Counter Intelligence

Five on Food: Articles From the Wednesday Dining Pages

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 27, 2009

1) They Had to Hand It To Me. Washington Post. Soft shells make me swoon, so I loved this article and learned so much from Jane Black.

2) Preserving Time in a Bottle (or a Jar). New York Times. “Like baking bread or making a slow-cooked tomato sauce, preserving offers primal satisfactions and practical results. And in today’s swirl of food issues (local, seasonal, organic, industrial), home preserving can also be viewed as a quasi-political act.”

3) Rose Wines Bloom in Many Shades. LA Times. “More than any other wine category, rosé is a mood. There is simply nothing better on a warm afternoon, a salve for sun-drenched, heat-driven thirst.” And this, which makes me think I’m more of a Cioppino person then a Bouillebaisse lover.

4) Str-eats of San Francisco. San Francisco Chronicle. Falafel, creme brulee, salad, tamales, tacos, curry, and pho. Street carts are easier to get started in Oakland.

5) Rick Bayless on Cheeseburgers. Chicago Tribune. The famous chef on video talks about the thrill of the grill, which includes adding spicy condiments to the old standby.

Half a Loaf is Better Than None

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 26, 2009

In traipsing around to learn more about breads, one thing I’ve noticed is that chefs-turned-bakers have a soft spot for the Pullman loaf. Despite that it’s not as prestigious as a finicky sourdough or as high brow as artisan baguettes, the Pullman loaf is as American as baseball despite its French moniker, pain de mie.  A couple weeks ago, Rustico’s Frank Morales baked a white and honey wheat Pullman while I was there. And at Restaurant Eve’s Lickety Split, I ordered EcoFriendly ham and swiss on toasted Pullman with homemade potato chips. Yum.

Pullman– named for the train car–bakes in pans that yield Wonder Bread-and Pepperidge Farm-shaped loaves, but a hell of a lot more flavorful. Traditionally, a Pullman loaf  is white sandwich bread that’s all crumb and little crust, though bakers such as Morales riff on flavor. Since sandwiches are the trend, it’s no surprise the Pullman loaf is on the rise.  Apparently, the Pullman pan is still a rare commodity among home bakers. Its renaissance in home kitchens is yet to come.

With tomato season coming up, Pullman bread is natural pairing for one of these sandwiches, for homemade peanut butter and jelly, or for French toast. Where else have you seen homemade Pullman loaves?

Counter Intelligence at Metrocurean

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 21, 2009

Check out today’s culinary boot camp here.

Five on Food: Articles From the Wednesday Dining Pages

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 20, 2009

1) In Summer, Putting on the Dog. Washington Post. “I watch over them ravenously as they weep fat, swell and split, offering flavors of smoke, paprika and beef.” I like this line. It’s like a Maurice Sendak image. . . .also, my mini grill article here. It was fun to talk with Chris Schlesinger of How to Cook Meat for it.

2) A Chili Sauce to Crow About. New York Times. “Another caller, hampered by a slight slur, botched the pronunciation of the product name before asking whether discount pricing might be available. Finally, he blurted, ‘I love rooster sauce!’ (A strutting rooster, gleaming white against a backdrop of the bright red sauce, dominates Huy Fong’s trademark green-capped clear plastic squeeze bottles.) ‘I guess it goes with alcohol,’ deadpanned Ms. Lam. . . ” Whether you call it rooster sauce, cock sauce or sriracha, I want to drink it.

3) Markets Spring Forward. LA Times. And restaurants grow to order.

4) Tasters Choice: Bread and Butter PicklesSan Francisco Chronicle.  “Legend has it that bread-and-butter pickles got their name during the Great Depression. The sweet, crunchy cukes were said to be a staple because they were cheap, shelf stable and could become a meal when sandwiched between bread and butter.”

5) Recession Leads Outdoor Cooks to the Grill. Chicago Tribune. Taste buds on a budget.

