Tuesday, August 31, 2010

what does your fridge look like?

Taken a peek inside your fridge lately?  Would you be shocked or quite pleased with what you find (or don't find) inside?  Photographer Mark Menjivar would like to know.  His current photography series, You Are What You Eat, is currently on display at the Rayko Gallery in San Francisco.   For the past few years Menjivar has been photographing the fridges of individuals across the US in an attempt to explore social issues around food and how they affect us and our communities.  If you think about, opening up your home to someone, let alone your fridge, is a pretty personal issue.  One of Menjivar's subjects even likened it to posing nude in front of the camera!  So take a look...would you be cool, calm and collected standing in front of your wide open fridge in all it's exposed glory?  Send in your own fridge photos and we'll post them up in a photographic study of our own!  
Above, one of Menjivar's photos - a San Antonio bartender's fridge.  I love the folded American flag discreetly placed on the top shelf.  
Below, what a gorgeous, healthful fridge might look like (even with a little ice cream & chocolate syrup mingled in there!).  This fridge is straight out of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn from the home of my good friends Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer.  Without fail, their fridge is always stocked with plenty of fresh, seasonal produce from the Park Slope Co-op and local greenmarkets.  And their shopping habits are indeed paying off, their two young daughters are some of the most adventurous eaters I know-and they love their fruits and veggies (and their cupcakes too)!

And a few more of Menjivar's photos...

the fridge of a community volunteer who is blind and lives alone

a San Antonio carpenter's freezer who had recently shot a buck in his yard

a midwife who had just set out to eat all locally grown foods

Friday, August 27, 2010

friday finds :: 5 things we love

1. EATALY is OPENING! :: The opening of the much-talked about Italian food-hall and marketplace Eataly this coming Tuesday, Aug. 31st - 4pm sharp - may just be the best moment of my summer.  When Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich combine forces, you know you've got nothing but magic waiting to happen.  The 36,500 square foot space is due to have 20 retail departments offering a range of items including antipasti, salumi, fresh house-made mozzarella, pasta and breads.  There'll be a coffee bar, a panini bar, a complete wine store, cooking classes run by Lidia herself.  Michael Toscano, former chef at Babbo, will run Manzo, a full-scale white tablecloth Italian steakhouse.  Need I go on?  It's going to be phenomenal and best of all, it's literally a stone's throw from my office (this could be trouble!).  

2. eggs :: Yes, I'm taking a stand and proclaiming my love for eggs this Friday amidst this week's salmonella outbreak and recall of a half a billion eggs stemming from a few large producers (and deplorable food safety measures) in Iowa.  Eggs aren't the enemy.   It's our food safety laws and food system as a whole that could use some serious scrutiny, as Michael Pollan and countless other advocates have been calling for for years.  So should you bypass eggs this weekend when making brunch?  Absolutely not.  But you should be buying them from your neighborhood farmers market, small local farmer or pay a little extra for organic free-range eggs at your grocery store.  Cook up those eggs and say goodbye to salmonella risk.

3. Los Feliz :: If you're looking for a new restaurant to test-drive this weekend, checkout Los Feliz on the LES.  A cozy, well-styled and well-priced taqueria and tequileria on Ludlow St.   Start off with the tres colores salad with it's memorable passion fruit-jalapeno vinaigrette and move to sharing a few different soft tacos - they're small, light and absolutely delightful (the chille relleno, adobo chicken, braised pork and crispy sea bass were my table's picks). And don't miss out on the "fresh" margarita made with Milagro blanco tequila, extra fresh-squeezed lime juice and a touch of agave nectar.  The perfect refreshing margarita for a summer evening.  After dinner, be sure to head downstairs to the gorgeously decorated lounge area with it's own DJ booth.  Go with close friends or a hot date because you'll likely stay for a good while!

4. Not My Day Job: Celebrate the Talent You Tip :: This Sunday at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street),  from 1-5pm, come celebrate the arts at this musical event so thoughtfully put together by my friend Joey Campanale and his team from Dell’anima, L’Artusi and Anfora restaurants. There will be live performances and exhibitions going on throughout the afternoon, including a talent show put on members of the restaurant industry by day, artists by night. So come show appreciation for these talented individuals who dedicate their time to an industry we for sure could not live without!  Tickets @ ticketfly.com are $40, and all proceeds will be donated to Foundation Rwanda and Wellness in the Schools.  

5. Sam's pick of the week - corn :: As summer begins to drift away, definitely dig into one of the most crisp and sweet produce picks the season has to offer.  White and yellow corn may be a starchier vegetable, but it's packed with flavor, is rich in vitamins B and C and fiber and signifies the taste of summer.  Grilled, boiled or shaved straight off the cob and tossed into a salad, fresh pasta or a salsa, enjoy while you still can!  

