Food Republic http://www.foodrepublic.com Where Food, Drink & Culture Unite Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:46:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 Researchers “Shock” Fresh Herbs Into Retaining Flavor http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/researchers-shock-fresh-herbs/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/researchers-shock-fresh-herbs/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:00:52 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165926 Researchers at Sweden’s Lund University have discovered a way to “shock” fresh herbs in order to preserve that unmistakable taste. This new technique involves applying an electric pulse to fresh leaves, which causes them to open their pores and offer more flavor and green color after drying than their shock-free counterparts. Everyone with a spice cabinet […]

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Researchers at Sweden’s Lund University have discovered a way to “shock” fresh herbs in order to preserve that unmistakable taste. This new technique involves applying an electric pulse to fresh leaves, which causes them to open their pores and offer more flavor and green color after drying than their shock-free counterparts.

Everyone with a spice cabinet knows there’s a huge difference between fresh and dried basil, which makes this advance all the more exciting. Same with other herbs — dried cilantro is essentially useless if you’re looking for the grassy punch of its fresh counterpart, and dried rosemary is really just a bunch of spiky needles that will neither rehydrate nor add rosemary flavor.

Check out this video to see the new technology in action (Lund University’s YouTube channel is pretty fascinating in general) and look forward to an upgraded pantry in the near future.

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10 Creative Rice Dishes For Dinner Tonight http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/creative-rice-dishes-for-dinner/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/creative-rice-dishes-for-dinner/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:00:31 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165931 Rice is a friendly side dish or accompaniment that’s easy to make and on the table quicker than almost anything else. Tonight, we’re taking this much-loved grain for a spin around the neighborhood. Well, neighborhoods! We have lots of creative rice dishes from all over the world, from Italy, Spain and the U.S. to the […]

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Rice is a friendly side dish or accompaniment that’s easy to make and on the table quicker than almost anything else. Tonight, we’re taking this much-loved grain for a spin around the neighborhood. Well, neighborhoods! We have lots of creative rice dishes from all over the world, from Italy, Spain and the U.S. to the Middle East and of course Asia. Pick your grain — long or short — and get cooking!

Recipe: Sicilian Rice Timballo

Rice timbale is an elaborate layered dish from eastern Sicily, which is said to derive from Catania during the time of the Arab occupation. There are probably hundreds of variations on timbale; some are made with penne, and I have seen ones made with spaghetti. In fact, it is a good way to use up leftover risotto or pasta. And do try layers of roasted aubergine (eggplant), flavoring the rice with saffron or adding cooked mushrooms, for a few ideas.

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Crisp snap peas and crunchy fried rice cakes make for one satisfying, veggie-packed meal! (Photo: Evan Sung.)

Recipe: Crispy Broken Rice Cakes With Shiny Snap Peas

In my entirely unscientific recent survey, approximately 63 percent of Chinese takeout/delivery white rice gets thrown out after a couple of days in the fridge. That’s why this recipe is doubly pleasing: You get to use up that rice, and the result is a beyond-crispy cake that adds texture to anything it’s served with.

onigiri
These savory, slightly tart rice balls are accented with homemade pickled radish — a perfect light bite!

Recipe: Pickled Radish Onigiri

Ume plum vinegar is available at gourmet supermarkets, health food stores, and online. If you cannot find ume plum vinegar, use rice vinegar. The pickled radishes taste great by themselves and would make a nice side dish, or use the slices to garnish your onigiri, as I’ve done here. I use beet to dye the radish pink. You can omit that step.

ricewithcockles
Got shellfish and parsley? Grab a bottle of white wine and you’ve got a formula for a Basque feast!

Recipe: Basque-Style Rice With Cockles

This dish always makes me think of the heady ocean-infused perfume that rises when cockles or clams and parsley are mixed together. Salty and clean is the only way to describe it. In the Basque Country, you don’t need to buy parsley for your fish. Because fish is never eaten without parsley and is rarely eaten with anything more than that, parsley comes courtesy of the fishmonger.

Tahchin Time: Persian Spinach Upside-Down Rice Recipe
Crispy rice, upside down

Recipe: Persian Spinach Upside-Down Rice

Tahchin means literally ‘arranged at the bottom,’ referring to the layering of meat and rice to form a thick tahdig (crust) at the bottom of the pan. It is a very popular rice dish that can be made with either lamb or chicken. Some versions contain spinach or aubergine. A good, thick tahdig is the distinctive feature of this rice; to obtain that, traditionally the rice is mixed with egg in addition to yogurt.

friedblackrice
Forbidden rice has a toothsome bite, extra fiber and a beautiful purple-black color that makes the cilantro pop!

Recipe: Fried Black Rice With Peanuts

Forbidden rice is always beautiful, but this one is especially so, flecked with bright green cilantro leaves and golden peanuts. I love the way this dish elevates an easy stir-fry of vegetables, tofu, or fish to a special meal.

singaporean chicken rice wings
Where Singapore and America meet and greet. (Photo: Mark Shaw.)

