Welcome to a place made for nibbling and nurturing. Make yourself at home.
YOU ARE HOLDING in your hand the launch issue of a new kind of food magazine. Those of you who saw our preview issue, published last spring, may think that was the first issue. But the preview issue was a test to gauge the reactions of readers like you (and advertisers, too, of course) to a magazine not just about food, but about authenticity in food—a magazine that tracks recipes and ingredients to their places of origin and illuminates their history and traditions; a magazine that dives deep into the world of food instead of just skimming along the surface, and that makes the cooking, the eating, and the just plain reading about food more satisfying.
First grown in a Pennsylvania garden plot a century ago, this oft-maligned lettuce is now a global star
THERE is no handsomer or more solid Cabbage Lettuce in cultivation,” claims a W. Atlee Burpee & Co. seed catalogue from 1894. They’re talking about iceberg, cursed iceberg, the butt of jokes, the bane of all true “gourmets”. Surely, iceberg has no merits for the serious cook or eater.... Hah! Iceberg would smile if it could—for the truth is that, round and crisp, it is a perfect creation.
SEPTEMBER 10 THE RAW AND THE COOKED: IMAGES OF FOOD
SEPTEMBER 13 WILD GAME FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 17 & 18 SORGHUM SOPPING DAYS
SEPTEMBER 17 & 18 CASTROVILLE ARTICHOKE FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 17 & 18 FÊTE DE LA PRESSÉE
SEPTEMBER 17-24 PERSIMMON FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 20 MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 21 FIESTA DE LA VENDIMIA RIOJANA
SEPTEMBER 22-25 GALWAY INTERNATIONAL OYSTER FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 30 BIRTHDAY:
OCTOBER 1 OKRA STRUT
OCTOBER 5 BIRTHDAY
OCTOBER 8 FÊTE DU HARICOT TARBAIS
OCTOBER 8-10 ONION FAIR
OCTOBER 9 CHESTNUT FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 15 & 16 GENEVER FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 28 BIRTHDAY:
Home to Thailand's largest Buddhist monument, Nakhon Pathom annually fêtes the wide variety of fruits that grow in the region with processions of floral floats and demonstrations of Thai and Chinese cooking. Information: 212/432-0433.
1. Plunge a cored head of iceberg forcefully into a large bowl of cold water. Drain, wrap in towel, and refrigerate overnight. 2. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, and lemon juice and stir well. Stir in cheese, then chill 4–6 hours.
EVERYBODY knows there’s good food in southern France, and even in Oregon—but Glasgow? Sure, laddie. THE HEATHMAN HOTEL (1001 S.W. Broadway, Portland, OR; 503/241-4100). When Philippe Boulot was cooking at the elegant Mark hotel in New York City, we thought his food was some of the best in the city (oh, that roasted monkfish saddle in red wine sauce!).
THERE’S a pretty good chance that you’ve never had balsamic vinegar (or, as the Italians call it, aceto balsamico). What?!? you exclaim. Of course you have! You’ve had it on your panzanella, on your salade niçoise, on your chef’s salad. You’ve dribbled it on fish, on meat, on chicken, on tofu.
LIFE IS NOT easy for the lover of good cigars these days. In America, we can't even buy the Cuban ones legally. And almost anywhere we might be, if we do happen to have a good cigar in hand, we probably can’t find a place to smoke it. Family members hold their noses and talk about how it stinks up the curtains.
AND SPEAKING of Cuba...In her splendid cookbook, A Taste of Old Cuba (HarperCollins), to be published in October, Maria Josefa Lluriá de O'Higgins offers this recipe (this is our adaptation), for a dish so adored by Cubans, she says, that they'll serve it with anything.
LEONARD COHEN, proprietor of the Olde Port Inn in Avila Beach, California (halfway between L.A. and San Francisco), sells a lot of wine, and one day he got to thinking about how the stuff was packaged. Why can’t Americans recycle wine bottles the way Europeans do?
One of Britain's top chefs makes surprising errors; another gets it wonderfully right
FOR THE gastronome, there will always be two Englands. The England of gourmet folklore is a no-star, low-comic, ne-vaut-pasle-voyage sort of place. In the nightmare kitchen of this England, oversteamed vegetables and cereal-clotted sausages, gray mutton and leathery custard are the specialties of the day.
