Friday, September 29, 2006

Jean-Robert "dissed" by "Yokel" 12!


The Dish co-host Meg Galvin with Cincinnati Symphony Maestro Paavo Järvi and Jean-Robert (March 31, 2006 show)

That's what the Cincinnati Enquirer's TV critic John Kiesewetter says about the unexpected news that WKRC, to be known forthwith as "Yokel [not local] 12" by this blog, has canned the highest profile chef in this town from the eponymously titled, The Dish with Jean-Robert de Cavel. The Cincinnati Post's Rick Bird ("Jean-Robert cooked", 9/26/06) writes:
Channel 12's local cooking show "The Dish," airing 9:30 a.m. Fridays, debuted a new season last week with Cincinnati's star French chef Jean-Robert de Cavel gone from the show.

Produced at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, the show premiered last year hosted by institute chef and faculty member Meg Galvin and de Cavel. As the show enters its 47th episode, Channel 12 and de Cavel had "a good parting," according to Sehring.

De Cavel, the former chef at the Maisonette, now owns Pigall's and runs three other highly-praised area restaurants.

"He's got so many irons in the fire and so much going on that for him to do this on top of everything else was getting to be too much," Sehring said. "The show will evolve with Meg and other hosts."

Sehring said the station is open to looking for another vehicle in which to feature de Cavel.


Galvin's new co-host is Storm Bennett, a radio personality from WKFS-FM (107.2) with guest chefs expected most weeks.

How special! No offense to Meg, but she's not exactly a name on the tip of local foodies' tongues -- and, puhleeze, I am REALLY not sure why we should be expected to care that an FM d-jay (who?) is a new co-host. I mean, what is the purpose of even having one whose knowledge of cooking and dining are non-existent except to make a little cutesy "happy talk"?

But let us not forget Mr. Kiesewetter's contribution to the mix here:
'The Dish' parts with de Cavel (9/27/06)

Jean-Robert de Cavel has been dissed by "The Dish."

The part owner of Pigall's and three other area restaurants has been dropped as co-host for the second season of the weekly TV show (9:30 a.m. Friday, Channel 12).

"It came to me as a bit of a surprise a few weeks ago. I really don't know what the reasons are exactly," says de Cavel, 44, who speaks with a thick French accent.

"I thought maybe it was they (viewers) didn't understand me, but then they (Channel 12) offered me another show," says the Newport resident.


No longer will the entire half-hour be devoted to making one meal with a celebrity, says Wayne Jung, Channel 12 integrated marketing director.

Chef Meg Galvin - de Cavel's co-host last year - will be "far more informational," teaching proper use of kitchen utensils, and creating healthy meals for families, he says.

Midwest Culinary Institute chefs and students, and DJ Storm Bennett from KISS-FM (107.7), will appear.

"We all agreed Chef de Cavel's talents were not being fully utilized in a format like this," Jung says. The chef also was very busy with his restaurants.

But de Cavel says that's not true. "I'm a busy person, but I enjoy doing TV because it was a change of pace for me."

Jung says he's talking to the chef about "a more free-wheeling" weekly show, or monthly or quarterly specials.

This whole thing reeks to high heaven to me. From the beginning, the show was produced with what looked like public access quality production values, despite the state of the art kitchen studio at Cincinnati State. And the graphics! How cheeseball. Just look at that logo and tell me students at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning couldn't have come up with something more professional and classy looking??

With the locally-produced programming coming out of Yokel 12 these days consisting solely of news and local sports shows, maybe it was too much to expect that they could produce something worthy of Chef de Cavel's talents. Of course the brilliant scheduling move Yokel 12 made of placing it on the grid on Friday mornings at 9:30 am (!) instead at a more demo-friendly Sunday morning where foodie fans might actually be around to see it was just another blunder that cannot be blamed on Chef.

Maybe this was the best thing that could have happened though. I mean, Scripps-Howard, parent company of The Food Network, is located in downtown Cincinnati, only a couple of miles away from Cincinnati State's studio. And I imagine somebody at the FN might be really happy to snap Jean-Robert right up for a new show there!


Word to the wise: Jean-Robert's recipes for the first season are still archived HERE if you want to browse!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ruth Reichl's Life to Big Screen?

According to today's newly re-designed New York Post gossip column, Page Six:
Foodie On Film

RUTH Reichl, the celebrated editor of Gourmet, is about to see her life plastered on the big screen. According to gossips at the magazine's October Restaurant Issue party at the Spotted Pig the other night, Avenue Pictures head Cary Brokaw has optioned rights to develop a film out of Reichl's two best-selling memoirs, "Comfort Me With Apples" and "Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise." Reichl will be a producer on the picture being penned by screenwriter Jeremy Leven. We also hear the HBO series that was to be based on "Comfort Me With Apples" is kaput.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bill Buford on Food TV

This week's October 2, 2006 issue of The New Yorker features a lengthy Notes from a Gastronome piece by Bill "Heat" Buford titled TV DINNERS: The rise of food television. It's really long, so I made the link one to a "printer-friendly format". I'm just sayin'...

