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post47 // paris market tour

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hiya friends!! bienvenue à mon tour aux marché parisien. (welcome to my paris market tour). last week our chefs at le cordon bleu took us on a three-hour walk through the saint-charles market, which happens to be right around the corner from school! this market is open on tuesdays and fridays from 7am to 2:30pm. if you come to paris you’ll find that many of the markets are open on specific days of the week, so you have to plan your market tours accordingly! thankfully chef was watching out for us and already had some cheesemongers and farmers awaiting our arrival.

*i’ll be referring to chef throughout the post! if you want a visual, here’s chef kerdranvat! he’s one of my cuisine chefs and we get along great due to our shared irish heritage. he comes from brittany in the north of france and was thrilled with all the produce from brittany on our tour!

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we began the market tour with fruits and vegetables! don’t they look so tasty? all the produce here that i’ve eaten has been exceptionally fresh and i think (along with other reasons) it’s because markets like these are so popular! at school, our ingredients come fresh from farms and at home, my host mom shops reguarly at this very market. a local food movement in the flesh! but that truly is paris. just 20 miles outside the city you’ll find real farms that make me feel like i’m in the middle of america.

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chef k was very excited to show off the mushrooms as they are in peak season this very second! you can see the regular white buttons in the photo above, along with the chanterelle mushrooms. should i go mushroom foraging this weekend??

next stop: cheese!! ohhhh the cheese. a tent we came across offered such cool variations on their cheeses like nut fillings and herb coloring. i learned that now is the best time to eat fromage de chevre (goat cheese) and this has helped me finish two packs of goat cheese this week! all for seasonality purposes, of course.

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our group befriended a cheesemonger and she had some fun showing off her crème fraîche. her cheese comes from normandy which is famous for this cream so chef k was very, very excited. when in normandy, make sure you eat crème fraîche.

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next came the butcher. these days i’ve been feeling like a butcher myself as i’ve been chopping off chicken heads, trimming veal fat, and taking out pork bones all day long! i have a very long way to go in this department so it was awesome to see a true butcher at work. what was interesting about this stand at the market was that there wasn’t a speck of food waste. every part of the meat was on display. gizzards? yes. heads? yup. tongues? oh yeah! blood? wrapped in a sausage casing — that’s what blood sausage is!

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after a nice tasting of brain cheese and blood sausage (i’m not kidding!! it was good), we moved onto oysters and fish! this tent at the market was extremely busy so we had a feeling the seafood was fresh. chef k tested the waters and cracked open an oyster. very fresh indeed!

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just before the market, our class made two recipes with fish, one being a sole fillet braised in fish stock and white wine and the other a breaded whiting fish with tartar sauce. if you’re on the lookout for some fish recipes, remind me to share these with you!

after a great walking tour, chef k treated us to an 11am cheese and meat plate, wine, and a dessert plate with espresso. i felt like a queen! c’est la vie français.

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i hope you enjoyed my virtual paris market tour! i’ve had some recipes bubbling that i’ll be cooking up for next week’s post. stay tuned!


this week’s other stuff!


all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post46 // london town

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hello friends!! i hope your day is going well. i am back in paris and culinary school after a long weekend spent in london. it was my first time there! and i just loved it. not to mention, i had the best tour guide around: my good friend from college, greta! before i get into the dirty details of our weekend, let’s just take a moment to look at how cool the taxis are there!!! this blue one was my fave.

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pastries at aubaine deli in covent garden

after two weeks in immersion boot camp (a.k.a. french host family and culinary school where chefs only speak french), english-speaking london was a nice brain break for 48 hours. visiting a friendly face, particularly greta’s, was also a true treat. my weekend there started with a terrific walking tour after a late brunch at dishoom. greta might as well be a professional tour guide so i’d advise you all to book her for your next visit to london.

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big ben in the flesh

from covent garden to trafalgar square to buckingham palace to westminister abbey to the palace of westminister to big ben to the river thames to the london eye, we saw. it. all. and the rain held off!

while we were at buckingham palace, greta pointed out that the queen was in because the royal standard flag was raised. i waved but i don’t think she saw me through her windows!

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buckingham palace

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queen victoria statue outside of buckingham palace

while we didn’t physically go on the london eye that afternoon, we did sit across the river from it at a bar on a boat called tattershall castle. if you can’t get on the (might i say very slow-moving) london eye, this spot is definitely your next best view. after all that walking, we went back to greta’s place to relax before a big indian dinner at tayyabs. can you tell we like indian food?!

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london eye 👀

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tayyabs spread

day two in london began with a place that i will undoubtedly be returning to for the rest of my life. before leaving her apartment, greta described this place as my “heaven on earth.”

she was right.

enter borough market, london’s famed food market situated just beside the london bridge. this place was incredible! the only thing i could relate it to was smorgasburg but it was x100000 better (sorry new york!).

