The people behind Food Inc., one of the most compelling documentaries ever done on agribusiness and the corporate food world, has just compiled a list of 100 places across the U.S. where food is done right: “We’re celebrating the small, food-focused businesses that embrace principles we admire: local, sustainable, organic, humane and unprocessed,” writes TakePart, the organizational arm behind Food Inc. They asked food journalists to nominate ten places in each of ten cities, and they just announced the winners, among them, Kings County Jerky in Brooklyn, who said: ”We’ve built our business on quality ingredients and meticulous production methods. It’s costly and time-consuming, but the final product is something we’re really proud of. Being on the Tastemakers list means the care and effort we put into our jerky really does matter to people.” Go to Tastemakers for the full list.
Author Archives: Tanya Steel
I picked prime pumpkin-packed plates…okay, I give up with this alliteration. Tis’ pumpkin season and it’s the flavor of the moment, whether you’re at Starbucks, the supermarket, or your favorite neighborhood restaurant. So to satisfy all of you pumpkin lovers I have picked 10 of my favorite archival Gourmet pumpkin recipes. Most use the canned version, but I have included a few fresh pumpkin recipes, too.
- Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew
- Pecan Pumpkin Pie
- Roast Pumpkin with Cheese Fondue
- Pumpkin Potato Puree
- Pumpkin Parfaits
- Pumpkin, Corn and Lemongrass Soup
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Pumpkin Seed Brittle
- Pumpkin Cake with Sage Ice Cream and Pumpkin Cherry Compote
- Pumpkin Soup with Red Pepper Mousse
- Pumpkin Seed Pesto
There are few things in life better than a warm biscuit–with the exception being two warm biscuits. These toasty bits of flaky goodness are surprisingly easy to make, such as these Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits (pictured above), but if you don’t want to take the time, Callie’s Charleston Biscuits will come to the rescue. Made by hand, fully-cooked, and sent frozen to your doorstop from South Carolina, these crumbly treats come in an array of flavors, including cinnamon, country ham, black-pepper bacon, and cheese and chive. You can also get an order of country ham, pimento cheese, and honey will you’re at it, cause life is too short not to have biscuits and ham at least once a week.
To have food without wine is like listening to Paul without John; you can enjoy each on his own, but the combination makes the experience all the more powerful. This resonates for chef Tyler Florence, co-owner of three California restaurants, author of six cookbooks, host of two television shows, and designer of his own cookware line, so it made sense for him to round out his epicurean empire with his own wines.
Florence partnered with wine-making nobility–Michael Mondavi–to create an affordable, accessible, and delicious grouping of wines that are eminently food friendly. Produced in the Napa Valley, Tyler Florence Wines is comprised of a Sauvignon Blanc ($20), Pinot Noir ($40), Old-World Zinfandel ($65), and Cabernet Sauvignon ($25).
This Sunday I will be on QVC’s In the Kitchen with David show. I’ve heard that host David Venable has sold more cookbooks than just about anyone on the planet, which is great as I am on the show to debut our sister site’s first-ever book, The Epicurious Cookbook: More Than 250 Of Our Best-Loved Four-Fork Recipes For Weeknights, Weekends & Special Occasions. We will showcase some of the decadent fall recipes in the book and hopefully sell thousands of copies before it even hits the stores.
This is the second time I’ve been on the channel and I find QVC fascinating: It is the largest shopping network in the world, with more than 60 million customers worldwide. It’s also the only channel that broadcasts live, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An enormous complex situated south of Philadelphia, QVC sells everything from GPS navigation systems to apple-peeling tools, and its hosts have no teleprompters, cue cards or notes. It has gained the title of largest retailer of electronic goods. And, people come daily to visit the headquarters, check out the store, and peak into the studios. I have been on countless television shows, from Dr. Oz to Hell’s Kitchen, Today to Good Morning America, but when I tell people I am going to be on this show, some of them get extremely excited. Are you a QVC addict? What do you generally buy? Tell us in the comments and be sure to tune in at noon on Sunday!
It’s Hunger Action Month but the sad fact is every day is a hunger day for one out of five American kids, who live in poverty and hunger-insecure households. This lack of nutrition not only impacts the children and their families, but also their communities and the nation at large, as the spiral of poor concentration due to hunger leads to poor grades, which eventually leads to a growing uneducated class that has a hard time lifting itself out of poverty. One of the many things we can do is give to our local food banks, or attend one of these culinary events, all happening in the next few weeks:
Share Our Strength: This extraordinary organization, begun in 1984 by brother and sister team Bill and Debbie Shore, is committed to making sure no kid in America goes hungry. They have eight Taste of the Nation events across the country to raise money: On Sunday, chef Tim McKee of La Belle Vie is hosting one in Minneapolis. Sixteen restaurants are coming together and tickets are $200. A few weeks later, Austin is getting into the act with its own Taste of the Nation event; tickets start at $500.
