Chef Dan Barber’s Vision to Slash Food Waste Transforms Blue Hill Into “WastED” Through March 31st

BlueHillWastedMarch222015Exterior

Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, is arguably the single most important restaurant in America at the moment, for modeling the power of the farm-to-table dynamic.”
Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg‘s eNewsletter (Summer 2005)

This March, Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village is temporarily reinventing itself as wastED, a pop-up devoted to the theme of food waste and re-use.  wastED will collaborate with local farmers, fishermen, distributors, processors, plant breeders, producers, restaurants and retailers, reconceiving “waste” that occurs at every link in the food chain. We are also partnering with more than 20 guest chefs to curate daily specials and help celebrate what chefs do every day on their menus (and peasant cooking has done for thousands of years): creating something delicious out of the ignored or un-coveted.”
–from wastED‘s website (March 2015)

A decade ago, we paid our first-ever visit to Blue Hill at Stone Barns and were blown away by the dinner then co-executive chefs Dan Barber and Mike Anthony prepared, characterizing it in our Summer 2005 eNewsletter as “one of the most extraordinary dinners of our lives.”  Not only was it thrilling from a gastronomic perspective, but it was thrilling to foresee through this vision-in-action the potential for the farm-to-table movement, one that has since influenced countless chefs and restaurants across the country.

WastedSignageMarch222015

Fast-forward to last night:  Dan Barber has a new vision — one of reducing the United States’ appalling rate of food waste (currently 31%, as reported in our March 4th and March 6th blog posts) by re-purposing food that had been formerly discarded into a source of gastronomic pleasure.   He and his team have transformed the original New York Times three-star restaurant Blue Hill near Washington Square in Manhattan into wastED for the period of March 13-31, 2015.

WastedFood_Collage2
Top left:  As part of our extensive research for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, we have eaten a lot of veggie burgers over the past few years all across the United States, and wastED’s was one of the very best we’ve ever tasted, despite being made from leftover juice pulp, ReConsider cheese, and ketchup made from bruised beets, and served on re-purposed bread buns with pickled cucumber butts (ends).  (In fact, Karen dreamed last night that Danny Meyer‘s Shake Shack was serving veggie burgers made from juice pulp, and now she can’t stop hoping it will become a reality!)

Top right:  Other than a glass of 2014 Matthiasson Rose (poured from a large-format bottle from this waste-conscious Napa Valley winery), over the course of the evening we stuck with cocktails which included guest mixologist Audrey Saunders’ Evil Little Misfit (bitter lemon vodka infusion Lillet Blanc, left) and Blue Hill’s own Immunity Booster (Melvin’s juice pulp gin and last night’s champagne, right).  Leave it to Audrey Saunders to find a way to use the only part of a lemon that is not used in cocktails:  the pith, whose chemical composition apparently isn’t even suitable for composting.  We also tasted and especially enjoyed the flavors of The Boiler Maker (McKenzie Bourbon infused with walnut press cake, flat beer syrup, spent coffee grounds bitter).   Kudos to Blue Hill’s beverage team for these perfectly crafted cocktails.

Center:  Alexandra served our section with the kind of grace, good humor, poise, professionalism, and deep knowledge that comes from being a farmer with a master’s degree.

Bottom left:  wastED’s menu was presented in a recycled brown paper bag.

Bottom right:  Deeply flavored stick-to-your-ribs bread made from spent grains (that had been previously used to brew beer) was unwrapped of its burlap cloak and accompanied by squash oil the color and texture of maple syrup.

WastedSquashVines_Collage

Not yet an official part of the wastED menu, we were able to taste a delicious dish made from squash vines that had been developed in conjunction with Cornell University’s Department of Plant Breeding to make them more palatable.  Dan Barber finished the dish off with a grating of Parmesan cheese from leftover rinds acquired from Whole Foods Market.

WastedFood_Collage1

Top left: Dumpster Dive Vegetable Salad was made with pistachios blended with damaged storage apples and pears; chickpea water was whipped in a stand mixer into the dollop you see to the left of the salad, which provided a fun textural contrast in addition to creamy richness.

Top right:  Green centerpieces were beautiful as well as edible.

