Monthly Archives: October 2012

I Chat With: Chef Floyd Cardoz of North End Grill

“When you do something good for people you don’t do good because you want something good to come out of it: you do it for the goodness of your heart and soul, what your parents teach you to do. I believe that if everybody does their part this would be a better place to live in.”

It’s not often that a chef moves me to tears in an interview, let alone twice.

Yet Chef Cardoz did just that.

Our chat together inspired many such moments, where his balanced belief system gave me confidence that kitchens aren’t always about ego, celebrity doesn’t always mean drama, and good food can be created by happy hands.

I could go on about how special this interview was, and how much I look forward to heading down to North End Grill again for a long lunch. Or how much I hope that Chef Cardoz and I do get to share a Portuguese meal together in Jersey (he’s from Goa, a Portuguese part of India where my Indian godfather is from which is how he met my Portuguese family). Or how the world, this city and my profession do seem friendlier knowing that such chefs are out there.

Head over to Serious Eats NY to read the full interview.

Stay dry and warm,

– Jacqueline

Oh, and if you missed it earlier today, check out my new “Private Chef-ing By the Book” post with Seamus Mullen’s HERO FOOD. I also interviewed Chef Mullen for this Serious Eats series!

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Carrot Soup with Tarragon, Ginger and Toasted Pepitas: Private Chef-ing By the Book with Seamus Mullen

Funny story:

Last April I was soaking my arthritic bones in a deep bath full of Epsom salts and essential oils, melting away the wet of Spring, with Seamus Mullen’s soon-to-be-released Hero Food cookbook. I was interviewing Chef Mullen for my column on Serious Eats NY, and the book had been messengered over for my research. As I flipped through the intro, I was flabbergasted: Seamus has rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic immune disease that manifests with symptoms and patterns similar to my own with Lyme. I jumped out of the tub, threw on a robe and, dripping, held the book up to my roommate, with a “you’ll never guess what this cookbook is about!!”

Which was an unfair proclamation.

Because while, indeed, Chef Mullen battles RA, the book isn’t about that. It’s about delicious food that also happens to be good for you.

When I was first diagnosed with Lyme Disease at 12 years old, massive amounts of antibiotics weren’t cutting it. I couldn’t walk for a long period, I couldn’t eat, I attended school sporadically when I could, and in general my brain and body were in Lala land seemingly without end. It wasn’t until my mom found a nutritionist who put me on a strict diet, lots of supplements and IV vitamin drips that my immune system got so strong that my symptoms went away – relatively speaking – even though the Lyme did not.

Growing up with Lyme – including dealing with two serious flairs again in adulthood – taught me a lot about food. There were many I had to avoid – some incredibly strictly during certain periods but in moderation in others – and some that to this day I can’t touch. But there were also some that I needed to load my diet with so that my digestive tract, immune system and joints had a bit of extra help.

Seamus calls them hero foods.

Two decades later, I’m a private chef in a household with no dietary restrictions. Actually, I call myself a “private cook”, because a chef I am not. I am adept at making delicious things and, yes, can cook without guidance. But for inspiration and to widen my skill-set I often take advantage of my job and bring favorite books I want to explore to work with me. And as my blogging time has been diminished by my cooking, interviewing and event-covering time, I figured I should let my professions overlap when possible.

Hence this new series, “Private Chef-ing By the Book”.

It’s fitting that I’m starting with Hero Food because this time of year I’m back in the tub often. My job is physical, and I have to medicate, soak and sleep more often to battle the pain it brings my joints. 

Just reading through Mullen’s Spanish-based recipes brings me comfort; not only do I love the ingredients he focuses on (olive oil, almonds, anchovies, good eggs, good birds, parsley etc.), but reminding myself why they’re healing for me helps me connect more intimately with them, reminding me to give them more attention when I’m frantically cooking in someone’s kitchen.

In Hero Foods this carrot soup is made to celebrate summer, with gorgeous fresh carrots and a splash of citrus. But since it’s chilly and damp in NYC I’ve made a few tiny adjustments. In the original recipe Chef Mullen blanches the carrots: I’ve chosen to roast them. He tops his with yogurt: for my boss-family I stirred some creme fraiche in instead, and for my holiday dinner-party I’ll serve it with tangy goat yogurt so I can enjoy it too. And because it’s autumn now in New York City, I toasted some pepitas and tossed them in cinnamon and a pinch of sugar to sweeten the deal a bit. I adjusted some ingredients a tad and served the soup hot rather than chilled.

