1. Food writer Melissa Clark will moderate a panel discussion with fellow food writers Jeffrey Steingarten, Donna Hay, and Ruth Reichl on Wednesday, October 15, 6:30 p.m., at Borders, 461 Park Avenue. Free. The event is the first in a series of New York is Cookbook Country special events.
2. Special beer dinner at Restaurant Saul held by Garret Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster, Wednesday, October 15, 6:30 p.m., 140 Smith Street (at Bergen Street), Brooklyn. $60/person (718.935.9844). [via New York Times print edition]
3. Another New York is Cookbook Country event takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 16, at the Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue: Judith Jones, Senior Editor, Alfred A. Knopf, will moderate a panel discussion with chefs Waldy Malouf, Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud, and Lidia Bastianich. Free. [Editor's Note: Refresh yourself with a shakerato at nearby Crestanello before the talk]
4. Oktoberfest Beer Dinner at Oscar's at the Waldorf-Astoria, 50th Street and Lexington Avenue, Friday, October 17, 6:00 p.m. $70/person (212.872.4920). [via New York Times print edition]
5. Tour Long Island's Pellegrini Vineyards and Paumanok Winery with Andrew Harwood of NYC Wine Class, Saturday, October 18. Tour departs Manhattan at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 6:00 p.m. $100/person (212.289.3543).
6. New York is Cookbook Country comes to an end on Saturday, October 18, with book signings by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau, authors of Once Upon a Tart, and the Moosewood Collective, authors of Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates, at the Union Square Greenmarket. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., respectively.
7. Twentieth Annual Cranberry Festival of Chatsworth, a celebration of New Jersey's cranberry harvest, Saturday, October 18, and Sunday, October 19 in downtown Chatsworth. Free admission.
8. Seventh Annual Brooklyn Eats Tasting Event, benefiting scholarships in the hospital industry, Monday, October 20, 2003 6:30pm to 8:30pmFood, New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street (Between Tillary St. and Willoughby St.), Brooklyn. $60/person advance; $85 at the door. Tickets (866.468.7619). [via New York Times print edition]
9. WhiskyFest New York, featuring tastings of more than 250 whiskies, Tuesday, October 21, 6:30 to 10:00 p.m., at the Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway. $95 advance tickets only (800.610.MALT). [via New York Times print edition]
Coming Up in Next Week's Agenda:
1. Experience the Way of Tea, featuring traditional tea service in contemporary tea houses designed and installed by Japanese designer Shigeru Uchida. Wednesday, October 22, and Thursday, October 23, hourly between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., at the Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street. $15 for members/$20 for non-members (212.752.3015).
2. Slow Food USA and The French Culinary Institute present Urban Harvest 2003: Savoring City and Country, Sunday, October 26, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., 462 Broadway at Grand Street. Tickets: $40 for Slow Food members/$50 for non-members, in advance; $50 for Slow Food members/$60 for non-members, at the door (212.965.5640).
This is the crispiest fried chicken that was never fried. Since the meat cooks in the oven, rather than splattering away on the range, it's also the cleanest-cooking fried chicken you will ever make. Moreover, there's no greasy taste or texture because the chicken is cooked with only two tablespoons of butter and no oil. You heard that right: No oil goes into making this fried chicken.
The recipe, "Judy Hesser's Oven-Fried Chicken," comes from New York Times food writer Amanda Hesser and appeared in her book Cooking for Mr. Latte (the story, recipe, and directions are also available here and here).
The critical step in making the chicken crisp and succulent is, oddly enough, soaking the meat in ice-cold salted water, sort of an icy brine, for several hours prior to cooking. Ms. Hesser explains: "It seasons the meat and tightens the flesh, so the skin crisps better and the seasoning permeates the meat."
Also important is giving the chicken enough time to become brown and crisp on each side. This took about 55 minutes on the skin side and 45 minutes on the other side, and be careful not to lose that crusty coating when you flip the pieces.
