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The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 30, 2013


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Roots Of Creole Cuisine
Today in 1812, the Territory of Orleans was admitted to the United States as the State of Louisiana--the eighteenth state. This is also the day, in 1803, when Thomas Jefferson signed the Louisiana Purchase, making it officially part of the United States. Our state is named for King Louis XIV of France--the Sun King. Even by royal standards, he lived in high style. His taste for great food and wine encouraged the development of French cuisine. Which New Orleans inherited as part of the empire.

Music To Eat Red Beans By
Today is the birthday (1925) of Johnny Horton, who recorded the hit song The Battle of New Orleans in the 1950s. It was one of many songs that requires the tourist pronunciation of our city's name:

Well they took a little bacon and they took a little beans,
And they fought the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

Food Calendar
Today is allegedly National Raisin Day. Raisins are ultra-ripe red grapes. They remain on the vine until wrinkled and intensely sweet. The same effect comes from picking the grapes and letting them ripen in open baskets. Raisins are very good for you, but not everybody likes them. In every pan of bread pudding--in which raisins are a common ingredient--I put all the raisins on one side, leaving the other raisin-free.

The strangest use of raisins I ever heard of was a game played in England a century ago. You put raisins in a bowl of brandy and ignite them in a darkened room. The game was to reach into the flames and pluck out raisins, then eat them. They'd still be on fire, but as soon as you closed your mouth the flames would be extinguished. We do not recommend this game.

I also note that today ends National Soy Foods Month. Darn! We forgot to do anything about that!

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
If wine is better with age, and a raisin is a grape with age, why do grapes taste better than raisins? And would you get the aged-wine taste if you made wine with raisins? Many questions to be answered here.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Crabtown Creek, New Jersey is along the Jersey Shore resort strip, sixty-five miles south of New York City. It's a natural harbor, much used by pleasure boats, off the tidal Manasquan River. It's the kind of place where crabs probably do live in dense numbers--or used to, anyway. The Union Landing, the Sand Bar, and the Shipwreck Grill are all restaurants within a couple of blocks of Crabtown Creek.

Dinner In The Diner
Casey Jones ran off the rails in the great train accident that immortalized him in song. It happened near Vaughn, Mississippi, some fifty miles north of Jackson.The City of New Orleans used to cross the very spot where the Cannonball Express met its demise, but is now routed to the west. All the chicken gumbo in the dining car drained into a ditch, but they never talk about that. Hmph.

Music To Eat On The Road By (Again!)
This is the birthday (in 1933) of Texas country music icon Willie Nelson, as fine a writer as he is a performer. Among his many gifts to the word is his annual Farm Aid concert, helping the beleaguered American family farmer. He doesn't look to me like he eats enough, though.

Annals Of Popular Cuisine
On this date in 1904, 101 years after the Louisiana Purchase was signed (see above), President Theodore Roosevelt officially opened the Louisiana Purchase World Exposition in St. Louis. The hot dog, the hamburger, and the ice cream cone are all reputed to have been invented there. If they were not, they certainly became popular as a result of the Fair. Dr Pepper, little known before the Fair, was a big hit after.

Edible Dictionary
arrabbiata, Italian, adj. Also all' arrabbiata--Served with a tomato sauce with enough crushed red pepper flakes to register a distinct hotness on the palate. The word means "angry," a reference not only to the red pepper, but also to the fact that it's made quickly over high heat, as if the cook were agitated about something. Arrabbiata sauce usually includes more than the average amount of garlic, too. It's a specialty of Rome, and is most often served with pasta--usually tube pastas like penne or ziti.

Food On The Air
Today in 1945, Arthur Godfrey began a daily radio show on CBS Radio. He didn't end it until this same date in 1972, when his show was the last remnant of old-time network radio. It was a variety show with live music, interviews with guests, and joking around by Godfrey. Perhaps the most influential program in broadcasting history, its format is still in use by most television talk shows. A Prairie Home Companion is a lot like what Godfrey's show was. Godfrey did all the commercials himself, ad-lib. His most loyal sponsor was Lipton Tea.

Deft Dining Rule #616:
A Chinese restaurant that doesn't brew its tea to individual table order with loose tea leaves is Americanizing most of its menu, too.

Food Namesakes
Now here's a strange coincidence. Folk singer Richard Farina was born today in 1956. His wife Mimi Farina was also born on this date, in 1945. (She was Joan Baez's sister.) And Johnny Farina--who was no relation at all to any of the above--was also born today, in 1941. Johnny was half of the early rock duo Santo and Johnny, famous for their instrumental hit Sleepwalk.(Farina is a word referring to all kinds of flour.)

Words To Eat By
"A raisin is just a worried grape."--Fred Allen, radio comedian of the 1930s and 1940s.

Words To Drink By
"A hardened and shameless tea-drinker. has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning."--Samuel Johnson.


FarmVille Mobile

The first task which is to collect 8 tomatoes is very elementary. Just grab them in your tomato field to finish the task. Water it then collect again until you have 8 of them.

The next task which is to collect 12 wool isn't possible unless you have a sheep. And it will also take time to produce. You must feed your sheep to produce 3 wool with tomato. The producing time of the sheep is 30 minutes. The total time for 12 is 2 hours. Simple quest but takes time right.

The last task which is to make 2 trousers is where you will use the wool that you collect. You also must have a loom to create trousers. You can buy a loom in the store using gold. 6 wool is needed to make 1 trouser. The making time is 20 minutes.

When all task is done collect your 100 XP from Marie. Be ready for the next quest from her.


Cooking Asparagus and an Onion Tart With Deborah Madison

Recipe Lab, a monthly feature, invites you to cook with the Dining section. We’ll publish a few standout recipes from a new cookbook for you to try. The next week, the book’s author will join Julia Moskin and readers in a live video chat. This month’s book is Deborah Madison’s “Vegetable Literacy.”

