Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thursday Tidbits: Jam Session

Photo: Rachel Tayse/Flickr


Jam Session
This Sunday, June 3, Formaggio Kitchen is hosting a jam-making class featuring Rachel Saunders, founder of Blue Chair Fruit Company in San Fran’s Bay Area. You do not need to bring your own fruit, but you will take two jars of jam home! Details here.

I went to a Garden Party
Also this Sunday, June 3, from 5-7pm, Ashmont Grill is hosting a Garden Party, the proceeds from which will support the inchoate Boston Public Market. Locally-sourced cocktails and appetizers on the menu!

Dining Out?

Here’s a nod to our friends at, who’ve got a rockin’ calendar of dining-out-related events in Boston and surrounds — all flavors, all sizes, all food groups. Dine out, dine well.


High Fructose Corn Syrup: Here to Stay
In name, anyway. The FDA has just rejected a bid by the Corn Refiner’s Association to change the name of their product. Here’s why. Continue reading

PRK On The Air: Your Garden

Photo: Baugher Webmaster Services/Flickr

Today on On Point Tom Ashbrook talks up a storm…about your garden.

Featured guests are Charlie Nardozzi, an author, garden coach and consultant out of Vermont, and Karen Wolfgang, the owner and project coordinator at Independence Gardens in Portland, OR, which helps create new edible garden spaces and trouble-shoot gardening issues.

What’s growing in your back/front yard? On your window sills or back stoop? How’s it all going?? Listen to the show, and join in the commentary. Show you green thumb!

The Makings Of A Bad Mormon Dessert


Photo: YiowMade/Flickr

Last month I attended a food event with a pretty unusual theme. It was an author reading (fair enough) and held at a private home in Belmont. But it was billed as a “Bad Mormon Desserts” party.

A what?

In truth, I was not as interested in the author/book as I was in learning just what constitutes a “Mormon” dessert, let alone a “bad” one. (My preoccupation with the food quickly shifted once I met the featured author, Joanna Brooks — a powerhouse of a personality despite her small stature —  and heard her read excerpts from her superbly written Book Of Mormon Girl, which Brooks herself described ascheeky,” both in title and content. But I digress here; back to the desserts.)

As I intuited, the ‘dig’ at their own culinary traditions by this local gathering of Mormons was wholly tongue-in-cheek — a self-deprecating joke amongst insiders. You know, that kind of good-natured tease that’s at once affectionate and respectful in tone.

Come to find out, there are actually two kinds of “bad” Mormon desserts. Both kinds, at this party, were delicious. Continue reading

PRK On The Air: Ice And Fire

Photo: jonseidman1988/Flickr

Today on Here & Now Robin Young speaks with Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, two Allston roommates who have co-authored A Feast of Ice and Fire.

Their cookbook, released just yesterday, is culled from the food (feasts!) richy described in George R. R. Martin’s bestselling medieval fantasy series Game of Thrones, now on HBO (the Season Two finale broadcasts this Sunday).

Unlike the novels, there are no herrons, whole swans, dogs or horse hearts on the menu of this inspired companion cookbook. Instead, you’ll find recipes for Trout Wrapped in Bacon, Sister’s Stew, Pork Pie, Honeyed Crickets and Elizabethan Lemon Cakes.

But, before their book, came the blog. Huzzah!

Listen to the interview here.

Related Reading:
An Official Interview About The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

Downeast Cider Revs Up

Photo: conbon33/Flickr

In her first time writing for PRK, Megan Riesz, a BU journalism student who interns for The Christian Science Monitor, brings us behind the scenes of Downeast Cider House, founded by three college graduates just one year ago in Waterville, ME.

Megan Riesz

Ross Brockman and Tyler Mosher used to wake up at 7 AM to study for the GMATs. But one morning, Mosher turned to Brockman and admitted he hadn’t looked at the test materials for two weeks.

“I was like, ‘me neither,’” Brockman said in a phone interview. “This was a turning point for us.”

Instead of pouring their efforts into getting into business school, the two former Bates College graduates – along with another former classmate, Ben Manter – were in the midst of building Downeast Cider House, a hard cider company currently based in Waterville, ME, but set to relocate to Leominster, MA, in two weeks’s time.

In their senior year at Bates, the trio realized “none of [them] wanted to get real jobs,” as Brockman put it. While having dinner with Mosher’s father one night, they talked about job prospects, what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go upon graduation day.

Manter then voiced his frustration about not finding good cider anywhere outside of the apple orchard he grew up on in Vassalboro, Maine.


“We went back to the dorm and started talking about it,” Brockman said. “It had a life of its own.” Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Local Chefs, In The Flesh

Personal chef Tony Carbone in the how2heroes Studio Kitchen, Cambridge


See ‘Em Live, In Action!
how2heroes is inviting anyone who loves to cook to their brand-spanking-new Kitchen Studio for an Open House. Guest chefs — live, in action, in the h2h Kitchen– will be Jody Adams, Amanda Escamilla, Joe Faro, Mark Goldberg, Michael Scelfo and Peter Tartsinis, all turning out delicious fare in front of your eyes this Wednesday, May 30, 6-10pm in Inman Square. Ryan & Wood Distilleries of Gloucester will provide the cocktails. Register (the event is free!) via Facebook.

Shhh, It’s a Secret!!
On June 1 Bully Boy is hosting an underground speakeasy party to celebrate their 1st anniversary. A number of bars and restaurants (including Toro, Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Russell House Tavern, Moksa, Citizen Public House, Local 149, Saloon, Rialto, Henrietta’s Table, Meade Hall, Bristol Lounge and Post 390) are currently handing out branded coasters with a QR code on the back. When scanned, this gives hints as to where the party will be located! Read more here. (But can you keep the secret?)

