Saturday, April 5, 2014

Food Is Important | "Who Are The 10 Most-Important People In The History Of Food?: Table Talk"

Category   :Food Is Important
Posted By : Grant Butler

Food Is Important
A who's who of world food history: The Daily Meal is known for its endless lists of the best of the food world. Frequently, they're pretty inconsequential. But word comes from Ruth Reichl that they are working on a list of the 10 most-important people in food history. She makes a strong case for Christopher Columbus being No. 1, because he completely changed the way the world eats. "Before his voyage there were no horses, pigs or cows on the American continent. He also took a whole slew of plants to Europe from whence they traveled to Africa and Asia. Without Columbus there'd be no tomatoes in Italy, chiles in Thailand, peanuts in Africa or potatoes in Ireland. And that's just for starters."

Because they're looking at food in the scope of world history, it's unlikely that the final list will be weighted with contemporary food voices (sorry Rachael Ray!). But it's interesting to think about people from the last century who have had a big enough impact to qualify for the cut: Julia Child; James Beard; perhaps even food advocate Michael Pollan. We'll share The Daily Meal's list when they publish it. In the meantime, who do you think ought to be on the list? Apples, or French fries?: It's no secret that all the food advertising that's aimed at children is making it harder to fight America's epidemic of childhood obesity. But nothing really prepares you for this video, in which children can't tell the difference between apple slices and French fries.

Food finds around the web: Here are some food morsels worth chewing on.

Caught in a pasta rut? Add these 5 sauces to your cooking repertoire. (Food 52) Embrace spring with these 10 ways to make your kitchen feel lighter, brighter and fresher. (The Kitchn) Rev up your workout with 4 snacks that will help burn fat. (Active) Make it tonight: Earlier this week, we shared a collection of some of Foodday's favorite asparagus recipes. Of course, only later did we remember this spectacular recipe for gluten-free Asparagus Soup With Orange Gremolata from Portland food writer Laura B. Russell. It can easily be made vegan with the substitution of vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and the omission of the cheese garnish. Either way, it's perfect for a spring supper.


Everyday Food | "Bradenton Restaurant Connection Hopes To Link Cuba, France Through Food"

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Category   : Everyday Food 

Everyday Food
A new restaurant in downtown Bradenton will be a little bit of Viva La France and Cuba Libre with a side of Opa. Restaurateur John "Yanni" Zouroudis plans to open The Connection at 1207 Third Ave. W. next week at the former location of Havana Cabana Dos and Lucky Dogs. Zouroudis will be serving up crepes, Cuban sandwiches and Greek specialties. "The place is going to be called The Connection, and I'm going to do a connection between Cuban food and French," Zouroudis told the Herald. Zouroudis plans to be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and hopes to start Monday.

Zouroudis has a menu prepared of 40 varieties of sautéed crepes, with sweet ones made with Nutella as a base filling, and more filling ones with fruits and meat. "I'm going to have seafood crepes, vegetarian crepes, chicken, turkey," he said. His signature crepe is perhaps the French Rivera Crepe, with cheese, chicken, artichoke hearts and tomatoes in a white wine sauce."People eat with the ear and the eye," he said. He also wants to keep some of the popular Cuban items served at Havana Cabana and add some Greek dishes.

"Greek food is tricky, so what I'm going to try to do once I create the clientele, I'm going to have Greek specialties, too," he said. "In the meantime I'm going to have simple everyday food that people know, like the gyro and spinach pie and the Greek salad." Zouroudis is going to focus on hospitality and quick service for his full-service restaurant.

"People who work here, they are from different parts of the city, and I know I can contribute because they only have a few minutes to eat something or pick up something and go back to work," Zouroudis said. Zouroudis is also going to focus on building relationships with his customers to know their preferences in each of his dishes. "When I cook for somebody, I cook for this somebody," Zouroudis said with his friendly Greek accent. "You come in here every day, I learn what you want, I will do it for you. I don't care how busy I am. When the plate comes to you, it'll be the way you want it."

Zouroudis has a good handle on the area, owning restaurants in Florida since 1989, spanning from Polk County to Sarasota, and he's working with Maria's Family Place in Bradenton Beach. One of his most recent restaurants in Sarasota, JnB Crepes, sold eight months ago and is now Alma's Kouzine in Sarasota Commons Plaza on Beneva Road. The owners kept most of his menu, too.

As for the Third Avenue restaurant space, Zouroudis knows he faces some challenges. The restaurant doesn't have an oven hood system, so he is limited to hot plates, sandwich presses and small griddles. The restaurant is also a bit hidden around the corner of Old Main Street. John Droukas, who still owns Havana Cabana in Holmes Beach, said while business was good, operating two restaurants got to be too much for him. Havana Cabana Dos opened downtown in July 2013, a few months after Lucky Dogs closed in April.

