Monthly Archives: January 2011

Rialto’s Ricotta Gnocchi with Jerusalem Artichoke Puree

Jody Adams of Rialto (Photo: Susanna Bolle)

In this frigidly cold weather, we could all use a little culinary comfort, and there are few dishes that are as warmly satisfying as pasta. Add a little ricotta and a beautiful creamy sauce to the mix? Well, so much the better.

Jody Adams, the chef and owner of the much venerated Rialto restaurant in Harvard Square, generously shares her recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi with a Jerusalem Artichoke Puree.

It’s a dish that is elegant, delicious and not very difficult to make. Plus, as Adams notes, nothing gives you quite as much satisfaction as making your own pasta — except perhaps making your own pasta and eating it, too!

Adams garnishes the dish with a simple herb salad (chervil, mint, parsley, celery leaves, etc.) with a light Meyer lemon vinaigrette. She also shaves truffles over the top of the dish, but don’t fret: you can easily substitute regular mushrooms. After all, it’s not all that comforting to break the bank in the name of dinner. Continue reading

Help End Hunger

PRK’s Tidbits post from yesterday led off with a reminder of the annual Super Hunger Brunch happening this weekend, January 29-30, to benefit The Greater Boston Food Bank.

We want to give you more details today, however, to really get you thinking about the mission of the GBFB and, hopefully, to get you to log on and make your reservations. If you can afford it, participate!! Please help The Food Bank fight hunger in Massachusetts. We write about food every day, but we rarely write about hunger–the forced, pernicious kind.

This year, Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger, Jody Adams of Rialto and Liz Melby of Harpoon Brewery are the Chairs of Super Hunger Month. We’ve got a recipe for simple, delicious-sounding “Shrimp and Grits” from Ming Tsai, below, to whet your appetite.

Read more about hunger in our state, get yer recipe here, and please go out to brunch this weekend if you can.

Cheers! Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: A Week to Eat

Photo: 1la/Flickr


Salad with your Pancakes
Whoever said breakfast is the most important meal of the day missed the mark. What they meant was brunch is the most important meal of the week. Correct this generations-perpetuated misconception while supporting a fanstastic cause this Saturday, 1/29 and Sunday, 1/30 at the Greater Boston Food Bank Super Hunger Brunch. Purchase a $25, $30 or $50 certificate for an “exclusive” brunch of donated time, food and service. Each restaurant participates one day. Find participants and their coordinating price and date of brunch here and make a reservation!

Sustainable Seafood
How often do you get to eat crayfish this side of the Mason-Dixon? Chef Stephan Oxaal of B & G Oysters and New England Aquarium Executive Chef Mukesh Ranmarine will prepare line-caught cod, plus farm-raised scallops and crayfish on February 15th as part of the sustainable seafood series at The New England Aquarium. The three-course dinner is $75 for non-members. Two more events are scheduled for 2011. Call (617) 973-5206 for reservations or buy tickets online.

Three Course Meal Deal
Nine participating restaurants in Dorchester and Milton will be serving a $30.10 three-course prix fixe dinner menu Sundays through Thursdays through January 31st for Dorchester-Milton restaurant week. Here’s your chance to try some new places on the (relatively) cheap.

White, Red and Greenmarket
Legislation passed this summer now allows sales and tastings of state-produced wines at farmers markets and other agricultural events. Take advantage this weekend when six farm wineries are scheduled to attend the Wayland Farmers Market Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Chocolate in the Dark
Head to Cambridge this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Chocolate festival at Harvard Square. It seems every business from L.A. Burdick chocolate to TD Bank is offering some sort of chocolate-themed deal for the event. Also, try the chocolate treasure hunt Saturday or dine in the dark at Upstairs on the Square Sunday. Continue reading

PRK On The Air: A Knish With A Twist

Making matzoh balls. Photo: The Jewish Museum of Maryland

Today, we’re tasting some food that may have blown Bubbie’s mind.  Earlier, PRK wrote about the New Center for Jewish Culture’s Second Annual food event “Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen”, which invited a bevy of local chefs to reinvent a typical Jewish dish.

Radio Boston invited some of those chefs, Steven Brand of Upstairs on the Square and Michael Scelfo of Russell House Tavern, into our studios to sample (and explain) their nouveau Jewish cuisine.

Tune into Radio Boston at 3pm to listen and salivate.

And as Bubbie would say, “don’t forget the recipes!!”


For weight loss, get your coworkers involved

Photo: Matt Seppings/Flickr

Whether or not you believe in New Year’s resolutions, talk of weight loss is impossible to avoid this time of the year. Every time you turn on the TV, there’s an ecstatic Jenny Craig spokesman evangelizing, or shots of beautiful people on ellipticals at some trendy gym – as if we could all afford to sign up for some pricy plan in this economy.

BUT WAIT. What if you could make money by losing weight? What if, now that your office football pool is waning, you created a similar challenge for weight loss?

Studies have shown that these challenges can work – just ask Jacki DeAngelo, a part-time student in Boston University’s MBA program.

For her “Starting New Ventures” class last semester, DeAngelo’s assignment was to make a business plan. She chose to create a platform she describes as “eHarmony for working out” – a way for companies to offer weight loss challenges to their employees in the hope of long-term cost savings on health insurance.

