Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chinese Celebration On Essex

I think this was a funeral I stumbled upon on Essex street the other day, I asked the women who were there but alas my Mandarin in lacking...very festive what ever it was...

Rosh Hashanah Menu

I'm still recovering from this....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Like Bees to ...Grapes

Apropos of the posting below, the market is filled with farmers selling grapes, the oozing juice from the grapes is a huge attraction to the local bees, so much so that several farmers had to move the grapes to the side and cover them!  

Funny the second picture looks like there weren't any bees, but if you double click the photo you'll seem them, don't those grapes look good? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dan Rather Takes on the EPA and Bee Colony Collapse

Fascinating. Worth the watch.  Basically: GMO seeds are behind the massive kill off of honey bees.

The guy from the pesticide trade union pulls out the old pesticides are curing world hungry line of bull.  No they don't they create bigger markets for companies like Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science.  Period, full stop.

Bee Aware from Greg Stanley on Vimeo.

Rosh Hashanah Recipes: Honey Ice Cream, Candied Ginger and Apple Donuts

The food traditions of Jewish New Year are pretty straight forward: Apples and Honey (and a round Challah).

Honey Ice Cream

Pour 1/2 cup of local honey (I used wildflower, the stronger the flavor of the honey the stronger the flavor of the ice cream) into a medium size heavy bottomed pot, split 1 Vanilla bean in half and add it to the honey along with 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Heat over medium low heat until the mixture is hot but not boiling.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Scarp the seeds from the Vanilla pod and let the seeds and pods infuse the cream and honey mixture.  I use my spatula to scrap the seeds from the Vanilla pods (afterwards when I am done with the pods I rinse them and put them in my home made Vanilla extract, which is just vodka and Vanilla beans).

Place 6 large organic egg yolks into a bowl and slowly heat the cream mixture until hot again (watch carefully you really don't want to boil it!) whisk a 1/3 cup of hot cream into the egg yolks,  when mixed add another 1/3 cup of hot cream into the yolks, then stir the tempered yolks into the cream mixture and stir constantly heat until the custard coats the back of a spoon or reaches about 165 F on a thermometer.  Remove from heat and pass through a sieve into a medium size bowl which is sitting in an ice cold water bath.  This will help chill the custard down so you can place it in the fridge.  Stir in 2 Tablespoons of Armagnac or Brandy.

Chill until cold preferably over night then process as per your ice cream makers instruction.

Candied Ginger and Apple Donuts

In a small sauce pan melt 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter and cool. Place cooled butter into a large bowl.

In a medium sized bowl sift together 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 Teaspoon baking soda, 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon Salt.

To the melted butter add 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, 1 large organic egg, 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you can get full fat farmer made buttermilk, Saxelby Cheesemongers sells it here in the city) 1 large Apple (I like Macintosh they are soft and melt away, a harder apple like Granny Smith will retain it's shape more...up to you) peeled cored and roughly chopped, mix until everything is well incorporated.  

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and still until just combined.  You may need to add a little more flour if it is too sticky, but it is a soft, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry stone or counter top and kneed a few times to bring together and get a consistently soft texture.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large pot (or deep fryer if you have one) pour in enough high temperature oil (like Sunflower or Peanut ) to go about 2" up the pan.  Over medium high heat warm the oil until it reaches 375F on a thermometer. 

While you are waiting for the oil to heat roll out the dough to about 1/ 2" thickness and using a donut cutter (or a 2-3 inch glass with something smaller to cut out the hole....I only recently bought a donut cutter and always managed to find something in the kitchen that would work) start cutting the dough, placing the donuts and donut holes on the prepared baking sheet.

Gather up the scraps bring together re-roll and repeat.

Drop several holes and some donuts into the hot oil a few at a time, turning after 2-3 minutes.

Drain cooked donuts on a paper towel and if you want dredge them in ginger sugar*.

*1 Tablespoons of dried ginger and 1/2 cup sugar

Pictures to come I wanted to get this out before it was too late!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Love This! Fast Food IS MORE EXPENSIVE Than Homemade

Via Grist via the New York Times.

Lower East Side Food Walking Tour

The Tenement Museum has a bevy of tours, readings and other events associated with the museum, I've notice over the years I have lived here people milling about sampling local fare and talking about it  but didn't realize that these outings where part of the museum.  Yesterday on my way to the market I walked up Orchard street and saw the above sign.

