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I read with some interest the top new restaurant lists from Pete Wells in New York City and Tom Sietsema in the D.C. area. I tend to stay local, so I need to try Rasika Westend, Seasonal Pantry, and Izakaya Seki. I don’t think I’m going to risk another meal at Mintwood Place. As a friend used to say, it would be really great…if you’ve never been to a restaurant before. I’ve been warned away from Rogue 24 by a local food writer, so mostly I’ll just keep going to Little Serow as much as humanly possible. It’s going to be a great year! Also, if you missed it, the Times had a great piece by Eugenia Bone about French truffles–where to buy them, why they taste smell so good, and especially whether all those truffle products are the real deal. Read It.
I admit I’ll probably never jar jam–I don’t eat much of it anyway–and canning just seems impossibly complicated–all that sterilizing. Yet I am fascinated by DIY kitchen projects and am hugely impressed at the feats of others, so I’m always on the search for the manageable. Bonus points for things that sound really difficult, but are actually easy–like pickling.
Several months ago I mentioned my favorite olives were from a company in California called Graber. I share this passion with a friend of mine who took our tour of the Graber operation so seriously she’s spent the past 8 months curing her own olives. She came across the olive trees in a golf community in Palm Springs last fall. Normally, the management sprays the trees, so they can’t produce the fruit, which just falls to the ground mucking up the greens and what not. But last year, someone fell down on the job—what a boon! My friend picked as many as she could fit in her purse and suitcase and lugged them back to D.C. Supertastes recently sat down with her to find out if it was worth it in the end. And for a tasting, of course!
Check out Food & Wine’s slideshow of pickles and make plans for the weekend. Pickled vegetables are unbelievably easy and give a longer shelf life to the season’s bounty. They also brighten up any dish, sandwich, cheese plate, you name it. F&W covers the basics, along with some kimchis and sauerkraut, and suggests some intriguing combinations like tomatoes and fennel and onions, honey, and rosemary.
Another foodie trend that you might feel daunted by is pasta-making. I have the pasta attachment for my kitchen aid, but I must admit that it’s only been used once. If homemade pasta is appealing, I’d recommend you try a spätzle maker. It looks much like a cup attached to a cheese grater. At about $10, it’s a more manageable investment than the hundreds for the KitchenAid pasta set-up.