Recipe: Singaporean Chicken Rice Wings

I may never how to make authentic Singaporean chicken rice, so I decided to create a contemporary spin on the ubiquitous Singaporean dish by fusing it with one of my favorite all-American applications: the chicken wing.

chickenrice

Recipe: Turkish Chicken And Rice Pie

Perdeli pilav means “veiled pilaf,” and it’s a dish found on many restaurant menus: a delicious chicken and rice pilaf encased in pastry dough and baked in tin molds until golden brown. It makes a great dinner party appetizer or midweek meal if you’ve got some leftover roast chicken to use up. Often the pastry crust is also studded with almonds.

Macanese baked pork chop rice
Macanese baked pork chop rice is a beloved comfort dish of this vibrant food culture.

Recipe: Macanese Baked Pork Chop Rice

This dish seems so wrong and dirty in the most delicious way possible: a cookie-crusted, deep-fried pork chop over fried rice, covered in a rich sauce and melted cheese. It’s a product of cha chaan teng (diner-like and tea restaurants) that were meant to appeal to the taste of visiting Westerners, offering Chinese-ified Western food (as opposed to the Americanized Chinese food found in the United States today).

© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
There’s a hit of spicy, tangy ‘nduja in every bite of this veggie fried rice. Don’t anticipate leftovers. (Photos: Clay Williams.)

Recipe: Jamie Bissonnette’s ‘Nduja Fried Rice

“Invest in a wok. They’re pretty cheap. Oh, and if you don’t have a gas stove, don’t stir-fry,” says chef Jamie Bissonnette. “The biggest tip I have for stir-frying is recovery time. When you add something to the pan, you drop the temperature. Keeping everything room temperature will help, then as you add something, let the pan get hot again and don’t be afraid if you see it’s blackening and crisping. Let it happen.”

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Five NYC Winter Restaurant Trends We’ve Noticed http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/five-nyc-winter-restaurant-trends-weve-noticed/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/five-nyc-winter-restaurant-trends-weve-noticed/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165933 Winter can be a slow time for restaurants, when a relentless cold front (or not) and post-holiday budgets keep many from dining out in the year’s first couple of months. Still, plenty of New York City establishments have recently opened their doors in the city’s five boroughs, and we say that these first few months […]

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Winter can be a slow time for restaurants, when a relentless cold front (or not) and post-holiday budgets keep many from dining out in the year’s first couple of months. Still, plenty of New York City establishments have recently opened their doors in the city’s five boroughs, and we say that these first few months just might be the best time to try them out — waits are shorter, service can be more attentive and seasonal ingredients are surprisingly plentiful. While covering the newcomers and gallivanting around, as we’re wont to do, here are a few trends we’ve picked up on.

1. Fewer American bottles on wine lists

Take a close look at the wine list at the next NYC hot spot you visit. Whether it’s a simple one-page collection or there are slightly more options, the list is more likely than ever to include wine from around the globe, with a smaller section of domestic selections (this may not hold true at fine-dining institutions that present an entire wine tome to accompany dinner). While it’s always been relatively common for, say, French or Italian restaurants to carry bottles solely from their home countries, it’s rather surprising to notice new, buzzy American restaurants not promoting wine grown on home soil. These bottles do remain the most marked up on many lists, however.

2. Burger insanity

New York Post restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo addresses this issue in a recent column, but the average price of “chefs’ burgers” has risen considerably — and to absurd levels — in the past few months. Almost all popular new NYC restaurants feature a “custom blend” burger from renowned meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda or some type of Kobe/wagyu patty, loaded with extravagant toppings like foie gras, bone marrow or truffles. Prices can range anywhere from $25 to $40, sometimes not including fries, which add on another $5 to $7. And yes, we’re still talking about burgers. You’d even be hard-pressed to find a burger under $18 or so at less-trendy restaurants.

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Will the poke craze ever slow down?

3. Poke is bigger than ever, but the next “big” dish remains anyone’s guess.

Editors and trend-predictor “experts” alike were quick to anoint everything from olives to kimchi to jackfruit as “the next big thing” of 2017. While a couple of these items may have popped up on a few more restaurant menus in the Big Apple, the breakout star of 2016, poke, has continued to dominate the early part of the year. Jam-packed assembly-line venues are opening seemingly weekly, each offering a slightly different take on the classic Hawaiian dish. Side note: It’s amusing to watch people choose a white rice base, add extra protein, tack on a plethora of fat-filled, fried toppings and finish it off with a healthy dose of spicy mayo while referring to their “healthy” lunch. It’s somewhat akin to ordering a Diet Coke with that Big Mac, or piling ranch dressing on a salad.

3. The line phenomenon isn’t going anywhere.

For those of you who thought the practice of people queuing up for hours on end to try the latest food-fad item or restaurant was just a flash in the -pan: fuggedaboudit. Just pass by newly opened dim-sum specialists Tim Ho Wan or milkshake joint Black Tap Burgers any evening to witness the madness. Whether it’s fueled primarily by general curiosity, mob mentality, Instagram or the food’s vast superiority (doubtful), hordes of people continue to wait unprecedented amounts of time for their food.

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Want to dine at NYC hot spot Le Coucou? They’d love to have you…in a month’s time at 10 p.m.

