Archive: June, 2009
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand.|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|On the road|
Setting off on a road trip is one of America's most beloved summer rituals. Last Thursday, CP webmaster Marc Steel and I headed west to Pittsburgh to see our favorite band. Since Marc was kind enough to drive (he's the Neal Cassady of his group, and Neal always drove), I packed the cooler with grub suitable to take on the road.
We'd be eating everything cold, so I spent an hour preparing a lunch that would be tasty right out of containers. Organic yogurt, strawberries, mangoes cut down into cubes, a high-energy tortellini salad stocked with pigeon peas, tuna, broccoli and diced tomatoes and the makings of grilled chicken wraps with raw yellow and red peppers, bacon and romaine with sriracha-lime mayonnaise all found their way on to the portable menu.
Check out the recipes after the jump, and choose your road to follow this summer.
High-Energy Hippie Tortellini Salad
Yield: A hell of a lot of pasta salad ... enough to take with you, enough to leave some at home for your disgruntled boyfriend
Go Get This:
Two 8-ounce bags dried tri-color tortellini
One 15-ounce can green pigeon peas
Two 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
Big handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
One 12-ounce can tuna in water, drained
One crown broccoli, washed and dried
Salt & pepper to taste
One tsp. Colman's mustard powder
Now Do This:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
Drain the can of tuna and peas, set aside.
Pour both cans of diced tomatoes into a medium sautï¿½ pan and cook over medium-high heat until all juice is evaporated and tomatoes are slightly shriveled. Remove from heat.
Chop the washed and dried broccoli into small pieces, using the florets and not the large central stem.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked tortellini, drained tuna and peas, chopped parsley, tomatoes, broccoli and mustard powder. Mix gently but thoroughly.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper. Pack in plastic containers for travel and chill in fridge.ï¿½ Taste again for seasoning before service.
Grilled Chicken and Bacon Wraps
Yield: Eight wraps
Go Get This:
Eight whole-wheat tortillas
One package of organic/natural chicken breasts (usually 3 breasts)
Eight strips of bacon
One red bell pepper, washed
One yellow bell pepper, washed
Eight romaine lettuce leaves, washed
Sriracha-lime mayonnaise (recipe below)
Now Do This:
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high for ten minutes. Spray one side of chicken breasts with vegetable oil or non-stick grilling spray and place oiled-side down on grill for at least six minutes.
Spray upside of chicken breasts with oil and flip. Grill for eight more minutes, until juices run clear when pierced and no pink remains. Set chicken aside to cool.
Fry bacon to desired level of crispiness; drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Remove seeds and stems from bell peppers and slice into 1/2 inch strips. Pack raw peppers and romaine lettuce together in plastic container for travel.
Slice chicken breast into 1/2 inch strips. Pack for travel with drained bacon in plastic container.
Go Get This:
6 tablespoons mayonnaise of your choice (I used Hellman's low-fat mayo)
Sriracha chili sauce to taste
Juice of one lime
Now Do This:
Mix all three ingredients in a small, lidded plastic container. Taste and add sriracha as desired. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Spread desired amount of sriracha-lime mayo in a line down the center of one wrap. Add chicken, bacon, a romaine leaf and bell peppers. Roll and eat ... and eat and roll.
Though some may think of a certain budget-priced sedan when hearing the name, Tropea chose to name his restaurant Sonata (that's a piece of music written specifically to be played, instead of sung) since he's a hobby musician ï¿½ he's got skills with guitar, bass, drums, etc., and recently recorded 10 studio tracks.
Tropea shared a few items off the opening menu, which he's close to finalizing along with his sous/pastry chef Krystal Weaver (Brasserie Perrier). For starters ï¿½ housemade lobster mashed potato pierogies served with sweet corn purï¿½e; and housemade duck prosciutto with frisee salad and summer melon. For entrï¿½es ï¿½ short rib with celery root purï¿½e and orange-braised baby carrots; free-range organic chicken with boursin whipped potatoes, asparagus and morel sauce; and lobster mac 'n' cheese, with egg pappardelle, lobster cream and fontina.