My favorite part is (of course) about our late and much lamented Mrs. Child and the beginnings of her French Chef show on WGBH, Boston:
...In America, the old days probably began on a February morning in 1962, when Julia Child, having been asked to promote "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" on a book show on WGBH, the Boston public TV station, phoned ahead, asking for a hot plate and permission to involve the show’s host, P. Albert Duhamel, a Boston College professor, in a demonstration. The professor couldn’t cook, and, on live television, Child was going to teach him how to make an omelette—a brazen flourish for a novice food writer. Russell Morash, at WGBH, remembers the call, because Child was so unusually well spoken and patrician in manner. It was as though he’d picked up the phone and found Eleanor Roosevelt on the other end. Child was a "hoot," according to one of the twenty-seven viewers who contacted the station afterward—enough for it to find funding to prepare a three-episode pilot that would eventually become "The French Chef."...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Le rye

Dearest,

I have to tell you that the rye bread turned out incredibly well. They were perhaps my most successful attempts at this recipe. The loaves were larger than ever before, but just as dense. My addition of my own special "Herbs d'last year" instead of parsley (that it turned out I was out of), made the bread much more savory.

Rosemary Rye Bread
A Cincinnati Post recipe contest winner in the 1970s. "Rye bread has a fearsome reputation because rye flour is hard to raise to any volume, but this one mixes in white flour for extra oomph, and it's quite easy. Rye flour can usually be bought in a small-sized bag, then stored for future loaves in the freezer. This precious recipe is pulled from Post files quite often. The name of the young man who entered the recipe is lost to me, but I remain very grateful to him for sharing his find. He wrote on his entry that the rosemary rye is great sliced and toasted, then spread with peanut butter. It's true, it's true."--Joyce Rosencrans

1 ¾ cups warm water (105-110 degrees F.)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup each dried minced onion, parsley flakes
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons each dried thyme, rosemary, thoroughly crushed
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
4 teaspoons salt
2 cups medium rye flour (not coarse pumpernickel flour)
3 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (bread flour is even better)
1 additional egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Yield: 2 braided loaves

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the brown sugar in warm water. Sprinkle on the dry yeast and stir to mix. Let stand for 5 minutes or until foam forms on the top. If it doesn't, the yeast might be too old or the water was too hot. Start over with a fresh package of yeast.

Once the yeast has foam on top, add the onion, parsley flakes, crushed rosemary, thyme, oil, egg, salt, rye flour and 3 cups of the white flour. Mix well, adding only enough additional white flour as necessary to form a soft dough. It will be slightly sticky.

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary but as little as possible. Continue kneading and turning dough for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. It may still be slightly sticky.

Place dough in a clean, oiled bowl and turn to grease the top of the dough. Cover with a damp towel (paper toweling is fine) and set in a warm, draft-free place until dough is almost doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds. Divide dough in half and then divide each half into 3 equal portions. Cover with an inverted bowl or cloth and let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough with hands into a rope 15 inches long. Braid 3 ropes to form a loaf; repeat with other 3 ropes. Place loaves, spaced as far apart as possible on a large baking sheet to allow for rising. Cover lightly with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled, about 50 minutes.

Brush loaves with egg-milk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds (caraway would clash with the rosemary). Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove loaves from baking sheet and cool on a rack. Slice with a serrated bread knife to avoid compressing the bread.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A question of rye, part 5

I am happy to report that the co-op (coop as I like to call it) had the rye flour we crave.

Did I mention I have been watching this 4-hour Warhol documentary. It is actually pretty interesting. The photo documentation is amazing, I can't believe how many photographs were taken in his early life. Of course it has the tragic pimple of using Laurie Anderson as the narrator. She sounds like a mecatronic character from Blade Runner. It is on until 4 AM tonight so I guess I have committed to staying up quite late.

Tomorrow I will make rye bread.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A question of rye, part 4

Well, uh, yeah. I know what you mean. But you know--it is a bitch to make. Sometimes ya just wanna savor it!! ;-))

A question of rye, part 3

Thanks dear. I will check my local "health food store" aka the East End Food Co-op.

As if pain d'épice would last weeks around me.

A question of rye, part 2

Hon,

I bought my last bag of rye flour at Keller's IGA -- but we all know that kitchen goddess Marilyn Harris shops there when she's not shilling for Bigg's!