5. Reservations remain impossible.

Who on earth is getting these prime-time tables at NYC’s newest restaurants? Gone are the days when logging on to OpenTable exactly one month in advance could result in an 8 p.m. seating at the city’s most desirable spots. Now a similar search might yield the dreaded “5:30 or 10 p.m.?” conundrum. A recent dinner at a packed house at Dan Kluger’s new Loring Place (full disclosure: I made the reservation through their PR team) made me wonder just how, exactly, the other 160 or so diners managed to reserve a table. It’s well known that restaurants save some of their tables for VIPs, industry members and friends and family, but since when has city restaurant dining become so political?

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Burmese Food Primer: Essential Dishes To Eat In Myanmar http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/burmese-food-primer/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/22/burmese-food-primer/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165705 “Sa pi bi la?” The sound of this cheerful greeting echoes throughout the busy streets and local shops in Myanmar. As soon as I learned that this phrase meant “Have you eaten?” I knew I was in the right place to write a Burmese food primer. Given that Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) was long […]

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“Sa pi bi la?” The sound of this cheerful greeting echoes throughout the busy streets and local shops in Myanmar. As soon as I learned that this phrase meant “Have you eaten?” I knew I was in the right place to write a Burmese food primer.

Given that Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) was long considered a pariah state while under oppressive military rule for nearly 50 years, it’s easy to understand why so little is known about the cuisine there. Myanmar is a nation rich in cultural diversity with gastronomic threads that run throughout. I set out on a culinary journey to familiarize myself with the traditional foods of the country.

Mohinga is a popular breakfast option in Myanmar.
Mohinga is a popular breakfast option in Myanmar.

Use Your Noodle

Breakfast largely focuses on noodles. Mohinga, the unofficially official dish of the country, is the most popular morning choice. In major cities, you can find street hawkers stirring large steamy pots of this fish and noodle soup. The dish has slowly started to become available at all hours, but in the morning you will find locals pouring into roadside shops for their favorite breakfast meal. Served with thin or flat rice noodles, the soup is made with fish stock, catfish, lemongrass, chickpea flour, fish sauce, ginger, banana tree stem and fish paste. Many vendors offer optional add-ins of coriander, snake beans, lime and crushed chili to taste. Mohinga is so popular, many spots offer it “to go” — ladling the soup into small plastic bags with the noodles and other accompaniments in a separate bag.

Shan noodles are also a common breakfast item.
Shan noodles are also a common breakfast item.

Shan noodles, originally from Shan State, the largest area of Myanmar, are another morning staple that have increased in popularity throughout the country and can be found in teahouses and restaurants all over. Pull up a chair and order one of the variations of shan khao swé. The preparations are quite similar, chicken or pork cooked in tomatoes over a bed of rice noodles either as a salad or a soup. Choose between thin round rice noodles called yay sein or san see, sticky flat rice noodles.

A few other notable noodle dishes that I thoroughly enjoyed include nan gyi thoke, sometimes referred to as “Burmese spaghetti.” I tried this dish as a midmorning snack at Mother House Tea Shop in New Bagan. Sitting street side at a wooden table under a small awning to shade the morning sun, I ordered a delicious bowl of thick, round rice noodles served cold and topped with a hard-boiled egg, pork curry, coriander and chickpea flour.

In Amarapura, the former capital of Myanmar, I stopped into Aung Myint Kyaw Tea Shop for breakfast on my way into Mandalay. Amongst a sea of locals, I opted for a seat near the tea station and watched the local version of a barista prepare tea while I waited for my khao swé pyar thoke. This flat wheat noodle salad is served cold with chicken, coriander, chili oil and turmeric oil for color, roasted chickpea powder, fish sauce and chicken powder (now used more frequently to replace MSG, although MSG is still commonly used) and topped with curry. Chicken broth is served on the side and crushed chili, onion and lime can all be added as garnish to taste. With a full stomach, I was ready to embark on a day of sights and snacks.

Rice and curries are often served as lunch and dinner in Myanmar.
Rice and curries are often served as lunch and dinner in Myanmar.

Rice: The Name of the Game

A typical lunch or dinner in Myanmar revolves around rice of some sort, often accompanied by curry. There are many different types of curries, and while heat typically comes to mind for this dish, the curries in Myanmar tend to be much milder.

There is spice to be found in local haunts; you may just have to search it out. At Myo Myo restaurant in the Wikkeinn Village area of Bagan, I took a seat at a large table in the back corner and was promptly served no less than 15 small bowls, each filled with different curries and vegetables to accompany my hta min phyu (steamed rice). The curries range from vegetarian options such as chickpea curry (pae hnat hinn) and bitter gourd curry (kyat hnin khar thee chat) to prawn and fish options (pa zonn hinn and ngar hinn, respectively) and of course chicken (kyat thar hinn), mutton (sake thar hinn) and pork (wat thar hinn). I took a sampling from a bunch of the dishes, and once I was finished, one of the servers came over to eyeball what I had eaten and tally up my bill.

Other dishes, such as roselle leaves with peanuts, citrus salad, tomato gravy with fish paste and grilled dried fish, can often be found. This type of dining is common when eating out, and locals enjoy the many options as they typically make one curry along with a soup and a salad for their meals at home.

Salads are not hard to find across Myanmar.
Salads are not hard to find across Myanmar.

