My New Podcast: One Woman Kitchen

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I’m very excited to share this news! Tomorrow, MouthMedia Network will launch my new podcast “ONE WOMAN KITCHEN” on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else you listen to your favorite podcasts. Honored to have such a stellar line-up of guests, including food writer Priya Krishna, L’Artusi pastry chef Jessica Craig, Sofreh restaurateur, Nasim Alikhani and many more. Listen to the remarkable stories of women from all generations who have carved their way into the culinary landscape as innovators and visionaries. Join us! You can subscribe at https://onewomankitchenshow.com/

 

For immediate release:                                                                               May 1, 2019

 

 MouthMedia Network launches new podcast celebrating rising star women in the culinary world

(New York, NY)  Adding to an impressive portfolio of industry-leading podcasts, , MouthMedia Network is thrilled to announce the launch of ONE WOMAN KITCHEN, dedicated to “giving voice” to rising star women in the culinary world.  This inclusive, intergenerational podcast also features the remarkable women who paved the way for them, at a time when women chefs, food writers, innovators and entrepreneurs were anathema in professional kitchens and the food industry in general.

The host and creator of this podcast, in conjunction with the executive producers of MouthMedia Network, is Rozanne Gold, a “living legend,” “the food expert’s expert,” and recently named “one of the most important modern innovators in the food world,” by Julia Child’s biographer, Bob Spitz.  An early influencer on the culinary scene at the age of 23, she was first chef to New York Mayor Ed Koch, and went on to become consulting chef to the Rainbow Room and Windows on the World, two of the country’s largest-grossing and most magical restaurants. A four-time winner of the James Beard Award, the author of thirteen acclaimed cookbooks, and a respected journalist, she is responsible for some of the country’s most enduring food trends – from “cocktails & little meals,” to three-ingredient recipes (she is known as the “mother of minimalism”), Hudson River cuisine, Med-Rim cuisine, and “The Greatest Bar on Earth.” A philanthropist and social activist, Rozanne created a pop-up kitchen in Brooklyn to prepare 185,000 meals for those in need after Hurricane Sandy, purchased Gourmet Magazine’s Library and donated it to New York University, and firmly maintains her prominent role as mentor to many in the food world. She has won numerous accolades for her broadcasts, as guest host for Martha Stewart on Sirius, Joan Hamburg on WOR, and as a guest on WNYC for which she received her fourth James Beard Award.

Gold’s guests are a diverse group of outstanding women – Priya Krishna (food writer/New York Times and the New Yorker), Nasim Alikhani (restaurant owner and chef of Sofreh), and Jessica Craig (Michelin-star pastry chef at L’Artusi) – representing all sectors of the food world, all ages, backgrounds, and experience. Their stories, revealing grit and glamour, success and failure, are inspirational. As are their answers to Rozanne’s final question, “What does ‘one woman kitchen’ mean to you?” The show’s title is a metaphor for what it means to be a woman in today’s food world – each carving out a place in unique and special ways.

MouthMedia Network’s CEO Rob Sanchez says “Having Rozanne Gold join is a monumental step for MouthMedia Network as we launch the first of several shows focused on the importance of good and the rapidly changing food industry. We are excited to have such a powerful leader and visionary with us as we embark on this new journey.”

The podcast airs weekly, beginning May 1 and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

It joins MouthMedia Network other  leading shows including AMERICAN FASHION PODCAST, ENTREPRENISTA, and BEAUTY IS YOUR BUSINESS .

ONE WOMAN KITCHEN with Rozanne Gold plans broad outreach to all women in the industry and to other women’s organizations.  The podcast also features men in the food world who have supported the great accomplishments of their female colleagues.

About MouthMedia Network

MouthMedia Network fosters great conversations about business, innovation, careers, and leading a balanced life through their podcasts and live events. MouthMedia Network develops podcasts that enable business development, connect audiences, inspire actions, and expand brands, They also work directly with major corporations on internal communication tools, developing podcasts that achieve human resource, training and motivational goals.

Festive Fourth of July Food

While these sparkling recipes are designed for July 4th fireworks, they are perfect for entertaining all summer long. Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! Hope you have a festive holiday.

COOL BLUE MARTINIS

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This recipe is for each drink but they can be made by the pitcher. These are really “light martinis” as there is more bubbly and less vodka or gin than in standard martinis.

– 5 ounces chilled Prosecco

– ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) gin or vodka

– ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) blue Curacao

– 1 tablespoon (or more) simple syrup

Stir everything into a shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake away! Strain into a chilled martini glass.

MAKES 1 DRINK

BOMBAY TURKEY SLIDERS with HURRY-CURRY SAUCE

These are a cinch to put together and both the sauce and the sliders can be prepped early in the day.

HURRY-CURRY SAUCE

– ½ cup light mayonnaise
– ⅔ cup plain yogurt
– 4 teaspoons curry powder
– 2 tablespoons ketchup
– 1 small clove garlic, finely minced

BOMBAY TURKEY SLIDERS

– 1¼ pounds ground turkey
– 2 teaspoons curry powder
– 1 teaspoons ground cumin
– Large pinch chipotle chili powder
– 3 tablespoons finely minced scallions
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or basil
– 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
– 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 12 little dinner rolls, split and toasted
– 12 thin slices Kirby cucumber
– 12 thin slices plum tomato

Stir together ingredients for sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Put turkey in a large bowl. Add the curry, cumin, chili powder, scallions, cilantro or basil, ginger and mayonnaise, plus 1 teaspoon salt. Mix until blended. Form into 12 small (2 ounce) burgers. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook burgers over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, turn over and cook 2 minutes longer. Place the burgers on the buns and slather with curry sauce. Top with a slice of cucumber and tomato. MAKES 12 SLIDERS.

RED, WHITE AND BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKES

This luxurious dessert is worthy of fireworks. Wonderful if you can get tiny ripe strawberries from your local farmer’s market. The light touch of lemon zest in the biscuits and thin layer of lemon curd makes these truly memorable. Garnish with edible flowers.

LEMON-BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

– 1½ cups flour
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ½ teaspoon baking soda
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
– Grated rind of 1 lemon
– ⅔ cup buttermilk

SHORTCAKES

– 1½ cups heavy cream
– 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– ½ cup lemon curd
– 3 cups fresh berries: raspberries, tiny strawberries, blueberries
– Edible flowers for garnishing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut butter into small pieces and incorporate into flour mixture. Add lemon zest and buttermilk and mix lightly. Turn dough out onto floured board. Roll out to 1-inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch round and place on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake 16 to 18 minutes until golden. Let cool.

Whip heavy cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla until very thick.

Cut biscuits in half. Spread lemon curd on bottom half of each biscuit. Spoon whipped on top and add fruit. Top with biscuit “hat” and add more berries and whipped cream. Garnish with edible flowers. SERVES 6.

The Heart-Tug of a Handwritten Recipe

Just this week I received this note from a stranger. “I grew up eating South African pumpkin fritters as a special treat — my mother made them from my late grandmother’s recipe and they have stuck in my memory. Recently leafing through an old binder of recipes, I discovered my grandmother’s recipe. But it was not the taste memory that tugged at my heart, but her handwriting that stirred something deep within.”

