Posted by Top Chef on August 1st, 2013
The royal couple finally introduced their bundle of joy to the public on Tuesday, July 23. And while the world waits a little longer for the future monarch’s name to be announced, many are celebrating his birth with artistic tributes — in food.
Food artists are honoring the little prince with special (edible!) recreations of the royals. Domenico Crolla, a pizzaolo in Glasgow, Scotland, carved a pizza portrait of the new family. Although his creation features the prince and his proud parents, Crolla designed the pizza before the public got a glimpse of the newborn.
Posted by Top Chef on July 25th, 2013
We like to think that if we eat our recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables, we’re doing right by our bodies. Think again, says health writer Jo Robinson.
In her , Eating on the Wild Side, Robinson argues that our prehistoric ancestors picked and gathered wild plants that were in many ways far more healthful than the stuff we buy today at farmers’ markets.
But this change, she says, isn’t the result of the much-bemoaned modern, industrial food system. It has been thousands of years in the making — ever since humans first took up farming (some , more or less) and decided to “cultivate the wild plants that were the most pleasurable to eat,” she writes. More pleasurable generally meant less bitter and higher in sugar, starch or oil.
“Basically,” Robinson says, “we looked around at all this wild food that we had been eating for millennia, forever, and we kind of said to each other, ‘We’re getting tired of eating this bitter, chewy, fibrous, low-sugar food, and we can do better than that!’”
But over the centuries, Robinson says, those choices in human agriculture led to a dramatic loss in the nutrient value of the plants we eat most commonly — something she says we had no way of knowing until recently, when modern technology made it possible to do so.
But Robinson isn’t arguing that we should all go back to foraging for our dinner. Rather, she calls her book “a field guide to nutritious food.” Drawing on hundreds of scientific studies, she uses her book to lay out which commonly available foods offer the best nutritional bang for the bite.
We learn, for example, that longer cooking can boost tomatoes’ health benefits. And that broccoli begins to lose cancer-fighting compounds within 24 hours of harvest — that’s why it’s one of the foods that Robinson suggests people eat “as fresh as possible.”
On prehistoric bananas
“To peel them you had to get a machete or something similar to that to take off the skins, so we looked around and one of our remote ancestors came upon a mutant banana. This was nature’s mutant — nature is making mutations all the time — and that’s how we get all of the varieties that we have in our fruits and vegetables. Well, this particular mutation did away with the seeds, so that the seeds had been diminished to tiny black dots, and if you look at the bananas in our supermarket, that’s what you’ll see: no viable seeds but just these little dots.”
On her focus on ‘phytonutrients’
“These are molecular nutrients; they’re not macronutrients, and the reason that I’m focusing on them is that we’re just beginning to realize that these plant compounds — the technical name for them is ‘polyphenols’ [but] I call them ‘phytonutrients’ — they play a role in every cell and system of our bodies, and every month, new information is published showing these phytonutrients are really essential for optimum health. … [T]hese are the things we’ve reduced more than any of the other nutrients.”
On why we should eat dandelions
For 15 years, author and journalist Jo Robinson has been researching the foods we eat and the nutritional losses they’ve undergone over thousands of years.
Frances Robinson /Little Brown and Co.
“[G]o out and find a dandelion leaf, rinse it well, and take a bite, and pay attention to your senses. For the first 10 seconds you won’t sense much at all, except you’ll notice that the leaf is hairy, and quite dense, quite chewy. Then, this bloom of bitterness [will] come at the roof of your mouth and go down your throat, and it’s going to stay there for about 10 minutes. And many of the wild plants that we used to eat had levels of bitterness similar to that dandelion. … Compared to spinach, which we consider a superfood, [a dandelion] has twice as much calcium, and three times as much vitamin A, five times more vitamins K and E, and eight times more antioxidants.”
On maximizing the nutrients in lettuce
“If you take your lettuce right from the store and rinse it and dry it and then, if you rip it into bite-sized pieces before you store it, you’re going to increase the antioxidant activity … fourfold. The next time you eat it, it’s going to have four times as many antioxidants.”
On which produce you should eat as fresh as possible
“There [are] fruits and vegetables that also burn up their antioxidants and their sugar at a really rapid rate, and they happen to be those superstars of nutrition that we’re all encouraged to eat. So I’m just going to give you a list of things you should get as fresh as possible, perhaps from a farmers’ market, which … is going to be probably fresher than from the supermarket, and eat as soon as possible. So it would be artichokes, arugula, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, lettuce, parsley, mushrooms and spinach. …
I think you should have an ‘Eat Me First’ list on your refrigerator of those [foods] that you should eat the day you bring them home, or the next day. It could [make] a measurable difference in your health.”
Posted by Top Chef on June 7th, 2013
If you haven’t heard, the East Coast is about to be overrun by alien creatures who’ve been buried in the ground, hibernating for the last 17 years. BROOD II is upon us!
But wait, don’t lock yourself in that bunker full of kiddie pools half filled with Raid just yet. It turns out that you can actually eat these suckers — which people do, all around the world. Cicadas’re chock-full of protein with minimal carbs (hellooo, swimsuit season!), and they’re local, seasonal, and eco-friendly. Entomophagists — those who eat insects, but were totally, TOTALLY cool in high school, anyway, so don’t even ask — argue that they’re one of the most sustainable and healthiest food sources on the planet, and that we should all start eating them on the reg. So, look upon this not as a zombie-apocalypse, doomsday-type scenario, but as a chance to expand your palate and score a TON of free food right in your backyard, next to that bunker filled with Raid.
