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spring 2014

penn appĂŠtit


letter from the editor EDITOR-IN-CHIEF editorial staff



Elena Crouch, Amanda Gisonni,

Pie has left its stain on more than just the plate. The centerpiece of hit songs, holiday gatherings, and classic catch phrases, this comforting food oozes into almost every aspect of our lives. For me, some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around pie: from munching on sweetened apples with my great grandmother (nicknamed “Apple-Pie Grandma” by me and my sister) to discovering one night that my dog had toppled over and gobbled down an entire pecan pie while we were at the movies. Just one whiff of the sugary filling and buttery dough, and I’m right back home—laughing over spilled flour and slightly burnt crust. For this issue, we’ve put pie on the pages, celebrating sweet and savory pies from their very beginnings to their quirky potentials. Learn how pie came to be an American icon and explore pie offerings from around the world (p. 31). Dive into one of Philadelphia’s oldest pie shops (p. 32) and one of its newest (p. 34). Looking to serve pie at your next get together? Choose a pie that suits the hour (p. 24), pair the pie with a unique drink and topping (p. 28), or impress guests with a petite pie (p. 38 ). We’ve also included our guide to pie crust (p. 29) and pie tools (p. 36), so you can make the perfect pie every time. And for you STEM lovers, we’ve delved into the science of starch (p. 30) and the influence of math on pie (p. 37 ). Outside of pie, we’ve included other unexpected recipes, like directions for sweet hummus (pg. 17) and for savory oatmeal (pg. 16), studies of spices (pg. 40), features on famed Philadelphia chefs, such as Kevin Sbraga (pg. 46), spotlights on food art (pg. 18), and personal narratives, from a mysterious night in Philadelphia’s speakeasy scene (pg. 15) to an investigation of dishes our parents grew up on (pg. 14). Whether you’re searching for a new recipe or a new tale, Penn Appétit’s sure to satisfy your craving. So here’s to food, pie, and the stories they tell—we can’t wait to hear yours (send it along to, and we’ll feature it on our blog!).

Stuti Periwal, Gracie Salmon

Get Your Pie On,

Katelyn Behrman Emily Chisholm, Marisa Denker, Byrne Fahey, Shira Hendler, Devyani Gupta, Jenny Lu, Siera Martinez, Rosalind Reynolds, Virginia Seymour, Emily Schein, Connie Yu

Emily Belshaw Sydney Hard, Suzette Wanninkhof, Victor Yoon Maria Cristina “Iana” Feliciano


Natalie Borowski, Elena Crouch, Nicole Jizhar, Esther Kim, Jenny Lu, Raquel Macgregor, Danielle Pi, Maura Reilly-Ulmanek, Nicole Woon


Wei “Amy” Yu, Samantha Sharon


Kunal Kochar


Elizabeth Greener, Allison Millner

business staff

Ashley Berg, Ashlee Burris, Emily Chen, Hilary Dubin, Alexandra Gurley, Jocelyn Shih

PUBLICITY & OUTREACH MANAGERS Publicity & Outreach staff


Jillian Di Filippo, Yunhee Park

Farrel Levenson, Nicole Woon Jenny Yu Chase Matecun Emily Chen

Katelyn Behrman

Byrne Fahey

Penn Appétit is the University of Pennysylvania’s innovative, student-run magazine covering all things food. We publish one print issue each semester and have a blog that’s updated daily. To inquire about advertising, collaborating or getting involved, e-mail us at We are always looking for new contributors in writing, photo, layout, and business. Cover Photo by Iana Feliciano


penn appétit

spring 2014

penn appétit




contents elements

out of town

6 FOOD 411 Final meals, where to get your pie in Philly, and Weckerly’s Ice Cream.

14 DISHES OUR PARENTS GREW UP ON Reflections on the food of America’s past.

8 APRON OR LAB COAT? Thought AP Chemistry was over? Think again.

44 TO EVERY MAN A MANAKEESH Discovering one of Lebanon’s most popular dishes.

13 MODERN APP-ETITE A guide to today’s best designed, most innovative, and useful food apps.

45 THE YIN AND YANG OF FOOD Three cuisines strike the perfect balance between hot and cold food.

20 EVERYTHING BUT A PANINI A day of recipes made in a panini machine. 16

OATMEAL Moving beyond breakfast.

17 HUMMUS Finding the sweet side.


40 THE MIGHT OF SPICE Reflections on cumin and curry.

24 A TIME FOR PIE A different pie for a different hour. 28 PIE PAIRINGS Unique ice cream and drink pairings.

in season

29 IN PIE WE CRUST How to make the perfect crust.


30 STICKING TOGETHER The science behind keeping a pie’s filling in place.

21 ORGANIC TERMS A guide to the organic terms splashed across packaging.



31 HISTORY OF PIE How did the pie come to be the sweet icon that it is today?

in the city

32 SHOO-FLY SCRUMPTIOUS Alvin Bieler, owner of Bieler’s Bakery in Reading Terminal, shares the story of his favorite pie.

12 IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, FORK CAN FERMENT IT Something is churning in the golden warmth of High Street on Market and Fork...

34 MAKE WAY FOR MAGPIE A spotlight on Philly’s very own pie shop.

15 SPEAK SOFT DRINK EASY A night in Philly’s speakeasy scene.

18 TOO PRETTY TO EAT Philadelphia-based artist Mike Geno discusses his works of food.

22 FUSION AT FU-WAH A tofu hoagie is more than just a sandwich...

36 MAKE IT A PIECEFUL ENDEAVOR A guide to tools that will keep your pie together. 37 A PIE DAY FULL OF PI Math and pie fit together better than you might think. 38 PETITE PIES Receipes for when you just want a single bite.

42 A GEM OF A GM Behind the scenes with J.G. Domestic’s General Manager Brett Tomkins. 46 AN INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN SBRAGA Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga discusses all things culinary and his newest endeavor, The Fat Ham.


penn appétit

spring 2014

penn appétit



Michael Solomonov—Chef and Owner of Zahav, Owner of Federal Donuts, Percy St BBQ "It would be pho with my son. Pho from Pho 75, it's just so good. I eat there the most of any restaurant. Why wouldn't I want it on my last day, too?" Amy Gutmann—President of the University of Pennsylvania “Choosing the food is no problem: a main course of sushi, featuring fresh tuna, salmon, and yellowtail, followed by heaping scoops of Capogiro gelato in both Cioccolato con Menta and Stracciatella (after all, you only get a last meal once!) and some authentic and airy French meringues with a colorful macaron or two thrown in for good measure.” Annie Wasserman- Freshman, University of Pennsylvania “I would have Raclette with prosciutto di parma, Serrano ham, Yukon potatoes, and—of course—baklava for dessert.” Sr. Francisco Fernandez—Spanish professor at University of Pennsylvania Translation: “I would have bacala or ham croquettes and fried eggs and fried potatoes like they serve in Spain. The potatoes would be homemade—nothing like the ones you find here in McDonalds. A dessert also; my favorite is tarte de llema con llema. You can’t find it very easily in the United States. It’s a pastry with a chocolate base and a crème filling—it’s very rich. The frosting and filling is made of caramelized egg yolk, similar to crème brulee.”

Interview with:

Weckerly’s Ice Cream

Patterson Watkins—Chef and Manager of Kings Court English House “Foie gras terrine with black cherry mostarda, speck ham and manchengo sandwiches, Bulgogi (with medium rare beef), Pirate’s Booty (from Trader Joes), Southern Maryland blue crab with Irish butter, North Carolina pulled pork with extra vinegar, A cold Pabst Blue Ribbon”

Andy and Jen Satinsky, Owners BY NICOLE WOON

Allie Zamarin—Sophomore, University of Pennsylvania “My dad's chocolate cake (more properly named chocolate fudge)”

1) What makes Weckerly’s ice cream so special? JS: It’s French-style, made with an egg custard base. It has such a smooth and creamy texture, and you can profile flavors in different ways. AS: As a small-batch producer, we get to work one-on-one with dairy farms. There’s Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op, Maplehofe Dairy, Birchrun Hills, Seven Stars Farm— JS: —they make this dark golden, grassy cream that’s wonderful for the ice cream base— AS: Yes! All the farms have smaller herds of cows that are 100% grass fed. There’s a lot of love, and it makes better quality products. 2) What goes into designing a flavor? AS: We want to build an experience for the eater; we create something exciting and new for them. There’s a familiar, comforting element that we want to bring out. JS: What’s in season really guides what we do. It does half the work for you!

Get Your Pie On in Philly

3) What’s one of the most interesting flavors you’ve created? JS: The Mint Chocolate Truffle. It comes out in the summertime. The mint is from Green Meadow Farm and over the course of the season, it takes on this stronger, colder spearmint/peppermint flavor. The chocolate truffle brings this soft texture that’s complementary. The flavor shows how dynamic ingredients are and how their flavors evolve. AS: Same thing with our Rosemary Chocolate Chip. It starts out mellow and by the end of the season, it’s like eating a pine tree.



Butterscotch bourbon pie / Magpie Artisan Pies / 1622 South St. Cream cheese pie / Percy Street Barbecue / 900 South St.

4) What has your experience with Fair Food been like?

Pumpple cake / Flying Monkey Bakery / N 12th St.

AS: Not only do they facilitate connections between farmers, producers, and restaurants, but they also educate the community to source more food from sustainable places. All the people there are local food warriors.

Apple pie / Silk City Diner / 435 Spring Garden St.

penn appétit

Tomato pie / Sarcone’s / 758 S 9th St.

spring 2014

penn appétit



five ways

Apron or Lab Coat? BY ARIELLE SORKIN ILLUSTRATION BY JULIA MASTERS The day I took my AP Chemistry test as a high school senior, I celebrated by whipping up a batch of profiteroles with vanilla pastry cream. Little did I know how these two seemingly polar-opposite activities—one the bane of my existence, the other a beloved pastime (you can guess which)—were truly interrelated. However, as I developed my passion for pastry, I learned that mastering baking techniques hinges on understanding science. So, flour your hands and dust off those textbooks, kids. I’m about to bring the lab to your kitchen counter. Layered dough offers a prime example of how baked goods require scientific processes for their creation. Take puff pastry: three basic ingredients of flour, water, and butter somehow magically morph into clouds of soft, pillowy bread. The key to this transformation lies in the assembly procedure. To form laminated dough, a chef repeatedly folds and rolls cold butter into a water-based dough. Although the result looks uniform, it actually stratifies into layers of butter and moistened flour. When heated in the oven, water from the flour bands evaporates into steam that expands the layers, creating the treat’s signature airy body. Similarly, piecrust preparation involves cutting butter or shortening into flour to create little balls of carbohydrates surrounded by fat. Rolling these crumbs together produces a sheet streaked with butter that slowly melts while baking, allowing the dough to develop its crisp, flaky texture. Custard also counts on chemistry for its creation.