City Harvest’s Bid Against Hunger: The world’s first food rescue organization, they have collected and donated 42 million pounds of food in their tenure, and feed more than one million New Yorkers a year. Their annual event, which raised $1 million last year, will be on October 16. More than 70 top New York City restaurants are participating, such as Blue Hill, Al Fiori, and Tertulia. Tickets start at $350, which will fund food for 1,400 hungry children. If you’re not in NY, you can always make a contribution.
The NY Coalition for Healthy School Food: Dedicated to offering plant-based healthy options to school kids in New York State, as well as promoting farm to school programs, this organization is holding its annual fundraiser with 20 restaurants participating on October 10. Tickets start at $100.
Feeding America: The nation’s largest network of food banks, feeding 37 million Americans annually, raises awareness and dollars each and every day. One in eight Americans are fed through their network, including people that live in your own neighborhood. Contribute today.
Many have written cookbooks for and to children (including my own Real Food for Healthy Kids) but strangely, there have been few cooking magazines for kids, until now. ChopChop, a quarterly publication that has the blessing of the American Academy of Pediatrics, aims to speak directly to children, showing them how to make simple, healthy recipes, such as Pumpkin-Pie Smoothie, Basic Chicken Soup, and Best-Ever Apple Sauce. The recipes are written simply and directly, and begin with reminders like wash your hands and the counter, and get out all of your equipment and ingredients, just as any trained chef does. The brainchild of Sally Sampson, who has more than 20 books under her belt, ChopChop makes nutritious food fun and accessible. Subscriptions are only $14.95 and for every paid sub, ChopChop can give away 3 issues to kids in need.
While there have been several Gourmet cookbooks–and some new excellent Gourmet Special Editions available at newsstands, bookstores, and markets–our sister digital food brand, Epicurious, has never had it’s extraordinary content published on the printed page, until now.
The Epicurious Cookbook: More than 250 of our Best-Loved Four-Fork Recipes for Weeknights, Weekends & Special Occasionsis chock full of delicious, doable, decadent dishes (try saying that four times!).
Broken down by season and meal course, the book has top-rated recipes culled from its 200,000 recipes collection, including some of the best from home cooks. Member tips are included with each, as well as insightful new headnotes, menus, wine pairings and gorgeous photography from the renowned Ellen Silverman. If you order now, you can get an autographed copy and a discounted price of $21.99. It will definitely be the ultimate cookbook to give and get for the holidays!
Anytime I get a chance to mix three of my favorite passions–food, travel, and museums–I am in heaven. To be able to feed the soul and then the stomach is one of life’s great pleasures. My recent trip to Russia gave rise to the idea of doing an article on this very topic, hence this week’s story, The World’s Best Museum Restaurants, in Gourmet Live’s Style Issue. The Hermitage was my personal favorite of this group, followed by Bilbao, because the artistry and creativity of the plate nearly equalled the exquisite architecture and that which is hanging on the walls. And while St. Petersburg restaurants are growing in quality and stature, it can still be hard to find a good meal, making the Hermitage Restaurant all the more appealing. Tell us which museum restaurants you love in the comment section.
As some of you know, I had the honor of being at the White House this week. It was the culmination of a long project I began with some colleagues, one that ended up becoming the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ State Dinner. The event was on Monday, and I had the tremendous honor of speaking first, followed by 12-year-old Marshall Reid, who then introduced the First Lady in poignant and heartfelt fashion. Mrs. Obama’s speech was inspiring, moving, funny, and off-the-cuff. She is a true leader and one of the vital issues she has spearheaded is eradicating childhood obesity within a generation. This was the genesis of Let’s Move. She has already made remarkable inroads, along with White House Assistant Chef, Sam Kass.
We will post all three of our speeches on our sister site, Epicurious, but meantime, here is the text of my speech, given Monday August 20, 2012, in the East Room of the White House:
Mrs. Obama, I speak for all of us in this historic room today when I say thank you so very much for inviting us, for welcoming us to your home, and for your tremendous vision and leadership on the issue of childhood health.
We are gathered here together to celebrate the winners of The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. I was so impressed by the quality and quantity of entries we got for the contest: They were sophisticated, creative, and downright tasty and it seems as if quinoa and salmon are two of America’s kids’ favorite ingredients. But while today is a joyful and celebratory moment for us all, it is essential to remember that we are here for a very important reason—to make real and lasting changes in the health of families today and tomorrow. The 54 winning junior chefs and their family members know how important that is. In the 1,200 submissions to the contest, many children described in detail their personal experiences with family members who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These young leaders understand that by eating healthfully and exercising, we can all strive to be the best we can be, for ourselves and for our country.
