Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday in Southern Manhattan

It was an eventful weekend (as in, the weekend was full of large organized events with websites). There was the Fancy Food Show at the Javits and the Unfancy Food Show in Brooklyn. There was the opening of Olafur Eliasson's waterfalls, (see one in the photo above) and there was the New Amsterdam Market, held outside of the Old Fulton Fish Market by the Brooklyn Bridge. (To see what goes on at the new one, click here).

I loved looking at all the bread, but especially these stenciled and slashed ones from B.R. Guest.

This is a luminous sample of fancy-tasting pomegranate chardonnay jelly from long island.

The market has occurred twice before, with the goal of becoming a permanent fixture for local producers. As it stands now, it is reminiscent of the Greenmarket but more like an expo with booths and samples and information, with a limited amount of products for purchase.

Also on display were foraged wild foods (loosely and quickly packaged), cheese from farms and companies like Saxelby Cheesemonger, honey, bread, a pizza maker, magazines and pickle producers. There were two ice cream flavors from the excellent Marlow & Sons: Cherry Chip and Anise Hyssop, both were intelligent and dreamy.

Even with the lovely samples of pink peppercorn goat cheese and beet soup, a more satisfying lunch was still necessary, as was escaping another dramatic thunderstorm. Luckily the special occasion Market was located very close to the old standby Joe's Shanghai, where soup dumplings were cheap and sublime, like always.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Orzo or Orzo

I am fascinated with the shapes of pasta right now. I have thought plenty of times (oh, texture-focused child that I was) about tortellini, and how to eat each piece by methodically maneuvering it around in my mouth so that the pinched together arms were directed towards my throat, and the folded over seam holding in the filling was placed exactly over my lower front teeth. This was the best way possible for a small mouth to experience the pleasantly ergonomic dissection of the storebought tortellini.

Imagine the tired parents who are just trying to get the kid to finish her dinner and not be distracted by it. Oh well! The way of a savoring life!

I also loved the feeling of eating Kraft macaroni and cheese, partly because we didn't have it at my house. The other reason was the liquid orange sauce, surrounding and dispensed by delicate inch long lengths of pasta and was mild and swimming with a lightness of being.

For me, spaghetti, fettuccine, and angel hair are perfect on occasion, especially at restaurants when I am spontaneously charmed by something I wouldn't probably make at home. The current intrigue lies in bite sized sculptural forms, and finding and imagining the qualities of the shapes, and the best usage. I have been frequenting an Italian market which has a huge selection of excellent pasta, in usual and unusual forms. I like Orecciette (shaped like "ears" or little bowls), and some wavy almost free-form ones. I have yet to try the tennis racket shaped ones although those tiny cross-hatches look appealing. Mouthfeel can be entertaining, or just contribute an interesting sensory aspect to food. Each shape delivers sauces and other ingredients to your tongue in different ways.

One night I used orzo, a pasta often used in soups. It is shaped like rice but larger and flatter. I used it in two unsoup related ways, just because.

sauteed red onions in olive oil with Indian spices (black pepper, cumin, corriander, cinnamon, chili, turmeric, and additional garam masala mixtures.)
fresh thin sliced scallions
fleur de sel
zest of a lime
a drizzle of honey

This one is best hot. It turned out with a good balance of spicy, salty and sweet.

red onion
tuna fish
kalamata olives
tomatoes, 10 cherry tomatoes
feta, crumbled
basil, chopped

I like this one cold. It is fresh and each bite offers a different combination of flavors.

Monday, June 16, 2008

All-American Summer Camp

I did not grow up in a family of campers. I am a camping novice, but completely sold on this activity that requires constant attention towards the fire and the next meal and can be communal or solitary and filled with freedom.

A stick of butter with the impression of corn.

I have a feeling these sample cones acquired a muted palette after sitting out in the sun and a few thunderstorms.

Man, it was so pastoral and pretty it was like being in the label of some Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. For expanded discussion of this imagery in American food culture, read up in Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food.

Ew. Here was one option I spotted at a local grocery. Click on the picture to check out the ingredients and the disturbing hot pink color. There is a red seal on it that says "Inspected for Wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture". The Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer suggests that boosting productivity at home and abroad is a solution to rising food costs. Apparently things are pretty simple for the Department and the Secretary.

And yes, we went with these, and they were delicious.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pig Roast 2008

These are the highlights from the 2008 Pig Roast. This particular 24+ hour backyard barbecue occurred in southeastern industrial Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The subject was an eighty-three pound Heritage Tamworth Pig (raised and butchered locally), which I assume means not closer than Queens, but I didn't ask. Money was raised for America's Second Harvest. There were additional ribs cooked inside it. and onions. There were sauces, baby banh mi sandwiches, black eyed peas, collards, iceberg salad (with bacon in it) pulled pork two ways, ribs and more ribs, cornbread, beans, succotash, etc.

Moose Mike (Pig Roast Honcho) is a believer in pure and real ingredients, and lots of them. These are either in action or in your belly, and hopefully you can still remember where you live when its over. (Overwhelm factors can run high at his affairs).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Love Badge