A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘new york times’

A Pan and a Pancake

In Food on October 21, 2012 at 9:04 am

There are certain luxuries in life that are worth the splurge. Natural linen bath towels, Maldon sea salt, face cream, and a 1920s Griswold 12-inch cast iron skillet. Because I do not have that perfectly well-seasoned skillet handed down through generations, I cheated and bought one on eBay.

Instantly, it became part of the family. Saturday mornings now look a little like this.

6 am (if I’m lucky): wake-up call from two hungry boys. “Mommy, are you going to make The Pancake?” the four-year-old asks. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, make coffee. In a medium bowl, I mix together 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole milk, two lightly beaten eggs, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

6:35 am: Melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet while giving baby a bottle.

6:40am: When butter is very hot, pour in batter and bake in oven until golden and puffy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

7am: Sprinkle with powdered sugar, squeeze with lemon and serve to a hungry four-year-old and his daddy.

I discovered this recipe for David Eyre’s Pancake in The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and it originally appeared in the paper in 1966. Some of you might know this pancake by another name, a Dutch Baby, which I’d describe as a cross between a crepe and a popover. A well-seasoned skillet with sides high enough for the pancake to puff up against is essential—as is starting the weekend with a happy family.

Show a Little Love

In Drink on March 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm

By no means do I have the perfect marriage (mostly because I am one half of that equation). But I am married to the perfect partner, one who reminds me that it’s the little things that matter most. A couple Sundays ago before I had woken up—and after a particularly stressful week—my husband brewed a pot of Intelligentsia Tanzania Edewlweiss coffee and brought me a copy of the New York Times in bed. He then offered to take our two-year-old son to the Santa Monica Airport observation deck for a couple hours to watch the planes take off and land so I could have a quiet morning to myself. If I think about it, it has probably been, well, over two and a half years since I’ve enjoyed a Sunday morning that way. It was a wildly grand gesture—one that cost nothing and one that reminded me how lucky I am.

Now Shaking: The Foodinista Up Online at The New York Times

In Drink, Media on December 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Get thee to the Library Bar! That’s where you’ll find Matt Biancaniello, Hollywood’s king of cocktails (above, in a photo by Dylan Ho), shaking up some savory goodness. Read all about it in a short profile I wrote over at the New York Times: T Magazine. Don’t miss: Biancaniello’s white truffle egg nog. This is the egg nog they’ll serve in heaven.

Talking Coffee with Oliver Strand, Coffee Curator for the New York Times

In Drink, Media on October 19, 2010 at 8:13 am


Chemex coffee maker © Dan Neville / The New York Times

 

One of my favorite columns in the New York Times “T” Magazine is Ristretto by Oliver Strand, an arbiter of taste in every sense. I am fascinated by individuals who take obsessions to new heights, which is why Strand’s coffee missives are so completely delicious. This morning, Strand takes a few moments in between cups to dish on his coffee habits with The Foodinista—so grab a cup of your favorite joe and settle in. Spoiler alert: I can already tell you that I’ll be spending the next few hours debating whether to splash out on the handblown glass version of the Chemex coffeemaker with a wood and leather belt (at first glance you’d swear it was an Alexander McQueen corset belt), though I think we probably know the answer…

What’s your typical coffee order in a restaurant?
I rarely order coffee after a meal – I don’t drink coffee at night, so that’s out, and because most restaurant coffee is phoned-in there’s little point. That said, I’ll sometimes have an espresso after lunch if I need to jump back into work that afternoon. Or I’ll go with what the restaurant does best. Recently, I had a terrific cup of coffee brewed in a Chemex at a groovy taqueria here in New York.

Japanese Ceramic Beehouse Dripper

How do you enjoy your coffee at home?
A friend recently said: you like the method you’re liking. Meaning – for the coffee-curious — if you’re playing around with a bee house dripper (which is a ceramic filter cone from Japan), you’re probably liking bee house drippers, and if you’re messing with your Chemex you’re liking Chemexes. I’ve been on a Chemex tear for a while, though I’m also messing with the Aeropress right now. Sometimes I’ll pull out my V60. All of these gadgets are in the $20-$40 range, which makes it easy to be promiscuous.

Are you loyal to one bean? Or do you like to mix it up?
You mean one cultivar? (Don’t let my coffee geekiness frighten you.) Cultivar is graduate-level coffee talk. Many coffees these days are labeled as “single origin,” a general term that refers to a region, or a farm, or a part of a farm. In certain circles, it’s no longer enough to call a coffee an African or even an Ethiopian. Instead you talk about a Sidamo, which is a region, or a Yirgacheffe, which is a village in Sidamo, or even better: a particular Yirgacheffe cooperative.