Of course, you’ll need some guidance on the best ways to catch, kill, and cook ‘em… and what wines to pair them with, so we chatted with a few bug-eating experts and one NYC chef who cooks with insects (and made a cicada-fueled recipe JUST FOR US), to get all the info:
Step 1: Catch your prey
Prepare yourself with multiple large plastic bags and wait for the swarm. When the nymphs (that’s bug-speak for “baby cicadas”) first emerge and shed their exoskeletons, they’ll be as helpless as a bunch of… well, baby bugs. They’ll also be all-white and kind of squishy, but don’t let that scare you. Seize the opportunity to be a predator and scoop up as many as you can. Early morning — when they’re cold and drowsy from staying up all night watching the third season of Gilmore Girls – is best for catching these guys.
For entomophagists, these little alienoids are actually the creme de la creme of cicada bites: since their exoskeletons haven’t yet hardened, they’re soft and require minimal cooking. Cicadas at this stage are also purported to have been one of Aristotle’s fave foods, so if you eat them, just be warned that Eurymedon the hierophant will likely denounce you for not holding the gods in honor.
Step 2: Snag some adults
Wait a few short hours after the nymphs have emerged from their husks, and you’ll notice that they’re rapidly maturing before your very eyes, like Robin Williams in Jack. But don’t waste time pondering the meaning of your own life and the swift passage of time — you only have a short window to snatch these teneral adults up before they beat their wings and fly into a tree, out of reach.
Pro tip: females are better catches than males… because their abdomens are full of eggs. Wait, that’s not as gross as it sounds! It just means that lady-cicadas will be more plump and delicious for eating. (Males tend to shrink during cooking. INSERT CLASSIC GUY VS. GIRL CICADA STAND-UP COMEDY HERE.) As it’s super difficult to tell guys from girls, you should gather a little more than you think you might need.
Step 3: Death.
Now comes the hard part. Or the fun part, depending on how comfortable you are with BUG MURDER! The simplest and most humane method: freezing them to death. Stuff your plastic bags o’ bugs into the freezer, or even a large cooler filled with ice, and the buggies will fall into a peaceful, eternal sleep… just in time for you to chop them up and devour them, while cackling madly to yourself.
Step 4: Get cookin’
Cicadas are often compared to shellfish, since they’re in the same family (Jeopardy answer: what are arthropods? ALSO: DO NOT EAT THESE IF YOU’RE ALLERGIC TO SHELLFISH.), so just think of the lil’ guys as “shrimp of the land” and cook thusly. Just give them a little rinse; there’s no need to de-wing or de-leg, unless those bits freak you out. In which case, you do realize you’re eating cicadas, right?
Dave Gracer, a Colbert Report-appearing entomophagy expert who sources insects for people to cook with, advises staying away from sauteing the bugs, which makes them taste like “a cross between leather and plastic”. His favorite method is to season ‘em up with salt and spices, toss with some olive oil, and bake them until they’re nice and crunchy. You can sprinkle them over salads (cicada croutons), mix them into pastas, or just pop them in your mouth like cicadacorn, which will now become a thing. Note: Gracer recommends a nice Chardonnay or wheat beer, if you’re doing cicada & booze pairings. Which will also now become a thing.
Lou Sorkin, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History, will be deep-frying and stuffing them into cicada sandos, as one would with fish or crab. He also likes to roast up a batch, then top them with spices — or powdered sugar, if you have a sweet tooth. Seriously. These are all things he does.
For dessert, you could make like Missouri ice cream shop Sparky’s and boil them, drench them in chocolate, and stir them into your favorite flavor of ice cream.
Regina Galvanduque, co-founder of traditional Mexican restaurant Antojeria La Popular in New York (where one can order their specialty: a cricket-topped tostada), finds cicadas not dissimilar to the grasshoppers that are eaten every day in her home country. She’s crafted up a recipe just for us that’s a version of her grandmother’s “green rice”, traditionally prepared with grasshoppers, though cicadas can easily substitute. So stop making that lame coq au vin and listen up:
Arroz Verde a la Mexicana con Chapulines
(Mexican Green Rice with Grasshoppers)
Ingredients (serves 8)
- .5 cup of parsley
- .75 cup of cilantro
- .5 cup of epazote
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 cans of chicken broth
- 1.5 cups white rice
- .25 cup oil
- 2 roasted diced poblano chiles (or more if you want)
- 1 thinly sliced serrano chile without seeds
- .25 white onion chopped
- 1 small diced zucchini (optional)
- 1 cup white corn (can be yellow)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 avocado
- diced queso fresco (as needed)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- White wine
- Boiled grasshoppers or cicadas
- Blend the parsley, cilantro, epazote, serrano chile, garlic, and half the chicken broth until smooth.
- Pour oil into large, heavy frying pan over medium heat, add rice.
- Lightly brown the rice, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add chiles and onion; continue cooking, stirring often, until onions are translucent.
- Add broth mixture from blender and continue to cook for about 10min, stirring often.
- Add zucchini, white corn, carrot, remaining broth, white wine, and salt; stir well.
- As soon as rice comes to a full boil, turn heat to low and cover for 20min.
- Stir before serving.
Can be cooked similarly to the grasshoppers, which is to boil them first, then toast them in a pan or bake them with salt and lime.
Top rice with avocado, cooked cicadas, and diced queso fresco. Have incredibly sexy dinner party!
