EPICUREAN THE YALE
AN UNDERGRADUATE PUBLICATION
FROM THE EDITOR | JORDAN ZIMMERMAN
DEAR FELLOW EPICURES,
In this season of snow banks, icy streets, long johns and marshmallow coats, we invite you to cozy up to the fire with a mug of hot cocoa and our second yearly issue of the Yale Epicurean (perhaps with some real marshmallows this time). Despite the snow-choked earth, February is a great month for loving and eating, as well as loving what you eat. Which isnâ€™t too hard for most of us, considering the fact that both the urge for the satisfaction of our stomachs and the satisfaction of our desires are inextricably wired into all of us from birth. Think about it: we need food for growth and sex for reproduction. Biting into an oozy dark chocolate brownie can be just as pleasurable as a dark room with someone special. Desire is human, and humans eat to live. This Valentineâ€™s season, grab a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates and prepare yourself for a lesson in aphrodisiacs, sugar sculptures, and chocolate kisses. Because whether or not you claim a sweetheart of your own, you can at least eat them, right? Because carbs keep a body warm. And love does a body good. Gastronomically yours, Jordan Zimmerman
EPICUREAN AN UNDERGRADUATE PUBLICATION Editor-in-Chief | Jordan Zimmerman Gastronomica | Kate Huh Reviews | TaoTao Holmes Recipes | Alison James Business | Winnie Huang Design | Earl Lee www.yaleepicurean.com The views and opinions expressed in articles in this publication are those of the authors of the articles and of the editorial board of The Yale Epicurean, and not of Yale College or Yale University. All references to The Yale Epicurean refer, in fact to the full name of the organization, The Yale Epicurean, an Undergraduate Publication.
EPICUREAN AN UNDERGRADUATE PUBLICATION
WINTER 2012 | VOLUME III | ISSUE 2
Salty Love | Sophie Mendelson Obsession | Sophia Hua Baci and Black Day | Kate Huh Dining Hall Etiquette | Sarah Jamel
5 7 8 9
Magarik Report | Yasha Magarik Cast Iron Soul | Ryan Healey Katalinaâ€™s Bakery | Nina Russell Crazy Sexy Diet | Serena Gelb
11 13 15 18
Red Beet Risotto | Alison James Bleeding Heart Ravioli | Frances Sawyer Banana Ice Cream | Lucas Sin Charlotte Malakoff | Beau Gabriel
19 19 21 23
Dr. Rangelove | Josh Evans
Interested in contributing to the Yale Epicurean? Email email@example.com Cover design by Earl Lee.
A Salty Take on Love
by sophie mendelson
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I have decided to write about salt. Cue the raised eyebrows and cocked head. Excuse me? you ask yourself. Salt? Of all the things to write about for the Valentine’s Day issue of a food magazine, you chose not chocolate, not oysters, not figs or garlic—nothing remotely aphrodisiac or even sweet—but salt? Now you’re torn between rolling your eyes and shrugging your shoulders. Wait! Before you do either of those things, I urge you to hear me out. No, salt is not an aphrodisiac; it won’t be listed as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things 5 | Winter 2012
for Valentine’s Day, and it rarely graces the heart-covered, red-and-pink displays that materialize as soon as drugstores manage to clear out their Christmas decorations. Salt has probably never been described as romantic or sexy. And yet I propose that salt is more closely intertwined with the idea of love than are any of the more commonly championed Valentine’s Day ingredients. You see, salt and love actually have quite a lot in common. Based on my somewhat limited experience with the real deal itself—and much more substantial experience with other people’s
accounts of it—love, like salt, has a huge influence on how we perceive our experiences. Too little of either, and the experience is dull, lackluster. Too much, and you put your heart at risk (think heart disease). But just the right amount achieves a complex, satisfying sense of balance and depth, an intensification and heightening of perception—in short, bliss. Consider the role of salt when it comes to flavoring a dish. Can you think of a single recipe that does not call for at least a pinch of salt? That is because salt is a flavorant, meaning that it not only Yale Epicurean
supplies its own flavor but also highlights accompanying flavors. As Food Network chef Alton Brown put it in an episode of Good Eats, “Salt doesn’t make things taste salty—it makes them taste good.” When we add salt to a dish, pleasure increases until an optimal point is reached, beyond which further addition leads to a decrease in pleasure. Beyond its function of enhancing the pleasurable qualities of flavor, salt has the remarkable ability to block the sensation of bitterness. The brain’s perception of the four non-salty flavors— sweet, sour, bitter, and umami—starts with flavor-specific protein receptors on the tongue. The sodium ion, however, activates taste cells by activating ion channels that are present in all of the tongue’s receptors. Sodium ions are able to block bitter compounds from entering their receptors, preventing the trigger of bitterness perception in the brain. However, rather than blocking the other flavors from accessing their respective receptors, salt boosts them. Therefore, salt creates pleasure by simultaneously repressing unpleasant flavors and enhancing enjoyable ones.
