I recently learned about blogger, beekeeper, and chicken farmer Orren Fox when the movie FRESH was in town. Radio Boston Technical Director Tim Skoog spent an afternoon with the Newburyport 13-year-old and came back with some amazing tape. Orren is beyond passionate about his animals and the local food movement. His blog, Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs, is a great source of information and he never fails to keep all of us on our toes. Make sure you tune into the segment on Friday’s Radio Boston.
Meghan Keane, PRK Guest Contributor
Cutting into a fruit or vegetable is predictable. Every apple has the same seeds in the same places, nothing surprising. But the blog “Inside insides” is taking a surprising look at produce in a completely different way: through the lens of an MRI scan. You’re probably thinking…what? what? But just take a look at the celery above.
Well, here are more details about that Pink Lady apple in your lunch bag. These magnetic resonance images show fruit and vegetables blossoming on repeat, making the average stalk of broccoli seem suddenly mysterious.
The watermelon image is particularly captivating, with its seeds growing out of curly cue vines and blinking like little grey and white Christmas lights.
The hypnotizing image gives you a whole new (and perhaps slightly more compassionate) way to look at your food when you’re chopping and dicing.
A local twist on dinner and a movie
Boston Localvores announces an upcoming outdoor dinner and movie on July 30th at the Haley House Bakery Cafe in Roxbury, MA. If you like local ingredients and “campy independent horror films,” this night is for you.
What’s in your CSA box? Grow. Cook. Eat. encounters another “mystery” ingredient - radicchio- and complements the bitter green with a recipe for Sicilian crumbs.
Knead a weekend plan? Love artisan bread?
Visit the Kneading Conference and Artisan Bread Fair in Skowhegan, ME, on July 29th & July 30th. It’s a free event that explores “the art and science of growing and milling grains and baking artisan breads.”
Wine, cheese, and chocolate. Need I say more?
Travel to Haight-Brown Vineyard in Litchfield, CT, from July 31st to August 1st for a Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Pairing - enjoy these delicious combinations!
On August 2nd, “courses and horses” meet at Chef’s Night at the Green Mountain Horse Association grounds in South Woodstock, VT.
Out to sea
Hop on board for a Plymouth harbor cruise every Thursday through August 26th. This week features wine, but the themes change each week – Irish singalongs and margaritas to come!
Become the chef of your dreams
Chef Mark DesLauriers’ ArtEpicure Cooking School will teach you how to make any dish your mouth has ever watered over - all in the comfort of his Somerville kitchen.
Something for foodies to celebrate: NYC Restaurant Week has been extended through September 6th.
Summer’s Public Enemy #1: the Stove
New England-based writer T. Susan Chang offers a handy, colorful write-up on how to avoid that firey monster in your kitchen (your stove): shredded salads.
If you think of Allston’s Deep Ellum as simply a great beer bar, you’re missing half the picture. It’s true: they have an incredible selection of craft beers, but one look at the impressive array of spirits behind the bar, including six housemade bitters, and you know they’re just as committed to their cocktails. Their drink list contains an impressive collection of classics–they have no less than ten different Manhattans–but all with their own unique interpretation. This is serious stuff.
Bartender and co-owner, Max Toste, is one of the driving forces behind Deep Ellum’s unique mix of hophead haven and cocktail lounge. He’s the type of bartender that, with a minimum of pretension, can not only help you navigate the beer menu, but also find and mix just the right drink to suit your individual taste. Continue reading
Farm Manager, Powisset Farm
Garlic is amazing.
Seriously, isn’t garlic just a wonderful vegetable? To me, it seems that nearly each meal I prepare begins with a few gloves of garlic and a little bit of olive oil. Add any veggie to that mix, and I’m having a great dinner! So, the season’s garlic harvest always feels like a triumphant time, like we are taking care of our basic food needs.
Garlic is the last crop planted each fall. Each small clove is the seed placed in the ground to create next season’s bulbs. With buckets of garlic seed in hand, we spread out over the fields, wrapped in sweaters and hats, planting the first seeds for the future season. In the spring, the garlic is the first plant to peek its greens up through the straw mulch we used to cover it, protecting it from frost and maintaining moisture into the summer months. Quickly, the garlic reaches out, fanning its dark green leaves apart, adding color to the blank spring fields.
We grow mainly two varieties of garlic at Powisset farm: Music and Red Russian, both hardneck. Because we grow hardneck garlic, we are able to harvest scapes! Garlic scapes are the stem and flower of the garlic that grows up from the center of the plant. By harvesting the scapes we are urging the plant to focus its energy on bulb production, rather than on flower production. And, fortunately for us, this necessary job provides us with delicious scapes early in June. You can use them just like garlic, cutting the scapes into dishes where garlic would be found.
In the few weeks after the scape harvest, as the garlic bulbs are busy forming, their leaves begin to turn brown, indicating that they are ready to be picked. When the leaves are about 40% brown, we head into the fields with buckets and bags, pulling each bulb out one by one. After harvest, we have to cure the garlic, which we do by hanging it in a dry, shady-ish space with good airflow. From hereon in the green garlic leaves will turn brown and form wrappers around the cloves, protecting it from rot and maintaining its moisture through the long, dry winter months.
As I write, we have several thousand garlic bulbs hanging from our hoophouse, just beginning their curing phase. Sometime in September, we will cut down the hanging, dry garlic, trim its stem and clean it up for distribution. The largest bulbs will be saved for seed for the following year.
And then? We do it all over again!
