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Archive for December, 2009

12/28/09-1/3/10

Dear Local Gourmands,

As I type this, I’m looking past the snow-covered vegetable patch behind my parent’s house in Michigan to a frozen Huron River. For the moment the flurries have ceased and a sharp winter sky has opened up with just a few pink clouds– already the days feel longer than a week ago when I was celebrating the winter solstice by cooking dinner for a couple of good old friends. I carefully pulled homemade squash ravioli from a pot of boiling water one at a time– each little one looked like a sunny side up hope for warmer days to come.

Since then I’ve been home in a cocoon of sweaters and my parent’s cooking– blinis with cured fish and caraway-infused vodka hearken back to my father’s Russian grandparents, late night slices of gingerbread invoke stories about the family farm my mother used to visit when she was a kid. At gatherings and reunions with old classmates from high school people ask me what I’m up to in New York and I tell them I write about food. In Brooklyn people are growing corn on rooftops! I report, almost in disbelief myself. In Detroit, they tell me, the city is coming back to life with vacant lots being turned into gardens. I like to think Michigan will find its way to economic recovery through agriculture– after all, we’re not that far removed from farmland or a generation with farming know how in its genetic make up. To that end, I can’t think of a better way to cross over into a new year and a new decade than turning to our local resources. At the end of 2009, if we’re already harvesting crops from on high and growing produce out of abandoned cities, just imagine where we’ll be ten years from now. We have what we need to solve the problems of climate change and food scarcity and monocropping and an industrialized food system. We also have what we need to celebrate the beginning of a new time: I’m talking about oysters– local ones. Check out the list below of restaurants around the city where you can sling back some local bivalves in honor of the New Year. May your mugs and champagne flutes run over, and you leave at least enough room to squeeze in some dancing.

To the Teens,
Jeanne

Friday, December 31, 8:30-10pm
Telepan
72 W. 69th St. (at Columbus Ave.)
Reservations, 212-580-4300
Prix-fixe: $165

Bill Telepan’s exquisite locally sourced fare offers a sustainable (and delicious) entry into the new year. A four-course prix-fixe menu boasts Malpeque oysters, winter squash with red cabbage, tortellini and dried cherries, not to mention bossa nova table side serenades.

Friday, December 31, 6-11pm
Savoy
70 Prince St.
Reservations: 212-219-8570

Chef Ryan Tate has created a special a la carte menu to ring in the new decade featuring ingredients he loves but does not necessarily offer throughout the year– think squab, venison, shibumi oysters, and snails. Reservations are available between 6-11pm (a $75 four-course tasting menu will be available upon request as well).

Friday, December 31, 6-11pm
Back Forty
190 Ave. B (at E.12th St.)
Reservations, 212-388-1990

Reserve a table between 6-8pm to spend yourself on a locally sourced menu rolled out by Chef Shanna Pacifico– Island Creek oysters, Peconic Bay scallop cerviche, and porchetta, to name a few of the a la carte offerings– before hitting the streets to party hop. Or, if you’d rather make Back Forty your one stop fete, come through after 9pm when the bar/resto dissolves into pure party mode– three drink tix at the door, oysters shuckers a plenty, a rib roast slicing station, porchetta sandwiches all around, watermelon radish slaw, deviled eggs with American caviar, and a DJ kicking tunes from 10pm-1am. $75 to get down, or $10 at the door after 11pm for non-feast revelers.

Friday, December 31, 5pm-12am
Palo Santo
652 Union St., Park Slope
Reservations, 718) 636-6311

What does a chef who is known for infusing his locally-sourced Latin cuisine with peppers grown on his restaurant’s rooftop do during depths of winter? Invite his nearest and dearest over for dinner, naturally. A December chill won’t stop chef Jacques Gautier from pulling out the stops to serve up a spread fit for the New Year.

Friday, December 31, 6pm-4am
Jimmy’s No. 43
43 E. 7th St.