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berliner pastries at a german bakery stand, borough market

greta’s german heritage led us to a small german bakery stand, filled with berliners, apple cakes, cheese cakes, and more. we actually went back to this stand twice throughout our ~6 hours spent on and off at borough market. the owner was lovely and gave me some tips on how to make her creamy and crumbly apple cake! blog post coming on a recipe there soon!

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that’s pure joy folks (while eating an apple cake)

i’ve never seen so many different types of food all in one place. the serving platters were ginormous and evidently necessary, given the expansive market space was packed to the brim.

if you do go to borough market, i’d recommend bringing a buddy along as there is just too much food that you want to try that you can’t eat all by yourself. greta and i managed to split most of our portions and therefore eat more different types of food than we could’ve if we were just alone. tag teaming borough market for the win!

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paella tastings fo free!

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greta modeling w our cheese stick

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market views

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scotch eggs! because of course

the photos catalog pretty much everything i ate at borough market. it was definitely one of those days where you loosen up the first button of your jeans.

to round out our afternoon at borough market, greta and i headed to the pubs where i reunited with some of my brother jake’s friends from college. it’s a funny thing living abroad — you end up seeing and connecting with people you haven’t seen in ages, and it’s wonderful!

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goodbye for now london! it was great getting to know you. i have a feeling i’ll be back, especially because you’re just two hours away!!

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Dishoom 5 Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AB

Covent Garden Covent Garden, London WC2E 8BE

Tattershall Castle Victoria Embankment, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HR

Tayyabs 83-89 Fieldgate St, London E1 1JU

Borough Market 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL


aaaand in this week’s other stuff:

  • glossier came to paris !!!! (hi melissa!)
  • this is what kitchens can do. (h/t kate)
  • don’t you just sometimes want to dress in hot pink?

again, any paris recos please send my way! i have a big weekend of exploring ahead of me and i’m taking all the advice i can get 🙂

post44 // paris, first look

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bonjour mes amis!!! greetings from paris. i made it! today was my first full day in this city and i am a wonderful combination of jet lagged and excited at the moment. i’m writing to you from my host family’s apartment in the 15th arrondissement, a neighborhood situated in the southern part of paris. i got lost finding the apartment yesterday with all my luggage in hand but one taxi and two mobile stores later, i found them! #immersion #frenchinprogress

for those of you wondering why the heck i am in france — i’ve just moved here! i’ll be in paris for the next year attending le cordon bleu, a culinary school here. while i get some cooking and baking skills, i’ll be living with a french family, learning the language, figuring out paris, and eventually working at a bakery or restaurant here as an extern. woot woot!!

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upon arriving yesterday, my host family greeted me with a homemade lunch of quiche lorraine, a warm baguette from the neighborhood boulangerie, and a simple green salad. it was so quintessentially french. and the good food didn’t stop there — from the milk that i poured on my cereal to the croissant that i ate at orientation this morning, everything has tasted both delicious and wholesome.

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my orientation was just a half day so that left me with the entire afternoon to do whatever i wanted. so i walked! i explored my neighborhood, the neighborhood around le cordon bleu, and beyond. the eiffel tower is just down the street from school so i headed that way first. even on a gloomy day, paris looks beautiful!

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during my walk, i found a great bakery called boulangerie le moulin de la vierge (translated: the mill of the virgin lol). i wasn’t familiar with it as i still have yet to sift through my list of bakery recommendations — that will be this weekend!  — but it was a true french boulangerie and a great place to stop if you find yourself in paris. they have locations in both the 7th arrondissement where i was today, as well as across the seine river in the 1st arrondissement. i tried their croissant and it rivaled what i had at le cordon bleu this morning. buttery, flaky, just as it should be!

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the boulangerie also offered fresh jams. i’ll have to pick one up the next time i stop by!

the rest of the afternoon was spent feeling camera happy. evidence below 👇

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i’d say it’s a photogenic city.

 

last night my host mom, martine, whipped up some tasty crêpes. i watched her and helped a bit, realizing as she went through the motions that sarah dadson’s crêpe recipe, which i shared on foodstuffs a month back, is almost a clone. bravo to sarah! i’m including her recipe below so that you can make them yourself!


and in this week’s other stuff…

i haven’t taken this denim jacket off since i bought it two weeks ago

my cousin greg and his new bride victoria (aka my new cuz!) stepped out to this song on their wedding night and everything was perfect

questions from me to you: what are your favorite things to do and see in paris? and eat? please comment so that i can do all the things!

goodnight! (bonne nuit!)


french crêpes

makes 12 crêpes

fixings

4 eggs

4 cups milk

2 cups flour (all-purpose is fine)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (+ more for coating the pan)