Growing up in such a socially and economically complex country as America, it’s easy to develop a narrow national consciousness, becoming so overly concerned with our own homeland that we lose sight of the countries that the other six billion inhabitants of the world call home. I’m not talking about full-fledged xenophobia, merely a sort of general ambivalence or semi-willful ignorance. One delicious way to expand our national consciousness is through the use of something we can all relate to and appreciate: food.
Now, I love a good old-fashioned hamburger as much as the next carnivorous American, but a fantastic way to familiarize oneself with otherwise unknown cultures is to explore the diets and dishes of foreign countries. Here’s a challenge, however: do this at home. No eating or ordering out. Instead, create a home cooked meal showcasing a country’s national dish.
Sarah Scoble Commerford, a food lover from Metrowest Massachusetts, decided to take cultural exploration through food to the next level. This past April, she started “What’s Cooking in your World.” In so doing, Sarah set out to prepare two meals per week from the world’s 193 countries, in alphabetical order from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Each post in this fascinating blog begins with thorough background information about her country of the week, followed by a descriptive explanation of the recipe Sarah has chosen to make. Pictures and captions give step-by-step instructions on how she prepares the dish, and whether her family and friends enjoyed it. Sarah’s writing is incredibly informative and humorously informal, simultaneously accessible and educational.
I recently contacted Sarah, and she enthusiastically agreed to answer a few questions. Here is the transcript of our online interview. Continue reading
Christine Liu (on-air PRK contributor and Boston CitySearch Editor and National Community Manager) is spending the weekend in New Orleans at a Cocktail CONFERENCE sassily named ‘Tales of the Cocktail.’ She’s been updating us daily via Bostonist on her daily discoveries, delights, and ahem, drinks. Check out some of her highlights and take-aways from a “Spirits Critics Workshop” with 21-year veteran taster F. Paul Pacult:
•”I prefer to taste in the morning because I believe that is the best time to taste.” (With nothing yet to eat or drink for the day.) “It wakes me up pretty quickly.”
•”Taste blind whenever possible … think about what they are not.” (ergo, process of elimination)
•There are 350 sensors per olfactory pad (on each side of the nose), which are the only organs that are connected to the brain. “The sense of smell is so primal, it’s the only sense that can stimulate deja vu.”
Visit Boston’s North End from July 23-25th for the St. Joseph Society Summer Feast Celebration at Battery & Hanover Streets.
Dinner and a Movie, Italian Style
Lunedi Cinema Italiano is on at 8PM every Monday at BiNa Osteria in Boston. Don’t miss this chance to relax on the patio, taste BiNa’s cuisine, and watch an Italian film (with subtitles of course).
Travel to Manson Park in Pittsfield, Maine, for the annual Egg Festival, which includes an egg breakfast cooked in a 300-pound frying pan and the “egglympics.” All good eggs welcome!
Meet, Greet and Eat
Cheese is on the menu at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn on July 25th. Celebrate cheese at this sampling, buying and networking event in Shelburne, VT.
Calling all Lobster Lovers
…to attend the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, ME, from August 4-8th for a cooking contest, lobster crate race and lots o’ lobster. If you’re heading to the Big Apple instead, Luke’s Lobster has you covered!
What should I eat for dinner?
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food) recently wrote Food Rules, the smallest diet book around. With these simple ideas about food, plus our recent post from Anastacia Marx de Salcedo on “eating slow n’ cheap,” tough food choices may not be so tough after all.
The Cooking Channel is on the move, and they have ice cream
The Cooking Channel’s ice cream truck is making moves across the country. Read Devour, the Cooking Channel blog, for the truck’s whereabouts and other food news. Boston readers: this ice cream vehicle has come and gone, but have no fear; maybe you’ll catch it on vacation!
When it comes to navigating the city with a serious craving, it’s not always easy to know where to go. Fortunately, Foodspotting is here, a new website and IPhone app developed to simplify that GIVE IT TO ME NOW need.
It’s pretty straightforward to use. First, type in your current location and then the desired food or drink. If it was spotted in that area and added to the site, a photo or in the case of lobster rolls in Boston, many photos will come up. You get a chance to read the buzz, see pictures of how it was presented, count how many nominations were received and finally, figure out where the restaurants are LOCATED so you can get that food FAST (map included, natch).
According to the site, it’s easy to be a Foodspotter. If you really, really, really like what you are eating, you take a picture and post it to the site to share. “Foodseekers aren’t interested in the foods that you hate, they want to know what you love,” according to the Foodspotting founding principle #4.
In addition to helping local businesses get noticed, Foodspotting helps people from out of town locate a meal they have in mind as well as giving adventurous locals a culinary passport for their home turf.
It’s a hot summer day in New York City, steam rises from the city streets and even the buildings perspire under the strong sun. All you need is a day at the beach, a walk along the New England shore and some summer seafood. But a beach day cannot be found anywhere on your calendar. Then! You turn a corner and smell…Maine. Luke’s Lobster brings Maine décor and cuisine to the Big Apple’s East Village and the Upper East Side. Thanks to Luke’s, New Yorkers don’t have to leave their beloved isle for the Maine experience.
Inside, reggae music wafts through the air. Buoys, nets and lobster traps adorn the walls. You’ve hit an unexpected oasis admist the urban sprawl. Luke’s Lobster serves fresh catch — lobster, crab, and shrimp. For a modest $14, patrons can bite into a fresh lobster roll brought straight from Maine, knowing they are supporting some of that state’s lobstermen. Continue reading