I would suggest a visit to a natural/health food store where you can buy as much or as little as you need. Remember if you buy a whole bag, you can use some of the leftovers for a Chez Panisse pizza dough (see, I remember how much you love making freeform pizzas using your pizza stone)! Or, if you are as inspired as I was last December, you can make a french "pain d'épice"--their version of gingerbread, but made with honey and rye flour. It was amazingly good and can keep, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for weeks...

P.S. My recipe for pain d'épice came from a FABulous cookbook called The Breads of France (1978) by Indiana francophile, Bernard Clayton, Jr. This, however, did not stop someone from changing some very minor details and including his recipe in Chez Panisse Desserts (1994)!

A question of rye

What a week I am having. I am so busy plus a grant proposal due next Friday. I am going to take tomorrow off just to work on it.

This is perhaps something you would know. I am going to a dinner party on Saturday night and was asked to bring bread. I am going to try to make that rosemary rye bread from that Cincinnati Post cookbook. I went to the grocery store tonight and just try to find rye flour these days. They had ALL types of flour, flax, potato, teff, you name it. Just don't name rye. Has it gone completely out of fashion to make rye bread? I thought it would be a really unusual thing to bring, I had no idea how unusual it is. I am going to call the food co-op tomorrow and see what shakes there, or possibly whole
foods. Any ideas, girl?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Anne Kearney to open new eatery in Cincy area?

I was excited to see Polly Campbell's article, Kearney could open restaurant here, in today's morning Enquirer. Although I never had the pleasure of eating Chef Kearney's creations way back when she worked at Arnold's Bar & Grill downtown, I remember reading of her great success with Peristyle, the New Orleans' French Quarter restaurant known for its refined, French-inflected American bistro food, she opened back in the 1990s after working with Emeril for several years. She was named one of the Top 10 young chefs in the country by Food and Wine magazine in 1998 and Best Chef, Southeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2002.

After suffering from some health problems, Ms. Kearney returned to Ohio to recuperate. Meanwhile, Katrina visited N.O. and returning there became became more problematic.

In the meanwhile, she and her husband, Tom Sand, found an outlet for their culinary interests by growing produce for the past two years on their small organic farm, Two Small Tomatoes, north of Lebanon. "Every Thursday and Saturday, she sells what she grows at the Lebanon and West Chester Township farmers markets, along with soups, salsas and focaccia she makes from her produce and fresh herbs."
So now, an Anne Kearney restaurant in the Ohio Valley is very likely. She's been scouting locations that would allow her to stay close to family, and learning that getting a liquor license in Ohio is harder than in Louisiana.

"I think a small French bistro, using local produce," she says of her restaurant plans. "Some of the products I used to use: Louisiana crab, shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico."...

And Kearney's been itching to cook. She's been selling prepared foods at her farmers market stall - breakfast bars, soups, salsa, her mother's oatmeal-crusted brownies.

She teaches at Midwest Culinary Institute and other cooking schools, and does some catering.

"Gardening is harder than cooking," Kearney says. "Cooking is immediate. You get to make your customers happy, wipe it all down, start again the next night. You don't have to wait six months to find out if you did it right."

Here's a gem of an autumn soup recipe from Chef Kearney - and if the air in your neighborhood is anything like mine is today, you'll want to rush right into your kitchen and put a big pot on the stove to make this for dinner.

AUTUMN HARVEST SOUP

3 strips hickory-smoked bacon, cut into thin strips
1 cup small-dice leek, whites only
1 cup small-dice apple (Granny Smith works nicely)
1½ teaspoons chopped garlic
1 cup medium-dice butternut squash
1 cup medium-dice sweet potato
2 cups pumpkin puree (see note)
1 sprig sage
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons honey
4 cups chicken stock (water may be substituted)
½ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Render the bacon in a 4-quart stock pot until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot and allow it to drain on paper towels. Gently cook the leeks, apples and garlic in the bacon fat for 3-4 minutes until tender. Add the squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree, sage, bay leaf, honey and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and sage. Add the heavy cream and season with the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Makes 2 quarts. Serve with the crispy bacon as garnish. Toasted pumpkin seeds are a lovely garnish as well.