Posted by Top Chef on June 4th, 2013
Roadkill Cook-Off, Marlinton, W.V., United States
Have you ever seen a dead animal lying on the side of the road and thought, “Wow, I’m hungry?” If you answered yes to this question, then the annual Roadkill Cook-Off in Marlinton, W.V., might be the perfect food festival for you.
Held the last Held the last Saturday in September, this festival features dishes made from creatures who often find themselves flattened on the side of the road. Actual roadkill isn’t used in the dishes, but visitors will be sure to get an authentic roadkill experience with sample dishes such as tacos filled with armadillo, porcupine stew and marinated bear. Yum!
Who thinks we should turn this into our next Culinary Team Building Event?
Posted by Top Chef on May 30th, 2013
I know, I know — I was incredulous, too.
But a new published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture finds that canned peaches (yes, from the grocery store canned aisle) are as loaded with nutrients as fresh peaches. And in some cases, they pack more of a nutritional punch.
Take for instance, vitamin C: Researchers found almost four times more of it in canned than fresh peaches. In addition, canned had comparable levels of vitamin E and a lot more folate than fresh.
What explains this? The reasons some of these nutrients are higher, says a food scientist at the University of California, Davis, is that the “canning process opens the cell walls of the fruit’s flesh, and it makes nutrients such as vitamin A more readily available to our body.” She says it’s the same reason there tends to be higher levels of lycopene in tomato sauce compared with fresh tomatoes.
Now, it may be true that opening a tin can of fruit doesn’t come close to the experience of picking up a fresh peach from a farm stand. I can still recall childhood memories of peach juice dripping down my arm as I devoured the taste of summer.
But let’s be real. The peach season is short. And fresh fruit can be expensive, not to mention dry or tasteless when it’s not ripe.
So if home-canning isn’t your thing, it may be worth giving canned peaches another try. As the points out, they’re picked and packed at the peak of freshness. Just be sure to buy peaches packed in their own juice, not in syrup, to avoid added sugar.
The study was partially funded by the California cling peach industry (that’s the type of peach used in canned peaches), and the industry is not going to be shy about .
But be assured, says researcher Bob Durst of , the lead author of the research: The peach growers had no say in how the test was carried out. “The experimental design was our own,” Durst told me by phone.
It’s actually fairly common these days for industries to provide funding for studies carried out independently by university researchers.
And to guard against something scientists call publication bias — it’s a well-known fact that favorable or positive findings are published at higher rates than negative findings — Durst says he made an agreement.
“The agreement was that whatever the results were, we would publish what we found,” Durst says.
Bottom line: When it comes to peaches, whether they’re fresh, frozen or canned, “all these products contribute to a healthy diet,” says Bruhn, who was not a researcher on the study.
So, eat ‘em up.
Posted by Top Chef on May 29th, 2013
Afraid of heights…this may not be your cup of tea
Mixing construction equipment with gourmet cooking, two Belgian entrepreneurs are trying to elevate haute cuisine.
Their effort began here as a stunt six years ago, when publicist David Ghysels and crane specialist Stefan Kerkhofs seated 22 people around a chef and hoisted everybody 180 feet into the air for a meal. Today, the Dinner in the Sky franchise has tables dangling in more than 40 countries, serving about 1,000 people each month.
Dinner in the Sky
“It’s just a table hanging from a rope,” says Mr. Ghysels, who has been surprised at the entertainment possibilities of extremely conspicuous consumption.
Now, having demonstrated that certain people around the world will fork over up to $500 apiece to dine strapped in like babies in car seats, the Belgian duo are trying to outdo themselves with acrobatic catering. Their latest brainstorm: cocktails served by tightrope walkers.
But finding spin-offs that fly can be tricky. Marriage in the Sky “seemed great on paper” but flopped with Europeans, who balked at spending $15,000 for 20 guests, says Mr. Ghysels. He hopes the concept will take off with adventurous Americans or perhaps in India, where it could serve as one element of lavish, extended wedding ceremonies.
Some meals can become nail-biters. When the team dangled a musical duo to serenade a nearby table of elevated diners, the piano player got scared that his bench would slip off the airborne stage, recalls Mr. Ghysels. But he calmed down.
Dinner is Served—And Hanging From a Rope
See photos from some Dinner in the Sky events.
Diners who have experienced Dinner in the Sky events say it works best in locations with great views.
Even a Michelin two-star chef couldn’t tempt some acrophobic invitees to an exclusive lunch overlooking the Belgian royal palace last summer. Organizer Pascale Dedonker, who is country manager for Switzerland Cheese Marketing, says the promotional event was actually no more disconcerting than a ski lift.
Joy Sinberg insisted that crane operators take her up before she would approve the attraction for guests at a casino complex in Coconut Creek, Fla. She also pressed the team to get a $10 million insurance policy.
“It wasn’t really as dangerous as it sounds,” says Ms. Sinberg, who manages risk and insurance for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of the Hard Rock Cafe chain. “It’s like a big elevator.” A giant fire-spitting dinosaur spectacle at another of the tribe’s casinos “was a lot scarier” she says.
Most guests quickly get in the mood, experienced diners say. Wine promoter Baudouin Havaux staged Cabernet tastings at a table hanging over the Formula One racetrack of the Belgian Grand Prix in 2007 to gin up publicity. The opportunity made jaded adults “as excited as children at Disneyland,” he says.
Some people get too comfortable. Mr. Ghysels recalls “a very famous woman” who was irked by the shoulder straps and kept trying to remove them. After repeated requests to stop, he says, she was asked to leave the table. It descended first.