I knew exactly what he meant. One year ago, I found a recipe I wrote in my best penmanship for my mother as a small gift for Mother’s Day. I had not seen it since she died and the flashback of writing it connected me to her in a combustible way – at the intersection of love and loss. At that moment, I proposed an idea to Brett Rawson, a poet and co-editor of the literary arts magazine “The Seventh Wave,” who had just started a terrific website celebrating the handwritten word.

The idea crystallized into a column called “Handwritten Recipes,” which re-ignites the connection between generations of families through the exploration of food and memory – most profoundly through the power of the pen. While the relation of food to language is universal, the curve and slope of a loved one’s scrawl can recapture long-lost memories, scents, tastes and emotions at a moment’s notice.

I’ve been collecting (with some exuberance) handwritten recipes from both friends and strangers around the world, and publishing them on handwrittenwork.com. These stories reveal new connections between pen and people. Some recipes have been handed down for generations, and their appearance shows it: tell-tale stains, scribbled additions, scratched-out revisions, and the fascinating variation of penmanship styles. Other recipes are recently uncovered after years in dust-covered boxes in dark and distant closets. Magically, they each bring to light the silent power of the handwritten word. More nourishing than simply something to eat, these stories shorten the distance between our sense of taste and our history.

A particularly engaging story comes from Lari Robling, an independent radio producer and writer, currently producing “Voices in the Family” with Dr. Dan Gottlieb for WHYY in Philadelphia. A special cup of tea, carefully placed next to a handwritten recipe card, sets the scene to unlock the secrets to Bettymarie’s Peach Meringue. The yellowing card’s splotches hint at past mishaps, while a faded cursive “what’s cookin’,” specifies Mom as the author, calling her by name. Yet the story is not all peaches and cream. The cracked exterior of the cake becomes a metaphor for a complicated mother-daughter relationship whose sweetness and love stand the test of time.

Another story focuses on the rekindling of father-daughter memories through the unexpected discovery of a handwritten recipe for “vodka sauce.” It is testament to the emotional power that “chicken scratches” can hold. Told by Allison Radecki, a culinary tour guide, her poignant tale is as much character study as it is a love story. Allison’s neighborhood-based walks in Brownstone Brooklyn trace the history of immigration and culinary change, and her father’s hastily scribbled note on a random piece of paper acts as a time machine to past meals. Over the years, other family members have added comments and drawings to the recipe’s edges, preserving a multi-generational bond of memories.

As these essays and connections accumulate on my desk and brighten my inbox, they form an exchange of collective memory and the transmission of taste beyond flavor — my very goal in creating this column.

Writer April Lee’s vivid memory of her grandmother’s sweet potatoes encouraged her to jot the recipe down in her own handwriting, the pen as medium for evocative recollection. “I wrote the recipe exactly as she told me. It’s captured in ink on paper, a record of holidays, of seeing my grandparents’ car pull into the driveway, of a full table with family and sweet potatoes with cherries, a record of her voice, her peculiar nature. I make it from memory and for now, this recipe is preserved, put aside, ready to be offered when we are sad along with two extra pineapple slices and a cup of the juice.”

And then there’s poet Tina Barry’s pot roast. “It is a part of our history: My mother’s, my daughter’s and mine. And it will be a part of my granddaughter Vera’s, too. When Anya cooks for Vera, my mother will be with them in all the flavors on the plate. There will be a little of me, too, in the slant of my “t,” the dot that never quite caps the “i.” That’s what a recipe does, especially one that’s handwritten: it brings loved ones closer with the proof of their hand on paper, the memory of clangs and chatter, the perfume of onions cooking slowly on the stove.”

As we become so digitally dis-connected, I’ve taken on the enriching task of assembling and publishing these linkages between gastronomy and memory from a time when people actually did things by hand; when cooking symbolized something that felt like love.

The “handwritten recipes” project is a living cookbook. Yet in some ways it has already been written and waiting to be retrieved from a dusty shoebox or kitchen drawer.

Restaurants Without Seats? Big Trends In 2017

Food trends are fascinating; we are obsessed with what we eat. But more importantly, these trends tell larger stories about who we are. Looked at yearly, they depict the shifting sands of consumer behavior.

For example, I’ve just learned that ordering food delivered from restaurants surges, improbably, on ... Valentine’s Day! It’s not because of the death of romanticism in America or because restaurants are heavily booked. Just the opposite: Lured by the ease of Internet ordering and speedy delivery by Uber or Amazon, people increasingly are “eating out” at home and abandoning restaurant dining rooms.

So a big trend for 2017 will be companies opening experimental kitchen-only restaurants whose sole purpose is to send prepared meals to your home. They are called “phantom restaurants” (also known as ghost restaurants) because no one ever visits them. They’re located in low-rent locations but staffed by real chefs and cooks. Even Olive Garden, just last week, said that it was considering building kitchens in warehouse districts that could deliver to a major city, an idea earlier floated by the fast-growing Panera Bread company.

I’ve attached an article on this very subject by Financial Times’s restaurant critic Nicholas Lander as reprinted in last week’s blog by Jancis Robinson, one of the world’s premier wine experts (and someone I’ve adored for decades). Expansion of delivery-only kitchens is reshaping the restaurant business — and perhaps also our waistlines. Or it may simply satisfy an innate desire to nest.

Every year I write about food trends as gleaned from the best in the business, and there are many exciting ones on the horizon. Is seaweed the next kale? Are wildly creative sandwiches reshaping how we think about breakfast? Will congee be the next new thing? (I am crazy about it; any time of the day.) There’s all this and lots more in the 2017 food and beverage forecast from Baum+Whiteman International Restaurant Consultants, which you can read about here. Most intriguing in this report is an analysis of why vegetables are becoming the new “comfort food,” and whether that means we’re saying goodbye to mac-and-cheese.

What are some other trends on the horizon? Well, gentrification of the $4 “chopped cheese” for one. A sandwich, made famous in the bodegas of Harlem and the South Bronx, went viral this year, causing a stampede to the upper reaches of the city. This mélange of ground beef, American cheese and condiments, all piled on a hero bucks the trend of highly contrived, super-creative, attention-getting food served elsewhere at more like $4 a bite.

Another trend? Chef magicians turning food-waste into delectable things to eat. I am one of them and among the first to fry carrot tops to use as a garnish, and definitely the first to boil the peelings of fresh asparagus to resemble fettuccine. I also make “compost soup,” and transform leftover bits of iceberg lettuce into a wondrous vegetable by simply sautéing with olive oil and lemony sumac. I pulverize old gnarly carrots into “nibs” and toss them with couscous. So good. And essential to creating a sustainable planet.

Other trends? Chefs who use menu language in new ways and intentionally break from traditional forms. I now teach a class at the New School for Social Research (in New York City) called “The Language of Food,” which looks at menus as a form of literature. And chefs, like poets, use the fewest possible words to express desire and hunger, getting to the essence of a dish quickly, like good haiku. More? Specialty drinks with LED lights inside the ice cubes has a certain poetry of its own, as does “candy floss” (the British word for cotton candy) used in brand new ways.

