ISSUE 7 / fall 2010
Bon Appétit at Penn Dining is dedicated to providing food that is alive with flavor and prepared from scratch using authentic local and seasonal ingredients, which is why you won’t find rotating menus in our dining cafés. Visit one of our locations, and you’ll find our Executive Chefs provide an innovative cuisine at every meal, every day—not just burgers and pizza. One of the many foods our chefs make from scratch every day is our dip. Create this dip on your own, or try some at Kings Court!
Spring Scallion Tofu Dip Ingredients:
3/4 pound crumbled Firm Tofu 11/2 cups Chopped Scallions (trimmed but utilize all parts) 1/2 cup Olive or Canola Oil 1/4 cup lemon Juice 1/4 cup water 2 Tablespoons Chopped garlic Kosher Salt to taste Optional: 1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves.
Process scallions and oil into a smooth paste than add remaining ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth and the consistency of pudding. Additional water may be added to attain the desired consistency. Makes about 3 cups dip.
So the next time you’re hungry for something fresh, authentic and full of flavor, forget that expensive restaurant and see what’s cooking at one of our dining cafés! ADVERTISEMENT
letter from the editor / fall 2010
Dear readers and eaters, THIS YEAR, Penn Appétit turns four. This semester also marks the start of my fourth year at Penn. Having spent so much time on Penn’s campus, and eating and grocery shopping my way through Philadelphia, I’ve noticed myself starting to settle in to culinary routines. I have a set of go-to dishes I cook almost every month, my grocery list looks surprisingly similar from week to week, and, if, on the off chance I haven’t had time to pack a lunch for the day, I find myself ordering the same thing at my favorite food truck. I can’t imagine I’m the only Penn student stuck in this sort of pattern, so, to make life more interesting for all of us, Penn Appétit is mixing things up. The magazine itself has gotten a face-lift of sorts, with bigger spreads and richer colors, while its contents showcase fresh ideas aimed to shake you out of culinary boredom. Explore the many cuisines available just west of campus; Johnny Schaefer suggests grabbing some Ethiopian—literally (page 20). Shreyans Goenka’s article on tea supplies a great alternative to your boring coffee habit (page 7). And instead of waiting in line for a restaurant brunch next Sunday, take Julia Brownstein’s advice and throw one of your own (page 30). No kitchen? No problem. Emma Kaufman offers you some ingenious ways to spice up your dining hall fare (page 10), and Penn Appétit’s guide to cheese will help you put on a classy evening of food without cooking a thing (page 17). With so many culinary options available in Philadelphia, it’s a shame to limit yourself to what you already know. So get out, explore, cook, eat, and never settle.
Penn Appetit editor-in-chief design editor photo editors
business manager publicity manager treasurer general board member blog editors
Elise Dihlmann-Malzer Jeena Choi Michael “Danger” Chien & Christiana Hay Cady Chen Melody Chan Celine Kosian Alex Brownstein Alex Marcus & Marianne O’Brien
Chris Chan Khánh-Anh Lê Alex Marcus Eesha Sardesai Sam Schnittman
Ellen Amaral Louise Malle Eesha Sardesai Nana Adwoa Sey
Bethel Chan Jessica Gatof Becca Goldstein Alexa Koike Margot Konig Rachel Marcus Samantha Meskin Stephanie Siaw Lori Ying Eric Yoshida Julie Ulrich
Melody Chan Jenny Chen Shreyans Goenka Young Ji Kim Celine Kosian Alex Marcus Zhana Sandeva Hannah White Nicole Woon
Cover photo by Danger Chien Elise Dihlmann-Malzer Editor-in-Chief
CRAVING MORE? check out the Penn Appétit blog at www.pennappetit.com fall 2010 / penn appétit / 3
table of contents / fall 2010
SAY “CHEESE”: ELEMENTS OF A CHEESE BOARD (P. 16)
congee for the soul......................
This thick, satisfying rice porrige is a culinary canvas—doctor it any way you like
Tea is far more than a simple brewed beverage; it is a religious, social, and cultural commodity
Turn dining hall ingredients into restaurantquality meals
Compose a killer cheese plate for your next party
Dive into flavorful Ethiopian food—leave the forks at home
a taste of history/evolved...........
The history of Philadelphia food trucks and their recent upscale evolution
80 years of joy.............................
Learn more about this versatile ingredient, and try pomegranate recipes from around the world
Celebrate this venerable cookbook’s 80th birthday by learning about its colorful past
respect your apples.....................
edible flowers.............................. Spruce up your cooking with flowers
Chef David Katz turns simple ingredients into bold flavors at this cozy Fitler Square eatery 4 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
A twist of rosemary transforms traditional apple pie into a bold, memorable dessert
blissful brunch............................. Easy and affordable college entertaining
Easy, step-by-step instructions for making the delectable eats you see in Penn Appétit
loves of the pies.......................... Never see pie in the same way again
restaurant • bar 306 market street, philadelphia 215 625 9425 forkrestaurant.com
open seven days lunch • brunch • dinner • late night private dining • catering
the art of old world baking Terence Feury named Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly 2010 “Best Chef.”
Send holiday gifts nationwide from www.metropolitanbakery.com!
in the kitchen / congee
CONGEE FOR THE SOUL
A STEAMING BOWL OF CONGEE TOPPED WITH ROAST PORK AND FRESH CILANTRO
Congee goes by many names in Asia: jook, zhou and okayu, for example. But the dish itself is incredibly simple: rice cooked with water until the grains soften into a creamy porridge. By JENNY XIA Photo by LISA KAPP
here is no sound more soothing than the leisurely slurping of congee. The porridge soothes the throat and warms every inch of the body. A light staple for many Chinese families, congee is usually served accompanied by pickled 6 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
vegetables or dried, shredded pork. In India, a version of rice porridge is prepared by steaming rice until it softens, and topping it with sweet, fresh coconut. For centuries, this frugal dish has filled the bellies of the Chinese working class. At the same time, its simplicity attracted
the acclaim of early dieticians and doctors. Ancient Chinese medical science claimed that the silky mush could cure a variety of gastrointestinal problems and attested to the life-sustaining properties of congee. Song Dynasty poet Lu You reflected, “For me who live in the vale, my
philosophy is easy and simple: eating congee brings health and leads to immortality.” Though the longevity-endowing effects of congee are debatable, its benefits for digestion and overall health are still widely recognized. Congee is a forgiving dish to prepare. It can be made in a rice cooker (some of which even have a special congee setting) or on the stovetop. For the latter approach, soak the rice in water for several hours, and then cook the mixture until the kernels begin to break down. The amount of water can be adjusted to make a thicker or a thinner porridge. (My grandmother’s recipe for yam congee can be found on page 34.) One of congee’s most distinctive features is its versatility. Sweet or savory, thick or thin, congee is a culinary canvas. One classic congee preparation is duck egg and pork congee, a variety sold à la carte at most dim sum restaurants. With its fragrant aroma and silky texture, a good bowl of duck egg and pork congee is the epitome of comfort food. Chinatown’s Joy Tsin Lau (1026 Race St.) offers generous bowls of this type of congee for under $3 during their dim sum service. It was the first dish I ordered for my parents when they came to visit Penn, and we scraped our bowls clean. The creamy rice mush dotted with rich preserved duck eggs and savory bits of pork. For the more adventurous appetite, Ting Wong Restaurant (138 N. 10th St.) sells congees with additions ranging from meatballs and pork belly to frog legs and pork blood, all for just over $5 a pint. However, if frog meat isn’t your cup of tea, Ting Wong also offers more traditional congees with chopped beef or shredded chicken. With so many ways to enjoy this delicious porridge, next time you feel a bit blue or are in need of some inspired food, grab a bowl of rice congee. Let its soft, velvety smoothness warm your belly and enliven your soul. Recipe on page 34 >>
elements / tea
AFTERNOON TEA AT PHILADELPHIA’S RITTENHOUSE HOTEL IS SERVED FROM PORCELAIN TEAPOTS INTO DELICATE CHINA
tea time By SHREYANS GOENKA Photos by CHRISTIANA HAY
fall 2010 / penn appétit / 7
elements / tea
“Better to be deprived of food for three days than of tea for one,” says an ancient Chinese proverb. I could not agree more.