As with expensive restaurants, location is critical. Dinner in the Sky has run meals with breathtaking views of Rome, São Paulo and Sydney, which help if the novelty of elevation wears off.
“I’ve never heard anyone say, I’d really like to dangle from a crane and be fed,” says Scott Kennedy, co-owner of Candyfish, a sushi restaurant in Delray Beach that did catering for the Seminole casino.
“It’s a cool experience,” he says. But “Delray Beach is not the prettiest city. And at night you can’t see the ocean because it’s pitch black.” His ideal location is Las Vegas.
The owners of Victoria’s Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas agree, which is why they are opening a permanent installation under franchise in a few weeks. “It totally fits Las Vegas,” says spokeswoman Jennie Hendricks.
In the city of nonstop glitz, nobody questioned the idea of two tables going up and down, offering eight “flights” a night, she says. Other questions did arise.
“A lot of people ask how do you go to the bathroom,” Ms. Hendricks says. The trip requires lowering the whole table, which takes about three minutes. “We strongly encourage people to go beforehand,” she says.
And an area on the ground below the table is kept clear in case a diner drops a fork.
Handling such down-to-earth concerns was one of the challenges when the Belgian creators got started. Mr. Ghysels, who is 48 and owns a creative marketing agency called Hakuna Matata, around 2004 wanted to celebrate his daughter’s birthday in the air but lacked lift.
Mr. Kerkhofs, 43, separately hit on the idea of suspending a table. He had grown up playing around heavy equipment at his parents’ construction firm and in 1990 started his own bungee-jump company. “I know what you can do with a crane,” he says.
When an acquaintance connected them in 2006, “it was like telepathy,” says Mr. Kerkhofs, who also owns an event company called the Fun Group.
An early focus was on making the equipment safe and on assuring diners that they wouldn’t slip off. Tables and seats have redundant attachments and an extra person is on hand at each meal to enforce strict procedures. The owners say they realize that an accident could doom their business. “It’s entertainment,” says Mr. Ghysels. “It’s not something necessary.”
After the first meal, in April 2007, drew attention, requests to replicate it arrived from the U.S. and Germany, so the duo began franchising. The tables’ visibility meant they could be turned into floating billboards and thus attract sponsors to offset the high cost of an event.
Expanding into Saudi Arabia posed a problem because of rules against men and women mixing socially. So rather than offering a single table, the company developed a cluster of six four-person tables served by tethered wait staff. The arrangement is now being offered as Lounge in the Sky. Two tables can be removed to make room for musicians or dancers, who perform in tethers similar to parachute harnesses.
While Dinner in the Sky keeps trying new gimmicks—like wrapping a table in rough wood to resemble a beach bar, with palm tree roots dangling—the company has no plans to expand in other directions, like undersea dining. “Water is great, but you need sponsors,” says Mr. Ghysels. “Under water, nobody looks at you except fish.”
Posted by Top Chef on May 28th, 2013
Check Out Barista Kazuki Yamamoto’s Amazing 3-D Latte Art
You are being watched. Photo: Courtesy じょーじ/Twitter
A 26-year-old Osaka-based barista named Kazuki Yamamoto is creating some of the funniest and most impressive latte art we’ve seen these days (and we’ve seen a bunch).
Check out some familiar faces, straight ahead, and head over to Bored Panda to see some of Yamamoto’s most fantastic 3-D latte foam projects, including a giraffe that cranes straight out of the coffee cup, conjoined pandas, and some random guy giving you the thumbs-up, most likely because you’re drinking the best cup of coffee art ever.
Nuts for “Peanuts.” Even Woodstock has a friend; Pig-Pen was robbed. Photo: Courtesy じょーじ/Twitter
Ouuuuch. Photo: Courtesy じょーじ/Twitter
Hope that’s not someone’s koi pond. Photo: Courtesy じょーじ/Twitter
Yamamoto’s entire archive, which seems to be growing by the day, is right here.
Posted by Top Chef on May 23rd, 2013
While many Web sites and apps devoted to dining rely on peer reviews and star ratings, a spate of new apps has eschewed this democratic approach, bypassing the masses for the experts: chefs themselves.
Where Chefs Eat, an iPhone and iPad app released this month, features about 2,300 restaurants recommended by more than 400 chefs, including René Redzepi, Andy Ricker
and April Bloomfield, in 400 cities across the United States and around the world. From humble noodle shops to Michelin-starred restaurants, the app offers an eclectic mix — and is much more portable than the book version, a 704-page reference published in January.
The iPhone app Chefs Feed, which made its debut in 2011, sorts suggestions from about 700 chefs, including Mario Batali, Thomas Keller and Scott Conant, according to cuisine, price and neighborhood. The app features approximately 5,000 restaurants in 20 American cities, plus London, and the company said it will add Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal to its roster this month.
Come November, Chefs Feed will follow the lead of Where Chefs Eat, publishing its own printed guide. Chefs Feed also allows you to follow specific chefs to receive updates on their new finds. And Find. Eat. Drink., an iPhone app released in January, offers a similar service, but branches out a bit — it includes suggestions from sommeliers, bartenders and purveyors in addition to chefs.
Where Chefs Eat App Chefs Feed App Find. Eat. Drink App
Posted by Top Chef on May 17th, 2013
Lunch at the office can be a no-win situation.
Sure, you can go out everyday, but it’s expensive and, let’s be honest, most of us use at least part of the lunch hour working at our desks so having to go out for lunch takes time away from your latest project.