Salad, Salad Everywhere

If you can chop or slice a vegetable, you can call it a salad in Myanmar. Burmese salads are all encompassing and vary in complexity. No matter what, plenty of thoke (the Burmese word for salad) are sure to be encountered on any trip to Myanmar. I have mentioned a thoke or two in noodle form already and will mention more later, but there are a few others worth citing.

The most notable salad is laphet thoke, tea leaf salad. The tea leaves are pickled and served with crisp fried garlic, peas and peanuts, toasted sesame and crushed dried shrimp. The components can be served separately for a build-your-own experience or mixed together, and this salad can be enjoyed as a snack, a side dish or even a dessert.

Kha yan chin thi thoke, tomato salad, takes an interesting form as it is a definite departure from the summer salads we are familiar with in the States. Plum tomatoes are sliced up and mixed with onion, peanut powder, salt, chicken powder, a pinch of sugar and fried garlic oil. I found this mostly as a side dish to a home-cooked meal alongside a curry and soup while I sat barefoot on the floor in the home of locals nice enough to allow me to join them for a meal.

Ngapi thoke is a salad I tried when I first arrived in Myanmar, walking the streets of Yangon. Ngapi is fish paste, widely used as a condiment or accompaniment to dishes, especially in the southern part of the country. It can be eaten in many ways — roasted, baked, fried, mixed with chili, as a soup base and, yes, as a salad. For the thoke version, the ngapi is diluted in lime juice and mixed with chili and onions. It is strong and leaves a lasting impression, to say the least.

Myanmar's chicken noodle soup uses glass noodles.
Myanmar’s chicken noodle soup uses glass noodles.

Street Food Does a Body Good

Street food and snacks are plentiful all over Myanmar. In similar fashion to other countries throughout Southeast Asia, it is easy to spend a day wandering the streets, weaving through markets and sampling the various fresh delicacies. They range from full dishes like the nga phe thoke (fish cake salad) to the Thai-inspired thinbawthi thoke, green papaya salad and kyarzan chat, chicken soup with glass noodles that I sampled at Ma Chit, a popular street-food stand in Yangon’s Bogyoke Market, the oldest in the city. Head to the outside area of the market, and you will find crowds of people sitting at low tables calling their orders to the ladies working the stand. The women quickly mix up the spicy soups and salads to the waiting customers taking a much-needed respite from the city heat. Dishes cost around 1,000 kyat (just under 75 cents each). Order one or two and you have yourself a complete meal.

Mont Lin Ma Yar are a popular street snack.
Mont lin ma yar are a popular street snack.

For that afternoon snack craving, visit one of the many vendors lining the streets of most cities in Myanmar. These vendors set up temporarily, spilling from sidewalk to street, offering an improvised buffet that encompasses the melting pot of ethnic influences throughout the country. Look to one side and you will find samosas, reminiscent of Indian cuisine, but being chopped up and served in salad form. On the other side, mont lin ma yar are being poured into sizzling, dimpled cast-iron pans. While these look like khanom krok, a familiar northern Thai snack made of coconut, they are in fact a more savory treat made with rice flour batter and different toppings like quail eggs, roasted chickpeas or scallions. Grab a bag and keep on snacking.

Boiled dragon bean root gets covered in coconut cream and roasted peanuts in this dessert.
Boiled dragon bean root is covered in coconut cream and roasted peanuts for this dessert.

Satisfying the Sweet Tooth

There are plenty of sweet options to round out a savory and spicy day. Pae myit was one that caught my eye, as the first thing I noticed was a large mallet flattening out what looked like an oddly shaped long potato into thin paper-like patties. These are not potatoes but boiled dragon bean root, also known as winged beans. Once flat, each piece is covered with coconut cream and crushed roasted peanuts for a meaty snack with a hint of salty and sweet flavor.

Of the other snacks I encountered, rice again reigned supreme. Getting even sweeter are options like sein phay gyi, sticky rice with jaggery (palm sugar). These little treats are prepared similarly to rice krispie treats. Sticky rice is cooked with the jaggery, then laid out on a sheet tray and cut into pieces. Craving fruit? Ngapyaw pudding is a good option. It is essentially a version of banana bread made with rice flour. Bananas are mashed with the flour and palm sugar and then baked to perfection.

Bain mont, a fluffy, chewy rice pancake, should not be missed. Rice flour and jaggery juice make up the batter, mixed with different fillings like shredded coconut, poppy seeds and nuts. There are multiple varieties, and I couldn’t help but gravitate to a stall every time I walked by. With a friendly greeting to the purveyor of the street-side kitchen, they cut up the pancakes with their scissors, packed them in a plastic bag and handed them over to me.

At MMK in Zegyo Market in Mandalay, an impressive assortment of semolina cakes are out for tasting, and locals line up on the stairs to get a sampling and place their orders. Choose from a variety of flavors, such as carrot, potato and pumpkin.

This colorful and sweet dessert is made of condensed milk and array of toppings.
This colorful and sweet dessert is made of condensed milk and array of toppings.

Wash any of these treats down with foluda, a condensed milk drink very similar to Vietnamese che ba mau. Add your choice of crushed strawberry, tapioca, avocado, seaweed jelly, coconut jelly and green jelly. At a street stall in Mandalay, I pulled up a small plastic stool, sat looking up at the colorful options in front of me and opted for all of them because why not?

