The Big Apple on a Budget: Mas (la grillade), a Restaurant Review

By Monday, March 18, 2013 Permalink 0

by Leonor White

I recently discovered a farm-to-table restaurant in the West Village. I was looking for an upscale lunch at an affordable price to dine with my family. Mas (la grillade) is the sister restaurant to Mas (farmhouse), but, as the name indicates, focuses on grilled meats.

During lunch hours, a seasonal menu of locally grown foods cooked solely over wood fires of oak, apple and other hardwoods is served. This menu is comprised of three courses: appetizer, main course and desert, and it all comes at a very reasonable price, $27.  Lunch à la carte is also available, but I would recommend opting for the menu, as you get a chance to experience Chef Galen Zamarra’s seasonal favorites. The restaurant is also open for dinner, and just as for lunch, there is a prix fixe menu (but for a higher price, $68), as well as an à la carte dining.

We went for lunch on a Saturday, and it did not disappoint. The restaurant is simply but tastefully decorated, making a bold statement with regards to its farm-to-table concept. As the menus arrived, we all had our eyes fixed on the first item in the menu: “Grilled Pear and Sunchoke Soup with Mint, Black Truffle and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms.” Despite the fact that there were other appetizers to choose from, such as the “Grilled Trumpet Royale Mushrooms with a Salad of Mizuna, Grilled Onion Vinaigrette, and Croutons,” we all thought that the soup sounded divine, and it was indeed. The grilled pear and sunchoke flavors made for a distinctive taste; the soup was sprinkled with mint and black truffles and topped with mushroom croutons.

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A Look at Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto, October 2012, in Turin, Italy

By Saturday, November 3, 2012 Permalink 0

by Diana Zahuranec

Salone del Gusto ended on Monday 29, but I can’t stop thinking about it.

Salone del Gusto, held in Turin, Italy, is a Slow Food biannual food fair and conference. To sum it up in these few words undermines everything else it is, too, and its importance as an event that brings together producers from all over the world. These are producers that grow ancient varieties of grain to save genetic biodiversity, that make Slow Food Presidia cheeses or salumi, that pipe their cannoli full of the freshest organic ricotta you’ve ever tasted, and whose principles and values align with your own and, it goes without saying, Slow Food’s – good, clean, and fair food for all.

The Slow Food mascot

For all things Slow Food, here are some links courtesy of Scoop.it and Slow Food. To understand a few of those words in the paragraph above, just look at the end of the article.

This year, Salone del Gusto was a marriage of the original Salone del Gusto, first held in 2006, and Terra Madre, first held in 2004. While both events had food artisans and producers from all over the world, different activities were held at each and were not all accessible to the public. Salone del Gusto focused more on the exposition and sale of high quality foods and products, while Terra Madre was a gathering of a network of food producers from around the world. Having never been to either of these before, I can’t offer judgment on the differences of before and after. What I would love to do is share my first-time impressions of this year’s.

To say Salone is a food fair means that, like your down-home county fair, the place is jumping with activity – with a few notable differences. The funnel cakes are replaced with French butter cookies in 20 different flavors, the groundhog whacking game is replaced with the foodie’s (divisive word, I know) form of fun, that is vertical Barolo wine tastings, and that feeling of riding the Zipper right after you eat your funnel cake is replaced by the feeling of pressing up against crowds right after you drink your Barolo wines.

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What we’re reading today: White Chocolate Eton Mess, Hot Chile Pepper Paintings, Beer Tourism, London Wine Harvest Destroyed

By Tuesday, October 9, 2012 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

Click here to keep up with the latest in world food and wine news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Switzerland: Tasting Week (La Semaine du Goût) Program

By Thursday, September 20, 2012 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

Click to see the Tasting Week program for the entire country. Tasting week runs from 13 to 23 September 2012.

This year many of the events are sponsored by Savoring a week of ‘slow food’ across the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate News: It’s chocolate week, & here are some exciting chocolate adventures around the world

By Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

This is one of the best and most comprehensive lists I’ve seen about high-quality chocolate adventures around the world. I want to go them all!

Click here to read the entire article.

The evidence continues to build a factual basis that dark chocolate is actually good for you. See the related articles:

  • Chocolate – the miracle drug?
  • Chocolate Week Heaven
  • High Chocolate Consumption Linked To Lower Stroke Risk In Females

And in Peru, they’re still finding new varieties of chocolate. Exciting future for chocoholics! Click here to read.