Are you beginning to see the parallels? Not quite? Well, let me lay it out for you. Love alters how we perceive the world around us. Some have likened love to a drug, but I would say that love is closer in character to a (drum roll please!) . . . flavorant. Think back to the last time you fell in love. You feel the soaring joyfulness of the emotion, the sweeping expanse of yourself unlocked by this other person. But that’s not all: everything around you feels, somehow, more. The sun is sunnier, the silhouettes of the buildings more defined and picturesque, the harmony in that pop song more balanced and buoyant. The anger you feel at this or that injustice burns clean and pure. Happiness becomes ex6 | Winter 2012
uberance, and even sadness is exquisite (admit it: you cry at that sappy movie, and it feels so beautiful to do it!). You find yourself resilient in the face of setbacks, beyond the reach of hopelessness. Love elevates each emotion and experience you come across to an art form, shielding you from bitterness. The trick with love, as with salt, is finding balance without going too far. Of course there is risk involved in love; the joy of having goes hand in hand with the sorrow of losing. But losing your sense of perspective by throwing yourself into love with wild abandon is like salting a dish to the point where the salt overwhelms all other flavors. Such recklessness is neither healthy nor pleasurable. Then there is the other end of the spectrum: once love is experienced, how bland everything seems without it! But we are willing to take the risk—of losing it, and of suffering from too much of it—in the off chance that we play it just right and find that bliss point. Maybe by this time I have convinced you of the validity of my saltlove analogy. Maybe not. Don’t take my word for it: the next time you eat a grapefruit, sprinkle it with a little salt, and see how the bitterness fades away to allow sweetness and sourness to shine through. Taste those caramelizing onions before and after salting, and notice how the flavor blooms and intensifies. Dab that dark chocolate with fleur de sel before allowing it to melt on your tongue. How does it taste? The chocolate is deeper, earthier, fruitier, and more complex; the sweetness is brighter and less cloying. And how does it feel? Well, maybe a little like love. Sophie Mendelson is a freshman in Berkeley College. She fell head over heels for the salty-sweet combination the first time she ate Chubby Hubby ice cream at age 5, and hasn’t looked back since. She hopes that everyone will be so lucky in finding the flavor profile that’s right for them, and encourages people not to give up searching. Your soul-flavor is out there somewhere!