It’s also more difficult to eat healthy because of the temptation of those fantastic looking pictures (of high calorie foods) you have to stare at before you order.
Doing the brown-bag thing can be a cheaper, healthier alternative, but it can get boring always eating the same thing you just had for dinner a few hours ago.
The way to turn lunch from a no-win into a win-win is to start cooking at work.
Channel Your Younger Self
Think back to your college days where you spend hours inventing ways to cook your favorites without leaving your dorm room. You eventually figured out how to cook about anything in your dorm room right? Bring that ingenuity to the office.
Check Out Your Options
The first thing you need to consider is what types of cooking appliances are available, and what others are legal for you to bring.
Microwaves and refrigerators have become relatively standard in most offices, but it’s important to know what other small appliances are available, or legal for you to add.
Items to consider:
- Chiller bag, if you don’t have a fridge
- Tea kettle (to prepare couscous, cook angel hair pasta, etc)
- Toaster over
- Sandwich press
- Small crock-pot
- Rice cooker
Next, check out the shopping options around the office. If there is a local grocery store or small shop, become more familiar with their offerings so you know what is available in a pinch.
Remember, you are not cooking at home, and your mother will not be cleaning up after you. You’re sharing the kitchen space, and the air with many other people.
With this in mind, here are some tips to follow while cooking at work:
- Be careful about cooking items with a strong smell. If too many people are annoyed with the smell of your fish, bad things could happen.
- Make sure there is space available to properly clean up after yourself… and do it!
- Don’t monopolize the entire kitchen area.
If you’re ready to take control of your work lunches, here are some great resources to find recipes that will work.
Put your thinking cap on and get started with cooking at work!
Posted by Top Chef on May 16th, 2013
Beneath the rose glaze lies some pretty genius pastry engineering.
Remember you heard it first from Recipe For Success…The new hot pastry will be the “Cronut” Because it’s part croissant and part doughnut the pastry chef is, appropriately, calling it a cronut. (Go ahead, say cwaahh-nut, you know, French style.) Each one of these puppies is made from pastry dough that’s been sheeted, laminated, proofed, then fried like a doughnut and rolled in flavored sugar. But that’s not all: Cronuts-to-be are also filled with a not-so-sweet Tahitian vanilla cream, given a fresh coat of rose glaze, and bedazzled with rose sugar. Got it? Good. Let’s briefly examine the sheer implausibility and engineering genius that goes into each one of these things.
First off, call your friendly neighborhood pastry chef and ask him or her what happens when you try to fry croissant dough. It’s not pretty. Even if the laminated layers don’t separate instantly and part ways in the hot oil six ways to Sunday, chances are that yeast-leavened dough will have a lumpy, sad, and uneven ascent before it ever gets to the golden brown stage The trick seems to be to fry it in grapeseed oil at one specific (and somewhat secret) temperature.
The fried cronut looks like this on the inside:
To finish, it’s filled with cream, another feat that’s also a bit difficult to pull off in a pastry that has a punched-out center hole. The finished cronut tastes a lot like a classic glazed doughnut, but much more awesome.
Bye Bye Cupcakes (thank god),
Posted by Top Chef on May 15th, 2013
What are you waiting for…It may be inappropriate to wear white before Memorial day but not for grilling. I have been known to use my grill in a snow storm.
What’s the best thing to BBQ? no competition it’s St Louis style Ribs. Here is my favorite recipe…Enjoy!!!
For the ribs and rub
- 3 3 racks baby back pork ribs (about 7 pounds), or 2 racks pork spareribs (6 to 8 pounds total)
- 1/4 cups sweet paprika
- 4 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 4 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoons celery salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
For the mop sauce (optional) Highly recommended
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1/2 cups yellow (ballpark) mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
Step 1: Prepare the ribs and rub: Remove the thin, papery skin from the back of each rack of ribs by pulling it off in a sheet with your fingers, using the corner of a kitchen towel to gain a secure grip, or with pliers.
Step 2: Combine the paprika, black pepper, brown sugar, salt, celery salt, cayenne, garlic powder, dry mustard, and cumin in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Rub two third of this mixture over the ribs on both sides, then transfer the ribs to a roasting pan. Cover and let cure, in the refrigerator, for 4 to 8 hours.
Step 3: Prepare the mop sauce (if using): Mix together the cider vinegar, mustard, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Step 4: Set up the grill for indirect grilling and place a large drip pan in the center.
If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat the grill to high; when smoke appears, reduce the heat to medium.
If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium.
Step 5: When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss the wood chips on the coals. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the ribs on the hot grate over the drip pan. Cover the grill and smoke cook the ribs for 1 hour.
Step 6: When the ribs have cooked for an hour, uncover the grill and brush the ribs with the mop sauce (if using). Recover the grill and continue cooking the ribs until tender and almost done, 1/4 to 1/2 hour longer for the baby back ribs, 1/2 to 1 hour longer for spareribs. The ribs are done when the meat is very tender and has shrunk back from the ends of the bones. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side after 1 hour. Fifteen minutes before the ribs are done, season them with the remaining rub, sprinkling it on.
Step 7: To serve, cut the racks in half, or, for a plate-burying effect, just leave them whole.