More? It’s time to click on Whiteman’s forecast for 2017 – sporting the 13 hottest food & beverage trends in restaurant & hotel dining, not to mention 23 prescient buzzwords. According to Nick Lander’s in December’s Financial Times, “Michael Whiteman is a striking example of a lifetime well spent in the American hospitality business.” As the guy who (with his partner Joe Baum) created the world’s first food courts and five of New York’s three-star restaurants, including the legendary Windows on the World and the Rainbow Room, he knows a thing or two about what’s happening.

London Now: Restaurants to Watch

On a recent trip to London with trends guru Michael Whiteman, I had the luxury of drinking the world’s best martini – made with Cotswolds Gin. The distillery, located 1-1/2 hours outside London (in charming Shipston-on-Stour) is an alluring introduction to the idyllic landscape, known for lush patches of lavender and gentle hills. Ask proprietor Daniel Szor to give you a tour. Eat at the nearby gastropub, “The Kingham Plough” (20 minutes from the distillery), and then head on to bustling London, a world-eats destination, and stay a few days. Giving thanks, here, to MW (husband) for succinctly mapping the brilliance of three of London’s best new dining spots.

Without a great city street map you’d be pressed to find Beast, but every London cabbie knows the location. Beast comes from the creators of the sizzling Burger & Lobster chain but this time the menu focuses on humongous king crabs and great steaks from several countries. You pass massive tanks holding angry, prehistoric-looking crabs and lobsters with claws almost the size of your shoe before entering a bustling underground room full of wooden communal tables with candelabra. There’s a festive roar, mostly from men spending more than your last paycheck. A short assortment of starters (shrimp tempura with Cajun mayonnaise and avocado is sold by the piece but everyone seems to order a platter) leads you to “The Beasts”, all sold by the gram.

Next to us, four petit women from Paris shared some starters and a king crab beast that arrived on a silver platter; they then collapsed into a caloric stupor and gasped “fini.” Three of us, on the other hand, hoovered up a miraculously sweet crab and then carved into a great slab of corn-finished double sirloin from Nebraska grilled over charcoal. We’re partial to grass-fed Basque Holstein, but they were out that night and our other choices were beef from Scotland, Australia and Finland.

Our meal was rounded out by thrice-fired potato wedges and a green salad topped with juicy smoked tomatoes, which were infinitely better than expected. Do not request bread to sop up the salad juices or meat drippings because there is none.

The knowing wine list is full of big bruisers and first growths and, as befits a steakhouse, Beast is rightfully expensive. Don’t be surprised if this celebratory restaurant migrates to New York or Dubai where there already are busy outposts of Burger & Lobster.

Beast

3 Chapel Pl, Marylebone

+44 20 7495 1816

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Portland is the ideal neighborhood restaurant: smallish, warmly lit, gastronomically ambitious, acoustically sensible and fairly priced. For this reason, most people take taxis to this restaurant in the Fitzrovia neighborhood. Portland is one of three admirable London places run by Will Lander (the others being Quality Chop House and nearby Clipstone). The menu appears concise but then you’re struck with the “I want everything” dilemma. A recently bestowed Michelin star is so well deserved.

A smooth chicken liver parfait is offset by crisp chicken skin, candied walnuts and pickled grapes, and Devonshire crab is rolled with lovage into a thin slice of kohlrabi — both exercises of texture as well as taste. Evidently not one for gastronomical grandstanding, chef Merlin Labron-Johnson, who previously worked at Belgium’s famed In De Wulf, transforms complexities of ingredients into watercolors of flavors, as in foie gras with endive, clementine and raisins soaked in Alsace muscat — bitter flavors balanced by sweet. Roasted heritage carrots get the same attention with brown butter, aged nutty comté and toasted buckwheat. Cornish cod with green cauliflower, sorrel and smoked cream, and hay-baked guinea fowl with chestnuts and mushrooms were sublime and comforting on a rainy London evening.

Our waitress, fresh from Gramercy Tavern in New York, provided flawless service and there was nothing she didn’t know about the food.

The wine list is an endless work-in-progress since it changes almost every week, and is full of thrilling things you’ve never heard of — which is no surprise since Lander’s mother is the estimable wine writer Jancis Robinson (his father is food writer and critic Nicholas Lander).

Portland

113 Great Portland St.

+44 20 7436 3261

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StreetXO is a rollicking transplant to London of a tapas bar in Madrid. That statement is akin to saying that Audi is an automobile. StreetXO is an underground, wackadoodle fusion restaurant where Michelin-starred chef David Muñoz layers Asian flavors onto traditional Spanish tapas, with occasional detours to Mexico. The resulting food erupts with umami and spices. A croquette that in Spain would be bound with a simple béchamel here is filled with sheep milk, XO sauce, lapsang souchong and kimchi, then topped with a slice of toro. If you fancy crunchy pig’s ear dumplings and pickles spattered, Jackson Pollack stye, with strawberry hoisin sauce, this place is for you.

There’s a long, brightly lit open kitchen “counter” where a gaggle of chefs— dressed puzzlingly in strait jackets — prepare these over-the-top inventions and serve you directly, each dish accompanied by an explanatory recitation. This is where you want to sit since the remaining space is night-clubby black, dark red and rather gloomy, but probably appropriate for date nights.

We particularly enjoyed a show-stopper of octopus, tomatillo and green apple mole (a faux guacamole) with “fake Chinese wok noodles” that turned out to be an amazing umami-laden tangle of enoki mushrooms. Muñoz’s steamed club sandwich is a pillow-soft bao with suckling pig, ricotta, quail egg and chili cream. And so it goes — tandoori chicken wings with pickled onion, trout roe and bonito flakes; Iberian pork belly with mussels in escabeche and sriracha; paella with sea urchin, chicken, bergamot and yellow aji — a carnival of animals and seafood.

StreetXO had opened only a few days before we dropped in and London’s trendoids already were clamoring for reservations.

StreetXO

15 Old Burlington St, Mayfair

+44 20 3096 7555

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Chocolate + Tahini

Photo by: Jonelle Weaver
Photo by: Jonelle Weaver

I was among the first to make ganache from chocolate and tahini (instead of cream) and invented a recipe in 1999 for a Gourmet magazine cover story.  I created a chocolate petits fours for a kosher-style meal where the mixing of meat and dairy was not allowed.  This idea is now a hot new trend and lots of chefs are exploiting tahini (sesame seed paste) to the max.  Here's my recipe from Gourmet for Chocolate-Tahini Cups.  They are radically simple to make and taste like a sophisticated Chunky bar.  A great idea for Valentine's Day.

Chocolate-Tahini Cups

1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup boiling-hot water
8 ounces best quality semi-sweet chocolate (like Valrhona)
3-1/2 tablespoons tahini (Middle Eastern sesame seed paste)
vegetable cooking spray1
8 - 1-inch candy papers/liners


Soak currants in hot water for 5 minutes.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Melt chocolate with 3 tablespoon tahini in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth, and stir in currants.  Lightly spray liners with cooking spray and spoon chocolate mixture into candy paper liners.  Cool 5 minutes.

Decorate candies by dipping tip of a skewer or toothpick into remaining 1/2 tablespoon tahini and swirling over tops.  Chill until set.  Makes 18.  Will keep, covered and chilled, for 1 week. 

