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Archive for October, 2011

Chef travels all over the world and writes a cookbook

Bought, Borrowed & Stolen (from Amazon.com)

Bought, Borrowed & Stolen (from Amazon.com)

Allegra McEvedy is a British chef who collected recipes from her travels all over the world and scribed a biographical cookbook Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef containing personal anecdotes and recipes organized by country.

In the early 1990s, Ms. McEvedy trained at London’s Cordon Bleu and eventually went on to helm actor Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Grill in New York. Later on in the 2000s, she co-founded LEON, a health-oriented fast food restaurant that has become a widely successful franchise operation found all over London.

McEvedy also happens to be an avid world kitchen knife collector, which she profiles (per country) followed by several recipes from the area. The cookbook’s illustration is stunning, and Ms. McEvedy’s writing — possibly influenced by her family’s writing background — is equally as colorful.

I literally just cracked the cookbook’s spine, but I’m eager to try my hand at some of …

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Get cooking with a new book by Virginia Willis

Renee Brock/Special

Renee Brock/Special

The robin-egg blue cookbook with a rust-red spine sat on my side table of a similar hue tempting me for an entire day before I had an evening to devote to thumbing its crisp pages. The book begged for an extended reading session on the porch in the cool autumn air with a dewy glass of muscadine wine in hand. The cookbook: “Basic to Brilliant, Y’all,” the latest from Southern chef Virginia Willis.

Reading the introduction by Willis transported me back to my own childhood. I was lost in her reveries of cooking with her grandmother, romping in her grandfather’s garden and developing an adult bond with her mother in the kitchen.

Similarly, I was smitten with the gorgeous photographs by Helene Dujardin (also known as blogger Tartlette). Nostalgic images of Mason jars, antique butter churns, cast-iron skillets and hand-stitched linens mingle with those picturing the book’s recipes on whitewashed wooden tables and textured fabrics.

The book’s recipes reflect …

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Massive produce show in town last week

Finger limes: the juice cells squeeze out like toothpaste

Finger limes: the juice cells squeeze out like toothpaste

For four days this past week the Georgia World Congress Center transformed into something that looked like the world’s largest fresh market. The showroom aisles brimmed with mounds of apples, tomatoes and peppers. Cut carrots, cubed squash and single servings of blueberries came gussied up in the latest, newest packaging that’s sure to show up in a supermarket near you.

The occasion was the annual convention and expo for the Produce Marketing Association, called the “Fresh Summit.” Exhibitors on the showroom floor ranged from major produce companies, such as Sunkist and Chiquita, to marketing delegations from Mexico, South Korea and other countries. Georgia Grown, the state’s fruit and vegetable growers’ association, was proudly flying its flag amidst a sea of pecans, peanuts, muscadines and Vidalia onions. Represent!

I wandered up and down the aisles for two hours, and by the end of it I felt ready to photosynthesize …

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The Spotted Trotter to open retail location and more news

Spotted Trotter Chef Kevin Ouzts and Director of Operations Megan Ouzts, courtesy of The Spotted Trotter

Spotted Trotter Chef Kevin Ouzts and Director of Operations Megan Ouzts, courtesy of The Spotted Trotter

Our many Atlanta farmers markets serve as stepping stones for artisan food producers. With the support of Atlanta’s food community, some of these folks have been able to open their own brick-and-mortar locations.

The Spotted Trotter, which refers to itself as a “boutique charcuterie house,” got its start by setting up shop at several local markets and supplying many Atlanta restaurants including Rosebud, HD1 and One Flew South. Now, The Spotted Trotter will open its retail location on Nov. 4 in historic Kirkwood.

Using organic herbs and produce and humanely-raised and hormone-free meats, this shop produces small batches of its products, which incorporate seasonal ingredients. In addition to the menu of fresh sausages, bacon and pancetta, you’ll find an array of specialty items. Think rabbit and fig crepinettes, lamb tongue terrines, chicken and duck liver pate and veal …

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Foodies and their pets

Credit: Poochsicles.com

Credit: Poochsicles.com

Would you care for a serving of roast bison and venison, served with sweet potatoes, and a side of blueberries, or perhaps the smoked salmon, with tomatoes and peas?

No, that isn’t a conversation that I recently had with a server while ordering dinner. That is a list of ingredients from a bag of my dog’s food.

Some of you that follow my Twitter account may have noticed a deluge of puppy photos appearing on my feed during the last few months, as my wife and I recently added a furry little bundle of joy to our new household. Just like many obsessively annoying new parents, I fawn over the little guy, and probably bore the heck out of my dog-less friends discussing all of his antics and quirks. Naturally, of the things I go completely overboard on, his food is a big one. And I’m not alone.