This rich, sweet sauce begins as a runny mixture of milk, sugar, and eggs that thickens due to the heat-induced denaturation of proteins. As the blend warms over the stovetop, egg proteins collapse into strands of hydrophobic amino acids that bond with surrounding heat-resistant milk proteins, generating a smooth, uniform cream. Though the process sounds simple, my custards have sometimes mutated into chunky messes rather than silky puddings. Turns out blasting the liquid with heat can cause proteins to coagulate too quickly and lump together. However, one can avoid this disaster by maintaining a low, steady flame and tempering eggs with warm milk. Fancy indulgences like custards and croissants aren’t the only ones that depend on scientific techniques – even the humble cookie relies on chemistry to determine its texture. For instance, baking room temperature dough causes batter to spread in the oven and brown, yielding a crispier, darker cookie. Conversely, chilling the mixture first delivers a thicker, chewier product because gluten in the dough has time to relax while starches absorb moisture. Refrigerating also develops a deeper flavor, as enzymes from the egg deconstruct carbohydrates into fructose and glucose, lacing the biscuit with caramel notes. A pastry chef ’s apron is also his lab coat. From stunning mille-feuilles to simple chocolate chip cookies, desserts of all calibers rely on chemistry for their creation. Do not be daunted but rather embrace the sweet science— it could become your most valuable utensil. BY AMY YU & SAMANTHA SHARON


penn appétit

spring 2014


Grilled Peaches with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Cilantro Naan Pizza

Serves 4

For crispy potato topping: • 2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed, thinly sliced • 2 teaspoons olive oil • salt

• • • • • •

4 peaches 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 cup goat cheese ¼ cup honey ¼ cup pistachios, chopped 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cut each peach in half and discard the pit. Sprinkle each half with a thin layer of brown sugar and place peaches on the grill, cut side down. Grill the peaches for 10-15 minutes, or until sugar is caramelized and peaches are tender. Remove the peaches from the grill and fill the center of each with 2 tablespoons goat cheese. Drizzle with honey. and pistachios. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade with Basil Ice Cubes

Creamy “Cucummint” Pops

Makes about 8 cups

• • • • •

For basil ice cubes: • 2 cups basil, thinly sliced or julienned • 2 ice cube trays For strawberry lemonade: • 1 ½ cups strawberries, chopped • 2 tablespoons sugar • 2 tablespoons water • 1 cup boiling water • ½ cup sugar • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 - 8 lemons) • 4 cups of cold champagne or club soda • ¾ cup sliced strawberries for garnish

Serves 4

Makes 6 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, divided 1 ½ cups cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced 3 tablespoons granulated sugar ⅓ cup coconut cream 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice

Place 1-2 small whole mint leaves at the bottom of six 2-ounce ice pop molds. Puree the remaining mint and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly among the ice pop molds. Freeze until firm, at least 8 hours. To unmold, run under hot tap water until the pops release. Enjoy right away.

For pesto: • 2 ½ cups fresh cilantro, loosely packed • 2 cloves garlic • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil • ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper

Fresh Watercress Spring Rolls Serves 6-8 as an appetizer For Peanut Dipping Sauce: • 3 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter • 3 tablespoons coconut milk • 2 tablespoons fish sauce • 1 tablespoon brown sugar • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar • Cayenne pepper, to taste For spring rolls: • 1 bunch fresh watercress, torn into bite sized pieces • 1 Hass avocado, sliced • 8 oz. shredded leftover cooked chicken breast, optional • ½ English cucumber, julienned • ½ red bell pepper, cut into strips • spring roll skins/rice wrappers*, 8-inch diameter

First, make the sauce: whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. To assemble the rolls: fill a large bowl with warm tap water. Immerse a rice wrapper completely in the water for about 15 seconds to soften. Place softened wrapper on a flat work surface. Place 2 slices of avocado, a few sprigs of watercress, a few pieces of chicken, if using, 2 strips of cucumber and 2 strips of bell pepper, on the bottom half of the wrapper, leaving a 2’’ border around the edges. Roll up the wrapper tightly burrito style and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover with a damp paper towel while assembling the rest of the rolls. Slice in half diagonally and serve immediately with the dipping sauce on the side.

Make ice cubes at least one day in advance: thinly slice or julienne basil leaves. Fill 2 ice cube trays evenly with basil. Fill with water. Freeze overnight. Place chopped strawberries, sugar and water in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Press the puree through a fine sieve and discard the seeds. In a separate bowl or pan, stir together the boiling water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice and the strawberry puree. Mix until well combined. Add the champagne or club soda just before serving. To serve, pour over basil ice cubes and garnish with sliced strawberries.

For pizza • 2 store-bought flatbreads, 7-inch diameter • 1 recipe crispy potato topping • ¼ cup cilantro pesto • 8 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese • fresh cilantro, for garnish

Roast the potatoes: preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly crisp around the edges. Meanwhile make the pesto: pulse the cilantro and garlic in a food processor until roughly chopped. Pulse together cilantro, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, and feta. With the motor running, drizzle in ⅓ cup olive oil and blend until smooth. Set aside ¼ cup pesto for pizza. Store the remaining pesto for another use in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Brush the cookie sheet with olive oil and place flatbreads on cookie sheet. Spread each flatbread with 2 tablespoons of pesto. Divide roasted potato slices, cherry tomato, and feta cheese to top the flatbreads. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted, and flatbread is crisp. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Slice and serve warm.

*Can be purchased at most Asian Supermarkets or ordered online


penn appétit

spring 2014

penn appétit



app-etite 4



BY BYRNE FAHEY PHOTOS BY NICOLE WOON Something is churning in the golden warmth of High Street on Market – and not just my stomach. Ellen Yin’s new casual eatery in Old City boasts impeccable charm and enchanting aromas. The snug room lights up with soft yellow, green, and red decor, the shades of color stolen from a vintage map of Philadelphia blown up across a wall. Two elderly women pass a crossword puzzle back and forth, taking turns as they share a toasted white chocolate croissant. What catches my interest is not the pleasant decor or adorable patrons, but rather tiny glass jars of fermented condiments that stand in place of salt and pepper shakers. Among them, Fork’s tangy version of chowchow (the signature Pennsylvania Dutch pickled relish), a miso paste made from succotash, and cultured butter. Yin, along with Executive Chef Eli Kulp and head baker Alex Bois, has been brewing such selections at both High Street on Market and Fork. Opened in 1997, Fork was initially one of the first restaurants in Old City to emphasize the importance of sourcing locally. It quickly became what Yin called a “destination restaurant.” When Kulp came on board in September 2012, Fork took seasonal and local food to a new level. As Kulp said, the Philly food scene has evolved so much that at this point, “You have to have seasonality, some representation of local product or local food, to be taken seriously.” But of course, “the logistics make it tricky.” He added, “It’s almost impossible to do 100% local.”


penn appétit




With the advent of smartphones and tablets has come the slew of apps dedicated to 2 and eating easier and more enjoyable. Below is a guide to today’s best making cooking designed, most innovative, and useful food apps for all the app-happy foodies.


Harvest is a mobile guide for selecting the freshest and healthiest produce at the supermarket. With elegant graphics and a fluid interface, Harvest provides instructions for identifying the ripest fruits and vegetables by scent, firmness, and color, and gives storage and cleaning techniques. ($1.99)

One obstacle Fork and High Street face, along with all restaurants in this region, is the climate. In the Northeast only so much can grow for so long. Kulp and head baker Alex Bois teamed up to find a strategy around this climate issue, the solution of which comes in those little glass jars: fermentation. While the Mason jar craze has certainly hit America hard, Fork and High Street have become grounds for more complexity and creativity in fermentation. Using a background in beer brewing and a major in biochemistry, Bois has applied this fermentation technique to both condiments and bread. Bois and Kulp have made miso from lima beans and barley, vinegar from bread scraps, kimchi from Italian flat leaf parsley, and pickles from the same sourdough starter they use for their bread. They make their own kefir and kombucha–bacteria-rich beverages. The roast pork sandwich comes topped not with sautéed broccoli rabe, but pickled, fermented broccoli rabe. “It’s controlled rot,” proclaims Bois with admiration. Fork has yet again become an innovator in the Philly restaurant industry. In each gourmet loaf of bread, in each of the rainbow side salads and rustic breakfast sandwiches served in the AM at High Street, in each handmade-pasta dish served in the PM at Fork, there are hints of seasonal, local, preserved, and fermented culture. In the kitchen behind High Street and Fork, where ideas thrive alongside yeast and bacteria, there’s always something cooking. Or rather, fermenting.


