Culinary Sagacity

~Thought for Food~

The Cathayans believed that the soul or mind is located not in the head but in the stomach.

Doubtless this explains why they fret so much about the preparation and serving of food.

It may also explain why their memories are so much better than ours.

Information is stored not in the finite head, but in the expandable stomach.

--Cyrus Spitama in Gore Vidal's Creation

Friday, December 11, 2009

On Sick Leave!

Dear Readers- 
Unfortunately I have been on an extended leave from work due to illness.  I wish all of you a Happy Holiday season, and hope to be back to work, posting articles, ASAP!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Right Wing Ice Cream?

If you thought Ben and Jerry's was the only ice cream dipped in politics, think again. Turns out there's a conservative ice cream company that touts itself as the counter weight to Ben & Jerry's.

Star Spangled Ice Cream Company is the name, and like Ben & Jerry's, they donate a percentage of their profits to charitable organizations, in this case, those that support members of the military and their families.

This, of course, is a good cause—supporting members of the military, that is. However, it's interesting to note that the first contribution made by Star Spangled Ice Cream was to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, founded by none other than Oliver North of Iran Contra infamy (though my guess is he can't recall why he started his organization, or that Star Spangled Ice Cream ever gave him any money).

What amuses me most about this little ice cream company are the names they give to their flavors. Iraqi Road, Navy BattleChip, Smaller GovernMint, Fightin' Marine Tough Cookies & Cream, G.I. Love Chocolate, and my absolute favorites, GUN NUT, Nutty Environmentalist, and I Hate the French Vanilla. Discontinued flavors and flavors in development have names like Cherry Falwell, Choc & Awe, and Donald RumRaisin.

Of course Ben & Jerry's has some amusing hippie names like Cherry Garcia and Magic Brownies, but they don't go nearly as far as Star Spangled Ice Cream.

This is unfortunate, it would be most amusing to buy Ben & Jerry's if only it had names like Public Option Heath Bar, Clinton Surplus Sorbet, Peachy Pelosi, California Liberal Lemon, Rocky Road to Iraqi Victory, Save the EnvironMINT, Legalize It Dutch Coffee House, Tolerance Toffee, Religious NUT, Equal Pay Fudge Sunday, Truly Hip Chocolate Chip, Big Tent Berry Medley, Al Gore's Internet Cookies & Cream, Racial EqualiTEA, or Go Green Tea . And, how about I Love the French Vanilla?

Hmmm, maybe I should start a liberal ice cream company? I'd better trademark those names, pronto!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

From My Hometown to Yours: Parmigiano-Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico di Reggio Emilia

Hardly anyone outside Italy has heard of Reggio Emilia. With the exception of Jacques Pépin—who had not only heard of it, but had visited and knew it as the food destination in Italy—most people stare blankly at me when I tell them Reggio Emilia is my Italian home town. So you can imagine my surprise as I watched a recent episode of Iron Chef America—where the secret ingredient was Balsamic Vinegar—when Alton Brown actually mentioned that Reggio Emilia is one of only two places that produce Aceto Balsamico. Not only did it make me proud, but it was pretty darn convenient as I had already begun drafting this article.

Despite the fact that Parmigiano-Reggiano is the number one imported Italian cheese in America, and that Reggio Emilia is a top producer, people—save for Alton Brown and Jacques Pépin—still don't know about my little town.  Everyone knows Modena for its Aceto Balsamico and Ferrari headquarters, and Parma for its Prosciutto di Parma, but they just haven't heard of Reggio Emilia, its food, or the fact that it's located right in between these two famous towns.

Italians do know Reggio Emilia and its culinary reputation. In fact, there's a saying in Italy: "If you only have one night in Italy and can't eat at my Mamma's house, go to Reggio Emilia."

I'd like everyone to know Reggio Emilia and its culinary history. So I'll point you to the official website of Parmigiano-Reggiano, where you can watch a short film on the making of the cheese and read about its long history. You can also visit the international site for Parmigiano-Reggiano (look, Reggio Emilia is on the map!).

Besides our world-famous queen of cheeses, in Reggio Emilia we also produce award-winning Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, as Alton Brown rightly mentioned on Iron Chef. Though produced in smaller quantities and much, much harder to find outside of Italy, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia has better flavor than its mainstream, mass-produced cousins from Modena.


I once visited the esteemed Acetaia Cavalli Ferdinando, where I was given a personal tour of the facilities and allowed to taste some amazing Balsamics. When my cousins and I finished the tour, we entered the warehouse where the wine store is located to see what we could bring home. As we walked past the employee kitchen, one of my cousins recognized an old refrigerator and thought it looked just like the one that used to be in my Nonna's home kitchen before I was born. When we asked the gentleman who had escorted us around the grounds, he told us that they had bought the fridge second hand, nearly four decades ago, from a Varolli. We all laughed and couldn't believe it still worked, and that it was indeed my Nonna's old fridge.

The result of this bizarre coincidence was that I was allowed to purchase a "not for sale" bottle of Cavalli Ferdinando Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Extra Vecchio, Oro, bottle number 6, which had won the Consorzio award in 2002. With a normal Gold Label costing about $240, I won't even say how much this purchase set me back, but it was worth every penny to buy the un-buyable bottle that had won such high honors.

I still have some left today because I only break it out for super special occasions, or when I want to impress one of my foodie friends with a rare product from Reggio Emilia that they simply can't get for themselves. It's amazingly thick, complex, sweet and delicious, and I only serve it on its own, a couple drops in a spoon, because Balsamic this good needs no accompaniment. Yet, on this week's Iron Chef America, neither Iron Chef Michael Simon nor the challengers did what one should do with a 50 year old Balsamic, simply serve it in a spoon or drizzled over vanilla ice cream—the two best ways to truly appreciate this gastronomic gold.

There is, of course, more to the culinary landscape of Reggio Emilia than Parmigiano-Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, but these two products are a good place to start if you want to get a feel for the food of this little town I call my home in Italy. You can also check out my recipe for rich Bolognese, based on the traditional version of Reggio Emilia, and look for my upcoming recipes for Tortelli and Tortellini en Brodo, both classic dishes from Reggio Emilia. If you'd like to read up on the culinary traditions of my home town, and home region of Emilia-Romagna, the best book by far is The Splendid Table, by Lynne Rosetto Kasper.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Brooklyn Fare Kitchen Extends Service, Finds New Location

Heard it on good authority that the success of Brooklyn Fare Kitchen has led to the addition of Tuesday and Wednesday night menus, as their Thursday-Saturday seatings were booking nearly 3 months in advance.