Somerville Eats
The Taste of Somerville returns June 5,  5:30-7:30 pm, at the Boston-Somerville Holiday Inn. For $30/pp, the Taste gives attendees a “crazy” amount and array of food and drink from the likes of Casa B, Redbones, the Independent, Foundry on Elm, Kick*ss Cupcakes, Fasiak Ethopian Restaurant, Olde Magoun Saloon and Casa B (with many more eateries participating). Proceeds benefit RESPOND, Inc. — New England’s first domestic violence agency, founded by four Somerville women in the 1970s. You’re advised to ‘come hungry.’

Dine at the NEAQ
Armand Toutaint, Chef de Cuisine for Turner Fisheries, and Christopher Masco, Executive Chef of The Westin Copley Place, will be the featured chefs at the New England Aquarium’s next sustainable seafood dinner, June 7, 6:30pm. Chefs will lead an informative cooking demonstration using U.S. farm-raised bay scallops, wild Alaska salmon and Pacific halibut. Wine pairing included. Tickets are $99 for NEAQ members, $109 for non-members. The dinner will be held at Turner Fisheries. Register here. Continue reading

The Birth Of A New Recipe

Botticelli's Birth of Venus (photo: FLORENCEandTUSCANYtours/ Flickr)

People always ask me how I come up with recipes. After 14 cookbooks, countless articles, newspaper pieces and blog posts, it’s a good question.

How does one create a “new” recipe — is there really anything that qualifies as new? How does one continue to be creative and push oneself to make work that is better and better? I suppose these are questions you could ask any painter or sculptor or choreographer.

Here’s the story behind the birth of one “new” recipe. Continue reading

Txakoli Fest 2012

Attendees of Central Bottle's Txacoli Fest 2012 (All photos: Katie White)

Txakoli (pronounced chah-ko-lee) is a bone-dry, effervescent white or rose wine from the Basque Country of northern Spain. The Basque people, fiercely proud of their heritage, celebrate this local libation each summer at festivals that include pinxtos (pinches) — small appetizers that complement and soak up the alcohol.

“The good news,” Chef Robert Grant of the blue room told me last Thursday evening at his restaurant’s own Cambridge-style Txakoli Fest, supplied and co-hosted by Central Bottle, “is that these wines pair well with almost anything.”

Grilled octopus with lemon aioli

Roasted pig's head

For ticket-holders to Txakoli Fest ($45 in advance, $60 at the door), Grant and his team fired up the blue room’s outdoor grill to serve roast pig (via Savenor’s), sweet calçot (young green onion) with creamy romesco sauce, homemade blood sausage and Spanish octopus with lemon aioli. The octopus, Grant explained, is flash-frozen on the boats in Spain and shipped to Brooklyn, where his importer tenderizes the meat by running it through a washing machine fed a saltwater brine. ¡Qué rico! In addition, passed appetizers included bites of Spanish tortilla and black-and-white anchovies. Continue reading

Forkly: A Foodie Social Network

Photo: naotakem/Flickr

iPhone-toting foodies and oenophiles, rejoice: here’s an app that lets you share what you like and discover new favorites when you go out to eat. Forkly is a social network for food and drink recommendations and reviews. Think of it as an inroad to “what’s good” at restaurants and bars.

Here’s how Forkly works. The app bills itself as a personal rating card and a roadmap to the “must tries” wherever users are. Users snap pictures of a superstar dish or cocktail. Others can “want it,” meaning the app will remind them to try it next time they’re in the neighborhood. Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Savory Celebrations

Photo: ubrayj02/Flickr


A Savory Cycle
The 2nd Annual CYCLE Kids Breakaway Charity Ride — a fitness and food affair — will take place this Sunday morning, May 20, at the DeCordova Museum, Lincoln. Participants can choose to ride 62, 36, or 5 miles for the benefit of Cambridge-based CYCLE Kids, which fights childhood obesity through a school-based program integrating riding bikes in P.E. with nutrition education, literacy and mentoring. The post-ride party includes a grilled gourmet lunch cooked by chef Paul O’Connell of Chez Henri, plus complimentary wine and locally-brewed Pretty Things beer, lawn games and live bluegrass music. (Food lovers can even choose to skip the ride and attend only the savory celebration!) Register here.

Seedlings for Sale
The Powisset Farm Spring Fest and Seedling Sale takes place this Saturday, May 19, 10-3pm at Powisset Farm, Dover (MA). There will be seedlings for sale, music, food, local vendors selling plants, jams, crafts, activities for kids, pigs, chickens and general “awesomeness,” per farm manager Meryl LaTronica. Free and open to all.

The Sound of Fish
People have claimed to hear sounds made by deep sea fish for 50 years, but no one has ever confirmed the underwater chatter until now. Rodney Rountree, a marine biologist at UMass Amherst, has recorded the sounds of fish living as deep as 2,000 feet below the surface. This technology could be used to help track fish before they’re caught – thereby improving sustainable fishing techniques. WBUR’s own Beenish Ahmed reports.

A Pretty Profile
Devra First of the Boston Globe has written up Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, telling the story of its co-founders Dann Paquette and Martha Holley-Paquette and the improbable beginnings of their non-business. If First’s profile goes down easy, try Annie Ropeik’s post featuring Pretty Things’ historical X-Ales here at PRK. (Who knows, perhaps their next project might include a foray into the reified sap beer of Vermont’s past…)

Too Sexy
Move over, Food Trucks? Boston Business Journal reports that fashion trucks might just be the next big thing to hit the streets of Boston besides the Hub’s “explosion in food trucks.” If a licensing plan is accepted, however, who’s to say whether fashion trucks will fare better with City Hall than food trucks currently have, as Colin Kingsbury of Boston Magazine recently questioned.

Continue reading