While neighboring influences make appearances, the food of Myanmar is unique and something that locals take much pride in. I was able to scratch the surface on my first visit, but I will most certainly be back to dive deeper. Until then, sa pi bi la? I most certainly have!

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What’s Harder: Calculus Or Reading Wine Labels? http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/calculus-harder-reading-wine-labels/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/calculus-harder-reading-wine-labels/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:00:08 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165849 Cartoonist Doug Pike pours a little humor with his wine. The coauthor of a book of wine cartoons (with a foreword by legendary wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr.), Pike effectively takes any pretense out of wine drinking by illustrating miniature stories we can all relate to. Look for more cartoons from the book in the weeks […]

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Cartoonist Doug Pike pours a little humor with his wine. The coauthor of a book of wine cartoons (with a foreword by legendary wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr.), Pike effectively takes any pretense out of wine drinking by illustrating miniature stories we can all relate to. Look for more cartoons from the book in the weeks to come. And remember: If you ever feel self-conscious trying to understand the notoriously complex world of reading wine labels, think about all the things you actually can do really well. WAG1187 (1)

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New York City’s First Fermentation Fest Is This Saturday! http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/nyc-first-fermentation-fest-saturday/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/nyc-first-fermentation-fest-saturday/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:00:26 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165903 If you’re an avid reader of Food Republic, you know we’re huge fans of all things fermented. We even dedicated a whole week last year to the fine art of food preservation. Lucky for us, New York City (home of FR headquarters) is hosting its first fermentation festival. It’s our version of a state fair, but […]

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If you’re an avid reader of Food Republic, you know we’re huge fans of all things fermented. We even dedicated a whole week last year to the fine art of food preservation. Lucky for us, New York City (home of FR headquarters) is hosting its first fermentation festival. It’s our version of a state fair, but with more fresh, sour snacks than fried things on sticks.

The event is on Saturday, February 25, at the Brooklyn Expo Center from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Expect over 30 vendors dishing out their best pickles, seminars and demonstrations, homebrew competitions, workshops tailored to the little ones, live music, food trucks and more. The Fuhmentaboudit! podcast will be recording its 200th episode live at the event, and the Zero Point Zero Production team will also be camping out, selling copies of our latest project, Cured, the first all-fermentation magazine.

Tickets, $20, are available here. All proceeds from the festival will go to benefit the NYC Brewers Guild and Just Food, a nonprofit organization that advocates access to locally grown food in underserved New York City neighborhoods.

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Do Finland’s School Lunches Help Students Score Higher On Tests? http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/do-finlands-school-lunches-help-students/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/do-finlands-school-lunches-help-students/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165821 Annual studies by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have declared Finnish students to be among the highest-performing test takers in the world. According to The Atlantic, the Finnish education system is a model of efficiency. All schools in Finland are either public or publicly funded, and none of them, from preschool through a Ph.D program, […]

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Annual studies by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have declared Finnish students to be among the highest-performing test takers in the world. According to The Atlantic, the Finnish education system is a model of efficiency. All schools in Finland are either public or publicly funded, and none of them, from preschool through a Ph.D program, charge tuition. They also eschew standardized testing in favor of creative problem-solving, and form-based report cards for individualized grading. But can Finland’s school lunches, cooked daily from scratch using local ingredients, help students score higher on tests as well?

Fun historical fact: In 1948, Finland became the first country in the world to serve a free, healthy school lunch to every student and has done so ever since. According to a 2008 report by the Finnish National Board of Education, “A pleasant, quiet dining area allows pupils to take their time and helps them to understand the role of eating, meal times and spending time with each other in promoting their well-being. A clean and well-lit school canteen in a nice location and with small tables is preferable and more comfortable for eating and conversation. Special attention is paid to the taste and temperature of food. Tempting and mouthwatering presentation of food is also important. Freshly baked bread should be served as often as possible.”

Mouthwatering, eh? No need to brag — they’ve clearly got a winning formula down. But in spite of that, the Finnish School Meal Network, a coalition of education and nutrition professionals dedicated to ensuring healthy, free food for every student, told Jamie Oliver he didn’t need to visit.

Now, it’s no secret that dozens of countries pummel the United States in school lunch quality, with regards to both food and environment. Forget understanding the role of eating, meal times and spending time with each other — American kids are given an average of 13 minutes to hoover as much frozen and reheated food, sweetened milk and juice and processed snacks as they can. That’s acceptable at best. And as you would have it, the U.S. scores “acceptable at best” on the PISA assessment each year.

finland's school lunch
A photo of a vegetarian school lunch from a Finnish student

As one spirited Redditor commented on the above photo of a Finnish school lunch “…you pay for it when you grow up and contribute hundreds of thousands if not more to the economic system in Finland. Feed the kids so they can learn. No, it isn’t free, you pay for it yourself by succeeding.”

Tell it to the lunch lady doling out nuggets, pal.

