Monthly Archives: July 2011

Food Therapy from Braising Cain

Photo courtesy of Braising Cain

Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) are on the rise—and Braising Cain is reaping the benefits.

This author lucked out when his friends went on vacation, leaving him their weekly share of fresh fish from Cape Ann Fresh Catch, a CSF based in Gloucester.

CSFs function like CSAs: customers pay in advance and, throughout the season, they receive food they know is fresh, chemical-free and grown, raised or caught in a manner that is good to the earth and to the people who tend to it. For a Cape Ann Fresh Catch customer, a weekly delivery might be whole or filleted cod, yellowtail flounder, hake, pollock, haddock, grey sole and/or redfish/ocean perch.

This week’s catch for Braising Cain? Cod. His wine pairing? A bottle from Lebanon (a 2009 Chateau Musar Jeune Blanc, to be exact). And his recipe? Italian. From an iconic New England fish, Braising Cain has created a cosmopolitan “aqua pazza.”

Literally translated as ‘crazy water,’ aqua pazza is a broth of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chili flake, tomatoes, basil, capers and salted water in which the home chef poaches his cod to perfection.

“The resulting flavor,” writes Braising Cain, “should be briny like the ocean, tart and spicy with the very familiar essence of Italy coming through from the tomatoes, garlic, and basil.”

Hungry yet? Here’s Braising Cain’s “Aqua Pazza” Recipe.

Behind the Review – Redd’s In Rozzie meets Devra First

Redd's in Rozzie's logo

It’s no surprise that any chef at a new restaurant would experience a certain amount of angst leading up to their first major review. In theory, such reviews can make or break a place. But not many chefs would write about their fears in a public forum.

That’s exactly what Chef Charlie Redd (who calls himself “Chef Delicious”) of the newly opened Redd’s in Rozzie in Roslindale Square did — in advance of the review!

On his restaurant’s blog, Redd wrote an open letter to Globe restaurant critic, Devra First, in which he outlined in humorous fashion his mounting fears in anticipation of First’s visit to his restaurant. It’s an enlightening glimpse behind-the-scenes: Open Letter to Devra First, Boston Globe Restaurant Reviewer.

Equally as interesting is First’s response, Getting reviewed: one chef’s perspective.

Oh, and it turns out, Redd needn’t have worried. First’s eventual review, Spicy, Fried, with a Side of Quirky, published in yesterday’s Globe, was positive.

Don’t you love happy endings?

Thursday Tidbits: Farm to Table

Photo: CubaGallery/Flickr

LOCAL TREATS

L’Espalier at Apple Street Farm
Apple Street Farm of Essex, MA, is hosting its 2011 seasonal dinner series, in conjunction with Sel de la Terre restaurants and L’Espalier, with monthly feasts from June until October. Each month Apple Street will invite a city chef to prepare a seasonal meal made from its own produce. The next dinners will be held in Essex on August 11th, 12th and 13th. Guests can expect a tomato-themed feast prepared by Frank McClelland, executive chef and L’Espalier owner. Tickets are  $175 dollars and the feasting begins at 6:30 PM sharp. Call 617.262.3023 for reservations.

Latin Eats, Boston Streets
South America pays Boston a visit this August at Chez Henri’s Latin Dinner Series. Head Chef Paul O’Connell takes guests on a tour of Latin cooking from his Cambridge restaurant, kicking off the series with authentic tastes of Argentina and Venezuela in a prix fix menu available until August 13th. The three-course menu costs $39 per person. Call 617.354.8980 to make a reservation or to learn about upcoming menus.

Spice up your life
The mother-daughter team at The Elephant Walk are sharing some cooking tips this summer at weekly cooking classes held Saturdays, 10:30-1:30 p.m., at one of their two locations in Cambridge or Boston. This Saturday, July 30th, the duo teaches “Quick and Easy Stir-Fry.” The class includes lunch (with food prepared by the class, of course) and costs $75 per person. Call 617-247-1500 for more information and to make a reservation.

Bostonian Mix-Off
Last week, beating out competition from bars in Los Angeles and New York City, Fort Point’s Drink won the title of “Best American Cocktail Bar” at Tales of Cocktail 2011, the Spirit industry’s largest, annual gathering held in New Orleans. Drink also sent one of  its own bartenders, Misty Kalkofen to compete for the title of  American Bartender of the Year. Congrats to all!

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A Food Tour of Concord, MA: Part One

When folks from out-of-town mention Concord, it’s most often in the context of the American Revolution — associated with “the shot heard ’round the world” that started the whole shebang. Or perhaps they’re referencing one of our transcendentalists — Thoreau, Emerson, Alcott, Hawthorne — acknowledging those independent, back-t0-nature thinkers who lived and worked together in Concord in the early 1800s.

I, for one, used to associate Concord with a certain 6th-grade teacher who, in his spare time, was part of a Revolutionary War re-enactment group and took great pleasure in coming to class in full general’s attire, reciting Emerson’s “Concord Hymn” while brandishing an antique rifle.

Now I think of Concord as a destination for food.

