Posts from September 2011

Reenact The Kiss by Klimt, Get Glimpse of Kunstkammer at Austria Pop Up, NY, October 5-19

If a visit to Vienna has been a dream of yours, Austria Pop Up Store in New York will give you a chance to get a taste of the dream from October 5 to October 19, 2011.

From an introduction to Viennese coffeehouse culture with a temporary outpost of Sacher Cafe to a chance to reenact The Kiss by Gustav Klimt and a glimpse at the Kuntskammer reopening at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien in 2012, the offerings are varied.

Food afficionados will be in for a treat at Austria Deli where you will be able to sample "products by Manner, inventor of the original Neapolitan waffer, with five layers of wafers filled with delicious hazelnut cream. You'll love the unusual chocolate varieties by Zotter, made exclusively with organic ingredients. Styrian Gold Pumpkin Seed Oil has recently conquered the tables of world-class restaurants and connoisseurs around the globe. The recipes for Christmas cookies from the Vienna Cookie Company have been passed down generations, just as several generations of the Goelles family have been cultivating orchards in Styria's sunny hill country, turning their harvest into award-winning artisanal vinegars."


The Austria Pop Up closes its doors on October 19 with Taste of Austria a culinary wine journey through Austria. It will feature chefs Kurt Gutenbrunner, Wolfgang Ban and Eduard Frauneder as well as Erwin Schrottner and Heidi Riegler. Tickets for this event are $75 but with the Code ATASTE you receive $15 off.

The Austria Pop Up home will be Openhouse Gallery on 201 Mulberry Street in NYC

Opening Hours: Daily from 12 pm to 9 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays until 10 pm. 

Juicy Pomegranate in Muhammara from Syria, Recipe from Salsas of the World

And the cookbooks keep landing on my desk, almost one a day.

Thankfully my pre-publication picks were varied in their themes and horizons.

One of the most recent arrivals is Salsas of the World (Gibbs Smith, October 2011) by Mark Miller with Robert Quintana.

The book lives up to its title and spans the globe.

My first pick is a recipe from Syria which requires juicy pomegranate seeds.

Muhammara / Syria

In Istanbul around late October and early November, the city is invaded by pomegranates. The streets are lined with pomegranate juice stands where you can have a large glass freshly pressed in front of you by those old hand aluminum bar presses that you used to see in French zinc bars. The scarlet juice revives you—it’s just the right balance of sweet and sour. Some of the stands pile the pomegranates up almost five feet high. The vendors cut them in half so you can see the fruits pregnant with huge, swollen, juicy seeds. There are thousands of pomegranates everywhere; you cannot escape them. They turn up in pastries, in salads, on top of yogurt and whole roasted fish . . . and then they disappear for another year.

4 red bell peppers

3 Fresno chiles

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup diced white onion (1⁄4-inch pieces) 1/2 cup olive oil

Seeds from 1 pomegranate (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pomegranate, juiced*


Preheat oven to 475 degrees F with the broiler unit turned on and place a rack just above the center of the oven. Roast the bell peppers and Fresnos for 12 minutes, turning to blister the skins. Place them in a plastic bag to steam. When cool, peel, and deseed. Reserve 1 bell pepper and dice the rest in 1/8-inch pieces. Reserve 1 Fresno and dice the rest in 1/8-inch pieces.

Turn the oven down to 300 degrees F and toast the walnuts and cumin seeds for 10 minutes; reserve. Sauté the onion in 1/2 cup olive oil until golden brown.

In a food processor, place the whole bell pepper, whole Fresno, walnuts, cumin, onion, 1/4 cup olive oil, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, and salt. Puree. Fold in the diced bell pepper, diced Fresno, pomegranate seeds, and pomegranate juice.

Yield 3 cups.

Serves 6

Heat Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

*To juice a pomegranate, gently push the skin in to the center until it yields to the touch, being careful not to break the skin. Repeat by working around the fruit. When completely soft, use a paring knife and make an incision so that the juice can flow out.

(* Recipe from Salsas of the World by Mark Miller with Robert Quintana, published by Gibbs Smith, October 1, 2011, photos by Jon Edwards, reproduced by permission of publisher)

Back to the Loire, Les Lys Vouvray, 100% Chenin Blanc, Soft Touch

Following Karine Lauverjat Sancerre for dinner with fish, i am back to the Loire with Les Lys Vouvray 2008.

Straw color, fruit notes which I could not quite pinpoint until I read 'quince'.


I would not be surprised if this soft and mellow wine won over people who say they don't like wine or go for sweeter stuff.

It is 100% Chenin Blanc and low in alcohol at 12,5% which is another good reason to buy it.

Solid under $10 buy.

Good Work is the Spice of Life for Ad, Link and Sponsor Free Tokyo Food Life

For this edition of Tokyo Thursdays, I had orginally planned to share a recipe with Japanese roots.

Then I stumbled upon Tokyo Food Life, a one man site by Michael Kleindl.

From my quick visit to the site, it seems that his focus is on places only someone who has lived in Tokyo for a while would know, not the fancy schmaltzy or touristy ones.