Center:  Guest chef Enrique Olvera served a “pasta” dish of purslane stems with cactus and beans smoked in corn husks with green tomato salsa.

Bottom left:  Servers and cooks made excellent educational use of iPads to show images such as this one of vegetable waste being blown into large dumpsters — the very same kind of waste that had been washed and trimmed for use in our salads.

Bottom right:  Rotation Risotto was made with “second class” grains and seeds, squash seed pulp, pickled peanuts, and spent cheese rinds.  To say one dish stood out over the others would not be true – our running joke all night was, “My favorite dish? The next one!” (reflecting our rising crescendo of delight).  But this dish was a standout, due to the differing textures of the grains changing each bite – we also loved the chewiness versus the usual crunchiness of the peanuts.

wastED Guest Chefs

March 13: Daniel Humm

March 14: Dominique Ansel

March 15: Mads Refslund

March 16: Danny Bowien

March 17: Alex Raij

March 18: Alex Stupak
mixologist Dale DeGroff

March 19: Bill Telepan

March 20: April Bloomfield
mixologist Audrey Saunders

March 21: Bill Yosses

March 22: Enrique Olvera

March 23: Nancy Silverton

March 24: Philippe Bertineau / Alain Ducasse

March 25: Andrew Carmellini

March 26: Mario Batali

March 27: Dan Kluger

March 28: Grant Achatz

March 29: Brooks Headley

March 30: Dominique Crenn

March 31: Sean Brock

Special guests:

Joost Bakker
Marco Canora
John Fraser
Jessica Koslow
Jim Lahey

Reservations:  wastedny.com/reservations

WastedNutDessertsCoffeePouring_Collage

Left:  The desserts above were all made with nut dust, a block of which the chocolate-covered nut dust cookies are sitting upon at the right of this photo.

Right:  We finished our meal with cups of cascara, a light-bodied, fruity-flavored, coffee-like beverage made from an infusion of the husks of coffee cherries from Talnamica Farm in El Salvador.

WastedWhippedCreamDesserts_Collage

What could be more fun than finishing off such an unforgettable experience with a cherry on top?  We did indeed, with the Milky Oat Ice Cream Sundae made with almond press cake biscuit, fermented cherries (from Stone Barns, we were told), and walnut press candied vegetable pulp.

We loved the wastED experience so much we’re tempted to jump online to make another reservation to experience it again before it ends a week from tomorrow — but we’re just as tempted to keep our two seats open so two other people can have the joy of experiencing it themselves.  The jolt of electricity in the air at wastED generated by the passion that this talented restaurant staff and enthusiastic patrons alike are both bringing to this “happening” is something we wish everyone could tap into.

Kudo to Dan Barber for his vision for wastED, a landmark restaurant initiative in America, and to Dan and wastED’s Guest Chefs, Partners, and entire front-and-back-of-the-house teams (including Katie Bell, Irene Hamburger, Nicholas Larsen, Franco Serafin, Alexandra, Grace, Kat, et al) for making it happen.

WastedLogo

wastED is at 75 Washington Place in Manhattan, through March 31st.  212.539.1776.  wastedny.com   Reservations (available up to 1 week in advance) and walk-ins are accepted until 9pm; walk-ins only after 9pm.

wastED Partners include ACME Smoked Fish, Allium Restaurant + Bar, American Stonecraft, Anson Mills, Appletone Meat Company, Arcadian Pastures, Atlantic Records, Baldor, Balthazar Bakery, Black Seed Bagels, Blue Hill Farm, CafeADAM, Coffee Flour, Consider Bardwell Farm, Cornell University Department of Plant Breeding, dbO Home, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, Digifabshop, Dock-to-Dish, Eataly, Ecovative, Farm to Table Co-packers, Finger Lakes Distilling, Fishs Eddy, Formless Finder, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Garrett Ricciardi, Holy Schmitt’s, In Pursuit of Team, Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, J.A. Henckels, Jasper Hill Farm, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Julian Rose, KelSo Beer Company of Brooklyn, Lakeview Organic Grain, La Tourangelle, Liquiteria, Love Grace, Mast Brothers Chocolate, The Meat Market, Melvin’s Juice Box, Michael Skurnik Wines, Migliorelli Farm, Mushrooms & More, Norwich Meadows Farm, Organic Food Incubator, Paffenroth Gardens, Peanut Butter & Co., Pierless Fish, Prairie Whale, Raffetto’s, The Red Lion Inn, Shake Shack, Staub, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Stony Brook Whole Hearted Foods, Tilit Chef Goods, Understory Farm, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Plant Breeding, Upstate Farms, Valley Malt, Violet Hill Farm, Waring, Whole Foods Market, WholeVine Products, Williams-Sonoma, and more

