Friday, December 28, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Cocktail List

From a creamy Crème Brulee Martini to thirst-quenching Champagne Punch, the good people over at Fine Living Food & Drink show you how to serve up these palette-pleasing cocktail recipes that will satisfy everyone on your New Year's Eve 2008 guest list.

Make classic non-alcoholic egg nog for larger parties, or Cranberry Martinis for a sophisticated get-together during the countdown to 2008. Any way you serve them, these "kicked up" festive drink recipes will ring in the New Year -- in total style.

And for the New Year's Eve "champagne" purists among us, a question: Are you a buff on bubbly or completely clueless about champagne?

Find the answer here at Fine Living's Champagne I.Q Challenge

Peace, health, prosperity, and GOOD EATS in 2008!

Happy New Year

Friday, December 21, 2007

Come on…You Know You Love Her


Just in time for yet another great "Yum-O" stocking stuffer, the Food Network is putting the much maligned and ridiculed "Queen Of Quick" Rachael Ray in your Christmas stocking for the next two years. Now it's up to you to decide whether it's something nice, or perhaps just a nice wee lump of proverbial, um...coal

Ray has signed a two-year deal for a new prime-time series called Rachael's Vacation, launching in January 2008, as well as 60 new episodes a year of her successful 30 Minute Meals on daytime (which is actually down from 80 a year).

Seen everywhere these days, from Dunkin Donuts and Triscuit ads, to a daytime TV show on the ABC network morning line-up, my only question is this: Rach, where do you find the time? That is, of course, when you’re not laughing (or, should that be “giggling”?) perkily all the way to the bank.

Whatever it is, it's magic, Rach. Pure magic.

By the way, even though she's a multi-published cookbook author, my favorite will always be one of her first, simply titled, Rachael Ray: 30 Minute Meals

These meals are tasty, clever, and totally work, folks. Trust me on this.

Friday, December 14, 2007

If It Quacks Like A Duck, Walks Like A Turkey....

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No doubt, it's probably that time again, and author and journalist, Bonnie Bucqueroux, gives up a humorous step-by-step tutorial (from poultry counter to plate) for how to stuff a chicken into a duck into a turkey, more commonly known as that versatile holiday favorite (okay... for some people it is) called "Turducken."

Remember, it's basically all about the stuffing of the birds, and the actual stuffing that's layered between the birds, the suchering, sewing, and stitching of the entire excuse me, mass, and putting it all into the oven, and....

Oh, well, you'll see. I'm personally fascinating by the fact that stuffings for this inventive Southeastern U.S. creation can generally vary as widely as a Cajun Seafood Stuffing to an ordinary Apple and Cornbread concoction. In any event, check out Bucqueroux's Christmas Turducken preparation here:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Say It In Chocolate

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Clearly, for dyed-in-the-wool M&M lovers like me, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Just in time for the holidays, and those last minute stocking-stuffer ideas, comes these specialized little chocolate babies, upon which, you can actually display your own personal messages. Sort of like the standard "Will You Be Mine" messages you’d find on those chalky tasting little Valentine’s Day hearts (don’t you just love those...not), difference being, hey, these are M & Ms, guys. America’s favorite little microbe sized treat.

So as corny as some of you might think this is -- I’m stocking up on these. Case closed. (And by the way, personalized Dove chocolates are also available.)

Check out all these holiday sweet treats and more at the My M&Ms website.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

BAM! He’s Gone

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Food Network host and icon, Emeril Lagasse

Seasons change, and so did the minds of the powers that be at The Food Network Channel, who have decided to give longtime host Emeril Lagasse the axe.

The decision to cancel production on the long-running Food Network favorite, Emeril Live, was made despite the fact that Lagasse originally inked a five-year contract which is due to run through 2008.

The final taping will take place on Dec. 11, and the Food Network will continue to air daytime's Essence of Emeril as usual. Still, one can’t possibly forget how the larger-than-life Lagasse once stood among his celebrity chef peers at Food Network with his cornerstone daily showcase, and just on the heels of his short-lived primetime NBC network sitcom, once again, simply titled Emeril .

But no doubt, a lot can happen in four years. Including the onslaught of celebrity chefs, who are more down-home, perkier, bustier, edgier, street-savvy–er, you name it. Yet, I think many of us will miss Lagasse, if for nothing else, the way he could whip himself around from a hot stove at a moment's notice and bang on Doc Gibbs’ conga drum, before promising to “kick things up another notch” and going to a commercial break.

Emeril, you dazzled us, you really did. I guess it’s just that everything must change -- including Emeril Live.

Miss you already.