Note: Use either canned pumpkin or roast your own: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut small pumpkins into thick slices, remove seeds and strings. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, bake until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Scrape flesh off peel.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Trader Joe's Manna from Ruth

Since I am having to rely upon the kindness of friends to make grocery runs for me these days, I was especially happy when Ruth announced she needed to make a TJ's run for some more Ruby Red Chai Tea - and what would I like for her to pick up for me! Here's a partial list, along with local prices which, for the most part have only changed maybe 10 cents over 2 years. With raindrops pinging on my window air conditioner, a harbinger of the autumn cold front we're expecting to come through tonight, I am content to know that, safely tucked away in my kitchen, I have two quart size Tyvek containers of Trader Joe's Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup. Soup so good, it needs no cracker sidekick to make it satisfying! The partial list:

Organic Salad Microgreens ($2.49)
TJ Frozen Key Lime Pie Cheesecake, 18 oz. ($3.99) so rich - a little slice will do ya!
TJ Frozen Chicken Masala w/Brown Rice ($2.49)
Frozen Maryland Style Crabcakes, 2/package ($2.99)
TJ Triple Ginger Snap Cookies, 14 oz. ($3.49) omigod--fabulous!
TJ Frozen Shrimp Gyoza Potstickers ($3.29)
Green Tea Gelato, 1 pint ($2.99)
TJ Tiramisu Gelato, 30 oz. ($3.49)
TJ Dijon Mustard, 13 oz. ($2.29)
TJ Italian Sourdough Sliced Bread ($2.79)
TJ Pains au Chocolat, 3/package ($2.99) great frozen, then nuked for 30 seconds
TJ Water Crackers ($1.29) compares favorably to Carr's at half the price!
TJ Lavender Sachet Dryer Bags, 4/pack ($3.69)

Mouth of the South opens resto in Big Apple

According to the story Captain Buffalo by Steve Fishman in New York magazine, former Cincinnatian and bison rancher Ted Turner is opening his 50th "Ted’s Montana Grill" at Rockefeller Center next week. Just hear him wax lyrical about his subject:
SF: What is the difference between the taste of a hamburger and the taste of a bison burger?

TT: Boy, that’s really hard. To me it tastes a lot better. Have you ever eaten bison?

SF: No, I’m looking forward to trying it.

TT: Well, you have to cook it differently than meat because it has almost no fat, and I don’t eat any fatty meats. It’s lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken or fish. And half as much as beef. It’s so much better for you, and it tastes better, ’cause once you start eating it, you just, beef just seems way too fatty for you.

SF: Do you have a favorite way to eat a bison burger?

TT: I like it with a slice of cheese.

Ted's Montana Grill
110 W. 51st St. at Sixth Ave.
Phone: (212) 245-5220

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Joel out, Lakshmi in?


You know how we love reading gossip columns. Well, today the New York Post's PAGE SIX reports
WE HEAR . . .

THAT Katie Lee Joel, 25, wife of Billy Joel, 57, has been dumped as host of Bravo's Top Chef cooking show and replaced by Padma Lakshmi, 36, wife of Salman Rushdie, 59.

Well, as I happen to be cable-challenged, it was good to see that the recipes for Season One are on the site.

Chad leads chicken dance

Good God. I don't know what comes over this town when Oktoberfest rolls around each year. This year Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiver Chad Johnson was named Grand Marshall of the fest--this ceremonial post largely meaning you have the honor of leading the world's largest chicken dance. (I kid you not.) Anyway, this year, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer:
...Johnson danced atop a small stage, keeping his bright blond mohawk under a pink ball cap. Clapping, twisting and flapping, an excited crowd followed along. When the music stopped, the crowd chanted, "Who Dey! Who Dey!"

"It’s a blessing for me to be here," Johnson said before leaving.

In honor of his efforts, Servatii’s Pastry and Deli gave Johnson a giant Bavarian creampuff shaped like his face. The pastry contained 50 pounds of cream.

Only in Cincinnati, children. Only in Cincinnati.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Good talk more filling

Yesterday was a strange day of eating for me. All my meals were catered during meetings and at art openings. Breakfast - a chocolate chip bagel and an apple strudel thingee. Lunch - London Broil with horseradish sauce, pasta, caesar salad and a cookie/brownie tray. Dinner - curried chicken over vegetable rice, an indian pancake, hors d'oeurves that featured blue cheese in phyllo and Belgian endive and more brownies. This all sounds quite good but it was some how not as fulfilling as sitting down and having a conversation while eating, rather than looking at slides and discussing the merits of a resume or trying to balance a plate while standing.

United States of Arugula



Dear me. I feel so cranky any more. First, I'm resigned to my plight for the foreseeable future of trying to make silk purses out of sow's ears in the microwave (well, you know what I mean!) and not even being able to try to drown the dismal results with anything remotely fermented and drinkable (and, NO, soy sauce does not count as a libation!) But, what should turn up in my suddenly too-high-to-reach-fully-into mailbox Thursday afternoon, but the new, much ballyhooed October issue of Vanity Fair. [Shudder.] Yes, the one with that certain happy Hollywood family on the cover and the 22-page spread of little Red Rose's pix inside. (Trust me, children. The cover was quite enough already.)