The chef and gardener Deborah Madison has been writing almost entirely about vegetables for more than 25 years. Home cooks like me, who use her magisterial book “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” regularly, may think there is no need for another vegetable cookbook in this lifetime. We are wrong.

This new book, “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press, 2013, $40), looks at the universe of vegetables differently, breaking it down into botanical families — the Carrots (carrot, celery, fennel, parsnips), the Sunflowers (sunchoke, cardoon, artichoke, endive, escarole, lettuce) and so on — in a way that is both interesting and extremely helpful. At first, Ms. Madison said, she was writing a collection of research, not recipes, in part to train herself to be a better gardener. Then, she thought, “Wouldn’t it be useful to explain how these families interact when they meet in the kitchen?” Knowing, for example, that chard, spinach and beet greens are in the same botanical family (the Goosefoot), but that kale and broccoli rabe are in a different one (the Cabbage) helps a cook manage all that dizzying produce from the farmers’ market.

We’re going to explore two springtime recipes from the chapter titled, “The (Former) Lily Family”: a fragrant onion tart, and asparagus with salsa verde and scarlet onions.


A Change of Plans, Thanks to a Bird

Sandra Lee, 46, is the host of “Semi-Homemade Cooking,” in its 15th season on the Food Network. Her first novel, “The Recipe Box,” will be out this summer. Born in Santa Monica, Calif., she lives in Manhattan and shares a home in Westchester County with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Tuesday, April 30

Seven a.m., thrilled to greet my Mr. Coffee pot. Off to a meeting with event sponsors for my World’s Largest Bake Sale fund-raiser. I put on a casual blue Michael Kors dress and Tom Ford sunglasses, the best trick for no-makeup days. By 6 p.m., was back in the apartment and changing for two red carpets. First, the Can Do Awards for the Food Bank for New York City honoring my dear friend Mario Batali. I wore a Thakoon dress: gold, cream with blue and pink flowers, birds and butterflies. My shoes were Oscar de la Renta silver stilettos. Hundreds of flashbulbs later, back in the car for the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting in New York gala. I received their Inspirational Leadership Award. I layered on a cream Carmen Marc Valvo bolero. It was getting chilly.

Wednesday, May 1

Bake sale day! Put on my Haute Hippie gold-copper-rose skirt with a pale pink Carlos Miele silk blouse and Roberto Cavalli faux python belt. I wore my Juicy Couture flats that I can actually run in, and my rose gold and peach coral earrings I got in Capri 12 years ago. I bagged my ladies’ Hat Luncheon outfit for later. It’s all white. Agonized about wearing white before Memorial Day, but I gotta be me! I was in the car to Fox studios to talk about the bake sale. Then to Grand Central for the sale, ribbon cutting and the press line. Before noon I was in a public bathroom, changing into a beautiful cream lace Moschino dress, my Alexander McQueen double-breasted white riding coat, Miu Miu blush heels and a white Fleur de Paris hat.

Thursday, May 2

Fed my pet white umbrella cockatoo, Phoenix, his breakfast. Two weeks before, I had received my invitation to the Met Gala excited about this year’s theme: punk. I had a Vivienne Westwood dress, midnight black, perfectly beaded bodice and floor-length multilayered tulle skirt — perfect for the gala. I entered the walk-in closet to find Phoenix had severed nearly every bead, crystal and pearl from the dress. No joke. Into the cage Phoenix went, and into a white peasant-style Philosophy sundress with white pearl embellished Calypso flip-flops I went — to go shopping. Two hours later, I gave up for the day.

Image

Friday, May 3

At my home in Westchester, which I call Lily Pond, I threw on a white tee from H & M, a light blue Dolce & Gabbana blazer and white Ralph Lauren jeans. Halfway to the city, my interview with People magazine changed to a phone call. For dinner with a friend, changed into khaki capri pants and a gray and cream flannel shirt with Tod loafers.

Saturday, May 4

Drove to the Hamptons to go antiquing and visit friends. I wore a black Tory Burch sweater over a black-and-white-striped long Old Navy cotton dress.

Sunday, May 5

Put on Levi’s and a Free People long-sleeve shirt for a quick trip to the garden center for ferns, flowers, a fountain and fertilizer. At 3:30 p.m., motorcycle ride! Into fresh Levi’s, a black long-sleeved Chrome Hearts T-shirt and black nylon Harley jacket and black Harley steel-toe boots.

Monday, May 6

In a Club Monaco black tee, black Zara tuxedo blazer, jeans and pink floral Dolce sling-back pumps that I bought in St.-Tropez, I hit the road for the city for an intense Kmart meeting.

For the Met, I decided to wear a dress I got for Elton John’s birthday: a tiered organza strapless gown by Alexander McQueen. Four-inch Jimmy Choo stilettos in black and gold. Any higher than four inches and it would have been a one-way ticket down the staircase.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Pigs in a Blanket)

On the way to my in-laws house several years ago, my husband mentioned his mother was fixing 'Pigs in a Blanket'. When we arrived, I was confused when I didn't see any hot dogs or breading anywhere on the table. Instead, his mother served what looked like rolls of cabbage leaves in a red tomato sauce. It was good and something I had never seen before. After we left I explained to him what MY 'Pigs in a Blanket' were: hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls with ketchup or mustard for dipping. He ended up finding (through Google, of course) that the Pennsylvania/Dutch version was what he grew up on- but most photos and recipes had come up as the hot dog snack I was used to.