In so many ways it seems that this was the year of the oyster. From the Founded on Oyster Shells fundraiser for the New Amsterdam Market back in February to the bevy of events (so many of which seemed to involve oysters) celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s exploration– local bivalves got some much-deserved press in ’09. Ring in 2010 with one of their biggest supporters, Jimmy Carbone, at a New Year’s Eve oyster extravaganza where Peconic Bay oysters on the half shell, stewed, or baked will be accompanied by bubbly.
_________________________________
Of note a few weeks down the road…

Tuesday, January 12, 7-11pm
Sixpoint Beer Dinner
Broadway East
171 E. Broadway (btwn. Jefferson and Rutgers Sts.
Reservations, $40

Get your local buzz on at this veg-friendly prix-fixe dinner featuring pairings with an array of Red Hood brewed Sixpoint suds. Each of the four courses will be matched up with a Sixpoint gem– braised short ribs with Righteous Ale, par example– and to be sure, each course has a flexible meat/vegetarian option to keep everyone in check.

Thursday, January 14, 6:30-8:30pm
Winter Market Dinner
Rose Water
787 Union St., Park Slope
Reservations, Slow Food member $60, non-member $70

Rose Water’s Chef John Tucker invites diners to a communal table for a seasonal three-course meal featuring local winter ingredients (yes, the peaches may be gone, but I swear there’s plenty of goodness to be found in sweet potatoes, onions, and apples at the Greenmarket) along with wine pairings.

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12/14/09-12/20/09

Dear Local Gourmands,

Over the weekend Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, had his sleeves rolled up and his head in the game, inspiring some 1,000 attendees of the NYC Food and Climate Summit to get working on policy suggestions to curb the havoc our current food system is wreaking on the environment. Coinciding with the Copenhagen Climate Talks, this summit proved that New Yorkers area ready to think way outside the box to try and solve the situation at hand. On a panel about promoting local agriculture, I heard Bob Lewis (co-founder of Greenmarket) speak thoughtfully about the Hunt’s Point distribution center in the Bronx– just imagine if all the produce available for retail and restaurant purchase at Hunt’s Point was grown locally? New York is, after all, an agricultural state. I’ll post more about the conference (which was masterfully organized– hats off to Just Food!) this week on localgourmands.com, but in the meantime, feel free to sign the NYC Food Pledge and Charter.

All the best,
Jeanne

Monday, December 14, 7-8:30pm
Mast Brothers Chocolate and Beer Tasting
Beer Table
427 B 7th Ave., Park Slope
Tickets, $35

The brothers Mast will bring their chocolate know how and highly-approved-of product to Beer Table on Monday night for a sweets and suds pairing.

Monday, December 14, 7-10pm
Fundraiser for the Brooklyn Grange
bobo
180 W. 10th St. at 7th Ave
Tickets, $50

Raise a glass with foodie folks, and help raise funds for next season’s new rooftop farm: The Brooklyn Grange. This Monday at bobo the Roberta’s crew will be spreading the holiday cheer at a fundraiser to break ground on a one-acre rooftop plot. Come show your support and be a part of something great.

Monday, December 14, 8-10pm
Edible Pursuit
Sheep Station
149 4th Ave., Park Slope
Edible Pursuit at Sheep Station
Tickets, $15 (includes a pint of Kelso beer)

If the pursuit for good food is what keeps you going, I’m sure you’ll be a winner at Edible Pursuit. That’s right: trivia night for food lovers. Come get your game on with Edible Brooklyn at the lovely Sheep Station on 4th Ave. in Park Slope this Monday, December 14, from 8-10pm. Tix are $15 (which also buys you a pint of boro-brewed Kelso beer). You might wanna hit the books over the weekend, though– I hear the competition’s gonna be fierce. Bring it!!