Here's the Facebook for Bontï¿½'s 1315 Walnut store.
|Photo | Mark Stehle
- Chef Chris D'Ambro of Old City's Bocca is one to watch: He impresses David Snyder with his elemental approach to ingredients, at once achieving harmony and conveying creativity.
- Trey Popp visits Lovers and Madmen in West Philly. He digs the vibe and the excellent sandwiches but is flummoxed by inconsistent coffee quality.
- So many great food events coming up this Father's Day weekend, from the milestone 20th installment of Real Men Cook to a superb-sounding Saison Beer Brunch at Johnny Brenda's. Lauren Fleming has all your details in What's Cooking.
- It's an opening bonanza this week in Feeding Frenzy, where I fill you in on three brand-new spots: Smokin' Betty's, Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. and Panda Bar.
Times are tough ï¿½ but when a bottle bar slows but for a precious second, a piece of all of us dies. That'll surely be the case now that Brett Perloff and Co.ï¿½s Strongbox is closing, save private parties, until Labor Day. ï¿½Due to a few factors including the annual exodus to the shore of our clientele, the current economic state and our venue becoming more popular for private events, we have decided to close for regular business through Labor Day," read an e-mail statement. "We want to take advantage of the slowdown in order to complete renovations and tweaking of our product."
Along with promising something fresher and swankier after the summer, Perloff ï¿½ who was last spied hanging with Joe Piscopo at several of A.C.ï¿½s Chelsea Hotel bars ï¿½ swears Strongbox will be ready to go at a momentï¿½s notice for private parties.
PREVIOUSLY: Strongbox opens tonight at 10 p.m.
|Photo | Drew Lazor
Chef Peter Karapanagiotis of Old City's Privï¿½ (246 Market St., 215-923-8313, priveoldcity.com), tells Meal Ticket that he'll appear on Food Network's Chopped ï¿½ the excellent three-round battle-cooking show that's essentially a commitment-free Top Chef ï¿½ on Tuesday, August 25. He's got to remain mum on the outcome, of course, but in the meantime, here's a good opportunity to check out Pete's eats: Tuesday through Sunday, Privï¿½ offers half-price small plates (the "mezze" category) from 4 to 7, along with a complimentary hors d'oeuvres flight (think crab gallettes or tuna tartare). Drink specials during happy hour (they extend it till 9 if the weather sucks) include $3 domestic bottles, $3 house wines and half-price specialty cocktails.
After the jump, check out Privï¿½'s recently revamped menu.
Celery Salad Garnishedï¿½$7
Secret Spiced Feta with Roasted Red Piquillo ï¿½Peppersï¿½$5
Watermelon "village style"
Feta, House Made Lavender Honey, Candied Walnutsï¿½$6
Spiked Tomato Salata
Lemon Vodka & Pomegranate Dressing tossed with Roasted Habanero Peppersï¿½$10
Frozen Roasted Beet Marmalade
With Fried Goat Cheeseï¿½$6
Warm Pear & Taleggio
Whole Red Oak Lettuceï¿½$15
Red Tomato Gazpacho
Yellow Tomato Salad Garnishï¿½$5
Peach Martini Parfait
Crï¿½me Fraï¿½che, Mint, Almonds, Served Parfait Styleï¿½$5
Chopped Vegetable Salad
Tomatoes, Feta, Red Peppers, & Olives Tossed In A Dijon Emulsionï¿½$12
Figs & Prosciutto Salad
Gorgonzola, Rucola, White Balsamicï¿½$9
Flash Fried, Salt & Pepper, Spicy Aioliï¿½$9
Daily Cheese Selection
