Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The front door had signs turning away potential customers
The receiving area door had a note pointed guests and purveyors to use the front entrance
But, truly the most subtle of signs were right out on Chestnut Street
Now, whether there's any weight to the rumor that it could be a 'Throwdown,' or that Bobby Flay was somewhere in the former church, it makes sense that the Food Network would be filming one of their shows there as the venue has one of the most beautifully done restaurant interiors in New England. It is also unknown exactly where Cranberry Island Kitchen and their Whoopie Pies fit into this whole picture but, if it is a 'Throwdown,' all the luck in the world to them.
Monday, September 27, 2010
And, one of a bigger mysteries, is why they're sending this woman, Chef Miriam Garron, to shop for Bobby Flay---is there another "Throwdown" in the works? There was no word that any Hellman's Mayonaise was purchased for the redheaded chef.
Personally, I'd like to see some local chefs compete on "Chopped," which I have become addicted to because of their featuring Ric Orlando from Saugerties, NY, whom I will always be grateful to for teaching me "Bittersweet Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles" while I was in culinary school.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
This summer we finally, after 5 years, moved out of our ghetto, slumlord run apartment and into a quieter, saner neighborhood. I had relative success in my first attempt at a deck garden--though the Brandywines proved to be a dud and the Carmen Pepper died before it got to see the weeks worth of 90+ degree days we were treated to. We spent a night in Boston seeing Katzenjammer, who completely tore up the Cafe 939 at Berklee. We ate well, though less often outside of our apartment, which only stood to make us more appreciative of the times we did dine out. And we bought a new camera, which I still am trying to wrap my brain around. Nothing monumental, which was just ok by me.
So, before we hunker down with our Hot Toddy's and LL Bean slippers, here is to the summer that was...
Marinated lamb shanks
Caramel Apple Crumb pie filling
Brisket Burnt Ends from Buck's Naked
Beef Tongue Taco's @ Tu Casa
Enchilada Salvadorena @ Tu Casa
80 lb solid chocolate rabbit @ Wilbur's of Maine (which, I have to say was awesome to tour)
Amazing raw butter from Swallowtail Farm
First cucumbers of the year
First harvest tomatoes
And then they didn't stop
He was a victim of the 'hurricane' we were grazed with
Lemon grass and rosemary from the garden
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl
1 1/2 cups ground gingersnap cookies
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
9 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon (about) purchased caramel sauce
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind ground cookies, pecans and sugar in processor. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Press crust mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Transfer 3/4 cup mixture to small bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate to use for topping. Add pumpkin, 4 tablespoons whipping cream, ground cinnamon and ground allspice to mixture in large bowl and beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Pour filling into crust (filling will almost fill pan). Bake until cheesecake puffs, top browns and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around cake pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Bring remaining 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture to room temperature. Add remaining 5 tablespoons whipping cream to cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Press down firmly on edges of cheesecake to even thickness. Pour cream cheese mixture over cheesecake, spreading evenly. Spoon caramel sauce in lines over cream cheese mixture. Using tip of knife, swirl caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Release pan sides from cheesecake. Spoon sour cream into pastry bag fitted with small star tip (do not stir before using). Pipe decorative border around cheesecake and serve.
Friday, September 17, 2010
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today. I have come to the difficult decision to close the doors of North Star. I have so much love for this community and this city. I am sad to say goodbye, but I am grateful for the three years you have embraced me and the North Star as family. I am sure this will be no great surprise to many of you. This has been a strenuous year and North Star has gone through many changes to right its self. Unfortunately time has run out and North Star will be shutting it's doors after the last show on Sunday the 19th. Thank you for all that you have brought to the North Star.
Much love,Kim Anderson
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
We may never fully understand them, but cooking well has implications that are both far reaching, long lasting, and may never fully be revealed. Over the last few years, there has come about a shift in the way we look at food and, well, how we cook it. No longer satisfied with eating well, we've turned food into a game of one-upmanship. We seem to be locked in a race to see who can have the best this or the first that. Oh sure, I've been involved in this game. Thing is, I've never been able to afford to play. So, over the years since I've left home I've made a habit of feeding my friends and family what I could, when I could. Just about any given Sunday you could have stopped over for some form of "family meal". I would put dinner on the table and open the door to my home. It sometimes upset me that I couldn't get this ingredient, that pan, or whatever cooking technique was the style du jour. Blinded by my quest to cook "the best", I never realized that I was cooking well. Never, until I found out that I have tongue cancer and the best treatment to save my life is to remove my tongue. I got cancer, fair enough. But in my fucking tongue? The irony is not lost on me. I waited as long as I could to tell my friends, not sure of how they'd react. No one has been happy to hear the news, but something funny has happened. Along with their condolences, they've shared past food memories. Not of me being some demi-god in the kitchen, but of me cooking well. The first came from an ex-girlfriend- "I literally was talking about the chocolate cake you made me for my birthday yesterday with my friends. It was awesome and I will never forget that!" We dated almost twenty years ago. The one that really got me came last night. "I haven't seen Scott in probably 5 years, but I remember a wonderful dinner he once made for a group of us." I came so close to crying, still might.
Tonight, two days before my glossectomy, I will share dinner with a few of my closest friends. Yes, cancer will take my tongue- but, it can't take the memories of food cooked well and time spent enjoying it. I won't taste for months, years, or maybe never again. It doesn't matter much what we eat, however, as I will have the memory of one last, well cooked, real-food dinner shared with others. You see, in the end, it doesn't matter much the provenance of your ingredients, the technique of your preparation, the pedigree of your education. What matters is that you did what you could with what you had, you cooked well. You put food on the table and invited others to share. And, at that moment, you became inextricably joined. A bond that will last forever!
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
The Apple: Ginger Gold--purchased this morning at the Monument Square Farmer's Market from one of the vendor's that also sells honey(sadly, the name escapes me now)
The Cheese: 9 yr old Canadian Cheddar purchased from K. Horton Specialty Foods.
The Cracker: Back to Nature's Organic Stoneground Wheats
I asked at K's if they knew who the producer was of the 9 yr. cheddar but she could provide me with no information. So, I can't say much about where this cheese is coming from--whether it's from the makers of Old Quebec Vintage Cheddar (they also make a 7 year, which makes me leans towards them) or if it's Black Diamond. Either way, the cheese was surprisingly subtle in it's sharpness, slowly sneaking up and then finishing off pretty sour and salty in the end. It had a pretty strong lactic acid bite and the texture was creamier than expected and slightly crunchy (from the amino acids breaking down over time, also known as 'tyrosine'). The oldest cheddar I've ever had, this definitely equals the $22.99/# price.
I'd say the apple was a bit mealy in texture and not as juicy as I had remembered but, I also think it was a little underripe. However, there was definitely a refreshing crunch that countered the creaminess of the cheese and it's sweetness popped more with help from the salt in the cheddar. It was a nice pairing but I think I was looking for something with a bit more sweetness to it.
The crackers were great for this pairing. Flecked with flax seed and topped with sea salt it lent both flavor and texture, bridging the gap when the other two fell short. It's become one of my favorite crackers to use when I'm not worried about incorporating other flavors that could overshadow the cheese (truly, I worry about things like this).
Overall, not a bad snack while I spent my day braising lamb and veal shanks..but, there will be more on that later. And if you have any ideas on who the maker of the cheddar could be let me know.