Pop Art Toaster

Poparttoaster5

This Pop Art Toaster, found at shelter and design blog shelterrific, comes with six toasting stencils that enable you to imprint your morning slice with charred "art" – images ranging from snowflakes to smiley faces. The toaster is available at Target stores in red, black, and white.

 


Pop Art Toaster

Poparttoaster5

This Pop Art Toaster, found at shelter and design blog shelterrific, comes with six toasting stencils that enable you to imprint your morning slice with charred "art" – images ranging from snowflakes to smiley faces. The toaster is available at Target stores in red, black, and white.

 


Agenda: 5/24 to 5/30

1. Ice Cream Tasting, Bobbie Meyzen, co-owner of Crème Crèmaillère Ice Cream, will lead an ice cream talk and blind tasting on Wednesday, May 24, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at the 92nd Street Y, Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street. $35/person (212.415.5500).

2. The Reach of a Chef, author Michael Ruhlman will read from his new book, The Reach of a Chef, Wednesday, May 24, 7:00 p.m., at Borders at the Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle (212.823.9775).

3. Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese, affineur Daphne Zepos, homebrewer Jon Lundbom, and brewmaster Tom Baker, Heavyweight Brewing Company, will lead a discussion and pairing of beer and cheese (including cheeses that have been washed with beer), on Thursday, May 25, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, 500 West 37th Street, 2nd Floor. $75/person (877.797.1200).

4. Broadway Panhandler Moving Sale, in preparation for its move to its new 8th Street location, the kitchen supply superstore is holding a Memorial Day weekend sale of up to 75 percent off on assorted cookware and bakeware, Saturday, May 27, through Monday, May 29, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at Broadway Panhandler, 477 Broome Street (212.966.3434).

5. Hot Dog Eating Contest, franfurter eaters will battle for gut-busting glory (and a $500 prize) at the Second Annual Schnack Stahl Meyer Hot Dog Eating Contest, Monday, May 29, 1:00 p.m., at Schnack Restaurant, 122 Union Street, Brooklyn (718.855.2879).

 


Navigating the Modern Market

What to Eat

What to Eat, the latest book from nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, attempts to address the increasing confusion among consumers about the myriad food choices presented by today's retail food marketplace. "This book is about how to think abour the food you eat," writes Dr. Nestle. "By the time you finish it, you should be able to walk into a supermarket, a restaurant, a fast-food outlet, or any other place that sells food and know why the foods are there, what they are, and whether they are worth buying."

 


Navigating the Modern Market

What to Eat

What to Eat, the latest book from nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, attempts to address the increasing confusion among consumers about the myriad food choices presented by today's retail food marketplace. "This book is about how to think abour the food you eat," writes Dr. Nestle. "By the time you finish it, you should be able to walk into a supermarket, a restaurant, a fast-food outlet, or any other place that sells food and know why the foods are there, what they are, and whether they are worth buying."

 


Nibbly Nibs

Sweetriot10

Cacao nibs, the broken bits of roasted cocoa beans, seem to be everywhere—lending their deep, rich, and versatile flavor to things sweet and savory, from muffins to coffee to sausage. New York-based Sweetriot has turned the nibs into a confection, covering the tiny morsels of bean in a layer of dark chocolate and packaging them in small tins for ease of snacking. The all-natural, GMO-free, kosher, and gluten-free candies come in three levels of intensity, the darkest of which has an added kick due to the addition of espresso.

 


Nibbly Nibs

Sweetriot10

Cacao nibs, the broken bits of roasted cocoa beans, seem to be everywhere—lending their deep, rich, and versatile flavor to things sweet and savory, from muffins to coffee to sausage. New York-based Sweetriot has turned the nibs into a confection, covering the tiny morsels of bean in a layer of dark chocolate and packaging them in small tins for ease of snacking. The all-natural, GMO-free, kosher, and gluten-free candies come in three levels of intensity, the darkest of which has an added kick due to the addition of espresso.

 


In Search of Fluffy White

Frosting

I love frosting. Love frosting. Which—I know—in these days of cupcake mania, is pretty run of the mill. Every time I turn around there’s another new retro bakery peddling little cakes with a big dollop of pastel goo. But what I really love, specifically, is cheap frosting. I actually dislike real buttercream. I can’t stand the density of powdered sugar and butter icing (e.g. Magnolia Bakery’s), or the hardened-butter texture of a shiny—slimy! —buttercream frosting, the real kind made with sugar syrup and eggs (e.g. the Cupcake Café’s).

I admit it: I prefer fake frosting. Canned ready-to-spread frosting. And since I’m telling it all, what I especially enjoy is Betty Crocker’s Whipped Frosting in that brilliant artificial flavor General Mills has dubbed "Fluffy White." Who knew fluffy white had a taste? But it does, and it’s delicious.

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Agenda: 5/17 to 5/23

1. Skip Lunch Fight Hunger, annual fundraising drive calls upon individuals and corporations to donate the equivalent of their lunch money on Wednesday, May 17, to help support City Harvest's "Feed the Kids" campaign. Donations may be made online or at participating Starbucks.