Locally Crafted Sausage
"Our Famous" Alsatian Choucrouteï¿½$13
Served with Greek Village Saladï¿½$14
Short Rib Stuffed Peppers
Orzo Pasta, Feta, San Marzano Tomato, Rosemary Jusï¿½$11
Baked Goat Cheese in Crispy Fillo Served With Red Pepper Eggplant Salad, Wild Berry Balsamicï¿½$11
Traditional Cypriot Cheese, Flash Fried, & Topped Spicy Pepper Relishï¿½$8
Rosemary Focaccia, Boursin Cream Sauce, Truffle Fragranceï¿½$12
Spices Feta & Olive Tapenade With Chips in Chipsï¿½$15
Lobster Tail Over Orzo In A Scallop Vermouth Sauceï¿½$25
Yellowfin Tuna "limited"
Over Rice, Topped With Honeydew-Mango Salsa, Spring Spicesï¿½$25
10 oz. Beef Tenderloin "Chicago Style"
With Fingerling-3 Onion Fondue And Sage Jusï¿½$31
Salmon Paillard "limited"
Caramel Olive Glaze, Tzatziki With A Truffle Essenceï¿½$16
Spicy Cavatelli "house made"
Tossed With A Ratatouille Of Vegetables In A Tomato Butterï¿½$14
Veal Short Ribs "Painted Hills"
House Made Risotto Cake, Popeye Spinach, Rosemary Incenseï¿½$21
Whole Branzino "limited"
Flash Fried, Served With Couscous And A Crispy Caper Beurre Noisette Sauceï¿½$29
Shrimp Orzo "Caliente"
Orzo Pasta, Spice Feta Cream Sauceï¿½$18
Lamb Rack "New Zealand"
Feta Potato Mash, Early Summer Vegetables, Whole Grain Mustard Demiï¿½$25
Whole Grain Mustard, Butternut Squash Puree, Haircot Vert, Natural Jusï¿½$17
Duck "10 hour braised"
Rice, Nappa Cabbage, Juniper Berry Natural Jusï¿½$19
Daily Risotto Preparation
Camaroli Rice, Summer Vegetables, Red Wine Reduction Sauce...$14
Pomme Pureeï¿½ï¿½ $5
Wild Riceï¿½ï¿½ $6
Fingerling-Leek Fondueï¿½ï¿½ $6
Chips in Chipsï¿½ï¿½ $3
Sautï¿½ed Spinachï¿½ï¿½ $5
Grilled Asparagusï¿½ï¿½ $5
Herbed Couscousï¿½ï¿½ $5
kitchenplay has dropped word of a new project coming to the Newbold neighborhood: Lucky Old Souls, a bar, restaurant and live music venue planned for the 1700 block of McKean Street. The two-story space is the brainchild ofï¿½Matthew Feldman, who hosts a jazz show of the same name on G-Town Radio.
They're still looking for a chef, so don't expect food details for awhile, but they'll work off a local/sustainable approach:
Lucky Old Souls will start out with a seasonal menu consisting of small plates, sandwiches and entrï¿½es, all served in the evening. Possible future plans include adding weekday lunch and/or weekend brunch. As with the food menu, the emphasis at the bar will be on local products, with six draft beers on tap from nearby breweries. Bottled beers, wine and soft drinks will round out the selection.
As of right now, they're aiming for an early 2010 opening.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Last week, I addressed the whine flu outbreak that spread as a result of the slow-moving debut episode of Top Chef Masters. (Kelly Choi = a host in more ways than one.) While I didn't disagree with the criticisms (sticking Christopher Lee in a shitty dorm room to prep is slightly off-putting), I was confident they'd make it interesting sooner rather than later.
So how did last night's episode ï¿½ which involved four superstar chefs cooking a feast themed around ABC's Lost ï¿½ turn out? Let's throw that one to Aziz Ansari of Human Giant and the criminally slept-on Parks & Recreation, who discusses food stuffs regularly on his Twitter:
I am with that.