CULINARY ARTISTRY Featured This Week As One of Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best Cookbooks of All Time”

CulinaryArtistryCoverNoPinkToday

Best Cookbooks of All Time:  CULINARY ARTISTRY…This encyclopedic cookbook will get you inspired for spring.”
Food & Wine magazine (March 2015)

Our heartfelt thanks to the editors of Food & Wine magazine for featuring our 1996 book CULINARY ARTISTRY this week as one of the “Best Cookbooks of All Time”!

KarenQuinnHatfieldCA_Collage2

Los Angeles pastry chef Karen Hatfield of The Sycamore Kitchen was quoted as saying that she and her husband chef Quinn Hatfield (both above, left) refer to CULINARY ARTISTRY “constantly” to “get the creative juices flowing.”

CARetweet_Collage

Moments after we shared the wonderful news via Twitter, we were very touched that two of CULINARY ARTISTRY‘s most enthusiastic fans — chefs Hugh Acheson and Jesse Schenker — chimed in with re-Tweets of our Tweet (above).

HughAchesonCA_Collage

Hugh Acheson (above, left) of “Top Chef” fame has sung CULINARY ARTISTRY‘s praises on his website at HughAcheson.com

JesseSchenkerCAQuote_Collage

…while Jesse Schenker (above, right) has mentioned his love of CULINARY ARTISTRY  far and wide, including to Psychology Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Over the years, we’ve learned that those readers for whom CULINARY ARTISTRY has been a strong inspiration are among the most thoughtful, soulful, and passionate culinarians we’ve ever encountered.  We bet you will, too.

Food&WineSquareLogo

Food & Wine magazine is at FoodAndWine.com.

Karen Hatfield and her husband Quinn‘s restaurants The Sycamore Kitchen and the brand-new Odys + Penelope (just named one of the city’s hottest restaurants by Los Angeles magazine) are based in Los Angeles; they can be found at TheSycamoreKitchen.com.

Hugh Acheson is the chef-owner of a number of Georgia-based restaurants, including Five-and-Ten and The National in Athens, and the author of the 2012 James Beard Award-winning cookbook A New Turn in the South; read about all of them at HughAcheson.com.

Jesse Schenker is the chef-owner of Recette and The Gander in New York City, and the author of the memoir All or Nothing: One Chef’s Appetite for the Extreme; his website is at JesseSchenker.com.

Deep In The Heart of Texas, A Delicious Sanctuary: Lake Austin Spa Resort

LakeAustinSpa_Signage1Large

Last year, Lake Austin Spa was named the #4 Destination Spa in the World by Conde Nast Traveler.  We were happy to be invited to pay our first visit this week and to be a part of its Culinary Experience, which showcases guest cooking instructors from across the country.  It was a pleasure to lead sessions for spa guests from Maryland to Alabama to Nevada and beyond.  In honor of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, we showcased six plant-based recipes and discussed how healthfulness and deliciousness need not be mutually exclusive.

LakeAustinSpa_CookingDemoCollage

Top left: Angela Anselmi with Andrew in the demo kitchen; Top right: THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE on display in the gift shop; Bottom left: Andrew demonstrates our favorite granola; Bottom right: Lake Austin Spa’s vegetable garden featured everything from fresh bay leaves (used in our demos!) to kale; Center: With Lake Austin Spa’s Robbie Hudson

Robbie welcomed us warmly, and ensured that we were ably assisted in the kitchen by Angela and Lynda — and the Spa’s gift shop even showcased copies of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE all week long, which guests had us inscribe for them and for keepsake gifts to take home to friends and family.