Tuesday, December 15, 7pm
Hungry Filmmakers
Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave

Anthology Film Archives serves up these local food flicks on December 15:
WHAT’S “ORGANIC” ABOUT ORGANIC?: Shelley Rogers
BIG RIVER and TRUCK FARM: Curt Ellis & Ian Cheney
THE GREENHORNS: Severine von Tscarner Fleming
GROWN IN DETROIT: Manfred & Mascha Poppenk
FACES FROM THE NEW FARM: Liz Tylander, Kat Shiffler & Lara Sheets
[AS YET UNTITLED FILM ON CLIMATE CHANGE & FOOD SYSTEM]: Sara Grady

Author Anna Lappé will moderate a panel discussion with the film makers following the screening. At 9pm the party migrates to Jimmy’s No. 43 on E. 7th St. for post-movie snacks sourced from local purveyors Flying Pigs Farm, Schoolhouse Kitchen, Blue Isle Oyster Company, Hot Bread Kitchen, Violet Hill Farm, 3-Corner Field Farm, Rick’s Picks, Mama O’s Kimchee, and Dancing Ewe Farm. Tip at the tap for pints of Ommegang Beer from Cooperstown, NY.

Tuesday, December 15, 6:30pm
Gingerbread House Class
The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs
Tickets, $75

Talented cake crafter Katie Robinson graces the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs with her gingerbread house know-how. Buy a seat in this hands-on class and take come your own confection construction.

Wednesday, December 16, noon
Beard on Books: David Chang
The James Beard House
167 West 12th Street
$20 at the door, free for students

At this month’s installment of the Beard on Books series, toast of the town chef David Chang reads from his new Momofuku cookbook. An author signing and sponsored snacks follow the reading.

Saturday, December 19, noon-5pm
Greenpoint Food Market’s Holiday Foodtacular
Church of the Messiah
129 Russell St., btwn. Driggs and Nassau Aves., Greenpoint

Give your family a little love from Brooklyn– get your holiday shopping taken care of at a special edition of the Greenpoint Food Market. Homemade foodstuffs from little kitchens all over the borough show what we’re made of: pickles, chocolate, beer and cheese. A free raffle boasts prizes for all you hungry and thirsty shoppers.

Saturday, December 19, 11am-4pm
Drop-in Cookie Decorating
The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs
100 Frost St. btwn Leonard and Manhattan Ave., Williamsburg

No time to bake? Stop by the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs and pick up a dozen sugar cookies (little blank canvases, each!) for $10. Then, roll up your sleeves and dig into all the icing and sprinkles you could ever wish for at their all-day cookie decorating fiesta.

Sunday, December 20, 11am-4pm
New Amsterdam Market Presents Wintermarket
South Street Seaport

New Amsterdam market wraps up a tremendously successful fall season this Sunday with a wintermarket. After this, the stalls will go into hibernation until spring, so come get your fill of oysters, lobster rolls, and Porchetta sandwiches one last time before the new year.

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Edible Pursuit

If the pursuit for good food is what keeps you going, I’m sure you’ll be a winner at Edible Pursuit. That’s right: trivia night for food lovers. Come get your game on with Edible Brooklyn at the lovely Sheep Station on 4th Ave. in Park Slope this Monday, December 14, from 8-10pm. Tix are $15 (which also buys you a pint of boro-brewed Kelso beer). You might wanna hit the books over the weekend, though– I hear the competition’s gonna be fierce. Bring it!!

Sheep Station: 149 4th Ave., Park Slope

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Raise a glass with food scene folks, and help raise funds for next season’s new rooftop farm: The Brooklyn Grange. This Monday, December 14, at bobo, the Roberta’s crew will be spreading the holiday cheer at a fundraiser to break ground on a one-acre rooftop plot. Come show your support and be a part of something great. Tix are just $50. Party’s on from 7-10pm at 180 W. 10th St.

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…As I was saying just the other day, I’m dying to be invited to Melissa Clark’s house for her annual latke fiesta. Her piece in the Dining section of the Times on what the kids will be served only adds fuel to the fire:

“Being a documented latke lover, I’ll do my own unctuous time behind the stove at least twice during Hanukkah. But that leaves me wondering what to make on the other six days.

