Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pasta Alla Carbonara from Amelia’s Trattoria

Chef Delio Susi, Jr., of Amelia's Trattoria (Photo: Susanna Bolle/PRK)

“I didn’t choose this recipe, it chose me,” says Chef Delio Susi with a laugh, when I ask why he chose to share his version of the classic Italian pasta dish, Pasta alla Carbonara, with PRK. Growing up, it was a childhood favorite of Delio which his grandmother used to make for him.

In the version that he makes at his restaurant, Amelia’s Trattoria in Cambridge, Chef Susi adds a couple of twists and variations to his grandmother’s traditional recipe that make it extra special. He adds scallions, a little nutmeg and, most dramatically, a sunny side up egg, which not only tastes good, but also looks just lovely. Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Bee Healthy

Photo: jlodder/Flickr


Whole Grains: Just Ask
Tuesday, April 4, is the first-ever Whole Grain Sampling Day. In Boston, keep your eyes peeled for that one special Duck Boat where whole grain crackers and baked goods will be handed out by members of the Whole Grain Council (based here in town). It’s a nation-wide effort meant to draw attention to the deliciousness of whole grains, their health benefits and the ease with which they can be incorprated into your diet. Even fast food chains are participating. Read more, eat more grains!

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Peeps
W2O, or Women Working for Oceans, is a local organization aimed at promoting healthy and sustainable oceans through education and action. They are hosting a luncheon April 10 at the New England Aquarium IMAX Theater devoted to the topic of plastics in our oceans. Tickets are $55/pp and include lunch. Co-leaders Dianna Cohen, founder of the Plastics Pollution Coalition, and Kathleen Frith, a Harvard Medical School sustainable food expert, will explore the topic. Visit the W2O site, or call 617-226-2143 for more informtion.

Walk, Talk, Eat
BU’s Wood and Wine Program is offering a trio of Saturday walking tours led by Anthropology proefssor Merry White. White will discuss what food can teach you about social and urban identities as you stroll through three Boston neighborhoods beginning at 10 AM: the North End (April 14); East Boston (April 28) and Dorchester (May 12). Register for one tour ($70) or the full series ($175). Lunch included. Continue reading

Seder In A Box

Seder in a Box materials (photo: courtesy of JewishBoston)

If you’re thinking of hosting Seder next week but have cold feet, kiss those nerves goodbye.

What if we told you there are folks here in Boston who have YOU in mind with a product they’re pulling together for a second year in a row in these weeks leading up to Passover. It’s called “Seder in a Box.” And it’s free.

Continue reading

PRK On The Air: A Restaurant Girlhood

Photo: PhotoCo./Flickr

Today on Radio Boston, co-host Mehgna Chakrabarti speaks with Charlotte Silver, daughter of Upstairs on the Square co-owner Deborah Hughes, about Charlotte au Chocolat, Silver’s new memoir recounting her childhood years at the iconic Harvard Square eatery Upstairs at the Pudding.

It’s a thoughtful interview, with Silver recalling the Pudding as “…a fabulously theatrical place” where she used to nap underneath the bar and eat pheasant for dinner. Yet beyond the period specific, back-in-time look at Harvard Square when the subway had just been built and Pudding chefs such as her dad could still smoke cigarettes behind the line, Silver feels her memoir carries a universal message — one that transcends the exotic-sounding details of her restaurant girlhood. It involves education, fun and magic, those quintessential ingredients of childhood.

Listen to the interview.

Food Therapy from Well + Good NYC

Photo: Theodore Richard/flickr

A doctor told me once to give up coffee. Coffee is arguably a perfectly healthy drink, of course, but some people — like me — are more sensitive to caffeine than others. I didn’t listen to the doctor, of course, because coffee is amazing.

Still, maybe the doctor would approve of my caffeine habit if I turned it into this hippy-dippy health smoothie, courtesy of Well + Good NYC. With coconut, raw cacao and a frozen banana, it sounds lovely and refreshing as breakfast or dessert. Plus, all those antioxidants and good fat and vitamins or whatever! Really, it would be unhealthy NOT to drink my coffee with this in the blend.

Take that, medical professionals!

How To Make Easy, Dairy-free Yogurt For The Cost Of A Few Pennies

Photo: Jaime Lutz

Vegans, gluten-free eaters, health fanatics and the budget conscious — listen up. This post is for you.

It’s also for you if you like sourdough and do-it-yourself projects on the lazier side. Here’s the deal: you can make your own dairy-free, possibly organic, possibly gluten-free probiotic yogurt using only oats and water. Let’s put that in perspective: my favorite dairy yogurt, the Oikos organic plain Greek variety, costs NINE DOLLARS for four servings. Even if you get conventional yogurt, you’re guaranteed to be set back at least three bucks for less than a week’s servings. Making your yogurt from oats, on the other hand, costs PENNIES per serving.