LakeAustinSpa_FlatbreadPizzaLarge

The food at Lake Austin Spa was excellent overall, and we found we were kindred spirits in our desire to balance healthfulness and deliciousness.  We’d give Lake Austin Spa an “A” for its accommodation of vegetarians and vegans, as there were multiple appealing options available at every time of day — including vegetable Flatbread Pizzas (above) at lunch.

LakeAustinSpa_MigasMeatballsCollage

The Spa’s signature breakfast item — Migas, which is typically made with beaten eggs and baked tortilla strips — was made available in a scrambled tofu version (above, left) made with veggies and served with corn tortillas and Rudy’s Salsa Picante, a signature item served with many of the Southwest-inspired dishes (recipe below).  As we lucked out being at the Spa on “National Meatball Day” (March 9th), we were able to celebrate with broccoli-based Veg Meatballs (above, right) in tomato sauce that were so delicious we were not surprised to hear that they sold out of them regularly to veg and non-veg guests alike.

Rudy’s Salsa Picante

Yield:  3 quarts

20 Roma tomatoes
5-6 tomatillos
2 (regular) tomatoes
2 white onions
handful of peeled garlic in small aluminum foil sheet
handful of pequin peppers (added to garlic in foil sheet)
2 poblano peppers
6 serrano peppers
2 jalapeno peppers
5 ounces Spanish virgin olive oil
1 bunch cilantro
4 limes, juiced
salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cut tomato ends, pepper stems, and onions in quarters.  Place tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, and peppers on sheet pan next to the foil-wrapped garlic and pequin peppers.  Drizzle olive oil over the ingredients on sheet pan and inside the foil with the garlic and pequin peppers.  Bake about 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven.  Remove from oven, and blend in food processor.  Add cilantro and lime juice, and season with salt and pepper.

LakeAustinSpa_RudyFoodCollage

Upper left: Veggie farfalle; Upper right: Veggie fajitas served in a casserole with warm corn tortillas; Lower left: Rudy of Rudy’s Salsa Picante fame; Lower right: Forbidden salad featuring black rice, edamame, chickpeas, and cherry tomatoes; Center: Huevoless rancheros served with Rudy’s Salsa Picante

The property’s main dining room offers a full wine list (featuring an impressive number of bargains), as does the more casual Cafe at the Lakehouse Spa, which offered more casual fare such as the guacamole with baked chips we snacked on during more than one afternoon break there.

LakeAustinSpa_CollageFlowerDucks

The property is gorgeous — even during the mostly-rainy week we visited — so we can only imagine its beauty when it’s actually sunny in Austin.  Fountains and greenery abound.

LakeAustinSpa_4FountainCollage

The area near the Lakehouse Spa is beautifully landscaped and offers tranquility and a sense of adventure around every corner.

LakeAustinSpa_PoolCollage

Love the water?  Take your pick of three pools — two outdoor pools (which we passed on in favor of the steamy outdoor jacuzzi, given the weather), and an indoor lap pool.

LakeAustinSpa_Speedboat

The action on the lake provided occasional spectacles — from water-skiing to speedboating — during daylight hours.

LakeAustinSpa_FUNCollage

Lake Austin Spa is a very special place where you can enjoy being as active or as chilled out as you choose.  Activities range from kayaking to hydro-cycling (or bicycling on the water, which we tried for the first time — and yes, it’s as fun as it looks) to yoga offered on an outdoor dock.  We availed ourselves of both the running track and a his-and-hers hammock at various times during our stay.

There is a wide range of fitness classes on offer, as well as one of the more extensive offerings of spa services we’ve ever seen.  We picked two of the most unusual-sounding massages to try — one incorporating three vibrating chakra bowls, and another seven different essential oils corresponding to the seven different chakras.  You be the judge:  Have our chakras ever looked clearer or more balanced?!

Lake Austin Spa Resort is at 1705 S. Quinlan Park Road in Austin, Texas.  800.847.5637.  www.lakeaustin.com

Lake Austin Culinary Experience‘s upcoming guests include Joanne Weir (May), Corinne Trang and Eric Asimov (June), Sara Moulton (July), and Gail Simmons (August):  www.lakeaustin.com

During National Nutrition Month (March), THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE’s Virtual Book Tour of Registered Dietitian Sites Continues

VBTRDN_Collage

Not content to merely celebrate Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day (which we did on March 11th), we’re celebrating registered dietitians all month long as we visit their sites — which are featuring THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE — during National Nutrition Month.