*Check out these corn recipes as well as my fresh corn chowder with jalapeno and pan-roasted tomatoes (made just this week) for some additional inspiration! 

*images: eater.com, nytimes.com, myrecipes.com, losfeliznyc.com

Thursday, August 26, 2010

summer corn chowder with jalapeno & pan-roasted tomatoes

Put this season's sweet, crisp delicious crop of corn to good use.  This chowder is fast, filling and full of the flavors of summer.  Makes for a light lunch or dinner, no cream included!

serves 4

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 onion, diced
3 ears of fresh corn, kernels shaved off (divided), save the ears for the broth
1 cup diced potato (divided)
1 cup diced zucchini or summer squash
1/2 toasted jalapeno pepper (seeded and minced)
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
chopped cilantro and extra minced jalapeno for garnish
*pan-roasted yellow and red cherry tomatoes for garnish

In a large, heavy pot, saute garlic and onion in olive oil over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add in 1 1/2 cups corn kernels,  1/2 cup potato and zucchini or squash and saute for about 5 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Meanwhile, puree the remaining 1 1/2 cups corn and 1/2 cup of potato with 2 tablespoons of broth in a blender.
Add in shaved ears of corn, jalapeno, broth, corn-potato puree and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and lower heat, simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove ears of corn from the pot and discard.  Simmer an additional 15 to 20 minutes.  Garnish with roasted tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeno and serve.

*pan-roasted tomatoes: heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large saucepan and add in tomatoes -- if they're slightly larger, halve them or if little babies, leave them whole.  Pan-roast on medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes until tomatoes burst/shrivel.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the colors of summer, a love affair with red

It's amazing how a single red dress inspired me to look at all the gorgeous summer produce sitting on my kitchen countertop a little differently.  Just taking a moment to appreciate the vibrant hues of the season - and this might sound silly - reminds you of the beauty of good food, and that it can be breathtaking sometimes (often times).  And when your fridge, your plate, your diet is vibrant, it's a fail-proof sign that you're eating healthfully, smartly and deliciously.  I present you with some of summer's best as an example.  Antioxidant-packed heirloom and cherry tomatoes (which immediately encouraged me to do up a simple, scrumptious snack of heirloom tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella dotted with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and a sprinkling of that red chili you see above).  The tomato crop is unbelievable this season, so make a run to your local greenmarket asap and stock up.  Major flavor and major nutrients, and mini-calories - which leaves you a little more room for a nice piece of ciabatta, baguette or whole wheat sourdough with that tomato, basil, mozzarella salad below.   Also tossed into the bowl above are 2 Turkish eggplants (those little red guys with stems on the left side).  I'd never seen them before I stumbled upon them at the farmers market last weekend - and fortunately so, they're wonderful grilled or quickly sauteed.

tomato, basil, mozzarella salad = the perfect snack or starter

a little more red love...summer tristar strawberries

my red dress that inspired it all...

you can't go wrong with summer fun and sparkles - and a plate of delicious fresh food!

images by: moi's camera, growshop.com, luckymag.com

Monday, August 23, 2010

a little sweetness to start your week :: plum-strawberry clafouti

I can confidently say that this dessert's a beauty...and delightfully tasty as well.  My attention often turns to my oven and thoughts of baking when it's a dreary, rainy day.  So that's precisely what I did yesterday amidst the pouring rain and high winds.  Dreaming of sunnier weather and more romantic, uplifting scenery, my thoughts naturally turned to Paris.  And my baking whimsy turned to clafouti, a classic French dessert that bundles together the most simple of ingredients - flour, milk, eggs, sugar and whatever fresh fruit your inspired-heart desires.  The result is nothing less than lovely, and is studded with gorgeous, naturally sweet fruit (something seasonal of course).  I'd been wanting to do something with the pint of plums I purchased at the farmers market, so they were a natural fit.  And to make things even more interesting, I tossed in some adorable little tristar strawberries that have hit the greenmarket in the past few weeks- they're tiny and not too tart, and not too sweet.  And without further adieu, the recipe follows along with a few more stylish, chic French photos...just in case you're looking for an excuse to daydream a bit.  And don't worry, the clafouti didn't sit around for long, it accompanied me to a Sunday night dinner party with good friends.  A perfect way to finish the weekend.  Bon appetit! 

