Posts from July 2010

Kids Like to Get Their Hands Dirty, Cooking with Kids Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

And I thought, I had a long last name. After typing my headline, I changed my mind.

Getting back to the subject at hand, food, I have to agree with Hugh that most kids like to cook.

It is also a great way to get them to taste and eat things they would not think of touching otherwise.

My 11 year old is a good example of that.

Another important element that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes for cooking with children (Guardian, July 31, 2010) points to is that summer is a good time to start as they have more time to experiment in the kitchen.

Will it always be healthy stuff?  Maybe not.

This week for example my son and I tested 2 chocolate brownie recipes. First one from The Craft of Baking (cover below) was way better.


On the other hand last night we did a spicy vegetarian couscous with tomatoes, corn, garlic, onions. The spicy part provided by some Jamaican Hell Fire sauce.

Getting back to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes, he offers Falafel, Tomato and Sweetcorn Salad plus Berry sundaes with chocolate sauce...

Are the kids joining you in the kitchen this summer?

What the Nose Knows? Find Out on Sunday, August 1st, Botanical Garden, UC Berkeley

Having suffered from sinus problems for a number of years (now somehow resolved), I would not be the best pick for this event.

Should we always trust our senses?

I learned recently that Single Malt Scotch makers rely more on nosing than tasting to evaluate their work in progress.

If you are in the Berkeley (California) area on Sunday, August 1st, here's your chance to see What the Nose Knows and Awaken Your Senses, an event shared by Bay Area Science.

"Why not give your eyes a break and let your nose lead you instead through the labyrinth of flowers, bushes, herbs and trees? What the Nose Knows is a series of unique, interactive scent-based experiences of the Botanical Garden. Each event features a talk or walking tour with a scent expert in different sections of the Garden. Hosted by the Olfactive Scent Institute.

Awaken Your Senses kicks off the series with Gina Zupsich, Olfactive Scent Institute founder, who introduces a nose-guided tour of the herb garden. She will show techniques to maximize your olfactory experience and highlight how some plants are used in cooking, health, beauty and magic. Elaine Sedlack, the Garden's horticulturist, will be present to answer questions."



The discovery session takes place in UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, home of the Little Stinker (above) on Sunday, August 1st, 2010 from 1 to 3 PM.

Free with Garden Admission, limited to 30 people. Gather at the Garden entrance just before 1 p.m.

AniMiniCon Soho, Anime Week-End Descends On New York, July 31st-August 1st

Anime and Manga descend on New York for the week-end with AniMiniCon Soho at the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art

Event actually kicked off on Friday but I got wind of it  by way of NY Anime Festival a bit late in the game (my fault).

You can still enjoy the festivities on Saturday, July 31st and August 1st, 2010.Animinicon
On Saturday afternoon you might want to hear and meet these artists:

"Manga artist MISAKO ROCKS!, Animator BRIAN MAH, and DANE ROBINSON, musician and creator of the soundtrack to the upcoming film MR. BRICKS!"

Each  will give a presentation/talk and participate in a panel discussion (all taking place from 1 PM to 4:30 PM).

It will be followed by an Anime Screening. At this time 'Pumpkin Scissors' is scheduled (5:30 PM to 7 PM).

Sunday will be dress up day with a Victorian, Gothic and Lolita Tea Party featuring Soho Host Club (2 to 4 PM).

Tickets for the whole fiesta cost $30 per person.

No Sake Tasting on the program!

For more events of this type, keep an eye on Nerd York City calendar.

Love, Wine and Fantasy, Humilitat and Mas Amor from Priorat

Should I call Vino, Amor y Fantasia Priorat wines a creative outlet, an idea lab for Christophe Brunet and Frank Massart or is it a chance for them to do their own thing instead of representing others or helping them as they do with the Estate Wines at Epicure.

I don't know how good the juice in Mas Amor 2009 or Humilitat 2008 is?

Their labels do make a statement.


Wine, love and fantasy.

Michelangelo and the Art of Gelato in New South Wales, Australia

Imagine Michelangelo reborn as a Gelato creator.

If you live in New South Wales, Art of Gelato Michelangelo in Fairfield is as close as you get.

They note that "in Italy producing Artisan gelato is considered a form of art".

Here's their Michelangelo.


Enjoy before it melts away!

Pair that Ossetra Caviar, Armagnac, Single Malt or Sake?

A couple months ago, after I mentioned this Rio Negro delicacy, Graham Gaspard of Black River Caviar was kind enough to send me a taste of his Ossetra Caviar from Uruguay.

After taking a closer look through tastings and interviews at various drinks (Single Malt, Armagnac) beyond wine in the past couple of months, I started wondering which of these would work better with Ossetra Caviar.

I asked for expert advice on best bets.

Let's start in Gascony where Sandra, an Armagnac evangelist suggested La Blanche which has the following characterics:

"A particular method of vinification and the selection of eau-de-vie during the distillation reveals particular fruity and floral aromas.
In order to conserve these aromas and its crystal-clear aspect, it is then kept in inert containers. During its maturation, the producer works on the eau-de-vie to lower its alcoholic degree in order to bring out its fruitiness and roundness in the mouth."

I did not taste it so I will trust Sandra's word.

For single malt and scotch, I checked with Marcia of Sip Smoke Savor who I had the pleasure to meet at Single Malt and Chuao Chocolatier tasting.

Here's Marcia's take:

"The first scotch that comes to mind for pairing with caviar is the Springbank 10 year old 100 proof.  It is fresh and invigorating…, slightly briny and lightly smoky.  With 2 ½ times distillation, it is very smooth for its high alcohol content and young age." 


Sake not being my forte, I called Sakaya NYC for some recommendations.