By the way, Emeril is also a prolific cookbook author, and my personal favorite and just in time for the perfect Christmas gift, is: Emeril's There's A Chef In My Soup! Recipes For The Kid In Everyone. This one's an excellent choice for the youngsters on your gift list, ages 9 through 12.
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Friday, November 23, 2007

And Then For The Day After

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Just in time for "what to do, what to do" with that standard leftover turkey carcass, here's an ideal step-by-step recipe from the good people at Holiday Kitchen.TV for one of my day-after-the-holiday favorites, Turkey Tetrazzini.

So break out a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for this one, watch, learn, and enjoy:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Matching The Holiday Wine

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Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday "stuff fest," the perfect opportunity to learn how to pair your holiday bird with wine comes with Natalie MacLean’s easy-to-use tool for pairing the right wine with the right meal.

With her Wine And Food Matcher, you can search by wine if you're looking for meal inspirations (including recipes) or search by food to find great wine suggestions.

In MacLean’s new book,
Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey From Grape To Glass
, she explores food and wine matching further, with each glass representing a personal history. Filled with entertaining wine facts and quick-witted anecdotes, with a section of the book devoted to different shapes of wine drinking glassware she reminds us all that "life is too short to drink good wine out of bad glasses."

Words to live by, no doubt.
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Oh, and by the way, two of my own personal picks for the best Thanksgiving wine:

Pinot Noir: An aromatic red wine that adds its own unique appeal. Generally light in body, with soft texture as a counterpoint to its lovely aroma, Pinot Noir is easy to love, especially among the many flavors of Thanksgiving.

Beaujolais Nouveau: Every year in November, the first wine of the harvest in the Beaujolais region in France makes its way to market. This wine is as fresh and appealing as its name, made from the Gamay grape, fresh, purple -- and no pretension. It totally complements Thanksgiving and can be enjoyed slightly chilled. It’s also likely to please those who favor white wines as well.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It Lifts, It Separates, It's Eco-Friendly

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And really, who says being eco-friendly can't be a little Victoria's Secret sexy at the same time? (Well... in a Japanese rice bowl and miso soup kind of way, anyway.)

In any case, those great innovators who gave us the Shopping Bag Bra and the ever-toasty, microwaveable Warm Biz Bra, have now come up with a new way to save the planet and enhance your "boobage" -- the "Chopstick" bra.

Lingerie maker Triumph International Japan unveiled the My Chopsticks Bra on Wednesday in Tokyo in a bid to promote the use of reusable chopsticks instead of disposable ones.

This eco-friendly concept bra, which comes with a pair of collapsible chopsticks, is equipped with a Japanese dining table theme. The right cup consists of a rice bowl, and the left cup a miso soup bowl. A removable chopstick-rest lies between the cups.

Oh, and get this: Holsters made of cloth and placed on the sides of the cups actually hold the chopsticks -- while pushing the breasts to create cleavage.

What else can one say, but thanks for the er...mammaries.

Which also begs the question: What's next? A "Salad Spinner" in my bikini briefs??

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wilo Benet's True Flavors

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Executive Chef Wilo Benet, owner of Pikayo and Paya

On the heels of his success with his two flagship Museum restaurants in Puerto Rico, his first cookbook offering is titled Puerto Rico True Flavors, and it's the culmination of Wilo Benet and his mastery of Puerto Rican cooking, his expertise in preparation, creativity, and finely-honed skills.
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Merging the tastes he grew up with, from his mother's "from-scratch" cooking, his grandmother's well-loved recipes, lunchtimes at public school, street vendors' fritters and roasted chickens, and all the other everyday-food influences of Puerto Rico, together with his exceptional culinary talents, he brings those historic true flavors of the Island into the 21st century.

Learn how to make authentic Basics (adobo, escabache, mojito); Fritters (alcapurrias/stuffed yautía, bacalaítos/salt cod fritters); Soups such as sancocho/root vegetable & beef; Meats like carne mechada/stuffed pot roast; Fish (camarones al ajillo/shrimp in garlic sauce); Plantains (amarillos/sweet plantains, arañitas /plantain spiders); and Desserts (flan/custard pudding, dulce de lechosa/candied papaya), to name just a few of each.

From the Adobo based rubs and achiote seed oils, to the artfully completed recipes and methods, this book is another one of my picks for a must-have for any cookbook shelf.

Here's a video clip of Benet's surefire recipe for one of my favorite Puerto Rican taste treats, Pastellitos.:

Friday, October 26, 2007

World Class Eating

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Noodle-eating competitors get stuffed

Whatever the subject matter to be eaten, you can be sure that Major League Eating covers all the major "wolf downs" from the Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, to Crazy Legs Conti of NYC, who supposedly once ate his way out of a 96-lb. box of popcorn, earning the name the "Evel Knievel of the Alimentary Canal." (Just for the record, Crazy Legs also allegedly polished off 20 lbs. of hominy grits in 10 minutes for another major world title competition.)