GASTRONOMICA | CYNTHIA HUA
OBSESSION: EXPLORING YALIES’ FOOD CRAZE
alies are in love with food— obsessed, really. The very fact that you’re now reading Yale’s undergraduate food and wine magazine, attests to that statement. The rise in students’ interest in food culture parallels a national craze, but how has this obsession manifested itself in daily life at Yale? Here are a few examples: “It’s chicken tenders day.” This simple sentence is enough to make most groggy heads pop up as they nod off in class. Chicken tenders have garnered a cult-like following at Yale: the Yale Daily News occasionally issues a “Public Service Announcement” when dining halls are serving the tenders; Bay Gross ’13 created isitchickentendersday. com to answer the all-important question; and dining hall cooks can barely fry quickly enough to keep up with the demand. People walk away with platefuls of chicken tenders—what better way to show love than through such ravenous dedication? But according to Stu Comen, chef of Silliman College, the tenders almost didn’t happen. Up until about two years ago, “we were using pre-breaded ones and were asked to stop using them because of the processing involved,” Stu said. “We put up a stink knowing they were well liked…The rest is history.” The food courses. It’s not just the students here who love food—professors love it, too. A quick OCS search using the keyword “food” pulls up Professor Veronika Grimm’s current course Food and Diet in Greco-Roman Antiquity and Professor Barbara Stuart’s English seminar Writing About Food. Last semester, Professor Risa Sodi taught Italian Food and Literature, while Professor Maria Trumpler taught Women, Food, and Culture. All of these courses have shown an ever-increasing number of shoppers. When asked to shed light on students’ infatuation with food, Professor Trumpler explained that 7 | Winter 2012
“college students everywhere focus on food because it is a break several times a day from the life of the mind.” So goes the logic: if food represents a break, then a course about food is bound to be fun. The websites. The number of food-related websites created by tech-loving continues to grow as innovative students find ways to make the unappetizing prospect of schoolwork more bearable.
Unfortunately, it was not chicken tenders day when this picture was taken. Photo by Earl Lee.
We have yumyumyale.com, designed by a group of students who make gourmet meals using ingredients available in the dining halls. Then there’s ysfp.tumblr. com, a Yale Sustainable Food Project site dedicated to all things food related, from food politics to recipes. To add to the bunch, a new Twitter account, @ yalefruitreport, recently debuted with the purpose of helping Yalies who are “tired of brown bananas, overripe orange[s], and rock-hard pears/kiwis/ plums” root out the freshest fruit in the dining halls. According to the Yale Fruit Report’s cofounder, who goes simply by Nathalie on the site, “the tastiness of fruit is not always easy to judge on sight…By letting people know where to find really good fruit, we are helping them make healthy choices and realize that a great piece of fruit is the best snack or dessert they can choose.” Yalies seeking even more
procrastination methods can turn to yalefoodporn.tumblr.com, a gluttonyinducing website modeled after the infamous foodporndaily.com. Founded by Megan Jenkins ’14, yalefoodporn is a place where Yalies can gawk at pictures of food either made at Yale, or bought at a restaurant frequented by Yalies. In describing the site’s allure, Jenkins said, “I suppose food porn, like...traditional porn, is appealing since it evokes a basic need that is, to many, quite pleasurable to satisfy.” Why do Yalies love good food so much? Professor Grimm speculated that food offers “immediate gratification— the immediate reaction is that people are interested in it.” Professor Trumpler observed that more recently, “Yale students in particular see food as a place for social activism.” If the growth of the Yale Farm, the YHAAP Fast, and Food Day New Haven are any indication, Professor Trumpler seems to have hit on an important truth: students here can turn something as simple as food into a cause. In the end, Yale’s food scene would be nothing without good food and good chefs. As Chef Stu stated, “[at] Yale we use real chefs from schools like CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and Johnson & Wales. These chefs are the key to why the food at Yale is so good, along with quality ingredients we use…A lot of other places come looking to Yale to see how it’s done and why it’s so popular. I’ve been to Harvard and they’re at a point we were at 10 years ago, maybe longer.” Channeling George Bernard Shaw, Professor Grimm put it another way: “There is no love more sincere than the love of food.” Touché. Sophia Hua is a sophomore in Saybrook College who has taken a food-related class for all but her first semester at Yale. Her second semester freshman year saw three out of four classes related to food! Yale Epicurean
