On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, Robyn Lea has worked as a photographer, writer and director of the past 20 years, shot branded films for Peroni Nastro Azzurro, and self published an art book chronicling her years of living and working in Milan, titled “Milan: Discovering Food, Fashion and Family in a Private City”. Her latest work focuses on the abstract impressionist painter Jackson Pollock, chronicling his familiar recipes oft cooked at the Pollock-Krasner residence in East Hampton. Pollock’s mother Stella would make Potato Pancakes with Long Island’s bumper crop, while he dug for Cherrystone Clams Accabonac Creek to serve with Garlic & Dry Vermouth. Pollock was also know for baking classic rye breads and award winning apple pies, which find their home in “Dinner With Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature”, a collection Robyn gathered from handwritten recipe cards, and old family cookbooks, featuring over 90 desserts, and early raw food diets. All this from a man who didn’t try spaghetti until he was 18, yet changed the way the world saw paint splatter.
*photo by Jon Shaft
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, we create the criteria for the perfect chocolate chip cookie with Mindy Segal. Her dessert bar in Chicago, Hot Chocolate, has long relied on modern twists to traditional classics, much like the music she listened to when younger. Her father was a jazz musician, and they made frequent trips to Rick’s American Cafe to listen to the likes of Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria, which inevitably lead her to a life of improvisation. It’s not to say she doesn’t have strong core technique, as seen in “Cookie Love”, her first cookbook, chock-full of drop cookies, bars, sandwich cookies, shortbreads, thumbprints, spritz, and those twice baked, but it’s the Peanut Butter Peanut Brittle Cookies, Fleur de Sel Shortbread, Malted Milk Spritz, Peaches and Cream Biscotti, Brownie Krinkles, Banilla Nillas, and motorcycle riding Best Friend Cookies, that best showcase Mindy’s riffs. There’s also a dark side, certainly of chocolate, but also of heavy metal, through Mindy’s ode to both the Oreo and Black Sabbath. The bridge: Starlite Mints. So sweeten up, bring your #CookieLove and bake with us!
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, we have breakfast for lunch with George Weld, founder of the preeminent Egg restaurant in Brooklyn. Over a decade of scrambling eggs and flipping hash later, George reflects on it’s beginnings, growth, pangs, and constant ode to country ham. Waned in Virginia and the Carolinas, and a PHD in Literature, no wonder George’s Southern affect on Williamsburg’s morning drawl , eventually lead to a cookbook, “Breakfast: Recipe To Wake Up For”. Hear George wax poetic on the history of hash, his grandmother’s outhouse turned smokehouse, and why to save your bacon fat and heat up that cast-iron skillet!
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, we join Galen Zamarra, chef/owner of West Village stalwart, Mas Farmhouse. Most recently Galen opened, Almanac, which allures dinners with “imaginative preparations that accentuate the nuances of each growing cycle“, well, that and all the art on the walls, transforming the restaurant into a gallery space any art collector would swoon over. Galen’s art collection began at 24 years old, while chef de cuisine at Bouley Bakery. There, he laid eyes on an Al Hansen artwork, comprised of Hersey wrappers made to look female form, much in the style of Matisse’s cutouts. Now, he constructs his menu in the same abstract impressionist ways of painters like Lee Krasner, with modern pop influences by artists like Donald Robertson.
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, how did native New Yorker Colu Henry, turn her Italian heritage and a #hashtag into a pasta phenomenon? Colu’s great grandparents came to the New World from Campania, and with them, brought a culture of cooking that still exists today in everyone’s pantry, “use what you have in stock to make something delicious”. After years working in PR with high-profile chef like Marcus Samuelsson, Kurt Gutenbrunner, Scott Conant, developing the Oregon Wine Board through her love of Pinot Noir, working with Kyle MacLachlan on marketing his Bordeaux-inspiried cabernet “Pursued by Bear”, and becoming Director of Special Projects at Bon Appétit, it was the virtues of her Nonni that brought Colu back to #backpocketpasta, inspired by a childhood of marinara, tuna-clam sauce, meatballs with grated pecorino, braciole with pine nuts and raisins, and warm semolina sesame bread from Arthur Ave. Join in the fun, and show Colu your #backpocketpasta on Instagram: http://instagram.com/coluhenry
*photo by Lily Piel
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, Nancy Harmon Jenkins takes us into “Virgin Territory”, her book exploring the world of olive oil. Nancy will reveal olive oil’s origins, the process behind making what is now the 3rd largest food product in the USA (only behind coffee and chocolate), and it’s long list of health benefits (omega 3s, good cholesterol, antioxidants). Nancy herself stumbled into an olive orchard, on a farm in Tuscany, under the dogma of a Mediterranean diet. Oh, it’s not your ordinary diet, because it’s full of delicious food. Sicilian Fried Almonds, Marinated Cured Olives, Tapenades, Roasted Red Peppers with Anchovies and Tomatoes, Tuscan bean soups, French Pistou, Three-Onion Focaccia (Pizza Al Taglio), Spaghetti Aglio-Olio-Pepperoncino, Fried Artichokes, gently olive oil poached fish, and Southern-Fried Chicken in Olive Oil. Leave room for some olive oil gelato, and a bunch of knowledge and praise for unheralded olive growers across the globe. And remember, use your olive oil, and use it liberally.