Rick Smith who with his wife Hiroko Furukawa owns the shop gave us his thoughts on the topic.

"The best sake pairings for caviar are from the top classification of premium sake called Daiginjo.  This means that they use highly milled rice (which makes it more refined in flavor and texture).  The two that we've recommended to go with Ossetra caviar have sufficient acidity to cut through the oily character of the caviar while also possessing sweetness to balance with the salty flavor.

Wataribune "Ferry Boat" Junmai Daiginjo (Ibaraki) -  Deep, luscious, and layered with big, but well-balanced fruit flavors of peach, melon, and pineapple.

Katchou Gesseki "Morning Flowers, Evening Moon" Daiginjo (Akita) - Light clean, and refined with notes of orange blossom on the nose and hints of honey and pineapple on the palate.

These are fairly expensive sake but well-worth the investment!"


To conclude, you might want to read Caviar Basics, Drops of Delight (Food Paper) by Ben Narasin which will guide you in your purchase and adds other pairing suggestions.

Sakaya NYC was featured in Sake Rewards the Adventurous Drinker by Eric Asimov (The Pour, NY Times, July 27)

(* Sake illustration is 'Wataribune' Ferry Boat)

Wine Sings at Le Chant des Bouteilles, Organic Wine Bar in charming Aubenas

On a hilly street of Aubenas, two Parisian exhiles, Caroline and Laurence opened an oasis dedicated to organic wines, Le Chant des Bouteilles where wine sings.


The wine bar also offers small plates and features a small selection of wine related books.

Le Chant Des Bouteilles is located 11 rue Beranger de la Tour in Aubenas.


Opening Hours:

Tues - Fri and Sun: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm/ 6:00 pm - 12:00 am

Sat: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm/ 6:00 pm - 12:00 am

Discovered via IdeeMag, a French Food and Wine site

International Feel to Crooked Contest, Winners of 5 Copies Signed By Kristin Hersh

As Todd Rundgren wrote and sang there is an International Feel to this Kristin Hersh contest, blame the connection on the sentimental me.

The 5 winners of Signed Copies of Crooked are in no specific order:

Gabriel who discovered Kristin and the Throwing Muses while browsing CD's in the Ridgewood, New Jersey library some 15 years ago. He was intrigued by the 'Real Ramona' cover.

He since moved to the West Coast and currently lives in Sendai (Japan) where he teaches English.

As for the 3 living in America winners in this contest they are:

Scott lives in the Central Valley, California.

He happens to be a vegetarian and has been a fan of Kristin for 20 years.

Next Hal, a lifelong Bostonian and fan of the local scene since the 80's.

Also, David in Des Moines, Iowa, a journalist passionate about music, books and films

Last of the 5 Signed Copies winners is Rob

Rob lives in Kildare, Ireland who loves photography.

His favorite book is Catch 22 because he's a walking contradiction, he loves bureaucracy, but hates red tape, hates mushrooms, and envies cheese.


Consolation prize goes to Marc Robbemond in Amsterdam, Holland with an Unsigned Copy.

Thanks to Robin and Scott at The Friday Project without whom this would not have happened.

Southern Foodways Potlikker Film Festival 2010, Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 20

Writing a short piece on Summer Recipes and Thirst Quenchers by The Lee Bros I gathered from their Simple Fresh Southern cookbook led me to the Southern Foodways Alliance, a curator of all things Southern food past and present.

Taking the train to Chattanooga, Tennessee to attend the Potlikker Festival 2010 on August 20 would be a good way to slow down from my East Coast rhythm and get into a more leisurely pace.


What's on the program at Warehouse Row from 5-8 PM?

"Featuring blazing-hot and icebox-cold fried chicken by Daniel Lindley of St. John's restaurant. And whole hog bbq pork tacos – using hogs from Sequatchie Cove Farm and Riverview Farms – from Drew Robinson of Jim 'N Nick's. And lots more bites and drinks from local talent.
With smart and short food films by the SFA's own Joe York. And music by Chattanooga's own Gerle Haggard.

With an afternoon detour to Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, the cast-iron capital of the South (and beyond)."

To purchase tickets, visit  Southern Foodways site

Planning a trip down South, take a peak at Southern Foodways Alliance Flickr Page and discover local eateries.

Dusting Off Sake's Image, Smile Nihonshu Events Attract Younger Crowd

Melinda Joe in Events spur on a new generation of sake drinkers (Japan Times, July 23) tells us how fans and young producers alike are dusting off sake's image.

They stage regular Smile Nihonshu events in laid-back settings like Bar Open or the Reggae Bar in Tokyo.

In her article Melinda Joe notes that "when asked to describe the typical sake consumer, brewers invariably sigh and say that the majority are men between the ages of 45 and 70" and shares Hacchaku Ono, the Smile Nihonshu event organizer's remedies to stop the drink's decline:

"Sake has changed a lot, but its image hasn't," he observes. "The image is kind of posh and stuffy, but young people don't generally have a lot of money and they feel that there aren't places for them to enjoy sake. We wanted to create a casual atmosphere where people can try good stuff at low prices."

Those of us who cannot make the trip to Tokyo can get an education via Tokyofoodcast and their Sake of the Week feature.

For # 49, they chose Kozaemon Yuzu which they describe as "Kozaemon nihonshu blended with the pungent yuzu citrus juice from Kochi" and "a very light, summer drink".

In the New York area, check tasting events at Sakaya. The next one is a Dassai Sake tasting from 5 to 7 PM on Saturday, July 31, 2010.

Back on the Sake Trail for Tokyo Thursdays # 150

Previously: Food Sake Tokyo, A Guide to Japanese Terroir for Visiting Foodies

(* illustration comes from Tokyofoodcast Sake of the Week # 49 piece)