GASTRONOMICA | KATE HUH
BACI AND BLACK DAY:
VALENTINE’S CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
rousal; temptation; placation. It’s a universal sequence, good for blueprinting two things: the rising action of a soap opera and a trip to the candy shop. Food has long been perhaps the most simply and primitively satisfying embodiment of love that’s available to us; it’s no wonder that cultures around the globe fete romantic love with food, in ways as manifold as variations on a classic recipe. Love’s nutritive quality, as well as the hours of ardor often poured into the process of food preparation, ensures people the world over opportunities to put their love on mouthwatering display. In Japan, for instance, women traditionally gift men with chocolates on Valentine’s Day—and often use the occasion to establish subtle specifications of the nature of their relationships. Girichoco, or “obligatory chocolate,” makes quick, linear migrations from store shelves to the reception of coworkers and friends. Honmei-choco, or “truefeeling chocolate,” on the other hand,
and on March 14, 1978, men returned women’s expressions of affection, both platonic and romantic, with marshmallows and white chocolate. By the time the holiday passed its 30-year mark, some changes had occurred: the unofficial rule of sanbai gaeshi now encourages men to give gifts two to three times as expensive as those they received, and gifts commonly given include jewelry, white lingerie, and desserts ranging from cookies to dark chocolate. With its long-vaunted reputation as an aphrodisiac, chocolate is a seemingly ubiquitous staple of celebrations of Valentine’s Day, especially in Western countries, and of similar holidays and festivals commemorating love around the world. In 1922, the Italian confectionery company Perugina engineered the still-popular Baci, dark chocolate and hazelnut pralines wrapped in papers inscribed with multilingual love notes. In countries such as Sweden, however, chocolate often takes second stage to marzipan-decorated sweetbreads, pas-
In Japan, for instance, women traditionally gift men with chocolates on Valentine’s Day
is conspicuously higher in value, sentimental or otherwise—women typically hunt products of pricier confectionary brands or opt to craft the treats themselves at home. In the late 1970s, a marshmallow company based in Fukuoka, Japan piloted a “response holiday” to be called White Day, a proposed opportunity for men to reciprocate Valentine’s Day gift giving. Japan’s National Confectionery Industry promptly shouldered the cause, 8 | Winter 2012
tries, and jellies in fruit flavors and assorted shapes. Romantic giddiness and the ephemeral sensation of sweetness are interlocked, it seems, in historic and intuitive analogy. In Malaysia on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, some partnerless Hokkien Chinese women pen their phone numbers on the surfaces of mandarin oranges and throw them communally into rivers, in hopes that the current will usher them into well-matched bache-
lors’ hands. Fruit vendors often salvage the floating fruits and sell them at market; their taste is a purported indication of prospective couples’ fate and degree of compatibility. Ripe fruit has long connoted fertility and romantic love in societies spanning ancient Greece and medieval China—in Iraq, for example, Kurdish couples press cloves into red winter apples to preserve them and gift them as symbols of devotion and good fortune. Some 3,000 miles to the north of Kuala Lumpur, South Koreans, who share celebration of Valentine’s and White Days with the Japanese, observe singleness in a rather less optimistic way: on Black Day, which takes place exactly one month after White Day, jaded singles make their way to local jjajangmyun restaurants to commiserate over bowls of thick wheat noodles ladled with dark soybean sauce. A reinvention of the Chinese dish zhajiangmian, jjajangmyun is salty, inexpensive, and near impossible to enjoy without slopping black sauce most unceremoniously across lips and cheeks; eating the popular, hearty dish communicates a sort of defiance in the face of frivolous Valentine’s Day delicacies. Black Day represents a developed vision of single Americans’ perennial tongue-in-cheek grumblings about devouring chocolate for comfort and collectively recognizing February 14 as Singles Awareness Day (SAD). Both of these days highlight the ability of food to provide indulgent, if temporary, stoppers for holes in other areas of our lives—but if, as George Bernard Shaw famously confessed, “there is no love sincerer than the love of food,” our relationships with food may merit some one-on-one attention.