Maybe it sounds too obsessive. And just because there’s a place-name on a bag doesn’t mean it’s great. But most of the great coffees I taste have a place-name on the bag. Right now I’m working my way through the last of Aida’s Grand Reserve, roasted by Counter Culture Coffee. It’s Bourbon, Kenia and Typica beans all grown on farms owned by Aida Batlle, in El Salvador. It’s one of the most expensive coffees you can buy, but I’ll argue it’s worth it. In fact, this is my second batch. In September, I bought one of the last of Aida’s Grand Reserve from Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

I think what you’re getting at is: do I have any favorites? The answer is yes, but coffee is a seasonal crop, so I go by what’s on the shelves. If I like something I savor it, then I wait until it’s available next year. Just like produce at the greenmarket here in New York: tomatoes ended three weeks ago, but the pears and grapes are crazy right now. I’ll see what coffees are around next week. I’m already looking forward to Aida’s Grand Reserve in 2011.


Where were you most surprised by a good cup of coffee or espresso?
Most recently, at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. There’s a kiosk by the gate to the alcazaba, the fortress that looks out over the city, where I had a beautiful cortado. It was break time for the groundskeepers, and there were dozens (I want to say hundreds) of workers mobbing the counters, and even though the shack was cramped — it was built around a well and had trees growing through the roof — the coffee was immaculate: saucer, glass, spoon, water on the side. Everybody served in order. There was this breezy sense of ceremony, that coffee should/could be elegant even if it costs $1 and you’re outside and leaning against a wall next to a dude in a dusty jumpsuit.

Plaza de Armas en la Alcazaba in the Alhambra of Granada, Spain

Do you have any guilty pleasures at, say, Starbucks?
I like my mochas, especially after the first cold snap. That’s not as much a Starbucks thing as a coffee-wide impulse. I’m just balancing the summer, when I’ll go out of my way for a Carvelanche.


Where is the coffee capital of the world?
New York, of course. And the Yankees are going to take the Rangers in six.

In all seriousness, New York is becoming a great coffee town, in part, because there’s no dominant roaster – this is the only place in the country where you can get an exceptional shot of espresso made with beans roasted by Counter Culture Coffee, or Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, or Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Blue Bottle Coffee started roasting here this year, and now PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. is making a run at the city, then you have local talent like Café Grumpy, Dallis and a dozen more. There are few cities anywhere with such a broad selection. Just as important, the baristas here are good and getting better.


It’s an exciting time for New York. Though to be fair, I should say that Seattle, Portland and San Francisco all have deeper benches. Then you have cult coffee cities like London and Melbourne, Oslo and Copenhagen. Notice I didn’t say Paris.

Favorite movie moment with coffee?
Pulp Fiction. Five Easy Pieces. I Am Love.

How much do you drink daily on average?
Two cups in the morning, then more depending on the day. I’m the author of the Filter, a guide to New York coffee from the New York Times for the iPhone and iPad (it’s free and available on iTunes – not coming on too strong, I hope?), which means I’m always checking out new spots, popping in at old places to see if they’re still up to it. It’s done wonders for my mid-morning social life. My dance card is full from 9:30 am to 10:30 am.

Work in Progress

In Design, Media on June 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Sorry for ducking out like that. I’ve been sick as a dog fighting a wicked summer cold for almost a week now. During the midst of which I’ve been researching and writing an upcoming column for Bon Appétit (thank the lord I wrote my tasting notes before I lost all sense of taste and smell). Which is why I haven’t had time to finish unpacking my office or hang pictures on the walls or take photos or any of that fun stuff. But even amid the chaos, when I sat down yesterday in my sparkling new office chair and pulled up to my newly arrived and assembled George Nelson Swag Leg Work Table, I was ready to write. Would this sublime desk, by osmosis, make my prose any prettier? I wondered. “Might be more effective if it were a Nelson George desk,” replied my esteemed colleague Eric Asimov of the New York Times. As with yesterday’s column on American Gewürztraminers, the man has a point.

Pâté Animal

In Food, Recipes on January 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm

As you can see, the creamy chicken liver pâté I made last weekend was a huge hit with everyone—including Tiny G’s favorite toy elephant, hand-painted from Sri Lanka. I used a recipe from Mark Bittman, and it could not have been easier. My sole complaint is that it needed more salt, hence the bowl of fleur de sel next to it. We alternated bites of pâté sprinkled with salt with baguette slathered with honeycomb and stinky cheese, and washed it all down with a little pink bubbly in front of a roaring fire.

Creamy Chicken Liver Pâte, from Mark Bittman, The New York Times, December 24, 2009.

10 – 15 peppercorns

2 allspice berries

1 clove

4 coriander seeds

1/2 cup butter

1 onion, chopped

1 pound chicken livers

Salt

1/3 cup cream

1 to 2 tablespoons brandy

Bread or crackers for serving.

1. In a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, combine peppercorns, allspice, clove and coriander seeds; grind until fine and set aside.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; when foam subsides, add onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add livers to pan and sprinkle with salt; cook livers on one side until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes, then flip them and cook the other side. Be sure to keep heat relatively high so that the outside of livers sears and inside stays pink.

3. Put onion, livers and their buttery juices into a food processor or blender with remaining butter, the cream, spices and brandy. Purée mixture until it is smooth; taste and adjust seasoning. [The Foodinista’s Note: Add a little more salt than you think you should.]

4. Put pâté in a terrine or bowl, smooth top and put in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or until fully set. Serve pâté with bread or crackers.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.