My mouth is watering
Posted by Top Chef on May 14th, 2013
Experts have discussed the merits of eating insects for years, but even though it still seems strange and freaky in the U.S., it’s becoming increasingly popular around the world. Today, the Food and Agriculture Organization released a 200-page report at a news conference at the U.N.’s headquarters in Rome. It made a strong case for why humans should eat bugs: They can help fight hunger and pollution while providing high-quality protein and nutrition. We’ve summarized the most persuasive arguments about why you should consider eating lemony ants and popcorn-flavored crickets.
1. 2 billion people already eat insects around the world. And Angelina Jolie is one of them.
2. After two decades of living underground, cicadas are about to attack. They’re actually a rare delicacy that taste like shrimp when boiled, and have a nutty flavor and a buttery texture.
3. There’s already an insect-themed tasting menu. French chef David Faure serves a special bug-centric meal for 59 euros ($76.50) at his Michelin-starred restaurant, Aphrodite, in Nice. He serves crickets, which taste like popcorn, and mealworms, which carry a subtle, nutty flavor.
4. Bugs are a great source of protein and nutrients: Biologists say that the high-quality protein that bugs like beetles, ants, crickets, and grasshoppers provide rivals lean red meat and fish. Insects are also good sources of nutrients like copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and fiber.
5. Eating insects benefits the environment. It’s easy and efficient to convert bugs into edible meat, and they produce few greenhouse gases and feed on human and food waste.
6. Bugs are omnipresent and reproduce quickly — just take a look at your legs come July. Family-run insect farming happens mostly in forests, but with mechanization, it can become more mainstream.
7. Noma chef René Redzepi loves preparing lemony black wood ants and fermented crickets.
8. If you eat bugs now, you’ll be bold enough to try a spider in years to come. The Food and Agriculture Organization says that its Edible Insect Program is studying the benefits of eating arachnids. Scorpion, anyone?
UN SAYS: WHY NOT EAT MORE INSECTS? [AP]
Cicadas: “The Shrimp of the Land” [NBC Philadelphia]
French Chef Puts Crickets on Menu in Push to Use Insects as Food [Bloomberg]
Earlier: Are Bugs Really Going to Be the Next Big Thing?
René Redzepi Brings Bugs to New York, Imagines a Bleak Food Future
Posted by Top Chef on May 13th, 2013
After 60 years of service on Sullivan Street, Joe’s Dairy is closing due to “lagging walk-in sales”. What??? you say, in this day of everyone talking about how important fresh natural ingredients are for good health and good flavor. I thought small batch producers were all the rage in the food world. Joe was one of the original “artesenal” producers and will be sorely missed. If Joe’s store front becomes another Cup Cake store I’ll scream.
Posted by Richard Cooper on October 12th, 2011
As the temperature begins to drop and the leaves start to fall I find myself thinking about the holidays that will be upon us all too soon.
If your company is like most you will celebrate the holidays with a company wide or department holiday party. Having spent some 25 years in the corporate world I have attended many holiday shindigs, they were always fun but pretty shallow at the same time. The best part of the party was usually the next day when the scuttle butt about who over indulged and who made fools of themselves in various ways (and you know who your are) would rapidly make the rounds.
As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.
As a youngster my parents taught me that the holiday season was about Good Cheer, Bringing Tidings of Joy, Acts of Kindness, Good Will to Men, Peace on Earth, Loving, Sharing and Charity by Giving Back to the Community and the Less Fortunate. I wish I could say that I always remember to think of the holidays in those terms, but like many people this time of year sometimes looses its meaning.
Does your company subscribe to the “real” meaning of the holidays when it comes to your party? You can you know. …
We at Recipe For Success have developed a way for you and your firm to give back this holiday season. Our Cooking For a Cause program is designed to bring people that work together a unique way to celebrate together. Instead of your normal Holiday party, Cooking for a Cause offers a fun way to celebrate and give back to your local community.
Cooking For a Cause is a three prong program where everyone cooks food for a local charity…
First, we prepare a hot dish like Lasagna.
Second, we make lunch bags for children. The bags consist of PB&J sandwiches, fruit, and a healthy snack. We make the Peanut Butter from scratch.
Third, we stuff Family Bags full of staple items to help fill the pantry’s of those less fortunate than we are.
We invite a representative from the charity to come to the gathering and give a short talk on how they will use your donation and the state of Hunger in America and your local community.
Just how important is this notion of “giving back”…
The U.S. poverty rate reached 15 percent in 2010, the highest level in almost 20 years — and it would have been much higher without significant government support.
46.2 million people are living in poverty — defined as below $22,000 for a family of four — is equal to the population of California and Colorado combined, an all-time high.
Last year, the homeless population grew by 56 percent — not among chronically homeless tent campers, but families with nowhere to go.
30,000,000 Children go to bed hungry each and every night
Please see our web-site for more details on Cooking For a Cause and our other Culinary Team Building events.
The Holidays are not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.
Posted by Richard Cooper on May 6th, 2011
I have two major life passions (besides my family, who will always be first)…the study of Human Nature and all things Food. As you can tell I’m not a very complicated person. This is my first real Blog attempt, yesterday I couldn’t spell Blob… I am committed to writing at least 2 entries a month that hopefully will catch your attention and keep you reading and motivate you to join in the conversation. I am going to be running at the mouth about 2 things, any guesses? You got it… Food and People, more specifically …how can cooking help us work more effectively together in the corporation, or simply put… Team Work and Team Building.
I am fortunate that I get to travel often, meeting interesting people and eating in great restaurants (and not so great). I am planning to bring you my impressions of restaurants and their chefs, and all types of food establishments from the various cities I visit. In addition, recipes, cooking techniques, kitchen gadgets and equipment and other Foodie subjects you might be interested in. I would love and hope to hear from you on what you read here and any topics that you would like to talk about or that might just pop into your head…Please help me, I know I will run out of ideas all too soon.
