Monthly Archives: November 2010

Thursday Tidbits: Pie Season

Photo: you can count on me/Fickr


If You Dare
Yes, yes, pumpkin pie is a favorite Thanksgiving dessert, but have you ever thought about adding something new to the table, or giving the tried-and-true recipe a twist? If you’re not scared of a revolt, check out Saveur’s eighteen pie recipes.

Soup Plays Dirty
Who doesn’t love a good competition? Especially when it involves food, and you eating it. It’s a Soup Slurpdown November 21st at dante, where chef Dante de Magistris and his culinary cohorts will serve up their best soups to the chilly onlookers/judges. Reserve your $20 ticket at (617) 497-4200 or at

Great Excuse
Did anyone else notice it was 60° this week? The folks at BostonZest certainly did, and they visited Jake’s Seafood at Nantasket Beach for a local favorite: lobster rolls. If you’re craving a taste of summer, don’t worry—Jake’s will be open through December.

Bond, Jason Bond
The man behind the amazing Steak Frites at Beacon Hill Bistro, chef Jason Bond, unveils his intimate, 28-seat eatery, Bondir, November 21st. The locally sourced menu kicks off with yummies like butter-poached Cape Ann lobster and squash soup with homemade marshmallows. Call (617) 661-0009 for reservations.

Sharing the Wealth
Rialto duo Adam Gendreau and Patrick Gilmartin decided to bring their everyday staff meals to the public with Staff Meal Food Trucks. Staff meals are meals made by restaurant staff for the restaurant staff, so suffice it to say their midnight snacks are a little more impressive than ours. Starting this weekend, they’ll be serving you daily from 8pm-3am. Call them at (617) 209-9244 for more information or follow their location updates at

Bundle Up
JJ Gonson of Cuisine en Locale isn’t the only one spreading the good word on where and when to shop local this winter season—the MA Department of Agricultural Resources just posted a list of upcoming festivals and weekly farmers’ markets. So you can keep stocking up on fresh and local produce come snowfall.

‘Tis the Season
Get in the Christmas spirit November 27th at Smolak Farm in North Andover at their annual Tree Lighting Festival. You’ll have a chance to browse thousands of pre-cut or “choose-and-cut” Christmas trees, and if you bring a new, unwrapped gift for Toys for Tots, you’ll get 25% off your purchase. But what does this have to do with food? Well, of course there will be plenty of complimentary hot chocolate, a gingerbread house giveaway, and cookie demonstrations for the kids while you shop. And who knows, maybe the Big Man himself will make an appearance.

Ciao Italia
The host and creator of America’s longest-running television cooking program, Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, will be at Kane’s Donuts in Saugus for a book signing December 1st at 7:30am. Get there early…

Fine Local Dining
December 2nd is the 3rd Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner Series at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, and this year’s focus is on local ingredients. Chef Sam Hunt of 15 Walnut in Hamilton will start the evening with hors d’oeuvres at 6pm, followed by a three-course prix fixe dinner. The cost is $125 per person. Call (978) 412-2555 for reservations, or e-mail


Syrah with Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes?
As there’s always such a variety of flavors on your Thanksgiving table, it can be tough to pick the right wines. Here are some helpful tips from The Washington Post on what goes with what.

Food Lit
Slow Food Boston’s Anastacia Marx de Salcedo mixes Cuban food, politics and culture in her essay, “One Cup Hunger-Striking Prisoners, Two Cups Crazy Cuban Bloggers,” featured in the most recent publication of Blood Lotus. This particular issue is dedicated entirely to food poetry and fiction, so read up and eat up.

Move Over
There’s a new competing culinary hotspot: Portland, Oregon. Josh Ozersky of Time calls this unpretentious, pig-loving small town “America’s New Food Eden.”

Bacon Popcorn
I’m just sayin’…

Post #4: Foray into Meat


Photo: Diana Bauman/Flickr

Week IV: Moist Heat Cooking
(Intro; Week I: Knife Skills; Week II: Eggs; Week III: Soups and Stocks)

There was a noticeable change yesterday when I stepped into my kitchen with a shopping bag full of ingredients and The Packet in hand. I felt a level of calmness and confidence that was a little foreign to me, but certainly welcomed. I didn’t experience the familiar waves of panic nor did I have thoughts of how everything will go wrong. My mom wasn’t even home during this particular cooking endeavor, and I usually enjoy the comfort of knowing she’s around to put out the fire if need be (literal and figurative meanings apply).

