Posts Tagged ‘how-tos’

Super Food Nerds: In Pursuit of Hummus

Hi, I’m Jonathan, librarian, Super Food Nerd, and man in the grips of an obsession — an obsession with chickpeas. Or rather with hummus, the highest end a chickpea can aspire to.

In New York City’s Chelsea Market, several floors below Food Network and Cooking Channel’s offices, there is a lunch counter for Ronnybrook Milk Bar, famed for its ice cream. For those in the know, however, there is only one thing to order: hummus with egg. The Milk Bar, it turns out, is helmed by a bonafide hamsani (Middle Eastern hummus vendor), Aylon Hadar, originally from the outskirts of Tel Aviv; a man who, I am absolutely certain, turns out some of the absolute best hummus in NYC.

Aylon’s hummus is everything store-bought hummus is not: light as mousse, smooth as pudding. It is served just a bit warm and made fresh daily, both customary in the Middle East. Aylon begins with a shockingly large quantity of hummus, spread in a concave layer across a rimmed plate. A generous quantity of olive oil is then poured into the center. Atop this, he drizzles a thin white tahini sauce, and finishes with a splash of color in the form of sweet paprika and chopped parsley. The final result is layered, sophisticated, beautiful; a far cry from dense, monochromatic store-bought hummus.

So, with Aylon’s hummus as my grail, I attempted to hack his recipe. Here are some lessons I learned along the way.

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Everything’s Better with (Apple) Butter

How to Make Apple Butter

I grew up in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York, where apples abounded. In the autumn, we’d go to one of the local orchards to pick our own. I especially loved the crisp, sweet-tart Macintosh apples, which have the perfect combination of satisfying crunch and flavorful juice.

For the last 22 years, I’ve lived in Northern California, and while the produce here is generally unparalleled, our apples are, at least for eating out of hand, pretty lackluster. Some may have the right crispness, but are either puckering-ly sour or insipidly sweet. Others may have the right balance of flavor, but suffer from mealy texture.

However, the one surefire way to conjure up the flavor of the apples of my youth is by cooking them down into a rich, smooth apple butter. Slathered on an English muffin or swirled into a warming bowl of morning oatmeal, it transports me back in a single bite.

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Thanksgiving 911

A girl can't survive on whipped cream alone! Here are our tips to save the rest of your feast.

Thanksgiving can be disastrous enough even if the food goes off without a hitch, but serving runny potatoes and raw turkey can make you feel about as bad as playing referee between two feuding family members. But don’t worry — we’re here to help!  Just take a deep breath (or two) and read our solutions for the most common Thanksgiving (food) woes.

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