he versatile tea leaf has fascinated me since childhood, when I tasted my first sips of tea from my parents’ cups. That first taste of traditional Indian chai converted me into a tea lover, and I joined the millions of people around the world who consume tea every day in its many preparations. What started as a humble bush in China—Camellia sinensis—is now cultivated across the world and has become a daily ritual in many cultures. I vividly remember the first trip I took to my family’s tea plantation in Darjeeling. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the gentle sloping hills dotted which short, stubby, green bushes. Hundreds of women dressed in colorful saris were snipping away at the fragrant leaves and shoveling them into baskets behind their backs. They left the leaves out in the sun to dry, after which the withered leaves were rolled, either by hand or by machine. Next, the leaves were fermented and dried again before being tasted and packaged. The process of making tea, though, is not as simple as I saw it then. Every country grows its own type of tea leaf and employs a slightly different fermentation process, giving rise to a plethora of tea varieties like Darjeeling, Assam, Oolong, green, white, Matcha, and even blends like Earl Grey and English Breakfast. No two cultures drink tea in the same manner. The Chinese—who discovered tea—drink oolong and black teas, lightly brewed and often scented with fragrances like jasmine, to create a delicate, refreshing brew. The Japanese on the 8 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
other hand, participate in elaborate tea ceremonies in which powdered Matcha green tea is whipped with water and sugar; it is a ritualistic affair involving attention to etiquette and detail. In, India—the largest producer of tea—leaves are brewed with milk, sugar and spices to make chai. I grew up slurping this delightful concoction in bustling tea stalls while nibbling on various spicy snacks like samosas. In India, tea is served at all times of the day and it is considered a sign of respect to welcome guests with tea. Though tea originated in Asia, Europeans have whole-heartedly embraced the beverage. In fact, Ireland is the largest per-capita consumer of tea. The French are famous for their herbal, fruity blends, commonly served with pastries in ornate, Parisian tea cafés. It is the British, however, who are credited with introducing tea to the Western world by creating a blend of Assamese and Darjeeling leaves called English Breakfast tea. England’s obsession with tea went on to produce an iconic ritual in British culture—afternoon tea. Invented in the 1700s as a quick solution to satisfying hunger before dinner, high tea is now an elegant and formal affair to be enjoyed with family, friends, and even business associates. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in London serves the world’s most famous afternoon tea. Its luxurious, elegant tearoom is bustling with celebrities and the elite of London society. The Ritz serves tea from silver pots into bone china cups, adding to the splendor of the ritual. Central to the tea service are the traditional culinary accompaniments, arranged on a three-
tier silver stand. On the bottom plate are finger sandwiches, elegantly cut into long rectangles. Traditional fillings include cucumber with cream cheese or smoked salmon. The second tier is adorned with fluffy scones and savory crumpets. Quite unlike their dense American counterparts, these scones are soft and delicate, the perfect balance of sweet, buttery and flaky. They are best served with clotted Cornish cream and fresh preserves. The crumpets—savory, yeasted pancakes—are eaten with lemon curd and honey. Finally, the top tier displays a selection of superb pastries, such as petit fours and tartlets. In Philadelphia, the Mary Cassatt tearoom and garden in the Rittenhouse Hotel is an excellent choice for afternoon tea. Declared one of the most beautiful tearooms in America, it is tucked behind the hotel lobby, with French windows overlooking a beautiful courtyard. The Rittenhouse Hotel has put its own spin on high tea, offering specialty blends like Pear Caramel and Green Tropical along with more traditional varieties. Even the accompaniments demonstrate interesting twists, with items such as cranberry scones and miniature cheesecakes. The signature tea here is served with a glass of Crémant and champagne biscuits—a combination not to be missed. Since its discovery, tea has evolved from a simple leaf into a religious, social, and anthropological commodity. It is more than just a drink enjoyed by billions every day; no other beverage is as inseparable from numerous cultures’ identities as is tea.
ABOVE: DELICATE CRANBERRY SCONES REST ON A PAPER-LINED PLATE BELOW: A THREE-TIERED STAND DISPLAYS (FROM BOTTOM TO TOP) FINGER SANDWICHES, SCONES, AND PETIT FOURS fall 2010 / penn appétit / 9
people & places / dining halls
uncommon(s) fare FOR THOSE OF US who feel at home in a kitchen, having a meal plan can be limiting. But having someone else in front of the stove doesn’t mean we have to relinquish all creative control; Penn’s dining halls offer a great variety of simple foods and fresh ingredients that can be transformed into inspired culinary creations. The salad bars are a reliable source for produce and condiments, and even the baked desserts can be turned into gourmet fare.
Concept by EMMA KAUFMAN Photo by MADELINE MILLER
ROASTED BARLEY PILAF INGREDIENTS
Barley, dried cranberries, roasted beets, shredded carrots, balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper Mix the barley with your choice of fruits, veggies, nuts and beans. Dress with a simple vinaigrette made from the final five ingredients. Result: A rich, nutty, slightly sweet pilaf loaded with fresh produce. Serve alongside any entrée. (This pilaf can be made with quinoa as well.) 10 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
EGG PANINI INGREDIENTS Two slices of hearty bread, scrambled eggs, sharp cheddar, baby spinach Layer a slice of bread with cheese and fresh veggies. Add a thick layer of scrambled eggs and top with more cheese. Put the second slice of bread on top and place the whole sandwich in the panini press for 2-4 minutes or until the grill marks turn golden brown. Result: A warm, toasted sandwich, held together by two layers of beautifully melted cheese. The bread develops a crispy crust, but remains moist and light on the inside.