Also rumored, Brooklyn Fare Kitchen has found a new home! Location TBA, but they're interviewing new staff, and though they will maintain the same concept, it's likely Chef César Ramirez and Sous Chef Juan Leon won't be serving and bussing any longer.

This isn't much of a surprise. They had been trying to find a new space nearby in Brooklyn when I was there for my birthday, but had no leads at that time. They've had amazing press, and I even saw Ramirez and Brooklyn Fare Kitchen featured on my NYC Taxi TV a few times lately. Kudos, they deserve every bit of press they get!

I'll post the new location, and expected date of opening, as soon as I hear it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

WISE TIP: Coping with Kitchen Burns

When you've got 4 burners going, a roast and a gratin in the oven, and guests in your living room, what do you do when you've just reached for one of your pans and ended up burning yourself? It's not a riddle, it's a real home kitchen dilemma.

For me, after so many years of burning myself at times when I can hardly stop to nurse my wound, I've learned to just ignore burns. That's right, I ignore the pain and keep working as if nothing's happened. This may sound nuts, but it's what I do—and I dare say I wouldn't get shouted at by Gordon Ramsay thanks to this ability. In a professional kitchen, unless your skin is melting, you just can't stop working for every little burn. Mind over matter is the name of the game.

Burns are a fact of kitchen life—at home or in a restaurant—and learning to master them is key. When I first tried just ignoring my burns years ago, they would hurt despite my attempts to focus on my cooking and my guests. Slowly though, over time, they just stopped hurting. It's really a mind trick that anyone with a brain can master.

Today, when I burn myself and simply can't stop, I forget so completely about my little injury that I'm only reminded a day or two later when I knock my finger or arm up against something. My reaction of "Ouch!" is quickly followed by "Oh yeah, I burned myself yesterday."

Sometimes though, burns are too serious to ignore. In this case, if the ER isn't necessary, the only thing you can do is stop and immerse your burn in ice water. So long as your burn is submerged in water, it won't get worse and it won't hurt. This trick works, big time. I once stumbled towards a wood-burning stove registering 675 degrees. As I fell forward in seeming slow motion my choice was to hit the stove with my head or my hand. I chose my hand, which came down flat and hard on the metal part of the stove, and which I used to shove myself back up on my feet. Then I ran, shouting profanities, all the way to the sink.

The burn was so bad that the second I took my hand from the water it throbbed in a cartoon-like manner. Not wanting to spend the evening hovering over the tap, I filled a bowl with ice and water and spent the entire night with my hand in the bowl. When bed-time came, it still hurt too much to take it out, so I put the bowl on my bedside table and fell asleep with my hand in the water.

When I awoke the next day, much to my surprise, my hand was still in the water. So I lifted it out to see how it felt and you can imagine my shock when my hand didn't hurt one bit and there wasn't a single mark left from the burn. That's how well the ice-water method works.

Thing is, even when you get to the point where you can ignore your minor burns (not the major ones), if you don't want to be covered in scars then you should always treat them with Vitamin E. Just poke a pin in a Vitamin E soft-gel and squirt the oil onto your burn. The more often you treat your burn with Vitamin E, the less scarring you'll have.

If you're a cooking nut like me, having a few burn scars isn't anything to be ashamed of, quite the opposite in fact—these scars are like badges of honor, they attest to the fact that there's no need for me to get out of the kitchen, I can stand the heat.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Ultimate Surprise Birthday Dinner at Brooklyn Fare Kitchen

I confess, I've never had a surprise birthday party in my life. So when my man planned one for me this year, I hadn't a single suspicion, it was so off my radar. All I knew was that he was taking me to a "surprise dinner" on Sunday, and my only concern was what to wear (because I trust his choice in food).

All dressed and ready to go, Damien poured my favorite Lambrusco from my home town of Reggio Emilia, then he suggested we have a toast on the roof, where we have a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty. Given I had dragged him up to the roof the previous night, at 1:00a.m., I didn't really want to go up again. It was cloudy, and the humidity was typical of August on the East Coast—swamp like and sticky.

Yet, for some mysterious reason, I could see in his pleading eyes that he really, really wanted to go up, so I conceded.

When we got to the roof I saw a group of people already hanging out, nothing out of the norm, everyone in my building takes in the view, so I didn't really look at them too closely. Then they all rushed towards me and shouted "Surprise!"

My head spun, it was so unexpected that it was more of a shock than a surprise. I was so thrown that it felt like mental whiplash. My brain had to shift gears without using its clutch. All I could think was "Is the apartment a total mess? Do we have drinks for everyone? Food! Do we have food?!"

We all came back down to the apartment and popped some Champagne to toast my birthday. Overwhelmed and totally thrilled that this was indeed a surprise party, and it was for me, I quickly forgot my immediate concerns. And, I learned that we were all heading to dinner together.

Brain working overtime, I started to guess where we might be going. Then, in our cars on route, I had a growing suspicion when we turned onto Chambers Street, heading for the Brooklyn Bridge, that we were going to our friend César Ramirez's new place, Brooklyn Fare Kitchen. Damien and I had been there just the second weekend it was open, but I forgot my camera, so I didn't write about it back then. I'm making up for that omission now.

When we all reconvened outside Brooklyn Fare Kitchen, everyone was surprised, they'd never seen anything like it. Even those of my friends used to gastro dining had yet to see a venue like this. I've eaten at many Chef's Tables and done plenty of Tasting Menus, but Brooklyn Fare Kitchen takes these concepts to a whole new level.

The normal menu usually consists of about seven courses, but Damien had booked the whole kitchen for my birthday, and Cesar surprised all of us with a few extra dishes, bringing the total to eleven.

The meal started with a Canapé of Iranian Hibiscus, a chilled shot of refreshing hibiscus liquid topped with hibiscus foam, perfect for cleaning the palate and perking up the humidity-zapped diners.