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, Marco Canora regales us with his path towards A GOOD FOOD DAY. After surviving a decade behind the stoves at Hearth restaurant in NYC’s East Village, with it’s 70 hour work weeks, breakfast, lunch and dinner of coffee, bread, and cigarettes, until that after shift burger, Chinese food order, or 24-hour bodega ham & cheese sandwich at 130AM, Marco had to make a healthy decision or further face the consequences. Prompted by a scary diagnosis of inevitable diabetes and gout if he didn’t change his habits, Marco didn’t want to compromise his life as most that diet do, but understood he couldn’t keep going on like this. That’s where his training as a chef, and obsessive researcher, may have saved his life, all the while making it more delicious. Most recently opening a little takeout window called Brodo, which began the bone broth craze, Marco’s constantly searching inside himself, on how to be a better cook, husband, father, business owner, and enlightened eater.
*photos by Sara Remington
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, Louisa Shafia grew up Persian in 1970’s Philadelphia. Her father was Iranian; pomegranates, pistachios, and saffron were aplenty in their household. It wasn’t until working as a chef in San Francisco, that Louisa awoke the flavors of her heritage, recreating her version of “fesenjan” a sweet-and-sour stew accented with pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts. Impassioned by her family’s past, she returned to Iran, did R&D in Los Angeles (the largest community of Iranian expats), and wrote “The New Persian Kitchen”. Still, Louisa wanted to further share her cuisine, opening a pop-up called Lakh Lakh at NYC’s Porsena restaurant, serving such dishes as Sabzi Kordan (herb and cheese plate with barbari bread), Sambuseh (a crispy phyllo triangle stuffed with veggies, lentils, nigella seeds, served with a spicy tomato relish), Jujeh Kebab (chicken kebab in a saffron marinade), and Bastani Nooni (saffron ice cream sandwiches with cardamom wafers). Politics aside, this may mark the start of a new Iranian food revolution.
*photo by Emma Jane Kepley
*photo by Daniel Seung Lee
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, what happens when a self-proclaimed “man about town” / Instagram aficionado, and a steel ukelele playing avant-garde thespian throw a dinner party? Answer: Spring Street Social Society, ssssociety.com. Patrick Janelle & Amy Virginia Buchanan seek to bring people together in unexpected spaces, pulling off variety show meets dinner theatre events, complete with coursed dinners. Collaborating with artists and chefs alike, they’re now traveling the globe in search of their next location, and meal.
*photos by Noah Fecks
On today’s episode of THE FOOD SEEN, Mississippi born Ben Mims was surrounded by a family of fabulous bakers and sweet-makers. There was his mother Judy’s weekly Pecan Pie. His aunt Barbara Jane’s coveted Christmas tin, full of Pretzel-Peanut-Chocolate Candy and Crisp Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. He’d stop by his grandma Carol’s to eat Coconut Layer Cake. Saturday mornings weren’t complete with out fluffy biscuits and muscadine jelly. No wonder you couldn’t take the South of of this boy even after years of working as a food editor for Saveur in NYC, pastry chef in SF’s Bar Agricole, and back to NYC in the test kitchens of Food & Wine. Ben’s now published, Sweet & Southern: Classic Desserts with a Twist. Don’t worry, there’s your classic Hummingbird Cake and Peach Cobbler, Peanut Butter Pie and Buttered-Pecan Ice Cream, but also riffs like Cantaloupe Upside-Down Cake, “Red Velvet” made with pomegranate juice, and an Ambrosia Pavlova. His inspirations travel even further, Indonesian by way of Dutch baking traditions for his Cinnamon-Chocolate Spekkuk, a Southernized Sicilian Cassata swapping sweet ricotta for cream cheese, a Sweet Potato Cake that resembles Arabian Spoon Halva, Camotes Pie made with Mexican piloncillo, and Pumpkin Kanafe influenced by the Greek ingredients of his neighborhood, Astoria, Queens. Just in case your Valentines Day isn’t sweet enough.