OLIVE OIL CAKE INGREDIENTS
White cake, vanilla ice cream, fresh berries, olive oil Top the cake with a scoop of ice cream, and pour a generous drizzle of olive oil over the top. Garnish with berries or other fresh fruit. Result: Though it may sound a bit odd, olive oil cake is a delicious twist on ordinary white cake. The oil makes the cake incredibly moist, and accents the vanilla flavor in the ice cream. fall 2010 / penn appĂŠtit / 11
elements / pomegranate
perfect pomegranates By EESHA SARDESAI Photo by DANGER CHIEN
FOR MANY AMERICANS, pomegranates are an
unusual food. These brightly-colored and oddly-shaped fruits have a tough, peach-pink rind which, when cracked open, reveals a veritable treasure trove of small, pulp-encased seeds. Shining like rubies, the seeds—or arils—are the edible meat of the fruit and have a tangy, sweet taste. Pomegranates have been widely cultivated for centuries in Iran, India, and parts of the Mediterranean. Over time, pomegranate 12 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
farming spread to other parts of the world. In the U.S., they are now cultivated in Arizona and California, mostly for purpose of juice production. Simply because of the fruit’s newness, a whole pomegranate or a glass of pomegranate juice can appear exotic on its own to the average American eater. But to people from many other parts of the world, pomegranates have been a staple of their cuisine for centuries, and are prepared in far more imaginative and enticing ways.
YIELDS 6 CUPS The pomegranate is an object of great significance in Greek culture. The fruit is often mentioned in myths of ancient Greece and serves as a symbol for fertility, abundance and good luck. Because of this, pomegranates are used in a multitude of Grecian dishes. One of note is kólliva, a mixture of boiled wheat berries, pomegranates, and raisins in a sweetened creamy broth.
YIELDS 2 CUPS As in many Mediterranean countries, pomegranates are immensely popular in Syria and Turkey. The seeded fruit is even featured as part of the official symbol of many Turkish cities. In both countries, pomegranates are most commonly consumed in drinks, concentrates, or sauces and glazes. Muhammara is a popular Turkish and Syrian spread, made using pomegranate extract. This spicy condiment can be served on anything from vegetables to toasted bread.
INGREDIENTS 1 cup wheat berries 4 cups water 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds ¼ tsp. anise seed 1 ½ oz. chopped walnuts 1 ½ oz. blanched, slivered almonds 1/3 cup golden raisins ½ tsp. ground cinnamon seeds from 1 small pomegranate ¾ cup confectioners sugar, divided Rinse wheat berries, drain and place in medium saucepan. Add water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cooking until berries are just tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Add more water so the berries continue to float throughout the cooking process. Drain, then set aside to cool and dry for at least 1 hour. Place cooled berries in a mixing bowl and add all other ingredients. Sift in ½ cup of the sugar and toss together. Decorate with a thick layer of powdered sugar.
INGREDIENTS 7 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, drained ½ tsp. dried chili pepper or hot red pepper flakes ½ cup crackers, crumbled 6 oz. finely chopped toasted walnuts 1 Tbsp. lemon juice 3 Tbsp. pomegranate syrup ½ tsp. cumin ½ tsp. granulated sugar 2 tsp. olive oil salt to taste In a food processor or blender, combine and process the crackers, walnuts, lemon juice, pomegranate syrup, cumin and sugar until smooth. Add red peppers and blend until creamy. With the machine running, slowly add olive oil, then the dried pepper and salt. Water can be added to achieve desired texture. Refrigerate overnight and serve with toasted pita or bread.
[india] YIELDS 30-35 PIECES Pomegranates are a prominent crop in areas of South Asia and, as a result, have often been added to traditional Indian dishes. Pomegranate burfi is a popular Indian sweet. These soft, creamy squares make a satisfying dessert. In this recipe, pomegranate juice lends the dish a striking ruby color. INGREDIENTS 8 oz. heavy cream 16 oz. ricotta cheese 3 cups powdered milk 1 cup sugar 3 Tbsp. pomegranate concentrate 1 tsp. butter pistachio nuts, chopped In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Add the ricotta and stir constantly on low heat for 25 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the powdered milk one cup at a time, then stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, pomegranate juice and butter and stir again for 15 minutes. Spread the mixture onto a greased sheet pan; move quickly—the burfi sets rapidly. Sprinkle with pistachio, and let cool. Cut into diamond-shaped pieces and serve fresh.
THE USE OF POMEGRANATE IN COOKING AND BAKING IS STEADILY GAINING POPULARITY IN THE WESTERN WORLD. CHEFS ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH THE FRUIT, ADDING IT TO EVERYTHING FROM COCKTAILS TO COOKIES. COMPLEX, INNOVATIVE FLAVOR COMBINATIONS ARE BORNE OUT OF ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN TRADITIONAL DISHES AND CONTEMPORARY FOODS AND FLAVORS. THESE TIMEHONORED RECIPES SERVE AS INSPIRATION FOR NEW POMEGRANATE CREATIONS THAT BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN CONVENTION AND MODERNITY, EAST AND WEST. fall 2010 / penn appétit / 13
features / /trade elements flowers fondant
edible flowers By BETHEL CHAN Photo by ELISE D-M & DANGER CHIEN
few years ago, at the end of an otherwise unremarkable buffet table, I had one of my most memorable food experiences: my first bite of lavender panna cotta. The pudding was sitting amongst far more enticing chocolate desserts, and I would have walked right past it if I hadn’t caught sight of a sign announcing its unusual ingredient. Having hitherto thought of lavender only as a scent for perfumes and soaps, I was curious to find out how it would taste. Squeals escaped my lips at my first spoonful; I’d never had anything like it. The lavender was at once fragrant, floral, and faintly spicy—the perfect complement to the rich milky panna cotta. Once stylish in Victorian England, blossoms are making a comeback in the culinary world, so I have had many opportunities to enjoy flowers in my food. Chamomile, rose and lavender are popular flavors for ice creams, candies and pastries, while whole flowers are more common in savory foods like battered squash flowers and chive and arugula florets in salads. Although most have little nutritional value, flowers offer unique textures, delicate flavors and unparalleled aesthetic value to any dish. Of course, some of the appeal of using floral ingredients lies in the sheer novelty associated with eating blooms—many find eating what they have previously used only for decoration or scent surprising and
14 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
exciting. Even though flowers have only recently reappeared in fashionable eating, their use in victuals has a long and rich history. Dandelions are believed to be one of the bitter herbs referred to in Biblical descriptions of the Passover feast, and the Chinese traditionally incorporate dried lily buds into soups and stir-fries. Banana blossoms are another flower often found in Southeast-Asian cuisine. They are traditionally used in a Straits Chinese dish—jantong pisang—a salad of banana flowers, cucumber and shrimp, topped with a coconut cream dressing. The salad is served cold, as a refreshing contrast to Singapore’s tropical heat. But because few markets sell banana blossoms, this dish can be hard to find. As a child in Singapore, I would eagerly anticipate evenings when my grandmother would serve jantong pisang, swelling with pride at the privilege of having her cook me a piece of this tradition. It has been a long time since I have had jantong pisang, but my early experiences with it inspired me to continue to seek out food with floral ingredients. If you’ve never experimented with any of the 70 known varieties of edible flowers, try adding buds or blossoms to your repertoire. My recipe for that unforgettable lavender panna cotta is a great starting point.
