by Sean Meehan September 28, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

Red Beans and Rice (Photo courtesy of Brendan Polmer/ Tereu Tereu

Crock ‘n’ roll: Roughly 20 local bands will trade instruments for ladles in a new chili cookbook.

The forthcoming DC Rock ‘N’ Roll Chili Cookbook will feature chili and chili-esque recipes from local musicians. All proceeds from its sale will go toward benefiting Bread for the City, a nonprofit that provides food, clothing, medical care and social services to at-need District residents.

The cookbook is the brainchild of Jack on Fire member Jason Mogavero, who is known more for stirring the pot of local politics and nightlife than stirring actual pots of chili.

Mogavero said the idea for the cookbook arose during a conversation with Sam Sherwood of indie rock band Mittenfields.

“The idea started, as many wonderful things do, over whiskey and beers at Showtime,” Mogavero said. “I was talking with Sam Sherwood about the Jack White guacamole recipe and that evolved into a conversation about our guacamole recipes and eventually our chili recipes.”

Mogavero said it wasn’t hard to get other bands and musicians to contribute recipes. To date, he’s already gathered submissions from Booby Trap, BRNDA, Granny & The Boys, Head-Roc, Hemlines, Incredible Change, journalist Kriston Capps, Mittenfields, Miyazaki, Nice Breeze, Not Bored, Pat Walsh, Plums, Polyon, Puff Pieces, Sara Curtin, Technicians and Tereu Tereu.

Though many groups contributed classic meat-and-beans chili recipes, Mogavero said there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipes as well as some recipes for things to eat with your chili. Feminist punk band Hemlines named its recipe “Dana-Friendly Veggie Chili” after its vegetarian bassist Dana Liebelson. Folk-pop musician Sara Curtin contributed a recipe for beet soup and semi-anonymous Fort Reno Rumors will also contribute to the list, Mogavero added.

Isn’t chili mostly the same no matter how it’s made? Not really, Mogavero said.

“Incredible Change has a recipe that sounds pretty promising involving McClure’s Pickles and black beans, so I’m eager to try that,” he said. “I haven’t tried Granny and The Boys’ recipe because I feared that it would give me a heart attack; it has like 80 different kinds of meat in it.”

The cookbook, which is available for pre-order and due out in November, will come with a download code for a compilation album featuring all the musicians whose recipes are in the book. Jack on Fire and BRNDA have recorded new songs for the release, and Sara Curtin’s song “Summer” will also be on the list.

Many of the bands also added some non-tangible ingredients into the recipes themselves. Jack on Fire’s chili recipe, for example, calls for a Stooges album to be playing while you cook and stir.

“A lot of the recipes are over-the-top and silly,” Mogavero said.

Music fans will get a chance to taste some of the recipes before they buy the book at a kickoff event Nov. 8 at 4-7 p.m. at Showtime Lounge in Bloomingdale (113 Rhode Island Ave. NW). Mogavero is still hammering out the details for the event, but says he expects some intense competition between the bands to crop up.

“I imagine that everyone is saving their trash talk for Showtime and that a full-on Animal House-style food fight will go on,” he joked. “Probably a few people will be hospitalized with chili-related injuries.”

Photo courtesy of Brendan Polmer/ Tereu Tereu

by Borderstan.com April 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Kim Vu. He also has his own food blog, DC Wrapped Dates. Follow him at@dcwrappeddates or email him at kim[AT]borderstan.com.

The New Jewish Table by

“The New Jewish Table” by Chef Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray. (Kim Vu)

I’ve eaten at quite a number of seders, and shabbat and sukkot dinners in my lifetime, and so there’s a special place in my heart for good latkes or braised brisket, or even the taste of charoset.

I’ve also eaten quite a number of meals from Todd Gray and Equinox in my lifetime, and whether it’s a celebration of mid-Atlantic seafood or a ricotta agnolotti in a parmesan truffle butter sauce, there’s a soulfulness that emanates from each bite.

“The New Jewish Table” Cookbook

So what if I told you that you could have the tradition and flavors and culture of Jewish cuisine, but with the seasonality, refinement and elegance that only comes from a brilliant James-Beard-award-winning chef? That’s what jumps out from every page of “The New Jewish Table,” the new cookbook from Chef Todd Gray and wife Ellen Kassoff Gray.

From a pure design perspective, the cookbook is brilliant: the fonts are crisp and handsome, the pictures beautiful and the layout intuitive and friendly. If you didn’t cook from it, you could easily feature it out as a coffee table book. Dishes are organized not only by season — a nod to the Grays’ commitment to seasonal foods — but the book also notes each recipe’s kosher status, so as to warn home cooks about mixing dairy and meat.