Our next course—Veal Brains with Sauce Gribiche—was a bonus for my birthday, so it isn't on the regular menu, which, by the way, changes rather frequently. A few friends not used to eating offal couldn't help but to cringe, yet, once they popped the tiny, perfectly fried Veal Brains into their mouths, they were more than glad they didn't let squeamishness stop them from trying something new... and fabulous.

The third course, simply called "Tomato" on the menu, was well more than just a tomato. In César style, a style I've loved for years, since he was the Executive Chef at Bouley in Tribeca, a "tomato" was transformed into myriad manifestations of an Insalata Caprese—including a frozen tomato marshmallow—and served in a show-stopping manner. Knowing the best of the best, César chose an Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale from Reggio Emilia, aged 20 years, to drizzle over his creation. After seeing the actual plate, one friend joked, "After eating his 'Tomato,' I can't wait to get to his 'Mango!'"

Our fourth course was also on the regular menu, a Kona Kampachi with Ponzu sauce and crispy fried leeks. César knows how to cut fish like a Sushi Chef, resulting in slices of Kampachi that were as soft and supple as butter. This was perhaps my favorite course of the evening, though it's more than difficult to say with everything being so good.

The fifth course, another special birthday bonus, was Bulgur, Black Rice, and Egg with Summer Truffles. The yolk was just warmed and still runny, and the white had been hard boiled then emulsified, producing a texture akin to custard. The smoothness of the egg was coupled with the crunchiness of the crispy black rice, and blanketed in the flavor and aroma of summer truffles. Simple perfection.

Typical of the deceptively unassuming Brooklyn Fare Kitchen menu, the next course was "Roasted Scallops with Parsley Mousse." In reality, it was a dish of roasted scallops, fresh Oregon-raised snails and langoustine, topped with a thin slice of pork belly, served on a parsley mousse. Now, I love escargot, I even tried to make some with my big sister when I was six years old, with snails we gathered from our back garden. The meal was a complete failure, but not so with César's fresh snails—of course. Truth be told, I have never had a snail so tender. Not in the U.S., not even in France. And, the addition of the pork belly provided the perfect fat needed to pair with such lean proteins.

The seventh course, another birthday bonus, was Japanese Snapper with Fava Beans, Corn Purée and Summer Vegetables. Melted over the snapper was a square of caramel that enhanced the natural sweetness of the fish itself. And the vegetables, though tiny, weren't one second overcooked. I've been served too many floppy, flavorless vegetables to take César's for granted.

Course eight, from the regular menu, was Steamed Fois Gras with Tofu and Dashi Sauce, and a hint of Shiso. I didn't know you could steam Fois Gras, but that's why I'm no César Ramirez. The result was a silky, perfectly cooked little piece of fatty liver heaven.

By this point, even those of us with enormous appetites were starting to feel a bit full. But with food this amazing, nobody was ready to stop. A good thing too, because our Fois Gras was followed by a stunning item on the regular menu, Maine Lobster with Fresh Horseradish, Cooked Beets, Beet Sauce and Beet Caramel. Having just talked with one of my friends about how we didn't like beets, but how I had had some that I did like, I turned to her and said, "Oh yeah, I remember, César made me beets I liked, so you have to eat this!" She, and I, both liked the beets, and the beet caramel atop the whole dish was a huge surprise to everyone, both for its flavor and its technique.

The final savory course, tenth overall, was a Veal Loin with Italian Kale from the menu. On our plates, it was more than just that, and included Tete de Veau with Mushrooms and Sweetbreads. I love fried sweetbreads, and César's were done to perfection, crispy on the outside, billowy on the inside. Again, even those who had never had sweetbreads tried them, and they began to understand that in the hands of a chef like César Ramirez, anything can be delicious—brains, organs, liver, beets—you name it. The veal loin was a rare mini-medallion married to a purée of blackened onions. Beyond yummy.

At last, and after some serious efforts to make room for dessert in our stuffed tummies, we finally got to the "Mango" on the menu, a creation of sous-chef Juan Leon. As my friend quipped earlier, it was more than just mango. The dessert was a parfait of sorts, served in a stemless wine glass, with layers of Mango cream, chunky mango compote, and thin slices of pound cake, topped with a torched wafer-thin layer of dried mango "caramel." No birthday cake necessary! But everyone did take the opportunity to sing.

More than just a surprise birthday dinner for myself, the evening ended up a celebration of food, friends, new culinary experiences, and, of course, the talent of César Ramirez and his sous-chef Juan Leon. At one point in the evening a friend said, "This has got to be the best birthday dinner going on in all of America tonight!"

You don't need a birthday excuse to head on over to Brooklyn Fare Kitchen. It's a gastronomic experience unlike any other. Sitting in the kitchen at the chef's actual workspace, being served by the chefs themselves, and having them articulate their dishes and answer questions, makes for an intimate and relaxed atmosphere, topped off with food from the stratosphere.

Though its ten seats are booking up almost two months in advance, it's well worth the wait. Lacking a liquor license, it's BYOW (for Wine), making the $70 prix fix menu a bargain. Just remember to bring enough wine to share with the chefs! Oh, and I'll hear none of that "I don't go to Brooklyn" from you Manhattanites. I used to joke about needing my passport to go to Brooklyn, but I made it to Brooklyn Fare Kitchen not once, but twice in two months. And I'll go back for sure, again and again, because the menu never stays the same. Indeed, with the theme "Food Under Construction," Brooklyn Fare Kitchen isn't a one-off experience.

Open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Brooklyn Fare Kitchen seats maximum 10 people. The Prix Fix menu is a steal at $70 per person, and it's BYOW.

EDIT, July 2010:  Brooklyn Fare Kitchen's days and prices have changed, and it's no longer BYOW.  Call to get on the waiting list!  : )

To make reservations at Brooklyn Fare Kitchen, please call 718.243.0500. Brooklyn Fare Kitchen is located at 200-3 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201... Just across the street from the A, C, and G stops at Hoyt-Schermerhorn (just three stops into Brooklyn, people).,0

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Yummiest, Juiciest, Easiest BBQ Pork Ribs Ever

I must give credit where credit is due. This recipe for Pork Ribs is my version of a recipe I got years ago from Executive Chef Derek Emerson, owner of Walker's Drive-In in Jackson, Mississippi. I haven't changed the fundamental techniques, I've just given it my own personal twists, which means that you can add your own personal flare to it as well, and still have the same, excellent results. These pork ribs are sooo good that I have had both a vegetarian and a Jewish friend who doesn't eat pork both break down and eat them. They just couldn't stand hearing all the "YUM"s, and "Oh"s all around and not try them!