Eden Recipes

Created by the natural food company Eden Foods, this app features over 1,000 original recipes with a focus on natural, organic, and gourmet cuisine. The easy interface allows users to browse by food, course, ingredient, keyword, or dietary restriction. In addition to extensive prep and cooking directions, each recipe comes with full nutrition info to ensure a balanced diet. (free)

Evernote Food

A one-stop shop for all things food and drink, Evernote Food includes a recipe section, a social networking component, and restaurant listings. The app allows users to browse the gallery or explore recipes based on cravings. Users can “clip” and bookmark appetizing recipes to try out later and then capture their creations in their own gallery. The blog-like interface is easy to use and consists of simple recipes and mouthwatering images. It also connects to users’ Evernote accounts. (free)


Ness is a mobile app that suggests restaurants based on location. Users can rate restaurants they like, and over time, train the app to cater to users’ tastes. The user experience is simple, sleek, and attractive. (free)

spring 2014

penn appétit


Speak Soft and Drink Easy


Dishes Our Parents Grew Up On




Five Can Hot-Dish The American History Cookbook • 1 can cream of mushroom soup • 1 can chicken soup • 1 can tuna fish • 1 can evaporated milk • 1 can chow mein noodles • 1 cup celery, chopped • 1 quart of water Preheat over to 350 degrees. Heat 1 quart of water in a soup pot. Combine all other ingredients and place in a casserole dish. Pour hot water into a large pan, and then place the casserole dish in the pan so the water surrounds it. (This will help it cook more evenly). Bake the casserole for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

“Fancy” Hors d’oeuvres Grandma Shirl • 1 jar of Gherkins • 1 pound sliced salami Wrap one slice of salami around one gherkins and secure with a toothpick.


penn appétit

What our parents grew up eating bears little resemblance to what we eat today. That’s for the better. Cuisine in the late 50s and 60s was jarringly unconventional, constantly in flux, and, by today’s standards, dubiously palatable. Just as Americans were adjusting to life in the suburbs, a culture of consumerism, and the Cold War, the contemporary kitchen itself was experiencing growing pains. With this confluence of societal changes came a distinctly new national fare. On one hand, this was the age of edible expedience. Instant mixes abounded, as did canned goods and snack foods. Poppy Cannon’s The Fast Gourmet Cookbook describes a recipe for chicken moutarde, the ingredients of which were canned chicken, canned gravy, and canned grapes. If your parents were raised in the South, it’s likely that they have heard of Tang pie - an effortless mixture of sour cream, condensed milk, Cool Whip, and of course, Tang, poured into a prepared graham cracker crust. This was an era when home cooks strapped for time could have their Jell-O cake and eat it, too. Americans also made a halfhearted foray into cooking international cuisine. Unfortunately, the desire to appear worldly trumped the desire for legitimate gastronomic progress: the authenticity of these dishes was often bastardized. Fondue perhaps exemplifies this phenomenon the most. Traditionally a humble Swiss dish made with Kirsch, cheese, white wine, and spices, fondue transformed into a molten sludge that cooks tried to pass off as the real thing. Another abomination was jellied gazpacho. Possessing an insipid red hue and form-fitted to the contours of a bundt pan, this dish less resembled an Andalucían edible than molded Silly Putty. International flair was meant to glamorize cooking; yet, contemporary cuisine was eclectic, not refined. Cooks borrowed

elements of other nations’ cuisines to aestheticize their own dishes, not to add any real depth of flavor. Contemporary fare was superficially international, and yet wholly American. Fortunately, there remained an obstinate group of gastronomes that insisted there was no substitute for quality ingredients, solid technique, and classic recipes. These dissenters shied away from the likes of Lipton’s powdered onion dip and Betty Crocker’s cake mix, and they shunned the use of pseudo-foreign flair. Dione Lucas was one of the first to go against the tide, demonstrating to her television show viewers the importance of technical finesse. After her, came the rambunctious Julia Child who, on her own, brought to the fore a renewed interest in from-scratch French fare. Cuisine classique, French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier’s timeless mode of cooking, was not only resuscitated, but made accessible to the masses. There emerged a dichotomy between those truly passionate about the quality of the food they served and those who only wanted to appear so. It is the legacy of this divide that has left the most enduring effect on how we eat today. Granted, pockets of the fake food culture persist. There are those who won’t hesitate to throw a bowl of Easy Mac in the microwave and call it supper. In today’s hustle and bustle, that’s inevitable. Yet, perhaps it is the Lucases and the Childs of the past who have kept these forces at bay. They sparked a prominent foodie culture. The public is now Chowhounds and Yelpers, food cart enthusiasts and bloggers, people genuinely passionate about their meals. Society disdains the pre-packaged, the frozen, the artificial. Most are not complacent when it comes to the food they eat. Without these guardians of good eats who knows where cuisine might be? Beefaroni could have been today’s bolognese.

Featured bars in order of appearance:

spring 2014

Ranstead Room 2013 Ranstead St.

Hop Sing Laundromat 1029 Race St.

Tip: You can order a table ahead of time (while dining at El Rey) for the perfect evening cap.

Tip: Best to go on a weeknight and with a smaller group to avoid a wait, and, as noted, bring cash.

They wouldn’t even have known they’d found it if not for the thin red R’s scrawled on the center of the black industrial door. “Are you sure this is the right place?” she asked, alternating skeptical looks between the door and the deserted street behind them. He nodded, but turned the heavy knob slowly and unsurely. A new darkness greeted them, a muted red glow indicating ample candlelight but nothing more. “Keep your phone on hand. You’ll receive a call from an unregistered number once there’s availability.” A hostess stood in the small hall and directed a group of people to the side. She looked to the couple that had just arrived. “Only two? Follow me.” They were led up a dim set of stairs into a small bar area dotted with red leather chairs and golden chandeliers. But what caught their eyes were the large pin-up paintings that added a racy air to the intimate room. The slim paper menu featured ten drinks, and at the encouragement of the waistcoat-clad server, she ordered the Bartender’s Choice. Underneath the title, the words “leave it to us…” were cryptically written, and she was glad she did. He came with a cool, tall glass filled with hand-cut ice and a light violet liquid, mesmerizing in sight and in taste. “Are you up for another?” her date asked. She nodded, thirsting for what their next destination had in store. This time, the cab stopped on a busy street in the dimsum heart of Chinatown. “Apparently this one doesn’t have any kind of sign,” he said as they walked past multiple soup establishments and arrived at an iron gate. The sign on the door behind it revealed nothing more than “18th Amendment.” He rang the doorbell to the left. A Chinese man came out shortly, warned them it was a cash-only shop, and led them to an anteroom. “Is this your first time here?” The couple nodded. “Alright, we just have two rules. You cannot make phone calls and you cannot take photographs inside. It’s for the privacy of our patrons.” They nodded again, but with decided perplexity. The man motioned them through to the adjacent room, grand and ornate. The decorations straddled the line between gothic and vintage revival, with antique light fixtures and candelabras, an elaborate coin-inlaid floor, and aged posters and pictures covering the walls. They took a seat. The list of drinks they were handed featured inventions whose names and descriptions themselves were tantalizing: Operation Overload, Duke of Funk, A Failed Entertainment. She ordered a Crazy Horse, a mix of vodka, Lillet Rose, blood orange liqueur, and raspberries. He at last settled on Sister Simone, featuring aged rum, gran añejo, honey liqueur, muddled strawberry, fresh lemon juice and finally, beaten egg whites. The drinks were indeed as intoxicating as they had sounded. “I know another spot tucked away on 18th. Shall we?” She smiled and nodded as he led her to the next stop. Their night had only just begun. penn appétit




The Sw eet Humm Si


f o de


PHOTO BY ELENA CROUCH Oatmeal has always been a go-to sweet breakfast food in my family. With an abundance always around, I began to wonder about its other, more savory uses. And so began my mission to uncover oatmeal’s full potential…



Mix together ½ cup of instant oats, a pinch of cumin, and a touch of chili powder. Add water to the bowl until the oats are covered. Microwave on high for 1-1 ½ minutes. When done, add more water and stir to bring oatmeal to desired consistency. Mix in ⅛-¼ cup of cheese of your choice until the cheese has melted and become incorporated. Add more cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce to taste. Top with ½ cup of canned black beans, and microwave on high for another minute. Serve topped with salsa, guacamole, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), and more cheese, if desired. OATM EA L TO PPED W I TH GREEN S STEW ED I N TO M ATO SAUCE

BY CHELSEA GOLDINGER PHOTO BY NICOLE JIZHAR Pita chips and cucumbers step aside. Hummus has found a new clique: a dessert clique, full of fresh fruit and shortbread cookies. Begin by preparing a basic hummus recipe. It is best to keep the base recipe simple - this means foregoing tahini - so that the dessert flavors are not overpowered.

Mix together ½ cup of instant oats and a generous pinch of Italian spices (such as dried basil and oregano). Add water to the bowl until the oats are covered. Microwave on high for 1-1 ½ minutes. When done, add more water and stir until your oatmeal reaches the desired consistency. Mix in ⅛-¼ cup of cheese of your choice (such as mozzarella) until the cheese has melted and become incorporated. Add more Italian spices to taste. To prepare the stewed greens, place ½ cup of canned, diced tomatoes and ½ cup of fresh or frozen greens, such as collard greens or spinach, in a pan and heat until warmed through and wilted. Add salt, pepper, and Italian spices to taste. Top the oatmeal with the stewed greens. If necessary, place in the microwave for one minute to reheat. Enjoy with more cheese on top. Note that you can also add meatballs (veggie or meat) or other vegetables to the stewed greens.


penn appétit

spring 2014

Base Recipe

Brandy Cherry

Pink Lemonade

Serves 6-8

Kirsch Brandy Syrup: 1 cup kirsch brandy ½ cup dark brown sugar

Simple syrup: ½ cup water ½ cup granulated sugar

Combine in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and let cool before using.

Combine in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and let cool before using.

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest ½ cup fresh lemon juice ¼ cup cranberry juice

Soak 1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas in a large bowl with water overnight. Be sure to use at least double the amount of water to chickpeas. Dried chickpeas are critical; they lead to smooth, creamy hummus. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas in a medium saucepan over high heat and cover with approximately 6 cups of water. Add baking soda and bring the water to a boil. The chickpeas will take 30-45 minutes to cook. When done, you should be able to easily insert a sharp knife into the chickpeas. Next, peel and remove the skins from the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas into a food processor and pulse until a paste is formed. Add 6 ½ tablespoons water and pulse until smooth. Now, take a dip into the sweet side of hummus. Add any of the following ingredients to the base-mixture and pulse to combine.