I decided to search the web for what sounded the best to me for HIS kind of 'Pigs in a Blanket'. After coming across Melissa Norris' Cabbage Roll Recipe, I made some minor tweaking and ended up with something both my husband and I could agree was tasty. (And I even gave him my word I would include HIS name of the dish in my blog title. How sweet am I, right?)

I am sure you could bake these in the oven, but I always trust my crock pot to cook things tender and extra delicious.

12 leaves of Cabbage
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 cup Jasmine rice, uncooked
1/4 cup Milk
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 (15oz) cans Tomato Sauce
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Boil cabbage head in large pot of water for a few minutes until leaves are soft enough to wrap. (I had to boil mine for about 5 minutes, peal off 5 leaves- and then return the head to boil another 5 minutes and peal off a few more)

In a medium bowl, mix ground beef, rice, milk, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spoon beef mixture into cabbage leaves, tuck in the sides of the leaves and roll tight. Place in crock pot with the seam side down.

In separate bowl, combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well then pour over the cabbage rolls.


Ferry Plaza market cultivates revolution

1 of 18 Baby Lettuces with Peas, Radishes and Creamy Roasted Onion Dressing as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 24, 2013. Food styled by Sarah Fritsche. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 18 Poached cherries and rhubarb with vanilla and pink peppercorn as seen in San Francisco, California, on May 1, 2013. Food styled by Sarah Fritsche. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 18 Tierra Vegetable Fresh Fava Stew with Heirloom Polenta and Harissa as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 24, 2013. Food styled by Tara Duggan. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

5 of 18 Baked Eatwell Farm Eggs with Green Garlic Cream and Herb Pistou as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 24, 2013. Food styled by Tara Duggan. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

7 of 18 A shopper carries a bag of vegetables (left) as people enjoy the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 18 Melissa of Arizona (l to r) talks with Karen Shore of Zuckerman's Farm as she selects asparagus at the Zuckerman's Farm stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 18 Snap peas and spring onions are seen at the Everything Under the Sun stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

11 of 18 Jolie Devoto Wade and her father, Stan Devoto of Devoto Gardens at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 27, 2013. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

13 of 18 Tatiyana Woodward, 17, (left), and Anthony Perez, 16, from Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island at their Schoolyard to Market stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 27, 2013. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

14 of 18 Bill Crepps of "Everything Under the Sun," with customer, Patricia Unterman (left), at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 27, 2013. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

16 of 18 Anthony Perez, 16, (right) of Schoolyard to Market showing a customer a plant at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 27, 2013. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

17 of 18 Jolie Devoto Wade and her father, Stan Devoto of Devoto Gardens at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as seen in San Francisco, California, on April 27, 2013. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

It's become such a San Francisco icon that it's hard to imagine a time it wasn't here. Yet things were very different when the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market opened in 1993.

The Ferry Building was cut up into offices, and the elevated Embarcadero Freeway had only recently been torn down after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. San Francisco had just two other farmers' markets - Alemany, and the Heart of the City in Civic Center - rather than the 20-plus that now operate in the city.

Fast forward 20 years to a Saturday morning at the Ferry Building. Five minutes before the market's 8 a.m. opening, regulars start arriving to get their weekly fill of Eatwell Farm pastured eggs and White Crane greens. Chefs push around carts laden with baby cabbages and herbs as they compose the night's menu. Later in the morning, tourists begin to fill the market's aisles to ogle just-picked asparagus and sample fragrant strawberries.

"If I don't go, I feel very unhappy," says attorney Judith Ganz, who drives in every week from Oakland and recently celebrated her 65th birthday by gathering friends together at the market. "I actually try to plan vacations so I don't miss a Saturday."

Beyond tantalizing home cooks, tourists and chefs, it's hard to overstate the market's impact - part of which is due to its emphasis on education and sustainability.

"The Ferry Plaza has helped lead the way in deepening and enriching the food culture of this city," says Annie Somerville, executive chef of Greens Restaurant.

Although a few other Bay Area farmers' markets are older, Ferry Plaza "is like the mother market to all the neighborhood markets that have spawned over the years," she says. "It kind of set off a farmers' market revolution."

Regional gathering spot

Together with the revitalized Ferry Building, the market is also a social hub for the Bay Area, says Jasper Rubin, a former city planner and assistant professor of urban studies and planning at San Francisco State University.

"The farmers' market participants come from around the region, which underscores the nature of the Ferry Building and the plaza as a gathering spot and as a meeting place for the region. It's in a central location for the Bay Area," Rubin says.

Even if "farm-to-table" has become a Bay Area cliche, that's not something that farmers in any of the market's notoriously hard-to-get stalls would complain about.

"This is still our best market. We have a lot of exposure," says Stan Devoto of Devoto Gardens, a Sebastopol heirloom apple grower who has been around since the market's beginnings.

Considering the market's estimated 25,000 visitors on a peak summer Saturday, it's hard to believe that the Port of San Francisco was once hesitant about allowing organizers to launch it in front of the Ferry Building, which at the time was far from a pleasant destination.

"It was a pretty grim place, certainly with the freeway up, and even with it down," says the market's founding director, Sibella Kraus, a former Chez Panisse cook who had been involved in restaurant-farmer initiatives through the 1980s.

Bayside setting

The goal of Kraus and her fellow organizers was to create a public market modeled on Pike Place in Seattle and others in Europe and Asia. The Ferry Building was not the only location they had in mind. Piers 15/17, now the home of the Exploratorium, and Piers 30/32, where the Warriors plan to build their new arena, were also considered.

Before the Ferry Building's redevelopment plan was finalized, the group organized a one-day harvest market in September 1992 in an open area adjacent to Justin Herman Plaza across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building.

When the festival attracted more than 100 farmers, 16 food vendors and around 10,000 visitors, the port agreed to allow a permanent market to open the following May in the same spot.

