A dessert cookbook by a local author adds comfort to the mix
Pikesville resident Konya Lindsey learned a love of baking from family in California. She migrated to Baltimore for grad school and worked in marketing before starting a dessert catering business, SugarPlum Confections, in 2007. But even before that, the 32-year-old was thinking about compiling her recipes. "I really wanted to write a cookbook that spoke to people who have trepidations about baking," she says. And she did just that. Delicious Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth walks anxious bakers through each step of a recipe.
El Torito Mexican Restaurant
Visiting a friend's new digs in Mt. Vernon, we found ourselves in an elevator-type awkwardness situation—standing next to strangers in the vestibule, waiting silently for our respective hosts to let us in already. Entryways in this neighborhood are known for rich deposits of takeout menus, and our unrestrained glee at the sight of one titled "El Torito Mexican Restaurant" sparked commiseration about what Mt. Vernon has long lacked—decent Mexican.
Trendy cooking technique finally comes to Baltimore
Leave it to Ted Stelzenmuller, the chef/owner who woos diners with mac-and-cheese-and-chocolate, foie-gras poutine, and fried s'mores at Jack's Bistro, to introduce a new twist to his menu—sous vide cuisine.
While five-star chefs in New York and Washington have been using this method (pronounced soo-VEED) for years, most Baltimore restaurants haven't embraced the cooking technique, which means "under vacuum" in French.
Two Hopkins freshmen uncover something fishy about their seafood.
Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss really love sushi. They like it so much that they conducted a major scientific experiment on their favorite food.
While still juniors at Trinity School in Manhattan, Stoeckle and Strauss collected 60 samples of sushi from New York restaurants and delis and sent them to be DNA-tested to see if the labels matched up with the actual fish.
Their findings? Twenty-five percent of the samples were mislabeled.
Bubble over with joy for the season.
Hopefully, you are the type of wine enthusiast who, knowing the joys of effervescence, sips sparkling wine throughout the year—without bothering to wait for a special occasion. But during the holiday season, just about everyone is popping corks, especially on New Year’s Eve.
There’s some serious sandwich-making going on at Grind-On.
We’re always so encouraged when a new independent coffee shop opens. It means there’s still hope for the little guy, despite the number of corporate coffee joints around town. And we’re not surprised that the latest café opened in the Hamilton-Lauraville area, where residents are discovering a penchant for all things gustatory.
The future looks bright with Constellation Cocktails.
“What’s your sign?” For the first time in bar history, it’s not a cheesy pick-up line. Now through September 2009, Explorers Lounge (InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel, 550 Light St., 410-234-0550) is pouring a new specialty cocktail for every sign of the zodiac. Sagittarius, featured through Dec. 21, is the Orange Arrow, a mixture of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, orange marmalade, and a splash of fresh apple and lemon juices. Served in a Bordeaux glass, the smoothness of the top-shelf bourbon mellows the citrus flavors perfectly.
Oysters fill need for slurping or stuffing.
The quote on The Oceanaire Seafood Room’s website—“To eat an oyster is to kiss the sea on the lips”—says it all, especially as the leaves change and the temps drop. “The oysters get colder this time of the year, and they get plump and delicious,” says Nate Beachler, general manager at The Oceanaire in Harbor East. The restaurant carries about 10 different varieties every day. Local waterman Tony Conrad, proprietor of Conrad’s Crabs & Seafood Market in Parkville, also sees an increased interest. “Oysters are wintertime seafood,” he says.
Jasmine Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar
Set in the sparkling Shops at Quarry Lake off Greenspring Avenue, this storefront restaurant is American modern with only a hint of its Asian roots. White cloths are on the tables, colors are muted beige with wood accents, and forks, not chopsticks, are on the tables. Only the small sushi bar with two chefs rolling fish, rice, and nori remind you that you're in a restaurant that offers Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai choices on its menu. It's more pan-Asian than fusion since each cuisine is represented by various dishes.
A Thanksgiving toast to Maryland wines
Farm-to-table shopping is a concept that I wholeheartedly endorse. Not only does it support our local economy and improve our environment, but it also emphasizes regional, seasonal cooking. I've also come to realize that it just doesn't make sense to put together a meal with local ingredients, only to serve it with wine shipped from 3,000 or more miles away.
So this holiday season, I am going to pour Maryland wines with all the lovely, local fare on my table. I've sampled a lot of wine recently and come up with six bottlings that I hope you'll consider.
Add pumpkin ice cream to your Thanksgiving menu
Ice cream isn't just a summer treat: For fall, Lee's Ice Cream adds pumpkin to its array of flavors. "It's very popular," says Robert Arnold, a partner in The Fractured Prune/Lee's Ice Cream franchise (6308 York Road, near Towson). "People like it with their Thanksgiving dinner." They can even get creative and make a pie with it, says Cindi R. Caplan, co-owner (with her father and brother) of Lee's, a homegrown company, which celebrates its 30th year in 2009.
Great Palate Brings Argentine Wines to Town
There are two layers to the wine business that are easily visible to the consumer—the winery itself, as embodied by the bottle of wine you hold in your hands, and the person who sold it to you. There are a couple of layers in between that you don't see, mostly because you don't really need to—importers (or brokers) and wholesalers. As a result, we rarely get to talk about these out-of-the-spotlight folks. But one you might like to meet is Steve Ward, who is well known among Baltimore gastronomes.
Looking for rum in all the wrong places? Try Joe Squared.
Nationwide, rum is the second most popular spirit sold, after vodka. But at Baltimore's Joe Squared restaurant, it's clearly number one. Joe Edwardsen, chef/owner of Joe Squared (133 W. North Ave., 410-545-0444) in Station North, carries more than 45 kinds of rum in his small pizzeria.
This creamy comfort food finds a home on restaurant menus.
You can't open a menu these days without spying a listing for mac and cheese. Who would have thought this plebian comfort food would captivate some of the best chefs in town?
Today's farmers are no longer anonymous--in fact, they like connecting with their customers, and they'll even share their recipes.
A decade ago, the question, "Is it a good time to be a farmer?" would probably have been met with a laugh—unless you were the kind of farmer who owned 100 subdividable acres in a profitable area. The idealized notion of farm stands proffering lush tomatoes and spiky cukes, eggs gathered from hens squawking in a barnyard, and milk in glass bottles from cows milked that very morning is the stuff of storybooks.