1 teaspoon salt

sour cream

toppings: parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, nutella, powdered sugar, maple syrup, etc.

special tools

a medium-sized fry pan

instructions

  1. mix the milk, flour, eggs, and salt together to form your batter. heat the fry pan over medium-high heat. prepare any toppings such as slicing or shaving the cheeses.
  2. pour a large spoonful of batter into the pan and move it around so that the entire pan is coated in a thin layer. let warm until the bottom side turns lightly brown. turn and repeat. take the crêpe off the burner and let it rest on a nearby plate. repeat until you’ve baked off all the crêpe batter.
  3. you can eat your crêpes now as is with sweet toppings but if you are looking for a more savory crêpe, keep your fry pan warm and add a crêpe back to it.
  4. top crêpe with a thin layer of sour cream. add your egg immediately to the center of the crêpe. as the egg begins to cook, add other toppings around it. cover pan until the egg cooks off and other toppings have melted.
  5. fold the crêpe in an envelope manner, as i described above. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal.
  6. serve immediately and enjoy!

post43 // bread furst

hellooOoo! i hope you are still reeling from the total eclipse of the solar system that took place yesterday — i know i still am! i didn’t have any of those glasses but then a kind lady on the street handed hers to me and i was so happy she did. it was very cool! and it cheered me up from what was a sad sunday this past week: my last day working at Bread Furst bakery in washington, d.c. (cue: sad face emoji galore ☹️😣😖😫😭.)

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instead of writing about a recipe this week, i’ve decided to share a bit about my experience working at Bread Furst this summer. after hearing some a+ advice from kristen, a colleague of mine from food52, i decided to look for some real kitchen experience earlier this year. knowing that i was moving home for the summer, i thought about Bread Furst as a place to work — it was less than a mile from my family’s home and the bakery’s owner, Mark Furstenburg, was nominated for a James Beard Award for “Outstanding Baker.” Between my initial interview and stage (kitchen speak for a shadow), Mark and Bread Furst won the James Beard Award. for those of you unfamiliar with the awards, they’re recognized as the “oscars” of the food world.

i was ecstatic for them! and even more happy that ben, the head baker, offered me a full-time summer gig there! i started working at the beginning of june in the bread department. throughout the summer, many people asked if i was baking cakes and croissants. i actually wasn’t! instead i baked bread all day — and loved it.

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before i get to the actual bread, i wanted to share the team of bread bakers that i worked alongside. they were what made 6am call times not only bearable, but truly fun. and if you think 6am was early, my call time was actually the latest of anyone in bread baking. yup.

ben: the head bread baker, recipe wizard, and true talent of Bread Furst. he took me in with my zero bread experience and turned me into a bread baker. he’s called bane sometimes because of the mask he wears. (if you’d worked around flour as much as him you’d probably be in a mask too.)

miguel: el maestro = the teacher. miguel has been working with mark, the owner, for over 20 years. and it shows! he is a magnificent teacher and we got along just great. not only did he teach me how to work as a bread baker, but he helped make my spanish the best its ever been. diez estrellas por miguel!

haley: the youngest, most efficient person i’ve ever met. i loved working with haley because the day would just fly by. she turned 21 while i was working there and i was so lucky to see her in action. haley, you better start your own shop one day !!!

maximino: the energizer, and cleanest person on the staff. max is wicked fast at everything he does and he’s always a great person to help get things done when the clock is ticking. another person i spoke spanish with all day!

nefta (a.k.a. neftali): the songbird of the bakery. if you ever hear anyone singing in Bread Furst, it’s likely nefta. in another life, nefta would be an actor or singer, some type of performer. he was a true joy to be around and yes, another person i spoke spanish with all day! also, he worked the oven and made magic out of our bread dough.

max r: my fellow bread newbie and washingtonian, “osito.” max and i worked most of our shifts together and he is one of the cheeriest people i know. don’t let his dark mustache scare you!!

ashley: my quasi-trainee! i was able to show her the Bread Furst ropes during her first and my final weeks at the bakery. i only wish we had more time together!

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+justin: the overnight warrior! he may not have made the team photo but justin is a big part of the bread baking team. he works through the night to make sure all the bread is ready to go for our deliveries and customers in the mornings. and he always has a smile on his face 🙂

so, now that you’ve got some visuals on who is behind the baguettes and miche and chocolate babka and english muffins and bagels, here’s a bit more on what it was like to make bread all day.

physical.
you can’t really work in this kitchen unless you can lift a 50lb bag of flour. i got into the best shape of my life this summer, merely by being on my feet and using my body all day. my muscles grew and so did my appetite. good thing there was always a quick bread snack close by!
rewarding.
every day i was making something. starting something and finishing something. there’s something really satisfying in completing a product each day (or many in the case of Bread Furst).
tiring.
it can’t go without saying that this summer has been an exhausting one! working weekends and early mornings is something to get used to. i think i got used to it like last week lol.