It was a little slow at first, and farmers complained that too many single people were coming and buying a single peach.

"Everybody looked hopeful, but a little hesitant," says Lynne Raider, a longtime weekly shopper, of those first markets. "But the leadership was very convincing that this was something that was going to happen."

To attract more families, the market started offering cooking classes for children and other educational programming. In 1994, market organizers founded the nonprofit Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture, which still operates the market. To sell at the market, farmers had to meet certain sustainability standards.

In 1995, CUESA added a weekly Tuesday market. Soon, redevelopment plans for the Ferry Building were finalized, with the market as an anchoring tenant. But when reconstruction on the Embarcadero started, the Saturday market relocated to a nearby parking lot on Green Street for several years. With the opening of the Ferry Building Marketplace in 2003, the market could move into a permanent home.

Over the years, the overall number of farmers and vendors has been pretty consistent, says CUESA Executive Director Dave Stockdale, though there has been an increase in farmers who come year-round rather than just seasonally.

"What they discovered is they were developing their audience, then they'd leave (during winter), and then when they came back, they'd have to fight to regain their audience. It was a better business model for them to diversify their crops," he says.

Some farmers added lettuces and root crops to sell during winter, for example. Bill Crepps of Everything Under the Sun in Winters, another of the market's original vendors, added dried tomatillos and dehydrated smoked garlic to his line of fresh vegetables, which also suits tourists who can't bring home fresh tomatoes.

A place for ideas

While some of the market's farmers also sell wholesale, many chefs prefer to go to the market for inspiration.

"It's one thing to read a list of what Green Gulch has to offer. It's another thing to be there and see it and taste it," says Somerville of Greens.

Some longtime market vendors are getting new energy from the second generation. Jolie Devoto Wade, 25, grew up at the market helping her father, Stan, and will eventually take over the farm. In the meantime she and her husband, Hunter Wade, started a cider business using apples that can't be sold as fruit. They sold 1,100 cases of their Apple Sauced cider in their first year and are increasing production 500 percent.

"We cannot fill the demand right now," says Devoto Wade.

The market has long been an incubator for artisan food businesses like Far West Fungi, Prather Ranch Meat Co., Recchiuti Chocolates, Miette bakery, Blue Bottle Coffee and soon Rancho Gordo, all of which started as market stalls and now have stores inside the Ferry Building, which is under different management than the market. Other vendors, like Hodo Soy Beanery, Tacolicious and 4505 Meats first gained an audience at the market and now run brick-and-mortar businesses elsewhere.


The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - Recipes

I was wondering what size Stockpot you used for this recipe? I am in college and want to break free from take out and ramen. With that said, I need some new pots and pans because the toaster oven will not do. I really love your video's and the food always looks incredible. I want to make the cider braised pork and was wondering what size Dutch oven you used. This would be incredibly helpful and greatly appreciated.

Hello Chef John,
This recipe looks mighty good!
Not to get too gross so early in this post but do you wash off the chicken first? Hearing about "fecal soup" kind of gives me the willys!

Will give this recipe a go (like many of your others) - looks great.

Had a good chuckle over your commentary: "one of those people who never reads the instruction manual".

I come from a family that as kids believed the first thing to do when you open the box of a new product is hurl the instruction manual to the far end of the room and begin parts sorting and assembly.

Of course my family method - despite several young minds collaborating on how best to proceed - would hit a wall and on rare occasion we retrieved the manual and corrected an assembly mistake. but it is just so much fun to group-cheer and say: "We did it! It works!"

Looks great - but is it 1:15 or 65 minutes? Yeah, I know I am just being a smarta$. :-) But I thought it was funny.

Looks and sounds great! Thanks chef!!*

Why start with so much water, when step #2 is to boil most of it off?

I'm excited to try this for tomorrow's dinner! Thanks Chef John! :)

Finally, a great recipe for Chicken Spaghetti. The concept is so simple yet it took decades for someone (at least someone I know) to come up with a recipe that doesn't contain Cream of Something and taste like every other Midwest hotdish.. Thanks Chef !!

Absolutely 5*s Chef John! Perfect in all respects! Everyone loved this dish and you are right about not 'just dumping pasta in a bowl'. Adding the pasta with the sauce and chicken to warm together really enhanced the flavor. EXCELLENT dish!

I just made this with my own spaghetti squash substitute. it's really good! Thanks!

Can I leave the red pepper flakes out my inlaws don't like spicy food's

Also what size pot was you using

Also what size pot was you using

Blogger James Payne said "Can I leave the red pepper flakes out"?

Of course. As Chef John would say,
'you are the boss,
of your spaghetti sauce.'

Hi from London! Getting excited about making this for the first time ever tonight. Chicken, sauce and anchovies in the pot. Can't wait!

Hi John. Ever since I convinced my local award-winning butcher in germany to get me some skirt-steak, he greets me by name. So thanks for that. Since Germany is Bratwurst-Country and the Barbecue-Season is close by - This is my food Wish: A new take on Bratwurst please! Yours, Oliver

I made this and loved it - it will become a new staple here in the Bonzulac household. However! Chef, I have a quick question: did you mean table salt or kosher salt? I assumed table, but found it was perhaps a little too salty. (Of course, I also reduced it a bit too much, so that may have been the problem.)

Made this in the Instant Pot. Used less water and it turned out great. Like really great.

This version of spaghetti became my flag dish when friends are visiting us. It is so simple, flavorfull, delicious and economic, comparing amount/price! Thank you so much for this recipe:)


Federal Grill comes into its own

Matt Brice's focus at the Federal Grill is excellent food but also excellent service.

