Street Fare: Neon Pizza Man, Upper West Side, New York City

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April 20, 2004

 


Agenda: 4/28 to 5/4

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1. Say Cheese, "a tongue-titillating tasting of artisanal cheeses and wines, and the songs they inspire," begins Wednesday, April 28, and continues through Friday, June 11, at The West Bank Café-Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 West 42nd Street, Manhattan Plaza. $60/ticket (212.279.4200).
2. Wine and Peanut Butter Pairing, featuring pairings such as "Spicy Peanut Butter with a nice Syrah" and "Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter with a Tawny Port," Saturday, May 1, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Best Cellars New York, 1291 Lexington Avenue, at 87th Street (212.426.4200).
3. Food Consumption, Topographies of Taste, and Ethnic Identity in Italian Harlem, 1920-1940, a lecture by Simone Cinotto, University of Turin, on the role of food in the construction of Italian-American culture and identity, Tuesday, May 4, 6:30 p.m., at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, 25 West 43rd St., 17th Floor, (between 5th and 6th Avenues). Free admission, limited seating (212.642.2094). [via Food History News]
4. Il Buco Wine Dinner, six-course tasting menu with organic wines from The Robert Sinskey Winery in the Napa Valley and featuring Maria Helm Sinskey, chef and author of The Vineyard Kitchen, Tuesday, May 4, at Il Buco, 47 Bond Street, between Bowery and Lafayette. $95/person, reservations suggested (212.533.1932).

Ongoing Events:
1. A Distant View, an exhibition of photographs by Martha Carroll of the Parisian market Les Halles, March 29 through May 14 at La Maison Francaise, New York University, 16 Washington Mews (212.998.8750).
2. Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, a special exhibition of the utensils developed to serve these products when they were introduced through trade in the 17th century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. The exhibition closes July 11, 2004 (212.535.7710).
3. Cookin': A Sizzling Entertainment, "a fast-paced kitchen percussion show combining comedy, rhythm, and non-verbal performance," at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (212.420.8000).
4. My Kitchen Wars, a one-woman play based on the life of food writer Betty Fussell, March 5 through May 1, at the 78th Street Theater Lab, 236 West 78th St. at Broadway. $35/person (212.873.9050).

 


Stolen Sorbet

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The recipe for this mascarpone sorbet is from Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook. Mr. Keller admits to stealing it from Alain Ducasse, and, to come clean, I first came across it while reading an entry at The Cheese Diaries. This looked too easy, so to verify that the ingredients and method listed were correct, I went to Barnes and Noble, grabbed a copy of the The French Laundry Cookbook, took pen and paper, and cribbed the recipe directly from the book. But, The Cheese Diaries got it right after all.

The recipe is a minimalist combination of mascarpone, simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water combined), and lemon juice. Unlike ice cream, the sorbet contains no eggs, and so it is just slightly less rich. The absence of eggs also eliminates a major step in ice cream-making, cooking the eggs to form a custard. To make this sorbet, the mascarpone is liquefied with the simple syrup in a blender and frozen in an ice cream maker. Lemon juice is added just at the very end of the freezing process.

I found that the sorbet took quite a while to freeze. In fact, after 40 minutes of churning, when the ice cream maker actually gave out and died (R.I.P., 2001 to 2004), the sorbet finally came together, though still somewhat loose. But, after a couple of hours in the freezer, it solidified into a firm but pliable texture.

The final result is extremely creamy, but it also has a tangy bite from the the addition of lemon juice. Mr. Keller's recipe calls for serving the sorbet with a rhubarb confit, orange, and candied fennel to create a "'Salad' du Printemps," but it is excellent just as it is, or with the addition of fresh berries.

 


Shopping List: Spring's Bounty

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Is there anything more beautiful than Central Park in early spring?

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Agenda: 4/21 to 4/27

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1. Dine in Brooklyn, $18.98 prix-fixe menus at participating Brooklyn restaurants, continues through Thursday, April 22 (718.802.3846).
2. Cocktails and Exclusive Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Loire Wine Tasting, wine tasting and auction of rare wines, benefiting Heart's Home, Thursday, April 22, 7:00 p.m., Consulate General of France, 934 Fifth Avenue, at 74th Street. $75/person.
3. Shad Bake, featuring samples of baked, smoked, and pickled shad, "one of the best eating fish that swims,” Sunday, April 25, 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., at The River Project, Pier 26 at West Street, between Canal and Chambers. Free (212.233.3030).
4. Ekiben: A Culinary Train Tour of Japan, a presentation by food writer Elizabeth Andoh on regional Japanese cuisine, hosted by the Culinary Historians of New York, Monday, April 26, 6:30 p.m. reception/7:00 p.m. program, at the Horticultural Society of New York, 128 West 58 Street. Members/$25, Guests/$30 (212.334.4175).

