Burns My Bacon: Locawashing


I don’t have to tell any of you that local food is hip. Duh. From coast to coast, and even in between, grocery stores, restaurants and bars are going out of their way to broadcast their locavore credentials. We’re certainly fans of the trend here at ES, although I’m not one of those zealots who has sworn never to eat a banana again. But I do like going to a restaurant and knowing they’re not going to serve me a tomato that’s been shipped across the country. However, the veggie gf recently pointed out the flaws in a phrase we see printed on so many menus nowadays:

Local ingredients are used whenever possible.

On first glance, that sounds great, right? But when you think about it, it doesn’t actually mean anything, because everyone’s definition of “whenever possible” is different. Does it mean 80 percent of your ingredients are local? 90? 50? 20? Does it mean you use all local foods except for in those rare instances when there’s something crucial that’s not available in your region? Or does it mean you use local foods when it’s easy but not when it’s difficult?

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Top 10 Finds at the 2010 Food Fete


The younger, hipper cousin to the Fancy Food Show, the annual Food Fete is a gathering place for foodie types; a showcase of the newest products across the world of cooking, dining and drinking; and an all-around schwagfest. Obviously, we bit. Here are the coolest new products we spotted at this year’s fete.

10. Sous Vide Supreme

sous vide

Remember last year when I got high on Top Chef and bought that Thomas Keller sous vide cookbook but then realized you need a couple grand worth of equipment to sous vide food at home? Well some clever market researcher must have realized there are a lot of d-bags like me out there, because SousVide Supreme now has an at-home sous vide machine designed for the average joe. OK, at $450 maybe it’s for the slightly above-average joe, but still, getting closer! Everyone must sous vide! UPDATE: Endless Simmer tries out and reviews the SousVide Supreme.

9. Glace de Veau


Ya’ll know we don’t usually hype pre-packaged sauces and such here at ES, but when the supermarket starts carrying roasted veal stock reduction, I have to digress from the norm. Yes, yes, I can hear Anthony Bourdain carping on about how every cook should have their own homemade veal stock in the freezer and how it only takes 172 hours to prepare so what’s your goddamn problem? Well you know what? I’ve had your book on my shelf for two years and still never made any damn homemade demi-glace, so I’m going with this. In stores this fall.

8. Box ‘o EVOO

olive oil keg

I think Lucini was actually there to show off the taste of their olive oil, but I was more impressed by the packaging. I don’t know about you all, but I’ve always found those tiny 6-oz. jars of oil woefully inept at keeping up with my usage, and the large bottles too heavy to lug home from the grocery store. Solution: an ungodly amount of extra-virgin olive oil, packed into a plastic bag in a cardboard box. It even comes with a spiggot, just like boxed wine! All I need now is the self-control not to drink directly from the spout.

7. Green Garlic


This is a tasty green product that I’ve never seen in stores before. California-based Christopher Ranch is expanding their garlic repertoire by harvesting the stuff while it’s still young and green, and selling it with the leafy, scallion-like stalks attached. The green part of the garlic offers a less intense garlick-y bite, and you can still use the bulb, or even fry up those little strands at the root and sprinkle them on top of a dish. Coming soon to a Fairway or Whole Foods near you. Downside: shipped across the country in plastic packaging — I’d rather see them at the far mar.

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Something “Good” is Happening


Guest blogger April Stamm is a chef and food writer whose work has appeared in a wide range of publications including Pastry Scoop, an online pastry magazine, and The Nibble, a gourmet product review and foodie information site. She is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and a member of Women Chefs and Restauranteurs.  More of her writing and ventures can be found at www.aprilstamm.com. Today, she tells us about an upcoming foodie event from ES sponsor Good Commons.

I was nervous.  Sure, we had known each other for years and were great friends, but we had never done this. What if we weren’t compatible? What if he went left and so did I—and we ended up colliding—sending carrot peels and chef knives soaring through the air?

But not to fear, my first guest chef gig at Good Commons, a private retreat center and vacation home in Vermont, was a delicious success. It was also one of the most restorative three days of my life. So, I’m jumping back in the kitchen with my friend and Good Commons’ resident chef, Matthew Wexler, to create some delicious farm-to-table meals for their Memorial Day Food, Wine & Rejuvenation Weekend.

It may sound crazy, but the body, mind, and soul-bolstering experience of Good Commons begins with the bus ride. No rushing through Grand Central, fighting the throngs of clueless tourists and aggressive Wall-Streeters. Instead we board “the Good bus”, a private jitney stocked with homemade snacks and artisanal cocktails created by an on-board mixologist.

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