Berry Basil ½ cup fresh basil, packed ½ cup fresh raspberries ¼ cup fresh strawberries ½ cup pomegranate syrup ¼ cup honey penn appétit




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The dazzling “food porn” that we lap up in droves may be called nature morte in French, but still lifes are anything but dead. While food photography is in vogue these days, food art got its start in paintings. Depictions of food first appeared inside ancient Egyptian tombs, thought to become available for use in the afterlife. The art form has evolved significantly over time, from allegory-rich portraits of sumptuous Renaissance feasts to happy-go-lucky 1950’s pop art of pastel seven-layer cakes and neon tomato soup cans. Judith Barter, curator of The Art Institute of Chicago’s “Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine” exhibit, argues that American still lifes are more than just pretty pictures. The artwork shows “what was valued in their own culture, what these pictures meant at the time they were painted to a contemporary audience and what foods people enjoyed – what life was like.” Profound insights need not be extracted from every brushstroke, however. Philadelphia-based artist Mike Geno, who brings seductive strips of bacon and shimmering pieces of sushi to life, says it “isn’t necessary to over-think the subject to justify it through concept. My approach comes from a very genuine, personal perspective, and my goal is to produce art that people can enjoy for various reasons on various levels.” Geno began painting food in 2001 as the last component for his Master of Fine Arts thesis show. Drawing on his college experiences working in meat rooms, he created a large painting of a raw Porterhouse steak as a joke and was surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response. “Vegetarian friends surprised me the most,” he mused. “They were repulsed by the subject, but attracted to how I did the painting.” Geno never expected to complete another piece like that – “it felt natural, but it was socially unacceptable in the art world then” – but realized over time that the more he connected to his subjects, the more he enjoyed the process. His cheese series exemplifies his style. After splurging on a rugged slab of Gorwydd Caerphilly thanks to a Di Bruno Brothers’ gift certificate, he felt galvanized to put paintbrush to canvas when he became hungry just looking at the layered wedge with its earthy rind, creamy breakdown, and lemony crumbly center. Today, over 120 different varieties make up this collection, which explores fromage like gooey smear-ripened Taleggio, craggy Parmesan Reggiano, and shockingly orange Shropshire Blue. The art is his “homage to other artists: the cheesemakers. They are artisans. They think about the way it looks, the packaging, the texture.” As one critic commented on Geno’s work, “There’s something about his paintings that transcends the image – you’re looking at the soul of the cheese rather than a picture.” Geno has gone on to collaborate with

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Philadelphia’s culinary staples. His “Rittenhouse Square Meal” gallery show this past winter spotlighted bites from Di Bruno’s, Metropolitan Bakery, and Zama, and his “Chef Plates” collection, celebrating picturesque dishes like Zahav’s Hummus-Masbacha and The Farm and Fisherman’s Bloody Beet Steak, is displayed at the James Beard House this spring. While he may not be chaining his paintings to historical content, Geno provides viewers with vivid accompanying text that gives context for the experience. That Sottocenere you lust over, for instance, is “deliciously subtle and yet indulgent, a typical truffle effect… made with raw cow's milk and aged about 100 days, Sottocenere is studded with bits of black truffle and rubbed externally with truffle oil and the gray ash coating in the rind includes nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, licorice, and fennel.” In the same way that 17thcentury Europeans understood the symbolism in Dutch vanitas, present-day Americans speak food lingo just as fluently. Our culture’s deeper appreciation for food enables 21st-century artists to find relevance in a long-lost genre. The next great subject of American art brings new meaning to the phrase “too pretty to eat.”

penn appétit


Everything but a Panini


Only Organic

PHOTOS BY ESTHER KIM The Panini press is possibly one of the most underutilized pieces of kitchen equipment out there. Sure, the Panini press works wonders in transforming an everyday sandwich into a warm, melted delight, but it can be used for so much more. Here are three unique recipes that use the Panini press (and only the Panini press) to cook.

A Guide to Common Organic Terms BY KATHERINE LITTEL

french toast breakfast

Whether it is Commons Dining Hall, Wawa, or White Dog Café, there are a slew of options that involve organic, local, and sustainable food production and farming. Here are some designations that should help you get started with healthier and more sustainable food:

Whisk together one egg, a splash of milk, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Drench one slice of bread in the egg mix. Drop onto your preheated Panini press and close. Cook until the egg is set. Enjoy with fresh fruit, yogurt, and honey or syrup.

cage-free eggs: produced from hens that were not raised in cages. They might not necessarily have access to the outdoors. Most commercially-produced eggs come from chickens that likely have never seen the outdoors and are raised in very cramped cages. See also, free-range.

certified organic: in the United States, the USDA regulates the use of “organic” labeling.

There are two categories that are allowed to use the “USDA Organic” label on the product: “100% Organic” and “Organic.” The latter may have up to 5% non-organic ingredients that are from a nationally approved list.

ethical trade: related to the fair trade movement, this is an initiative working to improve the

banana peanut butter quesadilla lunch

lives of poor workers around the world. These workers produce a variety of products, including tea and flowers.

fair trade: internationally produced items that normally come from developing countries. This label ensures that farmers are paid a reasonable amount, work with co-ops, and produce organic goods. free-range: products (usually poultry) produced by animals with access to open spaces

Lay a tortilla on a plate, spread two tablespoons of peanut butter onto the center, and top with ½ of a sliced banana – careful not to overfill. You want it to close, at least most of the way. To prevent the peanut butter from escaping, fold each side of the tortilla inward to form a square. Place the quesadilla in the Panini press until the tortilla is browned and toasted, the peanut butter is melted, and the bananas are softened. Serve on its own or with a drizzle of honey.

outdoors and are allowed to graze and forage.

grass-fed: animals are only fed grass or hay and have access to the outdoors. Grass-fed cattle and bison are healthier and leaner, and have more omega-3 fatty acids.nd a sheep) use the same land within the same grazing season. natural: products without additives or preservatives; not necessarily organic. Animals can be given antibiotics or growth enhancers. The term does not apply to how the animal was fed or raised. no hormones/no antibiotics: if a label states that the product was “raised without

antibiotics,” then that means that the product never received any antibiotics during its lifetime, which is very common among larger producers. However, a “no hormone” label on poultry and pork is misleading and is simply used to increase the cost of the product. The government already prohibits hormones for those animals. This label is most relevant to milk and beef products.

eggplant parmesan dinner

paraben-free: products free of chemical preservatives added to increase shelf life.

Slice one small eggplant lengthwise into about ½-inch thick slices. Rub both sides of the eggplant with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook in a single layer in the Panini press until each slice of eggplant has char lines on it, feels moist, and is tender to the touch. Remove the eggplant from the Panini press and place mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese between two slices of the eggplant. Put each eggplant-cheese “sandwich” back in the Panini press in a single layer and cook until the cheese is melted. Remove from the Panini press, top with tomato sauce and more cheese, and serve alongside pasta, or vegetables. 20

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sewage sludge: a solid, semi-solid, or liquid resulting from sewage. Treated at sewage plants,

and used on non-organic agriculture as fertilizer, this is sold to farmers and companies that produce fertilizer and animal feed. A number of companies, including Heinz, prohibit sewage sludge from being used on products sold to them, but many large-scale producers still use them on their farms and in their feed. USDA-certified organic products (see above) cannot have been produced with sewage sludge.

sustainable: capable of being continued without long-term effects on the environment. Three main goals are in action: environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and community prosperity.

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Fu–Wah Mini Market 810 South 47th St. Philadelphia, PA 19143 (215) 729–2993

Fusion at Fu-Wah Market


At Fu-Wah Market, a tiny corner store in the heart of West Philadelphia, the real star is not on the shelf. Written in an inconspicuous black scrawl on the board above the deli counter, a few inches beneath the Dietz & Watson stickers, are the magic words: tofu hoagie. Although it comes on a traditional hoagie roll, this sandwich is distinctly Vietnamese. Huge chunks of porous marinated tofu are topped with a spicy sauce and a combination of traditional pickled and fresh vegetables that manager Dave Lai simply refers to as “everything.” Fu-Wah’s “tofu hoagie” is part of a larger trend that has taken ahold of cities across the U.S.—the rise of the bánh mì sandwich. In Vietnamese, the term bánh mì was created to mean baguette. By the time France’s colonization of Vietnam ended in the 1950s, French and native Vietnamese cultures had begun to fuse, making Vietnam the only East Asian country whose national diet includes bread. The history of the filling involves a similar merging of cultures. Mayonnaise and pâté, two common components of the sandwich, are French contributions. The Vietnamese then added in rice flour and classic Southeast Asian toppings: pickled vegetables, sliced jalapeños, and whole sprigs of fresh cilantro. In the City of Brotherly Love, bánh mì first appeared on menus in the heavily Vietnamese South Philadelphia. Today, the iconic sandwich can be found in tiny Chinatown storefronts, University City food trucks, and even high-end, 22

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chef-driven Center City restaurants. In West Philadelphia, Fu-Wah’s tofu hoagie is the culinary manifestation of the area’s complex immigrant history. Owner David Lai’s family arrived in the U.S. in the early 80s, fleeing a country divided in the aftermath of a civil war. Initially, Fu-Wah sold mainly Asian groceries to the neighborhood’s large Vietnamese population, but as the area’s demographics shifted, so too did the focus of the store. After the neighborhood attracted a sizeable vegan population, the Lai family decided it would be lucrative to introduce a meat-free option: the tofu hoagie. The Fu-Wah deli now relies almost exclusively on its Vietnamese hoagie business. Today, tofu still reigns supreme, but you can also find the Lai family serving up shredded chicken and roast pork to appeal to the neighborhood’s recent Ethiopian and Nigerian immigrants. Despite the store’s penchant for change, there is one thing at Fu-Wah that has remained constant: the bread. The sandwiches are not served on the traditional French style baguettes, but rather on Italian hoagie rolls—the soft chewy vessels typically associated with cheesesteaks. This unique choice of bread grounds Lai’s bánh mì firmly in Philadelphia’s culture. The tofu hoagie served at Fu-Wah Market, like the bánh mì all over Philadelphia, is more than just a sandwich: it is a permanent addition to ethnic-American cuisine. However, unlike bánh mì culture in New York, which is most accurately described as boutique-y, the Vietnamese sandwich in Philadelphia is still a personal endeavor, driven by the stories on both sides of the lunch counter. penn appétit



12 PM - 2 PM

Country Quiche By: Emily Chisholm Serves 4-6 • 8 slices bacon • 1 small onion, chopped • 4 eggs • 2 tablespoons milk • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour • 1 teaspoon dried parsley • ½ teaspoon dried dill powder • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme • pinch of salt • pinch of pepper • 1 9-inch pie crust, baked • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until evenly golden. Transfer the bacon to a dish to let cool. Meanwhile, drain the grease from the skillet, leaving 1 tablespoon. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until soft. Crumble the cooled bacon into the dish and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, flour, parsley, dill, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix in the bacon, onion, and cheeses. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes or until lightly brown on top and firm in the middle. Let stand until cool enough to handle and serve warm. 24

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4 PM - 6 PM

2 PM - 4 PM

Cauliflower Pizza By: Jillian Di Filippo

Blackberry Basil White Chocolate Pie By: Katie Behrman

Serves 4-6

Serves 8-10

For crust: • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, grated • ¼ cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, grated • ½ teaspoon salt • ½ teaspoon pepper • ½ teaspoon garlic power • ½ teaspoon dried oregano • ½ teaspoon dried basil • red pepper flakes (optional) • 1 egg, lightly beaten For topping: • 1 tablespoon olive oil • ½ bunch broccoli rabe, roughly chopped • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained, sliced • ½ cup ricotta cheese • ¼ cup grated parmesan

• 2 9-inch pie crusts • 4 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained • ½ cup granulated sugar • ½ cup all-purpose flour • ½ cup white chocolate chips • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped • 2 tablespoons milk • pinch of granulated sugar • whipped cream, optional

For crust: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well. If not, use a baking sheet. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it is the consistency of snow, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and cover. Microwave on high power for 4 minutes. Allow the cauliflower to cool. Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, place it in a clean dishtowel and wring out as much water as possible. Transfer the cauliflower to a mixing bowl. Add mozzarella, parmesan, kosher salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, if desired. Add the egg. Use your hands to mix the dough until ingredients are evenly combined. Use your hands to form the dough into a crust on greased parchment paper, pressing it out to about a quarter inch thick. Using a cutting board, slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone. If using a cookie sheet, put parchment paper directly onto the sheet and slide the sheet into the oven. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven. For topping: Heat oil in a small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli rabe in a single layer. Let cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly charred. Flip the pieces and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Top the pizza with the garlic, broccoli rabe, sundried tomatoes, dollops of ricotta cheese, and parmesan. Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes, until the cheese starts to bubble and brown. Serve warm.