2. Tibetan Yak Cheese Week, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity and Trace Foundation will present a series of events to celebrate the cheese of of Tibet, made from yak's milk from high up on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Friday, May 19, to Friday, May 26. An opening reception, featuring a cheese tasting, will be held on Friday, May 19, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Latse Contemporary Tibetan Cultural Library, 132 Perry St., #2B (contact pvanzo@trace.org or 212.367.7380 for more information).

3. New York Culinary Festival, three day food fest will feature cooking demonstrations, seminars, tastings of dishes from New York restaurants, manicures, and more, Friday, May 19, 6:00 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, May 20, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., and Sunday, May 21, 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Pier 94, 54th St. at Twelfth Ave. $20/person admission plus $2 to $6/dish (800.555.MENU).

4. International Food Festival, annual street food festival takes over Ninth Avenue from 37th to 57th Streets, Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, 9:00 a.m. to 7 p.m.

5. Taste of Tribeca, annual culinary festival, benefiting the arts and enrichment programs at Tribeca elementary schools P.S. 150 and P.S. 234, will feature tastings of dishes from 59 Tribeca restaurants, Saturday, May 20, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Duane Street between Greenwich and Hudson Streets. $40 tasting card (purchased in advance) or $45 (day of the event) buys six tastes (purchase tickets online or at 866.468.7619).

6. Pastry Conference, pastryscoop.com will hold its spring 2006 conference featuring a series of specialized workshops on the pastry arts, Sunday, May 21, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at The French Culinary Institute, 462 Broadway. $50/workshop, plus a $5 service fee per registrant (888.a.pastry).

7. Crab Festival, chefs will compete to make the best crabcakes, plus crab tastings, and more, to benefit City Harvest, Sunday, May 21, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at BLT Fish, 21 West 17th Street. $35/person (212.691.8888).

8. Alimentum Reading, a wine reception and reading from the Summer issue of literary food journal Alimentum will take place on Monday, May 22, 6:30 p.m., at The Mercantile Library, 17 East 47th Street. Free (RSVP to 212.755.6710).

9. Cooking for Kings, actor, food historian, and author Ian Kelly will discuss the life of chef Antonin Carême, who served Napoleon, the Tsar of Russia, and the King of England, on Monday, May 22, 6:30 p.m. at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street. $60/person (fee includes a ticket to Kelly’s one-man show, Cooking for Kings, at the 59E59 Theaters) (212.849.8380).

10. The Extra Virgin Dinner, the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food will present a four-course menu featuring extra virgin olive oils, Monday, May 22, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Baldoria Restaurant, 249 West 49th Street. $85/person (718.229.6565).

 


Salade Macédoine

Macedonia2

I was invited to go to Macedonia recently, but I realized that I had only the vaguest idea of where Macedonia is actually located on a map. I suspected that it was one of the many little countries that spun off from the former Yugoslavia, and I did recall some distant association with Alexander the Great. But the only immediate association I could make to Macedonia was…salad.

In Italian, a macedonia is a fruit salad, and in French, a salade macédoine is a vegetable salad. In fact, in France, it’s a classic institutional appetizer, served in the finest school cafeterias and consisting of cooked peas, carrots, green beans and turnips in a heavy mayonnaise dressing that looks like white sludge and, as I recall from my elementary school days in France, tastes just as good (here's a commercial version, minus the sludge).

So where the hell is Macedonia? And how it is that chopped carrots and peas and pears and peaches can all somehow claim to be Macedonian? It turns out Macedonia is actually wedged way down in Southeastern Europe between Serbia, Albania and Greece, that the national diet tends massively toward barbecued meat, and that there wasn’t a single Macedonian salad on any of the menus in the many restaurants I sampled there.

What I did find in Macedonia, however, is an unbelievable hodge-podge of ethnicities. The country that calls itself Macedonia today is actually populated by one quarter ethnic Albanians, two-thirds ethnic Macedonians, equal sprinklings of Serbs, Bulgarians and Roma, and a substantial serving of Turks. Add to that a seasoning of intense religious diversity—one-third Muslims, two-thirds Macedonian Orthodox, and a potent dash of Albanian Catholics—and suddenly you begin to understand why the term macédoine in diplomatic history is synonymous with “complicated mixture.” If, over its many centuries of ethnic conflict, Macedonia has come be known as the “tinderbox of the Balkans,” it’s because no amount of mayonnaise dressing could ever make the ethnic peas identify with the ethnic carrots, or make the green beans speak the turnips’ language.

So a Macedonian salad, in the end, is just a mixed salad. A salad with a diversity of similar ingredients—fruits, veggies, warring ethnicities, whatever. And it also turns out that the sludgy mayonnaise dressing part of the salade macédoine is just some French lunch-lady’s idea that everything tastes better with mayonnaise.

Below, a recipe for a seasonal macédoine of spring vegetables. Hold the mayo.

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