Catch up on previous stops on the tour, and join along every day as each shares her/his take on the book’s approach to plant-centric cooking and eating.

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE
Registered Dietitians and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists
Virtual Book Tour

TVFB_FINALCOVER_300dpi_500

Calendar

Saturday, February 21st (Denver, CO):  Elizabeth Jarrard, RD‘s DontWhiteSugarCoatIt.com (whose initial longer review of the book appears here)

Thursday, February 26th (Kansas City, MO):  Dianna Sinni, RD‘s ChardInCharge.com

Friday, February 27th (Philadelphia, PA):  Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD‘s TeaspoonComm.com

Saturday, February 28th (Buffalo, NY):  Kim Klee, RD‘s JumpJiveAndKale.com

Monday, March 2nd (Santa Rosa, CA):  Jill Nussinow, RD‘s TheVeggieQueen.com

Thursday, March 5th (Portland, OR):  Jessie Erwin, RD‘s TheHappinessInHealth.com

Friday, March 6th (New York, NY):  Lourdes Castro, RD‘s SliceThin.com

Monday, March 9th (Del Mar, CA):  EA Stewart, RD‘s EAStewart.com

Wednesday, March 11th (New York, NY):  Maribeth Evezich, RD‘s WholeFoodsExplorer.com

Thursday, March 12th (Los Angeles, CA):  Marie Feldman, RD‘s NourishYouDelicious.com

Monday, March 16th (New York, NY):  Jackie Topol, RD‘s JackieTopol.com

Wednesday, March 18th (Scottsdale, AZ):  Michelle Dudash, RDN‘s MichelleDudash.com

Friday, March 20th (Succasunna, NJ):  Julie Harrington, RD‘s RDeliciousKitchen.com

Monday, March 23rd (Shorewood, WI):  Christina Bauer, RD‘s Xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Tuesday, March 24th (Chicago, IL):  Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD‘s DawnJacksonBlatner.com; (Mahwah, NJ) Dr. Jackie Ehlert, RD; and (Toronto, Canada) Adam Hudson, RD’s Opha.on.ca

Wednesday, March 25th (Alexandria, VA):  Hope Warshaw, RD‘s HopeWarshaw.com and (Los Angeles, CA) Sharon Palmer, RD‘s SharonPalmer.com

Thursday, March 26th (Atlanta, GA):  Marisa Moore, RD‘s MarisaMoore.com and (Birmingham, AL) Holley Grainger, RD‘s HolleyGrainger.com

Friday, March 27th (Dallas, TX):  Robin Plotkin, RD‘s RobinPlotkin.com

Tuesday, March 31st (Washington, DC):  Danielle Omar, RDN‘s FoodConfidence.com

Even If You Don’t Go “Whole Hog,” A Semi-Vegetarian Diet Could Lower Your Risk of Dying from Heart Disease and Stroke by As Much As 20 Percent

AHATVFB_Collage
“Researchers suggest that substituting some of the meat in your diet with vegetables may be a simple way to lower the risk of heart-related death.”
–American Heart Association (March 5, 2015)

The American Heart Association presented results from a large-scale study (of 451,256 participants) suggesting that a pro-vegetarian diet emphasizing a higher proportion of plant-based foods compared to animal-based foods may help lower the risks of dying from heart disease and stroke by up to 20 percent.

That’s great news for all the people we’ve encountered over the past few years who’ve told us that they could never see themselves as vegan or even vegetarian, so they thought, “Why bother?”

And as we continue to say to them and to everyone else, it’s a spectrum (from omnivore to semi-vegetarian to vegetarian to vegan) — and the goal is progress, not perfection.  (Thanks to long-time vegan author Victoria Moran for teaching Karen that one!)

