If pizza is what you’re craving, be sure to check out some of the most unique pizzerias in the region
If pizza is what you’re craving, be sure to check out some of the most unique pizzerias in the region
This is not your typical pickle recipe. No special equipment or ingredients are needed. This recipe produces a crisp, sweet pickle that goes well in salads, on sandwiches or as a side. The secret to the crisp texture is the sugar, so do not reduce the sugar in the recipe. This recipe works well with slicing, pickling, seedless or hothouse cucumbers.
Mix cucumbers, onions and salt in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set the bowl on the counter for 2 hours. Pour into a colander and drain water from cucumber mixture. Combine sugar and vinegar. Stir well and pour over cucumbers. Pack into freezer containers or zip-closure bags. Freeze immediately. Pickles are ready to eat in 3 or 4 days. They will keep in the freezer for up to one year.
Steve Plotnicki and Opinionated About Dining (OAD) announce the Top 100 Restaurants in America as determined by the OAD Survey. More than 4,000 people contributed 140,000 reviews to the survey. The 2014 list celebrates a new “Top Five” with Joshua Skenes’ Saison (San Francisco) taking the number one spot from Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry; Urasawa (Beverly Hills) at number two; e by Jose Andres (Las Vegas), climbing to number three and positioning Andres as America’s most important chef; Willows Inn (Lummi Island, WA), operated by Rene Redzepi’s protege, Blaine Wetzel, making a jump from 25 to four; and Grant Achatz’s Alinea (Chicago) placing fifth. Rounding out the “Top 10” are Masa (New York); Manresa (Los Gatos, CA); The French Laundry (Yountville, CA); minibar by Jose Andres (Washington, D.C.); and Per Se (New York).
A selection of this year’s new entries include Grace (Chicago), debuting as the highest new entry at 35; L20 (Chicago) and Uni (Boston), both back on the list after missing the 2013 edition; Commonwealth and Acquerello in San Francisco; 15 East, Aldea, and Annisa in New York; Topolobampo (Chicago); Binkley’s (Cave Creek, AZ); Herbsaint (New Orleans); and Aburiya Raku (Las Vegas).
Restaurants making significant moves up the list include Blanca (Brooklyn, NY) up 40 spots; North Fork Table & Inn (Southold, NY) up 38 spots; and Commis (Oakland, CA) up 28 spots.
“With only two returning entries in the Top 10, and many important restaurants tumbling down the list, those restaurants serving French cuisine appear to be on the decline,” says Plotnicki. “As this trend continues to grow, OAD will publish The Fresh List on May 12, further expanding the franchise to focus on American farm-to-table, regional, and ethnic cooking.”
The OAD survey taps into the experience and opinions from diners who are passionate about where they eat. The methodology assigns weight to each restaurant based on factors such as price and the diners it attracts, as well as the quantity and quality of restaurants a reviewer has visited. A full list can be found here: 2014.opinionatedaboutdining.com/us
While the potato is widely associated with Ireland and is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day food, would you believe that potatoes are actually native to the coast of South America? Celebrate the 10,000 varieties of the potato and learn why, when eaten in moderation and prepared in heart-healthy ways, “spuds” can be delicious and nutritious.
Millions of people think it’s the basis of the ultimate comfort food. Just imagine that creamy macaroni and cheese or spaghetti. Pasta is not only something many people find comforting, but one look at the facts and it’s easy to see that Americans love their pasta. No matter how it’s prepared it continues to rank as a frequently consumed food for people of all ages.
“What’s not to love about pasta? Even those who try to cut it out of their diet end up coming back around, it’s just that good,” explains Ryan Fichter, the executive chef at Rialto, a new Italian restaurant in Georgetown. “In addition to being tasty, pasta is also affordable, versatile, and simple to work with. Even those with limited culinary experience can create a great meal using pasta as the bases.”
Here are 5 interesting facts, according to the National Pasta Association, for all pasta lovers:
1. Serve up health. While there are some people who shy away from pasta believing that it is unhealthy, others are learning that it can be a part of a healthy diet. Pasta can be used as the basis of a healthy dish that is loaded with vegetables, healthy sauce, and even lean meats. Whole wheat pasta can also be a good source of fiber. Used as the basis in dish with other healthy ingredients, such as lentils, beans, chickpeas, and/or vegetables, it can become a healthy dinner option for the whole family.
2. It’s historical. Although pasta history is believed to date back to the times of Marco Polo, and originated from the noodles eaten in Asia, it was in 1740 that the first pasta factory was opened in Venice. Pasta has a lengthy history that eventually reached American shores and in 1914, America was the largest importer of it at the time.
3. Per person. In America, the average person consumes around 20 pounds of pasta each year. It ranks as the 6th highest per capita food consumed in the country. In fact, Americans consume 24 percent of the world’s pasta.
4. Pasta production. While America imported the most pasta at one time, and still imports a lot, it now ranks second for pasta production in the world. Each year the country produces around 4.4 billion pounds of pasta.
5. Affordability. On average, the average price paid in the country per pound of pasta is only $1.45, making it an affordable meal.
“We in America love our pasta and once you see the facts it makes it all so clear,” adds Chef Fichter. “Think about your top favorite dishes to eat. There is a good chance that pasta is one of them, if not more. It’s been around a long time and is here to stay and continue to bring comfort to many.”