As long as it’s fried in olive oil to commemorate the miracle of 165 B.C.E. (when a day’s worth of oil burned for eight), almost anything goes. But I wanted something other than doughnuts, fritters or chicken — a dish unfussy enough to throw together on a weeknight.

Naturally, I thought of grilled cheese.” Full article here.

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It doesn’t take much to get me on the dance floor. I love a good party, and happily December is chock full of ’em. I hear Melissa Clark throws a latke soirée every year– I’m dying to be invited, but our paths have yet to cross. In the meantime, I’m very, very much looking forward to the Annual Small Planet Fund Party on December 10.

“The Small Planet Fund was founded by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé to support courageous movements bringing to life citizen-led solutions to hunger, poverty, and environmental devastation. This year, the Fund is highlighting the work of local hero, Just Food, committed to improving access to fresh, healthy food in NYC and to support the local farms and urban gardens that grow it.”

Join these amazing women and their host committee (LG friends Cathy Erway of Not Eating out in NY, Karry Trueman and Matt Rosenberg of Eating Liberally, Destin Joy Lane from The Eat Well Guide, and Edible Brooklyn/Manhattan/East End’s own Brian Halweil, to name a few) to share sustainably-minded talk and ideas. The evening will honor Just Food, the food justice non-profit that continues to up the number of CSAs in the city each year, pushes for legalized bee keeping, city chicken farming, and increased access to fresh, local food in New York City. Their hard work and momentum give us all great reason to celebrate!

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11/30/09-12/6/09

Dear Local Gourmands,

I’m having a hard time believing that today is December 1, but the way the calendar is looking, it feels very much like we’re already in the holiday swing of things. Every year I say to hell with a Christmas tree, let’s just drape lights on a rosemary plant and hang cookies from the branches (less wasteful, and so much more delicious)! My dad sells Christmas trees, though, and we always wind up with a beautiful spruce holding court in the living room and filling the house with its fantastic scent. We do, however, substitute glass ornaments for edible ones. If you’ve got Christmas cookies on your mind, you will enjoy this week’s Culinary Historians of New York lecture which focuses on the Dutch traditions that are at the core of our (now) very American holiday. NB: Do yourself a favor and find someone who will make you a speculaas cookie this year.

Carry on!
Jeanne

Tuesday, December 1, 8, & 15, 6-9pm
Cooking East to West Center for Family Life
345 43rd Street, Brooklyn
Reservations, $150:
call 718-788-3500, or e-mail jbonilla@cflsp.org

The craftswomen of Émigré Gourmet and chef instructors from Kingsborough Community College lead a three-part cooking class which will explore and demonstrate cuisines along the famous spice route. Under their guidance, cook your way from Southeast Asia, to the Middle East, to Latin America and the Caribbean, incorporating plenty of spice along the way.

Thursday, December 3, 6:30
Culinary Historians of New York:
“Joyful Traditions: How the Dutch St. Nicholas Celebration Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Holiday Treats”
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum
417 East 61st Street
Tickets, $40

Food historian Peter Rose unravels American Christmas as we know it, tracing threads of tradition back to the settlement of New Amsterdam and its premiere winter feast, the Dutch celebration of St. Nicholas’s Day, on December 6.

“Drawing on literature, religion, the fine arts, and especially foodways, Rose will reveal how St. Nicholas came to America and how he morphed into Santa Claus in the mid-nineteenth century to adapt to changing cultural dynamics. The program will include a tasting of traditional Dutch holiday foods, including a 17th-century holiday bread called “Duivekater,” marzipan-filled puff pastry “letters,” spiced “speculaas” cookies, and “olie-koecken,” forerunners of the doughnut, served with spiced “Bishop’s wine.”