And all this positivity even after a botched rabbit. Continue reading

What NOT to Get the Cook on Your List

Photo: flickr/a100tim

It’s that time of year again. Catalogs bombard the mailslot like heavy artillery. William Sonoma, Harry & David, Swiss Colony, Chef’s Catalog, Walnut Acres Organic Farms, Hickory Farms, Omaha Steaks, Stonewall Kitchen, Sur la Table, Zingerman’s. If you’ve got a foodie on your holiday shopping list, your fingers are probably itching to enter that www or dial that 1-800. Halt! It’s time we cooks came clean…


Gift: Perfect Pasta Timer
Comment: I’ve already got a fail-safe method for testing pasta. It’s called my mouth.
Final resting place: Straight to the clutter drawer, where it can commiserate with the other abandoned kitchen gadgets—Miss Melon Baller, Mr. Meat Thermometer, Ms. Pizza Wheel, Madam Apple Corer and Lemon-Zester-chan.

Gift: 18″ Paella Pan
Comment: OMG, this thing is huge. You must be suffering from kitchen dysmorphic disorder. Where the @$#? am I going to keep it? And more to the point, why would I want to waste valuable kitchen real estate on something I’m going to use once or twice a year?
Final resting place: Behind the outgrown kids’ bikes in the basement. I’ll just haul it upstairs when YOU come over…

Gift: Yum-O! The Family Cookbook (hardcover)
Comment: I appreciate what Rachel Ray does, I really, really do. She makes a from-scratch dinner possible and even fun for millions of time-pressed Americans. But, in case you hadn’t noticed, I actually like to cook. (And on the days that I’m not in the mood, my husband gets take-out or does frozen and, know what?, that’s totally okay.) In fact, the part I like best is inventing new dishes and re-interpreting old ones. Every now and then I do read a cookbook. (Usually something along the lines of Sephardic Cooking or the 1878 Gulf City Cook Book.) In bed, with a cocktail, as if it were a novel. Then I never open it again.
Final resting place: Gathering dust between The Three Ingredient Cookbook and Maple Syrup Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Gift: Tower Full of Joys
Comment: Hear that? It’s the sound of molars and premolars being gnashed together. I spent hours roasting cauliflower florets, green beans and eggplant disks and reducing shallots and thyme to nibble on before my delicious but admittedly somewhat saturated-fat heavy dinner of roast beef, garlic potatoes, salad and chocolate mousse (salmonella be damned!). Now I’ll have to sideline my healthy and artistically heaped platter to pass around some nitrite-laced sausages, orange cheese with a nuclear melting point and “Incredible Spreadables®,” whatever the hell those are.
Final resting place: Your hips, sucka! I’m noshing my own hors d’oeuvres in here.

We know you mean well. But unless we sent you a link, dropped a major hint (“Boy, I could really use a .9 quart Mauviel copper saucepan, only $114.95″), or have an obvious collection (yeah, I’ve already got a half dozen 50s aprons, but they’re so darn cute), please refrain from getting us anything kitchen-related. Because we cooks are fussy. Oh. So. Fussy. And until you’ve spent hours in front of our stoves, you’re not going to understand why we prefer a motley assortment of iron, copper and stainless steel pots to a matching set from All-Clad. (How decorative, darling! *shudder*) Or why we hate the beefy silicone spatula you bought. (A flimsy, cheap-ass one is best for prying the cookee from the cooker.) And don’t even get me started on the spillage that happens when you’re a left-handed cook wielding a right-handed ladle. It may not look that way, but everything is exactly how we want it. So if you’re casting about for present ideas, why not consider something a little less intimate, say a custom-fitted foundation garment?

(Oh, and those gift baskets? Just don’t.)

Wondering what we would like? Thought you’d never ask!


  • Wine, fine chocolate and quirky, tasty things you pick out yourself
  • Two places (one for each of us) in food or drink-related classes or events
  • A good nonfiction book, food literature, or a recipe collection by someone with a unique world view

Tatte’s Special Brand of Magic

Photo: Katie Noble, Edible Boston

Ilene Bezahler
Guest Contributor, Edible Boston

When I first looked at the dessert that had been placed in front of me, I wondered whether it was edible. It looked like a work of art! And it was, figuratively speaking. In actuality, though, it was a nut box.