Recipe on page 34 >>
local / mémé
By KATE ARIAN & MARISA DENKER Photo by DANGER CHIEN
MÉMÉ’S MOROCCAN SPICED SWORDFISH WITH GRILLED EGGPLANT AND HARISSA
amed after Chef David Katz’s beloved Moroccan grandmother, Mémé evokes the comfortable and intimate feeling of dining in a family kitchen. With its dark wooden beams and exposed brick wall, the décor is warm and inviting. Throughout the restaurant’s cozy interior, guests relax and enjoy their meals; from couples huddled over small corner tables to old friends catching up over glasses of wine, Mémé draws a cheerful crowd. Aromas from the stove instantly seduce passersby, luring them to take a seat in Katz’s dining room. Patrons squeeze close while dining together in this cozy atmosphere,
enhancing the experience as conversations intertwine. A chalkboard menu hangs against one wall, advertising the rotating menu and specials of the day; below, large glass windows look out onto Spruce Street. However, the most enchanting element of the scene is Chef Katz working his magic in the restaurant’s open kitchen. Mémé’s offerings are basic, they are free of the culinary veneer and pretentiousness that is so common in today’s restaurant scene. Nevertheless, Katz’s food still demonstrates creativity and quality. He dexterously plays with fresh, simple ingredients, bringing recipes to life with unexpected flavor combinations and skillful use of spices.
Our party started off with a seasonal romaine salad ($9) featuring green beans, potato, hard-boiled egg and Dijon dressing—very reminiscent of a niçoise salad. The quality of the ingredients was striking in this simple dish. The vegetables were crisp and fresh and the dressing simultaneously light and flavorful. Our second appetizer was the corn and ricotta agnolotti with black truffles and Parmigiano Reggiano ($11). The agnolotti— ravioli from Italy’s Piedmont region—were stuffed with light, airy ricotta cheese and covered in a decadent cream sauce. The Parmigiano Reggiano was sharp and played (continued) fall 2010 / penn appétit / 15
local / mémé
Named after Chef David Katz’s beloved Moroccan grandmother, Mémé evokes the comfortable and intimate feeling of dining in a family kitchen.
(continued from previous)
nicely against the mild taste of the pasta; shaved black truffles added a layer of earthiness to the dish. Juxtaposed against the silky agnolotti, crunchy corn kernels provided a bit of texture. The most memorable part of the meal was entirely unexpected. Arriving between the appetizer and main course was a roll—still hot from the oven—accompanied by a dish of the most sensational butter. Boasting an unparalleled richness and texture, the butter was a show-stopper, transforming the bread into a course in its own right. Our expectations for our first main course, lamb au jus with ratatouille ($23), were high, since the waiter boasted that the lamb had been delivered fresh that day. Sadly, it was not exceptional. The meat was not tender enough and was somewhat bland. Nestled around the lamb, a ratatouille of sautéed red peppers and zucchini added a spark of much-needed flavor. However, it was not enough to salvage the dish. Our second entrée, the Moroccan-spiced swordfish with grilled eggplant and harissa ($21), was a true success. Heralded by Mémé frequenters as one of the best items on the menu, this dish had a simple presentation in contrast to its complex flavors. Garnished with hints of Mediterranean spices, 16 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
cinnamon, and savory harissa, this fish was bold and piquant. Mémé’s menu offered two desserts. The first, an old-fashioned strawberry shortcake ($7), was sweet and tangy, with a fresh, airy whipped cream topping. The shortcake itself, however, was disappointing: dry and crumbly. Our second dessert, though, was excellent: a dark chocolate ganache cake ($8), embellished with vanilla bean ice cream. Each bite of moist, dense fudge stimulated the taste buds, providing for a very satisfying dessert experience. Mémé is a restaurant that should not be overlooked; it offers patrons a high quality dining experience without frills. Simple, fresh ingredients, when manipulated by Katz, emerge as a tantalizing mix of textures and flavors. Mémé boasts a seasonal menu, with an emphasis on bold flavors. Entrée prices range roughly from $13 to $25. With a small space and boisterous sound level, this restaurant might not be ideal for big groups. It is, however, a good option for couples and small groups looking for a casual, upscale dining experience. At Mémé, Katz allows you to enter his personal dining room, providing a unique experience as he transforms simple, New American cuisine into satisfying, memorable food.
THE LOWDOWN Mémé 2201 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, (215) 735-4900, memerestaurant.com. PRICE RANGE: Appetizers from $7-15, entrées from $13-25. ATMOSPHERE: Casual. IN SHORT: Simple, quality ingredients, combined to make inspired New American cuisine.
in the kitchen / cheese, cheese, cheese
say cheese Assembling a great cheese plate can seem like a daunting task. With so many options to choose from, picking the perfect spread requires a bit of know-how. Check out Penn Appétit’s simple guide to putting together a platter that’s sure to impress. (continued)
By ELISE D-M Photos by CHRISTIANA HAY
fall 2010 / penn appétit / 17
1 Assemble your cheeses on a large wooden or slate board. Cutting into the wedges is far easier on a hard surface. Consider pre-slicing any cheeses that are especially firm so guests don’t have to struggle with sharp knives.
ITALIAN RUSTICO A LIGHT, REFRESHING SHEEP’S MILK CHEESE WITH LEMON ESSENCE
Try arranging your cheeses in the order they should be eaten; generally, this means having guests start with the mildest cheese and end with the strongest.
WHERE TO BUY Trader Joe’s, DiBruno Bros., and Whole Foods all have a great selection of cheeses. Talk to a cheese monger before making your purchase.
2 Sweet fruits pair well with strong cheeses like bleus. Figs and grapes are excellent sugary options; fruit compotes or spreads can be used instead of fresh produce.
18 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
GOAT MILK GOUDA A FIRM, NUTTY GOUDA AGED 16 MONTHS, FROM HOLLAND
A PUNGENT RAW COW’S MILK CHEESE, WITH A VEIN OF ASH RUNNING THROUGH ITS CENTER
5 Apple slices enhance the flavors of a number of cheeses. Tart varieties like Granny Smith work best with pungent bleus and aged cheddars, while sweet apples like Winesaps pair well with a broader assortment of cheeses.
Unify your selections with a theme, such as ‘Wisconsin Cheeses,’ or ‘raw milk cheeses.’ Our platter features cheeses made from three kinds of milk: cow, sheep and goat milk.
3 Crackers and bread are excellent vehicles for serving cheese, but keep the starches simple in flavor; strong seasonings can muddle the flavor of the cheese.
