Archive for May, 2009

“Delicious Delicacies” by Matthew D. Christianson

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on May 30, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

ramp2

Spring time brings many fresh produce items that chefs and foodies wait for all year. One such highly prized delicacy is the ramp, or “wild leek”, which belongs to the same pungent genus as onions, chives and garlic. The ramp’s odor is something akin to that of garlic and onion. We’re lucky to live in NYC because ramps are native to eastern North America, and also grow in Nova Scotia and southern Quebec, New England and the central Appalachian states.

Ramps get their funny name from the British Isles, where a related plant grows wild called the “Ramson”.  The English folk name “ramson” (son of Ram), referred to the plant’s habit of popping up during the sign of Aries (March 20 to April 20) on the zodiac calendar.

To early Native Americans and, later, the white settlers, ramps were an important and welcome addition to the early spring menu. Even the fresh and tender-green ramp leaves with their strong onion-garlic taste were a drastic improvement on the bland winter fare. Ramps were also regarded as a spring tonic that cleansed the blood.

Even today, modern science supports this folk tradition of purification. Ramps are a good source of Vitamin C, as well as prostaglandin A1, a fatty acid known to be therapeutic in the treatment of hypertension. Studies have also shown that ramps combat heart disease by reducing levels of cholesterol. So quite by accident, (Just like many great discoveries!) and following their taste buds early mountain folk discovered a valuable nutritional supplement that is truely delicious!

Click here for delicious recipes!

“Monthly Stock Check” by Matthew D. Christianson

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on May 29, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

images-3 Every month restaurant managers and owners are taking inventory of their supplies and probably most important the alcohol and wine that they have in stock. It is always a dreaded task and is usually shared between two to three people as to break up a big job into smaller pieces so that it is not as daunting for a single individual. The bar area including items in the fridge as well as display items all have to be counted, which requires much agility due to confined spaces in most NYC bars. The wine room located close to the managers office is the most desireable place to count as it is cool and close to the action and the busy service floor where managers are often interrupted to solve a problem for service staff members. The biggest and dirtiest job is the stock room located on the 5th floor and has a temp control but in the summer months is still pretty hot and is often dusty. The job usually takes around 4 to 5 hours depending on the size of the inventory and size of the managerial staff in place to tackle the job. Inventory is an important stat used by managers and owners to track profit or loss on particular food and beverage items and is also useful in tracking the high and low sellers so that adjustments can be made. Bitter sweet but absolutely necessary to secure success in every restaurant.  Happy Counting!

“Rooooossee, Rose, Rose, Rose!”

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on May 27, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

imagesA couple weeks ago in one of my posts (“So Fresh and So Clean”) I mentioned a spectacular Rose of Montepulciano that I had at ‘inoteca. Over the weekend I was craving that wine so I went in for another sip. The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Cerasuolo” from Torre del Beati in Abruzzo was bright with fruit and a nicely balanced acidity. I liked this wine so much that the server decided to give me a taste of the “Larmes du Paradis” from Caves Cooperatives de Donnas in the Valle d’Aosta. This Nebbiolo based rose was his new favorite and happened to change my mind as to which rose I liked best. It was light bodied and light in color with elegant fruit and well integrated earthy notes. Just fantastic! There is one more rose on ‘inotecas list and I’ll be trying it later this week so I’ll keep you posted. Enjoy!

Kicking Around a New Name for this blog. What do you think?

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on May 19, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

The Insatiable Culinarian:

Hello, my name is Matthew D. Christianson and I am a culinary school addict. With five certifications under my belt (so far) at the International Culinary Center in Soho, some people might say that I have a serious problem. The Classic Culinary Arts curriculum was definitely the “gateway drug” that got me hooked. After my first taste I was in and open to trying anything culinary. So I took all of them: The Craft of Food Writing, Hospitality Industry Management, a Three-Day Wine Intensive and Food Blogging. Last summer, it got so bad that I found myself searching for culinary knowledge outside of ICC and I decided to take a hit of the American Sommelier Association’s Viticulture and Vinification wine studies course. Even right now, while I’m writing this message, I’m looking for my next fix. And recently I’ve had the indulgent thoughts of taking a Pastry Arts course and also Artisinal Bread Making. It appears that I will need professional help to curb the insatiable culinarian inside of me!