GASTRONOMICA | SARAH JAMPEL
by Sarah Jamel Photos by Earl Lee
List of Ten Unacceptable
Dining Hall Behaviors
GASTRONOMICA | SARAH JAMPEL
1. Unnatural Selection:
Removing any vital component of a dish to leave only the un-/less desirable parts. Instances of this practice include, but are not limited to, scooping the icing off a cupcake, regardless of the implement employed (finger, cookie, knife, etc.); scraping the crust from the Berkeley mac ’n’ cheese; and fishing all of the wontons out of the wonton soup.
2. Hoarding: Taking large
amounts of any food that is obviously of limited quantity. Let’s use common sense: if there’s a bowl of blackberries at brunch, chances are that it isn’t because some magical porthole in the kitchen leads to a field of bushes yielding unlimited supplies of indigo berries. More likely, Yale Dining over-ordered for an event and now has to ditch its leftovers. The dirty looks people tend to get for squirreling cupfuls of berries back to their rooms are in no way unwarranted.
3. Hands to Yourself:
Using, no matter the circumstance, one’s hands (or God forbid, other body parts) to cut and/or select food (with the exception of fruit—see below).
4. Fruit Groping:
Proceeding to fondle every individual piece of fruit in the refrigerator prior to plucking the perfect specimen. But just because your hand falls upon a mushy apple or a pear that could double as a rock, should you be subjected to the awful fate of trying to consume or discreetly dispose of it? Dear God, is there any solution to this in-
surmountable crux? Perhaps the Yale Fruit Report is the one answer. Other than that, Yale Dining could provide tongs, display its fruit in clear, shallow bowls, or, if that proves too difficult, take the authoritarian approach and force students to wear plastic medical gloves at all times.
5. No Shirt, No Shoes, Big Problem: Public
indecency. These days, there are a lot of questions about what constitutes acceptable clothing in public in the first place (not to mention the contentious issue of whether time in the dining hall even counts as time in “public”). But it is common courtesy not to subject fellow diners to sporadic views of body parts no one wants to see outside of Toad’s.
6. Rain Sweat Drops Are Falling on My Head Food: Leaving a
trail of sweat throughout the dining hall or temporary sweat outlines of butts on seats after a hard workout.
7. Occupy Dining Hall:
Claiming any table as one’s personal home during reading and finals week, the most heinous offense being the stationing of lamps, piles of books, and grocery-store quantities of snacks on particularly desirable tables. As reading week progresses into finals period, Yale students who have not transitioned into living in the dining hall have an increasingly difficult time finding a place to sit without feeling that they have stumbled into someone else’s
common room. Not only that, but the dining staff is forced after each meal to navigate around temporary refuges in order to clean.
8. Cock Blocking:
Having a long conversation, or presenting a dramatic monologue, that creates a human barrier between other students and their chicken tenders. People socializing in the buffet area can consider moving to a less prime spot, perhaps away from the door or sundae station and nearer to the crusty hummus or graying tuna salad.
9. Analysis Paralysis:
Gazing up at the cereal dispensers for an exorbitant amount of time as though making a life-altering decision, while other people anxiously await their daily fix of Reese’s Puffs.
10. “You’re Eating That?!”: Offering
unsolicited commentary and critique on the food that the dining staff has prepared and that friends might—shockingly—eat! Pointing out that a certain dish triggers one’s gag reflex or doesn’t fit into a new macrobiotic lifestyle makes those who have prepared it or were planning to eat it uncomfortable. The dining halls may not be catered by Mama’s home cookin,’ but it’s hard not to be grateful in the end for the amount and variety of good-quality food they offer.
Sarah Jampel is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College who can be caught committing many of the aforementioned dining hall offenses.