6 small plums, pitted and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup tristar strawberries, stems removed
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
confectioner's sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss plums with 1 tablespoon sugar and brandy and allow to macerate for about 10-15 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer plums to a shallow 2 quart baking dish or pie/tart pan.  Add in strawberries and mix evenly with plums.  
Combine remaining sugar, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.  In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs, butter, milk, vanilla and any leftover brandy and whisk until blended.  Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and steadily whisk in egg mixture to avoid a lumpy batter.  Pour batter over fruit. 
Bake for about 35 minutes, cool and sprinkle confectioner's sugar over top.  
*note: it might be a bit more indulgent, but I'm considering getting a little wild and testing this out next time with a 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 heavy whipping cream - rather than a full cup of milk

images via: mumbling-elf.typepad.com, dustjacketattic.blogspot.com

Friday, August 20, 2010

friday finds :: 5 things we love

It's a weekend chock full of farm fresh and foodie events and activities throughout the city, eat up!

1. Ice Cream Festival & Tomato Tasting at New Amsterdam Market :: This Sunday from 11am to 4pm celebrate summer in Manhattan with some of the best ice cream this city has to offer. Vendors include The Bent Spoon, Robert's, Early Bird Cookery, Marlow & Daughters, MilkMade Ice Cream and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. From 12-3pm, there will also be a Tomato Fest Benefit going on where you may taste an astounding variety of tomatoes at their prime. All proceeds will be donated to the New Amsterdam Market and to the New York City Food Systems Network: couldn't ask for a more delectable way to support some great causes! 

2. Epicurious Farmers Market Tour :: Head over the Union Square Greenmarket today and tomorrow to check out Epicurious.com's stand where you can browse countless summertime recipes on their new iPhone app, taste-test a little chocolate and receive a free eco-friendly tote bag to boot.

3. Kelvin Natural Slush Co. :: Because it's going to be steamy weekend here in the city (and because the guys in the truck are pretty darn cute), scout out the Kelvin Slush truck around town and grab a gourmet, all-natural icy treat that's bound to remind you of childhood summers.  Choose a unique flavor base like Spicy Ginger, Tangy Citrus or Green & Black Tea and then pair it with real pureed fruit and fresh herbs.  The strawberry-basil-tea combo comes highly recommended. Find the truck's location on Twitter - @kelvinslush

4. Brooklyn Kitchen Labs :: If you're wondering what to do with all that mouthwatering seasonal produce you picked up at the greenmarket (post-Epicurious's farmers market tour) or at New Amsterdam Market, a class solely devoted to tomatoes or to canning and preserving might be your answer.  Just this week, I took the canning class with Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance.  Her tri-star strawberry jam, and the step-by-step techniques demonstrated to make it, rocked!  Check out upcoming class listings here.    

5. Sam's pick of the week - burrata :: Why do we love this silky, creamy type of fresh mozzerella? Because it’s scrumptious and what could be better paired with the juicy crop of heirloom tomatoes that’s hit farmers markets across the city. The opportunities are endless with these two ingredients. Take some toasted ciabatta bread or any crusty Italian bread, sprinkle it with garlic, rub in the juice from the tomato so the flavor absorbs, spread on a generous amount of burrata and eat! Also works well with pasta dishes, homemade pizza and even tossed into a salad. 
*Who's Sam?!  Please meet our newest contributor, Samantha, who's a budding young foodie and clearly knows good cheese when she tastes it.  She'll be including a favorite food or ingredient - and some ideas of what to do with it - each Friday.

And to leave you with a morsel more of weekend eating inspiration, here are a few photos one of my clients was kind enough to send me.  Check out Chris's awesome array of summer's best after a very successful trip to the greenmarket...and his gorgeous heirloom tomato, basil and feta tart that followed.  Delicious (and sneakily healthful), thanks C!  Have pictures of some delectable, seasonal dishes you've been cooking up?  Send over your favorite summer food photos (and the recipe if you've got it) and we'll post one each week with your name on it!  For the remainder of summer, each week's chosen entry will receive a free copy of my new book, The Cheater's Diet!  Email your pics to: marissa@nourish-nyc.com   

*photos courtesy of: eater.com, thebrooklynkitchen.com, coolhunting.com, epicurious.com, prouditaliancook.blogspot.com, Chris! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NY Intl Gift Fair recap :: great finds for your table & home

If you're on the market for a few new items for your kitchen, table or home, this week's New York International Gift Fair presented some great options.  After scouring hundreds of vendors' booths earlier this week, here's a quick recap of my favorite finds - whether they're functional, practical, eco-friendly, cool, just drop-dead gorgeous or simply just pretty, colorful and fun.  And if you weren't able to make it to the show yourself, check out AOL's Shelter Pop site for their own list of the top 100 booths from the show!
worldly wine bags from MapTotes, so cool

