Archive for the ‘food’Category

FOOD: Sharing my Love of Indian Cooking

I must admit to being a big lover of home cooked Indian dishes. So Yesterday I stopped what I was doing, sat down with a big cup of minty tea and listened to WNYC’s talk show host Leonard Lopate’s spectacular interview with Madhur Jaffrey and Suvir Saran, chef of Devi. Both chef’s Jaffrey and Saran talked at length breaking down the basic fundamentals of making delightful home cooked Indian Meals and the importance of using the freshest of vegetables and spices. Madhur Jaffrey shared her new cookbook, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka telling listeners how easily it is to prepare Indian dishes and tips on the foods from various regions from the north to the south of places like Karala and Goa. And Suvir Sara talks about his India Cookbook, a comprehensive guide to Indian cooking with over 1,000 recipes. Both cookbooks are rich and steeped in traditional style of home cooking, and after listening you too might come away with a better appreciation for some of those aromatic dishes you love to eat. I’ve been a long time lover  of Madhur Jaffrey’s cooking and this new cookbook is a must have addition to my expansive cookbook library. And if what she say’s is true about these recipes being better than the typical NYC’s  Indian restaurant, I can’t wait to delve deeply in to test her tasty  recipes. In the meantime I’ll sample a few recipes listed on the NPR’s website, since I simply love coconut rice pudding. I’ll whip-up that dish up first.


12 2010

This Week’s Happening: Apple Pie Contest

I could not resist posting this contest, since I have some lovely some delicious memories of those sweet smells or cinnamon flavor waifing through the air as I patiently waited for my grandmother and mother to dish me out huge slice of apple pie.

Pie Contest in a Box To celebrate the publication of One Big Table: The Book (which looks terrific) and launch an ongoing effort to collect and preserve American recipes and food stories, Molly O’Neill is throwing an online apple pie bake-off. Entry deadline: Nov. 31.


11 2010

In The Comfort of Northern Spy Food Co.

If you’re thinking about exploring one of the numerous Manhattan trendy farm-to-table restaurants you might consider trying Northern Spy Food Company, and yes it’s named after one of New York State’s heirloom apples. It’s located in Alphabet City at 511 East 12 Street, a brisk walk from the “L” train stop on 1st Avenue. Despite being open only little under a year the place has mustered a strong following from the neighborhood locals.  One might easily miss this restaurant if it were not for a barely noticeable small wooden shingle protruding over the front door, in an old style stenciled hand-lettering that serves as a distinctive marker. In front a set of cerulean blue benches offer extra sitting for the overflow of customers waiting to grab a table since the restaurant does not accept reservations. The facade of this locale is a reminder of the lower Eastside ethnic historical past.

When I arrived around 6ish to meet my group the place was empty with plenty of tables to be had, within an hour the chatter had elevated to that of a loud bar room banter. Sitting at the small bar a cheery bartender offered me a menu with a list of refreshing cool drinks to ebb off the hot summer heat. I settled for a sparkling Cucumber and Mint drink knowing this combo would quench my thirst. The restaurant is small, cramped with square butcher block tables. Although, I can’t help but to conjure up a picturesque scene ripped right from the pages of a New England 1950s mystery novel, right down to the vintage floral and stripped cool colors of blue and green wallpaper, the white washed slated walls, and the softly dimmed lights. Even the brass toilet paper holder in the bathroom was stamped with the word, “captain”. Compared to the restaurants appealing web site and the vintage interior decor featuring reclaimed furnishings, the design of the menu was rather drab. Lacking the stylish zest of the interiors cool color schemes.

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07 2010

FOOD: Stirring It Up With Cast Iron Skillets

Scott pounding cornmeal with a pedestal in a wooden mortar.

This is an insightful interview with Scott A. Barton, chef and food historian, he’s currently pursuing a PHD at New York University in the Food Study program. Allow me to share an informative chat with Scott about the ubiquitous cast iron skillet, many of us hold loving memories of those oversized, black  heavy cooking pans that our grandmothers or mothers used to fry-up juicy tender chicken or bake crisp cornbread. These are some finger lickin good moments.

Below is podcast interview with Scott A. Barton:


07 2010

SPARE BEATS: What’s Happening in June

Lots of great events happening this summer all around NYC such as films, visual art, design, food and more. Here is a breakdown of the ones that I’ve been able to find, the best part is some are free! Please leave a comment if I’ve left anything out or you want to share something interesting. Friday, June 18th, 2010 Soul of Brooklyn Launch Party Time:  7-11pm Description: Hosted by Brooklyn icon, Ralph McDaniels, The Soul of Brooklyn launch party will premiere the highly anticipated website and guide book that will highlight the unique African Diaspora cultural and business renaissance taking place in the great metropolis of Brooklyn, New York! Featured at the launch will be a special performance by “Blitz the Ambassador”, Brooklyn vendors, food, music, art and give-away items and more! There will also be a Soul of Brooklyn photography exhibition, featuring images by Malik Yusef at MoCADA. For a schedule of all events click: SOULOFBROOKLYN.COM SOUL OF BROOKLYN’S VIDEO:

