Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordle-d Restaurant Reviews

Over at The Life Vicarious, they've run the complete text of restaurant reviews by Adam Platt, Frank Bruni, and The Restaurant Girl from January - May this 2009 through wordle and produced a graphic word fingerprint for each critic. Pretty neat. See if you can guess which one belongs to which critic. What I find most interesting is that the word 'like' appears prominently on all three 'clouds'. Sometimes that all food criticism really comes down to, taste: you either like it, or you don't like it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Secrets of a Food Stylist

I don't usually turn to AM New York for insightful food news, but this article about food styling caught my eye. Who knew there were such great alternate uses for Angostura bitters and Vaseline?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I am a Jauntsetter!

I am's Jauntsetter of the Week. Check out some of my travel tips here!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Ramps, those garlic-y, onion-y wild leeks, are currently in season! Find them at your farmer's market or, if you're lucky, at your grocery store (I spotted some at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods this week).

For a simple fragrant dip, finely chop some ramp bulbs and leaves and add them to creme fraiche with some sauteed slab bacon pieces and lemon juice. Serve with pita chips and celery sticks.

Triple Ginger Cookies

Heidi Swanson's Triple Ginger Cookies are named such because they include dried ground ginger, grated fresh ginger root AND chopped crystallized ginger. They're a lot more ginger-y and less molasses-y than your typical ginger snap and were a big hit with family and friends. My mom even noted that they would be great breakfast bites for any expectant moms with morning sickness.

I used a mixture of nutmeg and allspice as I didn't have star anise on hand and used AP flour because I didn't have whole wheat in the pantry -the cookies turned out fine, just a little lighter than Heidi's originals. I also found the dough to be very sticky, so refrigerated the dough before scooping out (I used a 1 teaspoon measure) and in between batches.

Triple Ginger Cookies

1/2+ cup large-grain sugar (i.e. turbinado)

2 cups spelt flour OR whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon star anise, finely ground
4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses (I use Wholesome Sweeteners brand)
2/3 cup fine grain natural cane sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large egg, well beaten
1 cup crystallized ginger, very finely minced
2 lemons, zest only

Preheat the oven to 350F degree - racks in the top and bottom 1/3 of the oven. Line a couple baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or a Silpat mat, place the large-grain sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, star anise, ground ginger, and salt.

Heat the butter in a skillet until it is just barely melted. Stir in the molasses, natural cane sugar, and fresh ginger. The mixture should be warm, but not hot at this point, if it is hot to touch let it cool a bit. Whisk in the egg. Now pour this over the flour mixture, add the crystallized ginger (make sure it isn't too clumpy), and lemon zest. Stir until just combined.

I like these cookies tiny, barely bite-sized, so I scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. I then tear those pieces of dough in two before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape. From there, grab a small handful of the big sugar you set aside earlier and roll each ball between your palms to heavily coat the outside of each dough ball. Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cookies puff up, darken a bit, get fragrant and crack.

Makes about 4 dozen or so.