PREHEAT THE OVEN to 450°. Smear the butter with your hands all over the bird. Put the chicken in a roasting pan that will accommodate it with room to spare. Season liberally with salt and pepper and squeeze over the juice of the lemon. Put the herbs and garlic inside the cavity, together with the squeezed-out lemon halves—this will add a fragrant lemony flavour to the finished dish.
IT IS HARD to imagine, amidst the rubble of construction, that in less than two weeks, the new restaurant called Nobu will quite possibly have become the hottest ticket in town—no simple task when that town is New York, the nation’s hot-ticket capital.
Tom Cooper's Rocky Top trees bear the fruit of his labor
IT WAS HIS PALPABLE love of growing trees, not a stint at culinary school or some flavor epiphany in Europe, that led Tom Cooper to become a connoisseur, and connoisseurs’ producer, of fruit butters and preserves. Sixteen years ago, Cooper, then 35, a math teacher turned pharmaceutical salesman, decided to start a cherry orchard from scratch.
YOU SIP an aromatic Vietnamese chicken broth. What is that sweet, mysterious flavor? You bite into a marinated, grilled shrimp, surprised by a fresh hit of...what? Lemon grass, you learn. But even when you discover what it is, and find a bunch in an Asian market, it’s still not obvious what to do with it.
1. Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sake, lemon grass, chile paste, ginger, coriander, garlic, and sugar in 9"×12" glass dish. Peel and devein shrimp, and add to marinade. Turn to coat well, and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. 2. Cut lemon grass stalks into 3" pieces and skewer shrimp from head to tail, in the form of a “C”.
Isolated by geography and sanctions, South African vintners perfected their wines
The Winelands of South Africa
THE South African atmosphere has been so thick with humbug and bullets,” writes John Platter in the introduction to the 1994 edition of his South African Wine Guide, "that we need civilising, steadying antidotes as never before. Wine, humble and grand, comes into its own.”
A SCENE FROM THE nostalgia file, circa 1950: With a dog-eared copy of the Ball Blue Book flat on the kitchen counter, the perfect little housewife rushes madly, flushed, through hours of soaking and peeling and filling jars with perfectly ripe, amber-colored peaches, following the book’s quaint directions through “water baths” and “simple syrups”.
CAKE BAKING goes back generations among my forebears in the Piedmont of North Carolina. My grandmother Mattie tutored all of us cousins in the alchemy of baking. The recipes she passed down were born out of the necessity for something sweet and delicious.
1. Scald milk in a small saucepan. Off heat, add chocolate, broken into chunks, and cover. Set aside for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. 2. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease three 9-inch cake pans and line with rounds of greased wax paper. Sift flour and salt together.
When the veteran cooks of San Francisco’s famed Italian quarter are in the kitchen, there’s not a chance that you’ll get a bad meal
WHEN ROSE PISTOLA COOKS CALAMARI
JOE DELGADO KNOWS HIS SALT COD
IN THE OLD COUNTRY, MARIA BORZONI
IT’S LUNCHTIME FOR LOU THE GLUE
BRUNO IACOPI HELD THE SANDWICH FIRMLY
I WAKE UP EARLY, when the cable cars start rolling past my house in North Beach, and amble down the hill to the Dolphin Club at Aquatic Park for a wake-up dip. As I pass through the clubhouse, I see Lou “the Glue” Marcelli in the galley, cleaning calamari for his lunch.
1. Heat half the olive oil in a heavy pot, and cook onions and 6 cloves garlic over medium heat until soft. Add oregano, basil, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 2 cups water. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, adding half the parsley when sauce is cooked.
1. Soak salt cod in a large pot of water in refrigerator for 36–48 hours, changing water at least 4 times. 2. Drain salt cod, then return to same pot, add water to barely cover, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and poach salt cod for about 20 minutes, or until tender enough to pierce easily with a knife.
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Pierce potatoes with tines of a fork, then bake for 40 minutes or until tender. While potatoes are still hot, peel and mash them finely. 2. Combine mashed potato, flour, and 1 tsp. salt. Knead until thoroughly mixed and holding together.
1. Cut squid bodies into ½" “rings". If the tentacles are large, cut them in half vertically. Set aside. 2. Heat olive oil and butter together in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, ¼ cup water, and white wine.