And it’s really, really good. Nice and thick and creamy – with a texture halfway between cooked oatmeal and dairy yogurt. As tart as sourdough.

Here’s how you do it.

Continue reading

That Uninvited Dinner Companion: Your Waiter


Photo: pasotraspaso/Flickr

Kathy Gunst
Resident Chef, Here & Now
Cookbook author, blogger

Remember when fine dining was simple? You were handed a menu, the waiter recited the specials, you ordered, and the rest of the evening was spent in conversation with your dining companions. Listening to the life story of your waiter or waitress was not part of the experience. Nor was an exhaustive recitation of the provenance of the meat, fish, cheese, and chocolate on the menu. It was a less complicated time and I, for one, long for it.

I’ve just come from a week in the Bay area and northern California and I have been overwhelmed with good food, but also a mega dose of pretense.

Take, for instance, my experience at one of the hottest restaurants in San Francisco. We are seated at a gorgeous wooden table and handed menus. Then comes the dreaded water question. “Still, sparkling, or tap?” I am always met with scorn when I answer tap. Call me crazy, but I prefer to spend my money on wine and good food. Our waiter then launches into a long soliloquy about the specials and “what chef prefers to do with pork,” and “what chef prefers to do with pasta.” Fine. I’m OK until I ask for some guidance. “I’ve never been here. Can you help me zoom in on one or two dishes to try?” And then it comes, an absurd response that goes something like this: “There are seven of you here. That gives you seven possibilities. There are seven lives that can be altered by this food. I would never be so presumptuous as to tell you what I think is best. Seven lives can be fed here, tonight. I’ll leave it to you.”

Seriously? I wasn’t looking for spiritual guidance. I just wanted to know if he thought the homemade fettuccine trumped the sole? Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Dine Out (Of State)

Photo: Wolfrage/Flickr


Portsmouth Eats
Restaurant Week in Portsmouth, NH, and The Seacoast begins tonight and runs through next Saturday, March 31 (weekends included). Over 40 restaurants are participating, with lunches at $16.95 and dinners for $29.95. Read more.

Munch Madness
The Boston Globe’s annual spin-off of the college hoop tournament has begun. Have you voted for your favorite restaurant? Munch Madness is your chance to be a taste-setter in Boston! Last year, after fierce match ups, Hungry Mother and East Coast Grill faced off in the final round.

Cooking For An Age-less Cause
An impressive line-up of Boston-based chefs will come together Friday, March 30, from 6-10pm at the Seaport Hotel. They are all Cooking A Cause: proceeds for this fundraiser will benefit the East End House in Cambridge, which supports a variety of programming for infants through to the elderly. Tickets are $125/pp.

Just a Spoonful of Ginger
Joanne Chang, Jacky Robert and Wesley Chen are a few of the chefs who will participate in the Joslin Diabetes Center’s 8th Annual A Spoonful of Ginger fundraiser from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on March 26th. The venue itself is ‘delicious': the Art of the Americas Wing at the MFA. Proceeds will support the Joslin’s Asian American Diabetes Initiative (AADI). There are lots of ways to donate, including purchasing a ticket ($250/pp). Continue reading

Why Cooking Matters

Photo: ReneS/Flickr

When a cause makes this much sense and the working model appears this much fun, it’s hard not to be captivated.

Share Our Strength is a nationwide non-profit whose aim is to end childhood hunger in America. Not just by ensuring enough to eat for our kids, but by ensuring nutrition from the best kinds of food. This means Share Our Strength relies on investments of knowledge, time and money — a bit of each in equal measure — to achieve its ‘No Kid Hungry’ strategy. Plus, willing participants.

The ‘willing participants’ part is why Steve Dunn, a local food writer/photographer, contacted PRK. To all you readers out there, what follows is a ‘right-down-front-street’ request that you volunteer. But don’t get spooked! We figure that if there’s one overriding reason you follow this blog it’s because you love food. This being so, you probably share your passion with others — online and, of course, in person. The latter is where Steve Dunn comes in.

Dunn serves on the board of Cooking Matters Massachusetts, the local arm of Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters. The Cooking Matters initiative, now almost 20-years-old, educates members of low-income communities how to shop economically and cook in a way that is appetizing and culturally acceptable. Classes are dedicated to children, teens and adults, also to expectant mothers and parents with kids, so that all age-groups gain practical skills and knowledge that last a life-time and can be shared down the line. Continue reading