2 of 30 The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with champagne buerre blanc at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

3 of 30 A waiter delivers dessert at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

4 of 30 Chef Antoine Ware, formerly of Hay Merchant, prepares a dish at the Federal Grill. The restaurant has a new owner and a new look. Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

The Federal Grill's 22-ounce cowboy-cut bone-in ribeye is served with sautéed spinach and truffle mac and cheese.

6 of 30 The Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

7 of 30 The outside patio area at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

8 of 30 The dining area at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

9 of 30 The bar at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

10 of 30 The bar at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

11 of 30 The bar dinning area at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

12 of 30 The bar dinning area at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

13 of 30 A waitress walks through the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

14 of 30 Matt Brice, left, and Mike Frank the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

15 of 30 Matt Brice, left, and Mike Frank the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

16 of 30 Matt Brice, left, and Mike Frank the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

17 of 30 Matt Brice at his restaurant the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

18 of 30 Chef Antoine Ware prepares a dish at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

19 of 30 The Tartare of Yellow Fin Tuna with avocado, dijon emulsion and crispy shallot at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

20 of 30 The Bread Pudding dessert at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

21 of 30 The Braised Veal Breast with mushroom risotto, kale and veal reduction at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

22 of 30 The Tartare of Yellow Fin Tuna with avocado, dijon emulsion and crispy shallot at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

23 of 30 The Braised Veal Breast with mushroom risotto, kale and veal reduction at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

24 of 30 The Smothered Pork Chop with pimento cheese polenta, Tuscan kale and grain mustard jus at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

25 of 30 The Smothered Pork Chop with pimento cheese polenta, Tuscan kale and grain mustard jus at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

26 of 30 The Smothered Pork Chop with pimento cheese polenta, Tuscan kale and grain mustard jus at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

27 of 30 The 22oz Cowboy Cut Bone-In Ribeye served with sautéed spinach and truffle mac & cheese at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

28 of 30 The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with champagne buerre blanc at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

29 of 30 The 22oz Cowboy Cut Bone-In Ribeye served with sautéed spinach and truffle mac & cheese at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

30 of 30 The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with champagne buerre blanc at the Federal American Grill, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Michael Paulsen/Staff Show More Show Less

When restaurants are sold or change hands, the first thing the new owner usually does is distance the new concept from the previous - in name, look, menu and every other way possible.

That isn't the route that the owners of the Federal Grill took when they bought Branch Water Tavern from chef/owner David Grossman in January. In an unusual deal, Federal purchased not just the popular Branch Water space but its menu and recipes, and enlisted Grossman to stay on board for a two-month transition period. Grossman, who operated the restaurant at 510 Shepherd for three years, retained the name with plans to open a new Branch Water Tavern in Houston. (He and his fiancee/partner, Julia Sharaby, are opening a brick-and-mortar version of her Fusion Taco truck downtown.)

But because the name Branch Water lingered with the new ownership, and Grossman was still in the house, it had more than a few diners scratching their heads. Was this still Branch Water, or is it the new Federal Grill? Matt Brice - who owns Federal Grill with his partner and father-in-law, Mike Frank - acknowledges it was an atypical transition. His wife, Jenny, was more blunt: "It was incredibly confusing."

Hopefully, it isn't any longer, said Brice, who happily announced that the Federal Grill is finally emerging as its own distinct restaurant. There's new signage plus a new menu, new patio, new chef (former Hay Merchant chef Antoine Ware joins executive chef Michael Hoffman at the stove) and new look for the restaurant billed as a fine-casual grill with a modern American menu.

Federal hopes to capitalize on the things that made Branch Water a success: a great space with a menu of comfort-driven, crave-worthy fare. The menu includes tartare of yellowfin tuna with avocado and Dijon emulsion, jumbo lump crab cake with champagne buerre blanc, sesame-crusted eggplant napoleon with cucumber salad and raita, almond-crusted red snapper with braised chickpeas and chorizo vinaigrette, braised veal breast with mushroom risotto and kale, and a steak and chops menu that features Prime filet, New York strip, bone-in ribeye and a smoked pork chop. The lunch menu boasts sandwiches (oyster po'boy, Texas Wagyu cheeseburger, croque monsieur) and entrees such as Gulf fish and chips, blackened Gulf shrimp, chicken pot pie and fishermen's stew. Some of Grossman's signatures have remained, but Federal's owners have worked hard to stamp the menu as theirs.

The bar features a menu of cocktails, bourbon and whiskey flights, craft beers and an enhanced wine list.

While Brice is proud of the menu, he said he's working just as hard on the service end.

"It's about the treatment every guest deserves," said Brice, who owns Bistro des Amis in Rice Village and was the former operating partner at Mo's A Place for Steaks. "It should be 'Yes is the answer, what is the question?' Your food should speak for itself, but it's really about the service."

Brice, 37, is a workaholic obsessed with all aspects of restaurant operations. The Massachusetts native started out in the business on the lowest rung. In high school "my parents told me I had to get a job, and I did," he said. That was as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, a job he kept all through high school, even getting a chance to cook. After college, he got a management position with Brinker International Restaurants (Chili's), which led to a general manager position at Ruth's Chris Steak House in New York. From there, he worked for Milwaukee restaurateur Johnny Vassallo directing restaurant concepts for the owner of Mo's A Place for Steaks in Wisconsin and Indiana. He became operating partner at Houston's Mo's, which led to development work with Cyclone Anaya's. He purchased Bistro des Amis in 2011.

"This is where my home is. I love Houston," Brice said, adding that Houston is an ideal restaurant city. "The economy is amazing. The area is such a melting pot. Restaurants are popping up every day. There's a lot of foodies in this city. And you have a hub where people are flying in from all over the world. It's a perfect storm."

