Father's Day âCheesesteak Tourâ of Reading Terminal Market | Sat., June 19, 10 a.m.-11:15 a.m., Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch streets); tour leaves from the market information desk. For tickets, call 800-838-3006 or visit tasteofphillyfoodtour.com. To reserve a copy of The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book, call 215-923-3170 or visit thecookbookstall.com.
In the latest issue of CP, Felicia D tells you all about Spencer Walker's Cook to Bang, a book that, in case you couldn't guess, teaches y'all how to cook recipes that assist in the oft-complex banging-of-chicks game (that is the scientific name for the process):
Though not strictly a cookbook (Walker calls it a "culinary seduction guide"), dozens of simple recipes dot the chapters; dishes like "Tap That Ass-paragus Soup" and "Eggs Whorentine" were culled from more than 400 on his blog. The reasons why Cook to Bang can and will work are spelled out (in all caps) in the few first pages: "1. CHEAPER THAN A RESTAURANT 2. YOU'RE ALREADY IN YOUR HOUSE 3. YOU'RE DESSERT."Do you need a copy of Cook to Bang in your life? Sure you do. Just e-mail email@example.com with ONE SENTENCE explaining why you want the book. We'll pick the winner and publish the sentence here. Happy cooking/banging! UPDATE: Meal Ticket reader Tom Williams wins the book with the following sentence:
My cooking skills are like my banging skills; underutilized fountains of awesome.Tom Williams rules.
In this week's food section, A.D. Amorosi talks to writer Stephen Fried about his new non-fiction book Appetite for America, which discusses at length the influence English-born entrepreneur Fred Harvey had on the modern hospitality industry. Harvey, in many ways, started "fast food" in America with his chain of Harvey Houses, restaurants that catered to hungry train travelers along the Santa Fe Railway. He introduced so many never-before-seen concepts to American dining, from European-trained chefs to his all-female "Harvey Girl" waitstaffs. And he was able to develop a system for serving people fast many of the trains stopped at Harvey Houses for less than an hour without compromising quality. Fried will visit the Free Library this coming Wednesday to read from his book. Want a copy for yourself? All you have to do is be the first to e-mail drew.lazor[at]citypaper.net with the correct answer to the following fast-food-related question:
Director David Lynch has said that the coffee and milkshakes at this fast-food chain have helped him develop many of his best ideas. Name the chain!UPDATE: We have ourselves a winner! Congratulations to Meal Ticket reader Jackie M. for landing the book with the correct answer: Bob's Big Boy.
Everyone has a story to tell, and for foodies, those stories spin on edible axes. This food-centric world takes the main stage when First Person Arts hosts Sunday Supper and Family Lore at Bridget Foy's (200 South St.) next Sunday, April 11, from 6 to 9 p.m.. As part of the Edible World series' home-cooking experiment, Sunday Supper will feature Suzan ColÃ³n, author of Cherries in Winter, for a night of story-telling and a family-style feast featuring ColÃ³n's family recipes.
"Through her story, ColÃ³n learned of her family's history, struggle and resilence," Karina Kacala of FPA tells Meal Ticket. "In the past, we focused on area restaurants, but this portion of the Edible World series celebrates the story of home kitchens and family tradition." Check out FPA's blog to read how Rick Nichols (Philadelphia Inquirer) adopted the recipes of his wife's Slovak/Hungarian-Roumanian family as his own. and keep an eye out for a contribution from Meal Ticket's very own Felicia D next week.
Tickets are $30 for members, $35 for non-members and can be purchased here. Submit a recipe and 250-word story to Kacala (kkacala[at]firstpersonarts.org) by today, April 2, and you could be awarded air time at the event (you must pay admission to be eligible) and have your story featured on ColÃ³n's blog.
Menu after the jump.
Course 1: Split pea soup with grilled ham and frizzled leeks
Course 2: Cadillac meatloaf with bacon, mashed potatoes and asparagus with crimini mushroom gravy
Course 3: Apple cake with spiced pecans and nutmeg whipped cream
Vegetarian options: tomato fennel soup, eggplant napoleon with provolone, broccoli rabe and roasted peppers with marinara sauce
Complimentary glass of wine with dinner
|Photo | Carolyn Huckabay|
|Chicha: A schematic.|
Thursday night at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology ï¿½ among the stone sculptures and priceless artifacts ï¿½ Sam Calagione, founder and president of Delaware's Dogfish Head brewery, and Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the museum, threw a kegger.
