5@5 - What chefs stress out about
June 9th, 2014
05:00 AM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Chefs have a lot on their plates, from food costs and health inspections to sourcing ethically produced ingredients and making sure to see their family every once in a while. They're an anxious bunch, but chances are that diners will never see anything beyond a perfectly arranged plate and a sweat-free forehead. Restaurants are as much in the business of theater as they are in dining.

Todd Wiss knows what it takes to keep the seams from showing to the customers. As the executive chef of Firefly in Washington, D.C., he has made a mission of serving seasonal, sustainable, local food (often harvested from just a few feet above the restaurant), often with diners' dietary restrictions in mind. But there's an awful lot of work that goes into making things at this neighborhood favorite - or any restaurant - seem cool as a cucumber, even when the heat is on.

5 things that make chefs anxious (that diners never see): Todd Wiss
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Filed under: 5@5 • Chefs • Dietary Restrictions • Gluten-free • Social Media • Think


5@5 - The enduring appeal of the Old-Fashioned
June 3rd, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's note: Robert O. Simonson is the author of "The Old Fashioned" and he writes about cocktails, spirits and bar culture for The New York Times as well as GQ, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate, Imbibe, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, and Time Out New York.

The thing to keep in mind about the Old-Fashioned - and the reason this drink keeps people fascinated, satisfied and frequently argumentative - is that it’s not just a great cocktail but that it’s also the cocktail. That is, it follows to the letter the blueprint for a category of drink - spirit, bitters, water, sugar - that was established more than two centuries ago.

That recipe structure, while as sturdy as steel, also happens to be endlessly welcoming of interpretation, embracing spirits well beyond the de rigueur whiskey. In fact, for a short period of time in the late-19th-century and early 20th century, a number of old cocktail books treated the Old-Fashioned not as a single drink, but as a branch of cocktails. (Gin Old-Fashioned, Brandy Old-Fashioned, etc.)

Today’s mixologists approach the drink with much the same mix of reverence and imagination, perfecting their ultimate expression of the classic drink with one hand, while messing around with the model with the other. The profit of this twin-minded attitude is that many of today’s cocktail menus include a classic Old-Fashioned for the purists and, for the curious, an in-house version that switches out the base spirit, the sweetener, the bitters and sometimes all three.

So, it you ever find yourself growing tired of the same old Bourbon or Rye Old-Fashioned (why this would happen, we can’t fathom), there are options. Try giving one of these differently spiritous iterations a spin.

5 Old-Fashioned variations for every spirit: Robert O. Simonson
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Filed under: 5@5 • Booze Books • Cocktail Recipes • Sip • Spirits • Think


5@5 - Practically free ingredients
May 7th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's note: Brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee recently both hosted and cooked at the James Beard Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards ceremony. Their latest book, "The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen" won an International Association of Culinary Professionals award in the American cookbooks category, and the duo are about to launch Cookbook Boot Camp, a two-day intensive workshop for professional chefs and others eager to publish cookbooks of quality.

Like many regions of the country, South Carolina's Lowcountry experienced a cold, hard winter that seemed like it would never end. And it wreaked more than a bit of havoc on the ingredients we forage for - and typically find abundant - come Spring. Something about their being less plentiful made us realize how much we love them and wish they had a bigger platform, a more prominent venue, leagues more supporters.

It’s exciting to have farmers in the South digging deep into seed banks, finding heirloom grains and legumes that haven’t been tasted for decades. But we’d also like to shine a light on these five naturalized plant ingredients that already grow in abundance and are often overlooked. So this is a call to action to chefs in the South - and elsewhere - to get hip to the brilliance of FREE FOOD.

5 practically free ingredients we wish more Southern chefs would use: Matt Lee and Ted Lee
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Filed under: 5@5 • Foraging • Local Food • Scorpacciata • Southern • Spring Vegetables • Think • Vegetables


5@5 - Easy vegan staples to get you started
March 19th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's note: Angela Liddon is the writer, photographer, and recipe developer for Oh She Glows, the web’s destination for healthy vegan recipes. Her first cookbook, The "Oh She Glows Cookbook" was released this month. She also has an M.S. in Social-Personality Psychology and enjoys helping others find happiness and health through a plant-based diet.

When I first shifted to a vegan diet, I bought all of those packaged and highly processed mock meat and dairy products that I thought I was supposed to buy. "Isn’t this what vegans do?" I thought as I stuffed my mock turkey slices into the cart.

The problem? My energy wasn’t as supercharged as I hoped it would be on a vegan diet. Surprise, surprise, once I rid my diet of all of these imitation products filled with a million unpronounceable ingredients the only other option was to embrace a whole foods diet and get busy in my kitchen. Yes, I had to suck it up and teach myself how to cook real food. Or bust.
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Filed under: 5@5 • Make • Recipes • Think • Vegan • Vegetarian


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