This recipe is super easy, and though it takes some time, it's not a lot of active time. Because of the technique, you can make the ribs well in advance of your guests arriving and simply finish them off without any hassle. You can take the rib recipe for itself, but I've also shared how you can turn your ribs into an entire meal out of the same pot, and that's always a beautiful thing.

What you'll need:

Organic Pork Ribs (Berkshire and Niman Ranch Pork are my faves, one full rack of St. Louis Style ribs serves two people, look for the most marbled ribs you can find)
3 Medium Yellow Onions, roughly chopped
2 Large Carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
3 Celery Ribs, roughly chopped
2 Granny Smith Apples, washed (in warm water if they're covered in wax), halved
Whole Black Peppercorns
Whole Juniper Berries
Fresh Rosemary and Thyme
BBQ Sauce (my fave for this particular recipe is "Bone Suckin' Sauce")

In a large stock pot, bring the vegetables, apples, peppercorns, and juniper berries just to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-high for a strong simmer and allow the liquid to reduce for about 2 hours. In the last half hour, add the rosemary and thyme.

You can use whatever vegetables you like, just don't skip the onions and carrots, or the apples and thyme. Like with any vegetable stock, you can use leeks, scallions, garlic, parsley—just be sure the flavors you choose will go well with pork. Choosing your ingredients is how to make this recipe your own!

When you have a flavorful liquid, add some coarse Kosher salt to the pot then add the rack(s) of ribs to the water. On medium-high heat, simmer the ribs for about 45 minutes, skimming the muck off the top of the liquid. The ribs will be cooked through completely, but leave them in the pot until you've finished your BBQ sauce, or for as long as you need, turning the heat down to the very lowest setting.

After cooking the ribs for about 30 minutes, take about one cup of the liquid from the stock pot and put it into a small saucepan. On high heat, reduce this liquid by about half. Then whisk in the BBQ sauce. Leave this sauce on low heat until ready to use.

As it's BBQ time of year, most of you will want to finish the ribs off on the grill. But if you live on the East Coast like me, it rains a fair bit in the summer, so you can also finish the ribs off in a broiler whenever the weather isn't being cooperative with your plans.

Have the BBQ or broiler all ready to go on high heat. Remove the ribs from the stock pot and place them on a large dish or jelly roll pan for preparation. If you're using the broiler instead of the BBQ, line your jelly-roll pan with heavy duty aluminum foil before placing the ribs on it.

Generously smother the ribs with your prepared BBQ sauce, immediately (if they sit out, they dry out). If grilling, place them bone-side down on the grill first, turning once, finishing up with the meat-side down. If broiling, broil the bone-side up first, then flip the ribs to broil the meat side. Whether in the broiler or on the grill, slather on more of your BBQ sauce when you flip the ribs. Remember, your ribs are already cooked through, you're just grilling / broiling them to get a nice, flavorful char on the meat.

Every summer I save the liquid each time I make these ribs. I freeze it, labeling it "pork stock," and I add the frozen stock to the liquid every time I make ribs.

If you would like to make an entire meal out of this single pot, you'll also need:

Small Potatoes (washed, unpeeled, left whole)
Corn on the Cob (husks and silk removed) or Artichokes (trimmed and cleaned)
Dental Floss

Small, whole potatoes, about 2" in diameter, will take about 20-25 minutes to cook. Add them to your pot after the ribs have been in for about ½ hour, and cook them until they slide easily off of a paring knife inserted in the middle. You can leave the potatoes whole for serving, or you can turn them into mashed potatoes (but then you'd have to use another pot). When I leave the potatoes whole for serving, I put some of the stock in a gravy boat so my guests can pour a bit over their potatoes if they like.

Corn on the cob only takes about 3-5 minutes to cook in boiling water. When you take your ribs out of the pot to put them in the broiler, turn the heat back up to high on the stock pot, and add the corn when you flip the ribs. To check the corn for doneness, pull one out of the water with tongs and pierce one kernel with the tip of a pairing knife or one fork prong. If the kernel squirts out some juice when pierced, your corn is done.

My thanks to Chef Derek Emerson for this recipe! He shared it with me ages ago, and it's still the best easy rib recipe I know. Hope you feel the same too!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WISE TIP: Pasta Water

False: Adding Olive Oil to your water will keep pasta from sticking.

True: Using a very large amount of heavily salted water ("Salted like the sea" as they say in Italy), and stirring frequently, will keep your pasta from sticking while it cooks.

There's no need for olive oil in your pasta water. All it does is float on the very top, it adds no flavor, and does nothing at all to prevent sticking. And as the best way to cook pasta is to finish it in whatever sauce you've chosen, the olive oil will only serve to coat the pasta when you drain it, thus forming a barrier that prevents your sauce from infusing its flavors into the pasta. Also, even if you have used enough water and stirred the pasta frequently, if you leave the pasta in the sieve too long after draining it, it will stick to each other. So drain it and immediately add it to your sauce to finish cooking.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Michel Cluizel Hosts the First Chocolate Dinner in America

When you adore chocolate and find yourself invited to the first ever choco-centric dinner in America, you don't walk, you run. A couple of weeks ago lucky little me found herself in this position, and it was with great expectations that my man and I entered Le Cirque restaurant—somewhat short of breath—to attend a chocolate dinner hosted by Chocolat Michel Cluizel.

Although Michel Cluizel had already hosted such a dinner in Paris, there had never been anything like it in the U.S. To add to the unique experience, Hardy Cognac partnered with Michel Cluizel to present a menu whose courses were paired with cognac instead of wine—making it a bit more challenging for a lightweight like me to remember every little detail of the dinner by the time it ended.

What I remember the most, what I will probably remember for the rest of my life, was one course in particular, the Buffalo Fillet Carpaccio with Cherries, Chicory and Shaved Chocolate, and the glass of Perfection, Hardy's 140 year old cognac, the world's oldest known unblended cognac, composed of 100% French Colombard. Overall, the menu, designed by Le Cirque's Executive Chefs—both savory and pastry—had its hits and misses.