REVIEWS | YASHA MAGARIK
The Magarik Report: Sexual Behavior in the Human Foodie
ommon wisdom dictates giving flowers, chocolates, or other sweets for Valentine’s Day. As Florence Nightingale notes, “Many people take their dates out to eat either the weekend before or on the day of romance itself.” Why? Food is both social and sensual. But it is the rare guide to romance that mentions the next, more intimate step for those lovers who are passionate about food. Having undertaken a study on this topic comparable in scope to the Kinsey Reports, I am compelled to release the results of my interviews, surveys, and perusal of the existing literature. This, then, is the incomplete guide to mixing food and sex. First: a definition. Food fetishes are by no means uncommon; the broader
gravitates toward pastrami sandwiches and a dish he invents and dubs the “pudding skin single,” to which Jerry Seinfeld remarks, “I’ll tell you what you did, Caligula. You combined food and sex into one disgusting, uncontrollable urge.” Contrary to Jerry’s interpretation, food fetishes are not perverted; the lesson from George’s case is, instead, that certain food items are not universally sexy. Pastrami on rye (or even pastrami on wheat, if you gloss Sitophilia literally) might be worth avoiding. That being said, widely recognized sexologist Margaret Thatcher famously wrote, “If a sandwich gets you and your fully consenting partner(s) off, more power to you.” Fourth: categories of operation.
and retrieving the slice through kissing, or simply pouring the shot on the person and then licking it off. One interviewee noted that honey works better for this, since it will stay put longer and avoid the negatives of alcohol, salt, or citrus. Fruits work very well, as do some vegetables. When using fruits with small seeds, be careful around orifices. The same goes for acidic items (like citrus fruits), spicy dishes, and certain oily mixtures; these can all aggravate sensitive spots. Cumin, for instance, goes well in curry and not on a woman’s clitoris. I am told that certain sauces like marinara or pesto can be arousing; Immanuel Kant suggests self-reflection as a means for finding the perfect fit. As an Ashkenazi Jew with roots in Riga,
Cumin, for instance, goes well in curry and not on a woman’s clitoris. term, which refers to both sexual and non-sexual food play, is Sitophilia, a word of Greek origin that literally means “love of wheat.” Scholars argue that ancient Mediterranean peoples put their threshing floors to multiple uses. Second: preparation. Chill or heat your various foods beforehand so you do not have to sit waiting when the moment is right. It seems smart to spread a towel or two over the work site, or, if things might get out of hand, rent a waterproof tarp. Bathe before and after (or during) the experiment, for the sake of hygiene. If you clean your dishes before and after use, that is. Third: what to avoid. In “The Blood,” the fourth episode of Seinfeld’s ninth season, George Costanza (Jason Alexander) tries to combine food and sex after smelling his girlfriend’s vanilla-scented incense. But George 11 | Winter 2012
There are three: kissing, smearing, and penetration. The first is a good way to ease into things; simply take some of the food in your mouth and kiss with it. For this, use liquids and sweets. For smearing, use viscous substances, like honey or mashed fruit. And for penetration, use well-washed items that will stay together: cucumbers, firm bananas, and cherries. Be gentle and communicate at each step. Fifth: which foods to use? My general rule is that sweet is better than savory. Maybe this is why dessert comes last; it encourages dates to develop into foreplay. Chocolate and whipped cream are obvious starters. Then there are body shots, for which there are two methods: either sprinkling salt on the partner’s body, and having the partner hold the citrus slice in his/her mouth before taking the shot, licking the salt,
Latvia, I love me a good borscht, but that super-staining soup never goes near my bedroom. No fetish is “wrong” as long as you and your partner communicate, consent, and practice it safely. The (real) sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s favorite story involves a man who once called her radio show because he did not know what to make of his girlfriend’s preferred form of foreplay. The girlfriend, apparently, liked to toss onion rings onto his erect member. Folks, that’s about as good as it gets. Yasha Magarik is a senior in Calhoun interested in satire, sex, and pseudepigrapha.