The event, a lecture and tasting entitled Uncorking the Past: Ancient Ales, Wines and Extreme Beverages, was a lecture and sipping detailing Calagione and McGovern's work recreating ï¿½ from analysis of archaeological evidence ï¿½ what are believed to be the oldest known recipes for alcoholic beverages. Much of this information is contained within McGovern's fascinating (and, as per CP food critic Trey Popp, beautifully written) new book, Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages, which McGovern (aka, adorably, Dr. Pat) signed last night, as well.
The results of the duo's archaeological sleuthing was also on hand in liquid form, as Calagione brought samples of four of his recreated beverages:
- Chateu Jiahu (based on examination of pottery jars found in the Neolithic Chinese villiage of Jiahu)
- Theobrama (an alcoholic chocolate beverage based on pottery fragments found in Honduras)
- Pangaea, more of a theoretical ancient ale that culls ingredients from all seven continents in an attempt to imagine a drink from the supercontinent
- and a "mystery beer" that pretty much everyone in the packed house knew to be Dogfish's purple corn Chicha, aka "the spit beer" (see Calagione explain it here), a recreation of an ancient meso-American beverage whose production involved the chewing of corn as a means of kickstarting the conversion from starch to fermentable sugar.
Chicha's a tough beer to explain, and it's a lot of work for Calagione to present it in a way that makes people want to drink it (with the main focus being on it being sanitary, as alcohol kills off the nasty micro-organisms). It's also a tough beer to make ï¿½ "we had palate fatigue" admitted Calagione of all the chewing. These two facts make it an unlikely commercial viability. But it sure is an interesting idea.
|Photo | Carolyn Huckabay|
|This is literal mouth watering: Calagione dispenses the Chicha.|
During the lecture, Calagione spoke often of the Reinheitsgebot: the German beer purity law that's led to the mass homogenization of beer in the world, and which is essentially the antipode to Dogfish Head's world view. One of the main themes of the lecture, and of the pair's work, is to rediscover methods and processes for creating alcoholic beverages that predate the more modern and rigid definitions of beer.
After the lecture, attendees got to sample the Dogfish brews (including the very last keg of the Chicha) as well as other like-minded beers including Dock Street's Sudan Grass, a gluten-free beer made with Sorghum (which had a nifty grassy note) and Fraoch's venerable Scottish Heather Ale and Viking Alba Scots Pine ale.
So how was the Chicha? Well, it did not taste like spit, which I suppose is a decent baseline for any beer, but especially encouraging for this one. It was served cold, which I think is probably a best practice for serving spit beers and a disarming first sensation ï¿½ though the beer's foamy head had me thinking of, well, spit. It had a fruity taste (from the strawberries) and a nutty, or woody, or earthy (am I just trying to not say corny?) aftertaste that was actually pretty pleasant. The mouth feel was, I guess, a little on the thick side, but not in the way you're thinking.
I don't know if I'd order a full pint, or a full goblet ï¿½ and I suspect that's not a situation I'll ever find myself in given the slim market for this beer and the labor-intensive production process ï¿½ but having tasted it, it's now something I'd consider.
|Steve Poses is on a mission.|
In 1973, when Steve Poses opened Frog at 16th and Spruce (in the space now known as Monk's Cafï¿½), Philadelphia's culinary landscape was a virtual wasteland.ï¿½ Poses, along with Georges Perrier, whom he worked with at La Panetiï¿½re (in the space now known as Vetri), gently introduced French cuisine to the city and ignited the Restaurant Renaissance in Philadelphia.ï¿½ Frog Commissary Catering was launched in 1976 and is still hosting events today, bringing Poses' grand total to fifteen million guests served and over 15,000 events catered.
Now the restaurateur and cookbook author (The Frog Commissary Cookbook, Camino Books) is on a mission: to increase home entertaining by 10 percent.ï¿½ He's dead serious.ï¿½ In pursuit of this goal, he has published a new guide to home entertaining for all skill levels, complete with a companion Web site full of tips, recipes and organizational strategies set to turn the most dedicated reservation-maker into a veritable Martha Stewart.
At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer's Guide to Cooking and Entertaining is now available exclusively on Poses' Web site in hardcover ($39.95) and paperback ($29.95) editions, both of which include access to the companion Web site. The book is packed with over 400 recipes, organized by course, as well as the methods that have made Poses such a successful caterer.