In his latest piece The Spice of Life and Rocking Chair coffee in Shitamachi (August 26), he suggests that "The spice of life is not a leaf, or a seed, or a powder. I think it is satisfying work. Here are two spots in Shitamachi where you can experience such satisfaction."

Spotting coffee shops with an independant streak called 'kissaten' are one of Michael's pleasures.

He recommends Satei Hatou in Shibuya. He also recounts a strange encounter with the owner of Coffee Western Kitayama in Ueno who first refused him entry "saying that only “kawatta okyaku-san” or “strange customers” could enter.". The man's rules is “No photographs, no talking about business, no laptop computers, no reading", the reason for it according to Michael Kleindl is that at that shop all attention should be devoted to coffee.


Nose to tail amateurs will want to check his visit to Nihon Saisei Sabuka a standing room only place whose menu of pork innards (offal) includes "delicacies such as larynx, spleen, birth canal, tongue, choice uterus, brain, rectum, diaphragm, and cartilage" that you can enjoy at counter above.

You cannot help but note that Tokyo Food Life is Ad, Link and Sponsor Free, no Facebook or Twitter teasers, no lists, books either.

Deep down in the heart of Tokyo with Tokyo Food Life for Tokyo Thursdays # 207

Previously: Onitsuka Tiger to Madfoot, Sneakers Culture Stars in Kicks Japan by Manami Okazaki


(* Photo of Nihon Saisei counter from the pages of Tokyo Food Life)

Family Guy Ferran Adria pops in at Phaidon Store NY for Family Meal Event, September 30

The invitation says it all...Ferran will not be cooking but instead working the crowd.

Ferran-Adria-Signing (2)

Please note that no dogs are allowed and kids should stay home as space will be crowded.

Purchase your ticket online, price includes 1 copy of the book.

Ferran Adria continues his Family Meal week-end tour of New York with  Feast Talks with Ben Leventhal (NYC Wine and Food Festival) on Saturday, October 1, 2011...Location is The Standard and festival lists event price as 'complimentary'.

Shipping Rules, the Berlin Wall of Wine Business in the U.S?

In our interconnected world, some rules seem antiquated.

I have been in touch with a number of wineries in California mostly from Monterey Wine Country in past few weeks.


We waited for weather to cool off a bit before any wines got shipped my way.

Now that we reached that stage, the only roadblock we met was that a number of them simply cannot ship directly to New Jersey.

I had to ask a contact in New York to take reception of the wines on my behalf.

Are shipping rules the Berlin wall of wine business in the U.S?

(* Illustration from Monterey Wine Country website)

iDTGV Cool Winter Train Travel Prices, France from 19 Euros One Way, December 8-March 28

Since booking a trip via iDTGV from Paris to Toulouse a month ago and having to share my e-mail, I now receive updates on their special deals.

For those of you who are uninitiated with iDTGV, it is a sister company of regular TGV service that requires all travelers using the service to book their trip online and print their own 'boarding pass'.

If you don't print your boarding pass, it will cost you 5 Euros extra before boarding to get your seat confirmed. I know because having booked my trip on short notice while still in Copenhagen, I did not have access to a printer.

Their prices are usually lower than regular TGV, especially if you are a bit flexible with your travel plans.


iDTGV just announced cool winter prices starting at 19 Euros one way, good for travel from December 8, 2011 to March 28, 2012.

A quick search for Paris Gare de Lyon to Marseille Saint Charles on December 8 gave me a best price of 22 Euros with 4 options in the morning (7:16, 8:16, 10:15, 11:16). Oddly all of these were on regular TGV not iDTGV which came up at 24.90 Euros at 11:16...

Paris to Marseille takes only around 3 hours and 15 minutes, city center to city center and no need to deal with airport security checks.

Since my first encounter with iDGTV was from Paris Montparnasse to Toulouse Matabiau, I checked prices offered today for December 8 and the 19 Euros fare was available for 2 trains (both iDTGV) at 11:30 AM (the one I took) and 5:20 PM (good for someone who wants to put in a day of work before leaving. Both trips take around 5 hours and 20 minutes (via Bordeaux) as TGV tracks between Bordeaux and Toulouse still have to be built.

From Paris, besides Grenoble, Chambery might be the closest destination to the Alps and its ski resorts. Best price for a trip booked today (also for December 8 travel) was 34 Euros, Travel time is 2 hours and 50 minutes.

If there is one thing I wish was added aboard iDTGV (or TGV) trains, it would be internet service. I believe it is currently limited to a pilot test on one line.

I would also make sense for a service whose sales strategy is based on the web.

To make a search on travel in France including iDTGV, TGV and other options visit Voyages SNCF (French site only).

For an English language search and a broader number of choices for train travel in Europe visit TGV Europe site.

I noted the Elipsos trenhotel (Sleeper cars) with service between Paris and either Madrid or Barcelona plus Milan and Barcelona now offering an Indian Summer special at 69 Euros per person (one way). Paris to Madrid  is a 13 hours trip. You leave around 8 pm and arrive next day around 9 am.