Brice said he wants to concentrate on Federal Grill for a good two years to perfect it as a brand before potentially opening other locations in Houston. The best part about a Federal Grill expansion? They won't have to deal with a confusing name change.


Homemade Frappuccino


I love the Starbucks bottled Frappucccinos that you can buy at almost every store. They always tempt me from the little drink cooler while I wait in line to check out at the store. A nice, cold sip of sweet coffee, just what a mama needs after a stressful shopping trip with 2 or 3 little boys in tow. I almost never treat myself to one though, they just seem too expensive for what seems like 3 or 4 gulps of coffee. (Anyone else polish those off in 3 “sips”?) So I quickly learned to make my own.

The thing I love about making my own is that I can customize it to my taste. I like my coffee flavor a little stronger, and my drink not quite as sweet, so I add a little more coffee and a little less sugar. You can also make it skinny or deliciously creamy by using skim or whole milk – your choice! Your flavor options are limitless too…mocha – add chocolate syrup. Vanilla, mix in a little vanilla extract. Salted caramel frappuccino…add some amazing salted caramel sauce! Have fun creating and customizing your perfect chilled coffee drink! It’s also a great way to use up any leftover coffee you might have in the pot (um, yea, like that ever happens!).

2 cups strong brewed coffee, chilled
5 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, vanilla extract – add if desired

Combine all ingredients, stir until sugar dissolves. Chill.

© 2019 The Merrythought. All rights reserved. We allow for one photo to be shared with a link back and proper credit given. No full posts or tutorials may be shared without written permission.


Food Network Magazine's 30 Days of Superfoods

Here's how to get a month’s worth of good-for-you snacks, dinners and more!

Related To:

Photo By: Christopher Testani ©Christopher Testani 2013

Photo By: Christina Holmes ©2013, Christina Holmes. CH2 CREATIVE.

Photo By: Antonis Achilleos

Let's Begin!

While you&rsquove probably already heard of superfoods, you might not know that incorporating a variety of them into your daily diet is a lot easier than you might think. In fact, you probably have quite a few sitting in your refrigerator right now! In their newest issue, Food Network Magazine rounded up 30 delicious and creative ways for you to explore a new superfood each and every day this April. From fruity breakfasts, veggie-packed lunches, mouthwatering dinners and irresistible snacks, here's how to make your meals a bit more "super" this month.

All captions written by Michelle Baricevic.

Thursday, April 1st: Blueberries

If you normally find yourself grabbing a crispy piece of buttered toast in the morning, these elevated Blueberry-Almond Toasts are just the thing for you! Our test kitchen chefs top their toast slices with brain-friendly blueberries and a yummy almond butter-like custard spread for the perfect balance of tart and sweet. If you're not a fan of blueberries, raspberries also work!

Friday, April 2nd: Chickpeas

One of the things we love most about canned chickpeas is their versatility. Case in point: this chocolaty Hazelnut Chickpea Chocolate Spread from The Kitchen's Katie Lee Biegel. Made from a yummy combination of ground hazelnuts and ground chickpeas, this creative take on dessert hummus pairs perfectly with everything from fresh strawberries and cherries to crunchy pretzels and store-bought graham crackers. Make a big batch of it and store it in an airtight container for whenever your next chocolate craving strikes!

Saturday, April 3rd: Matcha

Filled with nutrient-rich antioxidants, matcha green tea continues to be celebrated for its ability to boost brain-function, lower the risk of heart disease and enhance weight loss. While drinking matcha is a great way to incorporate it into your daily routine, it is in no way, shape, or form the only way to do so. In fact, our test kitchen chefs love to combine matcha powder with confectioner's sugar and kosher salt to make a unique and bright topping for freshly popped popcorn. Trust us &mdash this Matcha Popcorn recipe (No. 41) will turn even the biggest green tea naysayer into a complete fan.

For Even More Yummy Snacks: 50 Colorful Snacks

Sunday, April 4th: Mushrooms

While mushrooms are essential add-ins for dishes like chicken marsala and chicken cacciatore, they're delicious on their own too! In this Smoky Roasted Mushrooms dish, you'll bake a variety of vitamin D-rich mixed mushrooms on a sheet pan until beautifully browned. You'll then toss them with a fragrant butter sauce made from smoked paprika and sliced garlic cloves. It&rsquos a mouthwatering way to explore a beloved ingredient in a brand-new form.

Monday, April 5th: Avocados

You might be surprised to learn that avocados actually have more potassium in them than bananas do. That's just one of the reasons why they&rsquore the MVPs of the superfood world. While we love a loaded piece of avocado toast as much as the next person, these Spicy Avocado Cucumber Cups (No. 33) might just dethrone it as our favorite fast and easy avocado dish. Green hot sauce pairs with pureed avocados to give each of these poppable snacks a fiery kick even better than your favorite go-to potato chip!

For Even More Yummy Snacks: 50 Colorful Snacks

Tuesday, April 6th: Turmeric

Turmeric is known for being a powerful anti-inflammatory and a very strong antioxidant. To make these bright, golden-colored Turmeric Flatbreads, you'll combine 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice with flour, salt, baking powder, water and olive oil. You then knead all those ingredients together until smooth and divide the resulting dough into 4 generous pieces. All that&rsquos left for you to do is to cook each piece in an oiled skillet until nice brown spots form on each side. Just think of it as a &ldquoguilt-free&rdquo way of getting your bread fix.

Wednesday, April 7th: Salmon

Salmon is much higher in omega-3 fatty acids than almost any other fish. In this flavorful Foil-Packet Salmon with Mushrooms and Spinach dish, you'll place sliced shiitake mushroom caps and baby spinach in the center of each packet and top them with a skinless, salmon fillet. A zesty ginger-scallion butter tops the salmon off, leaving you with a dinner that's both refreshing and mess-free.