So if you’re still an omnivore, there are lots of reasons why you’ll want to consider cutting down your meat consumption (which America has been doing since 2007, although we still have very high meat consumption per capita compared to other countries), and increasing your consumption of vegetables and other plant-based foods (e.g., legumes, fruits, whole grains).

Once you do, you should know we’ve got just the book to help spur your creativity in the kitchen with plant-based ingredients!

Note:  The study’s co-authors are Joline Beulens, Ph.D.; Yvonne Van der Schouw, Ph.D.; Nina Roswall, Ph.D.; Elizabete Weiderpass, M.D., Ph.D.; Dora Romaguera Ph.D.; Elio Riboli, M.D., Ph.D. and Ioanna Tzoulaki Ph.D.  No outside funding was received for this study.

The American Heart Association‘s study is summarized on ScienceDaily.com here.

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible (Hachette/Little, Brown) can be found at better bookstores everywhere, from Kitchen Arts & Letters to Amazon.

The Vegetarian Resource Group is at vrg.org.

Victoria Moran can be found at MainStreetVegan.com, and she also runs the Main Street Vegan Academy.

Chef Hemant Mathur Working His Magic at Haldi and 5 Other Indian Restaurants in NYC

HaldiNightSign

That magical night, years ago, that we were treated to the greatest Indian dinner we’d ever tasted in the United States at Amma, we learned that the talented chefs responsible for our feast were Hemant Mathur and Suvir Saran.  We later followed the chefs to Devi (the first Indian restaurant in America to receive a Michelin star), and eventually followed Mathur to Tulsi (and are still eagerly awaiting Saran’s forthcoming Indian restaurant in San Francisco), where we interviewed him and photographed some of his dishes for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE.

Haldi_Collage1

Left: Jhal Muri: puffed rice, peanuts, green chutney, and tomatoes; Center: The words of one of the 20th century’s great yoga masters Swami Sivananda; Right: Mirchi Vada: crunchy chili fritters stuffed with potato and dipped in chickpea flour batter

Now that Mathur is overseeing the menus at six different Indian restaurants in the city, we’re looking forward to seeing how he transforms each of them.  First up on the list is Haldi in Little India, whose glossy saffron-hued take-out menu trumpets “Celebrating Calcutta….From the palace to the street cart, a culinary tour of India’s cultural capital.”  Based on a recent lunch and dinner there, we’re impressed.

HaldiMarch72015_DiningRoom

While Haldi is informal, the back dining room (above) is a bit more formal.

Haldi_Collage2

The front dining room (above, left) is a bit more casual.  One of the standout Marwari Bites is grilled pumpkin (above, center), with a pickle marinade, ginger-garlic, and panch poran spice.  The rear dining room features light fixtures made of green wine bottles (above, right).

HaldiMarch72015_GattaCurryEtAl

During a recent lunch, we enjoyed whole-wheat breads, fried okra, basmati rice, and Subji Miloni (mixed vegetables with spinach; back, left to right).  But our favorite wintertime dish at Haldi is the Marwari entree Gatta Curry (front, center):  steamed chickpea flour cakes with tomato curry, which was so delicious we asked Mathur to describe it to us:

Save room for one of pastry chef Surbhi Sahni‘s lovely desserts — at a bare minimum, one of her #dessertworthy Rum Balls: Callibaut chocolate and fig cakes made with roasted mixed nuts (below, right).  The restaurant has plenty of offerings appealing to vegans, vegetarians, and semi-vegetarians alike, as the sign outside the restaurant suggests (below, left).

Haldi_Collage3

Next, Mathur — who is becoming so well known for his cuisine that we witnessed a party come in off the street after they recognized his face on the double-sided window sign (above center) — will turn his attention to Chola, with four other restaurants (Malai Marke, Dhaba, Kokum, and Chote Nawab) to follow.

We predict that lovers of Indian food in Manhattan will continue to have much cause for rejoicing as Mathur unveils new regional specialties at each.

Haldi is at 102 Lexington Avenue (at 27th St.) in Manhattan.  212.213.9615.  haldinyc.com  The two-course lunch (one appetizer and one entree for $15, or $12 for vegetarians) is a great deal.

Chola is at 232 East 58th Street (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) in Manhattan.  212.688.4619.