Exploring more, I found this specimen of a nut box to be only one of the many art-like offerings baked in the ovens of Tatte Fine Cookies and Cakes in Brookline. These lovely creations are the work of owner-baker Tzurit Or.

Edible Boston‘s Rachel Travers has gotten to the heart of Tzurit. Read about her life in “Magic from the Oven” and learn there what has inspired Tzurit to create her edible gems.

Catherine Walthers On Soup, Salad, and Stock

Kale and Farro Soup (Courtesy Photo)

Martha’s Vineyard chef Catherine Walthers is somewhat of a celebrity in my humble kitchen. I was first introduced to her recipes at a recent PRK meet-up; I’ve been hooked and mesmerized ever since. Her first two cookbooks Greens Glorious Greens and Raising the Salad Bar bring fresh ideas to any cook (expert or fledgling, like myself) and you cannot imagine my excitement when her new cookbook Soups + Sides appeared on my desk.

I called her, of course. We spoke for nearly forty five minutes, covering everything from the right way to use corn in soups to the importance of having homemade stock at all times. I nervously confessed that I’m a short-cut girl and she chuckled. After reading her latest book, though, I’m a convert. Roasting-chicken-bones-for-fresh-chicken-stock, here I come.

PRK: What made you start writing cookbooks?
CW: I’ve been cooking all my life. I got a masters in Journalism for my first career and then I got laid off from the Boston Herald. I thought it might be a good time to go to cooking school.

PRK: From one precarious career to another?!
CW: (laughs) Yes. But, I realized it [cooking] was my passion. I never looked back; I would do it all over again if I had to.

Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Bittersweet

Photo: GreenLandCafe/Flickr


Cocktail Hour (and a Half)
TONIGHT at The Boston Shaker get an introduction to cocktail bitters, from what they are to what they taste like. Practice making one cocktail a few times, adjusting the proportions to see exactly how a mere drop can affect the overall balance and flavor. The class costs $45 and runs from 8-9:30pm. Buy or reserve tickets online.

Rock n’ Roll (n’ Eat)
It’s the third annual Eat Your Heart Out Boston on November 14th at the revamped Paradise Rock Club. In 2008 a group of music-loving foodies got together to raise money for Boston-based music and food-related non-profits, and they’re still at it. Starting at 6pm, join more than a dozen local chefs as they open the night with their culinary goods. The bands then take the stage from 8pm-midnight. Tickets, which benefit Zumix and Future Chefs, are $35 apiece and are available online.

Migratory Dining
Every Tuesday of this month, Lala Rokh and Bin 26 of Beacon Hill will be serving up an Italian and Persian-inspired four-course prix-fixe menu with two courses served at Lala Rokh and two at Bin 26. Seating available at 6pm or 8:30pm. Call (617) 720-5511 for reservations.

Lazy Thanksgiving
Don’t feel like cooking this year? Want to try something different? Here’s a list of restaurants in the Boston area that will gladly serve you your turkey and stuffing. Book ahead, of course.

Gingerbread House on Steroids
Wenham Museum is putting on its 4th Annual Gingerbread Contest December 1st-18th. Submit an 18×18 gingerbread creation to go alongside their gingerbread model train. Entries of the past have included a replica of the Sydney Opera House and the historic barn at Appleton Farm. Contact Mary McDonald at (978) 609-0038 for submission information and event details.

Gluten-Free Goods that Are Good
Boston Globe did a write-up this week on All Can Eat Cafe and Bakery in Randolph that is adding variety and flavor to a diet inhibited by food allergies and digestive disorders. Check out their full selection or buy online here.

From Blog to Book put together a collection of one hundred recipes from food bloggers for the recently released Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook. Featured are some Massachusetts residents, like Nikki Gardner of art and lemons, who shares her recipes for Gluten-Free Quinoa and Corn Flour Crepes.


Cute Food
To all you food bloggers, check out what food stylist Tami Hardeman of Atlanta had to say on her blog, Running with Tweezers. She gussied up egg salad in her most recent post, giving tips on how to best showcase your recipe.

Just in Your Head?
The LA Times tackles the big mood-food debate, and you may be sad to hear that that leftover Halloween chocolate isn’t really making you happier–science has shot down many of the common knowledge food-mood links like this one. Read more food myths here.