Pick up a signed first edition when Poses visits the Free Library (1901 Vine St.) on Thursday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. for a free talk featuring his new book.
|There's a chocolate risotto recipe in there.|
Fans of "muscular Mediterranean" cooking and the hunky, chiseled-cheekboned superchef who makes it are in for a treat today. At 5:30 p.m., celebrity chef Todd English (Olives in Boston, NYC and Vegas, among others) will hosts three of Philadelphia's chef-restaurateurs at Macy's (1300 Market St., third floor) for a dinner party to benefit our region's largest hunger relief organization, PhilAbundance.
Douglas Rodriguez of Alma de Cuba, Brian Wilson of Le Castagne and Olivier Desaintmartin of Caribou Cafï¿½ will each prepare their restaurant's signature dish, while English greets customers and signs copies of his newest cookbook, The Olives Table (Simon & Schuster).
On the menu is Rodriguez's salmon bundles with pickled carrots, limes and crunchy garlic, Desaintmartin's skatefish Parisienne and Wilson's handmade gnocchi with sun-dried tomato pesto. English will be doing a cooking demonstration, showing guests how he prepares a classic minestrone with herbed ricotta crostini.
A spate of Restaurant Week participants will also be on hand. Look for bites from The Plough & The Stars, Bistro St. Tropez, Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse, Joe Pesce and D'Angelo's Ristorante Italiano & Lounge.
Tickets to the event are $25, and every dollar goes to Philabundance. RSVP to 1-888-622-9769.
Philadelphia's own Urban Vegan, Dynise Balcavage, has been teasing us with just the ideas of recipes on her blog UrbanVegan.net since March of 2006.ï¿½ On October 1,ï¿½ Three Forks will release The Urban Vegan: 250 Simple, Sumptuous Recipes, From Street Cart Favorites to Haute Cuisine, and satisfy the curiosity that has consumed us for the last threeï¿½ years.
You can pre-order the cookbook now on Amazon.com and save 32% off the list price of $16.95; if you'd rather keep your dollars local, look for the cruelty-free cookbook at The Cookbook Stall in the Reading Terminal Market when it drops this fall.
The impatient can check out a few of Balcavage's contributions to local sustainability mag GRID;ï¿½ see her methods for blood orange cupcakes with easy chocolate ganache and a Jamaican curried couscous salad on the GRID online page viewer.
|Fashion in the kitchen|
Granddaughter of legendary writer Roald Dahl, model and unabashed hedonist, Sophie Dahl once caused traffic accidents when her curves were displayed on Opium perfume billboards. Now, the English rose is sharing her love of guilt-free eating in a new cookbook.
Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights (HarperCollins) is subtitled The Art of Eating A Little of What You Fancy, appropriate for a woman who showed the world that both size 14 and size 6 can be stunning. Dahl is now down to a more typically model shape, partly due toï¿½ the healthy eating code taught to her by her grandmother, Gee-Gee: three meals a day, lots of fresh vegetables and no snacks.
The BBC is rumored to be interested in Miss Dahl's approach for a new cooking show. I wonder if the blonde beauty could dethrone the current Brit-cook queen, Nigella Lawson.
|ï¿½2009 Courtney Grant Winston|
Marshmallow Peeps, those sweet, explodable treats, are the quintessential Easter-basket filler.ï¿½ Though the Just Born Peeps will satisfy sugar craving-kiddies, homemade marshmallows are a fit for a foodie's basket.
Chef Alison Barshak has been making her own version of the classic marshmallow chicks, which she dubs Peepers, at her restaurant Alison at Blue Bell and the newly-opened Alison two.ï¿½ Barshak got interested in the many variations of the pillowy puffs when friend Eileen Talanian published her book Marshmallows: Homemade Gourmet Treats (Gibbs Smith).
"Last year when Eileen's book came out," says Barshak, "my whole kitchen did a marshmallow cocktail party and paired them with wines and passed hors d'oeuvres. We did ancho chili marshmallows, red wine fluff and apple marshmallows in bacon and cheese sandwiches.ï¿½ Everyone like the savory marshmallows best."ï¿½ For Easter and Passover sweets, Barshak makes more conventional dessert marshmallows, flavored with Meyer lemon, raspberry and vanilla bean.