 

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17 ways of eating on a budget without sacrificing your health

By Wednesday, October 5, 2011 Permalink 0

by Rosa Mayland

  1. Never shop on an empty stomach.
  2. Buy in bulk.
  3. Visit your supermarket as little as needed and make precise shopping lists.
  4. Don’t buy more than needed. Stick to your shopping lists.
  5. Make a budget, stick to it, and keep track of all expenses.
  6. Know your supermarket well and be wise to supermarket tricks.
  7. Limit your dining out. Eat at home.
  8. Shop seasonally and locally. It’s cheaper and healthier.
  9. Avoid all bagged, fancy packaged, ready-to-eat and processed food/meals (unless it is straightforward canned food). Avoid junk food unless it’s a treat you make at home from time to time.
    Swiss food pyramid.
    Swiss food pyramid.

  10. Eat more frugally (smaller portions) and only when you are hungry.
  11. Eat less meat, but more sustainable fish, cheese and eggs.
  12. Emphasize grains, legumes and vegetables (understand the food pyramid).
  13. Make double batches when you cook — one batch to eat straight away and one to freeze.
  14. Recycle leftovers and don’t waste food.
  15. Always stock your freezer with a selection of ice-friendly food, your kitchen pantry with imperishable and your spice cupboards with lots of condiments.
  16. Drink lots of tap water. Limit your consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, sodas cut out most bought beverages. They represent a large expense.
  17. Take an interest in foreign and exotic culinary dishes, as they use bargain ingredients and small quantities of costlier ingredients.
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Food Art: Bratwurst and Beer, the German Way of Life, food photography by Meeta Khurana Wolff

By Friday, September 23, 2011 Permalink 0

See more food photo compositions at Meeta K. Wolff or in our Food Art category.

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Ahoy Matey! International Talk Like a Pirate Day – September 19

By Monday, September 19, 2011 Permalink 0

by Alice DeLuca

Musing over 16th century drawings of highly specialized, obsolete cooking equipment from Il Cuoco segreto di Papa Pio V (The Private Chef of Pope Pius V)[i], I was prompted to remember the seasonal holiday, now over a decade old, that causes lots of fun-loving souls to pretend to be pirates. “Talk Like a Pirate Day” is a silly parade of all things pirate, associated with the violent pirates of the great age of sail, not the modern-day pirates in business suits. This holiday is now upon us, September 19, so we can give a little thought to what a pirate might eat.

By an amazing coincidence, whilst rummaging through a musty old trunk in a spider-filled corner of the attic today, I came upon a weathered scrap of paper wrapped up in a bit of tarred leather. The picture drawn thereon is unlike the idealized food plate recently released by the U.S. government[ii], but illustrates the proper proportions of pirate foods as depicted in fiction and history books – a surefire recipe for scurvy and pellagra, ancient diseases now rarely encountered:

Pirate Plate:

PiratePlate_C2011_AliceDeLuca

United States Department of Agriculture Plate:

myplate_green_usdweb

If you haven’t recently read Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson in the late 19th century about 18th century pirates, take it in your hands again – it is a wild adventure story, available as an ebook through Project Gutenberg, at no cost.  There is some value to the book as a culinary guide, since Stevenson traveled at sea quite a bit, voyaging to Hawaii numerous times, becoming friends with Hawaiian King Kalākaua (the Merrie Monarch) and meeting his demise in Samoa. He was onboard ship only a hundred years after the period of his pirate story that holds our attention.

The first ten percent of Treasure Island is a riveting description of the family of innkeepers managing the Admiral Benbow tavern, as they are terrorized by a raging alcoholic in his last days. The buccaneer lodger’s drunken ravings and addiction to rum are a part of nearly every page. Pirates from the age of sail would have drunk beer, because that ancient drink is preserved by hops and therefore is safer than standing water, and they would have drunk great quantities of rum.

Pirates certainly appeared to “eat to live” instead of “living to eat” like a modern gourmet.  Combing through the material in Treasure Island, I can provide a nearly comprehensive list of the drinks and foods mentioned in that tome, but I follow up with a proposal for a more appetizing menu:

Pirate Food enumerated in Treasure Island

  • Drink:

A bottle of Spanish wine and some raisins, strong wine (red or white), old wine, a pannikin of rum, casks of whiskey, brandy.

  • Starchy Food

Duff, plum-duff, bags of biscuits, bread-bags, biscuit and fried junk.

  • Meat

Goat or salted goat, kegs of pork, roasted oxen, hot bacon or bacon and eggs, oysters.

Pork, bread and brandy for the midday meal.

  • Fruits

Apples, berries, tropical fruits, pickled fruits.

  • Spices:

Nutmeg.