And on October 27, 2007, here in NYC (again) they’ll be covering the noodle-eating contest to end all extreme carbohydrate-stuffing contests, as nine competitive eaters battle it out to be named the MLE "Ramen-Eating Champion."

In preparation for this event, New York restaurant, Tokyo Lamen, is cooking up 110 1-lb. bowls of fresh noodles and broth. The contestants will be required to use chopsticks, in keeping with the traditions of Japanese eating contests. And speaking of Japanese traditions, it's all part of a promotion for a new Nintendo Wii game called Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution . Hence, the official title of the contest: 2007 Naruto Wii World Ramen Eating Championship.

If you want to catch this particular gorgefest, it's at 11:30 A.M at the Nintendo Store at 10 Rockefeller Center.

Chopsticks, Noodles, and digestive tracts...oh, my!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Your Final Meal

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What would it be? And, what would it be like?

Vanity Fair photographer, Melanie Dunea, has come up with a "picture perfect" way to ask these questions of fifty of the world’s most famous chefs.

Dubbed as "Annie Leibovitz meets Heat," in her new book, My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals/ Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes , Dunea showcases their fascinating answers alongside stunning Vanity Fair—style portraits. Their responses are clever, refreshing, and as distinctive in their individuality as each of these chefs in their own right.

The intimate portraits are strongly supported by their answers and reveal the passions and personalities of the most respected names in the business. As an added bonus, one recipe from each landmark meal is also included in the back of the book.

With My Last Supper, Dunea found a way into the typically harried, hidden minds of the people who have turned preparing food into an art. Who wouldn’t want to know where Alain Ducasse would like his last supper to be? And who would prepare the final meal for Daniel Boulud ? What would the guest list of "extreme-eating" chef and world traveler, Anthony Bourdain look like? As the clock ticked, what album would Gordon Ramsay be listening to? And just what would Mario Batali eat for the last time? Inquiring minds, will find out.

The book features:
Ferran Adrià, José Andrés, Dan Barber, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, Rick Bayless,
Michelle Bernstein, Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain, Scott Conant, Gary Danko,
Hélène Darroze, Alain Ducasse, Wylie Dufresne, Suzanne Goin, Gabrielle Hamilton,
Fergus Henderson, Thomas Keller, Giorgio Locatelli, Masa Kobayashi, Nobu,
Jamie Oliver, Jacques Pépin, Gordon Ramsay, Michel Richard, Eric Ripert,
Marcus Samuelsson, Charlie Trotter, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and more.

Click here for the stellar My Last Supper Book Launch Party held at Le Bernardin.
*Note* The Lenny Karvitz look-alikes are killer.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bonsai: Wine By The Vine

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Buying the bottle is fine, but how about buying…the vine?

Well, now you can actually own your own Bonsai Cabernet Sauvignon Winegrape. This beautiful vine also comes in an attractive ceramic container.

All vines are 10-12 years old and come from Sonoma County. So own a little piece of the beautiful Sonoma Wine Country, watch it grow, then harvest your own wine grapes.

Sweet deal, no doubt. And, directions for taking care of your vine come with the shipment.

Read more here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

More Classic Julia

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Take a short trip with American icon and mistress of French cuisine, Julia Child, as she visits the Library Of Congress to explore the origins of early cookbooks such as the compilation of Thomas Jefferson's recipes while living in France, and the first French "Singing" Cookbook.

And only she could make a trip like this -- sound totally interesting.

Miss you, Julia.

Watch and enjoy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sweet Constructions

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Pastry chef, Elizabeth Falkner

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that San Francisco’s Mission district pastry maker extraordinaire, Elizabeth Falkner, has transformed her Citizen Cake Patisserie and Restaurant Bar over the past 10 years into the country's ultimate dessert destination.

And in DEMOLITION DESSERTS, her new cookbook in book stores next week, the James Beard Award nominee uses this otherwise “destructive” title to present her favorite creations, from the cookies, brownies, and cupcakes beloved by Citizen Cake regulars to the plated dessert specials that have made her one of the most talked about dessert makers of this generation.

In this book, Falkner breaks down classic desserts and reconstructs them flavor by flavor, with astounding results. Her most elaborate desserts have been adapted for the average home kitchen, and each recipe outlines a detailed make-ahead timeframe and of course, a shorter version for those pressed for time.

And all that’s mentioned above, clearly makes this another one of my must-have picks for any cookbook shelf. An advance copy of it, now prominently sits on mine as well.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Rachael Ray's Challenge

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Well then, here's the chance to prove it, courtesy of WalMart and the Rachael Ray Show.