New Food Trends 2015

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At the end of every year, platoons of food professionals -- consultants, chefs, writers and research firms -- race to predict the trends that will influence foodies all over America and ergo the world. According to Carol Tice from Forbes, the forecast released in mid-November by Baum+ Whiteman international restaurant consultants, was "one of the most fascinating." You can check out their full report of 11 dining trends plus 22 hot restaurant buzzwords for 2015 here.

Although I am married to Mr. Whiteman, his prognostications were unknown to me until they were released on Nov. 11th. The trends sit in telling categories: how the importance of technology will profoundly change the way restaurants function; how the notion of authenticity has less relevance, and how our lust for new and different has resulted in "restless palate syndrome" -- meaning that we can't leave simple food alone. One upon a time we liked salty, sweet, spicy, smoky, fatty and bitter flavors -- but now we want them all at once. In other words, "too much ain't enough."

The report, picked up by an Arabic newspaper, focuses on the importance of hummus, which Whiteman says, is probably the most mispronounced word in our country's food vocabulary. It gobbles up shelf space in our supermarkets because of a profusion of flavors added to what simply is a chickpea dip eaten in Israel and Arab countries. It now comes in dizzying variations including red pepper, chimichurri, lemongrass-chili and even chocolate mousse! (I've recently discovered a hummus ice cream in Tel Aviv).

Or take beer. Cocktails with beer are finding favor in trendy bars. Meanwhile, Micheladas are creeping up on us. Micheladas are Mexican beer concoctions that invite you to dump in all manner of spices -- bloody Mary mix, chipotle-tomato juice, soy sauce, beef broth and tequila ...you get the idea: beer for restless palate people who've become blase about just a pint of IPA.

They also note in their predictions that honey is being "enhanced" with ghost peppers; that bourbon is being flavored with honey and chili pepper or with pumpkin pie spices; that while the fixation of everything-bacon may be abating, now there's 'ndjua, a light-up-your-mouth spreadable sausage from Calabria that's finding its way onto pasta, melted over pork chops, even blended into vinaigrettes as sauces for fish. "If bold flavors are a trend" they say, "this eye-stinging, red-peppered mushy salami is next year's bold flavor."

Do strawberries taste sweeter on a black plate or a white plate? On a square plate or a round plate? Their forecast about "neurogastronomy" -- how your mind and body can be manipulated to enhance how you sense and taste food --is required reading. So is their comical rant about overpriced avocado.

Among their predictions: The death of tipping, and a reduction in the vast earnings gap between tipped waiters and low-paid cooks and dishwashers; fine dining chefs ditching flowers, linens, reservation systems and expensive china, instead going downscale to develop fast-casual restaurants; insects as food as we search for renewable sources of proteins; savory ice creams and yogurts as consumers realize how much sugar they're getting in sweetened cold treats; the war on waste is gaining traction; pistachios will be the nut of the year; authentic Jewish delis and also Jewish-ethnic mashups; savory waffles and waffle sandwiches; matcha (green tea powder) in fancy beverages and even seafood stocks and sauces; night markets, building on food truck rodeos, growing around the country with multi-ethnic festivals that bring thousands to riverfronts and public squares.

In their trend called "Soda Fountain Crashes the Bar," Baum+Whiteman sees childhood treats boozed up as adult shakes and smoothies with bourbon, gin, Frangelico, Galliano, Chartreuse.

Even coconut and cucumber waters, promoted as somehow being "purer," are being overlaid (or adulterated) with flavors like coffee and mango and with energy-boosting ingredients. Now maple water and birch sap are being tested.

Finally, clever computer programs now allow high-end restaurants to sell tickets for dinner rather than take reservations. Eating out could become as hateful as dealing with the airlines, the consultants say, with cancellation penalties and price shifting based upon demand for seats or time of day.

My adds? Cabbage. Food as medicine. Page oranges from Florida. Tahina is the new mayonnaise. It will come in as many colors (and flavors) as a box of crayons. See you in 2015.

You can also check out the National Restaurant Association's list for the coming year, Carol Tice's report from Forbes, and this article from Cosmopolitan.

Spring Review

springreviewIt’s time for a Spring Review since beginning my blog in 2010. I’ve written more than 300 entries and wanted to share the best with you. Because of instantaneous access to one another via the Internet, the “world’s table” is now on public view. It is my goal, then, as a journalist, chef, author, restaurant consultant and food trends junkie, to help set the table with decades of perspective. When Vladimir Nabokov got around to writing his memoir, he called it “Speak, Memory.”  When writing my blog, I issue a similar command to myself:  “Taste, Memory!” I seek ways to connect the reader emotionally to his or her own gastronomic wavelength. Just as Anna Quindlen writes about her keen observations about life – tying together politics, family, and one’s inner experience, often with whimsy -- I have written my voice into daily, and weekly, connections to food, dining, cooking, history, biography and memoir. Each entry is a deliberate serving of the past, present and future – whether connecting the uprising in Egypt to my respect for Naguib Mafouz and my fondness for Egyptian cooking (with a contemporary photo of a young man preparing an ancient dish of ful mudammas); or experiencing the soul of Philadelphia-chef Marc Vetri through his singular approach to food and cooking and told his story by deeming him a “culinary bodhisattva.” A posting about “white carrots” informs the misinformed (which at times can be most of us), with an observation backed up with a bit of history, some speculation, and a few recipes to make the point. Included is a mesmerizing photo of carrots.

I believe that a younger generation of “food passionistas” – a term I coined for the group of dedicated, enthusiastic, and obsessively curious types about the world of food, chefs, and cooking – are in need of less hype, and more information, in an accessible  way. Inspired by the daily experiences of life in my kitchen, life in other people’s kitchens, learning at the hands of some of the industry’s most influential tastemakers, the purpose of my blog is not to attract advertisers or lure masses of readers; rather, it is an intimate, highly personal, often funny view of the world of food. Every blog posting puts my readers in-the-know about something timely. As a bonus, there’s always a “goody bag” in which one finds original recipes, ways to use new ingredients, food and wine pairing ideas, tips for entertaining, news about the coolest chefs and hottest restaurants. Or something more personal – a taste experience (ever try bitter chocolate, Parmigiano-Reggiano and sweet red grapes?); a mind stimulant (what about making marmalade from carrots?), or a new technique (like my deconstructed “wined-and-brined turkey,” or making cream cheese via “drip irrigation”).

Cooking is not merely about measurement and temperature, and the culinary world is not merely about gastronomy or nutrition. Food has deep historic and emotional resonances, and profound historical connections -- think about “feast” or “famine” or “bread riots.”

Food is familial and simultaneously social: We break bread together and then divide the world into pig-eaters or pig-shunners.

When one writes well about food, all these factors come into play, consciously or not. One should know that The Gleaners in Millet’s famous painting reach backward historically to biblical injunctions not to harvest to the corners of the field, but to leave food for the poor. One should know that without the discovery of the Americas, there would be no tomatoes in Naples, no paprika in Budapest, no chocolate in Zurich. One should know something about why certain foods connect to certain religious festivals – why, for example, we serve lamb at Easter and also at Passover, and why both “feasts” relate to activities around the table.

What my mother cooked for the her family is different from what my readers’ mothers did then or do today, but they all set standards for how we view not just what’s on our plate, but how we will relate to a larger world – one in which even the present seems to vaporize in an instant.

