worked in Florence, Italy. He offers a small-plates menu split up according to preparation ï¿½ "Raw," "Cured," "Crafted," "Baked," etc. Highlights include beer-battered olives that are pitted, deep-fried and served with blue cheese; hand-chopped beef tartar with black truffle purï¿½e, quail egg yolk and balsamic vinegar sphered to ape the look of caviar; and a risotto-based play on carbonara, featuring bacon and herbs, egg yolk and a fresh English pea cream.
On the boozing/entertainment end, they do bottle service and host DJs regularly. GM Massimo Spatola, who formerly bartended in South Beach, offers signature cocktails like the Watermelon Basil (Absolut Citron, watermelon purï¿½e, lemons, basil, Sprite); the Cucumber Float (St-Germain, Champagne, cucumber foam); and the Absinthe Bocca Frappe (absinthe, blue curacao, lemon juice, OJ, orange slice).
Bocca's open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. on.
|Click to enlarge|
Ridley Township plans on declaring April 16 "Wawaversary Day," and they'll be handing out free coffee and baked goods in addition to hosting a hoagie build-offï¿½ between the town's administrative workers and its cops (!). Money on the boys in blue.
It's lovely to see a homegrown business celebrate its longevity, especially in this horrid financial climate, but as a city resident, I'm still hurt and miffed by the nearly across-the-board shuttering of Center City locations (I like to call it "Exodus, Movement of Wa People") that went down about a year ago. Should us Philly Wawaites honor the big 4-5 with another somber vigil at 20th and Locust?
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