Marshmallows make appearances in more than just Easter baskets this time of year. "Everyone is always looking for ways to make Passover desserts taste good," says the chef. "You can't use dairy, and the rules are kind of complicated.ï¿½ The more processed the food is, the less likely it will conform to kosher laws.ï¿½ Marshmallows work because you're making your own syrup with sugar, instead of using corn syrup.ï¿½ I taught a kosher class in New York, and did a lot of research on kosher desserts. Marshmallows are great, because you can get kosher gelatin. Eileen's book does fluff frozen like a semi-freddo with no dairy or gelatin that is amazing."
But are marshmallows hard to make?ï¿½ Barshak doesn't think so. "You have to do it all at once -- once you start you have to finish it, and you have to realize you're going to get really sticky. That's just the way it is.ï¿½ It's not more difficult than anything else.ï¿½ I think it's fun!"
If getting covered in sugar sounds like your idea of a good time, click over the jump for Alison's method to make Peepers at home, adapted from Eileen Talanian's book.ï¿½ After all, homemade marshmallows "taste so much better than store-bought," says Barshak.ï¿½ "They're softer, and have a cleaner flavor.ï¿½ We flavor ours with Meyer lemon juice and raspberry, and they just taste like spring to me."
Alison at Blue Bell, 721 Skippack Pike, Blue Bell; 215-641-2660, alisonatbluebell.com
Alison two, 424 S. Bethlehem Pike, Ft. Washington; 215-591-0200, alisontwo.com
Housemade Chick Peepers
Recipe courtesy of Marshmallows: Homemade Gourmet Treats by Eileen Talanian
As used by Chef Alison Barshak, Alison two & Alison at Blue Bell
For Marshmallow Syrup
For the syrup:
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Make the heavy syrup first. Place the syrup ingredients in a small heavy sauce pot over medium heat and stir mixture with high heat spatula. When the mixture starts to boil, cover sauce pan for a few minutes. Remove the lid and insert a candy thermometer increasing to high until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. Do not stir as this will cause the mixture to crystallize. Remove from heat and let cool. (Note: you can substitute light corn syrup for marshmallow syrup in the Marshmallow Base recipe if you don't have the time or inclination to make this syrup.)
For the Bloom
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
For the Marshmallow Base
3/4 cups water
1-1/4 cups marshmallow syrup
1-1/2ï¿½ cups Granulated cane sugar
Colored sugar for coating the peepers
powdered sugar, cornstarch, or a mixture of the two for coating
Piping bag fitted with 3/8-inch plain decorating tube
3-D food coloring tube and food coloring
First, make the Bloom: Stir the water and vanilla together in a measuring cup. Place the gelatin in a small bowl and add the water mixture, stirring with a fork or small whisk until perfectly smooth.
Next, make the Marshmallow Base: Place the water, marshmallow syrup, salt and sugar, in that order, into a 4-quart pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Then place a lid on the pan and boil it, covered for 2 minutes. This step is essential in order to eliminate sugar crystals on the side of the pan that may cause the marshmallows to crystallize.
Remove the lid, insert a candy thermometer, and continue boiling until the thermometer reaches 250 degrees F. Do not stir the mixture once the lid has been removed. Remove the thermometer and gently stir in the bloomed gelatin.
Pour the batter into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat it on high speed for 10 to 12 minutes, using the wire whisk attachment or the paddle beater. It will take a little longer to beat with the paddle. You can cover the mixer with a clean kitchen towel for the first 3 minutes to avoid splattering hot liquid on yourself.
At first, the marshmallow batter will look very watery; as it beats, it will become thick, white, and glossy, and will increase in volume by two- to threefold. If desired, use a small amount of food coloring to make colored peepers.
For the Peepers
Prepare a surface by spraying it with oil and lightly wiping it, or by generously sprinkling it with a coating mixture. Holding the piping bag so the tip is at a 45-degree angle to the surface, pipe a mound, then push the bag back and up to form a neck, giving a slight extra squeeze to form the head. Dip the finger and thumb of your free hand in water and pinch off the end to form the beak, gently pushing it down, if necessary. Sprinkle with colored sugar and allow to cure overnight, or allow them to cure for a few hours and coat them with your favorite coating. You can place the coating in a bag with some of the peepers and shake it to coat them. Be sure to brush off excess coating.
Use a 3-D food-coloring tube to paint eyes onto the peepers. Pack them in gift boxes and tie with pretty ribbons.
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