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a typical day for me would start with writing the recipe quantities for the day on our little whiteboard. as you can imagine, the bread quantities for weekends were always more than say a monday or tuesday. once the quantity was decided, we’d start weighing out the ingredients for the different bread recipes. this was one thing that was different from all the home cooking i’d done. all measurements at Bread Furst were done by weight. i have to say it is much more efficient than all the tiny spoons and cup measurements i’d used before.

into the mixer, one after another, the different flour buckets would go. once done mixing, we’d pull the dough out of the mixer, put it back into a bucket, and let it rest for some time. depending on what recipe it was, some doughs would sit longer than others before their first or second fold. once folded and rested again, we’d cut the dough and pre-shape it. back to resting the dough went again until it was ready for its final shape.

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once the dough had rested in its final shape, whether that be in a bread basket or on a couche (used for our baguettes and palladin), whoever was on the oven would start baking the bread.

and while he or she was baking the bread, everyone else started to clean!

that was the usual rundown of my day in the bakery. the routine of it all became quite satisfying and it became a great place for me to practice my shaping and mixing of bread every day.

to end, i wanted to share some shots from the summer. enjoy!!!

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fun times shaping challah with miguel. nefta posing as usual.

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lunch after my first day of work at Bread Furst! their ham and cheese on baguette is awesome.

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eating bread i made for the first time!!

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pizza day !! (every tuesday and thursday at Bread Furst if you’re wondering.)

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snacktime! (hiding from the big windows where customers look at us every day.)

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this is me with a croissant in my lap. i spent a lot of the summer eating breakfast on the go in my car before my shift started.

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my last day at Bread Furst: breakfast made by Justin on brioche with eggs, cheese, and bacon.

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i’m a big fan of their carrot cake. just had some last night actually.

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chocolate babka was definitely a fan favorite of the breads i brought home.

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one of my best friends bridget and i outside the bakery on my birthday. brownie points to bridge for bringing me rosé! which reminds me…

thank you to everyone who came to visit me at the bakery!!!! whether you came purposefully and waved your hand off or just saw me through the windows and said hello, i loved seeing you. thank you.

if you haven’t made it to Bread Furst yet, i hope this post made you want to go! the bread, the lunch service (yes, they have savory food too), and the pastry items are all really fantastic. don’t forget a baguette on your way out!

Bread Furst, http://www.breadfurst.com/

4434 Connecticut Avenue NW Washington, DC 20008

Mon-Fri, 7AM-7PM; Sat, 8AM-6PM; Sun, 8AM-5PM

post30 // let the olive oil rain! italian adventures at inatteso pizzabar casano

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Melanzana al Forno // eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, basil, tomato

For the past few weeks, a strange guilt tinkered in the back of my brain, swaying back and forth in weak and strong pulses. No, I wasn’t guilty of doing something wildly illegal — not that I know of at least — but instead, I felt bad for my blog [cue quintessential coffee shop writer crying about her blog]. It’s an unfortunate reality but over the past month and a half, I’ve ignored one of my prized weekly activities. The why behind my neglect is pretty simple: I’ve been busy. But somehow this excuse doesn’t really sit well in my mind; everyone’s busy. Finally catching some free moments as I wrap up my second week living in New York City, I’m ridding myself of nonsensical guilt and laziness. In vain of the generic and questionable idiom, I must agree that distance makes the heart grow fonder, Yummy Twenties I have missed you!

Enough of my emotional, disgustingly narcissistic, and ugly word vomit. You’re reading this because you like food. So, let there be food.

Here I am in the Big Apple! As gleeful as this elephant,Image I screamed upon receiving my internship at Food52, the food website I’m working for this summer (Check it out at www.Food52.com!). But more so, I couldn’t wait to be in a city where restaurants pop up like bread dough in an oven. After a week going to dinners at new places and celebrating twenty-first birthdays, I decided to venture to a spot in the city that I was already familiar with.

Given my large irish catholic family from New York and my Dad’s roots in Brooklyn, I’ve visited NYC a number of times. Around the corner from our favorite hotel to stay at is Inatteso Pizzabar Casano, a modern yet cozy Italian eatery with wicked pizzas and hand-cut pastas. Located in Battery Park, Inatteso is the perfect spot to grab lunch or a late dinner when you’re in the area. Conveniently connected to the Pizzabar is the Inatteso Cafe Casano, a grab and go spot where I would definitely get a quick lunch if I worked in the area.