Whenever someone asks me what kind of work I do (people always ask about your work, don’t they) I know I am in for a conversation, when I tell them I am the founder of “Recipe For Success” which produces Team Building events for corporations. More specifically Culinary Team Building events… I don’t wait for them to ask, I try and provide a simple explanation. The objective of this Team Building program is to use food preparation and the gourmet meal that is produced, as an active and powerful metaphor. The group will experience all the components of a functioning team, bond together and get to know each other in a unique environment outside of the work place. Typically we are part of a multi-day off site meeting. We break large groups into smaller teams…each team is responsible for cooking one dish as part of an International Buffet that they will eat for lunch or dinner that day… “So”…, they ask with interested eyes, the eyes give it away, I know I will be there a while. Well, the teams prepare their dish without a recipe…, “What do Team Building and cooking have in common????” You’ll just have to wait until my next Blog entry to find out.
Food Funny…1 small Roast of beef
1 large Roast of beef
Take the two roasts and put them in the oven.
When the little one burns, the big one is done.
Posted by Richard Cooper on July 27th, 2010
Be the first to answer our Trivia question and win a great prize!
Tokyo, never really considered a culinary Mecca by most, in my humble opinion belongs near the top of any Foodie’s list of the world’s great cuisines.
A bold statement I know, and I will most likely receive some comments from my French, Italian and American foodie friends, asking if I have finally lost my mind. These retorts I am sure will come from those who have never visited this world class gastronomic city.
I recently returned from producing our first Recipe For Success Culinary Teambuilding event ( www.recipeforsuccess.com ) in this part of the world, lucky me.
First, I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to my new friends Sara, Akemi and Iwoo who took me under their wings and showed me places and things I would never have found on my own. They took me to unbelievable restaurants and introduced me to some of the best food that has ever passed through these lips. Their warmth and hospitality was second to none and indicative of their city’s citizens and culture. Thanks!
The Team Cuisine event was a great success, in large part due to the quality of the ingredients. I have been fortunate to travel to many great “eating” cities but never have I had the good fortune to work with ingredients of such high quality. The shrimps (with heads still on) were so fresh I could swear they were moving. The produce was fresh and bursting with flavor. Everything looked and tasted as if it was picked or caught that day.
Prior to the event I was a bit nervous about the language barrier as most of the participants did not speak English and I can’t count to three in Japanese. I guess the old adage “ Breaking Bread together brings people together” is true. Imagine what making and breaking bread together can accomplish. Cooking has shown itself to be the true international language.
So, what did I eat in Tokyo and why was it so good? Those wonderful ingredients were served in every establishment I ate in, be it a formal high end restaurant or a street stall with 10 seats serving Yakatori (usually chicken or strange chicken parts, hearts, liver etc.) grilled on skewers with some sort of terrific BBQ type sauce, Yum. Needless to say I ate my share. IF I saved all my skewers and brought them home, my bag would have incurred overweight charges from the Japan Air. One of the items I needed to close my eyes before putting it in my mouth was a Yakatori of raw chicken. Well not really raw but seared on the outside and very rare on the inside like we cook Tuna here. Delicious once I got passed the cultural thing…. Don’t try this at home.
The weather was hot, very hot and humid to boot, but that doesn’t stop the Japanese people from eating hot soup. It seems that some kind of soup was served at every meal, breakfast included. In the USA we have Starbucks on every corner, in Tokyo they have Ramen Shops (Noodle Shops serving mostly big steaming hot bowls of rich noodle soup with veggies, seafood , pork or beef). The hot weather didn’t stop me from having a bowl just about everyday. The culturally correct way to partake is to “slurp” the noodles and soup. With every chop stick or spoon full, I thought about what my mom would say about slurping. Ramen has become very popular in New York and new shops are popping up almost every day. Some are very good but for the most part don’t measure up to Tokyo’s rich broth and hand pulled noodles. Will I continue to eat Ramen in the summer? You bet, and all fall, winter and spring too.
I’m getting a bit long winded and have lot’s more to say, stay tuned in to my next Blog installment. In the meantime try your hand at this week’s trivia question. The first person to e-mail me the correct answer will win a copy of Japanese Cooking A Simple Art, 25Th Anniversary Edition
• By Tsuji, Shizuo
Since its release twenty-five years ago, Shizuo Tsuji’s encyclopedic and authoritative work has been the acknowledged bible of Japanese cooking. Unrivaled in its comprehensive explanation of ingredients, tools, and techniques, the book guides readers through recipes with clear prose, while technical points are made understandable with deftly executed line drawings.
After introducing ingredients and utensils, the twenty chapters that make up Part One consist of lessons presenting all the basic Japanese cooking methods and principal types of prepared foods—making soup, slicing sashimi, grilling, simmering, steaming, noodles, sushi, pickles, and so on—with accompanying basic recipes. Part Two features 130 carefully selected recipes that range from everyday fare to intriguing challenges for the adventurous cook. Together with the recipes in Part One, these allow the cook to build a repertoire of dishes ranging from the basic “soup and three” formula to a gala banquet.
Trivia Question: New York boasts some 40,000 restaurants… How many are said to be in Tokyo?