John Derian's booth & his infamous decoupage glass plates.  
I fell for the yellow knick-knack tray with the rooster

more from John Derian.  Mark your calendars for Sept. 5th, he's coming to Target!  
Get a sneak peek of his collection for a fraction of the price here.

handmade, sustainable coconut shell bowls from Bambu. love how they use the entire fruit after the milk and meat have been eaten

whimsical glasses to add some fun to any table

coasters from Sesame Letterpress, just plain adorable.

the best-smelling booth of the entire show (and there were a whole lot of candle brands!)
Lafco knows a great scent and pairs candles with specific rooms of the house, genius.  My fave was from the Avenue collection, the Ginza candle - cherry blossom & peony - 
soft, subtle and perfect for any room

chic, graphic tableware from Waylande Gregory Studios.  

More cool coasters (these are porcelain), great for a host/hostess gift...from Jonathan Adler

possibly my absolute favorite find at the show - these drop-dead stunning jewel-tone glass centerpieces (or vases) made in Mexico City by Novel Studio

the perfect water glass, also from Nouvel Studio

Sunday, August 15, 2010

a simple Sunday brunch

It's a quiet weekend in NYC.  Cooler weather with Saturday's gorgeous sun and today's calm grey skies.  It seems like everyone's slowing down a bit, taking a respite from their standard summer weekend getaway trips upstate, to the Hamptons or to Fire Island.  I'll leave you to your lounging with some visual inspiration - a simple brunch and a good long read of the paper - quite appropriate on this lazy, hazy Sunday.
and if you're wondering what's on my plate...
* 2 eggs, fried sunny-side up in a dab of olive oil and sprinkled with salt, freshly ground pepper and a bit of harissa sauce (Taim on Waverly and Perry sells their own peppery harissa, it's amazing)
* a quick saute of summer corn and cherry tomatoes sprinkled with fresh basil and a touch of sea salt.
* add on a few slices of avocado on the side and you've got a deliciously healthy and fast brunch that gives a nod to seasonal ingredients and comfort food all at once

a for few other pretty pics of brunching, here are a handful shot by Brooklyn photographer Jennifer Causey featured on her blog, SimplyBreakfast

Thursday, August 12, 2010

friday finds :: 5 things we love

1. Hot Bread Kitchen :: Multi-ethnic breads for a good cause come to the new La Marqueta in East Harlem.  Hot Bread Kitchen's non-profit mission is to help create brighter futures for low-income women and their families while celebrating artisanal breads and cultural specialities. From handmade corn tortillas and organic lavash to seasonal foccaccia and a phenomenal multigrain loaf, these healthful carbs are nothing less than delicious. Find Hot Bread Kitchen at the Union Square Farmers Market on Wednesdays and soon-to-be at La Marqueta.  

2. Sylvester & Co. Dreamy Coffee :: After being out in the Hamptons last weekend and to my disappoint, discovering that one of my favorite home-design and general stores in Amagansett (with another location in Sag Harbor), Sylvester & Co. is no longer carrying their unbelievably yummy 'dreamy coffee' with chocolate overtones, I did what any discerning coffee drinker would do -- tracked their beans down online. Thankfully, you can still order their coffee online here and I promise it's worth the shipping cost!

3. brandied cherries :: Because cherries are in season right now and these might just be little alcohol-infused bites of heaven. And they make the perfect finish for an unbelievable bourbon whiskey Manhattan. Simmer 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to make a simple syrup. Add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of pitted cherries and simmer for 2 minutes. Then bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool and add 1/3 cup of brandy.  A couple of these babies and you don't even need the Manhattan!

4. green street cooking utensils :: As spotted in the New York Times earlier this week, these spatulas and cooking utensils are made from recycled materials. They're dishwasher safe and can withstand heat up to 425 degrees. What not to use them for...summer grilling when you're cooking outdoors. Sorry, but I doubt you want melted plastic on your favorite burger! Get yours at kitchencollection.com.

5. Feeding Our Future & Sam Kass on Martha Stewart Living Radio :: White House Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator joins acclaimed NYC chef and founder of Wellness in the Schools, Bill Telepan, to take on childhood obesity and talk about Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative. Telepan is hosting the 5 part Feeding Our Future series that focuses on getting kids to eat more healthfully. The series airs every Tuesday through Sept. 7th. Join the conversation this coming Tuesday, Aug. 17th on Martha Stewart Living radio from 11am-12pm EST, Sirius channel 112 or XM 157. Have questions or comments? Call in at 866-675-6675 or email radio@marthastewart.com

*photos courtesy of:
papertastebuds.com, sloshed.hyperkinetic.org, nytimes.com, theslowcook.com