A little appetizer-happy and unable to make a choice, I decided on two appetizers for my lunch at Inatteso. First, I enjoyed a bowl of their Zuppa Frantoiana, a tuscan white bean and vegetable soup seated in a garlicky broth. Served with a large piece of fresh bread that had been soaked in olive oil, the soup was a hardy starter — almost enough for a full lunch. The soft white beans wonderfully contrasted the zippy crunch of the celery and roasted potatoes.

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As my second and final starter of the meal, I ordered one of my favorite eggplant dishes to date. I love eggplant (as you saw with my eggplant timbale post) and this dish mixed some of the best ingredients to blend with eggplant. Stacked between the two large pieces of eggplant was a three-cheese and tomato medley. Laced together, the mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan stood out as the perfect counterpart to the delicate, roasted eggplant slices. Sprinkled with basil and additional parmesan, this eggplant stack was a dish I had to finish.

Full and ready to walk off some of that food, I continued with my self-inspired NYC walking tour. On my way home through Tribeca and the West Village, I pinpointed a couple of restaurants that are sure to make it in the blog. Until then!

 

post28 // fried green tomatoes and poboys galore: southern classics at jake’s good eats

ImagePoboy with Fried Shrimp and Fried Oysters

Just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina sits Jake’s Good Eats, a gas station turned restaurant visited by Guy Fieri on his Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” The TV host hailed owner Jake Stegall’s Maple Glazed Pork Chop and Venison Quesadilla in the episode, unveiling the neighborhood favorite to Charlotte visitors and foodies from all over the country. I am lucky enough to be friends with a family whose been dining at Jake’s way before they hit it big with Mr. Fieri. For my friend Emily Griffin’s 21st birthday, we made the hour trek from Davidson College to Jake’s. After hearing about how “amazing” Jake’s is for the past two and half years, my friends and I figured we’d finally check out this Griffin family favorite.

Check out is an understatement. We began the evening with an ever-expanding appetizer order. First, just the Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips. Oops, well, then I insisted upon the New Zealand Farm Raised Venison Quesadilla. Oh, and how could I forgot the double order of Southern Green Tomatoes, a staple side dish of the American South! I ate the caloric intake of a full meal in appetizers at Jake’s, yet, like always, it didn’t stop me from round two. ImageFried Green Tomatoes

For dinner, I ordered the Poboy with both Fried Shrimp and Fried Oysters. One of my biggest regrets from my trip to New Orleans this past break was that I failed to eat a traditional Creole Poboy. Served on a toasted hoagie and topped with a homemade garlic mayonnaise, I think I devoured Jake’s Poboy by just staring at it. I’m almost happy I didn’t try a poboy in New Orleans because I know that Jake’s would’ve beat any competition in a contest of tastes. The fried shrimp and fried oyster combination featured succulent seafood, cased in a buttery browned shell. The lettuce and tomato complemented the rich crispiness of the sandwich while the large roll mopped up the drizzling mayonnaise juice. My eager but immediate motionless upon receiving my supper was not unusual, as each one of my peers’ meals suspended their eyes in the same way mine had. It just might be an excuse for me to go back…

ImageWhite Marble Farms 8 oz. Maple Glazed Bone-In Pork ChopImageJake’s Dinner Special: Steak with Garlic Butter Sauce and Tomato Stuffed with Crab Meat  

A visit to Jake’s is a schedule changing necessity if you’re in or around the Charlotte area. Remember though, the local hub doesn’t take reservations so be prepared to wait. And then be prepared to feast.

12721 Albemarle Rd. Charlotte, NC 28227

post27 // fishing the ethnic out of davidson’s waters: a trip to brio tuscan grille

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Despite my enlivened fervor for baking these past months in Davidson, a couple weeks ago I found myself frustrated with food. After a whirlwind trip throughout Peru and its neighboring countries, I fastened onto my memory of the fresh baked tilapia I ate outside Lima, the same day it had been caught, and the culinary techniques I learned in my peruvian cooking classes. This frustration was real. I saw no source of ethnic and global cuisines in Davidson, North Carolina, what most consider an epitome of a small southern town. Furthermore, I viewed my own college campus as a homogenized blur of predominately white faces, a bubble filled to the brim with students who never popped through, never stepping outside the confines of the town of Davidson.

After one trying day, I popped through the bubble. With a loyal friend, I drove out of Davidson’s campus, out of the town of Davidson, out of the Lake Norman region, and into the greater Charlotte area. It’s not to say that I don’t love my school and college town, but at this moment I needed a wave of the outside, a sense that I could eat food from another part of the world, and that it would taste really good.