I want to tell you winners how inspiring you are not just to the adults in the room but to your family and friends, your community, and kids throughout America. I know that you’ve all become local celebrities as a result of winning this contest, that some of you have appeared in People Magazine, Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, Nightline, and Newsweek, and received congratulatory calls from your senators. And although it is thrilling to be a star, remember the old saying: To whom much is given, much will be required.
The contest you won was called the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge for a reason. Now we are challenging you to go out and lead the fight to teach your friends and family the importance of healthy eating and exercise. You can also mention to your friends that, according to a recent New Yorker article, there is a new activity called “going outside.” You don’t need a keyboard or a mouse, it’s 3-D, and it comes with surround sound—no headphones required!
And now, before we taste a few of the delicious creations you dreamed up, I want to leave you with this thought. As some of you recently saw, Mrs. Obama led our U.S. delegation to the Olympics. She carried America’s torch just as she carries the torch for good health and well-being. She and I are passing the torch to you, to bring the message to your own communities.
I am confident you will carry this light of inspiration and information because you are born leaders. How else can you explain finding yourselves here, sitting in the same room where America’s greatest visionaries changed the future of our nation–extraordinary people such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And who knows, perhaps one of you here today may even stand in this very same spot a few decades from now as President of the United States, inspiring the next generation of young people to be their best for themselves, for their families, and for their country. And now I want to introduce one of those torch bearers, author of Portion Size Me, 12-year-old Marshall Reid. Thank you very much.
As you may have heard, our sister site, Epicurious, created the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge with the office of the First Lady, as well as the USDA, the Department of Education, and Let’s Move. Open to kids ages 8 to 12 across the country, the contest asked for healthy lunch recipes that satisfied My Plate guidelines, were creative and original, affordable, and delicious. We got over 1,200 entries but we could only choose one winner from each of the 50 states and the U.S. Territories. Those winners will be feted at the White House this Monday morning, where there will be almost all of the pomp and circumstance used in a State Dinner. You can watch all of the proceedings live, via the Whitehouse.gov, letsmove.gov, and Epicurious, starting at 10:15 am. Or, you can follow along on social media via Twitter channels for Let’s Move and Epicurious, or on our Facebook, Google Plus, and Pintrest channels.
And, to have a taste of the menu, you can get the free downloadable cookbook of the winning recipes available on the contest site, Epicurious, Let’s Move, the USDA and the Department of Education come Monday. Try some out with your junior chefs and let us know what you think!
On Election Day, November 6, our sister site is publishing its first book, The Epicurious Cookbook. The book will feature its greatest hits, over 250 recipes that are three-and-four forks, plus dozens of recipes from Epi’s enormous member base. Supplemented with spectacular photography from the talented Ellen Sillverman, incisive quotes from Epi members on the recipes, and more than a dozen seasonal menus, this will be the book you’ll want to buy for yourself, and as a gift. You can pre-order now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore.
Ever wonder how to make the perfect flakey or mealy pie doughs? To cook up a Tunisian brik or Moroccan tagine? Or the best way to make a tamale? You are in luck, because sister site Epicurious has joined forces with the renowned Culinary Institute of America to show you how to do this and more. The Epicurious Online Cooking School launched this week, is a virtual cooking school taught by master instructors from the CIA. First up–the cuisine of Mexico. Through four hours of video instruction, broken up into 8 classes, plus 19 recipes from CIA’s curriculum, you can learn how to make authentic moles, ceviches, salsas, tamales, rice and beans, beef, pork, and seafood, all for just $49. You can take the class on your computer, tablet or smartphone, and start and stop, all while being in the comfort of your own home. And, best of all, thanks to Citibank, you can take the first class for free!
Next up in the curricula–American desserts, followed by Italian and Mediterranean courses. Who knows, maybe you’ll become so experienced that you’ll be the next winner on MasterChef?
Tonight I make my fourth appearance as a judge on Hell’s Kitchen. I am sworn to secrecy as to who wins the challenge, but you can read about my experience tomorrow on sister site Epicurious. Each time I’ve been on, I’m struck by how real this reality show is. I know almost nothing about the challenge going in, have no idea who the contestants are, and which episode we are filming. I am walking on with almost no information, which makes it as real as real can be. I have to make quick decisions based on what is on the plate. Each time I’ve guest judged the challenge has been different but one thing that is always the same is how extraordinarily polite, hospitable, and kind chef Ramsay is. That’s right. I’ve just called chef Ramsay kind. Maybe in the kitchen he is one way, but out of the kitchen, he is charming. Hope I’m not tarnishing your image, chef!