Last night's contestants ï¿½ Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake/Orson in San Fran), Suzanne Tracht (L.A.'s Jar), Graham Elliott Bowles (of his eponoymous Chicago restaurant, and TCM's youngest cheftestant so far) and wd-50's Wylie Dufresne, a multi-appearance Top Chef guest judge who's been given more opportunities to talk about how much he likes eggs than I've been given to make love to a beautiful woman. Last week, I predicted that wily Wylie, he of the foodie-boner-inducing moleculargastronerd persuasion, would breeze through to the championship round of Masters based on the show's outward-bound obsession with him. Turns out ï¿½ bless my tapioca malodextrin-sprinkled stars! ï¿½ that I was really wrong.
Quickfire: Choi throws the four chefs a roll of quarters to recreate the infamous vending machine amuse bouche challenge from Top Chef Season 2. Judging: Former cheftestants Ilan, Betty and Michael, all of whom competed in the original. Dufresne found some time between coin feeds to explain his original life goals: "If I had my druthers, I'd be a professional athlete, but I'm not particularly fast or tall or strong," he says. (If I had my druthers, I'd ball-tap anyone who uses the word "druthers.") He earns a lackluster 3 stars out of 5 for a grilled cheese with beer nuts and a Dr. Pepper reduction. Falkner braises beef jerky for a 3.5. Though Bowles comes close to taking the challenge with his 4.5-star tuna salad with pickled shallots and orange soda froth flavored with lime leaf, lemongrass and ginger, Tracht ends up on top thanks to pitch-perfect fried shallot rings with a microgreen salad and Dr. Pepper aioli.
Elimination: Using a bunch of island-y ingredients, the foursome must cook up plates for a group of Lost staffers, including the writing team, co-creator Damon Lindelof and exec producer Carlton Cuse. Tracht is a big Lost fan, stating that she frequently sits down and watches the show for "three and a half hours" at a time. Since it's an hour-long program, that means she creates her own cliffhangers, which is masochistic. Dufresne's never seen Lost, which is probably a good thing for him because the island's mystical magnetic properties would probably prevent him from transmogrifying foie gras into a badminton racket or whatever the hell that guy likes to do.
In addition to the fresh stuff ï¿½ fish, wild boar (shoutout to Locke), and various veg ï¿½ the chefs are allowed to buy canned/pre-packaged products to emulate the long-shelf-life Dharma Initiative products from the show. The guests take much glee in the fact that the servers for the challenge are bedecked in Dharma jumpsuits. (This is probably the point in the program when Ansari laid his set down on his futon.)
Falkner braises and sous-vides some boar with ancho garlic rub and throws it together with a papaya yam pudding Gael Green curtly compares to baby food. Bowles, a Navy brat who grew up on the island nations of Hawaii and the Philippines (what up!), impresses with a multicultural tuna trio, including a coffee-crusted plancha-grilled loin that makes Saveur's James Oseland swoon. Dufresne does roast chicken with ï¿½ yes ï¿½ï¿½ his signature poached egg, along with a plaintain purï¿½e and some banana mustard. Lost's Lindelof likens Dufresne's offerings to "a piece of art in a museum that I don't understand," which is a totally fair criticism from a guy who's responsible for creating one of the most straightforward, easy-to-decipher shows in television history.
Tracht, who already had a big leg up from her Quickfire win, earns plaudits across the panel for her seafood risotto with uni, clams and prawns, wild boar strip with oyster beer sauce and mango corn salad. "If I was lost on an island, I'd want your instinct for flavor to get me through the dark nights," Britcrit Jay Rayner tells the Angeleno chef. Tracht ends up securing a slot in the finals alongside Episode 1 winner Hubert Keller, accruing a total of 22.5 stars. Rounding out the finish: Bowles (20.5), Dufresne (20) and Falkner (16.5), who I think got shafted a little bit.
Next week: Rick Bayless whines about quesadillas.
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