Monthly Archives: September 2010

Thursday Tidbits: OctoBeer

Photo: terri_tu/Flickr


I’m sure most New England beer fans already have their calendars marked. But, just in case, the 21st Annual Harpoon Octoberfest is taking place here in Boston October 1st-2nd. There’s a $20 cover (proper ID required) for a day of German food and music and, of course, beer.

The Ultimate Battle
Sox vs. Yankees. Chef Laura Henry-Zoubir of Church is ready to settle things once and for all with a special ‘New England versus New York’ menu in honor of the teams’ final face-off this weekend. Round 1: the chowders, New England clam against Manhattan clam. Round 2: lobster roll battles corned beef on rye. Round 3: Boston cream pie takes on New York style cheesecake. Where do YOUR loyalties lie? The à la carte menu is available from October 1st-3rd. Call (617) 236-7600 for reservations and information.

Learn Local
Be healthy and learn something at the first-ever Boston Local Food Festival on October 2nd from 11am-5pm outside the Children’s Museum. Sponsored by the Sustainable Business Network, this zero waste event is a chance to learn about the health and economic benefits of eating locally grown foods. There’ll be exhibits, activities, demonstrations, beer tastings and live music. And all this fun for free!

Next Iron Chef
Starting October 3rd, tune into the Food Network Sundays at 9pm to watch chefs duke it out for the title of Iron Chef. Two are veterans of the Bean Scene, Mary Dumont of Harvest in Cambridge and Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger in Wellesley.

From the Fire to the Frying Pan
The Boston Center for Adult Education will launch “Behind the Line,” a new quarterly series in which students learn from top local chefs what it’s really like to work in a professional kitchen. Chef/owner of Lineage, Jeremy Sewall, turns up the heat October 4th from 6-9:30pm. The class costs $70 for non-members, $60 for members, plus a $15 materials fee. Can’t make this one? Join chefs/co-owners Christopher Myers and Joanne Chang of Myers and Chang on November 1st.

Even More Beer at The Beehive
This underground Bohemian bistro presents “Oktoberfest Der Beehive,” in association with the Goethe-Institut of Boston, the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, on October 5th. Munch on native specialties, like German Sausages and Roast Pork Knuckle, as you sip a frosty German beer. Live music begins at 8pm. Call (617) 423-0069 for reservations.

Speaking of Sweet Potatoes
Did you see farmer Meryl LaTronica’s Tuesday post on sweet potatoes? If you’re swimming in ‘sweets,’ here’s a recipe for Spiced Sweet Potato Ice Cream from local blog A Plum By Any Other Name. Considering yesterday’s balmy temps, it’s obvious Mother Nature still wants us to eat ice cream. Guilt free.

A Tour of Italy (in Dorchester)
Tavolo of Dorchester is halfway through its Regional Pasta Tour, but there’s still time to enjoy the remaining four areas: Piedmont, Aosta, Lombardy and Trentino. Starting at 6:30pm every Wednesday through October 27th, enjoy a three-course meal inspired by that night’s region for only $18. Reservations are a must, so call ahead at (617) 822-1918.

Food Gets Nerdy
The Museum of Science is hosting “Let’s Talk About Food,” a four-part series on all things food–from sustainability issues to conscious eating–starting with a panel discussion on the current state of food in our system October 8th at 7pm. Most of the events are free, and all are open to the public. For additional dates and registration information, click here.


Impress Your Friends
Russ Parsons of the LA Times is raving about homemade ricotta.
He’s spent the last month testing out different ingredients (whole milk or goat’s milk? Vinegar or lemon juice?) and coming up with some deliciously simple recipes that showcase ricotta. He says it’s easy, but your family doesn’t need to know that.

Healthy Cupcakes, You Say?
Eve Turow cheats the system by using ingredients like nonfat yogurt, apple sauce, and black beans in her cupcakes. So, go ahead and make a batch without feeling (as) bad.

A Great Time for Beer Tips
With only a few days left of New York Craft Beer Week, Esquire’s Ian Bassingthwaighte gets insider information from beer specialist, Bill Sysak. He knows the best way to drink your beer and which goes nicely with meat or vegetables.

Spotlight: North Shore Dish

Photo: Courtesy of North Shore Dish

If you live on the North Shore or occasionally like to venture there, be sure to add North Shore Dish to your list of ‘best insider resources.’ Childhood friends Kristen Nyberg and Jill Rose grew up together on the North Shore, wandered further afield, then settled back in the old neighborhood years later and discovered that the local food scene had changed for the better. They also found that media coverage of North Shore dining–which often fell in Boston’s big shadow–didn’t do it justice. So, foodies since the fourth grade, Nyberg and Rose took matters into their own hands and began blogging.