The first course was the oh so memorable Buffalo Carpaccio, paired with the award-winning Hardy XO, a 25 year old blend of Grande and Petite Champagne. Not only was the buffalo meat impeccably tender, but the chocolate aspect of the course was perfectly harmonious with the Carpaccio, and made use of my favorite single origin—Venezuelan—in this case Cluizel's Conception 66%, "Premier Cru de Plantation." This course was so extraordinary that when I discovered I was sitting next to a vegetarian who hadn't touched his, I couldn't resist asking his permission to pinch some off his plate rather than see it tossed in the trash. With great food, one doesn't always care about good form.

Following the Buffalo was a Foie Gras Torchon with Cocoa Nibs and Bacon Caramel, paired with Hardy Noces D'Or, another award-winning blend of 40 different Grand Champagne cognacs and aged a minimum of 50 years. Although not as seamlessly carried out, the use of Cluizel's Los Ancones 67% "Premier Cru de Plantation" from Santo Domingo—combined with bacon caramel (yum!)—made this course another hit. However, having already stabbed my fork onto my vegetarian neighbor's plate, I refrained from doing so a second time. But I did have a moment of regret as I saw the plate being taken away untouched. I can only hope the kitchen staff treated themselves.

Next up was a Roasted Squab Breast with Confit, Kumquats, Chocolate Feuillete and Chocolate-Peppercorn Vinaigrette. While the Squab was a spot-on medium rare, my idea of the perfect doneness, the Confit missed the mark, and the use of chocolate in this course did seem disconnected, not nearly as harmonious as its use with the Buffalo or even the Foie. Still, one could nevertheless appreciate the delicious Dark 72% chocolate, as well as the pairing of Hardy Noces D'Albarte, aged 75 years.

It might seem that Le Cirque's savory chef had the more difficult task of the evening, but when your assignment was that of the pastry chef—to create a dessert using Michel Cluizel chocolate and Hardy Cognac—at least for me, expectations were higher for the dessert than the main courses. Unfortunately, the dessert, a Mangaro Chocolate Composition of Mousse, Sorbet, Croquant and Cognac, was a let down. While the sorbet was rich and deep in chocolate flavor, the Composition tasted way more like hazelnuts than chocolate, a double disappointment for a serious chocolate lover who isn't keen on hazelnuts. Frankly, I expected to be blown away by chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, and I simply wasn't.

At the end of the meal came the Sweet Petit Fours and the glass of Perfection, on which I will muse for a moment. Never in my life have I had a drink so old and so rare, and at $600 a glass ($8,000 a bottle), it could be a while before I ever do again. Not much of a hard alcohol drinker, more of a wine woman, I was amazed at how soft and smooth the Perfection was, no burn, no sting. I couldn't help thinking about how the cognac I was sipping had been around since Andrew Johnson was in the White House. For me, that glass of Perfection was profound, conjuring historical events that had taken place since its creation 140 years ago, and seemingly containing ghosts in every glass.

Hardy Perfection, "Essential Elements" series, bottled in Daum Crystal, Pictured Above: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth

In all, despite the copious amount of cognac, it was a dining experience I'll never forget, and a privilege to attend. As I believe chocolate—especially single origin chocolate—can go very well in savory cooking, I do hope that this becomes a new trend here in America. It's about time our most creative chefs in the country start thinking of something other than Mole Poblano and Mole Verde when they think of the savory side of chocolate.

For more information about Chocolat Michel Cluizel, visit their website at

For more information about Hardy Cognac, visit their website at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

America's Northern Arapaho Tribe to Sell Beef to Whole Foods Market

A long-time supporter of all things organic and sustainable, as well as a supporter of the rights and economic empowerment of indigenous peoples, I was more than pleased to read an AP report today announcing that the Northern Arapaho tribe of Wyoming has certified its 70 year old cattle ranch as Organic and sealed a deal to sell its beef to Whole Foods Market.

I've always said that a happy animal in life is a tasty animal in death, and though not expressed exactly the same way, tribal council member Norman Willow told the AP, "Anything living we treat them like a brother, that will pass on to the people who eat it."

Though the initial sales will be to Whole Foods stores in the Rocky Mountains region, it's my hope that Whole Foods will move towards wider distribution and look to America's tribes for other organic goods they can sell in stores around the country. As another tribal council member, Ron Oldman, stated to the AP, "Part of our heritage is to be nurturers of the land."

Truth is, if modern American society had learned even one lesson about caring for the land—and its animals—from the people who inhabited this continent for 60,000+ years without causing environmental degradation, we wouldn't be in the mess we find ourselves today, nor would we have to distinguish between "organic" and crap foods full of dangerous pesticides and hormones. Organic, free-range, rBST-free are not new trends, they are old, very old ways of doing things, and we need to get back to them.

Even in times of economic challenge, I refuse to buy crap food, and you should too. Eat less meat to meet your budget, but eat good meat. It's better for the environment, your health, and of course, your taste buds.

Read the AP story!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

All About Artichokes

I love artichokes, I think I could live on them if they were in season year round. They're super yummy and really rather easy to handle, and given that they can be served hot or cold, it's great to make extra artichokes at dinnertime so you can enjoy some for lunch the next day too.

All you need for fabulous artichokes are fresh artichokes, a lemon or two, sharp kitchen scissors, a large serrated knife, a small paring knife, salt, and a large stock pot.

Choosing Fresh Artichokes

First, you want to pick the freshest artichokes you can find. When an artichoke is fresh, it squeaks when you squeeze it with both hands, and it feels heavy for its size. If you squeeze an artichoke and don't hear squeaking, move on to the next one.

Prepping Artichokes

I prep my artichokes before they're cleaned because prepping can leave bits trapped in between the leaves that you don't want trapped in between your teeth.

Start by cutting your lemon(s) in half, saving one half for use on the cleaned artichokes while using the other half for the unclean artichokes in preparation.

Pick up the artichoke and remove the very small leaves at the bottom, by hand, simply by pulling them backwards until they snap off. If they don't just snap off because they're too rubbery, then you didn't pick a very fresh artichoke.

Next, grab your scissors and start cutting off the top 1/3 of each leaf, starting above the ones you just pulled off. Normally, artichoke leaves have a bit of a split in the top of them, cut the leaf so that this split is removed. Do this for all but the very top leaves of the artichokes.

Using your serrated knife (known also as a bread knife), turn the artichoke on its side and saw off the top leaves you haven't yet cut.