Zouroudis plans on adding a hanging sign so folks can spot the restaurant walking from across the street. Inside, the restaurant is getting a fresh look and a new high counter has been installed. Overall, Zouroudis hopes his restaurant will succeed with customer service. After all, Zouroudis said, he comes from a land where Zeus was known for hospitality. "My secret is that I respect people, I love people," he said. "I respect the dollar they spend because they can easily go somewhere else and spend it."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Food For Health | "Challenge scientists aim to boost NZ exports"

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Category   : Food For Health 
Posted By : Press Release

Food For Health
Top scientists heading a major new research initiative to develop new food products with validated health benefits say they are delighted to be chosen to lead one of the Government’s ten National Science Challenges. Top scientists heading a major new research initiative to develop new food products with validated health benefits say they are delighted to be chosen to lead one of the Government’s ten National Science Challenges.

In an announcement by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today, the University of Auckland, Massey University and University of Otago, along with Crown Research Institutes AgResearch and Plant & Food Research, will team up for the Government’s High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.

The task for the scientists from the five institutions is to produce, with other collaborators, cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary research to help New Zealand companies take advantage of global demand for foods with health benefits. This ten year challenge is approved with $30.6 million subject to finalisation of contract conditions. A review at the end of five years means another $53.2 million becomes available for a second five-year period. Total funding for the High-Value Nutrition Challenge is up to $180.8 million over ten years.

The goals of the High-Value Nutrition Challenge are 

• To establish a centre of research that is an authoritative voice on food-for-health claims, both nationally and internationally;

• Carry out clinically-based, biomedical research to provide new opportunities for the development of new foods that meet current and future consumer-driven health needs;

• Assist New Zealand companies in developing foods and beverages that improve health

• Provide the scientific evidence to validate health claims for high-value food products so that New Zealand companies can establish new international markets (while also providing guidelines for the New Zealand public);

• Undertake research informed by Mātauranga Māori and identify opportunities for Maori food producers;
• Help preserve the safety of the food supply chain and enable the production of consumer-valued foods-for-health.

The Government

“The Government has clearly signalled the science challenges must involve cutting-edge clinical, food and consumer science research that takes us in a new direction and we will be focused on exactly that,” says Professor David Cameron-Smith, Chair in Nutrition at the University of Auckland and head of the Science Leadership Team for the Challenge.

“Food is central to our economy and we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to both enhance health and contribute significantly to this country’s export success.”

Government Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman says it is exciting to see the first of the ten National Science Challenges launched.

“The High-Value Nutrition Challenge will stretch the New Zealand research community but the potential for validated nutritional claims of foods to improve public health and to add value to New Zealand’s exports is enormous.”
Bob Major will chair the Board for High-Value Nutrition and will bring his considerable experience in food manufacturing and exporting to ensure the research is market-oriented and makes sense to food exporting businesses.

“Being able to scientifically demonstrate tangible health benefits for consumers and have that approved by government food regulators is one of the few ways to add value to New Zealand’s primary products and will provide a competitive advantage to our food marketers so they can leverage into greater market share and margins,” Mr Major says.

AgResearch Research Director Professor Warren McNabb says he is looking forward to the opportunity of taking up the Government’s High-Value Nutrition Challenge.
“It’s great to be part of a partnership focused on bringing together our best scientists in a collaborative approach to create economic benefit for New Zealand through science-led innovation.”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cooking Club |"Carrot Soup & Chicken Recipes By The Monday Morning Cooking Club"

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Category   :  Cooking Club
Cooking Club
The Monday Morning Cooking Club are six Jewish women from Sydney who meet weekly to cook. Three words became their mantra: share the recipes and stories of their community; inspire people to preserve their family recipes; and give all the profits to charity. Their first, self-titled cookbook was a bestseller and their new book The Feast Goes On, contains more than 100 recipes for every occasion, from feasting to light lunches, fressing (a Yiddish word for grazing), everyday eating, comfort food and traditional dishes. The Feast Goes On is released next Tuesday, April 1.They’ve kindly shared two of those recipes with Business Insider.
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, fronds reserved 
4–5 carrots, peeled and sliced
60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated puree)
1.25 litres (5 cups) vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Cut the fennel in half lengthways and then cut each half into wedges. Toss the carrot slices and fennel with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking tray and bake for 30–45 minutes, or until brown and tender. Meanwhile, toast the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat for 2–3 minutes, or until they turn lightly brown, then crush in a mortar and pestle. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the onion and crushed fennel seeds and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomato paste, roasted vegetables and stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly. Puree with a stick blender or in a blender. Reheat and serve garnished with the reserved chopped fennel fronds.