Granted, I did not go to Brio Tuscan Grille, an upscale Italian chain, with just anyone. Instead, I went with an Italian-rooted Californian, Carly Brahim, whose childhood consisted of eating authentic food made by her Italy-transplant grandmother, Nonna. Eating Italian with Carly was a cultural experience in itself, with her pronunciation of Italian specialities like “bruschetta” (the c is a k) wowing me, revealing her own knowledge of the Italian dialect and food gastronomy. She took control of our “Primi” menu orders, stating that with one Insalata Caprese, we should opt for the Calamari Fritto in lieu of Bruschetta so as to not overload on tomato-heavy dishes. I sat mystified by the rain of Italianess pouring out of Carly’s brain. After two years of knowing each other, I hadn’t realized the expanse of knowledge she kept hidden in her mind.

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We each ate our fill, and I couldn’t help but cover this post in the beautiful pictures I was able to seize before our rapid consumption. Our Insalata Caprese was an inverse of most tomato and mozzarella salads, with mixed greens and basil served on top of a bed of thick mozzarella rounds and ripe tomatoes, beautifully plated with hefty dots of balsamic reduction for dipping. We enjoyed the salad alongside a Calamari Fritto, garnished with marinara and lemon butter sauces. Unable to finish both appetizers before our main dishes, we left the platters as pick-ons throughout the second course. I quizzed the kitchen, trying one of the Chef’s Specialties, a sweet potato and chicken risotto. Prepared with roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, pancetta, asparagus, parmigiano-reggiano, thyme, and pine nuts, the risotto was complexly delicious. A breadth of tastes enveloped my mouth each bite, which together equated to a nicely balanced collection meal. Carly stuck simple but classic with a Roasted Half-Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Mixed Vegetables. If that photo doesn’t make you want a slab of meat, I don’t know what will.ImageSweet Potato and Chicken RisottoImageRoasted Half-Chicken

Though we each battled through our main courses, we couldn’t consume it all, especially because we just had to try dessert! Veiled with a layer of hardened caramel, like that of a Crème Brûlée, I slowly made my way through the plate-long slice of Cheesecake. I know, I know, cheesecake isn’t Italian! But the New York delicacy sure did mark a sweet and full ending to our meal.

ImageCheesecake topped with Hard Caramel

Unfortunately, I can’t go to somewhere like Brio every weekend. I am a college student after all. Yet, the trip with Carly created a hole in my closed-off analysis of gastronomy in Davidson. I can access ethnic meals and experience food through a cultural lens in my small college town. I can eat bruschetta with my half-Italian pod mate, I can prepare Fufu with my best friend who hails from Accra, Ghana, or I can even get back to my Peruvian grub and cook Lomo Saltado with a friend from Lima. Yummy Twenties is aimed towards this mindset of global gastronomy, and I look forward to developing information so that twenty-year-olds like me, recognize their width of options.

 

 

post26 // a day with chef joel: where i gained an irreplaceable wealth of culinary knowledge

Imagewith Chef Joel Delmond and our Tarte Tatin

It all began on a warm Palm Springs night, under an umbrella-covered dining table where I sat languidly, dead from the parties of Mardi Gras that had slowly sipped the life out of my body. My mom and I sat in the chairs of Pinzimini, the new dining spot in the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. Despite my normal rash approval of my mothers’ occasional wine offer at dinner, tonight, I declined. Yet, when our waiter circled back around, his news enlivened my drained sensibility. He pointed over to the corner of the veranda, identifying a tall man clad in a pleated tall pearly hat as a James Beard honored chef. For those of you lost as to what “James Beard honored” indicates, the James Beard Award is the highest of national culinary awards, typically referred to as the “Oscar’s” of the food world. While Chef Joel Delmond is not a recipient of this award, he has cooked in the James Beard House, a sensational recognition of its own. In this moment, my ears perked up like those of a puppy hearing the word walk. My mother and I immediately wrapped our friendly waiter into a conversation where we relayed my infatuation with all things culinary, the blog that I began writing in Peru, my obsession with photographing meals from every imaginable angle, and so on. Before I could add another detail about peruvian cuisine, the waiter had brought the amiable Chef Joel to our very table.

My mother, Chef Joel, and I began discussing my love of food, rummaging through the details of my ever-developing blog. In his impeccable English, dusted with a distinct layer of french inflection, Chef Joel spoke of peruvian gastronomy with a striking fluidity. Though soon to get back to the kitchen, Chef Joel did not leave without sharing his information and inviting me to bake with him in the coming days. We exchanged e-mails the next day and decided on an afternoon spent baking a Tarte Tatin, an upside-down apple tart from the Loir-et-Cher region of France, along the Loire River. I later learned that the tart originates from the Hotel Tatin, where the two sisters and owners, Stephanie and Caroline Tatin, famously baked the first Tarte Tatin, the result of a horrid kitchen diaster. Fittingly, Chef Joel hails from this specific part of France and after hearing my stories on peruvian cuisine, he was anxious to share a quintessential french dish.