Malai Marke is at 318 Sixth Street (bet. 1st & 2nd Aves.) in Manhattan. 212.777.7729.

Dhaba is at 108 Lexington Ave. (bet. 27th & 28th Sts.) in Manhattan.  212.679.1284.  dhabanyc.com

Kokum is at 106 Lexington Ave. (bet. 27th & 28th Sts.) in Manhattan.  212.684.6842.  kokumny.com

Chote Nawab is at 115 Lexington Ave. (bet. 27th & 28th Sts.) in Manhattan.  212.679.4713.  chotenawabnyc.com

The Pressing Issue of Food Waste Becomes the Talk of the Nation, Prompting Readers to Take Immediate Action

CSMTFBTPP_Collage

“I just read a great article in The New York Times about food waste in current American culture. In it, Kim Severson talks about guilt-ridden composting, glorifying misshapen produce, millenials and foodie movements aimed at reducing waste. Kim was writing to ME. I promptly bought the two cookbooks cited in the article: ROOT TO LEAF by Steven Satterfield and THE FLAVOR BIBLE by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.”
–Akemi Martin, The Pampered Pauper Eats (March 5, 2015)

It was heartening to see other articles, online discussions, and Tweets about this week’s New York Times Food section’s most-emailed article “Starve a Landfill,” demonstrating what a deep chord it struck among readers to learn of the United States’ embarrassing 31 percent rate of food waste.

The Christian Science Monitor ran an op-ed by Jonathan Bloom entitled “The New York Times talks trash – and that’s a great thing,explaining,The New York Times’ Food section features three compelling, informative pieces on food waste this week, suggesting that this once-ignored issue is finally getting the respect it deserves.”

Bloom wrote:

“Anyway, we mostly have Kim Severson to thank for this exploration of the wasted food, which centers on her article, ‘Starve a Landfill.’  It’s an ideal title because it connotes that vital EPA hierarchy for keeping food out of landfills.

Because waste prevention should take precedence, I wish the piece hadn’t begun with composting, which sits at the bottom of the hierarchy. Still, I was thrilled that Severson mainly focused on avoiding wasted food. And I loved the discussion toward the end about how cooking solely from recipes drives waste, as you accumulate many items you only use once. The prescribed remedy: intuitive cooking, as found in THE FLAVOR BIBLE.”

FoodTank.com and TheDailyMeal.com re-ran Jonathan Bloom’s article in its entirety.

Yesterday, in turn, THE FLAVOR BIBLE — a six-and-a-half-year-old book — hit #199 overall on Amazon.com, becoming the #15 bestselling cookbook.

This is a testament not only to the power of a talented writer (i.e., Kim Severson) and of a must-read newspaper (i.e., The New York Times) to spur a national discussion but to that of readers eager to take immediate action to address a pressing problem.

We find that very heartening.

Food Tank is focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters, spotlighting environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and creating networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change:  foodtank.com.

USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist addresses the U.S. Food Waste Challenge at usda.gov.

WastedFood.com is the website of Jonathan Bloom, who writes about why we waste food, why it matters, and what we can do about it:  wastedfood.com.

THE FLAVOR BIBLE Receives Its First-Ever Mention in The New York Times

The Flavor Bible

“[Brandi Henderson, an architect who became a pastry chef and blogger and teaches at the Pantry in Seattle] recommends THE FLAVOR BIBLE, a book by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg that features no recipes but encourages intuitive cooking using lists of ingredients and complementary flavors and techniques. ‘If we leave the recipe behind and get back to technique cooking,’ she said, ‘kitchen waste will go away.’” 
—Kim Severson, The New York Times
(March 4, 2015)

It was already turning out to be a red-letter morning.

While out to pick up a bagel and The New York Times today, Andrew ran into NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.  Andrew stopped to say hello and to let him know he was heading home to watch the Commissioner’s wife Rikki Klieman on “CBS This Morning,” as we knew she was appearing at 8:20 am to provide her always-insightful legal commentary, today on the Maryland “free-range parenting” case.

Then, while waiting for Rikki’s segment to take place, we caught the CBS promos for another segment featuring uber-restaurateur Danny Meyer (of USHG, Shake Shack, et al) and his pizza emporium-to-be Marta (which we featured on our blog during its opening week).

