Chop Chop


The smart design of the Miller Cutting Board, made of laminated bamboo, includes a removable stainless steel bowl for sweeping away the errant garlic peel or collecting your finely chopped shallots. $28, including three bowls, at Furni. Via outblush.


Agenda: 11/29 to 12/05


Cheese and Joe
CheeseandcoffeeMurray's Cheese and Joe the Art of Coffee will team up to present a tasting of fresh, aged, rustic, and sweet cheeses paired with single origin coffees and espressos. The event will take place on Monday, December 4, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Murray's Cheese, 254 Bleecker Street. $50/person (212.243.3289, ext. 12). 

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Postscript: Puglia in Pictures


On the left, puntarella piled up outside a produce shop in Vernole. On the right, olives at the market in Trani and handmade semolina pasta at Masseria Barbera in the Murgia hills.

I've sorted through all of my photos of Puglia to put together a slideshow of the best, mostly taken in and around the towns of Bisceglie, Lecce, and Trani:

For even more photos, be sure to visit 101 Cookbooks and delicious:days, where Heidi and Nicky and Oliver have posted some stunning images of the region.

» Early to Market in Bisceglie
» Mysteries of Puglia: Moira and Mussoli


Agenda: 11/22 to 11/28


The United States of Arugula
Mariobatali_1David Kamp, the author of The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, and chef and restaurateur Mario Batali will have a conversation about the American food revolution on Tuesday, November 28, 7:00 p.m., at MAKOR, Steinhardt Building, 35 West 67th Street. $12/person (212.415.5500).

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From the Archives: Wine Bloggers Talk Turkey

This post originally appeared on November 19, 2004. The "Best Bets" are probably moribund, but the recommendations about what types of wine pair best with Thanksgiving dinner should still hold up.

'Tis the season for an onslaught of articles recommending wines that pair well with the Thanksgiving meal. Judging from the large number of google searches landing upon last year's post rounding up the food media's suggestions for wines with turkey, I decided to revisit the topic again this year, but this time with a twist.

Before collecting links to all of the major media recommendations for Thanksgiving wines, I thought it might be interesting to gather wine pairing suggestions from the growing world of wine blogs too. I sought out the opinions of several wine bloggers (as well as two particularly wine-oriented food bloggers). Their recommendations varied widely -- from Zinfandel to Champagne, German Riesling to Chenin Blanc. Thanks to all who responded, and without further ado, here's what they said.

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Early to Market in Bisceglie


The drive from Bari's airport to Bisceglie is deceptive. The landscape is marked by an incredible amount of modern development: big box stores, a giant outlet mall, and huge cranes building new apartments. But, peel back a layer of the Apulian onion, and you'll find along the coast the old whitewashed towns with narrow streets that wind their way up out of the Adriatic.

I got up early on my last day in Bisceglie and walked along the water into the old city center, where there was an incredible market. The fishermen head out early from the town's small harbor, pushing colorful wooden boats against the tide, and return with a jaw-dropping bounty of seafood -- octopus, squid, clams, oysters, and silvery, glassy-eyed fish. Adjoining the fish market was a vegetable market teeming with fresh produce -- bright fall persimmons, puntarella, pears, olive dolci (fresh, uncured olives), and green and purple artichokes with stems as long as your forearm.

Below is a slideshow of photos (click directly on the photo to advance; refresh your browser to return to the beginning):


Go Postal


The Crops of America postal stamp series created by artist Steve Buchanan is based on photographs of crops indigenous to the Americas -- corn, chili peppers, beans, squashes, and sunflowers. $39 for a roll of 100 at Via bookofjoe.


Mysteries of Puglia: Moira and Mussoli


I've just returned home from the second leg of my trip to Italy: five days in Puglia at a conference on nutrition and olive oil presented by Oldways. My thanks to Melissa McCart and Jane Lopes for guest-editing the Appetizers and the Agenda in my absence.

I'm slowly poring over the hundreds of photographs I took on the trip -- from olive groves on the cusp of the harvest to open markets brimming with puntarella, persimmons, artichokes, and octopus. Until I edit these photos down to a reasonable number, I bring you two images from Puglia that are forever seared in my memory.

Above is a detail from a poster for Moira Orfei, "Queen of the Italian Circus," whose visage shadowed us throughout our trip. Those posters -- announcing her "RITORNA IN PUGLIA DOPO 10 ANNI" -- were everywhere. Plastered to nearly every highway underpass, Moira's surreal eyes (and those eyebrows!) constantly followed us like Big Brother with a beehive hairdo. A brief search online finds that she is a lifetime circus performer born to a clown, actress in myriad 1960s monster movies, and even the inspiration for a novel.

Below is a plate of steamed mussoli served at one of the only restaurants open in the town of Bisceglie after 9:00 p.m. on a Monday night. We thought they were mussels at first, but they turned out to be something else entirely -- a mussel's crusty cousin.

Inside the shell, the mussoli tasted like mussels, only with a much more intense, briny flavor of the sea. Unlike mussels, they don't open when cooked. So, to get at the meat, you pinch and pluck out a little plug found along the seam where the two sides of shell meet and then stick a knife in to pry them apart. Searching for information about the shellfish online has yielded precious few details about these mysterious creatures.

The utter weirdness of the eating experience was only made more so by the Dirty Dancing soundtrack playing on a cassette tape while we dined.



Agenda: 11/15 to 11/21


Le Beaujolais
Nouveau est Arrivé!

Beaujolais The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) will present an evening celebrating the latest vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau on Thursday, November 16, 6:30 p.m., at Lighthouse International, 111 East 59th Street. Tickets are $50 for FIAF members and $40 for non-members (212.355.6160).

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Agenda: 11/8 to 11/14


Sneak Preview
Ourdailybread_1 MAKOR will present a special advance screening of Our Daily Bread, a new documentary film by Nikolaus Geyrhalter exploring the current state of industrial agriculture and food production, followed by a panel discussion featuring Jay Weinstein, author of The Ethical Gourmet, Michel Nischan, chef/owner of the Dressing Room, and pastry chef Bill Yosses, moderated by New York Times food writer Kim Severson. The screening, part of MAKOR's "Food on Film Salon" series, will take place on Tuesday, November 14, 7:30 p.m., at the Steinhardt Building, 35 West 67th Street. $15/person (212.415.5500).

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