Local Chefs/Local Authors

Xrecipes

Stephanie Webster and Amy Kundrat of CTBites have collaboratated on a book, “Extraordinary Recipes from Fairfield County Chef’s Table.” It features 50 Fairfield County restaurants and chefs, and is filled with Stephanie Webster’s gorgeous photography. The hardcover book is published by Globe Pequot, and is part of a regional series. http://www.globepequot.com/category-list-search-result.php

Amy and Stephanie have some book signings coming up in Milford and Westport.
http://www.ctbites.com/home/2014/4/19/come-meet-amy-stephanie-barnes-noble-book-signings.html

 

Friends of the Earth?

Scan

Every spring, right around Earth Day, I am astonished, astounded and humbled by how Mother Earth pushes forth new growth. Despite everything we do to her. Despite all that we take for granted. Despite the perpetual spew of carbon into the atmosphere and so on and so forth. In my collage, above, I try to convey that feeling.

However, the Lizard King, Jim Morrison, said it best—this from the Doors’ song, “When the Music’s Over”:

“What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down…”

Here’s one of the best videos of the Doors performing the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLAr-WlxMZY

BP: Beep Peep

BP: Beep Peep

BP

Exxon will forever be linked with the Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska that netted a record fine and still taints the formerly pristine waters and shores there 25 years after the fact. This is as it should be, of course.

However, British Petroleum (BP) caused an even bigger environmental disaster in American waters only three years ago at the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, a leak that was as horrific as the attempt to plug it was botched. While Exxon is no friend of the environment, its record since the Valdez spill has been far better than BP’s, which has a history of environmental crimes, cover-ups, corruption and just plain lies.

Who can forget BP’s then-CEO Tony Hayward’s pity party over the blowback from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTdKa9eWNFw

Poor guy, just wanted his life back.

Now, after a veritable slap on the wrist, BP has been cleared to begin pumping oil out of the Gulf of Mexico again. Greg Palast, an American investigative journalist based in Great Britain, has followed the trail of tears left behind by weepy Tony Hayward.

http://www.gregpalast.com/lap-dancers-the-cia-pay-offs-and-bps-deepwater-horizon/

Conclusion: The arrival of electric cars can not come any sooner.

Tacos

IMG_0431
Tacos are a go-to meal in my house. Left-over meat, fresh avocado, onions, cilantro and a drizzle of hot sauce. That’s the quick part. I don’t like eating food that has preservatives and additives, so I tend to steer away from buying tortillas in the store. Making corn tortillas at home is pretty easy using instant masa and a tortilla press.  The most confounding part is trying to get the temperature of the pan just right so that the tortillas puff up while cooking. I haven’t mastered the trick. I find that some of my tortillas puff up, but most don’t. They all taste fine. They’re much more tender than tortillas from the grocery store. I always make a double recipe to have extras in the fridge.

For the very best tortillas, check out Baro in Fairfield. They make their own fresh masa from scratch. Yes, they soak the dry kernels in lime, and then they grind the kernels. Their tacos are outstanding.

Free Junk

junk

Do you need to furnish a new apartment or even an entire house? Do you need to BUILD an apartment or even an entire house? How about a lawn mower, slightly used, to go with these projects? And a plastic sandbox and a bicycle in need of a wee bit of elbow grease? Garden hose? A stuffed animal or three hundred?

Well then, please come to Cheshire in the springtime, because April is the coolest month for junk hereabouts. The town has, after a three-year hiatus, revived its bulky waste pickup program. Consequently, every home in the town has emptied out the contents of their basement and put the detritus at the curb.

In theory, the material awaits pickup from the trash hauling company contracted by the town. But, in practice, enterprising trash pickers arrive from miles around and leave Cheshire with their salvaged loads tottering like the Clampett family in Beverly Hillbillies.

Come join the fun. It’s the ultimate in recycling and reusing and it goes on all month.  Do NOT let this stuff end up in the landfill when it can FILL your house!

Great Crab Cakes

IMG_0697

I’m always wary of attempts to define “the best” be it lobster rolls, burgers or crab cakes — unless it’s a spontaneous, in-the-moment exuberance, “This is the best!”
So, let me just say that Rizzuto’s in Westport has some damn good crab cakes. In fact, “cake” might not have any place in this tender morels of lump meat in crisp panko.

Whither the Late Night News?

stephencolbert_3

Interesting that the day after he announced his retirement, the Associated Press prepared a list of nine “possible successors” for his Late Show. (It ran in the Hartford Courant and many other papers.) The next day, CBS announced a successor, and it wasn’t any of those nine.

It was Stephen Colbert of course, whose Comedy Central news-satirist colleague Jon Stewart had made the AP list. Before Stewart took over The Daily Show, he indeed had his own talk show (syndicated by MTV) and I remember him doing a bang-up job subbing for Tom Snyder, who had the Tomorrow Show when Letterman had Late Night on NBC.

Rachel Maddow was one of the few commentators to speculate that Colbert—even though he won’t be doing the new show as the same Conservative character he’s developed on Comedy Central—might bring some needed political commentary to late night talk shows. That actually seems to already be happening with Seth Meyers, who, on one of his earliest episodes of Late Night, brought on New Yorker David Remnick to talk about the situation in Crimea. Jimmy Fallon is doing a less newsy monologue than Jay Leno did, but Meyers is doing more of one, and going deeper into current events than Leno ever did. On other networks, Craig Ferguson certainly has opinions on world events. But more would be great. Otherwise, someone might have to revive Nightline.

Memorable Meals

elm rabbit
One of the best meals I had in the last year was a tasting menu cooked by Chef Brian Lewis at Elm in New Canaan. Mention Elm, and people say, “Oh, it’s expensive.” That is true. But I remember that meal a year later.  This was one of the courses, rabbit porchetta with leek vinaigrette, mandarin mostarda (a sweet-sour fruit condiment), pickled mustard seeds and spring greens.