Posted by Richard Cooper on July 26th, 2010
Being on the cutting edge of team building is a hard job but someone has to do it. When we introduced TeamCuisine almost 6 years ago, cooking and team building were not the hit they are today. Foodies and non-foodies have enjoyed our cooking team building events and while I was putting together some testimonials, I thought that our clients can tell you about it better than I ever could. Thanks to all of you for some great events these last 6 years!
“Everyone enjoyed the evening and thought the cooking was a blast. They really had a good time with it and we will do it again. Overall, it was very very positive and I thank you for pulling it all together at the last minute.”
Flik Conference Services on site at Pfizer Inc
“Stewart and Ann put on a wonderful event for our group last night!! Thank you for bringing “your best” to our dinner. The group was really engaged and the food tasted wonderful. I can’t wait to share this success with all of my colleagues.”
“The event was fantastic and all the guys had a great time. Richard was great!”
Nissan Canada Inc.
“Feedback from last night has been awesome!! Thanks so much for a great event.
“It went well! Our people really enjoyed themselves and for those who normally don’t cook, learned something new. I’ve received a lot of good feedback.”
Deloitte Services LP
“The event was a big hit!! I can’t thank you, Jeff and Craig enough! I look forward to working with your company again.”
Booz | Allen | Hamilton
“Your team did a fabulous job with the event, they actually handled the first hour on their own while we set the dining area. Our store directors had an amazing time and the meal was very good. Thank you for pulling this together so quickly…”
Note: This event was produced in the clients office
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank you and Richard for another “outstanding” event. I hope to get to meet you someday, as I am sure ExxonMobil will continue to do business with you in the future.
Some of the comments / feedback I received…
“Please provide me with “Recipe for Success” contact information – I want
to use them for an upcoming / future event – I have haven’t had this much
fun at a Team Building Event in a long time”
“What a blast – it gave me time to bond with others in a fun and relaxing
“How and where did you find these people! They put on a great show”
“That was alot of fun – I never knew I could cook”
“We really had a great time at our meeting! This is definitely a night no one will forget.”
State Farm Insurance
“Thank you for everything from the food to the team building to the professionalism and then some. They raved about it and suggested I spread the word to the rest of the company for future events. From a planning perspective everyone was extremely helpful too.”
Valerie S., CMP Meeting Planner
American Express Business Travel
“The event went perfectly! I can’t even tell you how wonderful Craig and Jon (? – his partner) were. Everyone had a wonderful time!”
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
“I’m going to pass your name on to a few folks that are taking lead on our different offsite events for balance of year. Of course, there’s always next year to plan for and believe me, you guys are at the top of my list! You did a wonderful job getting things pulled together for us last minute and you made me look great!!! That’s always a plus!”
PepsiCo Financial Shared Services
“Thanks for your wonderful event! It was such a pleasure to meet you and take part in such a unique team-building experience. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as well as the delicious dishes!”
Raytheon Missile Systems
“Thank you again, for a successful event. It is now the one to top.”
Raytheon Legal Department
“Thank you for a wonderful team event! Richard was great. Everyone is still talking about it.”
Oracle Technology Business Unit
“Thank You for a fabulous Team Cuisine event. Everyone seemed to have a great time…. a few of them were having too much fun! I really appreciate you making this event so successful, especially with such short notice. Thanks again for a fabulous event. I hope we have an opportunity to work together again!”
Jackie – Event Planner for Bank of America
“The session was very well received — we had had a difficult afternoon and it turned the group’s mood around — I was also able to leverage it with a deeper debrief the next morning. I greatly enjoyed the set-up and Nadine’s “gentle support” to the teams during the session was helpful … it was very professional and not “tacky”.”
Brian – Johnson & Johnson
“We had a wonderful time! Facing a set of challenges that were very different than what we do 50-60 hours a week, we all learned different and surprising things about each other and I think everyone appreciated the new perspectives we now have on our colleagues. I think we’ll be a closer, better team for it. You were an excellent, low-key, firm, helpful leader with a great sense of humor. Thanks so much. Everyone wants to do it again – so we’ll be in touch!”
Lea – Public Broadcasting Systems
“I loved it! (As you probably knew I would.) Lessons learned:
- Everyone has something to contribute.
- There’s a lot of creativity and imagination in this group.
- Things run smoothly when we check our egos at the door.
- Where one person is weak (e.g. my artistic sense is non-existent), another is strong (thank you, January); we complement one another.
- Even a near-disaster can be rectified (cf. the dessert, which, BTW, was divine).
- Even when there’s something you dislike or of which you disapprove, if it’s a necessary element, you just shut up and accept it. (I know this is anathema, but I hate tarragon – it’s such a fussy herb – but that’s what our recipe called for. And a lot of other people – even people I respect! – like it.
- We can COOK!”
Joan – Accenture
“It was a pleasure. We opened to rave reviews and I’m sure you’ll see us again!”
Vincent – Bank of America
Posted by Richard Cooper on June 25th, 2010
During Mr. Cooper’s 25 years of publishing trade magazines for the Food & Wine industries he traveled the world meeting and taking private cooking classes with top International chefs.
Richard left that world to follow his dream of opening a cooking school (My Mothers Kitchen) in New York. This transition led to understanding the many parallels of managing teams in the kitchen and the corporation.
As interest in these similar environments grew, Mr. Cooper developed Recipe for Success, and our flagship program Team Cuisine. These programs were designed to aid in effective Team Development, Team Building and Team Bonding, while enhancing a firm’s social capital, using the Culinary Arts as a metaphor for the corporate environment.
Richard lives in Connecticut with his wife and Daughter.
Recipe for Success