Posts tagged blogs

Artichoke Heart Hits It Big…But No One Knows It

Wednesday morning started like any other day. I arrived at work, struggling to balance my massive purse with my leaking cups of coffee and steel-cut oats. I settled into my desk, turned to my computer screen, and opened my RSS reader so that I could catch up on my favorite food blogs while eating breakfast.

I clicked on this New York Daily News link about five New York City Greenmarkets set to open this weekend. Oh good, I thought. Maybe the Carroll Gardens one will start soon. I can’t wait. I scrolled through the list, and there it was, right at the bottom: The Carroll Gardens Greenmarket would indeed begin this weekend.

But as I took a closer look at the short paragraph about the market, my eyes widened. Déjà vu. The blurb talked about how the market had recently expanded. Hmm. I once wrote about how the market had recently expanded. The article also mentioned several very familiar details: 

  1. A chocolate croissant from Amy’s Bread
  2. Spicy Angus sausages from Grazin’ Angus Acres
  3. Pasture-raised eggs
  4. The occasional local honey stand

Double hmm. It read suspiciously like my post about the Carroll Gardens Farmers’ market that I wrote back in November. As I pulled up my post and compared the two links, I had little personal doubt. The specific details listed above mirrored my market experience and were even presented in the same order that I had written them. Even more interesting, the Daily News offered little additional information besides these familiar observations.

There seem to be two camps on this: Some people say I should be flattered, while others insist that I should be upset. I am just unsure and confused. Readers, what do you think?

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Too Many Meatballs

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A few years ago, restaurants in New York City couldn’t open without meatballs. From the Little Owl’s adorable sliders and Apizz’s ricotta-enhanced monsters in Manhattan, to over the Brooklyn Bridge for Sicilian-style spheres at Frankie’s 457 Spuntino, the city’s restaurants were offering all meatballs, all the time.

A look through my own recipe archive shows that I’ve also done some experimenting with the little guys. For our annual holiday party I’ve made both the pork-and-veal and beef-and-pork versions of Mark Bittman’s polpetti, otherwise known as tiny meatballs. They were so popular they disappeared as soon as they hit the table. And I never told you about Mario Batali’s turkey meatballs, which I made last year: The rosemary was so overpowering that I couldn’t bring myself to write about them. (Actually, I just looked for the recipe online. In contrast to the page I originally printed out, the current version online is completely different and does not mention rosemary at all. Hmm, very suspicious.) So far, my go-to meatball recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated’s America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. It combines both ground beef and pork with breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg, and a touch of yogurt, creating rich, soft versions of this favorite comfort food.

But last week I tried another recipe, this one inspired by Luisa over at the Wednesday Chef. She had written a post about some marvelous pork and ricotta meatballs that she tried at a restaurant called A16 in San Francisco. (I guess that meatball trend also stretched out to the West Coast.) After reading about Luisa’s desire to replicate the meatballs at home, I decided I needed to try them too and searched for the recipe published in a recent issue of Food & Wine.

This recipe calls for ground pork, plus pancetta, ricotta, and other traditional elements such as parsley, breadcrumbs, and oregano. The meatballs are baked, not fried, in sea of crushed peeled tomatoes for 2 hours. When they finally emerged from the oven they weren’t as browned as we expected, but oh were they cushiony and rich, bursting with pork flavors from both the ground pork and pancetta. Light and soft, swimming in a thick sauce, they were the perfect food for yet another snowy evening at home.

Jim and I didn’t adjust the recipe at all, meaning that we wound up with enough meatballs for a family of six. We ate some leftovers with spaghetti later in the week and froze the rest for a weekend lunch in the near future. But it wasn’t a problem. I think most people, whether eating at home or in a restaurant, would agree: You can never have too many meatballs.

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Reading the Dining Section

My Wednesday evenings are always the same: I walk down into the subway station and check to see if my Brooklyn-bound F-train is making its slow, creaky way though the tunnel. (It usually isn’t.) I find a spot among the crowds of cranky commuters, open my purse, and pull out the New York Times dining section while I wait. Eventually my train arrives, and the 40-minute ride home gives me ample reading and relaxation time with the weekly food section, the only me time I’ve likely had all day.

I’ve followed this pattern for several years. And although the Times also posted its food content online on Tuesday nights, it was easy to wait another day so that I could physically flip through the recipes and articles during my commute. Honestly, I looked forward to it all week. 

But then the Times decided to mix things up a bit. It recently announced that the paper would start posting its dining section articles on its website throughout the week, essentially rendering the physical newsprint section obsolete. Most of its articles would be released before Wednesday, some almost a week before the section was printed. 

When I first heard the news, I was surprised at how conflicted I felt about it. Don’t get me wrong, in the greater scheme of life it’s not a big deal. But this shift in the Times’s schedule made me realize how much I valued my once-a-week ritual with the paper. It also made me think about how I received information in general. News moves fast these days; like many others, I check the New York Times website as soon as I get to work in the morning and throughout the day, and I’m usually aware of the day’s headlines as soon as they happen. I have an RSS feed that imports new content from my favorite food blogs, and of course, I’m a food blogger myself. I should welcome this development with open arms, congratulating the Times for recognizing the archaic nature of printed news matter.

But I can’t do it. Maybe I’m being too sentimental, but I value my time with weekly food section more than the up-to-the-minute nature of the Internet. It’s similar to how I anticipate and then savor a wonderful meal. Overall, much of the dining section content is not time-sensitive, unless there’s a holiday coming up or a seasonal recipe I’d like to try. Even in these cases it’s usually safe to let a few days go by. I’m sure I’ll use the online archive when I have some time to kill, but on Wednesday evenings you’ll still find me waiting on the F-train platform, paging through the New York Times dining section. How about you?

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