Thursday, April 8th: Fennel

While fennel is often known for its licorice-like flavor, it also contains powerful anti-inflammatories like vitamin-C and quercetin. In this lightened-up take on traditional gratin, fennel bulbs and seeds are paired with grated Parmesan cheese and panko to give you a unique and sunny side dish that's perfect for springtime.

Friday, April 9th: Yogurt

Tzatziki is a staple of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, but it also makes a quick, easy and flavorful dip you can snack on during the busy work week. You'll use Persian cucumbers and calcium-rich Greek yogurt to make this version (No. 2) from Food Network Kitchen, which pairs nicely with store-bought crackers and pita chips.

For Even More Flavorful Dips: 50 International Dips

Saturday, April 10th: Açai

Soda often gets a bad rap for being overly sugary and high in calories, but this homemade Açai Soda (No. 34) is filled with good-for-you ingredients like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. We can't wait to sip on an extra tall glass of this thirst-quenching beverage come summertime.

For Even More Homemade Sodas: 50 Homemade Sodas

Sunday, April 11th: Eggs

Jammy eggs are a favorite on Instagram, and these beautiful and delicious Spicy Oatmeal Bowls with Eggs (No. 27) are sure to get you a lot of likes! Featuring a heart-healthy base made from steel-cut oats and mouthwatering mix-ins like chopped chipotle peppers, diced avocados, zesty pico de gallo, cilantro and soft-boiled eggs, it's sure to become your new favorite bowl-based recipe. Eggs also contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, B2, B5, B12, D, and E, so it tastes just as good as it looks!

For Even More Ways To Use Oats: 50 Things to Make with Oats

Monday, April 12th: Oats

Everyone knows that oats are one of the healthiest grains on earth. Not only are they gluten-free, they're also loaded with important vitamins and minerals and can help lower cholesterol. But oat-based recipes don't need to be bland or flavorless in order for them to be healthy. In this delicious Chocolate-Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins recipe, Molly Yeh uses a handful of yummy ingredients like rolled oats, dark chocolate, coconut flakes, unsweetened peanut butter, maple syrup and cherries, blueberries or raisins to create a better-for-you breakfast or snack option in just a few steps.

Tuesday, April 13th: Ginger

Ginger has long been celebrated for its soothing properties &mdash often in regard to stomach aches and sore throats. In this simple Ginger Broiled Oranges (No. 16) dish, brown sugar and candied ginger are used to form a smoky, crystallized crust on top of sliced orange segments. It's like a better-for-you version of creme brulee!

For Even More Yummy Snacks: 50 Colorful Snacks

Wednesday, April 14th: Walnuts

Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, making them one of the best-known superfoods. Though you can easily use them in baking, the crunchy texture and earthy taste of walnuts also makes them perfect for savory dishes too. For this Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprout&ndashWalnut Salad, Sunny Anderson tosses chopped walnuts with tart cranberries and wilted Brussels sprouts to create a side dish that's sure to be the star of your dining room table.

Thursday, April 15th: Garlic

While Garlic Soup may not sound like the most appetizing of meals, this innovative dish is chock full of health benefits. Low in calories and high in antioxidants, garlic was once prescribed as medicine to treat a variety of physical alignments and illnesses, including the common cold. For this soup, you'll use 3 small heads of garlic, plus 2 cloves. Despite what you might be thinking, the overall taste is actually quite sweet!

Friday, April 16th: Pumpkin

If you're of the opinion that cookies can't be healthy, allow us to introduce you to your new favorite recipe! These one-of-a-kind Pumpkin-Quinoa Oatmeal Cookies are studded with rolled oats, salted roasted pepitas, dried cranberries, vitamin-rich pumpkin puree and nutrient-dense quinoa to give you a sweet treat unlike any other. We love to refer to them as a healthier take on the good ole kitchen sink cookie!

Saturday, April 17th: Watercress

Just like kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, watercress is packed full of powerful nutrients, including vitamin K. In this easy Lentils and Watercress dish, dried green lentils are tossed with chopped watercress and sliced scallions to create an effortless side dish in just 20 minutes. Go ahead and pair it with your favorite protein to create a jam-packed dinner everyone's sure to remember.

Sunday, April 18th: Beets

Roasted sweet potatoes and beets (No. 9) take center stage in this bright and spicy side dish, which also uses maple syrup and ancho chile powder as an elevated seasoning. While it might remind you of autumn, it's a perfect way to satisfy your sweet potato craving year-round too.

For Even More Creative Potato Sides: 50 Potato Sides

Monday, April 19th: Farro

While we love a to indulge in a big, warm bowl of soup during the winter, it can be just as comforting in the spring too. This Spring Vegetable-Farro Soup is loaded with carrots, zucchini, snap peas, briny pancetta and fiber-rich farro to give you the taste of comfort with each and every spoonful. Making it is also a great way to kickstart spring cleaning your freezer and refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 20th: Dark Chocolate

We've never met a chocolate-covered snack we haven't loved and these Dark Chocolate Dipped Cherries are no exception. Dark chocolate has also been championed as a heart-healthy treat for a really long time, so go ahead and have a few extra handfuls &mdash we won&rsquot tell!

Wednesday, April 21st: Kale

Kale is full of vitamins A, K and C and is beloved among nutritionists, dieticians and personal trainers alike. In this quick dish, you'll combine kale and escarole with crunchy shallots, grated lemon zest and red pepper flakes to give you a flavorful way to add some new greens into your diet.