“It Was a Good Day” by Matthew D. Christianson

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on May 16, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

ineditYesterday, I shook famous Spanish Chef Ferran Adria’s hand and was elated! He’s my hero and is probably the best chef in the world at this point! He designed an amazing beer called “Inedit” created by the brewmasters at Estrella Damm Beers. Diverse in it’s ability to pair with many different food ingredients this White/Lager style beer blend is also easily drunk by itself. There were many passed tapas designed to pair with the brew highlighting various seafoods, curry, duck, apple, salmon, artichokes and many other ingredients and the beer pleasant with all! Soft corriander and orange zest versatille with a creamy head. The concoction was temperature controlled with a 750ml wine bottle being the format and low alcohol. Bringing only 4.6% alcohol content this beer is meant to be savored and to be drank slow and for the duration
of the meal (23 Courses at El Bulli). Oh, ya it was also Ferran’s BDAY today (5/14), and doesn’t it figure that he is a Taurus and the chef of El Bulli(The Bull)! I can say that I was there when this great contribution to beer was launched at the River Cafe on the water in NYC!

photo(2)

“So Fresh and So Clean” by Matthew D. Christianson

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on May 13, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

bounce-imageI can’t stop thinking about last night’s late night bites! After celebration drinks at Schiller’s Bar, (My fiancée Simone completed her American Sommelier Association course and final exam!) we stopped at ‘inoteca (located at 98 Rivington) for the slow roasted beat salad with salty toasted hazelnuts and orange supremes finished in a light vinaigrette. A homerun as this dish is so delicious that it is hard to figure out how such a simple combination of flavors work so well together. We also enjoyed the slightly toasted thick cut bruccetta slathered with fresh house made ricotta and topped with a garlicky chunky tomato pommodoro and finished with a healthy drizzle of fine extra virgin olive oil. Absolutely amazing and again as simple as it gets! Finally we chomped on lightly fried mixed veggies which were dressed with lemon and sea salt highlighting the true expression of the produce. Wow! To wash it all down there was an interesting Rose of Montepulciano di’ Abruzzo which was crisp and fruity with light acidity and a well integrated balance of alcohol, very refreshing and a perfect pairing with our light fared morsels. It makes me happy to know that everyday just steps from my house and at around midnight the people at ‘inoteca are treating their guests to some of the best food that the LES has to offer!

“Caffeine Dream” by Matthew D. Christianson

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on May 12, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

despressopicToday I woke up a little grumpy and to the sound of my front door buzzer ringing. I forgot that the Cable Guy was scheduled (8am-12pm) to drop by to check out the hookups in our new apartment. I was surprised that the guy had come so early (Just before 9am) as they are never come when you want them to and I had some errands to run. Glad that he would be connecting us to the outside world, my mood improved. The guy moved quickly and was courteous as he did his job and was gone in a jiffy. I then got my act together so I could accomplish something before noon, as I am a notorious PRO-crastonator. I grabbed my keys, hat and glasses threw the laundry bag over my shoulder and was down to the street in a flash. I had a few missions to complete, but the #1 priority was to comb the neighborhood in search of the best cup of coffee. I stumbled down the block toward the laundry drop off point and I spied a small caffeinated café going by the name “d’espresso”.  Size definitely doesn’t matter at this coffee shop, as the mocha I ordered was fully stacked. When I try a new java house I always order a mocha because I feel that it is really easy to screw up a mocha and will be the true test of if a place in worth coming back to for a second cup. Due to the volume of suspect mochas I’ve consumed in the past (Shame on you Starbucks!), I was doubtful until that first sip. The perfect blend of chocolate and creamy milk infused with the right amount of sugar to balance the tasty beverage. Maybe they have the secret formula at “d’espresso”, but since they are located at 100 Stanton just around the corner from my place on Rivington this café is a great hideout for me.