(* Map of destinations served by iDTGV from Voyages SNCF website)

What's for Supper? Beef with Bean Sprouts and Scallions from Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese

She probably is better known in the U.K yet with her first cookbook Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese (William Morrow, October 2011) coming to a bookshelf near you and the roll out of Easy Chinese: San Francisco on Cooking Channel USA, Ching He-Huang is poised to see her star rise in the U.S.

I already gave you a taste of her recipes with Char Siu Roast Pork Noodle Soup on September 19, 2011.

Now comes a problem solver.

If you're still wondering, what's for dinner, here's a life jacket of sorts.

Beef with Bean Sprouts and Scallions Recipe:

If you want a tasty, effortless supper, you can’t get any easier than this dish.

A short time marinating, then speedy cooking in a hot wok ensures that dinner is on the table in no time. While the beef is marinating, you can boil some rice or, better still, make it in a rice cooker if you have one.

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 20 minutes for marinating. Cook in 4 minutes. Serves: 2

9 oz beef sirloin, fat removed and meat cut into ½-inch slices

1 tbsp of peanut oil

5 oz bean sprouts

1 tsp of cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp of water

2 scallions, finely chopped

For the marinade

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tbsps of peeled and grated ginger

2 tbsps of light soy sauce

1 tsp of dark soy sauce

1 tsp of light brown sugar

2 tbsps of mirin

Beef with Sprouts (2)

1. Place all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, then add the beef slices and mix well to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the beef aside to marinate for 20 minutes.

2. Heat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke and then add the peanut oil. Remove the beef from the bowl, reserving the marinade, and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the bean sprouts, reserved marinade, and the cornstarch paste, then toss together and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the finely chopped scallions, transfer to a serving plate, and serve immediately with jasmine rice.

Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese was first published in the U.K by Harper Collins under the title Ching's Fast Food. Ching-He Huang was born in Taiwan and is currently based in London.

(* Recipe from Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese (William Morrow, October 4, 2011) by Ching-He Huang, Photography by Jamie Cho, reproduced by permission of the publisher)

Furnish your Place with Salvaged Manhattan Timber, Made of New York

At launch party for New York from the Air besides amazing views of New York at night, I was introduced to Made of New York, a small outlet that turns reclaimed Manhattan timber from construction sites into singular furniture.

Audubon fans and bird lovers will want the Catch All Organizer below.


Wood gets a second life for Green Day #195

Previously: Beyond Pretty Faces and Kabuki Brushes, EcoTools Blog Advises Using Bamboo in the Kitchen


(* Photo from Made of New York site, copyright Ekeblad)

Portuguese Fish Stew, Recipe from Soup Glorious Soup by Annie Bell

After delving into camping recipes, Annie Bell reminds us with Soup Glorious Soup (Kyle Books, US edition, October 2011) that soup is one of these dishes that can be enjoyed throughout the day, as an appetizer, as a main dish.

The 100 plus recipes cover every facet of the soup department from vegetables ('The Greengrocer' chapter) to bread ('The Baker') so old loaves don't go to waste.

Since I just shared a couple of recent wine picks, it felt natural to stay in the Iberian penisula with first recipe from Soup Glorious Soup.

A Portuguese Fish Stew:

A north wind blows through this soup, with cabbage and potato there are characteristics of a comforting hash here. Its selling points are its gutsy rusticity, its ease of preparation and its affordability – compared to the expense so many fish soups can run up. It’s great for all those little-known white fish fillets that greet us on the slab in the name of sustainability, which can be a deterrent when they don’t come with a reference. Here you are unlikely to go wrong, so it’s a good place to try them out. Dish it up with hearty slabs of grilled coarse-textured bread, splashed with olive oil.

Serves 6

3 ripe plum tomatoes

7 ounces Savoy cabbage, outer leaves removed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

7 ounces chorizo sausage (cooked or uncooked),

skinned, thickly sliced and diced

2 pounds new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 cup white wine

6 cups fish stock

sea salt, black pepper

2 pounds mixed white fish fillets, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces extra virgin olive oil* and coarsely chopped cilantro, to serve

Portuguese fish soup

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, cut out the central core from each tomato, plunge them into the boiling water for about 20 seconds, and then into cold water. Skin and coarsely chop them. Slice the cabbage leaves into fine strands, discarding the tough central veins.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the chorizo and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Pour off the fat (leave this to harden before throwing away), and then add the potatoes. Give them a stir, and then add the wine and cook to reduce by half. Add the chopped tomatoes and fish stock and bring to a boil. Skim off any surface foam, and then simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Coarsely mash the potato using a potato masher and season to taste with salt – the chorizo will have done most of the work here.

To serve, add the cabbage, bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Season the fish with salt and pepper, add it to the soup and poach for 5 minutes. Serve in warm bowls with some olive oil poured over the top and a scattering of chopped fresh cilantro.

A good case here for using your finest quality oil.

(* Recipe from Soup Glorious Soup by Annie Bell published by Kyle Books, U.S edition, October 2011, reproduced by permission, all rights reserved. Photo by Richard Jung).