At this point, generously rub lemon on the leaves and top of the artichoke, as you go... don't wait and do them all at the end, by then the first artichoke will have already gone brown. Lemon is for flavor, but at this point it's used to avoid discoloration.

Now you should be able to see the light yellow and purple leaves at the very center of your artichoke, called the choke or heart. You can remove the choke or you can leave it. Artichokes cook more quickly if you remove the choke, but the choke is removed more easily when cooked. A great trick for removing the choke of an uncooked artichoke is to use a spoon that got caught in the garbage disposal and now has jagged edges. It's the upside to accidentally "ruining" a spoon.

The last step before cleaning is to cut away the outside of the stem. The center of the stem is full of the yummy artichoke bottom, so I don't discard it. Even if I want to serve the artichokes without their stems (they sit up nicely that way), I just cut them off after cooking and eat the center myself. To trim down the stem, first cut off the dry bottom, then turn the artichoke upside-down and, starting from the bottom of the stem with a paring knife, cut down until you reach the bottom of the artichoke, then snap if off backwards like you did with the first small leaves. Then slather the lemon all over the stem.

Cleaning Artichokes

To clean an artichoke, start by rinsing it under cold running water, pulling it apart slightly to get the water down between the leaves. Then fill a large bowl with water and, with the artichoke upside-down, plunge it into the water repeatedly, spinning the artichoke as it hits the water. Finish by rinsing again under cold running water.

After washing each artichoke, generously rub and squeeze the unused lemon half all over it before cleaning the next one. If you removed the choke, make sure to get lemon juice in the middle and around the inner leaves. Place the artichokes in waiting in a bowl to collect the lemon juice.

Cooking Artichokes

I boil my artichokes, it's quicker than steaming. The trick with boiling is to get them to stay submerged in the water, artichokes are notoriously buoyant. If you have a large pot with a short steaming insert, fill the pot with enough water such that the steam insert will force the artichokes to stay under water. If you don't have this type of pot, then just get creative. In the photo I demonstrate this creativity, instead of using my All-Clad with the inserts, I used a smaller Calfalon and just floated a sieve on top of the water to keep the artichokes submerged.

Add the artichokes and their lemon juice to well-salted boiling water. If your lemons are organic and you washed them, you can boil the lemons with the artichokes for added flavor (just don't use the half you smeared on the unclean artichokes).

A medium artichoke will take about 20 minutes in boiling water. To test for doneness, try pulling out a leaf (using tongs so you don't burn your fingers). If the leaf comes out easily and the meat at the bottom of the leaf is tender enough to scrape off with your teeth, then the artichoke is done. Drain them upside-down so you don't accidentally burn yourself with trapped hot water when eating them.

Serve artichokes with melted butter when warm, and a vinaigrette or home-made mayonnaise when cold. And in case you care, artichokes have zero fat and are a great source of potassium and fiber. But I eat them just because they're delicious!

Artichoke on Foodista

Friday, May 8, 2009

RECIPE: Bolognese alla Regina, a.k.a. The Queen's Bolognese

Real Bolognese comes from the capital of Emilia-Romagna, the city of Bologna, but in Reggio Emilia, also located in Emilia-Romagna, we make a pretty wicked Bolognese ourselves. I'm not claiming my recipe is THE recipe of Reggio-Emilia, but it's the recipe I've been making for years—a bit lighter than the traditional, but way more flavorful and rich than most of what you find in the States. It's Bolognese alla Regina, which is me, and funnily enough, Regina means 'queen' in Italian. So that makes my Bolognese, "The Queen's Bolognese." And if I do say so myself, it's fit for even a real queen.

Olive Oil (for the pan)
8-16 oz (1-2 cups) Chicken Stock (home-made is best, by far)
2 oz Pancetta, very finely diced
2 large yellow onions, very finely diced
1 small carrot, peeled and grated (box grater or food processor)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork (you can use all beef or all pork, just use 2 lb)
Double-concentrated Tomato Paste (preferably imported Italian)
1-2 Rinds of real Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese
4-8 oz (1/2-1 cup) Whole Milk, room temperature
Coarse Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Unsalted Butter, cold

In a heavy stock pot, bring the 16 oz of chicken stock just to a boil. Pour half of the stock into a small pot (your reserve), and leave both on the burners, set to low. While you're waiting for the stock to boil, do your mise en place (French for: dice all the ingredients so they're ready to go).

In a large, heavy sauté pan, on med-high heat, add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the Pancetta and cook until the fat has been rendered and the Pancetta is browned. Remove the Pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and add it to the chicken stock in the large stock pot. You want the fat from the Pancetta to stay in the pan for the next steps.

Add the chopped onions to the pan and sauté over high, med-high heat. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the onions as this will help them to release water. Sauté, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the onions are soft, translucent and golden brown. It's important to brown the onions, but to keep the bottom of your pan from blackening. You want to build a flavorful fond in the pan, so avoid burning anything.

When the onions are done, remove them from the pan and put them in the stock pot with the cooked Pancetta.

Maintaining med-high to high heat, add fresh olive oil to the pan if needed, then add the grated carrot to the pan. Lightly salt the carrots (again to release the water as well as for flavor), and sauté, stirring, until the carrots are soft and golden brown. Remove carrots and add them to the onions and Pancetta.

Add more olive oil, as needed, then sauté the ground pork in the same pan over medium heat, lightly salting the pork. Don't crowd your pan with meat though, sauté it in small batches if your pan isn't a big one. If you crowd any pan with any kind of meat, it won't brown properly because too much water will be released at once. Cook the pork until it is browned, and make sure you don't end up with large chunks of meat, you want the meat to break down into small, uniform bits.

When the pork is browned, add it to the stock pot. Add oil to the sauté pan as needed, and repeat this process for the ground beef, again being careful not to burn the bottom of the pan.

When the beef is done and into your stock pot, add 2 tablespoons (roughly) of tomato paste straight into your hot sauté pan and cook it on medium heat for about a minute. Then add enough chicken stock from your reserve to the sauté pan to cover the bottom, turn the heat up to high, and using a heat-proof spatula (I prefer a wood spatula), scrape all of the fond off the bottom of the pan until it's incorporated with the tomato paste and stock. Pour this liquid into your stock pot.