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9 PM - 12 AM

6 PM - 9 PM

Spring Pot Pie 5 pot pies or one 9-inch pie By: Katie Behrman

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine blackberries with the sugar and flour until some juices just begin to release. Gently fold in white chocolate chips and basil. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush the top crust with the milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool on a wire rack. If desired, garnish each slice with whipped cream, two to three blackberries, and fresh basil. Serve with a cup of hot tea.

Serves 4-6 • 2 sheets puff pastry • 1 large Yukon gold potato, diced and boiled • 1 tablespoon butter • 2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil • 3 leeks, chopped • 1 ½ cups baby carrots, diced • ⅓ cup dry white wine • ¼ cup all-purpose flour • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard • 1 cup chopped asparagus, blanched • 1 cup sweet peas, cooked • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary • 1 pound cooked chicken, cubed (optional) • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If making individual pot pies, grease five 8oz ramekins. If making one pie, grease one 9-inch pie pan. For the top crust, roll out unbaked puff pastry dough to fit baking dish. If using individual dishes, place dish upside down on dough and use as a pattern, cutting around the dish and leaving room for crimping. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat butter with vegetable oil over medium-heat. When butter is melted, add leeks. Sauté leeks for 3-5 minutes on medium heat, until translucent. Add carrots and turn heat to low. Sauté until carrots are al dente, about twelve minutes. Add wine and stir over medium heat another 3-4 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring continuously for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and Dijon mustard. Stir until sauce just begins to boil. Add in thyme and rosemary. Lower heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Fold in cooked potatoes, asparagus, sweet peas, and chicken (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill greased oven-proof ramekins or 9-inch pie pan, leaving about an inch of space at the top, with filling. Place puff pastry on top of dish. Cut 3 or 4 slits in the top of the pie and seal the crust by crimping the edges along the sides of the dish. Brush the pastry with an eggwash, if desired. Bake about twenty minutes, until crust is puffed and golden and sauce is bubbling. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Midnight Rocky Road Pie By: Virginia Seymour Serves 8-10 For chocolate bottom: • 1 9-inch pie crust, baked • ½ cup nuts of your choice, roasted almonds or peanuts recommended, finely chopped • 8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped • ⅔ cups cold heavy cream • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract For chocolate mousse filling: • 4 large egg whites • 1 cup sugar • 10 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter • 2 cups heavy cream • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract For whipped cream: • 1 ½ cups heavy cream • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar • ½ -1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, to taste

First make chocolate bottom: combine liquid ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat until chocolate softens. Whisk until melted and smooth. Spread nuts over the bottom of the cooled pie crust, tapping gently to settle the nuts into an even layer. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the nuts, tapping to settle and spreading with a spatula when necessary. Freeze 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make chocolate mousse filling: Simmer an inch of water in a medium saucepan. In a glass bowl above the saucepan, whisk sugar and egg whites just until dissolved. Remove the bowl from heat, but leave water simmering. Beat the egg mixture on medium-high speed until the peaks are stiff. In another glass bowl, melt chocolate and butter over the simmering water until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Beat the cream until soft peaks form and stir in vanilla. Carefully fold egg mixture into the chocolate. Gently fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture until uniform in color, but not overly mixed. Scoop mixture into pie crust, forming a hill in the center. Chill in refrigerator. Before serving: beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over chilled pie. Slice and serve chilled.

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This easy pie crust is perfect for savory quiches or pot pies. For sweet dessert pies, reduce salt and increase sugar. Basic Crust Recipe: Makes one 9-inch crust Ingredients • 1½ cups all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons white sugar • 1 teaspoon salt • ½ cup vegetable oil • 2 tablespoons milk

It should be glaring That your pie needs a pairing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Pour all ingredients into a nine-inch pan. Stir together with fork. Pat dough onto bottom and up sides of the pan. Poke holes in bottom and sides of crust with fork. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until light brown.



If you serve it alone Your guests will surely groan These pairings are quite daring So be warned: there may be sharing.

Pecan Pie with Maple Ice Cream and a Glass of Bourbon Dark Chocolate Pie with Black Cherry Ice Cream and a Glass of Milk Pear Pie with Chamomile Ice Cream and a Cup of Chamomile Tea Peach Pie with Butter Pecan Ice Cream and a Glass of Champagne Apple Pie with Lavender Ice Cream and a Cup of Coffee Blueberry Pie with Lemon Sorbet and a Glass of Piña 28

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Checkerboard Edge 1. Trim crust flush with edge of pie pan. If using a glass pie pan, trim crust overhang to about ⅛ inch past outer rim to allow for slight shrinkage. 2. Make straight (not angled) cuts through the dough all around rim at approximately ½ inch intervals. 3. Lift every other tab up and inward to form a checkerboard pattern around the rim.

Pressed Rope Edge 1. Trim crust overhang to one inch. 2. Fold overhang under crust onto rim of pan, and pinch to make edge stand up. 3. Pinch dough between thumb and knuckle of index finger of the same hand. Use knuckle to push dough forward while using thumb to pull backward. 4. Continue pinching dough around edge of the pie plate.

Fluted Pinched Edge 1. Trim crust overhang to one inch. 2. Fold overhang under crust onto rim of pan, and pinch to make edge stand up. 3. With thumb and index finger of one hand, pinch outside edge of crust while using index finger of other hand to press from inside edge of crust outward. 4. Repeat fluting at ½ inch intervals around entire edge of crust.

Scalloped Edge 1. Trim crust overhang to one inch. 2. Fold overhang under crust onto rim of pan, and pinch to make edge stand up. 3. With thumb and index finger of one hand, loosely pinch outside edge of crust while using thumb of other hand to press crust from inside. 4. Repeat pattern at one-inch intervals around entire edge of crust. 5. Optional: Press teeth of fork into center of each “scallop” for additional decoration.

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Braided Edge 1. Use a doubled crust recipe. Roll out the first crust and place it into a pie pan. Trim crust flush with edge of pie pan. If using a glass pie pan, trim crust overhang to about ⅛ inch past outer rim to allow for slight shrinkage. 2. Roll remaining dough into a long, flat strip ⅛ inch thick. Cut at least six long strips, each ¼ inch wide. 3. On a floured work surface, braid three strips of dough until the braid is long enough to fit edge of pie crust. If braid needs more length, moisten ends of braided dough and attach additional strips. 4. Moisten edge of the crust and carefully place the braid around the rim. Press braid lightly to rim to hold in place.

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INTERNATIONAL PIES GREECE: Spanakopita A very rich pie stuffed with spinach, onions, cheeses and herbs that are all layered in flaky phyllo dough. INDIA: Samosas A typically triangular fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, ground beef, or ground lamb.



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Removing the first piece of pie from its dish necessitates a hopeful pause. Watching the filling spill out and escape a skeleton of crust is often most devastating. But, the hours of pie preparation remind us of one necessary component. While the crust and the filling can each be eaten alone, the intertwining of the two creates a delicious sensory response. This marriage is achieved with the aid of the thickener starch. Starch is the polysaccharide comprised of amylose and amylopectin; it is often used for its adhesion properties and is also essential for plant energy storage. In a pie, starch functions to create structure: it is the unequivocal solution for holding a filling together. Though insoluble in cold water, starch becomes soluble in water of higher temperatures. Starch granules begin to burst and the amylose molecules, now free from their constraints, create a water-holding network that gives filling its viscosity and keeps it from escaping the crust too easily. Of the several starch options, most pies call for flour, cornstarch, potato starch (gluten free), arrowroot, or tapioca flour. The first two are grain starches of medium-sized granules that gelatinize at high temperatures. The other three are root and tuber starches of larger granules that gelatinize at lower temperatures. The root and tuber starches are not to be boiled and create more viscous fluids. Cross-examine classic pie recipes, and you’ll find that your thickener is entirely dependent on your choice of fruit or savory filling. Apple and pear pies, for example, require flour as thickeners, whereas almost any berry or pineapple pie requires tapioca flour, potato starch, or gelatin. The ways in which each of these starches thickens a filling can even alter the look of your pie. Potato starch, for example, results in a more translucent filling than do grain starches. This is because the grain starches are rich in fats and proteins. When denatured at a particular temperature, these proteins lose their tertiary and secondary structure. Their hydrophobic amino acids, along with the fatty acid tails of lipids, then clump together. The result is a thick cloudiness. This explains the flavorful, opaque chicken pot pies you’ve been scarfing down before you knew what cornstarch was. The science behind starch reveals a finer quality of pie making: that it is a practice. So when a pie recipe yields cloudy or soupy filling, consider which fruits or other ingredients were used and experiment on a smaller scale with some of the sturdier root or tuber starches. And remember, the best part about filling failure is that it’s ice cream’s sweetest accompaniment.