Ms. Hesser indicates that the flour may also be seasoned with lemon zest and/or Parmigiano-Reggiano for a brighter, nuttier flavor. Consider experimenting with dry spices or fresh herbs (rosemary comes to mind, if it won't burn) to achieve other tasty variations on the original recipe.
Back on September 26th, I posted about a quick cucumber salad made with cucumbers, lemon, and mint. Shortly thereafter, Wena wrote up step-by-step instructions on mum-mum for a Malaysian version incorporating onions, rice vinegar, and chiles.
I finally made her recipe, with a couple of minor changes. I used two English cucumbers (rather than the unusual Asian cucumbers she described) and a peeler to make wide slices of unseeded cucumber, setting aside the portion with seeds. In addition, I tried to find the Medusa pepper she recommended, but ended up with a long red chile of mysterious (unlabeled) origin.
The recipe calls for salting the cucumber and onion for one hour to drain the vegetables of water. The salting process had an incredible effect on the cucumber, turning the long, wide slices I had made into narrow, soft, spaghetti-like strips which still retained their essential crunch. The addition of sugar and vinegar to the combination of cucumber, onions, and chiles gave the salad a distinct pickled flavor.
The end result is a refreshing salad of contrasts: Sweet and sour, soft and crunchy, hot and cool.
A pattern is emerging: The increasingly confounding behavior of celebrity chefs in the media. Whether getting naked for the camera or overreaching to sell a product, the number of these odd occurrences seems to be rising. I have already posted links to some of these confounding career turns in Appetizers, but here they are together in one place, along with a few others:
Rick Bayless's endorsement of the Burger King Southwestern Sandwich. Related: 500+ reactions on eGullet.
"Chardonnay, Shellfish & Schubert."
Andrea Immer: Sommelier or DJ?
Famous Chefs Naked with Their Blenders
Wylie Dufresne, Eric Ripert, and other noted chefs strip down for calendar and ad campaign.
"When they start cooking, they bake, rattle, and roll."
Laurent Gras, Suzanne Goin, Eric Ripert, Scott Conant, and Dean Fearing pose as mock rock band on the cover of Gourmet's October 2003 issue.
From EVOO to FHM
TV cook Rachel Ray poses for lad mag.
"Eat, drink, bet. Life is sweet."
Mario Batali in a commercial for Off Track Betting (OTB) (directed by Michael Imperioli, no less).
Slow Food Berkshire Columbia has teamed up with heritage breed farmers Dominic Palumbo, Moon in the Pond Farm (see related post), and Sean Stanton, North Plain Farm, to offer heritage breed turkeys for Thanksgiving. The farmers have 56 Narragansett, Blue Slate, and Bourbon Red turkeys. Thirty birds, weighing between 10 and 20 pounds, will be available for purchase by Thanksgiving.
The price for these rare turkeys is $6.50/lb (including a $30 deposit).
1. Great Museum Cafeterias of the Western World, a talk and slide show with cartoonist Ben Katchor, Wednesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m., at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place (212.945.0039). Free (donation suggested) [via The New Yorker]
2. Friday, October 10, Tribeca stalwart Bubby's opens a branch in Brooklyn at 1 Main Street in DUMBO (718-222-0666). [via New York Magazine]
3. On Sunday, October 12, Dan Barber and Michael Anthony of Blue Hill will prepare a special Fall feast at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. The event is part of the Outstanding in the Field farm dinner series, which pairs organic farmers with noted chefs. For information and reservations, call 877.886.7409.
Inspired by my improvised cucumber salad, Wena has provided an excellent recipe, with step-by-step instructions and photos, for a cucumber salad with rice vinegar, onions, sugar, and chile over at mum-mum.
The salad looks great, but I am perplexed by the cucumbers she describes and the preparation that is needed in order to eat them. Is this a breed of the vegetable that you don't find in the United States?