Saturday, December 5, 2-3pm
Reading from The Locavore Way
Posman Books, Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave. btwn 15th and 16th Sts

Author Amy Cotler reads from her new book The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food. She’ll be signing copies at the reading. By then you’ll surely be inspired to stroll through the market to shop for food. Stop by Dickson Farmstand Meats to pick up locally and sustainably raised sausage (delicious!), Ronnybrook Milk Bar for the best butter, milk, and cream in town, and then there’s Lucy’s Whey where you can find Amy Thompson courting the masses with exquisite wheels of American artisanal cheese.
________________________________
Of note a few weeks down the road…

Thursday, December 10, 6:30-10pm
Brooklyn Food Coalition Winter Party
388 Atlantic Ave. btwn Hoyt and Bond Sts.
Requested donation, $5-$50 (no one will be turned away)

The Brooklyn Food Coalition celebrates its first six months of action in the food democracy movement by toasting author Jan Poppendieck’s groundbreaking book, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America. Festivities wouldn’t be complete for this food-centric crew without a locally sourced dinner and cash bar. Join in!

Thursday, December 10, 6-10pm
Small Planet Fund Annual Party and Auction
Private Soho loft
Tickets

Join Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé for the annual Small Planet Fund Party and Auction, a memorable affair whose proceeds benefit the Small Planet Fund grantees and New York’s local food hero, Just Food. Join the event’s illustrious host committee and mother-daughter Lappé duo (who champion the good, fair food movement on a local and international level through their writing, activism, and philanthropy) for an evening of stimulating conversation and an irresistible silent auction. Contact Carrie@eventsthatmatter.net for additional information.

Saturday, December 12, 8:45am-5pm
NYC Food and Climate Summit
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
566 LaGuardia Place

“Just Food, the Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York University present “NYC Food and Climate Summit: Creating a Platform for Change,” a day-long feast of workshops, training and action planning to increase awareness and action around our food system’s role in climate problems and solutions. The Summit will bring together some 1,000 community gardeners, local farmers, educators, advocates, city government leaders and concerned citizens, and will create a Platform for Change to spark grassroots mobilizations and policy advocacy in 2010 and beyond. The Summit is timed to coincide with the global UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen.”

Sunday, December 13, 2pm
Culture in the Cucina: How Rome’s Jews are Cooking up the Past and Future
Park East Synagogue 164 E 68th St.
$5 admission

“Food writer, Leah Koenig, will discuss how certain traditional recipes – like Carciofi alla Guidia (deep fried artichokes) and Pizza Ebraica (a fruit cake-like dessert) – have attained iconic status in Italy’s oldest and largest Jewish center, Rome. She will also explore how today’s urban Jews relate to their culinary heritage. New Yorkers have their bagels, knish and egg creams. What dishes do Italian Jews turn to when they need a nosh, and how do these foods connect them to their past and their future?”

Tuesday, December 15, 7pm
Hungry Filmmakers
Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave

Anthology Film Archives serves up these local food flicks on December 15:
WHAT’S “ORGANIC” ABOUT ORGANIC?: Shelley Rogers
BIG RIVER and TRUCK FARM: Curt Ellis & Ian Cheney
THE GREENHORNS: Severine von Tscarner Fleming
GROWN IN DETROIT: Manfred & Mascha Poppenk
FACES FROM THE NEW FARM: Liz Tylander, Kat Shiffler & Lara Sheets
[AS YET UNTITLED FILM ON CLIMATE CHANGE & FOOD SYSTEM]: Sara Grady
Author Anna Lappé will moderate a panel discussion with the film makers following the screening. At 9pm the party migrates to Jimmy’s No. 43 on E. 7th St. for post-movie snacks sourced from local purveyors Flying Pigs Farm, Schoolhouse Kitchen, Blue Isle Oyster Company, Hot Bread Kitchen, Violet Hill Farm, 3-Corner Field Farm, Rick’s Picks, Mama O’s Kimchee, and Dancing Ewe Farm. Tip at the tap for pints of Ommegang Beer from Cooperstown, NY.

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