Anyway, after tearing out all of the ads and fragrance strips, as is my spinsterish habit, I glanced down along the "Table of Contents", only to find listed an excerpt from a new book by David Kamp titled The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation. Although we may have thrilled to the charming auto-da-fe of Jeremiah Tower earlier this year, (what can we say? yes, we use our library card on occasion, alright? so what if it's a few years late!) it's always fun to have the tale told again from a different perspective -- along with many others. May we indulge ourselves and just call it full of little frissons of sheer delight?

Herewith, for your reading delectation, is the Vanity Fair excerpt from Chapter 5: Cooking Up a Storm.

RELATED LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE: DavidKamp.com

Chapter Seven: The New Sun-Dried Lifestyle (The Silver Palate, Dean & Deluca, E.A.T., and more)

woof, woof: Bad review! Bad review! The glories of food, The Economist.com

Friday, September 15, 2006

Eat Local - Support Your Independent Restaurants!

Well, "the road to hell", as they say. I was listening to Marilyn Harris' cooking show of the air on WKRC-AM a couple of Saturdays ago when the subject changed from exchanging recipes to a conversation with Annette Pfund de Cavel and (sorry!) another person whose name I seem to have lost from my memory bank. The subject of their conversation was the announcement of a new Cincinnati chapter of an organization called Dine Originals America, which promotes locally-owned and operated restaurants, with chapters in 20+ cities nationwide.

Like a foo, I wrote down the information about their website's launch, fully intending to write about it before yesterday ended, because this morning at 8 am, when it was scheduled to go live, they were also offering an online only sale of 40% off gift certificates for all of the participating restaurants. Alas, by the time I finally got around to blogging (like...NOW!), most of the G.C.'s have sold out. But never fear. I hear there's going to be a big kick-off event at the Verdin Bell Company's headquarters in Over-the-Rhine next month. I promise to make a more timely post about that so you can get in early!

Member Restaurants include: Andy's Mediterranean Grille; Behle Street Café; Bella Luna; Brown Dog Café; Daveeds at 934; The Grand Café; Jean-Robert at Pigall's; Jean-Robert's Pho Paris; Jimmy D's Steakhouse; Jimmy's BBQ; Kona Bistro; Mesh;
Montgomery Inn Boathouse; Nicholson's Tavern & Pub; One Restaurant & Lounge; The Polo Grille; The Pub at Crestview Hills; Sturkeys; and Universal Grille

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's Kroger's pie for me, dear Palate...


...and today, by way of the online flyer, that means a lovely bakery peach-raspberry one. Raspberry hybrid pies seem to be in the aether these days, just a day after you mentioned that slice of raspberry cherry. Your post about your spiced raspberry pie really got to me, I must say. I know how you enjoy those "Martha moments" when lattice-making really floats your boat. In fact, maybe I should put one of these little toys on your Christmas list: from one of our favorite blogs, The Book of Joe, a Pie Crust Lattice Cutter!

No rain in Pittsburgh foiled my pie plans

Perhaps lack of rain has caused a raspberry shortage. I am still fond of the New Basics recipe for spiced raspberry pie. I haven't been picking any raspberries this year so I guess I won't be making it any time soon. I still have a pie's worth of sour cherries in my freezer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Palate checks in


I went to the lovely farmers market on my way home from work and bought some Silver Queen corn, plums, a nice piece of hickory smoked salmon and a sugar baby watermelon. I also picked up a piece of raspberry cherry pie. When I got home I made the best treat of the day, heirloom tomato sauce. Yes, I had a pile of heirlooms in my fridge and made two pots full. I put some of it on pasta and froze the rest. I think heirloom tomato sauce is the most decadent dish on earth. It consisted of greens, Mr Stripeys, ox heart, a striped saladette, purple and yellow tomatoes. It was quite a mélange. The flavor is so rich, I cook it down to about half the pot. So I made pasta using the sauce and a few of the ears of corn cornels cut off the cob sprinkled with Parmesan. You cannot believe the flavor. I am in anticipation of winter just to eat the rest. I also made a couple batches of pesto while it was cooking, so I have things covered.

David Sedaris on the dangers of "D'accord"


"I said d’accord to a waiter, and received a pig’s nose standing erect on a bed of tender greens."

Thus sayeth our favorite funnyman du saison, David Sedaris. Like it's not enough that he lives sur la Rive Gauche en Paris, he also writes about his experiences there in a way that tickles our funnybone. Here is more of his most recent New Yorker offering: In the Waiting Room: The advantages of speaking French (September 18, 2006).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Welcome to Porkopolis!


Porkopolis Pig Roast?

Well, here it is, September once again, and what does that mean right here in the city formerly known as "Porkopolis"? Why, it's time for that glugfest of German food and beer known as Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, of course! I mean, I'm sure it's just me, but the last thing I want to do is wander through a throng of thousands of chicken dancing goetta ball, limburger and onion sandwich, and Bavarian cream puff-eaters, and be accidentally doused with lager. The second day smell of stale beer is enough to put me off my feed, so I shall be staying away. But, as Zuleika Dobson would say: "For those that like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like!"