When the semester was over, she had a new business plan – and a few extra pounds, she says. So DeAngelo, a marketing specialist at BU’s School of Management (SMG), decided to run a pilot program of her contest within her own office. Here’s how she did it – and how you can, too. Continue reading

The Art of Cheese

Photo: nerissa's ring/Flickr

As part of Harvard’s optional winter or “J-Term” activities, students spent a day last week learning about cheese-making. Off-campus, that is, and just a mile up the street at Formaggio Kitchen. There they descended into Formaggio’s own cheese cave, only to ascend and get their hands wet making ricotta and mozzarella.

Having watched Lourdes Smith of Fiore di Nonno massage her own mozzarella, all while hearing her explain the craft involved and the learning curve she went through, I feel 100% sure cheese-making is an art, and a science. Cheese eating? A joy. 

Read more: Do You Speak Cheese from Harvard’s Gazette.

Nella Pasta

Photo: Courtesy of Nella Pasta

Leigh Foster and Rachel Marshall of Nella Pasta aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Literally. You’ll usually find them elbow deep in ravioli, penne, fettuccine and spaghetti at Jamaica Plain’s Crop Circle Kitchen, a large commercial kitchen shared by local food producers. But it’s just another day’s work for the duo, who’ve come a long way since their days behind a desk.

Foster and Marshall met when they were hired on the same day in 2008 as account coordinators. In no time, they got to chatting about a mutual passion: food. Amazingly, Foster and Marshall realized they had studied abroad mere blocks from each other in Florence, Italy (fate!), a defining food experience in both their lives.

All this talk of food grew into a very legitimate and well thought-out business plan. So well thought-out, in fact, that when they were fired on the same day in December ’08, Leigh and Rachel had the beginnings of Nella Pasta to fall back on. They had even begun making pasta recipes at home, which they would share on their lunch breaks. So, it was only a few short months before Leigh and Rachel debuted their product at the Hingham Farmers Market in the spring of 2009.

The praise they’ve gotten in that short time says it all: these two know how to make good pasta. Featured in numerous local blogs, and recently in the Globe, Nella Pasta has also gotten some national attention: it was the top food pick in DailyCandy’s “Start Small Go Big” Contest, an inaugural competition honoring young entrepreneurs.

PRK caught up with Foster and Marshall to learn more about the business, the challenges of seasonal cooking, and that new ravioli machine. Continue reading

Journeyman: In Review

Photo: ineffable_pulchritude/Flickr

Last month on PRK you heard first-hand about the “normal problems” Journeyman chefs Diana Kudayarova and Tse Wei Lim had encountered and were still encountering at their newly opened restaurant in Somerville.

This month Tse Wei muses about what it was like for Journeyman to be formally reviewed recently by Devra First, Boston Globe restaurant critic and food reporter. Tse Wei’s is a lucid, interesting response. Here it is. Continue reading

What’s a healthy American diet?

Healthy eating? (Photo: philcampbell/Flickr)

I always enjoy eating well-made, rich, flavorful foods (read: something dipped in chocolate). Still, I’ve always thought that my diet – filled with homemade foods, limited snacking and largely centered on produce – was pretty healthy, overall. That is, I did until I saw a study that made me start second-guessing my assumptions.

A recently published Consumer Reports survey found that 90 percent of Americans believe that their diet is healthy – even as 57 percent reported BMIs that qualified them as overweight or obese.

You can be heavy and eat healthily, of course – but large amounts of respondents reported unhealthy habits, from drinking sugary beverages to not weighing themselves regularly. And among Public Radio Kitchen’s followers on Twitter, where we followed your reactions to the survey, there was no shortage of skepticism regarding the health of the average American diet.

So, I decided to ask around. I started at WBUR, where I conducted my own survey. Many here were more self-critical than I imagine most Americans are. Our beautiful receptionist Pauline Sulprizio, for instance, calls herself the “carb queen.”

“I’m married to an Italian,” she said. “I wouldn’t suggest that if you want to keep your ideal weight.” Continue reading

Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen: Well Beyond Tradition

Beyond Bubbie's Kitchen, 2010

Beyond Bubbie's Kitchen, 2010 (photo: courtesy of Prism)

Jewish food = Matzo ball soup.

That was then. This now. Hold onto your forks and knives! Heady days of innovation are just around the corner.

On Sunday, January 30th, the New Center for Arts and Culture is hosting their tasting event “Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen.” 15 chefs from in and around Boston will participate in cooking demonstrations that energize traditional Jewish dishes with contemporary flavors and healthy ingredients. Best of all, guests will walk away with a recipe booklet laying out the how-to’s of each of the dishes made that evening.

Halibut served at BBK, 2010

The list of new recipes is tantalizing. Bagel and lox? Not a chance. Try this on for size, from Michael Scelfo of Russell House Tavern: Caraway & matzah cake with hot smoked arctic char, vermont fromage & micro celery.  Potato Pancake? Try: Cold smoked cherry wood salmon with potato apple galette with whole grain mustard horseradish remoulade from Michael Madden of OM.

Tickets can be purchased directly through the NCAC (if you’re 39 or under, that “young adult” ticket means YOU). The event is being held at the Moakley Courthouse, so make really sure you don’t forget your ID. Chefs in the spotlight will include Azita Bina-Seibel of LaLa Rokh, Erwin Ramos of Ole and Evan Deluty of Stella. There are many more.

To whet your appetite, we’re including some of the featured recipes here…

Continue reading