Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The art object du jour is:

Whimsical americana served up on a platter.

The installation piece is part of  Christopher Chiappa's series called "High Fructose Corn Syrup" showing at the Kate Werble Gallery, in conjunction with an exhibition at Moss.  The inspiration behind the show is less about food culture and more about the nostalgic twinges of the artist's childhood memory.
"The title 'high fructose corn syrup' is a reference to the artist’s transition from adolescence into adulthood, and his realization of the disappointment of human experience. a daily coke drinker, he hit puberty just as coca cola’s formula switched from using sugar to high fructose corn syrup. chiappa uses a simple switch of the ordinary to emphasize an omnipresent disequilibrium in the photographic
portrait of the artist in his studio."

Via: Designboom

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Culinary Techniques Update

I have hit the 1/3 mark of the Culinary Techniques at FCI and I haven't suffered any severe injuries, apart from a mild peppering of oil burns from trying to flip an ungodly number of eggs over easy in last week's exercice de oeufs. We went through 800 eggs or so. Don't worry everything is composted, so it's not a total waste! 

My omelet was perfect the first time around. The second time around I didn't really roll it down the pan properly, but the color, texture and cooking technique were fine.  Refining my presentation will be the goal for the next batch of eggs I prepare.  NOTE:  When you find yourself at any lovely brunch place and decide to order an omelet, you should know that it will be LOADED with butter.  We used TUBS of clarified butter.  Clarified butter gives your omelet a very pale yellow coloring.  You can try to cook with olive oil (use a low flame, b/c olive oil burns faster), but it doesn't taste the same or look the same.  In addition to several omelets, we made Eggs en Cocotte, poached eggs, fried eggs, eggs over easy, medium, hard.  The pace was frenetic, so I don't think I would ever want to work in a kitchen trying to expedite breakfast.  Today, we made Eclairs (made from choux pastry dough and  creme patisserie (vanilla, coffee and chocolate), creme de chantilly, Pot de Creme, and Creme Caramel.  Pace was much better, but measurement and precision are critical. Bon Appetit! More updates later...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kom Tang Kalbi House

Last night, I  had dinner at Kom Tang Kalbi House in Korea-town with Eric and Mark.  I was a little fuzzy from the residual effects of a migraine and  didn't want to stray too far from home, so I suggested Dok Suni's--a solid go-to Korean in the East Village. But, alas,  Eric really wanted to experience the authenticity of K-town, so I popped a few more pills and hailed a cab to 32nd street.

There are a few places on the  north-side of 32nd Street at which I've eaten and had some decent dining moments. But, I have never tried any of the places on the south-side of the street that didn't involve unruly karaoke sessions and plenty of soju.  So, we just sort of randomly decided to go to Kom Tang Kalbi House. The restaurant purports itself as being the oldest Korean restaurant in New York City (which intrigued us) and based on the dilapidated interiors and well-tread flooring, I wouldn't contest that proclamation.  It looked pretty beat.

The food was not that great, but not horrible. I had the vegetarian Bi-Bim-Bop, which was certainly edible, but slightly gluey. The dumplings are nothing great.  I didn't try the pa-jun, but it looked really greasy.  Can't say that I would go again, but maybe I ordered wrong?! It's been around for a while for a reason, right? 

Sorry, no pics. Here's one from Flickr.... The restaurant is in the middle of the frame.

Kom Tang Kalbi House
32 West 32nd Street
New York, NY


Monday, March 22, 2010

Chief of Staff Gash at Arby's

I am well aware that this is very wrong and politically incorrect among the culinary cognescenti, but when it comes to fast-food, I actually have a soft-spot for Arby's and its BBQ roast beef sandwiches.   I'm sure Rahm's doesn't share my sentiment after what happened to him. Based on his detailed retelling of the gruesome incident, you can tell he's quite proud of his war-wounds as a short-order cook.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Via: 60 Minutes

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top o' the Morning

 A slice of Guinness.

Due to my self-imposed moratorium on beer-drinking (green brew or otherwise!), I don't think I'll be wholeheartedly celebrating with the Irish today.  But check out this fun NPR interview with Nigella Lawson and her brilliant recommendations for St. Patrick's Day.  Her recipe for the Guinness Chocolate Cake is below:

Ingredients for the cake:
1 cup Guinness
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Ingredients for the topping:
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Nigella's Suggestions:
For a simpler dessert, replace the frosting with a light dusting of powered sugar.

Preheat the over to 350 F, and butter and line a 9 inch springform pan.
Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter — in spoons or slices — and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and baking soda.
Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the frosting. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sift over the confectioner's sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsifted confectioners' sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
Makes about 12 slices

From Feast by Nigella Lawson. Photographs by James Merrell. Copyright 2004 Nigella Lawson. Photographs Copyright 2004 by James Merrell. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.