How, you ask? Simple. Just tape yourself in the kitchen (in typical Top-Chef-reality-TV-show-style...of course), and tell them why you think you're the best of the best.

The show producers will review and judge all properly submitted videotapes based on your skills, creativity and personality and will choose the top 5 entries. The 5 finalists will be notified by the Show and flown to Ray's NYC studio to participate in our “So You Think You Can Cook” Show-Down. The finalists will also participate in the Show-Down from October 5 through October 19, 2007, competing in a series of surprise kitchen-related challenges. Each challenge will be judged by one or more culinary professionals. After each challenge, the finalist judged to be the weakest will be eliminated and sent home. And of course, the last cook left standing, wins.

I'd also feel a little strangely "remiss" here when referring in any way, shape, or form to Ray -- without uttering her pet words: Sammy (sandwich), E.V.O.O. (extra virgin olive oil), or Yum-O (that sounds so good, I might even name a cookbook after it one day). Oh, Rach.

In any event, click here for more details on how to enter.
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Great Balls Of Fire

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Gordon Ramsay

1950s rocker, Jerry Lee Lewis, coined the phrase (and the song) first, probably after having the same encounter while standing just a little too close to his flaming piano.

In any event, Britain's Daily Mirror now reports that UK celebrity chef and Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen star, Gordon Ramsay, has burned his right testicle while cooking "commando" near a hot oven. Ramsay had to be immediately rushed to the hospital following the incident.

"I was wearing cotton trousers and underneath I was going commando," Ramsay told the paper. "Then suddenly I felt this searing heat, and my balls were burning. I burnt my right bollock and I'm in absolute agony. You wouldn't believe how much this hurts."

By the way, just so you know, going Commando-style in the UK generally means: "Yes, I have no panties on."

Coincidentally, fellow celebrity chef Jamie Oliver suffered a similar incident while cooking a Valentine's Day meal for his wife in the nude in 2004.

However, the Scottish celebrity chef’s wife, Tara Ramsay, has revealed that her husband's claim that he burned his testicles while cooking in his kitchen was a lie. Speaking on ITV daytime television program, This Morning she said Ramsay just made up the story when asked about his recent visit to the hospital.

"We were at an awards that night and the moment we stepped out, he was questioned on it. You could see he was just brimming with excitement at the fact, "I know what I'm going to say, I burnt it," Tara said, adding that the TV star had gone to the hospital for a dull ache in one of his testicles. "You know Gordon," she continued, "It's a red rag to a bull, he gets really excited at the story he can make up."


Either way, this news is coming just a tad bit early for: Chestnuts roasting on an open....

Oh, well. I’m just saying.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

Women Chefs For The Cause

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Executive chefs Nicole Kaplan and Ivy Stark

Yes, you’ve heard it here too. That it’s often a man’s world in the restaurant biz, with women having to scrap and claw for every bit of recognition, every step of the way. However, A Second Helping of Life, is holding a big benefit event for breast-and ovarian-cancer survivors, boasting a notable lineup of stars, and all of the female culinary persuasion.

Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton, Del Posto’s Nicole Kaplan, Butter’s Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Amalia’s Ivy Stark, and Rebecca Charles, inventor of the lobster roll, will all be front and center, along with such founding females of the New York food scene as Gourmet Magazine's Ruth Reichl, and the formidable Ariane Daguin of D'Artagnan.

Tickets are $300 for the event, to be held on September 17 on Chelsea Piers. Visit the SHARE website for more information.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Still Grillin’ And Chillin’

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Iron Chef And Author, Bobby Flay

He's the one who coined the phrase well, throughout his Food Network days. And from succulent grilled peaches to a gorgeous cut of brisket (remember…fat side down), Bobby Flay and his Texas-born bride, Stephanie March, do the grilling thing, "New York-style" in this vintage Boy Meets Grill clip.

Just in time for some late-summer grilling tips, from the "grill meister" himself.

Watch and enjoy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Perrier With a “Twist”

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Well, I suppose you could also throw in a lemon wedge or two – that is, if you truly wanted to. But in any case, it seems the good people over at Perrier feel it’s time for the quintessential “Gin and Tonic” to become a thing of the past.

According to this week’s NY Metro , when’s the last time you ordered a Vodka Perrier? A Gin and Perrier? Or, make that a bottle of "Craz-ier" ?

Read more here at NY Metro’s Grub Street about this new-aged take on many of the old standard bar drinks that were recently served at Fontana’s here in New York.

Gotta love those splashy new Perrier drink coasters too. Totally "clever-ier," no doubt.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The New Face Of Epilog

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Along with editor-in-chief, Tanya Wenman Steel, the well-known Epilog blog will soon have a star-studden roster of contributors.