Add about 4oz of whole milk to the stock pot and stir to incorporate. Then add the rinds of Reggiano-Parmiggiano cheese. If necessary, add more chicken stock to the Bolognese so it's more soupy than saucy.

At this point, your Bolognese will simmer away on low heat for as many hours as you like, but for a minimum of two hours to really reduce the liquids and concentrate the flavors. During simmering, the carrots, onions and Pancetta should slowly melt away and become one with the sauce. As needed, continue to add warm chicken stock and room-temperature whole milk. There's no need to constantly stir the pot, so most of this simmering time is not active. Just stir it occasionally and keep your eye on the heat level (the sauce should maintain a low simmer, not a boil, so it reduces very slowly).

When I make my Bolognese, I usually start it after work and simmer it all night (of course, using some of it for my dinner that night too). I often leave the pot on the stove overnight, covered but not heated, and continue simmering it even longer the following morning. There's no need to refrigerate it for this one night, it won't go bad! Thing is, with a Bolognese, the longer it simmers the richer the flavor, but I don't always have time to accomplish this in one night, hence why I leave it out overnight and continue simmering and adding stock / milk for a couple extra hours the next day.

When the Bolognese has simmered for the desired amount of time, taste it to check for salt. I don't add salt during simmering because as the liquid evaporates and the flavors concentrate, the salt used to sauté the vegetables and meats gets concentrated and you can easily end up with too salty a Bolognese. For this reason I add my salt, to taste, at the end of the simmering process so I get the perfect amount. Same goes for the fresh ground black pepper.

At this point, you may be wondering where the butter comes into the picture. Well, the butter comes in at the point when you're going to use the sauce with your pasta. My Bolognese has about 14 grams (1 tbsp) of butter per person, stirred straight into the sauce just before serving.

Bolognese keeps well in the refrigerator (in an air-tight container) for up to a week, and it can freeze for up to 2 months (in a heavy-duty, freezer-safe container). Defrost it in your fridge overnight. Reheat it just to a boil before allowing it to simmer.

Besides just using Bolognese as a sauce (perfect for Pappardelle), you can also use The Queen's Bolognese for Lasagna, or on toasted Ciabatta with Mozzarella melted on top in a broiler, one of my quickie lunch favorites. One thing is for sure, whatever you use Bolognese for, it's always nice to have some in the freezer or fridge for a more than satisfying meal in minutes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Congratulations to This Year's James Beard Awards Winners!

While not all of my personal picks pulled off a win, a few certainly did. I name them here first, then follow up with a few of the winners in the top categories. To read the full list of winners of the 2009 James Beard Awards, visit the James Beard Foundation website.

Outstanding Chef: Dan Barber, Blue Hill, NYC. Who could not support this selection? Dan Barber is a revolutionary, a pioneer, and an inspiration to all of us—but especially to his pastry chef, Alex Grunert.

Outstanding Service: Daniel, NYC. Even if you're not a VIP or a regular, at Daniel you'll find yourself always being treated like one. To my mind, Daniel's staff provides the best overall service I've ever experienced in America.

Outstanding Restaurant: Jean-Georges, NYC. Yes, Jean Georges is a fabulous restaurant, no denying that. But it wasn't one of my picks because I just don't think it's currently the best restaurant in America.

Outstanding Wine Service: Le Bernardin, NYC. While I haven't had the pleasure of dining at Le Bernardin yet, I will pretty soon because a good friend just started work there. In his words, "the wine list is as thick as a bible, but a lot more fun to follow."

Best Chef, Pacific Region: Douglas Keane, Cyrus, CA. Truthfully, I hadn't even heard of Cyrus until my friend Roy joined the restaurant as its Executive Pastry Chef. Having heard such wonderful praise from Roy, it's definitely at the top of my "To Eat" list next time I'm out visiting family and friends in Cali.

America's Classics: Yank Sing, San Fran, CA. It was ten years ago at least when I first ate at Yank Sing's downtown location. Since then, I have heralded it as the best Chinese I've ever had in America. I still have dreams about their roast duck steamed buns with plum sauce.

Cookbook of the Year: Fat, An Appreciation of Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes, by Jennifer McLagen. I LOVE this book! When it first caught my eye in a bookstore I ended up standing for twenty minutes exploring its pages and agreeing with the author's take on fat—an ingredient I've never misunderstood or not appreciated.

Cooking from A Professional Point of View: Alinea, by Grant Achatz. I got this book as a gift for my man this past Christmas, since then, it's been a coffee-table mainstay. Even if you're not a professional, any foodie would love the stunning pictures and inspirational flavors found in Alinea.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Interview with Alex Grunert, Executive Pastry Chef, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

When I met Alex Grunert back in 2005 he was the Executive Pastry Chef at both Bouley and Danube restaurants in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood. My first meal at Bouley was finished with such divine desserts that I simply had to meet the pastry chef. Since then, Alex Grunert has moved above and beyond Bouley and Danube to the celebrated Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the renowned Farm-to-Table restaurant located north of New York City in Pocantico Hills, recently a location for this season's Top Chef episode Down on the Farm.

Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, Alex began his career at age fifteen at the prestigious Hotel Inter-Continental restaurant, Vier Jahreszeiten, in Vienna. During his eight years at Vier Jahreszeiten, Alex learned the fine arts of viennoiserie and pâtisserie, and rose to the position of Demi-Chef Pâtissier. From Vier Jahreszeiten Alex moved to Oberlaa Konditorei—the famed Viennese pâtisserie—to manage chocolate production. It was here that Alex had the tremendous opportunity to learn under the hand of master pâtissier Karl Schuhmacher.

Having pretty much perfected traditional pastry, viennoiserie and chocolate production, Alex side-stepped tradition, moving to New York City in 2000 to work as Pastry Sous Chef at Danube. Alex again proved his talent and soon became the Executive Pastry Chef for both Bouley and Danube restaurants, no surprise to anyone who knows his desserts.

Flourless Chocolate Brownie with Seckle Pears, Tonka Bean Ice Cream, "Gluehwein" (spiced red wine), Salted Chocolate Crumbs

Matsu Apple and Celery Gelée with Pickled Watermelon Rind and White Mellon Flesh with Yogurt-Vanilla Sorbet

Today, at the helm of the pastry department at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chef Grunert finds himself a veteran surprisingly learning new things, thinking about ingredients in new ways, and performing new duties that he never thought he'd find himself doing—hand picking ingredients that inspire his creations being just one.