Hutchins Farm

Summer produce at the ready at Hutchins Farm

When I moved to the area in June, my godmother and friend, Fan Watkinson, co-founder of the Boston Local Food Festival and a connoisseur of many things deliciously local in the greater Boston area, suggested I make the trip.

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Liquid Therapy from DrinkBoston (Last Call)

(Photo: Susanna Bolle)

Not to be overly melodramatic, but this is a (belated) lament for an end of an era of sorts.

DrinkBoston, which has been the most influential cocktail blog in the city for over five years, published its last post earlier this month. The reason for its demise? Nothing sinister. Lauren Clark, the woman behind the blog, is moving across the country to LA for a new, improved day job. Boston’s nightlife (or, at the very least its bar life) will be the poorer for her absence.

Since DrinkBoston’s inception, Clark, who is a trained bartender herself, has covered all aspects of the craft cocktail scene in Boston and beyond. She was one of the first and most ardent champions of the city’s best bartenders and one of the great propagandists of the cocktail revolution.

So raise a glass in her honor (perhaps from one of the Random Recipes on DrinkBoston’s sidebar) and take comfort in the fact that you can still read through the archives.

Journeyman: Emergency Break

Photo: courtesy of Journeyman

When you open your own restaurant, you learn to expect the unexpected.

Tse Wei Lim and Diana Kudayarova, co-chefs/owners of Journeyman in Somerville, certainly have.

Tse Wei Lim
Chef, Journeyman
PRK Guest Contributor

For the second year in a row, we’re spending our summer building a restaurant. On June 18th, at the end of a busy Saturday night, a driver crashed his SUV into Journeyman’s front wall, nearly bringing down our roof in the process. There were still guests in the restaurant.

After emergency services evacuated the building, we and Ben, our contractor, spent the wee hours of the morning propping the ceiling up with whatever we could find. Sadly, we finished well after last call – we could all have done with a drink. By the next morning’s light, the damage was really quite impressive – a brick column thrown a full 8 inches out of line, the entire length of the facade cracked, and our antique window miraculously intact.

So we’ve spent the last four weeks closed, while the front wall got demolished and rebuilt from the ground up. The window, which survived the crash, didn’t survive the demolition. That photo, above, is what our restaurant looks like with no wall. To be continued…

Tse Wei Lim

Diana surveys the re-build

Food Therapy from The Year in Food

squid

Photo: watchsmart/Flickr

Often, salads are boring. I mean, sure, I love a good Cobb salad, and even a simple garden salad has its place. But if you order either at a restaurant, you know exactly what you’re getting. Sometimes, I want to be surprised by my food. And sometimes, I go beyond even that – sometimes, as strange as it sounds, I want my food to creep me out.

By now you probably think that I’m a pretentious foodie weirdo. But think back to your most memorable food experience, and I bet it was a little scary. Beef tartar, seaweed, liver – all a little freaky, and all the more delicious for it. Part of the reason I love sashimi is that its melt-in-your-mouth tenderness feels earned, somehow – a reward for conquering my long-held fear of raw fish.

At first, I mistook this salad by The Year in Food for one of the dull salads, filled, as it is, with standbys like arugula, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and a simple lemon dressing. But then – and here, I imagine the Jaws theme starting up – something emerges. In the corner of the plate, reaching out – is that a tentacle? Continue reading

PRK On The Air: Leftovers Reclaimed

Photo: Kathy Gunst

We all know what it’s like to look into a refrigerator and mourn the moldy berries in the corner.

They looked so amazing at last week’s farmer’s market.  Alas, the time you needed to create that gorgeous pie simply never materialized.

Luckily, we have Kathy Gunst in our lives.

In her latest Here & Now installment, Gunst gives some great ideas for leftovers, whether they be pasta or beautiful blueberries.  Learn more HERE.

The Boston Pie Experiment

Photo: jimmyweee/Flickr

“The Food Experiments” is coming to Boston! And it’s going to be all about pies.

The Food Experiments, fellow readers, is a series of amateur cook-offs designed to celebrate the home chef. In creating them, co-organizers Theo Peck and Nick Suarez have developed a community of food- and fun-loving people in their hometown of Brooklyn, NY. Now this duo and their experiments will go on the road for a national tour, and they’re coming our way soon.

On Sunday, July 31st, The Boston Pie Experiment will be held at the Middle East in Cambridge from 12-3PM. You can enter any kind of pie into the competition: sweet, meat, savory, fruit-filled — heck, even pizza pie. As long as it has “some kind of pie crust…it will represent!”

Anyone can attend and anyone can compete, which means anyone can win. The top prize is local fame, of course, plus a trip to Brooklyn to compete against all the cook-off winners from around the country. And, no worries about footing the grocery bill: chefs will be provided with a Whole Foods gift certificate to help purchase ingredients for the competition. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go towards The Food Project, a wonderful local charity on-site in Lincoln, Beverly, Ipswich, Boston and Lynn, which “has built a national model of engaging young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture.”

Give’ em a shout and join the fun! All of you out there are encouraged to enter or attend. Let’s show the nation what we in Boston do with our pies.