Please take a moment to enjoy the posts below, and I encourage you to search the archives for others that may be of interest to you.

Cooking in Silence

Chocolate Dirt: Is it Art or is it Dinner?

Insanely Delicious Fresh Figs

Ten Radically Simple Days of Christmas

photo 2(2)Recipe countdown:  For the next 10 days I will share a main course recipe from Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease. After all, it is the time of year where we all crave abundance without the burden. A nice holiday gift? A copy of the book from Amazon. For me, I'd love a fruitcake. Salmon & Mint in Crispy Grape Leaves This is an unusual fish dish for this time of the year but it's one of my favorites. Serve it on a mound of couscous mixed with orzo -- a new combo for me.  I invented it this morning!  Add a side dish of tiny roasted Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of walnut oil, sea salt and lemon zest.  What to drink?  Open a great bottle of pinot noir from Oregon or France, depending on your mood. This recipe is easily doubled, or tripled, and so is quite desirable for a holiday menu.

1/2 cup crème fraîche (I love the one from Vermont Creamery) 1 small garlic clove 4 thick salmon fillets, 7 ounces each, skin removed 2 medium bunches fresh mint 8 large grape leaves in brine, rinsed and dried 3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the crème fraîche with the garlic, pushed through a press. Add salt to taste. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with 6 mint leaves. Wrap each piece of fish tightly in 2 overlapping grape leaves, tucking in the ends as you go. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the packets and cook over high heat until crispy, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to a rimmed baking sheet and scatter with mint sprigs. Bake 8 minutes, until the fish is just firm. Serve with the crème fraîche and crispy mint. Drizzle with additional oil, if desired. Serves 4

Win an Autographed Copy of Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease

Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease might be most useful in the summer months, so here's a way for someone to get an autographed copy. One lucky winner will be randomly chosen on Monday, July 23.  Here's how you can enter:

1) Comment below letting me know what your favorite summer "go to" recipe or meal is.  If you'd like to share a recipe, so much the better.

2) For an extra entry share this post on Facebook or Twitter and comment letting me know that you have done so.

A few quotes about Radically Simple:

"Chosen as one of the most important cookbooks of the past 25 years." -- Cooking Light Magazine

"Gold’s global palate and talent for distilling a dish’s essentials put her in a Minimal(ist) league of her own."--Christine Muhlke, New York Times

"Rozanne Gold is the personal trainer of food writers. She wrings stylish, streamlined, fabulous results with inspired combinations."--Julia Moskin, New York Times

Here are a few recipes for a wonderful summer meal:

Cucumber-Coconut Bisque This is incredibly refreshing and lasts, surprisingly, up to 5 days in the fridge. Even kids love it. Make sure all the ingredients are icy cold before assembling.

2 large cucumbers, peeled 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt 1/2 cup coconut milk, chilled 4 scallions 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus julienned mint for garnish 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling 1/3 cup finely minced red bell pepper

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seed with a spoon. Cut the flesh into pieces and put in a blender with the yogurt and coconut milk. Sliver the dark green parts of the scallions and set aside for garnish. Chop the white and light green parts and add to the blender with the chopped mint, cumin, and oil. Process for several minutes, until smooth; add salt. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with slivered scallion greens, julienned mint, bell pepper, and a drizzle of oil. Serves 4

Grilled Tuna with Lemony Tahina, Greens & Pomegranate Seeds This dish is made with both fresh cilantro and ground coriander seed. The first perfumes the fragrant tahina sauce; the latter contributes its aroma to the fish.

1/2 cup tahina 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 1 medium garlic clove 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 5 tablespoons olive oil 4 thick tuna steaks, 6 ounces each 2 tablespoons ground coriander 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 4 ounces mesclun 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Combine the tahina, lemon juice, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor. Process, slowly adding 1/2 to 2/3 cup cold water, until smooth and thick. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the oil all over the tuna steaks and season with salt. Mix the coriander and cumin on a plate; rub into the fish. Heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Sear the tuna 2 minutes on each side. Keep the tuna very rare. Toss the mesclun with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add salt and divide among 4 plates. Place the tuna on the greens. Pour the tahina sauce over the fish and scatter with the pomegranate seeds. Serves 4

Orange Flower Strawberries & Mint Sugar While this recipe can be made all year long, it is sensational right now -- when berries are at their peak.

2 pints very ripe strawberries, hulled and halved 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water 6 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh well-dried mint leaves 1/2 cup crème fraîche 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Toss the berries with the orange flower water and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Put the remaining 5 tablespoons granulated sugar and mint in a food processor and process until incorporated. Divide the berried among 4 glasses and sprinkle with the mint sugar. Combine the crème fraîche with the confectioners' sugar and dollop on top. Serves 4

Polenta: The Next Big Thing?

Not long ago, in the epicenter of Brooklyn's culinary scene, I had a delightful dinner in a place called Osteria il Paiolo. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, home to some of the world's hippest dining venues, is a multi-culti morass of righteous Jews, old-time Italians and Dominicans, and newly-converted food passionistas with young families and big dreams. It is also home to one of the only places I know that features polenta as its calling card, authentically made in an "il paiolo" -- a large unlined copper pot -- the traditional vessel in northern Italy in which to s-l-o-w-l-y stir ground cornmeal into boiling water and salt until thick and creamy. It is sturdier than porridge and more sublime than its humble ingredients might imply. I was no more than 19 years old when I first met its acquaintance during a trip to northern Italy. It was there that I had one of the my most memorable dishes of my life: A thick slice of Gorgonzola dolce onto which was poured a stream of hot buttery polenta across its girth. An exercise in simplicity, its creamy texture and unexpected melding of flavors and fragrances, was downright sinful. And while not the traditional form polenta usually takes, it remains a love-at-first bite memory. While the good people of Tuscany are known as "bean-eaters" because of their culinary proclivity towards legumes, the Piemontese locals are known as polentone. Apparently, everyone in Piedmont eats polenta all the time, and have done so before the Roman empire! (At that time, polenta was made from other grains such as millet, barley, and farro. Corn, or maize, appeared in the 16th century.)

That said, I was excited to try the polenta, and all the other good things I had heard about, at the dining spot loosely translated as "the polenta pot." It is an osteria which, in Italy, connotes a rather casual restaurant where the owner is also the host: Enter Alex Palumbo. Alex, a native of northern Italy's Piedmont region, was primed to bring the signature dish of his family's kitchen to slightly tonier environs. Amidst a sprawl of white table-clothed tables in an industrial modern space, one can dine very well indeed. In addition to the myriad ways to eat polenta, topped with tomatoes and quail, with shrimp and rosemary, with fontina, are exemplary antipasti and main courses -- we especially loved the homemade sausage with savory cabbage served in a terracotta casserole, and my husband said his roasted quail, prepared with pancetta, cream and sage, was the best he ever had. Good, too, was the unusual pappardelle al cioccolata, chocolate pasta with a wild boar and vegetable ragu.