Now, almost two years later, the ladies of North Shore Dish have written up hundreds of restaurants, bakeries, breweries, pubs, bistros, diners, cafes (you get the idea) in the area. They also give a weekly rundown of upcoming events and a list of local farms and markets.

And Nyberg and Rose aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. They report on the good, the bad and the ugly, but we’re all better (fed) for it. It’s hard to believe there are any eateries left for these two to critique, but Nyberg and Rose continue to churn out posts on the latest and greatest in the food world of our own North Shore. Enjoy!

Today on Radio Boston: Carlisle Farmstead Cheese

Slideshow by Susanna Bolle

Tricia Smith is co-owner of Carlisle Farmstead Cheese, a goat farm and dairy that, until two weeks ago, was located in Carlisle, MA. A civil engineer by training, Tricia had worked at Cambridge design firms. But, despite her successful career, she was always drawn to farm animals, especially goats.

In WBUR’s ongoing series “Radio Bostonians,” we focus on the extraordinary people in our midst. Radio Boston’s Jessica Alpert headed out to the farm to take a closer look at the life of Tricia Smith…and her twelve goats.

Listen to Radio Boston at 3pm EST today. Audio from the show will be posted at 5pm.

Sweet Potato Sea


All photos: courtesy of Powisset Farm

Meryl LaTronica
Farm Manager, Powisset Farm

 A sea of sweet potatoes!

This week at Powisset Farm we began the glorious task of harvesting sweet potatoes. Growing sweet potatoes in New England can be a challenge because these spuds require a long growing season and lots of heat. At Powisset we order our sweet potato plants from a place in Georgia—admittedly not our most sustainable crop—to plant them in early June. The plants arrive by mail and are piled together in moist clusters wrapped in paper and wet woodchip-like material. We pull apart the plants, which have long delicate roots and a tiny green leave at the top, and cover them in moist soil to provide them re-growth and recovery time from their journey north. 

After a week or so of recovery time, we prepare the soil and plant our sweet potatoes.  We tuck the long roots into soft, mounded soil, each one a foot apart.  Continue reading

Ag in the Classroom


Photo: Courtesy of Edible Boston

Ilene Bezahler
Guest Contributor, Edible Boston

I grew up in suburbia where 4-H and agriculture were topics and activities for country kids. While this was the case many years ago, today both “4-H” and “Mass Ag in the Classroom” are reaching kids everywhere. Those kids sure are lucky.
Both programs are about more than agriculture and animal husbandry. They are about life and learning. Teachers who participate have chosen these programs as a vehicle for teaching many of life’s important lessons.
Read Amelia Mason’s article “Massachusetts Ag in the Classroom and 4-H” to learn about how valuable these programs are both to the leaders and their students.

Baxter: The Pig Who Wanted To Be Kosher


Excerpt from Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher copyright © 2010 by David Goldin.

When I saw this title, I couldn’t resist. Who could? “Baxter: the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher” is a story of misunderstandings, welcome, and community. 

Baxter the Pig sits at a bus stop with a man who cannot stop talking about the joys of Shabbat dinner.  Baxter is immediately intrigued and wants to experience a Shabbat dinner for himself.  Then the man breaks the bad news: Baxter can’t be part of Shabbat dinner because “pigs aren’t kosher.”  Then Baxter begins his quest to “become” kosher by eating voluminous amounts of kosher pickles, challah, and more…only to learn that it might be good that he’s not kosher.  Who wants to be eaten at a Shabbat meal?  The moral of the story? Anyone (kosher, non-kosher, Jew, non-Jew, stranger, friend) can come to Shabbat dinner and our community, our global community, is better for it.

I caught up with Laurel Snyder, the author of “Baxter” to get the story behind the story. Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Hearty Harvest


Photo: obo-bobolina/Flickr


Freaky Friday(s)
ThinkTank in Cambridge took a nasty beating from Mother Nature this summer, but after much mopping and scrubbing, it’s back in action and re-opening TONIGHT! Can’t make the party? No worries, this “bistrotheque” hosts a weekly Happy Hour starting at 5pm on Freaky Tiki Fridays. Get a head start on the weekend with one of their Polynesian cocktails.