Heading the list, will be one of my favorite Tex-Mex and Southwest fusion chefs, Rick Bayless, writing mainly on "chefly" topics, and Melissa Clark, who will be concentrating more on cookbooks and recipes. This well-rounded roster will also include Red, White, and Drunk All Over author Natalie McClean, who’ll be discussing...well, of course, the joys of alcohol.

With Amy Sherman, and Michael Y. Park on the Food News and Gossip beat, this new formatting should be, at best, as interesting and helpful as it will be entertaining.

And although I did appreciate the musings of Tanya Wenman Steel as the “Overcaffeinated Editor” (what she used to call herself at Epilog), I have to admit this revamping sounds totally fresh -- and inviting.

It all starts Monday.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Enjoyment Of Wine


Quickly becoming a favorite among wine lovers on both sides of the pond, the Virtual Wine website contains a growing library of Virtual Wine Tasting Clips, wine tips and advice, and is a place where wine enthusiasts can share ideas and debate hot topics. In short, it’s a totally innovative UK media company that produces and broadcasts live Virtual Wine Tasting events over the internet. The events can be joined by any registered user and the site's Virtual Tasting Room also allows participants to chat with an expert panel and other participants during these events.

Interesting stuff no doubt for the wine lover in all of us, and for me, this site was quite a find. So check out more about it in this video clip:

Friday, July 27, 2007

It Slices, It Dices...

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Giving a special "thank you" nod to the good people over at Epicurious for calling my attention to this nifty item, I ran over to my nearest Williams-Sonoma and bought this sweet little Tomato Knife. And after using it, I’d also say that it's probably the neatest kitchen utensil purchase I’ve made in a while.

Although there are scores tomato slicers and knives on the market, this one does exactly what it advertises it will do, and slices the skin of the tomato "cleanly" without "shredding" it and creating the usual seedy, pulpy mess that follows. (Don’t even think about achieving the same result with a regular, serrated-edge tomato knife, folks...or then again, maybe you already have.) And, as an extra-added bonus, the broad, rounded tip of this little gem very easily lifts your delicately cut tomato slices onto a plate, no muss, no fuss.

So if I’m beginning to sound like an infomercial right about now, that’s okay. No doubt, if you do just happen to see this handy utensil at 3 AM on one of your local TV channels -- buy it. Otherwise, hop on over to your local Williams-Sonoma and pick one up.
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Friday, July 20, 2007

Food Shopping 101

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Chefs David Myers and Jill Davie

Okay, just in time for your “indoor” summer entertainment, is yet another food-related TV show. This one, very aptly titled, Shopping With Chefs, debuts this Sunday on the Fine Living Network . Check local listings for the exact time in your area.

It’s basically a showcase that's primarily set up to help beginners "cook better by shopping smarter." And that certainly seems to make sense, so far.

L.A.-based chefs -- David Myers, chef/owner of Sona, and Jill Davie, chef de cuisine at Josie -- introduce viewers to a variety of ingredients and kitchen equipment. And with episodes covering everything from salad greens to knives -- I'd say give this one a definite look-see, especially if you decide to take a short break from backyard grilling and other "outdoor" summer actvities this weekend.

So do check it out, if you can.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Let 'Em Eat Cake

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Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale is a national campaign where participants host their own bake sale anywhere in the U.S. from May 19 - August 31 and send their proceeds to Share Our Strength to help organizations in their community end childhood hunger.

Find out more about this campaign and how you can participate in this worthy cause to help feed our nation's children at the SOS website.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Just Grill...And Then Chill (Seriously)

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No special rubs, glazes, Dijon-balsamic-chutney-honey mustards, or wasabi marinades this time around. (Trust me...none) All you'll basically need here, is kosher salt, a good cracked pepper, olive oil, a bag of soft buns, a good American Cheddar cheese, and the right meat, veggies, and charcoal -- in order to cook right along with this video over at New York Metro.

Just in time for some great backyard (or "tar beach" rooftop) grilling. Ice-cold beer, unfortunately, not included, but left to your own best judgment -- and choice.

See it over at New York Metro's Grub Street, and Happy 4th!

Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone Recipes

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Didn't have the time to camp out overnight to be the first to own one of those dishy new Apple phones, and still looking for another excuse to buy one? (Jeez, camping out overnight for a phone. What could possibly be next? People camping out overnight to be the first one, vote for our country's leaders? Hmmm... Just imagine that.)

In any case, Heidi Swanson, whose 101 Cookbooks is one of my favorite sites on the Web, has launched an iPhone-friendly version of her site for viewing recipes on-the-go.