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5 Things To Know About Bavarian Sausages http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/5-things-bavarian-sausages/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/5-things-bavarian-sausages/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:00:21 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165664 Chef Daniel Kill of Paulaner, a German restaurant and brewery on New York City’s Lower East Side, will choose bratwurst over any sausage, any day. Dishing out four kinds of sausages, Kill, a Bavarian native, keeps it traditional at Paulaner. The restaurant also boasts a variety of beloved Bavarian classics like spätzle, crispy pork knuckles, […]

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Chef Daniel Kill of Paulaner, a German restaurant and brewery on New York City’s Lower East Side, will choose bratwurst over any sausage, any day. Dishing out four kinds of sausages, Kill, a Bavarian native, keeps it traditional at Paulaner. The restaurant also boasts a variety of beloved Bavarian classics like spätzle, crispy pork knuckles, venison goulash and three types of mustard (Händlmaier’s sweet mustard, the “Rolls-Royce of sweet mustard,” is specially imported). Kill also teaches sausage-making classes at Paulaner, so we asked him what we should know when it comes to these links.

1) Fat content is key.

Kill says a good sausage will have meat and fat well incorporated. The sausages at Paulaner range from 20 to 40 percent fat. Kill says he prefers to use fattier cuts of meat, like pork butt and lamb shoulder, in his sausages. When necessary, Kill will add lardo.

2) Not all meat is cut out for sausages.

Kill doesn’t recommend using tenderloin and shank meat when making sausages. “Shin meat, especially beef, is a great meat for a stew, but there are too many veins and it’s a little tough, especially for the grinder,” he says.

3) Keep things cool.

As always when grinding meat, you want to make sure the meat is cold. Kill suggests freezing meat for 30 to 40 minutes before grinding. The cold meat will pass through the grinder with more ease. Working with cold meat also ensures that the fat won’t separate when ground, which would result in dryness.

A classic Bavarian breakfast.
A classic Bavarian breakfast

4) Weisswürste is part of a nutritious Bavarian breakfast.

“Weisswürste” translates to “white sausage,” is traditionally made of a pork and veal mixture, steamed or poached and served in a bowl of water with a pretzel, sweet mustard and a glass of hefeweizen beer in the morning. According to Kill, there’s a popular saying in Bavaria that goes “The weisswürste should not hear the 12 o’clock bell ringing.” Before modern refrigeration, butchers in Bavaria had no way of preserving the weisswürste they made early in the morning, so they would have to sell the sausages before church bells rung noon. Kill says some restaurants today still uphold the tradition and won’t sell weisswürste in the afternoon.

5) Bavaria’s casing game is strong.

In Bavaria, there are two types of pork casings: thick and thin. The thinner casings are used for bratwursts and other sausages, while the thicker casings are used for weisswürste. Because the breakfast sausage’s casing is thicker, it’s not normally eaten like a regular sausage. To traditionally eat a weisswürste, one cuts the sausage in half and squeezes the meat out of the casing. Kill says you can sauté the thick casing afterward to eat, but since the sausage is steamed, the casing doesn’t get tender and is often too chewy to eat. All the sausages served at Paulaner are made with pork casings, with the exception of the weisswürste, which gets a thicker beef casing.

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Where To Eat In Steamboat Springs, Colorado http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/where-to-eat-steamboat-springs/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/21/where-to-eat-steamboat-springs/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165656 As I drove into Steamboat Springs from Denver, ice-crusted trees and towering snow drifts gave the impression that winter had long made a claim to this tiny mountain town. But despite the amount of frozen matter gracing the roads and buildings, the area bustled with happy skiers, tourists shopping on the main street and food lovers […]

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As I drove into Steamboat Springs from Denver, ice-crusted trees and towering snow drifts gave the impression that winter had long made a claim to this tiny mountain town. But despite the amount of frozen matter gracing the roads and buildings, the area bustled with happy skiers, tourists shopping on the main street and food lovers reveling in a fantastic restaurant and craft beer scene. This town has plenty of great eats, a fact often overshadowed by Colorado’s bigger and brighter ski resorts (I’m looking at you, Aspen and Vail). So next time you find yourself in the Centennial State, skip the fancy ski areas and head for this less-crowded haven — here’s where to eat in Steamboat Springs. Your sense of adventure (and your appetite) will thank you.

Lows Country Kitchen in Steamboat Springs by Laurie Smith

Low Country Kitchen

Chef Brian Vaughn has quickly become the buttermilk fried chicken king of Steamboat Springs. Head to his lively joint seven days a week for dinner and order dishes like smoked marrow bones with local beer-infused mustard; barbecue lamb shoulder with Carolina rice grits; shrimp and grits with tomato and bacon gravy (see photo at top of page); and buttermilk biscuits laced with local honey and preserves. Vaughn first came to our attention for the innovative Rocky Mountain cuisine he did at his former restaurant, Bistro CV. He does food from the South very well, and many of the ingredients he uses are sourced from within the state. It’s the perfect food to munch on after a long day skiing, hiking or soaking in the hot springs. 435 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; 970-761-2693; lowrestaurant.com

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A flaming cocktail at Laundry

Laundry

Many bars in Steamboat Springs also serve food — in fact, I didn’t enter a single drinking den that didn’t at least offer hot bar bites. Laundry is such a gastropub, and as the name suggests it’s housed in a brick building that used to be a laundromat. The food menu is made up of small plates like blue crab and green chili macaroni and cheese; barbecued pork cheeks in steamed buns; and smoked trout salad with cashews and duck fat croutons. You can also get a large dish of fried chicken or the simply named “meat and potatoes” if you feel like noshing on something hearty and straightforward.