My afternoon spent in the kitchen was beyond any of my expectations for baking the Tarte Tatin. Not only did I learn an irreplaceable amount of information on pastry-making from Chef Joel, but he elected other members of his staff to introduce me to their large-scale operations of sushi making, pizza dough molding, and the like. When I say other members, I allude to Chef Shawn Aoki, a former Iron Chef contestant. I could not then and still cannot fathom my luck!

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Rolling sushi with Chef Shawn Aoki

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Learning how to handle the pizza peel

By the end of the day, Chef Joel and I had two baked Tarte Tatins. During the assembling of the first tarte, Chef Joel took me on a detailed journey through the art of pie-crust making and caramelizing. He shared tips only a pro would know like how to flour your dough before using your rolling pin, what kind of surfaces you should use for specific actions, how to caramelize for different end results (looking for a sweet and light caramel or an almost-bitter type?), the list never ends.

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Letting the apples soak in water to keep fresh before baking

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Constructing the upside-down tart

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Top layer of the upside-down tart

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Rolling the dough between two sheets of plastic to keep the dough from melting or sticking to the pin

Both Tarte Tatins slowly evolved into beautiful, really striking pieces of culinary art. Smothered in buttery caramel, the apples congealed together in a perfect geometric form, seated upon a thick base of flaky pastry crust. After many Friday afternoons and Christmas seasons spent baking, I cannot say I have made such a beautiful dish as this Tarte Tatin.

With our finished product, Chef Joel and I took the fore-picture of this blog post, a student and instructor, both grinning happily at a Tarte Tatin well done. That evening, my parents and I ate our final meal in Palm Springs at Pinzimini, electing Chef Shawn’s Tasting Menu. We couldn’t have chosen a better meal and to cap it off, we each engulfed our hardy servings of the Tarte Tatin, brought out by Chef Joel himself. I waddled home in the eighty-five degree paradise, brain full with improved pastry techniques and a stomach wide with caramelized apples.

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The baked Tarte Tatin, before being flipped

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The flipped and final Tarte Tatin

Unfortunately, I do not have Chef Joel’s Tarte Tatin recipe for you yet. However, in the meantime I thought that Julia Child’s rendition will do. Bon Appetit!

Ingredients
For the Tart Dough:
3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water, or as needed
For the Tart Tatin:
6 Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled and halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
11/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, as accompaniment

Directions
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the flours, sugar and butter. Pulse 5 or 6 times in 1/2-second bursts to break up the butter. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately add the ice water, pulsing 2 or 3 times. The dough should look like a mass of smallish lumps and should just hold together in a mass when a handful is pressed together. If the mixture is too dry, pulse in more water by droplets.

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and with the heel of your hand, rapidly and roughly push egg-size blobs into a 6-inch smear. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).

Slice the halved apples into 4 lengthwise wedges each, and toss in a large bowl with the lemon juice and zest and 1/2 cup sugar. Drain the apples after macerating 20 minutes.

In a 9-inch skillet melt the butter over high heat. Stir in the remaining sugar and cook until the syrup bubbles and caramelizes, and turns a brown color. Remove the pan from the heat and arrange a layer of apple slices in a neat pattern on the caramel in the skillet, then arrange the remaining apples neatly on top.

Return the pan to moderately high heat and cook for about 25 minutes, covering the pan after 10 minutes. Every few minutes press down on the apples and baste them with the exuded juices. When the juices are thick and syrupy, remove the pan from the heat.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a circle, 3/16-inch thick and 1-inch larger than the top of the pan. Drape the dough over the apples, pressing the edge of the dough between the apples and the inside of the pan. Cut 4 small steam holes on the top of the dough. Bake until the pastry has browned and crisped, about 20 minutes.

Unmold the tart onto a serving dish (so the pastry is on the bottom), and serve warm or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, as desired.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tarte-tatin-recipe.html?oc=linkback

post25 // a culinary duel over the new orleans beignet: café du monde vs. cafe beignet

ImageCafé Du Monde ImageCafe Beignet

While my visit to New Orleans over spring break was incipiently established as a rite of passage through the famed Mardi Gras, I quickly realized that the trip was going to mean a lot more to me than college keg stands and bead-hunting. In a procrastinating research method during midterm week, I searched through endless website pages titled around the edible in New Orleans. “Must-eats,” “Where-to-eat,” and “City Guide to Eating,” were just three of the redundant headings that popped up as I scrolled down the Google and Pinterest search feeds. Though I’d visited New Orleans once with a high school program (see photo below), given my newfound food curiosity in tune with the excitement of Mardi Gras, I was biting to get down to the Big Easy.

ImageAge 15, eating beignets at Café Du Monde

During the four days spent in the city of cajun food and jazz, I was lucky enough to try two servings of beignets from the acclaimed Café Du Monde and the appropriately named Cafe Beignet. Both restaurants served outrageously rich versions of the Creole classic: fried pastry dough fritters drowned in powdered sugar that couldn’t help but dust your clothes with a layer of white film. As is appropriate for a culinary duel, I will detail the two beignet episodes.