IRELAND: Shepherd’s Pie Ground beef or lamb and vegetables served under a layer of mashed potatoes. LEBANON: Sfiha Baalbakiye This small pie is made with mince meat, onions, and pine nuts and is traditionally served with a squeeze of lemon or sour Lebanese yogurt. BY EMILY CHISHOLM PHOTOS BY IANA FELICIANO Pie has a rich history that may surprise you. It all started in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. There were drawings of pies in Pharaoh Ramesses II’s tomb. And, the Ancient Greeks, who are credited with creating the earliest pastry dough, made pies as travel provisions— now that’s some advanced take-out. The Romans used an early pie crust to seal in the juices of cooked meats. As well as being convenient for storage and cooking, pies also had divine significance to ancient Greeks and Romans: they offered libum, similar to cheesecake, as a gift to the gods. Word of these versatile pastries soon spread. As early as the twelfth century, meat pies could be found in England, usually made with the leg of a fowl with a bone that stuck out as a handle. By the fourteenth century, the word “pie” was popularly used, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Pie popped up through the centuries in rhymes, from blackbird pie fit for a king to Jack Horner’s plum-filled Christmas pie, making it the all time favorite food of fairy tales. The real mystery, however, lies in how pies came to be a quintessential American food icon. Pies first made the long journey from Europe to the Americas with the Pilgrims, a journey that changed the course of pie history. Many unfamiliar foods, like corn and myriad berries, were available in the new lands that the Pilgrims had never experienced in Europe. The abundance of novel ingredients in the Americas allowed colonists to create previously unheard of pies consisting of berries and fruits pointed out by the Native Americans. Ultimately, these sweet pies became what we recognize as modern-day fruit pies, symbols of discoveries early colonists made in the New World. Pie remains a delicious, flaky reminder that no matter how much we love that classic pie on Granny’s windowsill permeating the air with savory aromas, there is always room for innovation.

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NIGERIA: Meat Pie Like British pies, these pastries contain meat, vegetables, and potatoes. But, the addition of curry powder and cayenne pepper make the fiery pies distinctly Nigerian. PERU: Pie de Limon Similar to a lemon meringue pie, this extremely sweet pie uses tiny, very acidic limes instead of lemons. PHILIPPINES: Buko Pie A baked, young-coconut custard pie. The pie traditionally uses sweetened condensed milk instead of cream or meringue and is served plain. POLAND: Szarlotka One of the most popular desserts in Poland, this apple tart has a very sweet crust that is made with butter. penn appétit


than after, meals. Bieler would wake to its aroma and find, cooling on the windowsill, his breakfast. To make this simple pie, today’s bakers need only add eggs, brown sugar, and butter (substituted for the traditional lard) to the original ingredients of flour and molasses. The gooey interior is made by mixing the molasses with the beaten egg and then by pouring the mixture into a pie dish covered with a standard crust. Crumbs made with flour, brown sugar, and chunks of butter are layered over the filling. When baked in the oven, the top layer remains crumb-like, while the molasses filling thickens into a custard. The resulting pie is part sweet filling, part buttery crust, and all parts deliciousness. As an adult, Bieler has carried on his family’s tradition by making Shoo-Fly pie back home in Lancaster County. Tuesday through Saturday of each week, Bieler and his family wake up before dawn and leave the house by 4:30am. At 5:45am, they arrive at Reading Terminal Market to bake and prepare the pies to be sold that day. The recipes, Bieler explains with pride, “are family recipes, passed down from one generation to the next.” The family opened Bieler’s Bakery in 1980, and Bieler took over in 1985. The bakery continues to thrive, attracting customers from all over Philadelphia and surrounding counties. Apple, apple caramel, peach, blueberry, cherry, and meringue pies fill the bakery shelves, enticing customers to buy slices, and often, full pies. At Reading Terminal Market, we gravitated towards the bakery’s counter, tantalized by the sugary scents emanating from the baked goods. One pie in particular caught our eye. It was labeled “Shoo-Fly pie.” Of course. But, we realized that we didn’t yet know the story behind the name. “Hey, Alvin,” we called over, “why is it named Shoo-Fly?” Smiling knowingly in response, he answered, “When the pies are cooling on the windowsill, flies are always buzzing around them. You have to shoo them away—shoo flies!” And, it all made sense. Sweet, sticky sense.

BY MARISA DENKER & ROSALIND REYNOLDS PHOTOS BY IANA FELICIANO Scratch your typical hearty breakfast. Alvin Bieler, owner of Bieler’s Bakery in Reading Terminal Market, has a better idea. “Pie for breakfast?” We were incredulous. Bieler nodded, “Shoo-Fly pie.” Though there has been some debate, most maintain that Shoo-Fly pie was inspired by the treacle tart, an English pastry with a golden syrup-based filling. According to Patricia Bunning Stevens’ Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, “the pie-loving Pennsylvania Dutch” had modified this recipe based on ingredients available in the late winter and early spring, when “all that was left in the pantry [was] flour, lard, and molasses.” She continues, “From these sparse ingredients, they fashioned Shoo-Fly pie.” Having grown up in Lancaster County as a member of an Amish family, Bieler had pie deeply woven into his childhood. Shoo-Fly pie, in particular, has remained one of the staples of Amish baking—and of Bieler’s home. For him, it was eaten at all times of the day, often with, rather


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I wanted to share something that was unique, comforting, and homey.

BY JENNY LU & KATIE BEHRMAN PHOTOS BY JENNY LU & IANA FELICIANO By 9 a.m., soothing whiffs of melted butter, warm brown sugar, and freshly baked crust have already begun to drift away from the kitchen. Through a cream-colored door and across sleek black walls, the comforting scents seep into the bustling scene of South Street just outside. Magpie, a bistro-style shop located at 1622 South St., serves sweet and savory pies. “There are no pies in Philly,” owner Holly Ricciardi explains of her decision to open Magpie in September 2012. “Most bakeries here are Italian, so I wanted to bring pies to Philly. I wanted to share something that was unique, comforting, and homey.” Holly grew up in central Pennsylvania, in the small town of Carlisle. Coming from a long line of bakers in the family — “My mom made everything from scratch,” she says — it was natural that she also gravitated towards the profession. After working as a graphic designer for 20 years, Holly sought a more creative job. “I wanted to try a whole new vibe,” she says. So, she enrolled at the Art Institute of Philadelphia to hone her pastry and culinary skills, dusted off her great-grandmother’s pie crust recipe, and spilled open a bag of flour. Three times a week, Holly and her team arrive at eight in the morning, decide which pies to make, and spend the rest of the morning baking. “There’s a tremendous amount of prep that goes into baking days,” Holly says. “We have to make the whip cream, the dough, the toppings, the crumb toppings, the crust…” she chuckles and shrugs. “You have to be really organized.” To achieve the perfect crust (“Please not store-bought!”), all of the ingredients, especially the water and the butter, must be cold. “Don’t overwork it either,” Holly cautions. “You have to wrap it up and let it rest.”


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Inside the tiny kitchen, the bakers expertly weave past one another to prepare their pies. Holly, sporting a red and maroon paisley bandana, tosses some bourbon into a thick, golden mixture, while full-time baker Cynthia delicately pours coconut cream filling into two flaky pie crusts. Katie, a part-time baker, flashes into the cramped space and positions herself just beyond Cynthia’s left shoulder. She peeps into the oven and checks on the remaining crusts. “The space is a little crowded!” laughs Holly as she wiggles herself out of Katie’s way. “But, we makeit work.” A buttery-scented puff of air escapes, mingles with the rich smell of the coconut cream, and intertwines itself into the oaky aroma of the bourbon. Magpie’s menu consists of four seasonally rotating sweet pies, all sold by the slice—or by the entire pie--“If you’re up for that!” Holly chuckles. The bistro changes its menu every three to four months to ensure that only the freshest ingredients are being used. For example, caramel apple and lemon curd pies make up the late-winter menu, while wild blackberry and cherry pies characterize the summer menu. The sole stalwart, the butterscotch bourbon pie, is sold-yearm round. “That pie is inspired by my greatgrandmother’s recipe,” Holly smiles. “You can see her original recipe, in her original handwriting, hanging by the door.” The menu also features a very decadent and whimsical “pie of the month,” such as cookies and cream pie. Magpie often experiments with pie flavors, throwing new flavors on the menu as a “pie special” and seeing how

spring 2014

customers respond. Right now, Holly has high hopes for a key lime pie. She explains that the lemon curd pie, now a season regular, started out as a special that was a hit with customers. Magpie also offers more than just traditional sweet pies. At the recommendation of Holly’s husband, she began selling savory pies, like chicken & biscuit pot pie, shepherd’s pie, and macaroni and cheese pie. Magpie also has mini pies, hand pies, and “pie fries” — pieces of scrap pie dough brushed with egg wash and baked. But, have you ever tried a pie milkshake? Imagine Bassett’s vanilla ice cream, milk, and a whole slice of pie, any flavor, all tossed into a blender. Holly enthusiastically claims that the ice cream serves as the perfect backdrop to really enhance and bring out the flavors of each pie. “It’s like you’re drinking pie a la mode!” she exclaims. Every month, Magpie also offers pie making classes. They’re usually small, with about 11 people a class, and often follow a theme, such as January’s male-only “Pies & Guys” class. Each participant makes their own pie, bakes it in the Magpie oven, and then takes it home with them, all while enjoying a complementary slice of pie and coffee or tea. “Pie is so important and it’s such an art,” Holly sighs. “That’s what I really want to show here, with Magpie,” she adds. “It’s a place where you can come with your friends, with your family, or on a date… It’s a place where you can have a comforting experience.”

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*Here’s my own “piem”. It’s 19 words long, and in case you want to check, the first 19 digits of pi are 3.141592653589793238: For a math-a-holic, despising pi cannot occur. But every creature proclaims eagerly, fervently the “oh” pie presents. BY SIERA MARTINEZ PHOTOS BY IANA FELICIANO

Don’t let your pie fall to pieces! Penn Appétit’s pick of nifty gadgets will simplify baking pies without compromising the pie’s quality. Problem: The Enervating Edge The makeshift aluminum foil circle you make around your pie crust falls off, leaves bits of your crust burnt, or, worse, creeps into and corrupts your filling.

Problem: The Lopsided Leftovers You cut a slice of pie. The next day, all of the filling has spilled out of the remaining pie and sits in a gooey mess in the previously empty space of the pie pan.

Solution: Crust shields, $9.95 This simple silicone crust shield, which comes in different sizes or in adjustable segments, prevents your crust from crisping and serves as an easier alternative to makeshift aluminum foil circles.

Solution: Pie gate, $6.00 This hard plastic and rubber adjustable V-shape divider is perfect for leftover pie. The gate holds the filling in place between servings, keeping the pie fresher for longer.