Of course one of the main reasons to hit this cozy spot comes in liquid form. The house-infused tequila (habanero, jalapeño and red pepper) offers a lively kick to the Fiery Margarita, and you don’t want to leave without trying the classic gin drink Satan’s Whiskers, an orange-tinged cocktail that dates back to the 1950s. The bartenders also like to light drinks on fire, so make sure to ask about that hot menu the next time you find yourself sidled up to the bar. 127 11th St., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; 970-870-0681; thelaundryrestaurant.com

Table 79 Food Bar

The newest restaurant on the block is chef Natalie Niederhofer’s causal yet elevated eatery, Table 79 Food Bar. Within the slate-covered walls and under the hum of stylish Edison bulbs, the talented chef is creating crave-worthy dishes done in uncomplicated, wholesome preparations. The flat iron steak comes with simple caramelized vegetables and a house-made steak sauce. The lamb rib appetizer showcases the actual flavor of the meat, and tempura-battered portobello mushroom “fries” dazzle with just a hint of truffle oil. None of the portions are too big, so you walk away full and satisfied without feeling overstuffed. Come in for dinner or happy hour, and make sure to also take a look at the well-curated wine list and craft cocktail menu. 345 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; 970-761-2463; table79steamboat.com

The Barley

Though the low-ceiling room that houses the Barley is a bit too well lit to be a proper dive, the draft list of 25-plus Colorado beers will keep you there all night. That and the giant Jenga game in one of the corners, of course. It’s one of the best places around to taste a true range from the Centennial State’s craft beer scene, and you’ll find brews from places such as the Steamboat Springs staple Butcherknife Brewing Company, Edward’s Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, Denver’s Epic Brewing Company and Boulder’s Upslope Brewing Company. The bar also serves a mean cocktail, including hopped tipples and barrel-aged classics. Chase your booze with a little IPA-infused fondue and you’re set for the night. 635 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; 970-761-2195; thebarleycolorado.com

tbar

chilimac

T-Bar

Visitors to Steamboat Springs will want to hit up this seasonal spot right at the base of the Thunderhead ski lift. Not only do they serve the perfect cold-weather eats, but it all tastes way better than one would expect from a dive-y establishment that caters to ski bums. For starters, the chorizo-laced macaroni and cheese gets huge props for being so good you won’t want to stop eating it. You can also get one of the superb homemade daily soups, elk sausage choripán, crawfish and green chili grits or a toasty rösti, a Swiss dish made with potato hash, Black Forest ham, Gruyère and runny eggs. Go for lunch, a quick snack or beer between runs, or spend your aprés-ski nibbling away as the sun sets behind the snow-covered mountains. 2045 Ski Time Square Dr., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; 970-879-6652; tbarsteamboat.com

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Breakfast at Creekside Cafe

Creekside Cafe

Breakfast at this sunny old café is an absolute must. Like many of the places in this mountain town, you might not expect the Creekside Cafe to wow, but it does. If you are looking for a savory-sweet dish, the Wafflelaughagus offers guests a giant malted waffle coated in all those things that make our brunch faces smile: sausage gravy, bacon, cheese and eggs. The Kartoffelpuffer is also a hearty choice, utilizing the concept of biscuits and gravy but substituting potato pancakes. They also serve an array of omelets, hashes, pancakes and a full eight takes on eggs Benedict. If you can’t manage to get there for breakfast, stop in for lunch and get a burger or patty melt on house-baked rye bread. As a bonus, all the beef on the menu is sourced from hormone-free, grass-fed cows raised in the nearby Yampa Valley. 131 11th St., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; 970-879-4925; creekside-cafe.com

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Vegetarian tacos at Salt & Lime

Salt & Lime

Whether you’re skiing, shopping, hiking or simply lounging around the town, tacos are always called for. Thanks to chef Vicki Connacher, the offerings at this casual spot on the strip prove right on target. Try the chicken tinga, Colorado bison with Manchego and the vegetable option: a terrific taco packed with avocado and roasted cauliflower. They also serve bison burritos, an appetizer of pineapple-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeños, and chili Colorado, which consists of slow roasted brisket, molido red chili and rice. Go in for lunch or dinner, no reservation needed. 628 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; 970-871-6277; suckalime.com

Mountain Tap Brewery

Of the handful of breweries in the this small town, Mountain Tap has some of the best noshes around. To start, try their wood-fired pizzas and seasonally focused dishes. The forager pie features local mushrooms as well as leeks, Parmesan, béchamel, prosciutto, and roasted garlic. The oven-roasted whole Rocky Mountain trout is served with fennel, greens, preserved lemons and fingerling potatoes, and the wood-fired cauliflower and Brussels sprouts come topped with cheddar béchamel and Calabrian chilies. Of course beer is the main focus at this laid-back brewery, and and the list usually sports about 10 drafts. Choose from favorites such as the Cliffed Out, an imperial stout made with tart cherry juice that’s aged on cacao nibs; the seasonal Camp Clean, which has notes of s’mores, campfires and pine trees; and the Passionate Pedal, a passionfruit-laced wheat beer. Get a pint or flight and relax as you imbibe. 910 Yampa St., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; 970-879-6646; mountaintapbrewery.com