Unbeknownst to me, authentic polenta is made with only water and salt, not the butter and cheese we have come to expect. But along the way, the latter ingredients have become commonplace. And while the ingredients may be 1-2-3, the mastery is in the preparation: Polenta must be slowly stirred for up to 45 minutes for its requisite creaminess and flavor. There are huge copper paiolo pots that have electric motors attached, but at Alex's osteria, everything is lovingly stirred by a mano (by hand.) Alex gets his heirloom polenta -- which is coarse and toothsome -- from a "secret source" in Italy and claims that no one else in New York (ergo the country) has it. At last count, the kitchen is stirring up more than 60 pound per month, up from 10 pounds when he first got started, not so long ago. Clearly, the locals are catching on.

In my own kitchen at home, I make polenta with tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano as one of my ultimate comfort dishes, and on occasion, indulge in that time-honored memory of gorgonzola topped with steaming polenta. Only now I gild the dish with a tuft of balsamic-tinged wild arugula and anoint it all with my best extra-virgin olive oil on top. And I am still enamored of Colman Andrews' polenta with oranges and olive oil from his wonderful book, Flavors of the Riviera. The potential for polenta is promising, perhaps turning us all into polentone one day.

Osteria il Paiolo, 106 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (www.ilpaiolonyc.com)

One Pea Pod/Scallops and Pea Puree

What did I have for lunch yesterday?  One perfect pea pod.  No kidding.  I was rushing like crazy and forgot to eat lunch.  I was at my favorite stand at the Union Square Farmer's Market buying micro-greens, edible flowers, pink-stemmed buckwheat sprouts, and more.  Windfall Farms carries "boutique" produce unlike any other and that's where all the photo/prop/food styling folks go.  Including me...and I have a photo shoot for Lenox China coming up.  Anyway, I was also thirsty and the nice farmer said, "here, eat a pea pod."  In one fell swoop, I tasted early summer...I felt satisfied...and my thirst was quenched. That's it. A pea pod bursting with tiny fresh peas.  The essence. Nothing more. As promised yesterday on my Facebook page, I present the recipe that got a surprise rave from cooking maestro Arthur Schwartz who said he made my "Seared Scallops on Sweet Pea Puree" from Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease.  He said "be mindful when browning the scallops," but he also said that the timing was perfect and that it was delicious.  I think he added a burst of fresh lemon juice and so may you. I hope you enjoy it as much as Arthur and his guest did.

This dish is an adaptation of one of the most beloved recipes from my original Recipes 1-2-3, but I've updated it with dry vermouth and a garnish of trendy pea shoots. It is a dish for any time of the year because frozen peas, always available, provide the base of the lovely buttery puree, but I suggest you try it soon with super-fresh peas from the farmers market.  If using fresh peas, shell enough peas (from their pods) to get about 1-1/2 cups and follow the recipe, cooking the peas as long as needed to get tender but still bright green.

Seared Scallops on Sweet Pea Puree Get the best freshest scallops available.  Make sure they haven't been "dipped" in a solution or you will have difficulty browning them.

10 ounces frozen petits pois, thawed 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 20 medium-large sea scallops 3 tablespoons dry vermouth handful of pea shoots, mache, or microgreens

Put the peas in a saucepan with water to just cover. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes (longer if using fresh peas.) Drain well and save 6 tablespoons cooking water. Put the peas, 2 tablespoons of the butter, and the reserved cooking water in a blender.  Puree until very smooth and thick.  Add salt and pepper.  Return to the saucepan and keep warm.   Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet.  Season the scallops and add to the pan.  Sear over high heat 2 minutes per side until golden and just cooked through.  Spread the warm pea puree in the centers of 4 large warm plates.  Arrange the scallops on the puree.  Add the vermouth and remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan. Cook over high heat until syrupy, about 30 seconds.  Pour over the scallops and top with pea shoots.  Serves 4

Give peas a chance.  Enjoy!

Secret Launch Revealed!

Apple, Cookstr and Rozanne Gold Heat Up the Digital Kitchen with Made-for-Mobile Cookbooks.

NEW YORK, July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cookstr, the world's #1 collection of cookbook recipes available online, today launches its first original offering of curated recipe content exclusively on Apple's iBookstore. Created as a model for Cookstr's collaboration with book publishers, the company's iBookstore offering includes curated sets of 10 recipes ($0.99), 50 recipes ($3.99) and 250 recipes ($9.99) that invite readers to choose between whole books or shorter form sets and chapters, to build their own a la carte cookbook and recipe libraries.

Cookstr is honored to present award-winning chef and cookbook author Rozanne Gold's The 1-2-3 Collection as its premier offering. The 1-2-3 Collection is now available at www.itunes.com/rozannegold for purchase and download on Apple's iBookstore, available via the free iBooks App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, or at www.itunes.com/ibookstore.

Fifteen years ago, Gold started a revolution around the idea of simplicity in cooking. Today, her dynamic three-ingredient recipes, are breaking new ground in a format designed for in-kitchen use. Each recipe is 140 words or less and can be viewed on a single screen, with mouthwatering images and brand new notes by Gold that flow beautifully on the iPad's stunning display. Gold's The 1-2-3 Collection is also the first digital cookbook to incorporate Cookstr's proprietary search standards and technology, currently used by a growing number of America's leading media, consumer and healthcare brands.

"We believe this platform has the potential to benefit publishers and home cooks alike," said Cookstr CEO Art Chang. "We are using technology to enable publishers to sell a wide variety of books and booklets created from the best recipes in their catalogs and upcoming books. Cookstr believes you can maintain the highest standards for food and nutrition and give the home cook more choices when it comes to quality, curated content. Most importantly, we can continue to reward the cooks and authors who create the recipes, and the publishers behind them who play such a key role in the identification and support of talent."

The 1-2-3 Collection is comprised of 250 recipes ($9.99), which can also be purchased separately by theme:

  • Quick & Easy 1-2-3, a 50-recipe collection ($3.99). Individual 10-recipe chapters are also available for purchase ($0.99), including: "Quick & Easy Mornings," "Quick & Easy Appetizers," "Quick & Easy Weeknights," "Quick & Super Easy" (recipes you can cook with one hand), and "Super Quick & Easy" (recipes you can complete in under 5 minutes).
  • Be Well, Take Care 1-2-3, a 50-recipe collection ($3.99). Individual 10-recipe chapters are also available for purchase ($0.99), including: "Be Well, Low Sodium," "Be Well, Eat Light," "Be Well, Gluten-Free," "Be Well, Vegan," and "Be Well, Healthy Heart."
  • No-Sweat Summer 1-2-3, a 50-recipe collection ($3.99). Individual 10-recipe chapters are also available for purchase ($0.99), including: "Summer Starters," "Summer Soups," "Summer Suppers," "Summer Sides," and "Summer Sweets."
  • Menus for Entertaining 1-2-3, a 50-recipe collection ($3.99). Individual 10-recipe chapters are also available for purchase ($0.99), including: "BBQ Menu," "Al Fresco Menu," "Fiesta Menu," "Picnic Menu," and "Labor Day Menu."
  • Dishes by Ingredient 1-2-3, a 50-recipe collection ($3.99). Individual 10-recipe chapters are also available for purchase ($0.99), including: "Poultry Dishes," "Meat Dishes," "Fish Dishes," "Veggie Dishes," and "Fruit Dishes."

