What a busy year! The spring brought The Food Flirts with the Brass Sisters to NYC for the James Beard Foundation Media awards. Our show was nominated for best show shot on location, and while we didn’t win our category, it was truly a privilege to be in such rarified company. We all felt the love in the room and beyond. We saw lots of old friends, made some great new ones (Marilynn is gazing at, and about to meet, Jeremiah Tower off camera!), and of course we enjoyed outstanding food.
We just relaunched The Food Flirts nationally on July 6, with PBS rolling out our new episodes back-to-back on the first three Friday nights in July from 10-11 p.m. nationally in many markets, (but please check here for broadcast info. in your area as days and times vary city to city). Let the adventure continue and thanks for tuning in!!
For me, a perfect pie is all about compromise. In the crust, if you use all shortening and you get tons of flakiness, but no flavor, so I do half unsalted butter and half shortening. For the liquid, instead of all water, I do half ice water and half vodka (cheap is fine). This prevents the gluten in the flour from over-developing but doesn’t give the dough an off flavor, since the taste from that amount of vodka burns off in the oven. For baking, I start out at 425°F for a half hour to get good color on the crust, then drop the temp. to 350° for the last half hour to allow the filing to finish cooking. Speaking of filling – no compromise there – fresh fruit is best. But if you are in a pinch, use frozen instead of canned. Here’s an article I wrote about pies for the Boston Globe with some great recipes. #WCT
This year, I’ve been enjoying my work as the culinary director for Sproot, a great start-up in Cambridge that delivers totally yummy, really cute meals to pre-schools and day cares. In addition to yummy and cute, these meals pack a very nutritious punch, with the kids gobbling up the healthy vegetables and whole grains we sneak into their meals and snacks. Here is a nice write-up about the event from start-up guru and Sproot co-founder, Katherine Shamraj.
As a food stylist, it’s kind of embarrassing to post a picture like the below left one, since it’s not very pretty, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? I tried out Alton Brown’s Beef Tenderloin in Salt Crust for a recent family gathering, and wow – what was on the inside was totally moist, perfectly cooked and seasoned, and a real crowd pleaser. This is definitely a dish worth trying.
TIP: When you are dealing with large, thin, tender dough (like the one for this recipe, or pie crust, or cookie dough, consider rolling it out between large sheets of plastic wrap to prevent overworking and increase control. With a 24″ x 18″ crust, control matters! The results reminded us of the tenderloin on the right that we had at Tickets in Barcelona. I wonder if that was how Albert Adriá did it….
Welcome to my newly created website and blog. In this space I will showcase cooking tips, tricks and cool food finds. To kick it off, belated congrats to the Boston Red Sox for their amazing 2013 win. Above is a cookie bouquet commissioned for David Ortiz the last time around in ’07.