BillRikkiDanny_Collage

Left to right: NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, “CBS This Morning” legal analyst Rikki Klieman, and uber-restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer

By the time we’d finished Tweeting the Commissioner and his wife and Meyer, we finally got around to perusing The New York Times — where we discovered that THE FLAVOR BIBLE had received its first-ever mention in the paper!

(It only took 6 years, 5 months, and 16 days — plus ~300,000 copies + a James Beard Award — for THE FLAVOR BIBLE to merit a mention in the Times…which is so much better than never!)

NYTKimSeverson_Collage

Left: Today’s New York Times Food section cover story; Right: Kim Severson

The two of us are even more thrilled that it’s part of Kim Severson‘s excellent Food section cover story on how to salvage more of the 31% of food currently wasted in the U.S., which addresses how out-of-fashion it is for chefs to waste food.

We love that THE FLAVOR BIBLE is able to help readers address this pressing problem by providing tips on using everything one finds in one’s refrigerator or cupboards and making them all taste even more delicious.

Our heartfelt thanks to Seattle cooking instructor Brandi Henderson of The Pantry for recommending THE FLAVOR BIBLE, and to Kim for including Brandi’s quote.

Hope you’ll read through to the article’s very last paragraphs:

Kim Severson has her own website at KimSeverson.com.

The New York Times’ Food section, ably headed by editor Sam Sifton, is at NYTimes.com.

An Unforgettable Night Seeing “Hamilton” — And Two Hillarys

HamiltonPlaybillFloating

‘Hamilton’ Is the Hottest Ticket in New York: A hip-hop inspired musical about Alexander Hamilton is sold out before it even opens.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Rooted in hip-hop, but also encompassing R. & B., jazz, pop, Tin Pan Alley, and the choral strains of contemporary Broadway, [‘Hamilton’] is an achievement of historical and cultural reimagining.”
The New Yorker

We have Susan Dey and Alexander Hamilton to thank for our unforgettable night with two Hillarys on Sunday.

Months ago, Susan asked if we were free to see a new musical inspired by Hamilton and created by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose still-in-previews “In the Heights” we’d seen and loved years ago thanks to Susan’s recommendation.  We were in.

VicsHillarySterling_Collage600

So two nights ago, we braved the snow and slush to make our way to pre-theater dinner at Vic’s, which is just around the corner from The Public Theater, where Miranda’s since wildly-oversubscribed groundbreaking hit “Hamilton” is playing.

We’d loved Chef Hillary Sterling‘s cooking so much during our lunch visit with friends in December that we were as excited to return to Vic’s as we were to see the musical.  A talented alum of A Voce and Lupa, Hillary’s signature Mediterranean-inspired vegetable-based dishes — including crispy sweet onions with dried tomatoes; heirloom carrots with dill, capers, and roasted shallots; and spicy cabbage with chiles, caraway and basil — lived up to our fond memories.

TwoHillarys_Collage

Left: Hillary Sterling; Right: Hillary Rodham Clinton

After dinner, we all made our way a few blocks along the icy sidewalks to The Public, where we had the surprise of encountering yet another Hillary: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walked past our row to seats just three rows ahead of ours, along with President Bill Clinton (who is mentioned on pages 45-46 of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE for having lost 24 pounds on a vegan diet) and Chelsea Clinton.

Seeing “Hamilton” was an exhilarating and awe-inspiring experience in and of itself.  But to have the unbelievable good fortune of experiencing it in the company of a living President (and perhaps a future President — or two?) was so profound that it inspired this Tweet from “Hamilton”‘s creator Miranda:

HamiltonOneHillaryTweet

“Hamilton” is playing at the Public Theater until May 3rd, and it is scheduled to move to Broadway as of July 13th — tickets go on sale on Sunday, March 8th:  “Hamilton: The Musical”‘s Facebook page

Hillary Rodham Clinton (aka “Maybe #45?“) can be found here:  clintonfoundation.org

Vic’s is at 31 Great Jones Street (near Lafayette) in Manhattan.  212.253.5700.  vicsnewyork.com