"The opportunity to create new cooking experiences that embrace technology is exhilarating," said Gold. "My updated repertoire of three-ingredient recipes relies on fresh, unprocessed ingredients and streamlined techniques presented in a brand new form. The result? The revolutionary 1-2-3 Collection that mixes passion with practicality. It is designed to inspire a new generation of home cooks and professional chefs alike to keep it simple."

Visit http://ibooks.cookstr.com or www.itunes.com/rozannegold for more information. A free sample of The 1-2-3 Collection is also available by searching for "Cookstr" or "Rozanne" on the iBookstore.

About Cookstr

Cookstr develops and delivers innovative products and technologies to market leaders in the media, healthcare and food industries, to support enjoyable and healthy consumer lifestyles focused on quality home cooking. Since its inception, Cookstr has introduced technology innovations that have significantly improved the inspiration and decision-making experience around recipes. Cookstr, founded by Will Schwalbe, and launched in 2008 with Katie Workman and Art Chang, has worked closely with the cookbook publishing industry to build a hand-curated database of thousands of cookbook recipes offered directly to consumers via the Cookstr website, www.cookstr.com. Today, Cookstr's offering includes recipe curation solutions for the food media market, nutrition solutions for the health and wellness market and mobile solutions for the food publishing market. In addition, Cookstr has developed technologies that can improve expert content management for use in other markets.

About Rozanne Gold

Rozanne Gold is a chef, international restaurant consultant, author, journalist and four-time winner of the James Beard Award. She was the consulting chef to the legendary Rainbow Room and Windows on the World, and helped create three of New York's three-star restaurants. First chef to New York Mayor Ed Koch at the age of 23, Gold has been known throughout her career for anticipating and inspiring food trends, including "The Minimalist" column in The New York Times, which was based on her cookbook Recipes 1-2-3, and the grazing craze, which was initiated by her cookbook Little Meals. Gold is the author of twelve cookbooks, including the award-winning 1-2-3 series. She was the Entertaining Columnist for Bon Appétit magazine for five years, and has written and produced stories for The New York Times, O Magazine, Gourmet, Real Food and more.

Contact Aliza Pearlson Cookstr press@cookstr.com

Cleaning out the Fridge

For the last four days I have been involved in a "secret project"-- one that has required lots and lots of cooking and food photography. Sixty-two photos to be exact! My days have begun at 5:45 a.m. and have lasted up to 16 hours, at which time, the dishes would be washed (we have no dishwasher!), the shopping lists made for the next day's shoot, and a final sip taken from a big glass of red wine. My house and kitchen, turned into a "studio" with simple lighting, an array of white plates, a cornucopia of fresh ingredients, and a very credible photographer whose work has graced the pages of magazines, books and food products for decades. Part performance art, part circus, it required the best of spirits and the steady hands of an assistant, and at certain times two! -- both of whom work as personal chefs. The rhythm to get so much done in a day was at times cool jazz and at other times a symphonic movement which could have been titled Heroica! (Beethoven). If the Marx Brothers had a theme song, that, too, might describe the mood, as we spliced and diced and chopped, steamed, broiled and sauteed, churned ice cream, and sipped and slurped the strongest iced coffee you can imagine. As a frame of reference, in advertising, getting three shots done a day is good work; in publishing a book, seven or eight shots is considered fabulous. We were pushing 16, if you do the math. The reward? Beautiful images and a refrigerator so full that it was getting warm. My fridge 'runneth over! Up again at 5:45 a.m. this morning to sort out the wheat from the chaff, and to re-jigger odds and ends into dinner. That is, dinner for a week! Ground meat was turned into a meat sauce (I had lots of fresh tomatoes, basil and red onion), my gratin dauphinoise was re-layered with thin slices of roast chicken and asparagus; a multitude of vegetables from the farmer's market were steamed and tossed with fresh fettuccine as a kind of room-temperature salad for lunch today; leftover poached pears, raspberries, fresh orange segments, roasted grapes and slivers of caramelized pineapple turned into a healthy dessert for tonight's meal.

But nothing topped breakfast this morning -- a slice of my husband's dense homemade rye bread spread with leftover scallion butter (used for a creamy corn soup) and sprinkled with salt. I encourage you to visit your fridge and to visit a website called "expendible edibles" for inspiration. You may want to fry the carrot tops lurking in the vegetable drawer and scatter them atop a nice carrot-ginger soup. It's time again to make lemonade out of lemons or better yet, make refreshing agua fresca from leftover watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe. Recipe below (for carrot tops, too!)

Fried Carrot Tops

1/4 cup lacy green carrot tops 3 tablespoons olive oil

Wash the carrot tops and dry thoroughly. Heat the oil in a small skillet until hot. Carefully add the carrot tops and fry for 30 seconds. or until crispy and still bright green. Transfer to paper towels. Sprinkle very lightly with salt. Stays crispy for several hours.

Agua Fresca (adapted from Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs) This doesn't require much sugar; just let the fresh fruit flavors shine through.

1/2 large ripe cantaloupe or honeydew (or leftover pieces) 1/4 cup sugar slices of lemon or lime

Remove any seeds from melon. Cut into large pieces and put in a blender with the sugar, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Process on high until very smooth. You will have 3 cups of liquid. Put it in a pitcher and add 3 cups of cold water. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Pour over ice and garnish with lemon or lime. Add more sugar (dissolved in hot water), if needed. Garnish with pieces of melon, if you wish. Serves 4

Tin Fish Gourmet

Barbara-Jo McIntosh is the owner of the beloved Books to Cooks bookstore in Vancouver, BC.  She herself has been called a national treasure of Vancouver because of her deep influence in "all things food" in that gorgeous city.   Every year, scores of distinguished chefs, authors, wine makers and celebs from all over the world wind up in her shop. They are feted by Ms. McIntosh herself with a reception in their honor.  Throughout the year, there are scores of meaningful talks, lectures, tastings and demos, too, making Books to Cooks the place to be if you have even the tiniest interest in cooking.  In addition to hand-selecting the 7,000 titles available in her store, Barbara-Jo has written three of the books she carries.  Her most recent, "Cooking for Me and Sometimes You:  A Parisienne Romance with Recipes (French Apple Press, 2010) is a joy.  You feel as though you are in a small French kitchen right alongside her, whipping up a sharp vinaigrette for the perfect Salade Nicoise, or braising a chicken leg with tomatoes and black olives. But as I'm staring at a large can of salmon this morning in my fridge (gift of my husband who did the grocery shopping yesterday), I lunge for another of her books on my shelf. Tin Fish Gourmet, whose subtitle, great seafood from cupboard to table, says it all.  This book has a way of making you feel virtuous and wise, as you hunt for your can opener.   Some months ago, my husband and I started eating canned salmon.  I don't remember why exactly.  I used to hate it as a kid, especially because of the skin and cartilage that punctuated the pretty pink flesh, but having gotten over that, I find myself, instead, enjoying the weird texture of the tiny bones.  I use it to make last-minute salmon rillettes and enjoy it smashed on a piece of black bread with fresh lemon and a dab of crème fraîche.  Maybe some chives. The Tin Fish Gourmet offers  sixteen ideas using a 15-ounce can, or two (but beware, my tin of Bumble Bee salmon is 14.75 ounces!), from which to choose.  Some are quite sophisticated, others are nifty and thrifty. I inadvertently soaked a pot of dried chickpeas last night and will try the healthy-sounding Avocado, Chick Pea and Salmon Salad.  Hmmmmm, but Corn & Salmon Fritters, Curried Salmon Loaf, Salmon and Fennel Stew, and a dreamy-sounding Asparagus, Brie & Salmon Omelette also tantalize.  But the book's most-popular recipe is an appetizer: Pecan Salmon Roll.  It's a recipe Barbara-Jo picked up from a trip to Lunenberg, Nova Scotia.   Recipe below.  You can find each of the above mentioned books at New York's beloved bookstore: Kitchen Arts & Letters, on Lexington Avenue and 93rd street. Tell Nach and Matt that Barbara-Jo sent you.