4 Salty prosciutto— Italian dry-cured ham—is an excellent partner to soft cheeses like Chévre, or the lemony Rustico in our spread.
fall 2010 / penn appétit / 19
finger food: [ethiopian] By JOHNNY SCHAEFER Photo by JENNIFER SUN
DINERS AT WEST PHILADELPHIIA’S ABYSSINIA DIG IN TO A PLATTER OF WOTS.
local / ethiopian
WHERE TO GRAB A BITE of Ethiopian in Philadelphia QUEEN OF SHEBA 4511 Baltimore Ave. ETHIO CAFÉ 225 S. 45th St. KAFFA CROSSING 4423 Chestnut St. ALMAZ CAFÉ 140 S. 20th St. DAHLAK 4708 Baltimore Ave. ABYSSINIA 229 S. 45th St. GOJJO 4540 Baltimore Ave.
hile the University City dining scene is both delicious and diverse, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine after living on campus for a while. The same old assortment of burritos, pizza and hamburgers is easy to grab between classes, and it can be hard to break the cycle. Though Center City and other Philly neighborhoods offer a wealth of culinary options, trekking away from campus to satisfy one’s appetite for originality requires both time and money—commodities that are scarce for most college students. Determined to escape my culinary boredom with as little effort as possible, I rounded up a few friends and headed to a West-Philadelphia Ethiopian restaurant. Although we traveled only a few blocks from campus, it felt like we were thousands of miles away. Upon arrival, my friends and I spent several minutes staring at a menu full of items we couldn’t pronounce, before enlisting the expertise of our server, Zewanu, to help us order. We soon learned that Ethiopian food is not only distinctive in flavor and ingredients, but also in presentation. It is typically served family style on a huge plate of injera—a soft crepe-like flatbread made by fermenting an Ethiopian grain called tef—and then eaten with the fingers using the bread as a makeshift utensil. Acting as both plate and fork, injera is essential to Ethiopian cuisine. The fermentation process used to make injera instills it with a subtle sourness, similar to the taste of sourdough bread. The bread is slightly spongy, and is the ideal vehicle for sopping up the delicious wots—hearty stews—that make up much of Ethiopian cuisine. Intrigued by this idea of family-style finger food, we asked Zewanu to recommend several dishes that would best represent the cuisine. Hearing about such Ethiopian staples as kitfo—a spiced Ethiopian beef tartare, served with a side of seasoned cottage cheese—assured us that we had encountered an entirely new culinary world. Not feeling quite up to
eating raw meat at the moment, we resolved to make it a priority on our next visit. Instead, we set our appetites on doro wot, often considered the national dish of Ethiopia. Doro wot consists of a roasted chicken, slowly simmered in a flavorful sauce know as berbere. Unique to East African cuisine, berbere is a complex spice blend that includes chiles, ginger, cloves, coriander and allspice; commonly used to flavor wots, it has a rich earthiness and a punch of heat. Another Ethiopian specialty we sampled, tibs, was lighter and simpler in flavor than the rich doro wot. Tibs are bite-size pieces of poultry, lamb or beef, marinated in a tangy sauce of rosemary, tomatoes, onions and jalapeños. In general, I was pleasantly surprised by the intense spice of Ethiopian food. A quick glance at the menu of any Ethiopian restaurant illustrates the vast array of ingredients, flavors and textures that the cuisine offers. While there are plenty of meat options, there is also a great variety of vegetarian and vegan fare available due to the influences of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian tradition and the dietary restrictions prescribed by the faith. Looking back on my introduction to Ethiopian cuisine, the experience demonstrated that although it might seem like a big effort to seek out the unfamiliar, it can be as easy as walking a few blocks. Originally, my friends and I set out just to break the dullness of our culinary routines, but we encountered an exciting and exotic cuisine to add to our repertoires. Exploring Philadelphia’s vast array of Ethiopian restaurants is a great way to discover new foods and flavor combinations. With so many options for carnivores and vegetarians alike, Ethiopian is a smart choice for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Cheap, filling, flavorful and close to campus— what more could a college student ask for? fall 2010 / penn appétit / 21
local / food trucks
a taste of history By KILEY BENSE Photo from UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES*
hile trawling through the University archives for a writing assignment, I came across a curious photograph of a squat, rectangular structure, elaborately painted, and propped on a set of round, Conestoga-wagon like wheels. A little staircase has been moved in front of the door, and signage advertises “ice cream, hot chocolate, coffee, turnovers, fish cakes, chowder” and “temperance drinks of all kinds.” A notice on the roof announces that the cart is the property of “The Kiosk Quick Lunch Co.” The archive description dates the photograph to 1900, adding that it served Penn students and was patented by “builder T.H. Buckley of Worcester, Mass.” T.H. Buckley invented the food wagon, the precursor of todays food trucks. He was also the first to put stovetops in wagons, which allowed for food cart menus to be vastly expanded. Buckley’s Worcester-based business thrived, and eventually his decorative food carts populated many New England towns. The sign about temperance drinks on the Penn cart relates to the Church Temperance Society of New York. In the 1890s, it was common practice for bars to provide customers a free lunch with their liquor. To combat midday drinking at the height of the antialcohol movement, the Temperance Society got pragmatic. It outfitted carts with a full selection of free sandwiches and cakes and stationed them around New York City as an alternative to a cold beer at the local saloon. Other temperance groups followed suit, commissioning food 22 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
* “Lunch Cart, ‘Quick Lunch Kiosk’” University Archives Digital Image Collection. University Of Pennsylvania, 2009. Web. 19 Sept. 2010. <http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/archives/detail.html?id=ARCHIVES_20090623001>.
truck projects in towns across the Northeast. It is likely that the Philly cart in the photo was bought and set up by a group with motives similar to the Temperance Society’s, or even by the Society itself. Unsurprisingly, the carts hemorrhaged money. They were, after all, handing out free food. In any case, the Philly incarnation of the phenomenon closed in late 1900, and it seems that that was the end of the mobile food movement in Philadelphia for a long time. But by the 1970s, owning and operating a food truck offered a
cheaper alternative to opening a restaurant, and a slew of entrepreneurs jumped at the chance to seize and conquer the growing, lucrative market. This time around, food truck popularity soared. Today, food trucks are a mainstay in nearly every Penn student’s diet, and carts around the city serve countless hungry Philadelphians every day. While many University City trucks are starting to offer gourmet fare, the special set of vendors who set up shop in the rest of the city is of a different breed than their haute cuisine cousins
PROPERTY OF THE KIOSK QUICK LUNCH COMPANY, THIS FOOD TRUCK ROAMED PENN’S CAMPUS IN THE EARLY 1900s.
in New York or L.A. In a 2009 Gourmet piece, a food critic called the Philadelphia street food scene “a black sheep among the gazelles.” Philly, he says, stands apart as “the bruiser of a city where honest vendors work quilted metal carts and battered trucks, dishing the fuel of workaday life.” Like the temperance carts that once haunted Penn’s streets, today’s food trucks aspire simply to serve good, hot food for pocket change, well and unpretentiously. Food trucks today, next page >>
local / food trucks
A SODA TRUCK PARKED NEAR DREXEL’S CAMPUS AT 33RD & ARCH.