Via: NPR. com/Morning Edition

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dinner at Hundred Acres

Soho locavore joint. Great space. Unfortunately, the food is only so-so. The fish dish (special) I ordered was too salty for my taste, but the mixed green salad with hazelnuts was decent. Cocktails were notable. The apple tartine was not terrible. My guess is that brunch is the way to go with this place...
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Drinks and Bites at Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar

I'm a total teetotaler these days, but after seeing a heavy documentary about the German Nazi propaganda filmmaker, Veit Harlan, playing at the Film Forum last night, I had to indulge a bit and get a proper cocktail. We headed over to Blue Ribbon's Downing Street Bar for light bites and some tipple to discuss the zany film we had just seen. It was probably 10:30 PM or so at this point of the night, and we were originally going to head over to Market Table on Carmine Street, but they were closing (which I found odd on a Sunday night), so we made our way over to Downing Street, which was open till 2AM. We ordered the following:

  • Manchego Cheese and Honey Toast
  • Hard Boiled Eggs and Pickled Pepper Toast
  • Baby Arugula and Butternut Squash Salad
  • BBQ Honey Chicken Wings

Everything was tasty and completely lovely.
Well seasoned, perfect portions, and delicious.

The cocktails were refined and exceptional. I had the Cucumber High (left), made of Hendricks Gin, cucumber juice and lemon juice. The drink is strong at first, but mellows out a bit after a sip.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Culinary School Starts

Rissoulet, tournee, sautee, oh my!

In case you didn't know, I've enrolled at the French Culinary Institute and learning classic cooking techniques from an actual French chef. There are 15 people in the class, with varying degrees of facility in the kitchen, but a shared love of food. With quite a few people interested in a career change, the class is taken quite seriously and everyone takes copious notes and documents the class with Flip camcorders. The instructor expects that the lesson to be reviewed prior to class, so the demonstration and actually instruction are quick, yet questions are always answered. l've taken a number of cooking classes where you are given a bottle of wine to crack open and have all the time in the world to gab away while you learn. There's no fucking around with a glass of sauvignon blanc while you knead pasta dough and talk about sunsets in Tuscany in this class! In fact, the instructor quizzes random students to ascertain that concepts have been learned.

On our first day, we were given a heavy duty knife bag stocked with nifty goodies (chef's knife, paring knife, balloon whisk, mellon baller, and 15 or so other tools of the trade). We were also given a professional uniform with our names embroidered on the front that we are required to wear everyday! The uniform consists of an actual white jacket with woven buttons (just like Top Chef!), dowdy garter trousers and the most UNFLATTERING hat ever! I tried to get away with not wearing it or rocking it to the side, but wisps of hair would falll around my face and the instructor whispered that I needed to wear it properly. Additionally, no nail polish or garish makeup ( Viva Glam Gaga Lipstick must stay in your cosmetic bag...) Asserting individual style is not encouraged.

The first weekend was spent doing the following:

  • Knife skills/Taillage
  • Various ways of cutting vegetables (jullienne, brunoise, macedoine, ciseler, emincer, jardiniere, chiffonade, etc...)
  • Tourne-style Vegetables (blood was shed for some!)
  • Learning which pots and pans are appropriate for certain types of cooking
  • Cooking A la Anglaise, blanching, roasting and sauteeing, etc....
  • Beurre blanc, beurre brun, beurre blonde etc...
That wasn't even everything. I'll match the pics to the techniques, but I need to nap first...More to come over the next few weeks!
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Peeps are back...

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Crazy for Kit-Kats

Kitto Katsu! 

I've been dying to travel to Japan for years and for a multitude of reasons. I want to tour the Tsukiji Fish Market, sample blowfish,  photograph cherry-blossom season, meet Kogepan,  and do some serious retail damage at Omotesando Hills.  But my reason du jour is to eat a Kit Kat bar. The Soy Sauce flavored Kit Kat bar, in particular.

Nestle's Kit-Kat bars are the leading confectionery brand in Japan, and the Soy-Sauce Kit-Kat is the top selling flavor, out of a vast array of flavors.  Ad Age reports: " Kit Kat varieties now range from yubari melon and baked corn from Hokkaido island to green beans and cherries from Tohoku in northeastern Japan to uzu fruit and red potatoes from Kyushu island at the southern-most tip of the country. The Kanto region, including Tokyo, contributed the sweet potato, blueberry and kinako (soybean) flavors."

These varieties of the brand were developed for the palates of specific regions in Japan and only sold in those respective markets. So, the only way to taste them is to book a flight!