Barbara-Jo's Pecan Salmon Roll

15 ounce can (tin) salmon, drained 9 ounces cream cheese 2 tablespoons goat cheese, optional 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 scallion, finely chopped 1 tablespoon white horseradish 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus sprigs for garnishing

Cream together cheeses, lemon juice, scallion, horseradish and cayenne.  Add salmon and mix together.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Shape into a roll, about 8-inches by 3-inches.  Roll through the combined mixture of pecans and parsley to cover.  Place on a platter and garnish with parsley sprigs.  Serve with sliced baguette or crackers. Serves 6 to 10 as an appetizer.

A Farmer's Market Meal

You can pretty much get everything on this plate at your local farmer's market.  After all, there are only 9 ingredients that make up this eternally spring meal. Although it's a bit gray and rainy today, I am off to the Union Square Market, the heart and soul of the city, to get the ingredients for tonight's dinner.  This image, from one of my earlier books, Recipes 1-2-3 Menu Cookbook (published in 1998), is attention-getting as it is stunning in its simplicity and restraint.  The three simple recipes include tender lamb chops under a "crust" of goat cheese and rosemary; a slow-cooked tomato layered with red onion "napoleon-style," and stir-fried watercress with garlic chips.  Only today, 14 years later when pea shoots are now the veg du jour, I may substitute them for the watercress in this recipe.  I may also, instead of the rosemary, use fresh lavender -- just a bit -- as my husband really likes it.  It is an unforgiving herb, however, as a little too much is...a little too much.  Goat cheese and lavender have great affinity and my husband often stuffs it under the skin of a large chicken and roasts it to perfection.  This menu brings great rewards for modest amounts of effort. Open an unexpected bottle of Domaine Clavel's Les Garrigues, a blend of syrah and grenache noir from the Languedoc, or choose a flowery Beaujolais like Chiroubles. Check in later for dessert.  I will see what's new and exciting at the market this morning!  One of life's simple pleasures is checking out what's on nature's agenda each week. Enjoy!

Lamb Chops with Goat Cheese & Rosemary 8 thick rib lamb chops 6 ounces fresh goat cheese 3 tablespoons finely snipped fresh rosemary or lavender

"French" the chops, cutting all meat from the bones to the "eye" of the chops; or leave them as they are.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix goat cheese with 2 tablespoons rosemary or lavender.  Season chops with salt and pepper and steak in a large nonstick skillet until browned, about 2 minutes on each side.  Pack approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on one side of each chop to cover completely.  Place chops in oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until desired doneness, but still rare in the center.  You may brown the cheese for 30 seconds under the broiler.  Scatter remaining herbs on top.  Serves 4 "Short-Stack" Tomatoes and Onions These can be made ahead of time and reheated for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

4 medium-large ripe tomatoes, about 1-1/2 pounds 2 large red onions 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Slice 1/4-inch from top and bottom of each tomato.  Cut each tomato into 3 thick slices.  Re-assemble each to look like whole tomato. Peel onions and slice 1/4-inch thick.  Layer thicker onions between tomato slices, ending on top with a thin slice of onion.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over each and season with salt and pepper.  Place a short skewer in center of each stack to help hold together.  Place in shallow baking pan and bake 1-1/4 hours.  Baste with pan juice twice.  Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes.  Carefully transfer to plates and spoon pan juices on top.  Drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Serves 4

Watercress (or Pea Shoots) Saute with Garlic Chips

3 large bunches watercress or 12 ounces pea shoots 4 large garlic cloves 3 tablespoons olive oil

Remove woody stems from watercress.  Peel garlic and slice paper thin, lengthwise.  Heat oil in a large skillet until hot.  Add garlic, cook 15 seconds until crisp, then immediately remove.  Add watercress or pea shoots.  Cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until just wilted.  Stir in garlic chips and salt to taste.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4

Star Fish

Ben Sargent, a friend for years, is known by many "names" -- including Hurricane Hopeful and the Surfer/Chowder Dude, if you get the idea. But I like Star Fish.  Ben's new show called "Hook, Line & Dinner" debuted on the Cooking Channel last night.  This hour show, which aired at 9 p.m., was both travelogue (from the streets of Brooklyn to the seashore of Maine) and cooking show and I learned a lot.  It was fun to see how one seduces an eel and edifying  to watch the back-breaking work involved in digging for clams.   Ben is passionate about the sea, the people, and the creatures who inhabit that landscape.  And if any of it, or them, can be eaten, so much the better.  Ben has made chowder in my kitchen and I loved watching him work.  I also enjoyed watching him, not long ago, in another television series "Art Race across America" -- where Ben had to create art in exchange for food.  He began in California and worked his way back home (to Brooklyn.)  Clearly, he's fearless.  But he's also confident, funny and warm and quite attached to his Yankee roots.  That's where we really connect. My father grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts and one of his favorite activities when we were kids was to buy a dozen lobsters and cook them in his lobster  pot in our apartment in Queens.  Lobsters were only .99 cents a pound in those days.  My dad had a special way of cooking them, in water as salty as the sea. We ate them all weekend long.   I loved to watch his huge hands break down a lobster into delectable morsels (the knuckle meat was his favorite.) My handsome dad could also crush a lobster claw with his bare hands.  He was, after all, a full back for the University of Tennessee and scored the winning touchdown in the Sugar Bowl, Jan. 1, 1943. (I have the football.)  After that he was drafted by the Washington Redskins. (I have the contract.)  It all came to a screeching halt sometime in his 20's because of shin-splints and residual war injuries -- but the lobster weekends continued forever, clarified butter and all.

In Radically Simple, I share an updated recipe for lobster.

Salt-Water Lobsters, Healthy Drawn Butter Calling the drawn butter "healthy" is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is better for you and lower in saturated fats than the unadulterated stuff.  The secret is to mix olive oil with a small amount of melted salted butter and spices.

3 live lobsters, 1-3/4 pounds each 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne 4 tablespoons salted butter

Fill a very large pot two-thirds full with very salty water.  Bring to a rapid boil.  Plunge the lobsters into the pot, head first.  Cover and quickly return to a boil. Once boiling, cook the lobsters for 12 minutes over high heat.  Transfer to a platter and let cool 5 minutes.  Split the lobsters in half through the undersides.Mix together the olive oil, paprika, and cayenne.  Melt the butter and skim off the white foam.  Stir the butter into the oil and serve alongside hot lobsters.  Serves 3 or 6 St