“Kings of Pastry”
Opening September 24th at the Coolidge Corner Theatre is this decadent new documentary by acclaimed filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. They follow sixteen French pastry chefs in Lyon battling (and piping and sculpting) for three intense days during the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition. Why? To gain the ultimate recognition in the world of French pastry as a King of Pastry. Hegedus and Pennebaker secured exclusive access to shoot this never-before-filmed test of culinary excellence. There will also be a special screening with the filmmakers at the Theatre September 26th at 3pm. Tickets available online or at the box office located at 290 Harvard St., Brookline. Continue reading

Wulf’s Fish Market

Click image to play.

Click image to play.

Over the past 80 years, Wulf’s Fish Market on Harvard Street has become a Brookline institution. Founded by Sam Wulf in 1926 and run by his son Alan for the last 40 years, it’s a true family operation. Go in the store on a weekday and you’d likely find Alan and his cousin, Richard Taylor, who is also the main fish buyer, cutting whole fish, helping customers, and–more than likely–cracking wise. While things may look the same, there has been a major change at the store this year. After confronting some health issues, Alan decided it was time to lighten the load on himself a bit–the life of a fish monger is a physically demanding one–and sell the store.

The new owners, who by all accounts were pretty much handpicked by Alan, are Chris and Hannah Edelman. The young couple are not new to the fish trade. They also run Seafood Specialties, a wholesaler that supplies fish to high-end restaurants around the country. The Edelmans say they plan to tread lightly at Wulf’s, which Chris describes with great reverence as “the Cadillac of Boston fish markets.” In fact, the only obvious change, since they took over, is the addition of a smoked fish case. Plus, Hannah is now working regularly with Richie and Alan, drawing on Alan’s encyclopedic knowledge of customers’ habits, likes and dislikes. But, essentially, it’s been a matter of burnishing what’s already there.

Stepping into Wulf’s can feel a little like a trip back in time (no computers, no credit cards, an ice table full of fish). It is still one of the best fish markets in area, and one of the only ones where you can watch them cut fish. But, of course, as Alan and Richie will tell you, things in the fish trade have changed a lot in the many years they’ve been in the business. The most significant change is the fact that, due to overfishing and increased demand, fish is no longer plentiful or inexpensive. The “fish game” as Richie calls his morning trips to the pier is tougher than ever. But the hope is that with Chris and Hannah the Wulf’s tradition will last another 80 years.

Cooking for a Cause

Photo: Courtesy of

Join other philanthropic foodies this Thursday, September 23rd, for Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health. There will be a number of notable (male) Bostonians serving up signature dishes from top restaurants and caterers in the Boston area. All the mixing and mingling (and eating and drinking) is for a great cause supported by the Codman Square Health Center.

The Center, a community-based, outpatient health care and multi-service center in Dorchester, has been hosting the big event since ’95 and has raised tons to help combat women’s health issues–e.g., breast cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes–for over 20,000 women in Dorchester.

“Men of Boston” will be held from 6-9pm under the Gala Tent in Codman Square. Tickets (available online or at the door) are $150, $100 of which goes directly towards women’s health initiatives, such as the Center’s nationally recognized Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program featured on CNN’s American Morning, in The New York Timesand The Boston Globe.

Attending? Leave a comment and let us know how the evening went!

BMI Bondage

Photo: flickr/Colodio

Anastacia Marx de Salcedo
Guest Contributor, Slow Food Boston

The other day my teenage daughter bopped in from her annual checkup with some startling nutritional advice:

“The doctor says I need to snack between meals, drink frappes instead of plain milk, and go ahead and have that second dessert!”

“Excuse me?”

“She’s worried. My BMI is only 16.6.”

Hold on a sec. Had Dr. X reviewed her growth history, she would have seen that A’s BMI has actually increased since her height stabilized a couple years ago. And had Dr. X evaluated her general appearance (doctorspeak for looked at her), she would have noticed that she is a classic ectomorph—fine-boned, long-muscled and rangy (paternal genes at work; I’m built like Dick Butkus). But even if A were malnourished or anorexic, telling her to gorge on sugar, saturated fats and edible food-like substances to nudge up her BMI is untenable. It condones bad eating habits and overlooks the fact that people come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. (Besides, um, preaching to the converted? We’re talking about a kid whose favorite hearty breakfast is a half-gallon of chocolate ice cream and who thoughtfully leaves a trail of candy wrappers behind her for geolocation purposes.) Continue reading