CUT OFF tentacles just above the eyes. Squeeze the cut end of tentacles to remove and discard beak. Set tentacles aside. Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, scrape along the body from the tail to the opening. Push out and discard entrails, being careful not to break the flesh.
FOR 4, HEAT ¼ cup olive oil in a small saucepan with 8 sage leaves and 3 cloves of garlic, chopped. Simmer for 1 minute, and remove from heat. Set aside to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain. Then warm a 9" square of focaccia in a 350° oven. Dice 1 large roasted golden (yellow) pepper.
1. Place onions in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to loosen skins, then peel with a sharp knife. 2. Place onions in a large pan, in about 2" water. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. (Add more water if necessary to keep onions covered.)
There really was a beach here—once— but it disappeared long ago under landfill. North Beach remains one of those compact little bohemian neighborhoods, like the French Quarter and Greenwich Village, where the parking is as bad as the people-watching is good.
At Zhang Shui-lai’s tea farm in China's Fujian province, the scenery is stunning, the work is hard, and the Hairy Crab yields an exquisite brew
Types of Tea
The Tea Ceremony
AMANDA MAYER STINCHECUM
THE MINIVAN labors up a dirt road in the hills west of the Chinese port city of Xiamen, around hairpin turns, past stands of tall eucalyptus and tamarisk trees. Now and then, we come upon clusters of houses, with the delicate, curved, flaring roofs typical of Fujian province.
TAIKOON-LOCK CHA TEA SHOP 290 Queens Road Central at Ladder Street, Hong Kong, China (852/805-1360). Taikoon-Lock Cha sells fine teas from Big Zhang’s farm and many other sources. For drinking, the shop offers properly infused teas—and an English menu—in an elegant but simple environment.
In historic Normandy, one of the world's most complex and subtle brandies is produced from fruit you wouldn’t want to eat
Cow Stomachs and Ox Feet
THERE IS NO SECRET to making good calvados, says Claude Camut. “All you need is the bonne fortune of being in the right place, on the right farm, with the right apples, for 800 years.” The 59-year-old Camut should know. The head of a family that can indeed trace its lineage back eight centuries, to Viking times, he bears a name synonymous with some of Normandy’s finest farm-produced calvados.
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Tie pork loin every 2" with kitchen twine so that it holds a “round” shape. In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt and pepper to taste, and chopped rosemary. Rub the flour mixture all over the pork loin, coating evenly and well.
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Wash the birds thoroughly, then drain and dry with paper towels. Rub them with salt inside and out. Pepper each one generously. 2. Truss poussins in this manner: Fold wing tips back beneath shoulders. Drumsticks should fit snugly against the tips of breastbone.
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Core apples and peel off and discard the top third of their skin. Place in a baking dish. 2. Cut butter into small pieces, placing a little inside each apple and the rest on top, dividing it evenly among them. 3. Zest orange, setting zest aside, then squeeze juice from it and pour over apples.
The easiest way to get to Calvados is by train from Paris (Gare St-Lazare) to Caen, a distance of 160 miles. Most major rental car companies have offices at the Caen rail station. CHÂTEAU D'AUDRIEU Audrieu (18.104.22.168; fax 22.214.171.124).
Northern Maine is hungry country, and Carol Stirling knows how to feed it—with baked beans, blueberry pancakes, and trout, trout, trout
WEST BRANCH PONDS CAMPS rises out of a clearing at the end of a rutted dirt road deep in Maine’s northwestern woods—eight cabins and a lodge building, their exteriors weathered to a silvery patina, built along a low ridge overlooking First West Branch Pond.
1. Fry bacon in a large, heavy skillet until brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Reserve bacon fat in pan. 2. Rinse fish and dredge in cornmeal. Salt and pepper both sides to taste. Add vegetable oil to the bacon pan. Heat the pan until very hot, then fry fish in oil and fat for about 5 minutes. Carefully turn the fish (a wide, long spatula is ideal for the task), then cook the other side.
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap fish in a single layer of cheesecloth, and place in a fish poacher or on a rack in a baking pan. 2. Pour 2–3 cups boiling water into bottom of pan. Cover, place in oven, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer fish to a platter, unwrap, dot with butter, sprinkle with cider vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and serve with lemon quarters.
