Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Carnish Culture: Edible Los Angeles

It's been a crazy few weeks folks. More on the plate and time seems to disappear like salted chocolate almonds from my desk. I could make some excuses about my slow posting, but instead will turn your direction for a moment away from my blog to my first published print piece in Edible Los Angeles!
I revisited urban harvesters Fallen Fruit for the magazine and spent a day photographing my own public forage through the streets of Silver Lake. Not only was it a blast, but my respect for the gentlemen behind Fallen Fruit grew immensely. Pick it up! The magazine is available here - Let me know what you think!

Stayed tuned, much more from my recent New York adventures forthcoming, and a trip into the culinary depths of New Orleans happening at the end of the month!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gala Parfait: A Five-Bridge-View Rooftop Extravaganza

This Friday, September 4th, at 19:00 commences the event you've all been anxiously awaiting.

A five-bridge-view rooftop extravaganza. With a full-barn'd line up of cocktails, virginal hog sacrifices, lawn-darts, spinning bottles, dancing ruckus and everything else you'd naturally expect at a Catholic-Jewish Lebanese-Russian hoe-down.

The menu, as compiled together by a flock of contributing chefs from West coast and East, features such items as a Georgian-style whole-roasted suckling pig, khachapuri, rib bits, grilled figs, muhammara, pistachio baklava, and stout ice cream floats. A variety bar menu of adorable waters and ice chilled vodka shots will also be provided.

Can't wait to see and toast you all,
Much Love, K&M

† Portions and times not to Eastern-European standard.
‡ For those that asked, dress like the hot date that you are, and come
with a pair of dancing shoes.
¤ BYOB accepted.

1. Five-bridge-view now featured with an extra, bonus addition of one
full moon.
This set the stage for one of the more ambitious events I've been involved with to date.
160+ rsvps by morning-of, more streaming in via text throughout the day. An abandoned fridge by the freight elevator "chilling" cases of vodka and beer. A rigorous schedule for the oven/stovetop. A crew of line cooks staggered throughout the afternoon. A lingering task of ice pickup set for "later" haunting my every thought. By 11:00am, the frenzy was upon us.
Last minute, an exec decision dropped the "whole suckling pig" that was to be picked up from a Georgian restaurant in Brighton Beach (causing a stir among some diet-breaking guests), but everything else on the list made it to the table.
The rather delectable from-scratch tasting menu for the evening was assembled as follows...

Khachapuri (delicious cheese-filled leavened bread dish from Georgia)
Grilled Fig prosciutto
Grilled jalapeño "poppers"
Deviled eggs
Feta-olive-watermelon skewers

Roasted Ribs
Veggie terrine
Lamb kebabs
Mushroom, eggplant, pepper, onion kebabs

Oatmeal stout ice cream floats
Petite chocolate eclairs
Pecan Pie
Pistachio Baklava
Fruit and cheese plate

2 Dozen bottles of Pan Tadeusz vodka
Dogfish Brown Ale
Hoegaarden wheat beer
Night was falling fast. We hauled 70+ lbs of cherry-picked bodega ice up the 11th and 12th floor stairwells from the freight elevator's final stop, muscles aching.The full moon would luckily bolster our lack of organized lighting, save some tea lights for the table and the twinkle of Manhattan across the river. I asked if Judah could help get the coals started as I hiked platters of skewered nibbles up from the loft...Next thing I knew, the party had officially begun. Guests milled about the roof with drinks. Laughter broke my concentration as the cool night air reminded me I hadn't changed into my 'formal wear'. A deep breath, twirl of tongs and a beer (finally) and I was finally relaxed and ready to rule as the little grill master who could.Before long, I found my stride on the grills, and the food began to fly from the barby to the table in no time. Guests appeared with their contributions, and the celebratory shots of adorable waters commenced. A jolly sheen spread over the roof, enhanced by the silvery moonlight.Here's a peek at the day of prep, with a couple of the favorite recipes.

Prosciutto-wrapped Grilled FigsFresh brown turkey figs were stuffed with a mixture of soft chèvre and chopped fresh rosemary, then wrapped in prosciutto and secured with a toothpick, readied for grilling. Recipe courtesy of Martha.
Fresh Tabouli
A guest begins her watermelon, feta and olive skewers (yum!).
Jalapeño "Poppers"This fresh and spicy alternative to deep-fried jalapeño poppers was a hit! Simply slice a T shape lengthwise down the pepper, use a small butter knife to scrape out most seeds, and stuff jalapeño with a mixture of cream cheese, shredded white cheddar, chopped cilantro and green onions. Grill until lightly charred and filling bubbles at the seam.

Mushroom, Eggplant, Pepper, Onion Kebabs
Don't forget to soak bamboo skewers before loading up with the good stuff.Brooke gets ready to cut some veggies.Toss veggies in ziploc with softened butter, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper - shake to coat.Sea-salted cherry tomatoes served as sweet-tart vodka shot chasers.