  • Other:

Notably, when the marooned Ben Gunn dreams of food, he dreams of

“Cheese toasted”, and would have preferred a piece of parmesan cheese and some Port to any dish of boiled, salted meat and “duff.”

Here is a much improved Luncheon menu for your consideration, loosely based on Treasure Island:

Pirate Menu_C_2011_AliceDeLuca_framed
Grog – The proper Treasure Island toast to make would be “Here’s luck” – as you  down your diluted drink of rum and water.  If we are to believe everything we read, rum was added to the stored, algae-contaminated water onboard ship, to make it more palatable. However, we also know that the British Royal Navy made rum a staple, and served the last official ration of rum to its sailors July 31, 1970 after a few centuries of providing daily rum rations.  For a palatable drink that would ward of scurvy and please your guests, serve a Mojito made with rum, mint and limes, or a Caipirinha made from Brazilian Cachaça.

Main courseBarbecue, shared equally amongst all diners. The alleged origin of the word “buccaneer” is the French word boucanier that comes from the word boucan that referred to a wooden frame used in the Caribbean for smoking meat. This certainly seems like a plausible history, whether or not it is true.  The character Long John Silver’s nickname in Treasure Island is “Barbecue,” as he is the ship’s cook.

A Ben Gunn Toasted Cheese Sandwich: In honor of all who are marooned, whether at sea on a deserted island or in a modern city apartment, serve a toasted cheese sandwich made with fine cheese.

Salamagundi: Salamagundi was somewhat similar to the modern-day Salade Niçoise or Cobb Salad. Richard Wilk[iii] gives a recipe that includes romaine lettuce, cooked meat and poultry, anchovies or other small fish such as herring, hard-boiled eggs, pickled vegetables, onions, watercress, palm hearts and parsley or cilantro, nicely arranged and served up with a familiar vinaigrette made with hot mustard.

Pickled Fruits:

plums and apricots_C_2011_AliceDeLuca

plums and apricots make nice pickled fruits

According to Richard Wilk[iv], the pirates who worked in Central America had access to pickled foods. Perhaps the modern pirate, a hedge-fund trader betting against the success of some hopeful entrepreneurial company, would prefer some other pickle, but an old-time pirate would have had access to pickled fruits:

Modern Recipe for Pickled Fruits, (made using the convenient refrigerator):

These pickled fruits are delicious, and if you prepare them now and refrigerate them instead of “canning” them, they will be ready for your Thanksgiving table without a great deal of fuss. The Italian Prune Plum, only available for about 3 weeks each September, is the right fruit to use, so make the pickles now. For each pound of firm but ripe “Italian prune plums” or apricots (shown in the picture above), allow the following:

1 ½ inches of cinnamon stick
2-3 whole cloves
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar

These measurements are for one pound of fruit. Leave the fruit whole. Wash all the fruit and prick the skin of each whole fruit in three places with a wooden toothpick. Put the fruits and spices in a large bowl that is safe to use with vinegar – stainless steel, glass or modern food-safe ceramic.  Boil the vinegar and sugar to make a syrup, cooking until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot syrup over the fruit and spices and let sit until completely cool. Then cover to keep out fruit flies and allow to sit for 2 days. A thin white scum may rise to the surface; just scoop it off.

Drain the plums, reserving the syrup. Bring the syrup to a boil and pour it back over the plums. Let the plums cool again, cover and let sit for 1 day covered (room temperature.)

On the 4th day, bring the whole mixture (plums and syrup) to a boil in a heavy pot, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Do not overcook the fruit. Drain the fruit again, reserving the syrup. Using a large spoon, pack the fruit in to a sterilized quart jar, then boil the syrup until reduced to 1 cup.  Pour the boiling syrup carefully over the fruit, then seal immediately (there may be leftover syrup) and let stand in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before serving.

Plum Duff – don’t bother with Plum Duff, read on, and you will see why:

Recipes for plum duff (dough) call for kneading flour, suet, salt, water and raisins or currants in to a ball, placing the ball of dough in to a pudding bag and suspending the bag in boiling water for a period of hours, turning the bag from time to time so that the material in the bag does not burn from extended contact with the edge of the pot.  This apparently makes a sort of dumpling-like creation that can be sliced and eaten with boiled salt pork or beef.  As my own diet does not include flour, I am spared from recreating this nasty recipe for a staple of antiquity.[v]

Instead of plum duff, you could create Pieces of Eight – I am imagining a shortbread 8-reale coin-shaped cookie that can be broken in to eight “bits”. I think that any shortbread recipe would be suitable for this project.  Just score the cookie into 8 wedges with a knife before baking as you might a giant shortbread.  Sounds like fun, and I just may try it!