1. In a heavy, medium-sized pot, brown salt pork or bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of fat from pot. 2. In the same pot, cook onions over medium heat, stirring often until tender and translucent (about 20 minutes).
1. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Beat the egg with the milk. 2. Pour the egg-milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat well. Gently fold in ½ cup of the blueberries. 3. Using a paper towel, grease a large, heavy griddle or skillet with a thin film of vegetable oil, then heat over medium heat until very hot.
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb and brown sugar, mix well, and set aside. 2. In a large bowl, combine 3 tbsp. melted butter, eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and sugar. Beat with a heavy whisk until a smooth batter is formed.
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 2 cookie sheets with shortening and set aside. Combine margarine, sugar, molasses, egg, and milk. Beat until well mixed. 2. Sift together flour, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add dry mixture to molasses mixture ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Greenville, at the southern end of Moosehead Lake, is the jumping-off spot for this neck of the north Maine woods. If driving from New York, Boston, or other points to the south, take 1-95 north (which becomes 495, the Maine Turnpike) to Exit 39 (Newport).
THEY SAID it drove you crazy. They said it gave you leprosy, and even freckles. But that didn’t stop the bitterly delicious EGGPLANT from becoming one of the most popular vegetables in the world.
WITH THIS EGGPLANT...
LONG OR ROUND, BLACK OR WHITE?
TO SALT OR NOT TO SALT
WHEN I WAS A KID, WE grew eggplant in our backyard garden in the San Fernando Valley, and I can remember my father drop-kicking one over the fence one day so that my mother wouldn’t notice it was ripe and try to serve it to us. “These things are just purple footballs,”
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place eggplants on a well-oiled sheet pan and pierce lightly on all sides with a small knife. Bake until soft, about 30 minutes. (For an attractive smoky flavor that will add complexity to the finished dish, grill eggplants on a barbecue, blacken them over the gas burner on a stove, or sear them on a very hot, lightly oiled griddle, cooking until their skin wrinkles and takes on a bronze tone.
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Wrap garlic in foil and roast in oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and cut eggplants lengthwise into ½" slices. (There should be about 20 pieces in all.) Brush each slice with olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Trim and halve eggplants lengthwise. Sprinkle with 4 tbsp. olive oil and bake 20–30 minutes. Cool. 2. Cook onion and garlic in remaining oil over medium heat until tender. Scrape flesh out of eggplants and coarsely chop.
Techniques and Discoveries from Our Food Editor, Christopher Hirsheimer
Crazy for Eggplant
EGGPLANT CHILLS OUT
SQUID FOR THE SQUEAMISH
YOU SAY TOMATO
Whipping Up a Froth
EGG ON OUR FACE
MONTEREY JACK: CALIFORNIA'S OWN PARMIGIANO
A JUICY NEW TWIST
Polenta as Comfort Food
IN PRAISE OF THE CAST-IRON SKILLET
A Little Bit of Sunshine
I DON'T KNOW what I thought eggplant was when I was a kid, but it had the same effect on me as liver. I’ve never recovered from liver-phobia, but I’m mad about eggplant. When my own kids were little, I was always whipping up ratatouille and they were horrified.
1. Poach eggplants in gently boiling water for 5–10 minutes or until slightly soft. Slit each eggplant from blossom end almost to stem end twice, so that eggplant splays into four “fingers” attached to stem end. 2. Mix salt, walnuts, and cayenne in food processor into a smooth paste.
1. Place tentacles in a food processor, then pulse 6 times for a finely chopped consistency. Transfer to a bowl; add bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, 3 tbsp. of parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and egg. Mix well. 2. Wet hands to prevent mixture from sticking.
IN A LARGE POT, whisk 1½ cups polenta into 4 cups cold salted water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until polenta is the consistency of porridge. Lower heat and continue simmering for 5 minutes more; continue stirring constantly.
COMBINE equal parts of sugar and water and a generous amount of sliced lemon grass core in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool. Fill a jar with a few lemon grass stalks.
Instead of building a fixed island, so typical of today’s kitchen design, we chose instead an old oak table, 30"×78", and put it on casters to bring it to counter height and give us a work surface wherever we need it. We built our two white wall ovens into their own cabinet so we could control the height there, too.