Girls at the Grill

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 19, 2009

Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off grill season, as illuminated by this Wednesday’s Washington Post Food Section and this morning’s twitter by Rick Bayless, who starts a media tour with a show on grilling confidence today.

Inspired by my friend Kelly, I bought myself a little grill a couple weeks ago and set up shop in the garden beside my building.  Despite that I’m ecstatic about having one, there is something mildly strange about it: I’ve crossed into guy territory.

My crew-team/women’s college self is horrified. But I feel more comfortable baking bread or making my own charcuterie than standing at the grill, regardless of how simple it is. It’s like I’ve wandered into the guys’ locker room or stumbled upon a secret stash of porn. 

Elizabeth Karmel, aka Girls at the Grill shucks convention in her cookbook. I’d like to be inspired, but I still can’t shake it. Maybe it’s that ladybug or you go girl vibe on her site. (I’m sure she could teach me a thing or two, especially about North Carolina barbecue.)

Why is grilling such a masculine terrain? And what to do to get over it?

Pair Up

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 15, 2009

How do we know beer pairings are gaining momentum? Great Brewers offers the beer sommelier here. Not to mention, tickets to Savor Craft Beer and food fest on May 30th are sold out.

Five on Food: Articles From the Wednesday Dining Pages

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 13, 2009

1) Follow that Truck. It’s Tweeting. Washington Post. Erin Zimmer writes on the most amusing food cart to hit Washington. “Wearing fake mustaches and bright gloves to match their psychedelic turbans, the Fojol Brothers (only two of whom are actually brothers) are something of a Generation-Y band of Merry Pranksters, selling biodegradable trays of curry.”

2) The Squid and the Shortcut. New York Times. “When quickly sautéed, the squid retains its saline plumpness and stays juicy and tender. When cooked for a long time, the flesh relaxes and softens, absorbing all the flavors of the sauce. And anything in between gives you fish-flavored rubber bands too tough to eat.”

3) Green Tea is a Way of Life in South Korea. LA Times. “All kinds of tea — green, black, white, oolong — come from the same plant. The type of tea the leaves become is determined by fermentation and oxidation processes. Green tea comes from leaves that are wilted but left unoxidized (so the leaves retain their green color), unlike black tea leaves that are oxidized at the same time they are dried.”

4) Little Luxuries. San Francisco Chronicles. Macaroons are everywhere in SF. (Locally, I get them at Locolat.)

5) Cheerios. . . .The Wonder Drug? Chicago Tribune. “Because Cheerios is a food, not a drug, specific claims that the 68-year-old whole-grain oat cereal lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer violate federal law, the FDA said . . . .”

Counter Intelligence at Metrocurean

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 8, 2009

Today’s interview is with Proof’s Haidar Karoum, who’s getting ready for World Cocktail Day dinner this coming Monday.

Washingtonian Blogger Beat

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 6, 2009

Is about Counter Intelligence. Check it out here.

Five on Food: Articles From the Wednesday Dining Pages

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on May 6, 2009

1) Turkey Burgers Don’t Count. New York Times.”Vegetables are to be eaten by rabbits and liberals,” says one of the seven guys who rank New York burgers. Check out their results as they go here.  (Or you can scroll to the end, where the top ten are listed. Peter Luger’s, Donovan’s Pub in Queens and City Hall are the top three.)

2) Selecting the Best Chicken. LA Times. The paper tries out 14 for flavor.

3) Foods We Obsess Over. Chicago Tribune. Food you’d be shy to admit to love: in this case, tuna in a can.

4) My Mother, My Starter. Washington Post. Sourdough pancakes are not for every day.

5) Web Recipes are Cooking with Gas. Wall Street Journal. Inexpensive recipes from allrecipes.com see the most traffic these days. Also in the journal: cookbook escapism, a shift to recipe-less cooking and recipe swap on the WSJ’s work and family blog, the juggle.