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Festivals, James Beard Awards, Steak Aging: 10 Hot Topics On Food Republic http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/17/rutabaga-pasta-james-beard-steak-aging-10-hot-topics-on-food-republic/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/17/rutabaga-pasta-james-beard-steak-aging-10-hot-topics-on-food-republic/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:00:08 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165776 We were very chef-focused this week at Food Republic. We spoke with Dale Talde about a signature dish at his new Italian restaurant in NYC, Massoni, in our latest episode of Plate Deconstruction. We paid a visit to Olmsted in Brooklyn to see how Greg Baxtrom makes his rutabaga pasta — that’d be strips of rutabaga made to […]

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Salare
Edouardo Jordan’s heartfelt and personal approach at Salare in Seattle has had locals and critics abuzz since day one.

We were very chef-focused this week at Food Republic. We spoke with Dale Talde about a signature dish at his new Italian restaurant in NYC, Massoni, in our latest episode of Plate Deconstruction. We paid a visit to Olmsted in Brooklyn to see how Greg Baxtrom makes his rutabaga pasta — that’d be strips of rutabaga made to resemble tagliatelle. Big news: The James Beard Award semifinalists were announced this week. (Congrats to all those on the list!) We also featured a recipe that Ina Garten swears by. All that and more on this week’s Hot Topics.

  1. Chef Greg Baxtrom of Brooklyn’s Olmsted made tagliatelle pasta out of rutabaga.
  2. We tried the SteakAger on a very expensive cut of steak. Was it worth it?
  3. This year’s James Beard Award semifinalists were announced this week.
  4. Restaurants around the U.S. were affected by the “Day Without Immigrants” strike.
  5. Dale Talde showed us how to marry Cantonese techniques with Italian flavors.
  6. Ina Garten’s skillet-roasted chicken is as easy as, well, skillet-roasted chicken.
  7. Plan your year’s travel around these 12 cool food festivals around the world.
  8. One of the most important factors of a bowl of pho is the garnish.
  9. What is vanilla powder? Your new baking secret weapon.
  10. Here are 10 restaurants you shouldn’t miss on your next visit to Seattle.

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This Week In Food Activism News http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/17/week-food-activism-news/ http://www.foodrepublic.com/2017/02/17/week-food-activism-news/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:00:51 +0000 http://www.foodrepublic.com/?p=165738 Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, protests and calls to action have spanned issues ranging from women’s rights to immigration. A reported 470,000 people attended the Women’s March on January 21 in Washington D.C.; New York City chef April Bloomfield and many other notable chefs marched. Coffee shops all around the country dedicated profits to the American Civil Liberties Union. […]

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Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, protests and calls to action have spanned issues ranging from women’s rights to immigration. A reported 470,000 people attended the Women’s March on January 21 in Washington D.C.; New York City chef April Bloomfield and many other notable chefs marched. Coffee shops all around the country dedicated profits to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the president issued an executive order to stop immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz announced the coffee chain will commit to hiring refugees and Mexican immigrants. The travel ban was later ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and put on hold. However, it’s been reported that President Trump will be issuing a new travel ban.

So it’s been a busy first month under the new president. There’s no doubt that the restaurant and food industries will continue to perform outreach, call for strikes and raise funds to support local and national charities. Every week, we will round up what’s new in the world of food activism.

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Yesterday, restaurants around the country closed as part of the Day Without Immigrants strike. Anna Bartolini, co-owner of La Balena, a seasonal Italian restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, tells Food Republic that she wasn’t able to receive her order of escarole and Brussels sprouts due to the strike. Bartolini partners with a service called Savor the Local, which works with small community farms and delivers produce from the farms to restaurants.

A similar protest, Day Without a Woman strike is planned for March 8, which also falls on International Women’s Day.

All Pok Pok restaurants (Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, New York City) will be donating some proceeds to the ACLU this weekend. “We feel strongly that supporting our immigrant brothers and sisters is needed right now,” the restaurant posted on Instagram.


Starting next month, Conflict Kitchen, a Pittsburgh restaurant whose cuisine stems from countries that are in conflict with America, will launch an immigrant guest chef program. The program will feature immigrant or refugee chefs at partnering restaurants, with a focus on Syrian cuisine. The initiative has also been rewarded financial assistance from a local funding agency, Sprout Fund.

The Syrian Supper Club in New Jersey is now booking dinners through May. The twice-weekly dinner club invites Syrian refugee families to cook in New Jersey homes. Tickets to the dinners are sold for $50 and the money goes toward ingredient shopping as well as the family cooking.

For those looking for something more long term than a protest or a pop-up, here’s a list of food organizations dedicated to helping immigrants and refugees train for the work force in New York City:

  • The League of Kitchens: Cooking classes are held and open to the public in the homes of these NYC immigrants.
  • Emma’s Torch: Culinary training, ESL classes and interview preparation is offered to refugees looking to get into the gastronomic world.
  • Eat Off Beat: A delivery service that offers meals prepared and delivered by refugees now living in New York.

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