Check out what she's done here

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bill & Hill At The Soprano's Diner

With raspberries still being blown at producer David Chase for allegedly "outsmarting" viewers in the now infamous Sopranos ending, this week's spoof of that alleged "Gotcha" moment has got to be the best one yet --along with a hilarious sixty-second fantasy segment. Again, it stars presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton and her former presidential hubby, Bill. ( for a few minutes more, let's just "imagine" those two really sitting in a local diner and munching on carrot stick appetizers -- instead of a basket of onion rings.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Different Take On Reality

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Chef Jacques Pépin and Sunburst Trout in Smoky Mountain, NC

Just as the third seasons of the Bravo network's Top Chef and Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen burst back on the scene for more backstabbing, tantrum-throwing Reality TV kitchen drama, the highly anticipated third season of the award-winning PBS series, Chefs A' Field offers a new batch of culinary adventures for all ages.

America's best chefs - and their kids - venture out to farms, fishing boats and ranches for a look at where great food comes from. Together, the chefs and their children go in search of fresh ingredients for unique local specialties, interacting with farmers, fishermen, foragers and ranchers in Chefs A' Field: Kids on the Farm.

From shrimping in a Louisiana bayou to sampling tomatoes in Taos to cheese-making in Wisconsin, the chefs and their children explore the many faces and places of America's diverse food landscape.

Read more here

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hey, Bartender...

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The Pomegranate Smack, created by Matt Skeel at Serafina Restaurant, Seattle, Washington

This week NPR asks: What is it about new summer cookbooks?

Well, according to this week's article on the subject, maybe it's the way they come out in such feverish, lush abundance -- like mushrooms after a rain -- at a time when the world and all its folly are slowly grinding to a halt.

"Summer cookbooks tend to fall into four categories: outside dining, fresh seafood, exotic dishes from warm-weather climates such as Mexico or South Asia, and icy treats. Taken together, they paint a picture of the good life, snatched from between the jaws of the workweek and the winter."

And for me, leading the pack over at NPR is The Backyard Bartender: 55 Cool Summer Cocktails by Nicloe Aloni

When the mercury climbs, there’s no better way to unwind than with an ice-cold cocktail. And with more than fifty recipes for stylish martinis and fizzy libations that celebrate summer’s laid-back attitude, The Backyard Bartender brings out your inner mixologist and turns your yard into summer’s coolest hangout. Enough said.

And shaken or stirred, my personal favorite has got to be the recipe for the Lawn Mower, a minty, melony summer drink that sure to quench the throats of all your backyard barbeque guests on one of those three-H (hazy, hot, and humid) summer afternoons.
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Friday, June 01, 2007

Classic Julia

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Who could whip up a sumptuous Steak Diane dinner from scratch with chocolate mousse cake for dessert -- better than Julia Child? Here she is doing it all (with just a few extra dashes of Red Bourdeaux wine thrown in for good measure) in a vintage 1978 Julia Child & Company episode.

Fresh mashed potatoes and freshly-shelled peas... God, how I miss her!

Watch and ENJOY.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Date A Cook

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Here’s a chance to kiss a cook – but it’ll cost you. And of course, the proceeds will go to a worthy cause.

The Friends of The FCI, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships for students of the French Culinary Institute, will host a "Live Chef Auction" for "dates" with star chefs such as David Chang, Melissa Murphy, Jacques Torres, Jean Georges Vongerichten, and Dan Barber. Winning bidders might land a meal with Jean Georges or a trip to the market with Dan Barber, among other prizes. The auction takes place on Monday, June 11, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., at Cipriani, 200 Fifth Avenue. $250/person (646.254.7521).

Read more here

Friday, May 18, 2007

Puttin' On The Spritz

In this case, it would be any one of the Wishbone variety, and before you can even ask how someone managed to "fuse fashion with food" and come up with a "Salad Fashion Show," don't bother -- because someone did. Not to mention, that this is actually the second season for it.

So simply go behind the scenes and check it all out at the Wish-Bone Summer Salad Fashion Show this past week, with Project Runway's Tim Gunn, Heatherette, and more.

Baguette headwear, and string bean and carrot bodice trims...galore.

See it here:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hog Heaven

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Radical (and pork-loving) chef, David Chang

Best noted for making strange, cheap, but mesmerizing food at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssäm Bar here in NYC, rising star David Chang was crowned as the James Beard Foundation's Rising Chef for 2007 this past week at their annual gala event at Lincoln Center.

Momofuku, is known best for its Japanese ramen (noodles)-- by way of a Carolina whole-hog barbecue, with a hint of French technique (thrown in for good measure, of course). Talk about that "smoky hog" pork flavor along with the succulent essence of Berkshire pork bellies. Yowsa. The pork-prone chef artisan's typical "Meathead" cuisine -- at its finest.