A friend to my tummy and my heart, Alex sat down with me recently to talk about his work at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, his new boss, Executive Chef and Co-owner Dan Barber, and what it's like working at a Farm-to-Table restaurant with ingredients grown in the kitchen's own "back yard."

CS: I'd love to start by hearing what it was like for you when you first went to work at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. After all, this Farm-to-Table restaurant is quite different than what you're used to.

AG: Yes, it's very different. I can only use seasonal ingredients and when I first came to work at Blue Hill at Stone Barns it was in the early spring and only strawberries and rhubarb were in season, so I had to make desserts using only strawberries and rhubarb. So in four weeks I created fifteen different items—entremets and desserts—with rhubarb, or strawberries, or both. It was so hard to come up with so many new desserts using just two ingredients, so I went to the kitchen director and told him I thought maybe this wouldn't work out for me.

I was surprised when he said that in all his years he had never seen someone come up with so many different desserts using just strawberries and rhubarb. So I guess I didn't have to do so many! Now whenever we have culinary students coming to Blue Hill at Stone Barns he always tells them, "This is our pastry chef Alex, you've never met anyone who can do so much with strawberries and rhubarb."

CS: So you don't have to develop so many new desserts as you thought at first, but still, using only ingredients that are in season, you must have to stretch your imagination every time something new pops up from the ground.

AG: Working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns is my biggest professional challenge, ever. Because I do have to constantly develop seasonal desserts, so I can't do just anything I want by using out of season fruits. But using only seasonal ingredients is good for me, it makes me think more! It's almost like being back at school, I'm constantly growing and learning.

Golden Beet Cake with a Pistachio Mayonnaise and Ice Cream, White Chocolate and Molasses

AG: Plus, I'm like a farmer now! I begin every day by going into the gardens and picking all the fruit I'll use in my desserts that day. I'm not used to picking my own fruit! It's more work for me and my team, but it's so nice to spend part of my day outdoors in a garden when I'm more used to being shut in a hot pastry kitchen—although my kitchen here is wonderful. But I was outside so much last summer that I got a tan just from picking fruit!

Also, it's beautiful up here. I live in the city, so my work environment couldn't be more different or more relaxing. It's funny, a lot of my chef friends in the city didn't understand why I would want to commute out of Manhattan, then they come up to experience the food, to see my kitchen and the gardens... then they get it.

CS: What's the most unusual thing you've learned or done since coming to Blue Hill at Stone Barns?

AG: Making maple syrup! I learned how to make maple syrup! Can you believe that? It's just unbelievable to realize where all these ingredients I've always used, and sort of taken for granted, actually come from.

CS: So how do you make maple syrup?

AG: You don't know? Just kidding, I didn't either! Well we started by drilling a small hole into the maple tree then fitting it with a plastic pipe that goes from the tree into a bucket. The sap comes out so slowly, drip by drip, and it's like water. In a few days, when I have enough in the bucket, I do a ten-times reduction to develop the caramelization and thick consistency. You have all this watery sap at first, then at the end you have about a pint of syrup from a whole bucket. It's crazy how much time goes into making real maple syrup.

CS: Now you knew I'd eventually get around to this, so don't laugh. The TV show Top Chef did a recent episode, Down on the Farm, where they came to Blue Hill at Stone Barns for a challenge. So what was it like having the hosts and competitors—not to mention the crew—of Top Chef in your kitchen?

AG: Well that was an experience! It was crazy to see all those Top Chef competitors working in our kitchens, and with all those lights and cameras, I was impressed they were able to cook anything at all. There was my kitchen full of all this TV equipment, it blew me away. It was so interesting though, to see three people I didn't know cooking in my kitchen and being filmed while they did. The Top Chef people interviewed me and then I got to sit outside for the tasting. I was at Team Chicken's table.

CS: So, honestly, how was Team Chicken's food?

AG: It was good, really! Especially considering they had to cook on camera. I tried the strawberry tarte too, which was good. The pastry was flaky, it had a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. It's funny, now I know how farming works, and thanks to Top Chef, I know how TV works too. For both, as for a dessert menu, there's a lot more time and effort going into the finished product than you'd think.

Bartlett Blue Panna Cotta with Honey and Bartlett Pears, Concord Grape Sorbet

CS: Dan Barber, your boss, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns co-founder, tell me a little about him.

AG: Well I can only say good things. Not because he might read this, but because I only have good things to say. Dan is incredibly interesting and intelligent. He's like a visionary, but he likes to keep things simple. I like that he's very straight-forward and direct with everyone. I think he lives for what he's doing here, he really believes not just in the food, but in the concept and practice of Farm-to-Table. It's funny, but for the first time in a long time I really look forward to coming to work. Dan has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about food. Everybody here, not just Dan, respects and cares for our produce.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns really tells the story of the Farm-to-Table movement and we share that story with everyone who walks in the door. Like working here, dining here is a learning experience, and a pleasure nobody could ever forget.

Bavarian Spelt Chips, Dulce de Leche, Sweet Pickled Plum and Plum-Armagnac Sorbet

All the photographs in this article are courtesy of Thomas Schauer Studio for Photography. You can find the internationally renowned food photographer at his website, Thanks Thomas!

Chef Alex Grunert's Current Dessert Menu at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Candied Meyer Lemon with Passion Fruit and Yogurt

Pineapples with Cilantro and Bitter Orange Sorbet

Gin & Tonic with Meyer Lemon Sorbet and Pickled Buddha's Hand

Black Panther Soybean Tofu with Blood Orange Sorbet

Toasted Oatmeal Ice Cream with White Cinnamon and Caramelized Lady Apple

Parsnip Cake with Caramelized Ginger Ice Cream and Bergamot

Mocha Parfait with Toasted Soybean Powder, Banana Toffee, Campari Orange Gelée and Baby Minotina

Apple Cider Granité with Maple Sap Sorbet and Cream of Bavarian Spelt

Petit Fours

Parsnip or Chestnut-Whisky Macaron

Raspberry-Vinegar Chocolates

Yogurt Meringue Sticks

Cinnamon Marshmallows

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is located at 630, Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, NY
For reservations, call 914.366.9600


--Interview by Regina Varolli