Spicy pork noodles at Danji, in New York, NY. Photo by Earl Lee
BRANFORD COLLEGE MASTER’S TEA Cosponsored by the Yale Sustainable Food Project
Peter Meehan Creator and Editor of Lucky Peach Magazine Journalist Peter Meehan has worked at The New York Times, writing their $25 and Under column, and more recently, a series on sustainable living and eating in the city entitled Grass Fed. He cocreated and currently edits a new food focused quarterly, Lucky Peach Magazine, with muchbeloved Momofuku chef David Chang. Tuesday, February 28th at 4:00 pm Branford College Master’s House 80 High Street
REVIEWS | RYAN HEALEY
Serving Up the Best Damn Date
A Valentine’s Dinner Way off the Eaten Path: Cast Iron Soul
ere’s an idea for a Valentine’s Day date: as the sun sets and icy darkness entombs New Haven, head out from campus down College Street. Keep walking: past the Green, past the Shubert, over the highway, past the Medical school. You’re not there yet. College Street curves into Congress Avenue and the blocks get darker and darker. Alone on the deserted streets save for your date and frozen puffs of breath, you may question your decision. But when the last of the Yale medical and hospital buildings fade behind you, you’re almost there. You’re almost at Cast Iron Soul— arguably the best restaurant in New Haven. I’ve gone to school in New Haven my whole life. I’ve been to almost every restaurant the Elm city has to offer. Save for Ibiza on its best nights and Pepe’s, there is no restaurant as consistently delicious as Cast Iron Soul, a “New Orleans style” soul food restaurant located in The Hill— a neighborhood that would send spasms of terror down your parents’ backs. But you’re unconcerned with “crime”; You’re not afraid of “venturing out of the bubble.” You realize that the supposedly “best” restaurants that line Chapel Street are entry-level facsimiles of what lies a hundred minutes away on Metro-North. Why go to a restaurant that isn’t as good as the New York restaurant it’s aping when we have true treasures — restaurants that don’t try to be anything but delicious — a mere mile-and-a-half from campus? That’s why you’re here, unsure of yourself in this unfamiliar neighborhood. As the garish glow of “Elm City Liquors” dances on your face, you’ll look at your date and smile. “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” you ask. This is. Here is the promised land. Here is Cast Iron Soul. Come right in. 13 | Winter 2012
To the counter! You’re likely to be met by Stephen Ross, the head chef who opened Cast Iron with his fiancee Shayla Crawford, who serves as the restaurant’s pastry chef. The couple met at Sandra’s, the mythical temple of New Haven soul food on Whitney Avenue that tragically shuttered in 2008. After Sandra’s, Ross cooked at Zinc and Barcelona and attended the Connecticut
Photos by Ryan Healey
Culinary institute, before opening Cast Iron Soul a year-and-a-half ago. The menu is divided into sections — “Appetizers,” “Wings,” “Leafy Greens,” “Fish Fry Dinners,” “Po Boys” — but don’t be distracted: head straight for the “Pick Your Plate” section. For this night of romance, you’ll want to order “The Fat Boy”— two entree choices and four sides. The cost: $16. For the cost of an appetizer at Heirloom, you get, well, an enormous amount of food. More difficult than finishing it, though, is deciding what to order.