Herewith, for your delectation, the menu. Get your Pickle-On-A-Stick here!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mad Honey Disease on the Rise

You'd think it might be from those killer African bees...but no! According to this article in today's (U.K.) Independent, scientists are warning that this rare disease is on the uprise.

Symptoms can include convulsions, low blood pressure, fainting and temporary heart problems, according to a scientific report published this week in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
"Mad honey disease has the potential to cause death if untreated," say the researchers. "Because of the increasing preference for natural products, intoxication induced by consumption of honey will increase in the future."

Just a spoonful of the wrong honey can cause problems, according to researchers.

Mad honey poisoning is most prevalent in honey from the Black Sea region of Turkey. Compounds called grayanotoxins, found in the nectar of rhododendrons, mountain laurels and azaleas, are thought to be responsible for the disease. Though harmless to bees, they are psychoactive and poisonous to humans. Affected honey is said to have a very bitter taste.

The Over-the-Rhine Brewery District presents the Prohibition Resistence Tour


"Inhabitants were deluged with beer and wine, principally beer; old Vine Street sparkled like a huge Brazilian yellow diamond by night; sumptuous beer gardens were as plentiful as freckles on a small boy's face," a reporter wrote in 1924.

"Wielert's was the most famous beer garden, near 15th and Vine," said Robert Wimberg, who writes about such things. "At the top you can still see the letters HW, for Heinrich Wielert. The Cincinnati Symphony got its start there.--excerpted from Randy McNutt's A toast to pottery, beer (Cincinnati Enquirer, December 16, 2003)

Well, venture back in time this Saturday, September 16, when my pals at the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District will host a two-hour bus and walking tour of some of Over-the-Rhine's most historic brewery buildings in an effort to to make the Brewery District more visible and to help play a role in the revitalization of Over-The-Rhine. Tickets are $20 each and may be purchased in advance from either of these establishments or by contacting Steve Hampton at the numbers below. Tours will leave from Arnold's Bar & Grille, 210 East Eight Street (departing at 11 am and 2:30 pm) and Milton's Tavern, 301 Milton Street (departing at 11:30 am and 3:10 pm).

There will be a special presentation on the history of Cincinnati's own Christian Moerlein beer. Feautured buildings will include the former homes of the Clyffside Brewery; Christian Moerlein Brewery; Jackson Brewery; Hudepohl Brewery; Schmitt Brothers Brewery; Kauffman Brewery; Lafayette Brewery; and Grammer's Restaurant; as well as the subterranean tunnels beneath the breweries; Cincinnati's world-famous beer halls lost to time; and an examination of the city's proud German Resistance to Prohibition.

Thanks to the hard work of a number of its members, the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Prohibition Resistance Tour is almost sold out. There are only about 16 tickets remaining for the tour, so if you know someone who would like to participate, please have them contact Steve Hampton today at (513)784-0352 or by email.

Volunteers are still needed for both the cleanup and to staff the tour (even if only for a few hours), including serving refreshments, staying with the groups, and staying at the tour sites. All volunteers are invited to a cookout at Denny Dellinger's Metal Blast Building--formerly the Jackson Brewery-- at 208 Mohawk Street, after the tour.

Please do your part to help the Brewery District make this event a success. For this Saturday's cleanup just show up. For the tour, please contact Steve Hampton.

And on a personal note: In researching a little on the side about Cincinnati's illustrious brewery history, I came across a site which provided me with several reasons why the streets in my neighborhood of Clifton Heights are peppered with so many formerly well-known names, including Klotter, Sohn, and, of course, Moerlein. For more information, please see Robert J. Wimberg’s book "Cincinnati Breweries", available at the Ohio Book Store and selected other retail outlets.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What's Up with Sam's Blog?

I was just checking Food Blog S'cool about an hour ago and found that, except for the logo and a title for a new post, that it had disappeared. I sent an email to Sam and received an automated message saying that she had pressing things to deal with and would not be responding to Food Blog S'cool messages right now. Does anyone know what has happened here?

I'm hoping for the best!

UPDATE (9/9/06): FOOD BLOG S'COOL HAS BEEN RESTORED TO ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE IN TH BLOGOSPHERE. HALLELUJAH!