Chicken with olives and capers
Ingredients 1 chicken, jointed, or 4 chicken marylands (leg Quarters)
50 g (1/4 cup) salted baby capers, well rinsed and drained
75 g (1/2 cup) pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
250 ml (1 cup) white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 thyme sprigs
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F/Gas 6).
Place the chicken pieces in an oiled roasting dish, then scatter the capers, olives and garlic on top. Pour the wine and olive oil over the chicken, then scatter on the thyme and season generously with pepper. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. If the chicken is not browned enough, turn the oven to the hottest setting.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Art Of Cooking | "Sicilian Gourmet"

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Category   :  Art Of Cooking
Posted By : Maite Gomez Rejon

Art Of Cooking
Thanks to a recent exhibit at The Getty (Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome) and a current one at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (Lost & Found: The Secrets of Archimedes), I find myself fascinated by Sicilian culture. The Huntington's exhibit focuses on mathematician, inventor and astronomer Archimedes (also highlighted at The Getty), who I imagine enjoying the bread and cheese written about by another Sicilian, Archestratus, while developing his heady theories. Archestratus lived about a century before Archimedes and wrote one of the most significant works on food of the ancient world. The Life of Luxury is a poem written between 360 and 348 BCE. Meant to be read aloud at the symposia (wealthy male drinking parties), the poem, which today exists in fragments, advises the gastronomic listener on where to find the best fish, bread and cheese throughout Greece, Southern Italy and Sicily, the coast of Asia Minor and the Black Sea. Archestratus repeatedly mentions the importance of fresh produce, chosen in the right place during the right season, and that food should be cooked simply and not buried under layers of spices and strong seasonings. (I like the way he thinks). The Roman Athenaeus cited the text about 500 years later in his own poem, Deipnosophistae (The Learned Banqueters), saving it from forever fading into obscurity.

The cuisine of Sicily was already renowned by the time Archestratus and Archimedes were strolling around the streets of Syracuse. Around 734 BCE, Greek colonists from Corinth introduced figs, pomegranates, olive trees, grapes and vineyards, building a considerable reputation for Sicilian wines. Native bees made honey used as offering to the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Rich pastures supported sheep and goats whose milk was made into the cheese we know today as ricotta. Sicily's glory continued under the Roman Empire. Pliny the Elder wrote that Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, taught milling and bread making there, and Emperors Augustus and Hadrian encouraged the development of agriculture. Durum wheat was planted on the island, turning it into the Empire's granary.

During the Middle Ages the island was taken over by Arab colonists who introduced rice, sugarcane and eggplants, and kept lush gardens of citrus, date palms, pistachios and apricots. By the early 16th century chocolate and tomatoes, native to Mexico, had made their way into the Sicilian pantry and Sicily, still on the forefront of gastronomy, became the center of chocolate production in Italy. With so many outside influences it is no wonder that Sicilian food is so unique! This rustic eggplant dish is inspired by Archestratus and includes my latest ingredient obsession, anchovies.Eggplant with Anchovies and Capers Athenaeus referred to eggplant as "the meat of the earth."

1 large eggplant, stems removed and sliced lengthwise into long, thin strips
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
4 anchovy fillets
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped 
salt and pepper
olive oil

Fry the eggplant strips in olive oil until golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the finely chopped garlic, capers, anchovies and parsley. And the bread mixture, salt and pepper to the pan with the eggplant and toss to coat. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve hot or at room temperature.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cooking Recipe | "How To Cook The Ultimate Gumbo"

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Category   : Cooking Recipe
Posted By : Chloe Scott

Cooking Recipe
From the humid Mississippi delta to New Orleans, gumbo is serious business. The pot of salty shellfish with smoked pork sausage (andouille), and sometimes oysters, in a dark chocolate-brown sauce is piquant and comforting. In Louisiana, gumbo cook-offs are frequent. But can you cook it here? I knock on the doors of Brad McDonald of the Lockhart restaurant ( near London’s Marble Arch. Not only has the American chef worked at Michelin-starred duo Noma and Per Se (in New York) but he grew up on the edge of the Mississippi delta. It helps explain why his American menu has been knocking spots off others here. To start me on my gumbo gambol, McDonald gives me the lowdown on ingredients. ‘It would typically have chicken, shellfish, maybe shrimp or crab,’ he says. ‘You wouldn’t see beef but you would andouille.’ He says the origins of the dish are confusing. Some theories say ‘gumbo’ derives from the West African word gombo (meaning okra, a key ingredient). Others say it originated with Native Americans – leant support by the fact that they introduced a thickening agent called filé powder (from the sassafras herb, or kombo) to the French, which found its way into bouillabaisse.