The Red Raven Gastropub- soon to be opening in Acton- has released it’s long awaited menu. Locals have been excited about the restaurant’s opening, as it’s described as
” elevated food, freshly prepared in our scratch kitchen, maintaining purveyors of local produce, sustainable seafood, and humanely raised meat and poultry as often as possible.”
The menu, however, provoked lots of comments on Facebook:
“how bout the curry squash with bulls blood. Damn place must be run by vampires.”
“Bulls blood? I’m all for trying new things but this might be a bit much”
Checking the menu, we see that the dish in question is “Kuri squash with house-made herbed ricotta, marcona almonds, bull’s blood, sage brown butter.” It’s obvious to me that the bull’s blood in question is a variety of beet greens, beta vulgaris, that would be a natural complement to the squash. While this 1840 heirloom vegetable also produces small beets, it’s usually grown for its lush and flavorful foliage. It’s a cool weather crop that does well here in New England, and is grown by a number of local farms, making ot a natural fit for Red Raven’s mission of using local produce as often as possible.
That’s my guess- but I think we’ll need to wait for opening night to find out for sure!
Following is the November 14 “Profile America” feature from the U.S. Census Bureau:
Thursday, November 14 th. Given what seems to be the ever-growing profusion of coffee vendors, imagine what a crisis it would be if coffee were suddenly rationed. That’s exactly what happened this month in 1942 because the war had interrupted shipments and people were hoarding coffee. But rationing lasted only until the next summer. It’s thought that coffee was introduced into America by Captain John Smith, one of the founders of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia. Its popularity jumped after both the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of Prohibition. For those who don’t make their own coffee, there are just over 19,000 coffee shops across the country, and they sell more than $10 billion worth of coffee a year.
While coffee is no longer being rationed, finding a great deal is always in fashion. I’ve been paying $9.99-$12.99 for an 8-10 ounce bag of gourmet beans (I’m a coffee snob). The other I was shopping with my extremely budget conscious daughter at Whole Foods. She picked up a pound of their Allegro French Roast from the bulk bin. It was $6.99 a pound, and the bin was dated- it had just been refilled that morning. I took a chance..and WOW. Great fresh, robust taste, lots of body…and $6.99.
Among Americans who live with at least one family member (including a spouse or a partner), the vast majority (86%) say they sit down to a “family dinner,” with most or all of their household sitting down to dinner together, at least once a week. Furthermore, nearly six in ten (58%) report sitting down to such meals at least four times per week. However, there is nonetheless a sentiment that such family meals are in decline, with 59% saying their family today has fewer family dinners than when they were growing up.
Looking at the number of family dinners per week those Americans living with family sit down to, differences can be seen by both generation and household composition:
If family dinners are experiencing a downslide, it doesn’t seem to be attributable toward any negative feelings toward them – past or present. Over nine in ten (92%) family “diners” – those whose households sit down to one or more family dinners per week – describe them as something they look forward to, and eight in ten Americans (80%) have fond memories of their family dinners when they were growing up.
Along similar lines, only 15% of “diners” say that family dinners stress them out, and fewer than two in ten Americans (19%) say they tried to get out of family dinners whenever they could when they were growing up.
Family (meal) planning
When looking at how the family dinner is shoehorned into Americans schedules, some patterns begin to emerge. Over half (54%) of “diners” say their family dinners are evenly split between weekdays and weekends, while roughly one-fourth (24%) say they do so more on weekdays. Thirteen percent say they do so more on weekends, while one in ten (10%) indicate doing so whenever they can make time, with no set time of the week.
As to how they actually set aside time for those meals, half (51%) of family “diners” make time when they can but don’t have a set schedule, while over two in ten (22%) set aside specific days for family dinners and over one-fourth (27%) report a mix of these approaches.
Family members can be both a help and a hindrance, and both sides are on display when it comes to family dinners. On the one hand, nearly two-thirds (65%) of “diners” say family dinners are usually a communal effort, with most members of the family pitching in somehow. But of course, the youngest family members can be another thing entirely, and over four in ten “diners” (43%) say that when kids are at the table for family dinners, it can be tough to get them to stay there.
What’s for dinner?
“Diners” appear conflicted on the importance of the menu. Nine in ten (90%) say that the family eating together is more important than where the food comes from, yet seven in ten (69%) say that for family dinners, it’s important that it be a home cooked meal.
Varying tastes can complicate things further still, with over a third of “diners” (36%) – and half of those in households with children (49%) – saying it’s tough to find something to serve at family dinners that everyone will eat.
Cabot Cheese shared this recipe for Butternut Squash and Cheddar Risotto as way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, but you don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to try it.
1. In large sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat; add onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
2. Splash sherry over vegetables and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add rice, stirring to coat with liquid, and let cook until liquid is absorbed. Reduce heat to medium-low.
3. Add chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time and cook, stirring often, until all of broth is absorbed before adding more. (Add just enough of broth to make rice firm but cooked through to center.)
4. In bowl, combine squash, half-and-half and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir squash mixture into risotto. Stir until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve topped with parsley, plus additional grated cheese if desired.
* Use fresh squash that has been roasted, boiled or microwaved or frozen squash, thawed. Consistency should be smooth and soft. Roasted butternut squash will give the richest flavor (bake at 400°F for about 1 1/4 hours).