We hear, we hear...

as the New York Post's Page Six says: "READERS of The New Yorker have eclectic taste. When tickets went on sale [yesterday] for the mag's upcoming New Yorker Festival, it found that its "Fiction Into Film" seminar, with Michael Cunningham, Liev Schreiber and Ed Norton, and its "Come Hungry" tour of Chinatown, with Calvin Trillin, sold out in one minute. Meanwhile, a sneak preview of the new "Borat" flick, with Sacha Baron Cohen, and an architectural tour of Zac Posen's home sold out in three minutes." Don't say we didn't warn you! ;-)

Gordon Ramsay at the London

Yes, my little chickadees, I can't help myself. I needed a little injection of Gordo gossip right about now - and where should I find it, but in the old grey lady herself, The New York Times. According to Michael Ruhlman's lengthy article Gordon Ramsay Takes Manhattan, Tiptoeing, He Says:
Gordon Ramsay at the London, a 45-seat restaurant with four-star ambitions, is scheduled to open in Midtown in November, along with the London Bar, a more casual place with 95 seats. They will both be at London NYC, the $75 million renovation of the Rihga Royal on West 54th Street. Chris Hutcheson, the chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings and Mr. Ramsay’s father-in-law, said they are investing $5 million to $6 million in the project, their most expensive endeavor.

"This is not going to be some consultancy that I’m going to be appearing here for the next three weeks and you won’t be seeing me till next July," Mr. Ramsay said, speaking from a hotel room in Norfolk, England, where he was finishing up the third season of the television series "Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares." He said he would be at the restaurant for 10-day stretches with 3-day breaks in London, at least until the new year.

"I'm not trying to take New York by storm,"he said. "I just want to sneak in there, keep my head down, batten down the hatches and cook."

And lest you have any notion of photo-blogging your dinner, beware! " 'Mr. Ramsay described the food only as “very natural” and “very proper,” adding that any patron trying to take pictures of it would be banned.

'We’re not going to stand there and gawk,' he said."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Yorker Festival Boasts Food Stars

If you, like me, find yourself looking forward to receiving your new issue of The New Yorker and finding the next 12 page dissertation on leeches and how to grow them - oh, wait - that was a medical article, not a food one! Well, anyway, it's almost time for that veritable orgy of writers of all stripes holding forth as part of the New Yorker Festival, October 6 - 8.

Tickets for all events go on sale at noon EDT today and may be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling tollfree 1-877-391-0545. All ticket orders are subject to service charges. I cannot emphasize more strongly the urgency of contacting/calling as soon as tickets go on sale at noon if you really want to attend any of these events as they are extremely limited in size and you are competing with all of Manhattan!

Food personalities and writers on the menu for this year's festival include:

Saturday, October 7
» 10 am, Calvin Trillin interviewed by Mark Singer, Celeste Bartos Forum, The New York Public Library, Entrance on 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues ($25)

» 1 pm, What You Can Do with Boiling Water: Mario Batali talks with Bill Buford, Italian Wine Merchants, 108 East 16th Street ($125). "Mario Batali will discuss making, cooking, and serving pasta with Bill Buford as the two of them make lunch. Their dishes will be served with a selection of Italian wines."

Sunday, October 8
» 1 pm, My Life in Three Courses: Nora Ephron talks with Ken Auletta, Culinary Loft, 515 Broadway ($75). "Nora Ephron cooks three dishes, each representing a distinct phase in her life, while Ken Auletta helps out in the kitchen. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

"Nora Ephron wrote the Academy Award-nominated screenplays for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle, which she also directed. Her books include the novel Heartburn and the collection I Feel Bad About My Neck, which came out in August; part of it first appeared in The New Yorker. In her piece Serial Monogamy, which appeared in the magazine’s Anniversary Issue, she wrote about her love affair with cookbooks."

» 1 pm, Come Hungry, The starting point will be indicated on the tickets. "Calvin Trillin leads his sixth annual gastronomic walking tour of downtown, sharing his favorite eateries and culminating in a dim-sum banquet in Chinatown."

God, how I wish I could be there!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How the other half eats


Ohhhh, I just adore reading about the hoi-polloi, especially when their servants spill the beans in tell-alls. But this one is really sad, having to do with that venerable New York society doyenne, Brooke Astor, and her physical decline. According to Cindy Adams of the New York Post, the "ASTOR CASE SIMMERS" and an ex-chef in Mrs. Astor's employ named Brian Calvert is shopping a manuscript called "Brooke's Cook" of which I shall only quote Cindy's editorial comment:
her steak came from Ottomanelli's, fish from Leonards, cookies from Grace's Marketplace, produce from Butterfield's Market, and she liked tomato, cucumber, Boursin cheese and smoked salmon sandwiches for tea...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Looking for a recipe manager?

I don't know about you, but I am always looking for good free software, so when I came across this little item I thought I'd hit the jackpot.

Computer diva Kim Komando, a voice I hear with some frequency as I tune my radio in and out of distant signals on the weekend, has a great website with a lot of free or shareware program downloads. This one, titled Gourmet Recipe Manager, resides at SourceForge.net and offers versions for both PC and Mac (yay!!). Here's Kim's description:
Gourmet Recipe Manager helps you put all your recipes in one place without a mess of paper. But it does more than simply store your recipes.