Certainly, okra (pictured below) seems compulsory – all the chefs I consult use it. Cook it wrong and it’s quite slimy but when chopped finely it thickens and enriches, so I’m keeping it. Filé powder also seems to be obligatory but okra on its own thickens enough for me. Every recipe today features the Holy Trinity of Louisiana cooking: onion, green pepper and celery. So it goes without saying that this is my base. But it’s the sausage that is the soul of it. As I can’t get andouille from Louisiana, I need substitutes. In my tests, I try chorizo, courtesy of Jamie Oliver’s recipe in Jamie’s America (Michael Joseph). I love chorizo but its salty, winey and paprika notes are too distinctly European, so I evict it for a subtler Polish option recommended by McDonald – although he makes his own. I also make a meaty cajun version from The American Cookbook (DK Publishing), which has other options including the classic catfish version. Some experts claim gumbo is a poor man’s food so you throw in what you have at hand but this corpulent Cajun variant with chicken stock, sausage and raw king prawns, shelled and deveined, seems positively opulent.

Alongside this, there are spices to consider. Blogger Creole Contessa has a recipe handed down through her family. She includes creole seasoning, normally garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Others mention thyme and Mediterranean herbs. I like thyme, although McDonald warns: ‘I’d add cayenne or Tabasco but no cumin or oregano, that would take you away from it to something else.’ The American Cookbook’s suggestion of ancho chilli powder makes me jittery. The ancho’s mild smoky flavour enlivens my Polish sausages but is it a bastardisation? I decide no, it’s just a cheeky deviation. However, there is no compromise on the roux. This is what gives gumbo its distinctive flavour and should be the colour of chocolate. The Creole Contessa, who has been making gumbo roux since she was ten – ‘Yes, I knew it was dangerous’ – suggests heating vegetable oil for five to eight minutes until very hot, then adding flour. The roux sheens a caramel brown. McDonald says: ‘My guys work it between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Cook it to the colour level you like chocolate. A darker roux will have more bitterness.’

Chloe’s ultimate gumbo

Ingredients (serves 2-4)

200g smoked sausage, preferably Polish, chopped into rounds
 ♦ 150g-200g shellfish (prawns, crabs, mussels, clams) 
♦ 150g chicken legs, thighs or breast (the latter can be sliced into 1in chunks) 
♦ 1tsp dried shrimps, rehydrated 
♦ 2tbsp quality lard or vegetable oil 
♦ 2½tbsp flour 
♦ 1 white onion, finely chopped 
♦ 1 green pepper, finely chopped 
♦ 1 celery stick, finely chopped 
♦ 100g okra, chopped into 2cm chunks 
♦ 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 
♦ 800ml chicken stock (you may need to add a little more)
♦ 1tsp ancho chilli powder 
♦ ½tsp Tabasco
♦ ½tsp cayenne pepper
Garnish: 2-3 spring onions and/or freshly chopped parsley


Step 1: In a large casserole pot or sauté pan, get the lard sizzling on a medium heat. Stir in the chopped pork sausage rounds so they release their fat then remove them with a slotted spoon.

Step 2: Lower the heat. Pour in the flour and stir gently. Turn the heat down as low as possible and stir. Be patient, you want the roux to be quite loose at this point. Your aim is to gently brown it – this is what adds the distinctive flavour. Don’t take your eye off the pan for a second. After about 10min of whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon, it should turn a milk chocolate colour. Cook for up to 30min to a medium chocolate shade – not too dark or it will be bitter (unless you love the bitterness of very dark chocolate).

Step 3: Stir in the onion, pepper and celery. Cook for a few minutes, then mix in the garlic, cayenne, ancho chilli powder, Tabasco and okra. Add some more lard or vegetable oil if needed. Now, little by little, on low to medium heat, stir in the stock. Once it’s complete, add the chicken. Let it simmer in the stock for 25min or until cooked. When the chicken is cooked, being careful not to burn yourself, remove any skin or bones then stir the chicken meat back in. Add the shellfish and sausage and let it simmer for a few minutes until everything’s cooked. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Now it’s ready to eat – although many recommend leaving it in the fridge for 24 hours for the flavours to settle. Serve with basmati rice. Sprinkle each serving with spring onions and/or parsley.

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