For kicks, I've included a a list of all the crazy kinds of Kit-Kats (standard bars)  that are out there in the world, courtesy of my wise, knowledgeable, and dependable friend, Wikipedia:
  1. Kit Kat Original — (different taste and texture in different countries)
  2. Pickled Plum — Japan
  3. Bubblegum — Japan (made with blue chocolate)
  4. Mango — Japan (made with yellow chocolate)
  5. Rose: Japan
  6. Lemon vinegar — Japan
  7. Kit Kat Fine Dark — UK, Spain & Germany variant of Kit Kat Dark Chocolate
  8. Kit Kat Cacao 61% — Japan (newer version of Kit Kat Bitter with 61% cocoa content)
  9. Kit Kat Sakura (Cherry blossom) — Japan —
  10. Kit Kat Cacao 72% — Japan — dark chocolate petits with 72% cocoa content
  11. Kit Kat White Creme — US permanent edition (current version of US Kit Kat White made with vegetable oil based candy coating rather than pure white chocolate)
  12. Kit Kat White — Japan & Spain
  13. Kit Kat Iced Tea — Japan
  14. Kit Kat Wasabi — Japan
  15. Kit Kat Caramel and Salt — Japan
  16. Kit Kat Cucumber — Japan
  17. Kit Kat Kinako (soybean flour) — Japan
  18. Kit Kat Wa Guri (Chestnut flavour) — Japan
  19. Kit Kat Green Tea (Matcha) — Japan
  20. Kit Kat Milky White — Germany variant of Kit Kat White Chocolate
  21. Kit Kat Mint — UK permanent edition, US limited edition (mint flavoured milk chocolate coating)
  22. Kit Kat Mint Chocolate — Australia (mint green colour wafers)
  23. Kit Kat Apple — Japan
  24. Kit Kat Orange — UK permanent edition, US, Japan, Malaysia limited edition.
  25. Kit Kat International Recipe — Malaysia, Singapore and selected East Asian countries (the chocolate was made from Ghana cocoa beans and thus had the tendency to melt down very easily when compared to Kit Kat Original)
  26. Kit Kat Café Latte with Hokkaidō Milk — Japan
  27. Kit Kat Kiwifruit — Japan
  28. Kit Kat Strawberry — Japan
  29. Kit Kat Peach — Japan
  30. Kit Kat Caramac — UK
  31. Kit Kat Chocolate Overload — Australia (milk chocolate outside, chocolate creme filling and chocolate wafers)
  32. Kit Kat Gold — Japan — petits with fudge-like covering and dusted cocoa powder on outside
  33. Kit Kat Noisette (Hazelnut) — Germany
  34. Kit Kat Lite — India — two finger bar with 50% less sugar
  35. Kit Kat Carb Alternatives — US (low carbohydrate version with 50% less sugar)
  36. Kit Kat Low Carb — UK
  37. Kit Kat Cantaloupe — Japan
  38. Kit Kat Pineapple — South Africa
  39. Kit Kat Cappuccino — Poland and UK
  40. Kit Kat Triple Berry — Japan
  41. Kit Kat Mango — Japan
  42. Kit Kat Azuki (red bean) — Japan
  43. Kit Kat Green Grape Muscat — Japan[19]
  44. Kit Kat Caramel Macchiato — Japan (September 2008)[20]
  45. Kit Kat Zunda — Japan (only in Yamagata and Miyagi prefecture,mashed edamame beans)
  46. Kit Kat Beet — Japan (only in Hokkaido prefecture)
  47. Kit Kat Hascapp (Hokkaido blueberry) — Japan (only in Hokkaido prefecture)
  48. Kit Kat Soy Sauce — Japan "Tokyo Limited Edition"
  49. Kit Kat Yakimorokoshi (grilled corn) — Japan (only in Hokkaido prefecture)
  50. Kit Kat Jyagaimo — Japan (only in Hokkaido prefecture, potato)
  51. Kit Kat Daigakuimo (candied sweet potato) — Japan
  52. Kit Kat Pepper: Japan
  53. Kit Kat Kobe pudding — Japan "Kobe Limited Edition"
  54. Kit Kat Houjicha (Japanese roasted tea) — Japan
  55. Kit Kat Kokuto (black sugar) — Japan
  56. Kit Kat Watermelon and Salt — Japan
  57. Kit Kat Pumpkin — Japan
  58. Kit Kat Edamame — Japan
  59. Kit Kat Banana — Canada
  60. Kit Kat Lemon Chocolate — Japan (Valentine's limited edition)
  61. Kit Kat Cookies & Chocolate — Japan
  62. Kit Kat Cookies PLUS — Japan
  63. Kit Kat Dark Chocolate — Italy
  64. Kit Kat White Chocolate — Italy
  65. Kit Kat Apple Vinegar — Japan
  66. Kit Kat Veggie — Japan [19]
  67. Kit Kat Ginger Ale — Japan
  68. Kit Kat Ramune — Japan
Via: Ad Age
Photo: Inventorspot.com