[evolved] Gone are the days of urban America’s “roach coaches” and lackluster street food. In their place, epicurean food trucks thrive and cater to the hungry masses. The food truck trend is taking the nation by storm, with vendors from L.A. to New York serving everything from organic, grass-fed hamburgers to French macarons. Food trucks make up today’s nouveau food court, and Philadelphians are more than happy to take a bite. >>
By NICOLE WOON Photos by NICOLE WOON & DANGER CHIEN fall 2010 / penn appétit / 23
WHILE SOME VENDORS STILL PARK QUILTED METAL CARTS ON UNIVERSITY CITY’S SIDEWALKS, MANY LOCAL TRUCKS FOCUS ON CREATING AESTHETICALLY PLEASING EXTERIORS, SUCH AS HONEST TOM’S VIVID “DAY OF THE DEAD” FAÇADE AND KOJA’S COLORFUL OVERLAY. WHAT REALLY DRAWS US TO THESE HUMBLE STREET CARTS, HOWEVER, IS THE FOOD. “SURE, THERE ARE SOPHISTICATED EATS TO BE HAD HERE, BUT EVEN THE HIPPEST OF NEW-GUARD PHILADELPHIA VENDORS ARE MORE FOCUSED ON FOOD THAN FOLDEROL,” SAID FOOD CRITIC JOHN EDGE OF PHILLY’S LUNCH CARTS IN A 2009 GOURMET PIECE.
Food trucks continually excite our taste buds, taking us on a culinary trip around the world. Hearty falafel balls evoke images of Cairo’s back alleys, sweet and savory crêpes hail from the streets of Paris, and spicy pork bulgogi transports eaters to the roads of Seoul.
OTHER TRUCKS’ DECADENT DESSERTS BALANCE HEARTY LUNCH FARE AND SUCCESSFULLY SATISFY EVEN THE STRONGEST OF SWEET TOOTHS. SUGAR PHILLY OFFERS TANTALIZING TREATS FROM MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH FRENCH MACARONS IN MILK-ANDHONEY, CHOCOLATE, AND TIRAMISU VARIETIES TO CLASSIC PEAR ALMOND TARTS TOPPED WITH CLEAR CARAMEL SAUCE AND CRÈME FRAICHE. SIMPLY PUT, PHILADELPHIA STREET FOOD REFUSES TO DISAPPOINT. 24 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
PENN APPÉTIT’S PICKS SUGAR PHILLY 38th/SANSOM Restaurant-style desserts for $5 each. HONEST TOM’S 33rd/ARCH Breakfast and lunch tacos. LA DOMINIQUE CRÊPERIE 34th/MARKET Gourmet crêpes, made to order. MEXI PHILLY 37th/SPRUCE Burritos and tostadas so good, you’ll want to go back everyday. We do. MAGIC CARPET 34th/WALNUT Vegetarian Middle Eastern fare—don’t worry, the lines move fast. KIM’S ORIENTAL 37th/WALNUT The best Chinese food cart on campus. HEMO’S 36th/SPRUCE Quick sandwiches. No frills. Always get extra sauce.
SO YOU’RE FAMILIAR WITH BUYING STREET FOOD, BUT DO YOU HAVE ASPIRATIONS TO RUN A FOOD TRUCK YOURSELF? ZBIGNIEW CHOJNACKI OF LA DOMINIQUE CRÊPERIE WARNS THAT EVEN THOUGH IT “LOOKS SIMPLE TO THOSE IN LINE, IT’S A LOT OF WORK WITH LONG HOURS.” YET AS DAN TANG OF SUGAR PHILLY EXPLAINS, IF YOU HAVE “A GOOD PRODUCT AND GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE AND AREN’T AFRAID TO CHANGE AND REFINE WHAT YOU DO TO MAKE YOURSELF A SUCCESS...MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY THROUGH FOOD” IS THE ULTIMATE REWARD. fall 2010 / penn appétit / 25
in the kitchen / cookbooks
26 / fall 2010 / penn appĂŠtit
80 years of Joy The Joy of Cooking turns 80 in 2011. This venerable cookbook has been an integral element in countless American kitchens for nearly a century. It is one of the most popular American cookbooks ever published. By TEAGAN SCHWEITZER Photos by TAYLOR McCONNELL fall 2010 / penn appĂŠtit / 27
in the kitchen / cookbooks SITTING PATIENTLY BESIDE THE JOY OF COOKING, A RAZOR SHARP KNIFE AWAITS DINNER PREP
he Joy was initially self-published by its author, Irma Rombauer, in St. Louis, Missouri in 1931—3,000 copies for $3,000. Irma was a recent widow and wrote the book in the hopes of making some money for her family. Her daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, illustrated the book entitled The Joy of Cooking: A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat. The original cover portrayed St. Martha of Bethany, the patron saint of cooking, slaying a dragon, a far cry from the simple image-less covers of later editions. Joy appealed to Depression era women because the recipes and instructions were written in relaxed, casual prose. This stood in stark contrast to many other cookbooks published at the time, which were mainly written by home economists famous for their scientific approach to cooking. First commercially published in 1936 by Bobbs-Merrill, the introduction of Joy noted the importance of this manner of writing:
“Most cookbooks are as soulless as an empty cupboard. This one is lively and engaging. The author interpolates interesting bits about the history of a dish or makes suggestions for variations of a basic recipe in much the same manner as she would in conversation.” As kitchen and nutritional technologies advanced and expanded, so too did Joy. The 1943 “wartime edition” included the addition of sections on pressure cookers, herb cultivation, culinary reference material, nutritional information, and recipes that used substitutes for ingredients that were subject to the rationing imposed during World War II. In 1951, Irma’s daughter Marion became a co-author of The Joy of Cooking. Marion added the first how-to drawings, which quickly became a popular feature. Other updates in this edition included sections incorporating technologies like home freezers, blenders, and electric mixers. An edition of Joy was published in 1962 without the knowledge or consent of the Rombauer family. Bobbs-Merrill instructed one of its editors to secretly revise the cookbook and proceeded to publish it without a contract. Worse yet, Marion Rombauer Becker learned of this publication at her mother’s wake. With Marion’s approval, and after making many corrections, another edition was released in 1963. This, the 5th ever and first paperback edition of Joy acted as reference material for both amateurs and professionals alike, and solidified its status as America’s kitchen bible. The 1975 edition of Joy contained over 4,500 recipes and was the bestselling edition 28 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
of all time. Both Marion’s husband John and her son Ethan played important roles in this revision. John worked as an editor and Ethan as a recipe tester and contributor. Craig Claiborne, food editor of The New York Times, claimed that this edition of Joy was “The finest basic cookbook available. It is a masterpiece of clarity.” Scribner published the 7th edition of Joy in 1997 in collaboration with Ethan Becker. This version of the cookbook was more of a rewrite than a revision; the conversational first-person narrative style traditionally associated with Joy was removed and replaced by commissioned recipes and food writing. These changes were controversial and disappointed many of the book’s loyal followers. The 75th anniversary edition of The Joy of Cooking, released in 2006, returned to the original friendly writing style of Irma Rombauer and reversed many of the contentious changes that had been made in 1997. What began as a homemaker’s attempt to support her family has blossomed into one of the most widely available and most touted cookbooks of all time. As stated in the 1936 introduction,
“The Joy of Cooking is as American as ham and eggs, as modern as...television; this is one of the most complete collections of recipes for good food ever assembled.” Joy has been an American culinary icon and a cultural force since its debut 80 years ago. The continual revision of this wonderful cookbook has allowed it to stay relevant to generation after generation of home cooks and professional chefs alike. Joy’s continued popularity is a testament to its ability to adapt to America’s expanding culinary horizons while maintaining a foundation of conventional and approachable recipes and techniques.