It’s All About the Basics
Horrified that other cooks don’t make everything from scratch, Elizabeth of Guilty Kitchen has decided to do a weekly “Back to Basics” post. Her first fundamental in the series: butter. Try it out, maybe you’ll be a convert.

Post #3: Foray into Chicken Noodle Soup

Photo: rkazda/Flickr

Week III: Soups and Stocks
(Intro; Week I: Knife Skills; Week II: Eggs)

This week’s lesson at the CSCA involved butchering. Both of a chicken and of my nerves.

Soups and stocks might not sound like the most threatening of opponents, but there were moments when I felt as if I’d bit off more than I could chew (bah!). And all this angst brought on by one of the most comforting meals out there: Chicken Noodle Soup with Parmesan Croutons.

Last week I’d felt as though I’d ducked out of a challenge. Though I’d been eager to finally learn the art of Eggs Benedict, it certainly wasn’t the most difficult recipe in The Packet.

Stocks take upwards of four to six hours to make, so Chef gave us tips and techniques instead (like, never season your stock), and we used a pre-made batch for our own soups. There were fewer recipes to choose from this week, so most people split up into groups of two. But as no one else volunteered to make the Chicken Noodle, I decided to go it alone. Continue reading

Meet Your Bartender: Highland Kitchen’s Joe McGuirk

Joe McGuirk of Highland Kitchen (Photo: Susanna Bolle)

Susanna Bolle

When I mentioned to a friend, who is a veteran Boston barhound, that I was meeting with Joe McGuirk, the bartender at Highland Kitchen, my friend beamed and said, “Wow, I first knew Joe back when he was at the B-Side! He’s great. I swear he’s worked at every bar in the city. He’s like Boston’s bartender!”

McGuirk may not have tended bar at every bar in Boston, but he certainly has worked at more than his fair share over the years. By his estimate, the total currently stands at an impressive 20, ranging from tony spots like Chez Henri and the Beehive to sports bars like Game On and the Bleacher Bar. At the much beloved B-Side Lounge, he was there for the beginning of the classic cocktail renaissance in Boston, and has seen it through virtually every step of the way since.

And it’s come a long way since he started serving drinks at Christopher’s in the early nineties. “The cocktails that we make today, you couldn’t have even made in 1992,” he says. “The first bar I worked at didn’t even have a martini glass.” Now, fueled by a more sophisticated clientele, an ever widening array of spirits (it’s hard to imagine, but good rye whiskey, was almost impossible to find just a few years ago), and bartender ingenuity, the mixing side of the bartending equation has gotten more complex. Continue reading

Western Mass. Recipe Mag Cooks Up An Internet Frenzy

A college student 40-year-old woman named Monica Gaudio says Cooks Source, a freebie cooking magazine in the western Mass. town of Sunderland, stole her story on apple pie recipes straight from the Web.

On her blog, Gaudio called out the magazine for plagiarism and published a (breathtaking) response she says she received from Judith Griggs, the editor of Cooks Source.

The Cooks Source Facebook page as of 1:13 p.m.

The Cooks Source Facebook page as of 1:13 p.m.

The Internet jumped to Gaudio’s defense, overwhelming the Cooks Source Facebook page with numerous past examples of the magazine’s apparent plagiarism — including an NPR story about ice cream. (See the original and the magazine version.)

Now some Cooks Source advertisers, mostly local businesses, are withdrawing their ads and asking the Internet to be kind to them, say they knew nothing of the magazine’s journalistic malpractice.

Gaudio says the overwhelming publicity (Boing Boing, Reddit, Gawker, NPR…) broke her e-mail.

But here’s where it gets confusing: Gaudio now says she has received “no personal contact from Cooks Source.” (I have since interviewed Gaudio; I misunderstood.)

A person purporting to be Griggs, the magazine editor, responded on Facebook — “Well, here I am with egg on my face!” — but Gaudio wonders if that’s fake.

Here is an excerpt of the e-mail Gaudio says she received from Griggs, the Cooks Source editor — the e-mail that started the frenzy:

…honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence [sic] and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!

In the e-mail, the magazine editor acknowledges it was “my bad” and that she was probably just tired.

I’ve reached out to Monica Gaudio to see if I can get the full story, and my colleague has tried calling Cooks Source. Until then, you can judge for yourself — the Internet already has.

Update: I interviewed Monica Gaudio and wrote about it here.