Ongoing Events:
1. A Distant View, an exhibition of photographs by Martha Carroll of the Parisian market Les Halles, March 29 through May 14 at La Maison Francaise, New York University, 16 Washington Mews (212.998.8750).
2. Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, a special exhibition of the utensils developed to serve these products when they were introduced through trade in the 17th century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. The exhibition closes July 11, 2004 (212.535.7710).
3. Cookin': A Sizzling Entertainment, "a fast-paced kitchen percussion show combining comedy, rhythm and non-verbal performance," at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (212.420.8000).
4. My Kitchen Wars, a one-woman play based on the life of food writer Betty Fussell, March 5 through May 1, at the 78th Street Theater Lab, 236 West 78th St. at Broadway. $35/person (212.873.9050).

 


Is My Blog Burning? Post-Proustian Madeleines

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I've had madeleines on my mind recently, and Renee’s call to create a cake for the third installment of Is My Blog Burning? provided an excellent opportunity to actually make the little cakes for the first time.

The small, buttery cakes, which, as Marcel Proust describes in Remembrance of Things Past, “look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell,” will be forever associated with his meditation on time and memory.

One bite into the the madeleine triggers a flood of memories of youth spent in the fictional village of Combray. Eventually, the town of Illiers, Proust’s ancestral home, morphed itself into Illiers-Combray, a ville touristique,” where some 2,000 madeleines are sold every month to visiting Proustophiles.

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Street Fare: Design Detail on a Truck, Upper East Side, New York City

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April 15, 2004

 


Agenda: 4/14 to 4/20

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1. Taste of the Lower East Side, a sampling of food from 25 area restaurants to benefit the Grand Street Settlement, Thursday, April 15, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., at Orensanz Center for the Arts, 172 Norfolk Street between East Houston Street and Stanton Street. $85 to $300/person (212.674.1740, ext. 287).
2. Dine in Brooklyn, $18.98 prix-fixe menus at participating Brooklyn restaurants, Thursday, April 15 to Thursday, April 22 (718.802.3846).
3. Foodie, a six-course Spring menu paired with 1994 Bordeaux, Sunday, April 18, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at Gallery A, 12 Avenue A (between 1st and 2nd Streets). $200/person, advance reservations required (contact: [email protected]).
4. Pinot and Pork, a tasting of pork dishes and pinot noir, benefiting Slow Food, Monday, April 19, 7:00 p.m. to 900 p.m., at The Plaza (Fifth Avenue at Central Park South). $65/person, $55/Slow Food Members (866.KOBRAND).
5. Grand Gourmet: The Flavor of Midtown, tasting of food from Midtown establishments, benefiting Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services, Monday, April 19, 7:30 p.m., at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. $75/person in advance, $85/person at the door (212.239.6200).
6. Valhrona Chocolate Tasting, sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), Tuesday, April 20, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, 2 West Street. $40/AIWF members, $45/non-members.

Ongoing Events:
1. A Distant View, an exhibition of photographs by Martha Carroll of the Parisian market Les Halles, March 29 through May 14 at La Maison Francaise, New York University, 16 Washington Mews (212.998.8750).
2. Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, a special exhibition of the utensils developed to serve these products when they were introduced through trade in the 17th century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. The exhibition closes July 11, 2004 (212.535.7710).
3. Cookin': A Sizzling Entertainment, "a fast-paced kitchen percussion show combining comedy, rhythm and non-verbal performance," at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (212.420.8000).
4. My Kitchen Wars, a one-woman play based on the life of food writer Betty Fussell, March 5 through May 1, at the 78th Street Theater Lab, 236 West 78th St. at Broadway. $35/person (212.873.9050).

 


Blue Hill at Stone Barns

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The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a non-profit founded by David Rockefeller and his daughter, Peggy Dulany, is set to open in May 2004. The Stone Barns Center is located in Pocantico, the 4,000 acre country estate in Westchester County established by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

According to the Stone Barns Center Web site, its mission is “to demonstrate, teach, and promote sustainable, community-based food production”:

Our goal is to find a modern expression for the traditional diversified family farm in this new age of industrial scale agriculture. When the renovation of Stone Barns is complete, the Center will consist of a multipurpose educational facility, an environmentally sustainable farm with a minimally heated greenhouse and outdoor production gardens, a restaurant and café, with adjacent walking trails, grazing pastures, and meadows.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, an extension of Blue Hill in New York City, will operate a working farm, restaurant, and educational center at Stone Barns. The 125-seat restaurant promises a “seasonal, ingredient driven menu” prepared under the direction of executive chef Michael Anthony and chef/owner Dan Barber.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns opens for business on May 1. Reservations can be made by calling 914.366.9600.

Update: Dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Photo: The Hay Barn, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Blue Hill at Stone Barns (courtesy of Blue Hill at Stone Barns).

 


Street Fare: Roadside Corn Sign, Erwinna, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

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April 10, 2004