Apply to be on the Preceptorials Committee to fashion your own Preceptorials.
fall 2010 / penn appĂŠtit / 29
in the kitchen / pie
RESPECT YOUR APPLES
THE HERBINFUSED CARAMEL THAT FILLS THIS APPLE PIE ADDS A DELICATE EARTHINESS TO AN OTHERWISE SWEET RECIPE
GROWING UP IN A CULINARILY-TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE HOUSEHOLD, I WASN’T EXPOSED TO MANY BAKED DESSERTS AS A KID. AS A RESULT, MY ENCOUNTERS WITH PIE WERE RESTRICTED TO ONES BOUGHT FROM GROCERY STORES, WHICH FAILED TO DELIVER GOOD FLAVORS OR TEXTURES. BUT ALL THAT CHANGED IN SEPTEMBER, WHEN I HAD MY FIRST TASTE OF ROSEMARY APPLE PIE. By KHÁNH-ANH LÊ Photo by MAGGIE EDKINS 30 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
[ROSEMARY APPLE PIE] SERVES 8
ROSEMARY PASTRY INGREDIENTS 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. sugar ½ tsp. finely snipped fresh rosemary 1/3 cup ice water 1 cup butter 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten 1 Tbsp. vinegar FILLING INGREDIENTS ¼ cup granulated sugar ¼ cup water 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary + 1 tsp. finely-snipped ½ cup packed brown sugar ¼ cup all-purpose flour ¼ tsp. salt 1 Tbsp. lemon juice 3 Tbsp. whipping cream 1 tsp. vanilla ¼ cup butter
I WAS STILL AT HOME in
Middletown, Connecticut, since my academic term abroad begins later than Penn’s first semester. For the first time in four years, I was not only home for my parents’ wedding anniversary and for my mother’s birthday, I was also home for apple-picking season at Lyman Orchards. Lyman Orchards is very much a part of my childhood and my romanticized memories of New England autumns: taking photos in the pumpkin patch, getting lost in the corn maze, and eating apples in the orchard to the point of belly-aches. So, when my childhood friend Anna invited me to pick apples, I was a bit more than excited. From experience, prime apple-picking season is from late-September to midOctober. This early in the season, Lyman’s had only two varieties: McIntosh and Gala. We decided to collect the Gala because, while sweeter than McIntosh, they are dense and
6 cored, peeled and sliced apples suitable for baking (¼-½ in. thick) ON THE CRUST INGREDIENTS 1 egg white, beaten 2 tsp. granulated sugar ROSEMARY PASTRY: In large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and rosemary; cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter until mixture resembles cornmeal. In small bowl, combine ice water, egg yolk, and vinegar. Add liquid mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, to flour mixture using a fork to mix until flour mixture is moistened. Divide in half; form into balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it chill for 30 minutes. ROSEMARY SYRUP: In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine ¼ cup granulated sugar, water, and 2 sprigs rosemary. Microwave uncovered on 100% power for 2 minutes. Let stand 30 minutes; remove and discard rosemary sprigs. FILLING: In very large bowl, toss apples slices with lemon juice, set aside. In small bowl, combine brown
crisp, making them a better baking apple. The Galas at Lyman’s were mostly gold, the riper ones streaked with red and pink and roughly the size of my fist. In my household, we usually ate our 20 pound harvest of apples as it was, with the exception of my mom, who might dip a few slices in salt and crushed chili pepper—a standard Vietnamese condiment for any sweet fruit. No pies, no sauces, no strudels or breads. But Anna, an avid baker, insisted on pie. I was skeptical of her recipe for Rosemary Apple Pie, as I am of all pies, having had one too many mushy crusts and gelatinous fruit fillings. However, I quickly yielded, as we were, after all, using her kitchen and her ingredients. The recipe we used for Rosemary Apple Pie was adapted from a page Anna had saved from her grandmother’s copy of Better Homes and Gardens and is transcribed above.
sugar, flour, salt, 1 tsp. finely snipped rosemary, whipping cream, vanilla and rosemary syrup. Toss apple slices in brown sugar mixture to coat. In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add apple mixture. Cook over medium heat until brown sugar coating resembles a light caramel, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On lightly floured surface, slightly flatten one pastry ball. Roll it from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry onto a 9-inch pie-pan or plate. Trim pastry so it is even with the rim of the pie pan; spoon in apple mixture. Roll remaining ball of pastry into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Cut large slits in pastry. Place pastry circle on apple filling; trim to ½ inch beyond edge of pan. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with 2 tsp. sugar. Cover edge of pie with foil to prevent the crust from becoming too brown. Place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on wire rack; serve slightly warm. More recipes on page 34 >>
As we worked our way through the fairly simple recipe, we discovered that the only tricky part was moving the delicate pastry crusts from the table into the glass pie pan. Rolling out the dough onto a thoroughly floured piece of plastic wrap, and then carefully inverting it into the pan helps to minimize tearing. Aside from this, the most agonizing part of the whole process was the two-hour wait for the pie to cool and for the filling to set after baking. But oh, how my patience was rewarded. The crust had gentle undertones of rosemary; crumbling beautifully, it was still moist like a well-made scone. The apple slices were slightly crisp, and enrobed in a luxurious herb-infused caramel. The accents of rosemary added a welcome, savory earthiness. This Rosemary Apple Pie has changed my conception of pie entirely. I’ve discovered that making a pie is indeed a delicious way to respect an apple. fall 2010 / penn appétit / 31
blissful brunch By JULIA BROWNSTEIN Photo by ADAM PEARLSON & ERIKA YAMASAKI
GUESTS ENJOY THE FOOD AND CONVERSATION AT JULIA BROWNSTEIN’S BRUNCH
in the kitchen / brunch
MENU FOR 6
Two-Cheese Scrambled Eggs Crème Brulée French Toast Brown Sugar Baked Bacon fresh fruit simple green salad coffee/tea orange juice
fresh fruit salad ingredients 1 loaf country-style bread 1 package center-cut bacon corn syrup brown sugar vanilla cayenne pepper
I ADORE BRUNCH. Not only does brunch accommodate
my sleeping habits well, but it also satisfies my food cravings. Being a blend of breakfast and lunch, almost anything is appropriate brunch food. I always appreciate the fact that at brunch, I can have a salad, sandwich or soup, as well as eggs or pancakes. No other meal allows this much variety. For these same reasons, brunch is also a perfect meal for college entertaining. It is affordable, doesn’t require getting up early, and features foods even the pickiest of eaters can enjoy. This got me thinking about hosting a brunch of my own. A delicious weekend brunch would revive tired, over-worked college students and provide everyone a break from the standard dining hall food. As I thought about the menu I would serve, I wanted to cook food my friends were familiar with, but with a twist so as to make my brunch special. Scrambled eggs, French toast, and bacon immediately came to mind. I decided on Two-Cheese Scrambled Eggs, Crème Brulée French Toast, Brown Sugar Baked Bacon, fruit, and a simple green salad. I held my brunch during a weekend in the midst of midterm season, as there is no better study break than delicious food and great company. I kept things simple, with no extra fuss or mess; the atmosphere was casual so my friends and I could relax and enjoy the food. When planning a brunch, it is important to consider timing. The day of, you do not want to be prepping for hours, or relentlessly flipping pancakes and French toast at the griddle. Crème Brulée French Toast is a great brunch option since it can be made in advance and baked just before serving. This French toast looks and tastes impressive and complex, but is extremely easy to make. It is sweet, rich and delicious, and it leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your party. Eggs, on the other hand, cannot be made ahead of time. They are