Now even if you live in the city, or as is my case in the neighborhood, these tours are really worth taking (he who has never been on one says).  Often I will stop and listen to the tour guides talking, they usually have old pictures to show along with lots of great information about this amazing neighborhood and how it got to be so amazing!

Anyway seeing this sign made me realize I want to take the food tour!  Anyone want to join me? The tour is $45 which includes lots of nibbles and lasts 2 hours.

The Devastation of Irene Lingers On

...actually the best argument I have ever heard to join a CSA, watch:

The Perennial Plate Episode 72: After the Flood from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Black Walnuts

Indeed a rare delicacy: local black walnuts.  In the nearly 20 years of going to the Union Square green market I dont know that I have ever seen them before.  These were at on o f my favorite farms tands Keith Organics (who sells the best racambole garlic) but because they are such a challenge to process they were practically giving them away at 6 for a buck. The skins make a great natural dye (brown) so gloves are needed, and the hard shells require a hammer then once open you need a sharp knife to pry open the flesh....sounds like a lot of work!  Guess that's why they are so cheap!

Food Rut

My friend Michael is on a tear, every day I get a text: making heirloom tomato, sausage and white bean stew....

The next day a photo of the amazing looking stew.

Yesterday was: Bought 20 pounds of tomatoes for canning!  (his second batch mind you)

Today it was:  Thinking about making Oxtail and Okra stew!

To which I thought about how the okra might taste great it you battered it and deep friend it and served it on top like a fancy crouton.

Meanwhile back in my kitchen...

... it seems that everything is about mozzarella and tomato sauce.  The tomatoes are so lovely and fleeting.   And like everyone I play to my spouses likes and dislikes.  Also I have to deal with a kosher kitchen so Goat Curry isn't really an option (at least not made with yogurt in it).

 ...and it's not like I am blaming Neil for anything because of course after a long hard day these are the comfort foods I want to eat as well.... for this lasagna I made whole wheat pasta and was surprised how light it was.  Soon the tomato and basil season will be over and although I will be able to make these comfort food favorites there is somehting nice about enjoying them in season.
And of course then there are the endless, much written about crumbles, pies and other desserts that I won't post about again. Simple food that makes you happy is what it is all about.

Meanwhile I look forward to visiting my friend Michael and Harlem and have a Creole cooking festival with lots of trieff food (tieff meaning not kosher).  More on that as it happens.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dine Out Irene

Tomorrow (Sunday, September 25th) over 100 hundred restaurants will give up 10% of their sales to Just Food and Grow NY to benefit New York State Farmers hit hard by tropical storm Irene.

So tomorrow would be a great day to eat out!  For a list of participating restaurants click here
To learn more about about Just Food's Hurricane relief click here.

Support a farmer eat out tomorrow!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Inside Big Gay Ice Cream

This was my first time in...amazing menu, popsicle, soft serve, milk shakes and so much more!  Below is the pendent the Unicorn is wearing it's Bea Arthur.  Too funny.

Neil had a lime curd, vanilla soft serve graham cracker crumb sundae (I'll get back to you on the name) - think deconstructed Key Lime Pie.

I had a ginger curry Milk Shake, awesome.

Check out their site for directions and hours.

Discovery Wines Re-Opens in New Space

 Discovery Wines used to be in a huge space on Avenue A.  Last year the building it was in had a huge fire on the roof and the store was marred by water and smoke damage, so the place smelled of smoke and had chunks of ceiling missing, it never seem to get fixed so I'm guessing this is one of the reason they decided to move around the corner to a smaller space on Avenue B.
From what I can tell from walking by and now just looking at their site it seems the transition took a lot longer than had been expected.  The good news is they are finally open for business again and the new space looks great!  So if you are in the East Village go buy, congratulate them on surviving and buy some wine!

Food and Art

Our friend Moose was visiting a while back from Oakland, she is an artist and always sketching or photographing something.  So when her partner Patty came to visit this week she brought us these wonderful imagines that Moose did when she was last here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

IF & L

This space at 74 Orchard Street has housed three restaurants since I first moved into the neighborhood 6 years ago.  An Italian place which was kind of boring, a South African place called Saffa which I had high hopes for, but never took off, the most recent incarnation of this space is: Interstate Food and Liquor.

As you can see from the pictures below the space is long and narrow and high, a real design challenge, but of the three restaurants so far this one has managed to make the space the most inviting.
The easy to like American Bar and Grill meets diner menu also help make this place very accessible and when you add in that this familiar comfort food is made from locally sourced and organic raw materials I feel like three might just be the lucky number for this new comer.