Problem: The Buckled Crust Your pie crust becomes warped when baking. Solution: Pie Chain, $16.96 A beaded, stainless-steel chain coils into the bottom of the crust to prevent the crust from forming large air pockets and buckling. This chain is a cleaner and simpler alternative to the traditional, but messy, strategy of using beans to hold down the crust. 36

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Problem: The Lackluster Lattice Need we say more? Solution: Lattice Cutters $13.95 Simply roll out your dough and run through it with these hand-held metal or plastic cylinders to create the perfect lattice-crust.

PHOTO BY IANA FELICIANO Pi has always been a large part of my life. This may seem like a weird thing to write. In fact, it would probably make more sense to say, “Pie has been a large part of my life.” I mean everyone eats pie: apple pie is considered one of the quintessential American foods. But, while you may be convinced that this beloved dessert appears more in your life than does the mathematical pi, I’m here to show you that you’re actually wrong. Let me explain. You can’t have pie without pi. What shape is your typical pie? A circle. And you know what the circumference divided by the diameter is? Pi. Not to mention, other types of math also come into play with pie. How do you measure how much sugar to use? How do you know what ratio of flour and water will make flawless piecrust? How can you make a lattice crust without at least estimating the width of the pieces you’re cutting? You see? You need numbers for every aspect of pie making. Pi and pie go hand in hand. A whole day even exists that is dedicated to this union. If you’ve studied geometry, I’m sure you’re familiar with π, equal to 3.14. But have you ever celebrated π? Every March 14 (3/14), mathematicians around the world (and others) honor the mathematical magnificence of “Pi Day.” At my high school in particular, Pi Day received spring 2014

more than a simple acknowledgement by the math classes. My high school’s name was Paideia, “pieday-uh,” and our symbol was a python wrapped around π. So, we inevitably had to celebrate Pi Day in some way. Every March 14, voices would bombard students, encouraging us to buy pie for the senior class fundraiser: lemon meringue to chocolate chip cookie and apple to cherry. Empty containers hid under the half-eaten pies and piledhigh plates begged to be loaded with their own slice. Around the country, companies, schools, and states creatively celebrate Pi Day. Microsoft has offered a 3.14% discount, while the Southern pizzeria Your Pie has sold $3.14 slices. In Chicago, First Slice Pie Café has given out free slices at 3:14pm, while in Milwaukee, you can take a 3.14mile bike ride. It gets better. Historically, MIT has posted its acceptance letters on Pi Day, and at Mission High School in California’s Bay Area, the students once wrote “piems”, or poems in which each word has the same number of letters as the corresponding digit of pi*. Pi is everywhere. Whether or not you’re aware of it, pi lingers in all corners of your life – even more so than pie. Pi is indeed attached to pie at the hip… or at least, in the word. penn appétit



Blackberry Mini Cheesecakes

Crustless Tuscan Quiches

Makes 24 For crust: • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted • 2 tablespoons sugar For filling: • 8 oz cream cheese • 6 tablespoons sugar • 1 teaspoon lemon juice • pinch of lemon zest • pinch of salt • 1 egg, lightly beaten • ¼ cup sour cream For blackberry topping: • 1 ½ cups blackberries • ½ cup water • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Makes 24 • 2 teaspoons olive oil • 2 cloves garlic, minced • ⅓ cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained, chopped • 1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour • ½ cup milk • 3 large eggs • ¼ cup heavy cream • ½ teaspoon salt • ¼ teaspoon pepper • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Make the crusts: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Evenly mix together ingredients. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners and press 1 teaspoon of graham cracker mixture into each. Bake crusts 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Make filling: with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and 6 tablespoons sugar until fluffy. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and egg. Beat until well combined. Add sour cream and beat until smooth. Fill muffin tins with the cream cheese mixture and put it back into oven for fifteen minutes, or until a sheen forms on the surface of each mini cheesecake. Remove from oven and cool completely. Meanwhile, combine remaining sugar, blackberries, water, and cornstarch in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately adjust the heat until the mixture returns to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens and the berries are reduced. Allow mixture to cool before carefully spooning onto each mini cheesecake. Chill before serving.


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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan with butter or shortening. Sprinkle mozzarella onto the bottom of each cup and set aside. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add sundried tomatoes and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Wilt in spinach and remove from heat. Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cups. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, eggs, cream, salt, and pepper until well combined. Divide egg mixture between muffin cups. Divide cheese evenly and sprinkle on the top of each quiche. Bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, and carefully remove each quiche with a butter knife.

spring 2014

Southwestern Poppers

Strawberry Lime Tartlets

Makes 24 • 1 package puff pastry, thawed • 1 cup refried beans • ¼ lb ground beef or pork • ¼ cup onion, diced • ¼ cup green peppers, diced • 1 tablespoon tomato paste • cumin, chili powder, and red pepper, to taste • 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded • cilantro, sour cream, and guacamole, for garnish

Makes 24 • 1 lb package refrigerated sugar cookie dough • 8 oz cream cheese • ½ cup sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice • 1 teaspoon lime zest • Sliced fresh strawberries and additional lime zest, for garnish

Preheat oven to temperature indicated on puff pastry package. Grease a 24 cup minimuffin pan with butter or shortening. Cut pastry sheet into 3 by 3 inch squares. Press into mini muffin tins and allow corners to gently fold out without touching. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, brown meat in a skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in onions and peppers and continue cooking until tender. Add tomato paste and spices and continue cooking over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Remove puff pastries from oven and lightly press each center down to create a cavity. With a piping bag, pipe a small amount of refried beans into the bottom of each cavity, gently evening the surface with a spoon. Alternatively, fill a zip lock bag and snip the corner to use in place of the piping bag. Top each cup with a small scoop of meat and a pinch of cheese. Return the muffin tin to the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Preheat oven to temperature instructed on cookie package. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan with butter or shortening. Divide the cookie dough into 24 rounds and flatten to approximately ¼ inch thick. Gently press into muffin tins and bake according to the directions on the cookie package. Let cool for 1-2 minutes in the pan and gently press the centers down with a shot glass. Let cool several more minutes before removing from muffin tin and cooling on wire rack. With a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to mix until smooth. Beat in vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest. Pipe cream cheese mixture into cookie cups. Garnish with sliced strawberries and curls of lime zest.

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the might of


flashback: cumin

curry caught yellow handed



The golden curry powder that you buy at a supermarket does not hail directly from Indian cooking, but rather, is inspired by it. A mixture of pulverized coriander, turmeric, cumin, pepper, nutmeg, and cloves, the spice blend often underwhelms our expectations when used to make popular American dishes like curried chicken salad. The strong, earthy, peppery aroma of a spoonful of this powder rarely translates to a pungent dish, as it is often muted by the yogurt, lemon juice, or mayonnaise with which it is mixed. The punch and variety of Indian curry spice blends eclipse that of their commercialized, American cousin. Traditional Indian curries vary between regions and are ground fresh everyday from toasted whole spices. Cooks start with a base of pepper, coriander, and cumin, and then grind in anything from cardamom and cinnamon, for a sweeter blend, to turmeric, garlic, and fenugreek, for a hotter, bolder combination. For example, a West Indian Goan curry will be intensely hot, heavyhanded in chilies, and stewed with seafood, whereas Northeast


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Indian Assam curries are herbaceous, relying more heavily on fresh herbs and vegetables than dried spices for flavoring. In South India, you’ll find curries rich in chilies and lentils, served on a banana leaf in Tamil Nadu or doused in coconut milk in Kerala. In India, these bright spices are both the foundation and focal point of dishes, rarely smothered by other flavors (as they can be in the United States). While the mass-produced, homogenized curry powder we have access to in common grocery stores widens our spice horizons by just a pinch, it’s a shame we’re unable to enjoy the flavors as they were originally intended. Deftly toeing the line between overpowering and under flavored, Indian cooks are naturally accustomed to working with strong spices every day. It takes time and skill to learn how to develop the unique flavors of each curry-infused dish, so it is perhaps unsurprising that American “curry” has been so simplified from the original.

It happens every time I pick up the small jar from the spice rack and flick its lid open. Instant recall. I just drove home, and I’m weak with hunger. I open the side door and a jet of spicy hot air collides with my windblown face. The smell is familiar and so is the site of my slight-statured mother bouncing around the kitchen with a wooden spoon in her hand. Her hair is wild. She wears no apron. In the kitchen, a crock-pot bubbles. The countertop has been Jackson-Pollocked with flecks of food and splatters of sauce. The chili has been stewing on low since morning, and I have arrived just in time for the final sprinkling of spices before my mother ladles our dinner into four bowls. In certain circles, my mother’s chili is famous. At every birthday, grad party, family dinner, and potluck, we bring along two gallons of Barb Wheeler’s homemade, hand-spiced chili. She always serves it from the same, old, porcelain pot in the same way-- with kidney beans, black beans, peppers, ground turkey, onion, roasted tomatoes, ketchup, and an envelope of spices. Cumin is the sacred ingredient. Since ancient times, the pungent aroma of cumin has been woven into the cooking of both royals and commoners. In the Middle Ages, it was a popular condiment in every kitchen. It was infused in soups, sprinkled from a shaker as a replacement for spring 2014

pepper, and sometimes used as an herbal remedy. Stories tell of war-bound soldiers carrying loaves of cumin bread for luck. In Egypt, they mummified pharaohs with the spice. In modern times, Cumin has endured. At the grocery store, it comes in seed or powder form, and with just a sprinkle, the potent spice can change the trajectory of a dish. From curries to rice dishes to bean pots to tapenades, cumin adds a flavor complexity with the power to transport the eater to another time and place. On its own, its smell is punchy - a shock to the unsuspecting. To my younger, uncultured nostrils, the spice smelled like a sweaty man, returning to the kitchen after a day in the garden. With one whiff, a tingle shoots up the nostrils, eyes water, and nose crinkles. It has a warm, peppery flavor with citrus overtones. But you never eat it on its own. We used to eat chili once a week for dinner. These days, it’s a meal for special occasions. But every time I flip open the jar, I close my eyes and I’m back in that hot kitchen, perched at the counter. I sit before a bottomless bowl and raise thick spoonfuls of cheesy beans to my lips. The corners of my mouth burn; my nose tingles. “That’s the cumin,” my mother would tell me. When it’s missing, you’ll know.