Let us turn the clock back a little. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I landed my first real job working in semi-luxurious pet boarding facility here …

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King of Pops hosts Field Day

Credit: King of Pops

Credit: King of Pops

This weekend has a lot going on, especially with Taste of Atlanta kicking off tomorrow night. But on Sunday afternoon Steve Carse, otherwise known as The King of Pops, is throwing an all-ages party at the Masquerade Music Park. And the best part, aside from plenty of chocolate sea salt and banana pudding pops? Its FREE!

The King of Pops Field Day, a show of gratitude to the city that helped launch KoP, now in three states, the all day festival will include carnival games, potato sack races, live ice carving, a costume contest, and a ping pong tournament. And you can bet there will be plenty of street food to munch on. Also, bands like Athens’ Trances Arc and Atlanta’s Please PleaseRock Me will play throughout the day.

Festivities kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23rd and run until 10 p.m. at night. Full details can be found on KoP’s Facebook page here.

-By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

King of Pops gives back

This weekend has a lot going on, especially …

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Indian atta flour makes great pie crust

Kiwi and Pomegranate tart, atta flour crust

Kiwi and Pomegranate tart, atta flour crust

Here’s a nice discovery: Indian flour makes a great pie crust, one that’s flaky but sturdy, with a distinctive and appealing flavor.

I found this out when I got the jones to make a tart from a whole lot of cheap, very ripe kiwi we needed to use. Alas, I couldn’t find a lick of all-purpose or pastry flour in the cupboard. All I had a was a large bag of atta I purchased recently when I was on a flatbread-making kick. So I improvised.

Atta — specifically durum atta — is the stone-ground wholemeal flour used for making roti. It is coarse enough to feel practically sandy between your fingers. I like it for its flavor and whole-grain nutrients.

I threw the crust together the typical way: cut chilled butter and a bit of shortening into the flour until it resembled coarse meal with pea-sized pieces of butter, then added ice water to bring it together. As the grain itself was so coarse, it took a little more ice water than normal (sorry, …

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Restaurant Inspections, 7 Star Chinese Restaurant

7 Star Chinese Restaurant recently lost its food service permit after receiving three failing scores this year out of the last four examinations.

According to the Oct. 7 food inspection report, the facility was asked “to voluntarily close until all violations are corrected.” The person in charge, however, did not agree to this request until after the permit was removed from the eatery, the report showed. 7 Star later corrected the infractions and received a 90 (A). Its permit was re-instated, according to the Oct. 13 addendum.

Before its sufficient follow-up, the restaurant’s latest two scores were unsatisfactory, a 69 (U) on Oct. 4 and a 56 (U) on Oct. 7.

A long list of violations from the latest two reports include:

Oct. 4 report: 69 (U)

Broken bowls and knives used, rat traps stored by clean pans, dirty walls and floors, no sanitizer bucket on site and no designated area for washing vegetables.

Oct. 7 report: 56 (U)

Heavy buildup dripping from the vent grills, encrusted …

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Inchin’s Bamboo Garden restaurant review, Alpharetta

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A palpable sense of déjà vu overcame me as I made my third (don’t judge) visit to the buffet at Inchin’s Bamboo Garden. I’ve been to this grandiose room, with its stacked-stone fireplace and 30-foot ceilings, before. Was it a steakhouse? A spa? An indoor garden center? What was it? The space is large enough to ride a horse through.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

That’s it: Wild Times Cafe! Back in the day, all this ginormity was filled with life-size stuffed animals, an indoor waterfall, foosball tables, and a corner of it was sectioned off into a kiddie fun center with a lot of dinging machines spitting out tickets. It was equal parts Rainforest Cafe, Dave & Buster’s and Chuck E. Cheese.

And now? It’s an Indian Chinese restaurant. Yes, you read that right: Indian Chinese, as in the kind of Chinese food you’d find in India. This culinary subgenre has been around since the early 1900s, when the coastal Hakka people of China fled to India to escape the Opium Wars. A culinary …

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Las Brasas, Decatur

World Dish with Gene Lee

World Dish with Gene Lee

Apparently, 2011 is the year of the chicken shack. Back in February, Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand opened in East Atlanta offering “slingers” (hoagies) stuffed with chicken sausage and covered with a selection of creative toppings to late-night weekend revelers. Meanwhile in the bustling Westside neighborhood, former Bookhouse Pub chef and Culinary Institute of America alumna, Julia LeRoy gave birth to LeRoy’s Fried Chicken — a walk-up southern-style fried chicken shack.

But long before chicken shacks became fashionable in metro Atlanta, John Koechlin, a Peruvian native, has been quietly running Las Brasas, a tiny, two-room Decatur polleria (“chicken shop”) that smells like the Fourth of July when you pull into the parking lot. This particular shack specializes in pollo a la brasa, Peru’s national dish of chicken cooked over embers.

The method for preparing this distinctive rotisserie chicken was first developed more than 50 years ago and, …

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