This soup is delicious. I’d never thought to add orange juice or zest to a carrot or squash soup, and it brightens and enlivens the rooty vegetables. Streaming in olive oil at the end emulsified it to a smooth cream. And not using chicken stock – which is my go-to for adding flavor and depth – really let the carrots remain the star and the gentle garlic, ginger and tumeric do the flavoring. And while I love tarragon and use it often, serving it on top rather than blending it in as I usually do helps it stand out rather than meld with a pluthera of equally-amazing flavors.

I’ve cooked from Chef Mullen’s book a few times already. And on top of the deep flavors I’ve created, it’s given me mindful time in the kitchen with ingredients that should be constantly in my rotation. Soon I’ll be pickling mushrooms to add to my cheese plate and pan-roasting Brussels sprouts with some (Portuguese… sorry Mullen) chorico for Thanksgiving. At work next week I’m going to make his tender lamb meatballs in a gentle tomato sauce and ricotta. And when the weather warms up again, I’m going to utilize the grill in my boss-family’s summer home to do more smoking, which I can’t do in my tiny NYC apartment.

But, until then…

There’s Hero Soup.

Stay warm and dry, East Coasters,

– Jacqueline

** Note: Chef Mullen is also the owner of Tertulia, in NYC. I took my friend Nikk – the chef whose job I took on – for his going away / birthday dinner. It’s one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and is one of my favorite restaurants around. If you love flavor-packed food, salty fish, cured meats, incredible cheeses, bright vegetables and potent wine, go there soon. If you don’t… um…

Carrot Soup with Tarragon, Ginger and Toasted Pepitas

Based on Seamus Mullen’s Chilled Carrot Soup with Yogurt and Tarragon from Hero Food.
Serves 4-6 depending on serving sizes

Ingredients:

2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1/2 cup olive oil (the book specified Arebquina, which happens to be what I had on hand!)
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 tsp whole tumeric
Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
Creme fraiche, if desired, or whatever yogurt you can digest (or omit completely to make vegan)
About 4 tarragon fronds or 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped tarragon

For the Pepitas:

Note: Thanks go to Chef Anthony Ricco at The Spice Market, NYC, for this pepitas idea. He serves it on an incredible sweet butternut squash soup that I’ll be for Thanksgiving. His interview coming up in a few weeks on Serious Eats.

1/4 cup pepitas (small hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 Tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sugar, if desired

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°.

Combine carrots and about 2 Tbsp oliver oil on a large baking tray. Sprinkle with salt, cover loosely with foil, and roast for about 30 minutes, until almost steamed and completely soft, and slightly browned on bottom. Remove to cool slightly.

While the carrots are roasting, prepare the pepitas: place pepitas and olive oil in a cold skillet and place over medium/high heat. As the temperature starts to rise stir and then start tossing until they crackle, pop and expand. When they’re equally lightly browned and full in size, remove quickly to a bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt, cinnamon and sugar (if desired – you don’t need to).

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add shallots, and cook to sweat, 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and toss quickly to warm and slightly sweat, about another minute more.

Place cooked carrots, shallots, garlic, vinegar, orange juice and zest, tumeric, and ginger in a blender, food processor or large pot (and use a hand blender). Start running the blender on high and slowly add warm water until you get to the “velvety” consistency you desire, about 2 cups. Reduce the speed of your blender/mixer, and stream in about 1/2-1 cup olive oil until emulsified and gorgeously smooth.

Adjust taste with salt and pepper, and add more acid from vinegar or orange if desired.

Pour into serving bowls and top with a dallop of creme fraiche / yogurt, a few fronds of tarragon, a swirl of olive oil and some toasted pepitas.

I Chat With James Oseland, Editor-in-Chief of Saveur Magazine

When I set out to start shaping my writing career around the culinary world, I had no real expectation. At the time I was more focused on getting in front of a camera, sharing my dusty little recipes in a friendly environment for those struggling with food allergies. But, honestly, it takes a lot of energy to be a performer, and after 10+ years of pushing to find it I’ve realized sometimes my body doesn’t have that energy.

So writing became the focus. I’ve always been a reader, and an observer, and been most excited by what excites others – hence why I wanted to slip into the skin of another person as an actor, or make documentary films on other kinds of performers, or now interview chefs in their own kitchens.