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As General Manager of J.G Domestic, a Jose Garces restaurant, Brett Tomkins describes his job in a way that evokes images of a caretaker, connoisseur, and pioneer. On an average day, his tasks not only include staffing, hiring, training, and counseling, but also performing the keystones of management that allow the restaurant to function. From the yearly budget to the cocktail menu, there is little about which Tomkins doesn’t know. He helps the staff to make drinks and clear tables, and he interacts daily with the customers. “If you spend time in a restaurant, you see how amazing it is that everything works on a busy Saturday night,” Tomkins says. Before he came to oversee the functions of J.G. Domestic, Tomkins served as the beverage connoisseur for several of the Garces restuarants. From travelling to Mexico to pick tequila for Distrito’s margaritas to visiting Kentucky to select premium bourbon whiskies for the Four Roses Garces brand, Tomkins has helped to create several of the Garces Restaurant’s signature beverages. His passion for drinks shines through in the way he describes the bitters and zests of the newest cocktails at J.G. Domestic. “The JFK Boulevardier is named for the subway line that cuts right across the street,” Tomkins explains. “It’s a traditional French cocktail from 1920s done with 42

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spring 2014

bourbon, a sweet French vermouth called Dolin Rouge, and a bitter Italian liquor called Campari.” In a gruff and matter-of-fact way, Tomkins continues to explain that all of the cocktails served at J.G. Domestic are named after traditional underground subway lines. “J.G. Domestic has a bourbon-based cocktail by Paul Rodriquez called the Empire Builder. It’s made with Four Roses Jose Garces single barrel bourbon mixed with Averna, a bitter Italian herbal liquor. Then, we add coffee bitters, a housemade fermented coffee tincture, and garnish it with orange zest. It’s a refreshing bourbon cocktail take on the old-fashioned.” Just as Tomkins strives to craft perfectly balanced cocktails, he also hopes to create a cohesive dining experience. The food complements the ambience at every Garces restaurant. For example, at tapas-style Amada, the chuleta, a Spanish 28oz dry-aged ribeye steak is “decadent and huge and it’s good to be shared by a bunch of people.” Tomkins’ expertise and knack for creating a balanced dining experience is readily apparent at J.G. Domestic. “I think what drives people in the Garces’ group is a sense of pride in what we do and a belief in the integrity, hospitality, and quality of the food and beverages that we serve,” he states with an alert air, dressed to the nines. “We love what we do here.” penn appétit


To Every Man a

MANAKEESH Manakeesh Za’atar adapted from

Makes 8 (7 to 8-inch flatbreads) • 1 cup lukewarm water • ½ teaspoon sugar • 1 (¼-ounce package) active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
 • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
 • 1 teaspoon salt
 • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing BY CHASE MATECUN PHOTOS BY ELENA CROUCH Walking around Beirut just after sunrise, you’ll see men and women in the street rolling out pita in the early morning light. The workers pluck the yeasty dough from baskets, turn it out onto a stone, and roll it flat to make the base of one of Lebanon’s most popular dishes: manakeesh—a rustic, wood-fired flatbread made with soft dough and a variety of toppings. You’ll find stone ovens dedicated to churning out manakeesh to the masses on almost every city street corner. It’s a dish most commonly eaten for breakfast, but Abd Ghazzawi—manager and part-owner of Manakeesh Bakery and Café at 45th and Walnut Street—says they can be served at any time of day. “The manakeesh was born thousands of years ago,” he says in between bites of a za’atar-and-cheese manakeesh, his personal favorite, “It’s the common man’s food. In fact Lebanese people living in the slums originally made it, but now it’s become more widespread.” Abd says manakeesh are best eaten fresh from the hearth when they’re still piping hot, but they’re delicious at room temperature as well. The crisp outer edges give way to a light, puffy interior that almost collapses on the tongue. The Lebanese prefer their manakeesh topped with za’atar, an oregano-and-thyme herb blend, or cheese, but more modern topping variations include meats like shwarma, ground lamb or beef, or sujuk, a type of spicy Lebanese sausage. Here’s how it works: freshly-made dough is flattened and scored before being sprinkled with toppings of your choice and tossed in the oven. Just a few minutes later, your manakeesh is ready. Cold toppings are optional, but olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, or fresh mint are all welcome additions. 44

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The Yin & Yang of Food Yin and yang’s presence in Chinese food has its roots in Taoism, a philosophy that is all about the concept of balance. Ingredients are “yin” if they have cooling properties and “yang” if they have heating properties. Balance is paramount to ensuring good health, since any imbalance will cause sickness. Eating too much “yin” food leads to illnesses like stomachaches, whereas too much “yang” food leads to illnesses like fevers. Without going into the science of it, this philosophy really does work as a traditional remedy to keep up your health!

For the za’atar topping, ¼ cup ground sumac
 3 tablespoons dried thyme
 3 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
 1 teaspoon coarse salt
 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
 *You can also substitute a store-bought za’atar blend for the spices. Pick some up at Makkah Market on 43rd and Walnut.

ILLUSTRATION BY LYNN NGUYEN 1. Chinese: Yin (stir-fried garlic, chicken, and spinach) and Yang (steamed chicken in ginseng) Did you know that stir-frying is a hot or “yang” style of cooking? This means that stir-frying a dish requires you to include more “yin” ingredients like spinach. Pairing the “yin” spinach with the ‘yang’ garlic and chicken leads to a balanced yet savory stir-fry. The stir-frying tempers the pungency of the garlic by bringing out the flavor of roasted garlic oil. The blander spinach paired with the stronger sweet chicken results in a dish filled with the perfect balance of subtle yet salty. Alternatively, steaming is a “yin” style of cooking, so pairing it with “yang” ingredients, like chicken, Chinese rice wine, and ginseng, leads to a delicious, healthy meal. Ginseng’s slightly bitter taste is perfectly tempered by the sweeter chicken and rounded out with a hint of wine. 2. Indian: Yogurt and curry Yin and yang food philosophy is not restricted to Chinese cuisine – Indian cuisine features elements of it as well. Spicy Indian favorites like curry are always paired with cooler foods like yogurt. This results in a balanced combination for one’s health and palate, as the creaminess and coolness of the yogurt tempers the burn on the tongue from curry. Ayurvedic cuisine goes one step further in achieving balance. The philosophy states that six tastes must be included in every meal; these tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. The ayurvedic thali is a perfect example of this philosophy—a meal composed of different small dishes paired with naan and rice in which each dish represents a different taste.

1. Activate the yeast by combining the yeast, warm water, and sugar (it should be bubbly when it’s done). Let it rest for about 10 minutes. 2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, working in the olive oil and adding the activated yeastwater mixture. 3. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. 4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel, for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.


3. Iranian: Salad Olivieh Iranian cuisine’s yin and yang philosophy originates from the Zoroastrian religion. The philosophy teaches that ‘cold’ foods slow down the digestive processes while in hot foods speed them up. A dish like Salad Olivieh exemplifies this belief. It consists of a combination of “yin” foods like the main ingredient, pomegranate, and “yang” foods like walnuts, resulting in a balanced dish. And these ingredients are not just yin and yang in terms of their hot and cool properties – they also complement each other aesthetically. The bright pomegranate and dark walnut combine to form a beautiful harmony of colors on the plate.

spring 2014

penn appétit


an interview with

Kevin Sbaga

Why choose Philadelphia again for your new restaurant, The Fat Ham? Philadelphia is a great city with genuine people and the food scene is growing, which is exciting. My foundation is here and I can’t imagine doing anything, anywhere else right now.

The Fat Ham’s location is near Penn and Drexel. Do you try to appeal to students in any way? We want to appeal to everyone, not just students. The Fat Ham is a fun, young place with reasonable prices. People can come to the restaurant and have two bites or they can have four meals, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re comfortable. It’s a very approachable and welcoming restaurant.

BY KEVIN THURWANGER PHOTOS BY IANA FELICIANO A New Jersey native, born into a family devoted to food, Kevin Sbraga began his culinary training at a tender age. Sbraga is now executive chef and owner of modern American restaurant Sbraga, located off Broad Street. He’s received outstanding recognition including Rising Stars “Community Chef ” 2013 and winning Bravo’s Top Chef Season 7. In 2013, he opened a new restaurant in University City called The Fat Ham. Chef Sbraga spoke to Penn Appétit about his new endeavor and all things culinary.

What’s your attitude toward food? Food needs to be creative, approachable, humorous and pleasing to guests. At the end of the day, my job is to make guests happy–that’s it. I try to achieve this approach through my food. What inspires you to create delicious new meals for your menus?

How did you get interested in cooking?

A lot of my inspiration comes from traveling–seeing different cuisines and experiencing other peoples’ foods. Some of them use new ingredients while others may be based on seasonality. It really depends. Inspiration isn’t something you can prepare for. You have to go out and experience new things. Sometimes it hits you and other times it may not.

Both of my parents are bakers so I ended up spending a good amount of my time in their bakery. As a result, I fell in love with food at a young age. Why did you decide to open a second restaurant? After two years at Sbraga and having the right team in place there, I felt like it was time for a new project. I fell in love with Southern food as a child while visiting family and again later when I traveled there as a chef. Recently, I spent time throughout the South with some of my team. When I returned, I wanted to share the incredible food we ate and spin it with my cooking style.

What’s your favorite dish from The Fat Ham that you could recommend? I don’t know if I have a favorite dish. If there were one I would recommend, it would be the country-fried lobster. It was the dish that really inspired me to create The Fat Ham. We made this dish at Sbraga and it was so well received that it convinced me to take this concept of Southern cuisine to the second level.

Does the philosophy behind both your restaurants, Sbraga and The Fat Ham, differ?

What cooking technique should everyone know how to do?

The concepts for each one are different but the philosophy of unrivaled hospitality remains the same for both, and that’s what we want to be known for. I want the guest to walk into my restaurant and leave the world behind them. I want them to have a good time and forget all their troubles in the world. To me, that’s hospitality. We are here to take care of you and make you happy. We strive for that.

I think one that is completely misunderstood and needs more attention is grilling. I’m not a fan of the gas grill. I’m all about the wood grill since the wood imparts flavor. You can use this technique across the board for vegetables, meat, fish and chicken – just about everything. You can grill sauces! How do you do that? You put the whole pot on the grill, cover it up and grill it. It adds such a new dimension of flavor. Imagine grilled ice cream – taking milk and putting that on a grill, heating it up, getting a lightly smoked, charred flavor to it and serving that with bitter chocolate mousse. That would taste absolutely amazing!

How did you land on the name The Fat Ham? It was my son’s nickname. He was three years old and we called him Little Fat Ham.


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spring 2014

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