Friday, October 12, 2018

Mark and Lynn duck into Homecoming in Brooklyn...



Homecoming is a lovely, beautifully curated spot in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.  While it is probably best known for its housewares and clothing there is a nice cafe menu with coffee and tea drinks along with a nice selection of pastries.  The barista served up a bracing espresso that helped us get a much needed second wind during our recent trip to Brooklyn...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Marti Buckley's Basque Country might be the most unique cookbook of the season...

Marti Buckley's Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover's Paradise (Artisan) is a handsome love letter to one of the most unique and underrated food regions in the World.  The Basque Country straddles the Northern Spain border with Southern France and has its own unique cultures, traditions and cusines.  Ms. Buckley' s blog Travel, Cook, Eat was a major source of information and inspiration when we were researching our trip to the Spanish town of San Sebastian whcih we visited in March of this year. 

Basque Country, near San Sebastian located near the Bay of Biscay is blessed with abundance from the sea and it shows in its seafood influenced bar fare such as Pinxtos which are served as small plates of (for example) sardines, anchovies and the like served typically on small slices of bread, often as bar food.  Inland areas of the Basque Country are typically characterized by fresh and cured meats, vegetables, legumes and salted fish. Ms. Buckley breaks these regional differences and variations down with great skill and affection.
The recipes here fun the gamut from soups to steaks to salads.  Many of the recipes have an undeniably rustic quality refective of the region such as Grilled Sardines, Sauteed Gerinka Peppers, and Victoria Style Fava Beans. 

Ms. Buckley includes asides about Basque culture, history and tradition which help put the recipes and the region's uniqueness in context.  She also includes desserts, and highlights some of of the unique drinks of the regions where red vermouth holds sway as the drink of choice.  One of the drink recipes she  features is an unusual combination of Red Wine and Cola which became our go to late Summer go to beverage.

Ms. Buckley's work counts as one of, if not the most unique Cookbooks of the season and is handsome enough to moonlight as a coffee table book...M&L

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Table in Venice is a love letter to the charms of Venetian Comfort Food...


Skye McAlpine's superb cookbook A Table in Venice: Recipes from My Home (Clarkson Potter) is a love letter to Venetian food and a romantic ode to the pleasures of cooking at home.  Ms. McAlpine has lived in Venice since she was six and weaves her own narrative around the recipes in this cookbook.  Her modest and sweet approach to the material makes this a particularly charming work.  She revisits old staples like Clams in White Wine Sauce as well as more exotic fare such as Poached Langoustines with Saffron Mayonnaise. Ms. McAlpine's work here is a sensual delight with wonderful recipes and one Instagram worthy shot after another. She is definitely a food writer to watch.


Fig And Mascarpone Cake (Torta Di Mascarpone E Fichi)

Serves 8 to 10
The bounty of figs is possibly one of the things I love most about late summer in Venice. We have a fig tree in our garden, and it bears more fruit than we can possibly eat—or so you’d think. We always seem to find a way of finishing them off.
Nothing quite compares to this cake in the heat of summer. While you can make it out of season with dried figs, it doesn’t quite hold the same magic as when laced with luscious fresh fruit; nevertheless, the dried variety produces a pretty fine substitute on a cold winter’s day. Use 12 to 14 dried figs, cut away the tough stems, toss them in a small sauce-pan, and cover with a little over 1⁄2 cup (130ml) milk. Simmer gently on medium to low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the figs have softened, then let steep in the milk for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the milk and quarter the figs before adding to the batter as you would the fresh fruit.
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9-inch (23cm) cake pan, preferably springform, with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone, granulated sugar, and eggs until you have a smooth, thick cream. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Gently stir in the quartered figs. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden on top and a knife or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. When you press down on the top of the cake, it should spring back nicely. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan before taking it out to cool. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and cut into slices to serve.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Brooklyn Barge in Greenpoint impresses with a great setting and summer fare...

Lynn had wanted to go to the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.  During some basic Google searches she found out about The Brooklyn Barge a restaurant and bar situated on a floating barge tethered to the waterfront of the East River.  The Barge offers nice food truck fare; Lynn had a grilled hot dog with tomatilo relish and I had a selection of tacos with vegan chorizo.  The bar had a stronger than usual selection of wines and beer focusing mostly on local offerings.
Despite the first rate food and drink the ambiance was really the draw here.  Really great energy; great setting watching the boats and planes pass by on that warm, late Summer day...

M& L

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...

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