The 4th Annual Food Film Fesitval Kicks-off from June 23-27th If you’re a foodie the 4ht Annual Food Film Festival offers some of the best of selections of places to eat while experiencing a diverse range of films all on food. Things jump off June 23rd-27th, 2010 in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Click the link for more details: HOMO-HARLEM film festival showing from June 21-26, 2010 featured at the Maysles Cinema located at 343 Malcolm X Blvd, bet. 127th & 128th Streets. This is a week long film survey of the artists and personalities who’ve informed the gay aesthetic in Harlem. This event is curated by Michael Henry Adams and Valerie Jo Bradley. Fascinating line-up of films includes: The Polymath, or the Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman; As I Remember it: Portrait of Dorothy West; Flag Wars; Tongue Untied: Still In Vogue; Black is…Black Ain’t; The Josephine Baker Story; and Naked White Roses. Check out the Maysles Cinema website for more information.


06 2010

On Point: A Taste of Japan

This is one of those all day Saturday events at the Japan Society that you should not pass up. Feast on everything the Japan Society has to offer at j-CATION: Taste Japan, a day-long event. Explore all the flavorful taste of Japan from, sweet, savory to spicy delights with the first-ever j-Cation, which promises to take you on trip to Japan without getting on an airplane.
Make sure to hang around until the evening to listen to the explosives sounds from DJ. AKI’s rocking beats, and some unusual drinks and morsel bites to satisfy your taste buds.

Beats by DJ. AKI:


04 2010

DESIGN EDUCATION: Fostering Cross-Cultural Design with my Students

Danae Colomer, Gazpacho video portion of Food as Opera project.

Taste of New York/Food as Opera

Last summer I restructured my Exhibition Design class to function as a team-based creative lab. Eager to explore a different research methodology, I met with another faculty member, Robin Drake and we developed a theoretical design research process we labelled, “Billboarding.”
What exactly is Billboarding?
Our method helped the students to document free-flowing ideas. We decided that our students would work using huge sheets of paper, (basically we replaced the small sketchbook). Each student either taped their sheets on the outer classroom walls, or spread out over a few desks.

I looked at a few successful case studies, that might help us understand how to tackle design ideas. Most importantly, I posed a few questions. How does one develop an idea to pinpoint a user experience? What makes an idea successful? I wanted my students to conduct primary research and not rely solely on google or wiki.
The students used a method I use for developing ideas, mind-mapping or concept mapping, to think through their ideation processes. Design Educator, Andrea Marks book Writing for Visual Thinkers: A Guide for Artist and Designers, was reviewed on the AIGA design education site and offers an excellent example of this mapping process.
Here’s an excerpt of AIGA_WFVT_Excerpt.

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03 2010

Prepping Peking Duck

FOOD: Eating Peking Duck Down to the Bones

Peking Duck

Did you ever finish a meal, then found yourself running your fingers around the rim of the plate to pick up the last remaining “juices” of your meal? This was my experience after Scott and I dined on Peking Duck.

Liu Ye, our Hotel concierge suggested the best restaurant for Peking Duck, and it was a worth while 20 minute walk away in the cold. Located in a glitzy mall on the fifth floor, this hyper-stylized restaurant was much like those I frequent in NYC. The three or four women hostesses gave us the once over, then politely escorted us into the dining area to a table in view of the raised gazebos glass shaped kitchen. Inside, about 10 chefs were busily prepping the ducks, and more leathery Peking ducks were hanging from overhead hooks. I counted four wooden stoves. Other utensils included long carving knives, and sharpening stones, in addition to the hanging poles. At one point I got closer to the glass kitchen to take photos of the cooking technique used.  I noticed that each chef wore a surgical mask as they worked. I later learned that this was a common practice throughout China of chefs who worked closely with food preparation. The setting looked like a stage for some ritualistic practice.

We could not stop looking. One chef took a duck out of the oven, then broke off its beak, then sanded the skin to remove any excess hair and ashes. Our curiosity prompted us to take turns grilling the waitress about the preparation.

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02 2010

KULTURE: Nothing Like Some Good Home Cooking

KianLam Kho

Chinese New Years Banquet

While traveling through China I noticed how eager everyone was to prepare for the Chinese New Year holiday celebration. It seemed like everywhere I went, red and golden trinkets were sold in outdoor street markets, major department stores and even supermarkets. It’s obvious that these decorations will quickly erase any remnants of Christmas. Besides celebrating at my Daotist center, I usually gather, with friends and family for a traditional Chinese Banquet in Chinatown.

All of this has changed in recent years, thanks to my friend Kian Lam Kho. He loves to cook and his food is far superior to that of any place’s I’ve eaten in Chinatown in New York City. Instead of having his friends flying off to China, Kian invites a select group of his foodie friends, chefs, and restaurant folks to share a tasty meal in the intimate setting of his home.

Kian is from Singapore, he grew-up eating what he defines as authentic Chinese home cooking, with bold flavors that might be considered too harsh for the American palate. Hanging out with these foodies allows me an entry into the world of “tasting” at some of New York City’s major new restaurants. (I’m always fascinated by the way chefs and restaurant professionals easily critique a dish, the restaurant decor, the service, wine list and more, in one setting.) But this time we’re eating at the home of one the best Chinese Chef’s in New York City.


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02 2010