Can't wait to eat here, will report back later, with more on my dinning experience

Google Analytics

Hey Urbanfoodguy readers, I need your help!

I'm in the process (slow as it may be) of trying to improve and expand my blog (in the Spring into a full fledge website) and one of the things I'm told I need to do first is get my Google Analytics working.  After watching many how to videos on their site and trying to figure out how to get it to work (I've been signed up with them for ever) I still haven't had much success.

As anyone knows who has ever had to deal with Google there is no one to contact, just endless help boards, which to my experience aren't so helpful...So I am turning you to to see if anyone out there has any sort of understanding of these things and if maybe you might be willing to lend a helping hand? I'll cook you dinner.

For more information or any suggestions please write me (Mark) at:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Graham Hill's Mini Ted Talk on: Week Day Veg

This is a quick n' easy 4 minute Ted talk by Treehugger founder Graham Hill, who discusses his reluctance to be a full time vegetarian.

It's interesting, although for someone like me who is so immersed in food issues it seems kind of like a no brainer.  What I think is missing is the "local sustainable meat" aspect.  Sure, we should have a mostly plant based diet with occasional animal/fish protein, and the weekend idea he suggests is perfect.   He talks about swapping out red and processed meats with sustainable fish - fine, but Goat meat is a red meat but it is to my understanding every bit as sustainable as the right fish, ditto Lamb and to a lesser extent Grass fed beef.   So to just put a finer point on his point, support farmers, not corporations and factories and when you eat meat make the right choice: local and humanely raised when possible.  Also the big point he misses is that when you eat less meat you can save money so when you do eat it you can afford to eat the good stuff.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Line Continues: Big Gay Ice Cream Shop Opens!

 Apparently the line up from the truck has followed them to the store! Big Gay Ice Cream success!

Just Food's Let Us East Local Benefit

Tis the season for benefits and so many vital and important groups deserving of our support!
Just Food's Let Us Eat Local is such an event. Joel Salatin is going to be there and a  lot of amazing restaurants are helping out.  If you haven't got your ticket there is still time!

While I was looking at their site I came across this video about growing and preserving food in Harlem.

The Canning Queen of the Desert from Etsy on Vimeo.

NYC Bike Share Coming in 2012

On my way home from the City Harvest benefit I was given a flyer and told that there was a demonstration of the new bike share that is going to be introduced to NYC next year.  They have them all over Europe and Australia, so finally we are getting them too!  They are not funded by the city but a private organization that is currently looking for corporate sponsors.  Check out for more information.  Way cool.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

City Harvest: The Brooklyn Local = The Best Food Event of the Year

Without a doubt this has to be one of the most spectacular food events of the year.  The creme de la creme of Brooklyn food came out to put on one hell of a shindig to raise money and awareness for the good work done by City Harvest.

The first people to greet you when you walked into the event, held in Dumbo in the sell of an old spice factory almost directly under the Brooklyn Bridge, were the people responsible for the recycling of all the plates, forks, spoons, bottles and everything else.  How cool is that?
The first section was the general admission tent the second section, is the premier ticket area which featured a lot more fancy restaurant food that was all part of the ticket (in the tent most things had a small fee).  I've tried to post a wide range of the vendors in attendance, but because there were so many it is impossible to include them all!   These are just some of the ones I found most interesting.  I've tried to keep my commenting down to a minimum so you can get the feeling of strolling through event as I did (minus the tastings sorry guess you'll just have to go next year!) or better yet search out and try any of the vendors highlighted here, you won't ne sorry you did!  And of course it's never too late to make a donation to City Harvest.

This gal was great and doing something I thought was very unique: she is making super tasty very aggressively flavored drink called "Switzel" using a base of organic black strap molasses.  The recipe is based on an "historic drink with it's roots in the West Indies".   Check out her website City Lasses for more information on how to get a hold of some of her amazing beverages.

I coveted this butcher block, he does custom work as well. And his friend Joel Bukiewicz makes knives I got his card, but somehow didn't get any pictures.  For knives check out : Cut Brooklyn for cutting boards Brooklyn Butcher Blocks.

This epic and very delicious roast beef sub was sold by the inch, a buck an inch, so 3 bucks for lunch!



The main tasting area for the top tier donors, many of the restaurants were only in this section, so it was well worth the exta money to be able to taste the endless selections of deliciousness on offer.


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