Food news antipasto

After 18 long years, it has finally happened – chef René Redzepi and his restaurant Noma have received a third Michelin star. In an Instagram post, the restaurant said “We want to thank our wonderful guests for their support over the last 18 years and a huge shout of course to all our collaborators—farmers, winemakers, foragers—everyone that’s been a part of our giant puzzle, and most of all our team both past and present.”

Happy 20th anniversary to our favorite online bean source, Rancho Gordo. The Napa Valley purveyor, led by ‘bean king’ Steve Sando, has created a sea change in how people approach dried legumes by focusing on quality and reviving heirloom varieties. This San Francisco Chronicle article provides Sando’s tips on cooking beans plus links to other articles about Rancho Gordo’s influence.

One consequence from the ongoing natural gas shortage in the UK may affect the traditional Christmas turkey. Poultry processors rely on carbon dioxide for humane slaughter, for extending shelf life of products, and for refrigeration purposes. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of fertilizer production, and the closure of two fertilizer plants due to the gas shortage will reduce the amount of CO2 available. Add to this an ongoing worker shortage and it could mean bare shelves come this December. It’s all good, though, because merchants can sell produce by the ounce again, instead of strictly using metric weights.

You may have heard the old trope that the use of spices came about because people wanted to mask the odor of spoiled food. That is a myth, according to food historians. A recent Twitter thread spelled out the origins of this concept and the reasons this myth has persisted over the centuries.

The Oxford Cultural Collective has announced the shortlist of candidates for the biennial Yan-Kit So Award, which “enables aspiring food writers to fulfil their dreams to research, travel and create original work about any aspect of Asian food.” Keep an eye out for future works from the candidates: Anna Ansari, Cara Bleiman, Noby Leong, Maria Garbutt-Lucero, Emma Diniz Ryan, and Chau-Jean Lin. Fuchsia Dunlop is one of the judges for the award.

Chef Kwame Onwuachi (formerly of Washington, DC’s Kith/Kin) will host the 2021 James Beard Awards in Chicago on 27 September. This awards program is significantly different from those of years past. The event’s “Stories of Resilience and Leadership” theme replaces the traditional restaurant and chef awards, which were canceled last year due in part to the pandemic and also in part to ongoing issues with representation and diversity in the awards. 

Keeping up with food trends can be exhausting. Some are fads that arrive with a splash but fade without so much as a whimper (Dalgona coffee, anyone?) Others amplify niche foods that have been enjoyed for centuries but are not widely known, which is the case with tiger nuts. These are neither derived from tigers nor are they nuts – so what are they, and why are people suddenly interested in this ancient crop? Tiger nuts are tiny tubers, like potatoes or yams, that thrive in tropical climates and are a nutritional powerhouse, containing plenty of fiber plus potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin E, and magnesium. Tiger nuts have a nutty taste with hints of almond and pecan.

Last week I was the fortunate recipient of a large basket of grapes, gifted from a friend who has a prolific grapevine on her property. I made grape jam and enjoyed snacking on them right off the vine. However, by week’s end I still had several bunches that were starting to become wrinkly. What to do with these past their prime grapes? The Guardian’s Tom Hunt has the answer: slow roasting, which elevates these sad looking orbs into a “delicacy worthy of a fine dinner party.”

Speaking of The Guardian, the current issue of The Guardian Weekend is the last edition of the supplement, which has been published for over three decades. The newspaper announced last year that it would be closing its weekend supplements due to the impacts on the paper from Covid-19. Going out in a blaze of glory, this last edition features profiles of the entire Ottolenghi test kitchen crew.

This week’s cooking tip comes to us from Epicurious. It’s from last year, but it is appropriate as those of us in the Northern Hemisphere head into fall baking season. The tip involves an easily found ingredient that you might overlook but that professional bakers swear by: powdered milk. Whether full fat or nonfat, powdered milk can add flavor and texture to baked goods from breads to cookies to brownies and just about everything in between.

Photo of How to cook the perfect roast turkey and gravy from The Guardian Feast Supplement by Felicity Cloake.

Jenny note: Since the holidays are approaching, I came across a free download from Williams-Sooma yesterday. It is a 15 page workbook for planning your menu and more. It would work for any celebration.

Post a comment

One Comment

  • readingtragic  on  September 22, 2021

    The SFC article about Rancho Gordo sounds good, but as a non subscriber, I can’t read it, and as a non US resident, I can’t subscribe even if I want to 🙁

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!