The most convenient feature of Gourmet Recipe Manager is its search. You can search for recipes by titles, categories (like soups or desserts) or ingredients. You can even search for words in the recipes' cooking instructions if you remember nothing else. It's definitely faster than a box of recipe cards!

The other handy feature is the shopping list creator. First, enter the basic ingredients that you've got at home. Then select one or more recipes you'd like to use. Gourmet Recipe Manager will automatically put together a list of ingredients you'll need to buy. And it keeps the list simple by adding overlapping recipe ingredients together.

When you download from SourceForge, be sure to select the right file for Windows. Look for the ".exe" at the end of the file name. If you are using a Mac, look for the "tar.gz" at the end of the file name.

Cost:Free

To download, click here.

I'm getting ready to play with this soon! Let me know your experiences with it, ok?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Kwan "krafts" a salad





Thanks to Matt Bites we now have a link to that cute and infectious little Kraft salad dressing spot with American ice queen Michelle Kwan. Despite preferring my own little dressing concoctions, shaken up in a vintage Grey Poupon mustard jar, I am addicted to this commercial in so many ways. From the music, to the cute little jumping dog (and I am not a dog person), to the direction and editing, this spot has it all for an international feel -- and NO talking head! As a major figure skating fan, I have always loved Michelle for epitomizing only the highest standards of sportmanship and work ethics. But I will also remember her as a tiny eleven year old girl, skating on her very first Tom Collins' Tour of Champions, with a joy and abandon far beyond her years.

Saturday, Saturday

Just hobbled downstairs after a loong night in bed with my precious kitty cat. She takes such good care of me :-)) Made my first toast (1 piece with grape jelly), poured a glass of chocolate milk into a thermal coffee mug with lid for safe carrying in my fancy new wire bicycle basket and maneuvered my walker safely to my desk--and here i am! Morning pills down now and eating breakfast to come next.

Friday, September 01, 2006

David meets Dagoba


Photo: Dagoba Chocolate Company

I have sooooo much catching up to do on my blog-reading now that I am finally home again. Not having to vye for a communal computer to use is so sweet!

Anyway, I was just checking in with the very chocolicious David Lebowitz and his fabulous Paris/chocolate blog and found this, David's lengthy interview with Frederick Schilling of Dagoba Organic Chocolate. As some of you might remember, I purchased one of Dagoba's lavender and blueberries dark chocolate bars for my birthday and had been saving it for just the right occasion. That time came during my recent term of hospital captivity and how I savored it! Apparently the San Francisco Chronicle came to a similar conclusion in their dark chocolate taste test: TASTER'S CHOICE: Panel deems Dagoba best dark chocolate

And it was cool to see that Frederick and I have the same feeling about this:
David: If someone's serving a chocolate dessert, what beverage do you think goes well with it?

Frederick: If it's got a cork in it, I like it.

I'm partial to a lovely glass of red wine myself!

A New Day

I guess I'm awake now. It was almost 7am before I finally fell asleep. My brother and I were trying desperately to finish up everything we could before he had to leave to go back home to Maryland at 10 this morning. Anyway, I've successfully maneuvered my upstairs walker to and from the bathroom twice now since waking up around 9. Took my morning (!) meds, all 9 of them, around noon, so now that it's 4, here come the Anti-Vert (dizziness) and Neurontin (tingling) again. Another Vicodin at 6, then the rest of the smorgasbord at midnight [sigh]. Came downstairs to kitchen a few minutes ago, filled up my lovely new Polar insulated sports bottle (I love the way you can see the aluminum insulation all crinkled up inside under the frosted transparent plastic shell) with water and safely transported it to my desk in my walker basket and here I am!

As for the 'dogs, forget any twists there, my friend. I'm pretty much a mustard and sweet relish kind of gal and the only twist I may occasionally make ventures toward substituting ketchup for mustard and whole wheat buns for the "bad for you" white ones! And let us not forget an optional small side of cole slaw now and then.

And now another problm: two months in a hospital with minimal activity + maximum "cleaning my plate" + some new meds which "may cause weight gain" = gain of at least 20 pounds. Not easy to carry around on top of what was already too much weight for my arthritic joints, so I have much to lose -- a huge challenge on top of all the other ones.

On the other hand, I'm not planning to use my oven yet due to my left hand's lack of sensitivity to real temperature (hot feels merely warm, warm feels hot--go figure!) -- I need me some Ov Gloves! -- and a creaky, hard to fully open oven door. So it's microwave or stovetop cooking and fresh fruits, salads, veggies, and tuna for me right now.