In any event, in view of Chang’s latest coronation, the good folks over at
Grub Street
have found the location of the long-rumored third Momofuku here in New York. With no definite time frame, a source close to Chang said that in the near future, a Momofuku Noodle Bar very similar to the current one will open up in a nearby location on Second Avenue, and that the overcrowded original (based on the well-known truism that "mesmerizing foods" keep patrons rolling in for more) will be remade into a fine-dining restaurant.

Mega congrats to Chef Chang... and stay tuned.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Go, Govind

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Executive Chef and cookbook author, Govind Armstrong

What a success story this chef and consummate culinary master is. And despite his relative youth, he's clearly been in the first-hand trenches of L.A.'s culinary history and cuisine for nearly two decades. Beginning at the age 13, he spent three summer vacations working under the watchful eye of none other than Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen of the original Spago, in its inaugural year.

Now, heating up his own kitchen and tantalizing the palates of his dedicated Table 8 restaurant patrons in Los Angeles, Armstrong also showcases his hard-earned pedigree in this new must-have for the cookbook shelves titled Small Bites, Big Nights .

Celebrity Chef and AOL Online cooking host, Tyler Florence writes a befitting foreword outlining Armstrong's talents as the king of California-style cuisine, and from hors d’oeuvres to barbeque Serrano Ham and Grilled Endive, to a host of mouth-watering drinks (yes, that Table 8 Creamsicle *is* to die for!), this one's a true winner.

Don't miss out.
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Monday, April 30, 2007

Hugh's Hill Of Beans

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Actor Hugh Grant and last week's infamous beans toss

Having been there on many occasions, I can attest to the fact that the British do enjoy a healthy portion of baked beans on just about anything, and now, it even includes the paparazzi as well. This also came last Friday, when actor Hugh Grant was arrested for hurtling a plastic container of beans at a photographer, who was lurking around just outside his Notting Hill home in London.

The actor, according to British press reports, allegedly kicked a photographer three times as the pesky lensman attempted to photograph him. The photographer alleges Grant then picked up a large container of baked beans and threw them at the photographer, leaving him "bruised" and "battered" and slathered in the sticky mess.

He also claims that Grant asked him whether he had kids, and when he answered yes, Grant said, "I hope they die..." (I've obviously left out a disturbing portion of that statement, even though Grant strongly denies he ever said it.)

Police never confirmed that it was Grant who had been arrested, but did say that a 46-year-old man had been arrested and made bail, and that he would be returning to a police station next month. Charges against Grant are pending.

Beans. They're not just for the toast on an English Breakfast plate anymore, apparently.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bill And Rachael For The Cause

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Rachael Ray and former President Bill Clinton

Think you’ve heard the last of Rachael Ray and her favorite catch-phrase, Yum-O? Well, sorry... but think again.

The reigning queen of the 30-Minute Meal and how to eat while traveling on only $40 A Day, has formed an alliance with former President Clinton to fight childhood obesity.

She appeared this week on the set of her daily TV show (produced by Oprah, and much loved by Oprah devotees far and wide) with Clinton who revealed his love of cooking, along with his lifelong battle of the bulge. He then mixed tales of his weight struggles with a tutorial on the challenges of childhood obesity. Even though Clinton eventually began running 20 miles a week to try to stay slim, he always thought eating fast food was fun. About 13 million children are overweight, Clinton said, and starting with this generation, 1 in 3 are expected to develop Type 2 diabetes. For the first time, there’s a possibility that American children might not outlive their parents. "It will be immoral if we let it happen," he said.

Through Ray’s daily show and her new web site, Yum-O, she’s hoping to help a family figure out how to hit the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon and come home with the right ingredients to make three simple meals for the week.

Ray will work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the organization that Clinton’s foundation and the American Heart Association created to combat diabetes and childhood obesity.

The alliance last year elicited promises from soft-drink and food manufacturers to sell healthier products in school vending machines. It also works with schools that are reforming their lunchrooms and physical education programs. Yum-o will reward schools doing innovative work with Ray’s line of cookware or even an appearance by Ray herself. Ray and the Alliance are also promoting the Go Healthy Challenge, part of the Nickelodeon series Let’s Just Play , which will soon begin its second season.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Suddenly Summer

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Nigella Lawson

As summer approaches it immediately makes me think of one of my favorite culinary divas from across the pond, TV host and author, Nigella Lawson, and Forever Summer , her fresh and innovative cookbook that leaves you with the feeling of summer all year round, from around the world.

In the classic style of her earlier books, here Lawson offers a wide range of summer recipes from Italian, Greek, and Spanish cuisines that can actually be eaten at any time. With an emphasis on easy cooking and easy eating, these recipes include a Moroccan roast lamb and North African prawn curry, the traditional strawberries-and-cream of an English afternoon picnic, the traditional Spanish barbeque, a selection of unusual ice creams and other desserts including a luscious Margarita Cheesecake ice cream, and so much more.