I remember my first issue of Saveur Magazine… or at least the first I purchased and the one that made me sign up for a subscription shortly after. It was #123: Why Lamb Rules. Along with a diagram of cuts of lamb and recipes from all over the world on how to prepare it, the issue also featured different types of cinnamon and which apples proved to be best for baking (I remember all of this, including the images of lamb, cinnamon and apples, as I sit here… I didn’t have to look this up).

I read a lot about food. But Saveur has a special place in my heart. Reading it – both in print and now on my iPad – takes me all over the world and into the kitchens and dining tables of places I could only dream of eating at and exploring.

So today’s interview on Serious Eats was a special one for me. James Oseland is incredibly kind, passionate, energetic. His love of food and his trajectory with how he got to Saveur is delightful. He talked for over an hour, and it was a nightmare cutting down some truly entertaining tidbits for the article. He uses such colorful language so fluidly, and paints incredible pictures with his words.

One thing I pointed out in the interview is how much I admire how Saveur’s stories really do tie together food with family, culture, the earth, and god – however the subject perceives those to be. When Brent and I went to the Acores last year, several of the stories we were working on I had with Saveur in mind. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get back there together.

Until then, please check out this very special interview on Serious Eats.

Happy Tuesday,

– Jacqueline

The NYC Wine and Food Festival (and on Not Eating At Work)

Elizabeth Karmel’s PB&J Cupcakes at NYC Wine and Food Festival SWEET event, photo Jacqueline Raposo

There’s something curious about straddling worlds as a food person who writes things that people (sometimes) read and pay attention to.

I’ve had these fun little allergies for a few decades now, but for the most part rarely feel deprived, as there’s a plethora of alternative ingredients to cow-dairy and gluten that didn’t exist when I was a tween battling her first bout of Lyme disease. I can ingest a small amount of gluten without killing myself, and a few times a year indulge on something really special: a local beer at a baseball game with friends on the Ohio river in Cincinnati: a piece of a hot, crusty Portuguese roll with my family. I admitted this in a blog post for Easy Eats after a and the response from the gluten-free community was mixed, with some challenging my credentials in working for a gluten-free publication and one person saying flat out that they were no longer going to follow the magazine.

So there’s that.

My piece on Tacos and Tequila rocking the hour on Serious Eats (and SWEET is up there too)

On the flip side, I interview chefs and cover events for Serious Eats NY, where I often can’t eat what is offered to me. I either pick what I can off a plate, rely on my partner (Brent Herrig, who thank dog can eat everything) or question those around me for details and opinions. So far no one has questioned my credibility to write in this world, though I haven’t called particular attention to the fact that I didn’t eat a single bite from the NYC Wine and Food Festival’s SWEET event because every single dessert offered contained gluten and/or dairy, most often both.

Seems that one world is easier to get by in and the other more serious, though curiously juxtaposed in their titleage.

I never quite how odd my absence of eating could be until covering the New York City Wine and Food Festivals Chopped, SWEET and Tacos and Tequila events. At Chopped (all the judges from the TV show Chopped dishing out at Marc Murphy’s Landmarc) I could literally only eat Murphy’s pork belly – if I just ate the meat off the bun. At SWEET – nada. I went home both nights very hungry. At Tacos and Tequila, I picked my way through (and thoroughly enjoyed) what I could. Luckily Brent has become part of my anti-allergy team and questions ingredients alongside me, warning me when not to take a bite (and refilling my tequila and soda as needed).

This doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t love straddling both of these worlds. In fact, I don’t see them as two different worlds. They’re just… well… my world. There was no “gluten-free community” or food blogs when I started on my personal relationship with watching how food affects my body. There was just me, my plate, and how my body accepted or rejected what I put on it.

So I’m still celebrating what I can eat and what I can’t. For some reason, this has resulted in my profession being creating and writing about food. And now and then accepting that maybe I’ll just have to go a little hungry… and drink some tequila and shake it on a dance floor.

Check out the little colored words in the post for my pieces on Easy Eats and Serious Eats, and the images below to take you to those events.

Slainte,

– Jacqueline

NYC Wine and Food Festival’s SWEET event, Friday October 12th (photo, me)

NYC Wine and Food Festival’s Tacos and Tequila, Saturday October 13th (photo Brent Herrig)

New Video! Gluten-Free Boyfriend Breakup Beer Brownies

Happy Thursday Dusty Readers.

