Archive: August, 2009
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Tomato plants in full foliage, top;
A garden, be it contained in window boxes or perched on a fire escape, is a generous pet. Take care of your helpless plants and they will reward you with friendly foliage ï¿½ soothing to look at, scented to combat the funk of a city summer and eventually bearing the most local of local produce.
Tomatoes and herbs are two ideal starters for novice gardeners. Basil, like tomatoes, thrives in full sun and sprouts new growth almost hourly. Harvest basil from the top, pinching the top leaves just above the new growth nodes below it, and the basil will be productive all summer. Nothing is better for a bounty of basil than a bright pesto, whose flavor can be deepened by tomato leaves.
Pruning the lower stalks of leaves from tomato plants directs the plantï¿½s energy into producing fruit ï¿½ but what to do with those cut-off leaves?ï¿½ Food scientist and New York Times contributor Harold McGee explored tomato leavesï¿½ poisonous reputation in his Curious Cook column last week, and determined that there are zero dangerous alkaloids in the greens. He shared Paul Bertolliï¿½s recipe for red sauce enriched with the leaves, as well as a suggestion to enhance pesto with the blanched and pureed cuttings. After the jump, we test out Harold McGeeï¿½s Tomato-Leaf Pesto plan.
Harold McGeeï¿½s Tomato-Leaf Pesto
Yield: Enough pesto for dinner for four ï¿½ try it over pasta, on pizza, rolled up into a stuffed chicken breast, as a spread on a grilled veggie sandwich, etc.
Go Get This:
Four stalks of tomato leaves, rinsed
Two or three big handfuls fresh basil, rinsed and dried and picked off stems
Several glugs extra-virgin olive oil
Two turns freshly cracked smoked black pepper
ï¿½ cup Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano grated cheese
Now Do This:
Cut the tomato leaves away from their stalks.
Boil a large pot of salted water to a full rolling boil. Immerse the tomato leaves in the water for approximately 15 seconds, then remove and shock in a large bowl of ice water. Remove, drain and set aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine tomato leaves and one generous glug of extra-virgin olive oil.ï¿½ Pulse until leaves resemble a coarse paste.
Add basil leaves, grated cheese and another glug of oil. Pulse until you have a finely chopped paste.ï¿½ Taste for seasoning.
Add salt, pepper and more oil if desired. Pulse until just combined.
Store in a airtight container in fridge for up to a week; or freeze and enjoy in the dead of winter.
Here's TLC's description, and here's the deal on the show from us:
August 3 will see the primetime debut of Ultimate Cake Off, a baking competition show. (The full season will kick off on August 31, right after a new Jon and Kate Plus 8.) Schulson, who serves as both the host and one of the judges, says each episode features three competing teams of four people each who are tasked with creating a 5-foot-or-taller cake for a themed special occasion ï¿½ in nine hours or less. ... The cakes have to have all sorts of wacky and complicated characteristics, from mechanized parts to lighting; the winning team gets $10K.
Holly Moore, whose Holly Eats has long been our guide to salt-of-the-earth (and often just deliciously salty) cuisine in Philly and beyond, has bestowed his maximum five grease stains to the new Shank's Original, which just opened at 120 S. 15th last week after decades of business in South Philly. An auspicious start.
Back in 2006, we went around with Moore, CP's original food critic, to eat five of his favorite dishes in the city.
Tomorrow, to celebrate President Barack Obama's 48th birthday, Bridgid's (726 N. 24th St., 215-232-3232) will tap what they believe to be the last remaining keg of Ommegang's 2009 Inauguration Ale, known informally as "Obamagang." (We first mentioned this back in June.) The ultra-rare beer got the Cooperstown brewery in a little hot water earlier this year, as the Shephard Fairey image on the label (right) was viewed as an unauthorized use of the POTUS' likeness.
Bridgid's will be offering a slice of birthday cake to anyone who purchases a pint of the dark ale ï¿½ "malty with hints of chocolate and Belgian kriek," read their tasting notes. If you're feeling particularly ambitious, dressing up as Marilyn Monroe and singing "Happy Birthday Mr. President" will win you free booze, too.
This Beer Summit feature from Pittsburgh's KDKA (featuring booze podcaster Should I Drink That) is innocuous enough. But skip to the 2:15 mark, when bepearled anchorwoman Mary Robb Jackson announces her personal pick for the one beer to neutralize racial strife ï¿½ Yards' George Washington Porter, part of its Ales of the Revolution series. She says it's brewed in "Pennsylvania," but doesn't shout out Yards or Philly by name. Aw, c'mon Mary!
|Photo l Michael Perisco|
|Getting piggy in the RTM.|
Whether you're a sucker for spare ribs or a lover of St. Louis-style, you can find your fix at a dozen barbecue spots, new and old, around Philly.ï¿½ The trend blossomed early this summer, when the appeal of house-smoked meat converged with the sad trombone state of the economy and diners' cravings for inexpensive, satisfying food in generous portions.
The Rib Stand (12th and Arch streets, 215-925-3155) in the Pennsylvania Dutch section of the Reading Terminal Market is only part of this so-called "trend" if you expect white hair coverings paired with athletic sneakers to come back in fashion.
Owner Phares Glick offers baby back ($8.79/lb.), spare ribs ($7.79/lb.) and boneless rib sandwiches ($5.39), along with classic roasted potato wedges, springy green beans and homey macaroni and cheese.ï¿½ The ribs themselves are coated in a lip-tingling rub that will satisfy no-sauce purists, but you don't want to miss Glick's sauces.
Served on the side in ramekins, the mild sauce is just barely sweet, with an authentically vinegary tang. Cayenne pepper enlivens the hot version, which is spicy enough to keep you reaching for your beer (Yards Brawler, a medium-bodied session ale, pairs nicely). The ribs have been smoked to baby-pinkness inside their spice-rubbed crust, and are pull-apart tender and not overly fatty.
Like all merchants in the Pennsylvania Dutch section of RTM, The Rib Stand only dishes their pig Wednesday through Saturday.ï¿½ A new "Meal Deal" features a boneless rib sandwich, potato wedges and a beverage for $7 plus tax;ï¿½ or pick up Combo #2: Three spare ribs, two sides and a drink for the best $7.79 you've spent all summer.
Eat this immediately.
Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida's Resurrection Ale House (2425 Grays Ferry Ave.), on schedule for an early September opening, has its chef ï¿½ he's Joe Chmiko, most recently of Union Trust. No menu specs just yet, but Maida tells Meal Ticket the in-the-works menu "is focused on seasonality and fresh, simple presentation of ingredients. It's going to be casual dining, but the food is going to have a nice, balanced sophistication to it."
We had the rundown on the beer bistro early last month.
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