This book ties in with Lawson’s Channel 4 TV series by the same name in the UK, and is a sure must-have for all cookbook shelves. Clearly, Nigella Lawson makes both the living and eating easy for summer.
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Monday, April 16, 2007

Au Revoir To Foie Gras

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Wolfgang Puck

As part of a new initiative to fight animal cruelty, celebrity chef, cookbook author and Home Shopping Network entrepreneur, Wolfgang Puck, says he will no longer serve foie gras, the fatty liver produced by overfeeding ducks and geese.

In a recent announcement Puck said guests at his restaurants want to know (before devouring it, of course)that their food: "Is made with fresh, organic ingredients and that the animals were treated well." Okay.

And ironically, this comes around the same time as Burger King's recent promise (read it here ) that it will begin purchasing more eggs and pork from suppliers who refuse to inhumanely pen their livestock up in cages and crates. (Um, yes, right. And especially after their millions of customers finish wolfing down this "humanely acquired" animal flesh and its byproducts, laced with pickles, relish, preservatives, and ketchup, instead of making the "choice" they so freely have if they so choose to have a meatless salad -- and be done with it. Erm...okay.)

In any event, after it’s all been said and done, quite frankly, I don’t mind telling you that I got an even bigger chuckle out of The Onion and their recent 3-person poll on the issue of the "kinder, gentler" indulgence of animal products. And no doubt, Pete DuMont, Systems Analyst says it best:

"Now all that's left for them to do is to stop buying from farms that feed their livestock Burger King."

Enough said.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The World Beyond The Foot In Imus' Mouth

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Former CBS Radio and MSNBC TV host, Don Imus

Okay, in the wake of the recent shock-jock Don Imus saga of: "I said a bad thing and I’m really sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry..."(which I truly believe at this point -- he is), contrary to the opinions of some, I think his good deeds toward people in need and especially his Imus Ranch For Kids with Cancer should also be remembered. As far as the mega "tax write-off" comments that keep circulating regarding Imus, his wife, Deirdre, and their commendable works on behalf of several worthy causes -- one would argue that they could very simply write a check and still be eligible for such a write-off. Instead, they donate countless hours of their time as well as money to these worthwhile efforts.

Read more here about Big Y Foods' decision to pull Imus Ranch Foods from its supermarket shelves in connection with the firestorm surrounding Don Imus' recent remarks.

This, of course, in NO way excuses Imus’ thoughtless words describing the beautiful women of the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team, whose academic excellence, by the way, is unparalleled. Nevertheless, after the meeting that has now taken place between Imus and these admirable young women, hopefully, Don Imus can move on to Satellite Radio (come on now... was there ever any doubt he just might wind up there after the termination of his 30 plus years for CBS Radio, crass remarks and raunchy satire in tow??) and we can focus on other important issues of the day.

One such issue, is the ongoing situation in Darfur, and how we can help.

On Sunday, April 29th, Dining for Darfur 2007 will be held to coincide with the release of Don Cheadle and John Prendergast's new book, Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond .

This year, the charity dine out event will take place in restaurants in New York City and across the country. All DFD restaurants have pledged to donate 5% of sales for one night to the lifesaving humanitarian work in Darfur and Chad. So remember, mark your calendars to eat out -- and make a difference to thousands of survivor's lives.

Read more about this event here.
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Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter... And Okra

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Writer Darcey Steinke and daughter Abby

In her new memoir, Easter Everywhere , novelist Darcey Steinke, author of several novels including Jesus Saves , recounts her life as a minister’s daughter, traveling the country and acquiring tastes for regional dishes like fried okra. "When you get it right," says Steinke, "It’s like crack."

Interesting analogy, no doubt.

Now a resident of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, this former Spin Magazine rock-writer correspondent shares in vivid detail her derailed life as a minister’s kid, and her father's professional life in a poverty-ridden carnival town where he builds a modest A-frame church from a mail-order kit. And then, of course, there's her voluptuous mother, a former beauty pageant queen systematically worn down and oppressed by the degradation of being a poor Lutheran clergyman's wife.

But these days, however, although her new "inner city" lifestyle has yet to avail the perfect eats of her days gone by, Steinke is said to be very fond of the local Caribbean jerk chicken offerings, and as a survey here of her most recent meals reveals, she also knows where to find exceptional sauerbraten, sticky-toffee pudding, and the classic Waldorf salad (with marshmallows) -- which she usually enjoys amidst the company of a local order of nuns.

Easter Everywhere
is a satisfying journey into the complex yet totally engaging story of Steinke’s life, as well as a remarkably good read that should not be missed. Be sure to check this one out soon.