The recipes themselves are to die for, and range from modern re-conceptions of old family recipes (the cover is Not Exactly Aunt Lil’s Matzo Ball Soup, for example), to plates straight from the Equinox kitchen (such as the Mac and Cheese).

Our Adventures with the Book

Our fondness for this cookbook is great, both aesthetically and gastronomically. In the span of a few days, we had our own adventure testing out the aforementioned mac and cheese recipe (see below), and had the chance to sample some more dishes at a loving seder thrown at Equinox by the Grays, where they featured three dishes straight out of their Passover menu and cookbook.

All four samplings showed what is best about Chef Gray’s food: bright, crisp flavors that accentuate fresh ingredients, and a deep soulfulness that reflects the chef’s care and precision.

  • A roasted beet salad with golden raisins and pistachios conquers even my companion’s beet-ambivalent heart, with warm, sweet bites.
  • The beef brisket in red wine sauce on a golden potato mousseline is the best brisket either of us have ever had the pleasure of eating, by a large margin. It perfectly marries tender meat with the cut’s natural oily fat into melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
  • A flourless chocolate cake is buoyed by salted caramel ice cream, and reminds you that a dish can temper decadence while still ramping up flavor.
  • And the mac and cheese? Let’s just say we gladly made the full six- to eight-person portion, and its three-cheese-and-bechamel base was more than enough to remind ourselves why Equinox holds such a place in our heart.

If you add one cookbook to your shelf this year, give this one some strong consideration. You won’t be disappointed.

The Details

Full Disclousure: I received a copy of the book at no charge to review it for my personal food-blog.

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by Borderstan.com June 20, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

From Ashley Lusk. Check out her blog, Metropoetrylis. Find her on Twitter @arlusk or email her at ashley[AT]borderstan.com.

So, it’s possible that I went to Paris as a pescetarian (fish plus vegetables, check) and came back a bit of flexitarian (meat isn’t a main part of my diet, but if I have to eat it occasionally, I’ll put it under consideration). The truth is, in Paris they aren’t friendly to us vegetable-loving types; there are too many baguettes and croissants that need eating. We spent our days looking for salads only to find some lettuce and a rare tomato poking around on the plate like it was meant to go on top of a burger.

I rushed home and bowed before my vegetarian bible, Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” This book is part of Bittman’s James Beard award-winning series on How to Cook Everything, and it ain’t for the faint of heart — this hefty tome is 996 pages of meatless recipes with great flavor.

You may remember Bittman from his New York Times column, “The Minimalist,” where he wrote brilliantly easy guides such as this and this. Last year, however, Mark Bittman retired from “The Minimalist” to pursue a more active commentary on the state of food and American nutrition. Today he writes thoughtful op-eds on our appetite for soda, and global warming by way of meat consumption.

“How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” is a staple for two reasons: first, it’s about real food that vegetarians eat every day and it offers suggestions on how to spice up a sandwich (the most difficult vegetarian meal, in my opinion) or create a complete dinner. Second, the book is scattered with excellent tips for preparing vegetables correctly and in a way that maximizes both flavor and nutrition.

One of my favorite things about Bittman’s style is the offer of variations for every base dish; his suggestions for adding a sauce to spice up plain rice or a gravy that will make leftovers seem like a second meal. He offers careful instructions on preparing meat substitutes like tofu and tempeh. Further, the thing I love most is that the book is indexed by ingredient — extra raspberries in my fridge? Tell me what I can make with them, Mark.

Not vegetarian? You can’t go wrong with Bittman’s original “How to Cook Everything,” which includes beautiful descriptions of food preparations including meat; his explanation of dish origins and his personal tips make this a cookbook series you’ll come back to again and again.

Bittman wrote “this is a beauty,” about the recipe below. Enjoy.

"Cook Books"

Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” series. (Ashley Lusk)

Tomato Cobbler

  • Makes: 6 to 8 servings
  • Time: About 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • Oil or butter for the baking dish
  • 3 lbs ripe tomatoes (8 to 10 medium) and cut into wedges
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking power
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, cut into large pieces and refrigerated until very cold
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
Preparation:
  1. Grease a square baking dish or a deep pie plate with butter or oil. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Put the tomato wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cornstarch and some salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
  3. Put the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda in a food processor along with a teaspoon of salt. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add the egg and buttermilk and pulse a few times more, until the mixture comes together in a ball. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add a spoonful or two of flour.
  4. Gently toss the tomato mixture again and spread it in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Droop spoonfuls of the batter on the top and smooth a bit with a knife. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden on top and bubbly underneath. Cool to just barley warm or room temperature.

Bittman offers seven additional variations — from adding a cheesy Asiago topping to a leek version, to a cobbler with a piecrust topping, but you’ll have to get the book to check them out!

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