Tag Archives: food

The Rabbi Report 3.0: Notes From “Out East”

Wow. I just looked at my blog and realized that it’s been more than six weeks since I posted an entry! I have sort of an excuse seeing that I was homeless for a few week, looking for a place to live and then a major move to East Hampton, but still, six weeks? LAME! So here I go. Rabbi Report 3.0 starts….NOW.
I seriously don’t know what the next 11+ months is going to bring for me, but suffice to say, this isn’t just the rebirth of the blog. Over the past 4-5 years I’ve lost both parents (insert Importance of Being Earnest ref. here) lived in LA, New York and now East Hampton, worked in a variety of positions, including film festivals, freelance writing, blogging for an award-winning ad campaign and I’ve been a character in an ARG. And now….country squire? We’ll see. For now, I am busy planting a vegetable garden, buying bird feeders and keeping the neighbor’s cat away from my birds and bunnies. That and whipping the house into shape with, I am relieved to say, a little help from my friends! God knows what it would look like if I was left to my own devices.
At any rate, I’m back. There’s likely to be a lot more about food and cooking, here from now on. I won’t be skimping on other things, but my nine week trip through the south this Spring inspired me as a cook, as a writer and as someone who is concerned with what we’re eating and drinking as a nation. I was introduced to the work of some outstanding chefs and food luminaries in my travels, including “eater/writer/educator” John T. Edge and chef John Currence in Oxford, MS; chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski in New Orleans; chef Frank Stitt in Birmingham, AL and chefs Sean Brock & Mike Lata in South Carolina. All of whom you’ll be reading about, along with many more in the coming days and weeks, complete with mouth-watering pics from their establishments and maybe even some examples of my own experiments with Southern-infused Long Island cooking. Stay tuned!
Until next time, here are a few pix of my new (rented) house (after the jump) in East Hampton and a couple of yummy goodness!
Yours from Northwest Woods,

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GSRT: Memphis – Payne’s Is King

After visiting Gill and August’s Green Building, I hopped in the car and made the 385 mile drive to Memphis and my three day stay at the Peabody Hotel. Billed as the “South’s Grand Hotel,” the Peabody is all it’s cracked up to be. The staff in unerringly friendly and remembered my name instantly and they were very helpful about the local area, even if one of the valets had never heard of Payne’s. He must have been new…. While the Peabody is indeed a fancy joint (it boasts Memphis’ most fancy fine dining restaurant in Chez Philippe) there are deals to be found online. My stay was only $140/night through Orbitz but unlike some other hotels, I received no “bargain shopper scorn” when checking in. The Peabody is all class and that might have something to do with hotel Duckmaster Jason Sensat who also oversees the customer relations employees in the hotel, including front desk personnel and concierges.
More on him and the ducks in a later post, complete with video!
But now….Food! My first day in Memphis was a disappointment, since I drove out to Payne’s and it was closed. A main goal of this trip is experiencing the finest BBQ known to man or beast and consistently listed on “Best of” lists and written up in any BBQ book worth its salt, Payne’s (located at 1762 Lamar, Av.) was my #1 stop in Memphis. Alas, it was closed and my iPhone’s map feature led me astray when I went looking for my other important stop on this trip, Cozy Corner BBQ. I ended up no where near where I was supposed to be, but instead wound up near another highly-rated joint, Central BBQ. There I made the mistake of choosing sauce on the side. Never choose sauce on the side. Let them sauce up your sandwich. I guess I’ll have to go back, because it’s supposed to be fantastic.
At any rate, that evening, through a suggestion from the hotel, I ate at McEwen’s on Monroe and it was fantastic. I decided to try three small plates and was blown away by the Warm Hazelnut Crusted Goat Cheese Salad, the Shrimp & Grits (always a favorite) and the wholly original Red Tasmanian Sweet Crab Fritters. It was Americana with a southern bent, all prepared with care and excellent service. For dessert (I don’t usually indulge, but….) the trio of sorbets was fantastic, see:IMG_0132.jpg

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A Mushroom Revolution: Golden Gourmet Bets On Cultivation

If you like mushrooms (and who doesn’t?) and if you like to cook you need to give Golden Gourmet Mushrooms a serious look-see. They’ve been around since 1987 but have only recently come to my attention after they formed a new distribution company, The Kinoko Company. Currently, they distribute four types of cultivated mushrooms imported from Japan and will soon distribute US-grown specialty mushrooms cultivated at a new facility in San Marcos, CA being built by the Japanese Hokto Kinoko Corporation. Grown in re-usable bottles, the ‘shrooms are not grown in dirt and thus require no cleaning when you bring them home. Currently, GGM sells Maitake (aka Hen-of-the-Woods, Kumotake, and Dancing Butterfly Mushroom), Brown and White Beech, King Trumpet and Enoki mushrooms.
Now here’s the really cool part: Two of the four types are packaged in such a way as to stay fresh in your fridge for 30 days and in some cases, longer! How often have you bought some mushrooms at the store and forgotten about them, only to find their sludge 10 days later? Well, Golden Gourmet’s Maitake and Beech (both brown and white) mushrooms come in what I would call super weird magic plastic packages, but what’re actually called: “pillow packs.” Gas-permeable polypropylene film. Me? I call it magic plastic. It almost rhymes.
Some of the things I made with the mushrooms are: buffalo and venison chili (Maitakes added a complex and earthy flavor to this dish described by Mike Tully as: “OH MY GOD YES.”), various stir-frys and a particularly lovely buffalo steak, topped with wine-soaked brown beech mushrooms. Some pix and a sauté video, below..

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Preparations For A New Year’s Day Party

Every year, when I was a child, my mother would throw lavish New Year’s Day parties at our house in East Hampton. They had pretty much stopped by the time I was old enough to really enjoy them, but for a few years it was a tradition and all of our friends would come over for caviar, homemade blinis, champagne, martinis and I assume, a fair amount of Bloody Marys.
Well, my mother passed away on January 9th, 2005 and my father died this past November 16th and I miss them both very much. I will be selling the apartment they (and I) lived in for much of the past 30 years and in part to honor them and in part because I consider New Year’s Day a much more interesting holiday than New Year’s Eve, I am preparing to host my first ever New Year’s Day party.
In typical fashion, I have let my ambition and natural hosting tendencies take control over the part of the brain that controls reason (the neocortex, I believe…erm…Wikipedia believes….) So, as a result, I am attempting to serve the following during the day…I’ll let you know, with pix and hopefully testemony, on what I succeeded in preparing:
Bagels and lox, coffee and juice.
Bonac Clam Pie
Smoked Sausage and Black Eyed Peas
Maine Shrimp Boil
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Saucisson sec w/cornicons and truffle butter
Assorted cheeses, blue, stinky and others!
Sage beer cheese bread
Oysters Rattray (A family recipe from old family friends from East Hampton. Alas, sorrel was nowhere to be found, so I will have to make due with baby spinach and lemon juice to approximate the taste of the sorrel.)
Half a freshly smoked and glazed ham
And, if we have the energy tomorrow, cookies.
Here’s a few shots of the prelims:
“Before” shots of my living room, kitchen and fridge:
Living Room.jpg
The first chocolate bourbon pecan pie (the stuff around the edges is the sugary, chocolaty, pecany overflow. It’s the stuff of gods):