Watch the show tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox, and then comment here, or tweet me at @gourmetlive or @tanyasteel, and let me know whether you think I made the right decision.
Two Queens of Cuisine died this week, Marion Cunningham and Sylvia Woods. I was lucky to have met both ladies during my career, and they were equally charming, gracious, talented, and quietly ambitious.
Marion Cunningham, known best as the author of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, was instrumental in reviving home cooking in this country. The author of eight cookbooks, host of a cooking program, and a longtime columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, Cunningham came very late to her career, venturing out of her proscribed San Francisco Bay life only in her 50s. Indeed, her image is one of kindly grandmother, which fit so well with the Fannie Farmer image. Yet, she influenced many generations of home cooks as well as top chefs, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who, in a recent Epicurious interview, cited her pancakes as one of his favorite things to make.
Sylvia Woods also comfortably wore a grandmother halo. When she opened Sylvia’s in Harlem in 1962, the Harlem Renaissance had come and gone, and it was a depressed neighborhood with few restaurants. Sylvia became a waitress at a local luncheonette, and within a few years, had bought the place and transformed it into a beacon for the area. Her heart and soul were in every bowl of collard greens and smothered pork chops, and she brought joy, hospitality, and delicious food to the once blighted neighborhood. Today, her empire includes cookbooks, a burgeoning food product line, a catering arm, and a scholarship fund, and has fed the likes of President Obama and President Clinton, as well as food lovers from around the world.
Sylvia and Marion, we hope you ladies are being served your favorite food dishes in heaven.
The macho-ization of cooking is at its apex in Adam Perry Lang’s new book, Charred & Scruffed: Bold New Techniques for Explosive Flavor On and Off the Grill. Fiery, salty, sizzling—and that just describes the photos of Lang. He introduces innovative new techniques to get the most out of the grill: Some of those include using more salt than in the Dead Sea and more butter than Homer Simpson can eat in one sitting.
For more on the Charred & Scruffed book and for some recipes, check out our sister site, Epicurious.
To watch Adam Perry Lang pound a hunk of meat, check out the video on our sister site, Bonappetit.com.
Few cities in North America are as multicultural as Toronto and that’s reflected in its food scene. This city of 2.6 million has a thriving Chinatown, a food hall bursting with artisan cheeses, charcuterie, and cakes, and as many restaurants as the CN Tower is high. But if you only have time for three meals, here’s where to eat:
Breakfast: Go inside the bustling St. Lawrence Market and head straight to Carousel Bakery and Sandwich Bar for its peameal bacon, cheese, and egg sandwich on a sourdough roll. Peameal bacon is a local delicacy in which back bacon was originally cured with yellow peas, but is now cured with cornmeal. The result? The ultimate McMuffin. Finish it off with Portuguese custard and maple syrup tarts from the stand. (23 Front Street East; 416-563-4247)
Lunch: After checking out the Royal Ontario Museum, stroll over to Chinatown; a few steps into this neighborhood and you will forget you’re in North America. All signs are in Chinese and the restaurants serve every type of cuisine, from dim sum to bbq meat to a straight up Cantonese, Szechuan or Fujian menu. Go to the House of Gourmet Seafood and order shrimp with honeyed walnuts, fried wontons, and shrimp dumplings. Be sure to check out the fried duck legs on the way out–but not the way in. (484 Dundas Street West; 416-217-0167)
Dinner: Feast on nouveau Indian at Dhaba on lively King Street. Classic dishes expertly prepared include fenugreek dusted soft shell crab, tandoori tiger prawns, saag paneer, crispy seafood samosas, lamb marsala, and buttery, warm garlic naan. Finish with a refreshing mango lassi or a glass of Indian wine. (309 King Street West; 416-740-6622)
Farmer’s markets and supermarkets are filled with big, juicy, ruby red strawberries right now. They are at their peak of flavor, and, happily, at their cheapest. My kids eat about a pound of them a day, but when they get bored of eating them fresh from the container, these are my go-to strawberry recipes:
- Rhubarb Strawberry Pudding Cake
- Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
- Strawberry Leather
- Strawberry Shortcakes with Vanilla-Orange Syrup
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Strawberry Margarita Ice Pops (without the tequila)
- Strawberry Napoleons
- Strawberry Cream Cake
- Frozen Strawberry Lemon Meringue Torte
- Fresh Strawberry Pie with Whipped Cream (pictured above)