carton of 18 eggs ½ lb. ricotta cheese ¼ lb. white cheddar cheese butter 1 pint of half-and-half drinks Grand Marnier (optional)
really only good fresh, so having a quick, sophisticated egg recipe in your arsenal is a must for pulling off a successful brunch. I learned the recipe for Two Cheese Fluffy Scrambled Eggs at a cooking class I took a previous summer. The eggs are simple to make and require little prep time. Adding ricotta cheese to the egg mixture before cooking it makes the scramble unbelievably light and fluffy, while the cheddar added at the end melts into the eggs, producing a cheesy, gooey end result. Like the eggs, my Brown Sugar Baked Bacon is a great twist on a classic. Baking the bacon not only eliminates the need to clean up the bacon grease that inevitably spatters everywhere when bacon in fried, but it also makes it easy to prepare a large amount at one time. The bacon ends up salty and sweet, with a punch of heat from the cayenne pepper. The pepper enhances the flavors of the bacon and brown sugar, but its heat is not at all overpowering. Salad and fruit are a refreshing contrast to the three rich centerpieces of the meal. I prepared a simple fruit bowl, and a green salad tossed with a dressing of oil and balsamic vinegar. Not only do these items add a little bit of lunch to the brunch, but also they give your guests some lighter fare to fill up on. Brunch is the perfect solution to entertaining in college. It is easy to plan, the ingredients are cheap, and it falls at the perfect time of day. The diversity in brunch-acceptable foods also leaves a lot of room for creativity in the menu planning. The dishes I chose are easy and time efficient, but still unique and memorable. In the end, brunch was a success—the food was delicious, the company great, and overall, I was thrilled about how easy it was to execute my idea. It was a fun, leisurely and delicious break from my weekly routine. Recipes on next page >> fall 2010 / penn appétit / 33
in the kitchen / recipes
[honey lavender panna cotta] (from “Edible Flowers,” p. 14) SERVES 4 Plain panna cotta is livened up with the scent and bite of dried lavender blossoms. Lavender can be found at specialty spice shops or ordered online. INGREDIENTS 1 ½ tsp. powdered gelatin 2 ½ Tbsp. cold water 1 cup heavy cream ¼ cup honey 1 cup half-and-half 1 ½ tsp. dried lavender + buds to garnish fresh blackberries to garnish Soften gelatin with 2 tablespoons of water for at least 5 minutes. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the cream, honey, and lavender to a light simmer, then turn off the heat. Whisk to incorporate honey evenly, then strain the mixture into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the gelatin until evenly distributed and so no lumps remain. Stir in the half-and-half. Pour panna cotta mixture into 4 small glasses or ramekins, and chill to set for 3-4 hours. Garnish with blackberries and lavender buds. Serve chilled.
[brown sugar baked bacon] (from “Blissful Brunch,” p. 32) SERVES 4
Sweet, salty, and spicy,
34 / fall 2010 / penn appétit
CRAVING MORE? Check out the Penn Appétit blog at www.pennappetit.blogspot.com for exclusive recipes.
this recipe for oven-crisped bacon eliminates the muss and fuss that comes with pan frying. INGREDIENTS ¼ cup brown sugar ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper ¼ tsp. black pepper 8 slices center-cut bacon Preheat the oven to 375° F. Mix the first three ingredients in a mediumsized bowl. Add the bacon and toss to coat. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set a wire rack on top. Lay bacon across rack, and press any extra sugar mix into strips. Bake on an upper rack in the oven until bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
[two-cheese scrambled eggs]
egg mixture. Cook the eggs, stirring constantly. As the eggs start to firm, add the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Cook until eggs begin to lose their moisture. Remove from heat; serve immediately.
[creme brulée french toast] (from “Blissful Brunch,” p. 32) SERVES 6 This make-ahead dish is incredibly rich and decadent; no need to bother with maple syrup.
INGREDIENTS 12 eggs 8 oz. ricotta cheese 2 Tbsp. butter 4 oz. shredded white cheddar cheese salt and pepper to taste Scramble the eggs in a large bowl with the ricotta cheese. In a non-stick sauté pan, melt the butter and add the
[yam congee] (from “Congee for the Soul,” p. 6) SERVES 3-4 This luxurious rice porridge can be doctored up with anything from salty dried meat to sweet goji berries. Simple yet satisfying, try serving congee as a warm, filling breakfast.
INGREDIENTS 2 Tbsp. corn syrup 1 8-inch round loaf country- style bread 5 large eggs 1 ½ cups half-and-half 1 tsp. vanilla 1 tsp. Grand Marnier (optional) ¼ tsp. salt
INGREDIENTS ½ cup rice, washed and drained 4 1/3 - 4 ½ cups water 1 yam (10-12 cm in length)
In a small, heavy saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring until smooth. Pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use; trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in the baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
Bring the congee to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add the chopped yams. Cook another 15 minutes, or until the yams are fork tender and porrige is thick. The rice may to stick to the bottom of the pot, so stir as needed.
(from “Blissful Brunch,” p. 32) SERVES 6 Best hot out of the pan, these scrambled eggs are light, fluffy, and filled with veins of gooey, melted cheddar.
bread to room temperature. Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve French toast immediately.
Put the rice and water in a pot. Let the rice soak for at least 2 hours. Peel the yam and chop it into small cubes, 1-1 ½ cm square.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, halfand-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined. Pour the mixture evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
NOTE: This basic congee recipe can be altered to suit your preferences. The yam can be replaced with 1 cup of shredded cooked turkey or beef, or ½ cup presoaked mung beans for a healthy twist.
Preheat oven to 350° F and bring
Recipe courtesy of Dahva Chen
closing / poetry
“Any time of day is a good time for pie.” - Fabienne, Pulp Fiction
loves of the pies By ANDREW SAVINO Photo by CHRISTIANA HAY Rich Pumpkin takes him gently in her arms, Her smile pregnant with her tender charms, The suitor nods his head his eyes they close, Her warmth invites a quiet sweet repose. Key Lime her kiss plays harshly with the tongue, Her name not often called, her song not sung, She sounds a siren’s cry for all to hear, Which oft gives birth to nothing but dark fear. Fair Apple with her golden locks of silk, Glows brightly in the night, her skin of milk Doth cleanse the air of all impurity, She brings her suitor swiftly to one knee. He turns to follow Cherry through the dark, O’er many hill and knoll she leaves her mark; Her heart is drunk with love, her spirit light, She turns to acquiesce instead of fight.
fall 2010 / penn appétit / 35
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