My friends and I made a point to go to the Cafe Beignet on Bourbon street the morning after our first night in the city. There, we devoured an excellently greasy breakfast of egg sandwiches on croissant buns and crawfish omelets. The main course was followed by two rounds of beignets (a third round came a little later). The sugar-coated fried pastry was just out of the fryer, warm enough to make my fingers play hot potato until the treat was in my mouth. To be frank, you can’t really go wrong with fried dough, especially when you bring sugar into the mix. My friends who were first being introduced to beignet heaven savored every minute of their full-mouthed bites.

Our visit to Café Du Monde took place later in the trip, after a cab ride home from uptown on our last night in New Orleans. I was appalled by the fact that the next morning, I could leave New Orleans without returning to the renowned cafe where I tried my first beignet. Compellingly dragging my friends to the Café Du Monde off of Jackson Square, we had a few questions about the menu. Ironically, while Cafe Beignet offered more than beignets, Café Du Monde only served beignets and beverages. Despite some of my friends’ wishes for a fuller late-night meal, the beignets proved we chose correctly in staying put. If you’re going to have just one item on your menu, it needs to be good; and yes they were better than good. Café Du Monde’s beignets were hot like those at Cafe Beignet but proved to melt even tastier and gooier into my mouth after a few bites through the fried outer-layer. Covered similarly to those at Cafe Beignet in mounds of powdered sugar, our beignets that early morning were just the right pick for a quick snack. Sitting with my friends and eating at Café Du Monde was an unforgettable last treat to the Mardi Gras experience.

To be fair, both sets of beignets were sugarfiably delectable. In a narrow competition, the beignets at Café du Monde had an edge over those at Cafe Beignet. I recommend making a trip down to New Orleans one day to not only try the quintessential beignets, but also the  flavorful Creole cuisine—look-out, a post on the cajun cuisine is coming soon!

post23 // pulling davidson out of an optionless emergency: the new summit

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Classic Spinach Salad

I apologize in advance for the gloomy tone my post is about to entertain. I promise it will only be for a brief minute or two, until I can fully delve into the tastiest renovation to ever occur on Davidson’s campus.

Davidson is a very special home to me. I love the bright blue Carolina skies that greet me on February days like today, the Lula Bell laundry service that takes care of my clothes, and of course, the beachhead at Lake Norman where one can enjoy watching college frat boys play dock ball. My only lament about attending school at Davidson has been the food. While comparing my dining options on an early summer night with friends from home who are littered across the country in both liberal arts colleges and large universities, I realized that many of my high school peers enjoyed the food they ate at college.

I wish I did. I wanted to enjoy the food I ate at school instead of pulling the massive amounts of hummus off of grilled wraps or sadly attempting to make a Cobb salad without the chicken breast or baconthat is the best part! Not only different tastes, but I needed more options to add to my union wrap I ate four times a week. Moving away from this somber mood, I luckily came back after a semester abroad to a brand new dining spot on campus, The New Summit. Boasting many nicknames, most popularly Nummit, alongside Newsum and a vulgar title that I will leave to your imagination, the New Summit offers an array of dishes that span from grab-and-go breakfast items to late-night pizzas filled with all your favorite indulgences like buffalo chicken and triple-cheeses. The broad span of dishes you can eat at the New Summit made from farm-style ingredients, alongside their signature coffee menu and fillingly fruity smoothies, provides a foreign depth to Davidson’s dining services. This gigantic step in a positive direction has changed my thoughts on eating at Davidson. I can now find myself giddily excited to go enjoy my usual union wrap because I have only eaten it once in the past two weeks. The New Summit offers another option and in doing so, alleviates pressure on other dining options while offering college kids quality food.

Enough of this talk, so what’s my favorite pick? I’ve got a couple. If you’re looking for a meaty and cheesy option to serve as real comfort food, the Fig, Goat, Pig Flatbread or the Triple-Pig Panini are my two go-to’s. In terms of healthier items, I’m a big fan of the Classic Spinach Salad, usually with a side of the rotating day’s soup that never fails—okay, I strongly suggest against the Gazpacho, but that’s just me. I’ve heard it from everyone and I can’t deny the pretzels are fabulously yummy, served warm with a choice of dippings (I love the mustard). By covering a large range, the New Summit appeals to many Davidson faces, both the health-conscious athlete ordering a Kale Berry Smoothie and the beanie-wearing hipster who sips on a Chilean roast coffee and doesn’t know how they ended up in North Carolina.

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Fig, Goat, Pig

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Pretzel with Mustard and Veggie Chili