It might be fun, if one owned an Inn or a Bed-and-Breakfast, to offer a “Talk Like a Pirate Day” meal. But take great care to recall the difficulties of the family managing the Admiral Benbow, an Inn overrun by drunken buccaneers tipping each other the black spot, helping themselves to rum from the bar, stroking-out in the main dining room and convalescing in bed. You never know who may rent a room.


[i] Gillies, Linda, Anita Muller, and Pamela Patterson. A culinary collection; recipes from members of the Board of Trustees and staff of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. Print.

[ii] http://www.choosemyplate.gov/images/MyPlateImages/MyPlate-green300x273.jpg

[iii] Wilk, Richard R. Home cooking in the global village: Caribbean food from buccaneers to ecotourists. English ed. Oxford ; New York: Berg, 2006. Print. P.49

[iv] Wilk, Richard R.

[v] http://www.britishfoodinamerica.com/Our-First-Nautical-Number/the-lyrical/Food-at-sea-in-the-age-of-fighting-sail/

 

 

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Food News Daily: September 5, 2011

By Monday, September 5, 2011 Permalink 0

Mainstream Anglo Media and Press

5 Ayurvedic mocktails, Times of India

Where Budding Magnates Experiment With Recipes, The New York Times

Secrets of a Blue-Ribbon Brewmaster (a woman!), The Wall Street Journal

Fast food goes gourmet: Fast food chains are trying to gain new market share with ‘gourmet’ products. Have any of them won you round?, The Guardian

Time called on gastropubs: Last orders for metro foodies as hard times see a move back to the bar stool, The IndependentHow to expand your kids’ diets, Seattle Times

Monsanto Corn Falls to Illinois Bugs as Resistance Probe Widens, Bloomberg

Beer as an Ingredient, The New York Times

Market Driven, Oaxaca-Style: In Oaxaca, Mexico, fresh, locally grown food is not a “movement,” but a way of life, The New York Times

Food Photography

 

Alessandro Guerani

Best of the Anglo Food and Travel Blogs and Sites

Irene’s damage not ‘overrated’ for farmers, Grist

The World’s Most Tech-Savvy Boutique Hotels, The Next Web

Peachy keen: How to pick a peach, Culinate

Lemon Cucumber Cocktail, Leite’s Culinaria

Eat Well, Spend Less: Homemade Substitutes for Grocery Staples, Simple Bites

World

Dad’s Favorite Date Slice, Inside Cuisine

A Few Healthy Pickle Recipes – Green Chili Pepper with Chickpea Flour and Spices, Lite Bite

Lemongrass shrimp, Rasa Malaysia

Alternative Press/Sites

Irene’s damage not ‘overrated’ for farmers, Grist

 Are IQ and vegetarianism linked?, PubMed

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Food News Daily: September 1, 2011

By Thursday, September 1, 2011 Permalink 0

Mainstream Anglo Media and Press

Gordon Ramsay’s Australian Nightmare, The Wall Street Journal

‘The Art of Eating’ from Flemish painters to Ferran Adrià, Phaidon Press

The Art of Picking the Perfect Meal for Beer, The Wall Street Journal

Cargill sees cocoa demand up 1 mln tons by 2020, Market Watch

Food is the ultimate security need, new map shows, The Guardian

How Many Calories Do You Need to Eat Per Day?, The Atlantic

Think outside the box: Top cooks reveal how to perk up your children’s packed lunches, The Independent

Nine Tips for Digging Through Local Farmers Markets, Dallas Observer

Best of the Anglo Food and Travel Blogs and Sites

Praising farm wives: The spirit can exist in anyone, Culinate

A Cardiac Surgeon on the Glory of Saturated Fat, They’re Good for You, The LRC Blog

Plums – Food of the Month, Health Castle

Alternative Press/Sites

Potatoes reduce blood pressure in people with obesity and high blood pressure, Eurek Alert

A Classy Model-Egg Chicken Coop (Coupe) (shaped like a Model A),

How the Soaring Price of Bread Will Shake the World Economy, AlterNet

World

The Famous Anzac Biscuit, Honest Cooking

Red Velvet Crêpes, duhlicious

Melon au citron vert, Ma p’tite cuisine by Audrey

$1 Million Of (Mollydooker) Wine Destroyed In Forklift, Accident, Technorati

Food Photography

Coffee bean owl, Image Shack

The Evolution of Coke, Pete

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