At 3:30am I woke up and music started running through my head and I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Mitra shimmied her way up the sheets, rested her head on my arm, contorted her body in the way dogs do when they demand a rubbed belly, and proceeded to snore in my face, once again proving that dogs are often more logical than humans in that when they feel something, they act on it.

I felt tired, but couldn’t fall back to sleep.

Then this video popped in my head. An hour later (after I had turned on my window fan, expelled the streetlight glow with the lowering of a blind, tied up the hair that was making my neck warm on my pillow and checked my email on my iPad) I was still awake. And while I didn’t run to the kitchen to make beer brownies at (now) 4:30am (though I’m pretty sure all of these things are in my cupboards), the recipe and this video were on the brain.

Because around a year ago I made a series of five demos for what I was/am calling The Dusty Baking Show. It was a project mulled over with an ex-boyfriend who is an incredible filmmaker. And when we broke up I was determined to make the demos anyway and not let a little heartache stop my work from progressing in a positive direction (it didn’t – a little dust in the heart is good for productivity).

Looking at it now, I wish I’d maybe put a little more makeup on. Or gotten a touch more sleep before shooting. Or pointed out that beating eggs and sugars together isn’t “creaming” when your fat is bubbling away on the stove.

But I also sorta don’t. Because my intentions with musing on what my presence could be with gluten-free baking on film was primarily to be accessible. To look like me on any given day when I’m typing at my computer in my room and don’t need to be all makeup-y and put together. To not edit the silly things I say in my kitchen (and silliness evidently happens a lot in 7 minutes).

A year after making this video, food is my day-to-day way of making a living, whether I’m writing about it for Easy Eats or Serious Eats, or in a fancy kitchen as a private chef. But re-watching this while New York City sleeps reminded me of why I love it most when barefoot, in my kitchen, with a few ingredients and a little inspiration. This recipe was originally titled Boyfriend Breakup Beer Brownies because I made them on the spot for Lil’ Sis when she had literally just gone through a breakup and I happened to be home. I didn’t use a recipe, just grabbed from the pantry and went to it. A few weeks ago Lil Sis moved south – I wish I could say “moved south for the winter” – and part of me wishes she were here, at 4:53am, so we could head into the kitchen together and make brownies.

I hope you enjoy my dusty little video, with the incredibly lovely Tamishia Harris behind the lens. After this series (which I’ll continue posting in the coming weeks) I shot a 10-recipe gluten-free series for EHow: Food. Check that out too if you want some slightly more refined Jacqueline in the kitchen. Until then…

Good night.

– Jacqueline

Boyfriend Breakup Beer Brownies (Gluten Free)

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsp / 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 10 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill in the original incarnation and now use this as my go-to brownie flour blend: 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup quinoa flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot starch, 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
  • 1 Tbsp mesquite flour (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark gluten-free beer (Green’s Double Dark rocks my world)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8″ square pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together flours and salt.

Melt butter on stove. Whisk in cocoa powder. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together eggs and sugars on high speed for about 1 minute. Add beer (and drink the rest from the bottle, no matter the time of day) and beat for about 30 seconds until frothy. Slow mixer to medium and beat in melted cocoa/butter ingredients.

Stop mixer, add in dry ingredients, and beat until incorporated.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the center of the pan is slightly fudgey but the outsides are firm. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and devouring, preferably while watching a really funny movie.

I Chat With: Rozanne Gold, Grande Dame of the NY Food Scene

Rozanne Gold, Photo Brent Herrig Photography

I admit, I was a tad nervous before my meeting with Rozanne Gold. It was the second of three pieces I had to do on my “day off” from cooking. I love swapping hats and going from the kitchen to the other side of the table. And I had a swanky menu (re)launch later in Brooklyn that night and anticipated that my interviewing day-wear was going to make me feel somewhat dusty amongst all the pretty people.

And then there was Rozanne… the 4-time James Beard award winner, who’s written 14 cookbooks, created menus for some of NYC’s classiest joints, and who has pretty much carved much of the food scene here into existence.

And then there was Rozanne… all warmth and friendliness. Awash with somewhat visible nerves and genuine interest in Brent and me. It ended up being a joyous two hours, and a session which I feel needs a Take Two.

Or a biography.

I’d buy it.

Until then, head over to Serious Eats NY for my interview with her.

And hit this for links to all of my interviews to date.

Bang this week out in style, dusty readers.

– Jacqueline

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