Thursday, April 22nd: Black Beans

Black beans are full of protein and fiber, making them the absolute perfect ingredient for these hearty Black Bean Burgers from Ree Drummond. Ree combines her canned black beans with breadcrumbs, green onions, chili powder, eggs, salt and pepper to give them a bit more heft that might just have you swearing off beef (for a few days at least. )

Friday, April 23rd: Honey

Whether you eat them before a workout or after, these bite-sized Honey-Oat Power Balls will have you shunning store-bought snacks for a long time! Our test kitchen chefs used a delicious combination of shredded coconut, crunchy peanut butter, rolled oats, ground flaxseed and dried cranberries to make their addictive filling. A refreshing drizzle of honey &mdash often thought to be a natural bacteria fighter &mdash tops them off, giving them just the right touch of sweetness.

Saturday, April 24th: Coconut

Though coconut is often used to make yummy desserts like custards and cream pies, they're also full of iron and copper, making it a great add-in for savory sides. This recipe uses coconut milk to infuse boxed basmati rice with a unique and tangy flavor that&rsquoll have everyone grabbing a second helping.

Sunday, April 25th: Sauerkraut

Believe it or not but sauerkraut actually has more probiotics in it than yogurt, making it an extremely powerful superfood. In this sweet-and-spicy Turkey Sausage with Fennel Sauerkraut dish, Valerie Bertinelli pairs hot turkey sausage with chopped Gala apples, caraway seeds, fennel and well-drained sauerkraut to give you a flavorful way to enjoy everyone's favorite hot dog topping.

Monday, April 26th: Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate seeds are bursting with antioxidants, which makes them perfect for snacking on by the handful or adding into a variety of sweet and savory dishes like this Tabbouleh with Pomegranate Seeds. You'll use a hearty combination of riced cauliflower, broccoli and green beans to make the base, plus a tangy mix of lemon juice, mint and pomegranate seeds to finish it off. It's another fun way to add some unexpected color, texture and flavor to your springtime dinner rotation.

Tuesday, April 27th: Pistachios

Pistachios have a reputation for being the only nuts to contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are very important antioxidants for eye health. While store-bought snack mixes make a quick and easy mid-day or late-night snack, they can be high in calories and saturated fats. Take the guesswork out of snack time with this sweet and spicy Sesame-Pistachio Snack Mix. Not only is it packed with pistachios, it also features a handful of other good-for-you elements like roasted pepitas, sesame seeds and wasabi peas.

Wednesday, April 28th: Pepitas

Though pumpkin seeds are often associated with Halloween and Fall, there's absolutely no reason why you can't indulge in a fistful of pepitas during springtime too. Packed full of healthy fats like magnesium and zinc, the little rounds have been associated with a number of health benefits including improved heart and prostate health. Diets rich in pumpkin seed consumption have also been linked to a reduced risk of developing certain types of cancers. For this 35-minute weeknight dinner, unsalted pepitas, cumin seeds, store-bought salsa verde and allspice are used to make a delectable sauce that instantly dresses up anything you put it on.

Thursday, April 29th: Edamame

Edamame is a complete protein this means that it contains all the essential amino acids that you need in your body, but that your body can't produce on its own. To make this Chile-Garlic Edamame recipe, you toss frozen edamame with lime juice, red pepper flakes and garlic cloves for even more oomph.

Friday, April 30th: Raspberries

Raspberries are known for being full of vitamin C, a substantial nutrient needed for skin health and immunity support. Whether you buy them fresh or frozen, a generous handful of raspberries can be used to add a healthful touch to drinkable smoothies, yogurt cups, fruit tarts, muffins and more. For this berry bright (see what we did there?) Smoothie Bowl (No. 2), we used an ultra-refreshing combination of strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, chia seeds and cranberry juice to breathe new life into your lunchtime.


The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - Recipes

Printable version
My Mom has always been a big fan of patty melts and she is responsible for introducing me to these yummy delights. She has waited tables part-time for years and she has probably served about 37,000 of them. I was young when she introduced them to me and whenever I get hungry for one I think about being a kid at the local diner and Mom suggesting it for lunch to me for the first time.

I think of patty melts as grilled cheese sandwiches with a meat patty tucked inside.

I have some rules for patty melts:

• Never eat one at a fancy place, they have to be served at a typical mom and pop diner and should require lots of napkins.

• When the sandwich is touched, there should be an ultra-thin layer of grease left on the finger tips that will leave an annoying grease-fingerprint on any object touched.

• Grilled onions aren’t required but one without is like a salad without dressing.

• Finally, there must be lots of cheese, more than a typical cheeseburger. Almost a burger with double cheese – not a double cheeseburger – a double cheese single burger!

Instead of beef for this patty melt I used Italian sausage. Combined with the onions and provolone it was spectacular. I ate two of them myself. Had I not been feeding others, I might have destroyed another half sandwich, thank God more people were eating.

This is the first time I have designed a recipe with a black background and white text. Usually there is too much writing in a typical recipe to do this. There is only so much type a person can read in that style without it starting to mess with their eyes.

This, and the next recipe, are an exception and something new. I love the look and will try to incorporate it more. I think it will work best with sandwiches and pizza, or recipes that don’t include as much written instructions.

It’s always good to experiment when it comes to design and presentation, it might be the start of a new trend, or I may say to myself in a couple of weeks “What the hell was I thinking!” For now, I think it’s cool.

THE RECIPE
4 sandwiches 30 minutes
1/4 C Mayonnaise
8 slices Bread
16 slices Provolone cheese
1 C Caramelized onions
4 patties Cooked Italian sausage (1l4 lb each)

Spread a thin layer of mayo on sides of bread to be grilled. Layer 2 slices cheese, 1 sausage patty, a 1/4 of the onions, 2 more slices of cheese and top piece of bread. Grill sandwiches over medium heat until it's golden brown on each side and cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Then serve.


Watch the video: The Writers Almanac - Tuesday, August 3, 2021