Lamb Kebabs
My favorite of the bunch! Marinade is out of this world!
(We doubled+ this recipe for our 2.5 lb cut of lamb)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses*
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into twenty-four 3/4-inch cubes

1 large red bell pepper, cut into twenty-four 3/4-inch squares
24 small metal skewers or bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes, drained

*Available at some supermarkets, at Middle Eastern markets

Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin and stir until aromatic and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Grind cumin in mortar or spice mill. Mix pomegranate molasses, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cumin in 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add lamb; chill at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Remove lamb from marinade. Thread 1 lamb piece and 1 red pepper piece on each skewer; place on baking sheet. Do ahead Can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle kebabs with salt and pepper. Cook, turning often, about 4 minutes for medium-rare.

Brooke's Petite Chocolate Éclairs
Tasty as they are adorable, Brooke's eclairs were in high demand and all gone long before dessert. For more of her gorgeous treats, check out her blog little bird big city!

Pâte à Choux (light pastry dough)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
7 tablespoon butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
5-6 eggs

Combine milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Add flour and cook stirring vigorously for 1 minute, until dough is shiny. Transfer immediately to a mixing bowl. (Can use a standing mixer or handheld mixers). Beat in eggs one at a time, until the dough is elastic and smooth.Spoon dough into a piping bag fit with a round tip. Pipe onto a parchment lined cookie sheet into 2 inch logs.Bake in a 450 degree oven until just beginning to brown. Reduce temp to 300 and bake until pastries are fully browned.Once finished baking poke a hole in the end of each pastry with a sharp pairing knife for the filling.
Whip 2 cups cream and half cup of powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Once the pastries have cooled, pipe each one full of whipped cream. Push the tip of the piping bag into the hole you punched through each eclair and fill it with the cream.Melt 6 oz of semi sweet chocolate and 6 oz of cream over a double boiler. Once it's melted, dip the top of each eclair into the chocolate mixture and set aside. Refrigerate. Once the chocolate has set, they're ready to serve!
* * * * * * * *
Near midnight the melting ice had begun to cause a shallow but inoffensive pond under the bar. The grills mellowed into soft red embers as the plates of food slowly disappeared from the table and the tea lights burned out one by one. The pecan pies appeared so I began scooping out chocolate and oatmeal stout ice cream floats for delighted party goers. The adorable waters made everything fuzzy and I couldn't stop smiling for getting the chance to be with so many old friends in one place, and participate in filling their happy bellies. Encapsulating the magic of the witching hour, a few folks climbed the water tower to howl at the big blue moon.212+ guests. Both cases of vodka - gone.Night photos compliments of Brooke Weeber, Erika Moya, Chris Woebken & Michael Vadino

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Croquer: Egg (again.. oh yes, again)

It's hard to ignore sunrise in a warehouse loft with a wall of uncovered glass, but the harsh morning light is softened by a sweet view of the Williamsburg Bridge, waterfront and Chrysler Building in the distance.
Party day. 9:00am. Much to do. First, get day-of errands out of the way. Scratch that, relaxed brunch first - We'll need our strength.
Mikey and I met our resident baker for the day, former Brooklynite (now relocated back to Portland) and one of my favorite bloggers, Brooke, at the ever-tasty hole-in-the-wall Egg.Egg is a food purist's dream. Farm-to-table in the simplest, most direct way. The menu in turn is tastefully minimal and mouthwatering.
It was an easy choice for me, ever since my last visit, I have been craving the Eggs Rothko (easy-cooked egg in a slice of Amy's brioche and topped with Grafton cheddar, served with broiled tomatoes and a side of meat). I couldn't resist the side of candied bacon. The dish was even better than I remembered.. Crispy on the edges, soft and cheesey in the middle. This candied bacon is something I could eat everyday; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and especially dessert.Brooke got the same, but with Egg's delicious homemade pork sausage. I had to nab a bite!Mikey got the Country Ham Biscuit, which I was pleased about because it too sounded amazing. Here country ham from Col. Bill Newsom's Hams in Princeton, Kentucky is served on a biscuit with homemade fig jam (yum), Grafton cheddar, and a side of grits(!). One bite of the salty melt-in-your-mouth ham alongside the fig jam and the crusty-crunchy biscuit... Wow! I think over the course of the meal, the flavor explosion began to wear Mikey out, so I was sure to swap some Rothko for a few more bites of the biscuit. Delicious! (Aside - Get their secret biscuit recipe here!)Completed with a large French press of sustainably grown coffee "for three" and a tart fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, we were pretty happy campers, and ready to take on the long day ahead.
After doodling for a bit, of course.135 North 5th Street, Brooklyn, New York; 718.302.5151