Will it be the pulled pork BBQ— a heavenly mound of shredded, glistening pork? It is perfect, essentially. The case against keeping kosher in one bite. Nowhere near dry, but not drowning in a heart-stopping pool of fat, the shards have the slightest whisper of vinegar to cut through the richness. A cup of pitch-perfect, smoky-sweet barbecue sauce comes on the side. Spoon some on top and let it seep into the porky pile. Marvel, eyes closed in pleasure, at the way it mingles with the slightly acidic pork— the perfect combination of sweet and sour and smoky and everything that is wonderful about eating this kind of food. Continuing in the barbecue theme: “The Best” BBQ Pork Spare Ribs. The menu does not lie: these truly are “the best” pork spare ribs. Forget your notion of finger-sized spare ribs from Chinese restaurants, here at Cast Iron Soul, the ribs, like everything else, come jumbo size. Don’t even try lifting them from the plate. The meat slides effortlessly from the bone and just as easily into your stomach. For their hulking size, they disappear startlingly easily. On the somewhat-lighter side, the Creole Roasted Chicken manages to transcend its potential banality. The New Orleans-inspired spice mix melds with the skin beautifully, lending each bite a potent punch of heat. The meat glides easily from under the skin— shattering any recollections from the ghosts of dried-out chicken past. Maybe you’d like to take a minute to decide though. Other customers are lining up behind you, eager to get their food and head back into the night. You head to one of the few tables. Judge Judy barks mercilessly at hapless petty thieves from the TV mounted on the barbecue sauce-color walls. Though comfortable, Cast Iron Soul is not about the decor. But then again, neither are Yale Epicurean
you. It’s date night, and it’s time to get back to the food. An order of “5 Cheese Baked Mac N Chz” is required. It is the mac and cheese so often dreamed about and so rarely found. There is depth of flavor — a wonderfully slight funkiness — from the five cheeses that, combined with the insane creaminess of the sauce,
challenges and pleases in one bite. It’s comfort food with care. Same, too, with Cast Iron’s Candied Sweets. They’re ruinous, in a way, because no other sweet potato experience will top this. Coated in a sheen of butter, they’re sweet without being tooth-tingling. They’re firm but tender. They’re the most delicious contradiction you will ever eat. The hits keep coming. “The Best Damn Red Beans” are, well, the best damn red beans. Stewed in a potent sauce of andouille sausage, served atop a pile of dirty rice, this “side” could constitute a meal in most countries. In the “why not?” theme of the night, fried okra is up next. Order this. “But okra!” you think. Your date nods, “Okra? No.” This okra is so far divorced from the canned slightly stinky, armygreen mush sold at Stop and Shop that it should be re-branded. At Cast Iron, okra comes in the form of little nuggets of pure pleasure. Crunchy, spicy, salty— they are everything we ask of fried food. They may not be perfect for date night 14 | Winter 2012
though: they stop conversation. Finally: the cornbread. It makes a strong case on this romantic night for why bread is the ultimate boyfriend or girlfriend. It is warm and comforting. It is soft on the inside with a harder body on the outside. From a last minute drizzle of honey and slick of butter it is sweet and salty at the perfect moments. It asks for nothing and gives everything. One order of Chef Crawford’s banana pudding will do for desert. As you plunge spoons into the silky pudding — sensuously studded with softened Nilla wafers and just-ripe bananas — memories of the harsh cold and heart-racing walk over fade. Raising your head after the last bit of pudding has been scraped out of the cup, you’ll lock eyes and realize: far removed from the distractions of campus, far away from the other couples dining on Chapel Street, you’ve discovered something truly special. You’ve found love in a hopeless place. This was the perfect date.
Cast Iron Soul 550 Congress Ave New Haven, CT 06519 Ryan Healey is a sophomore in Berkeley who transferred from Georgetown for Pepe’s.
Sweet Beginnings: Kathy and her Cupcakes Celebrate their Three-Month Anniversary by Nina Russell Photos by Earl Lee
s we approach the day of romantic overtures and affirmation of relationships, it’s tempting to compare Valentine’s to the plethora of cupcake shops nowadays. Like Valentine’s Day, they tend to raise expectations, but often disappoint. Luckily, with Katalina’s Bakery (on Whitney since November), we’re in for a few more hits than misses. “Katalina’s Cupcakes” is the official bakery Facebook page, complete with mouthwatering photographs and status updates rife with ellipses, as though prompting the reader to imagine eating a “Lemon Basil cupcake with Strawberry Frosting…” or “Apple Spice cake with Blue Cheese frosting…” Kathy Riegelmann, former co-owner of Koffee? on Audobon, continues her tradition of bringing delicious treats (and the letter K) to the Timothy Dwight College neighborhood while 15 | Winter 2012
joining the trend identified by The Food Channel as “a new cupcake boutique bakery open[ing] every time you turn around.” But with this bakery’s variety and creativity, we might just be tempted to fall in love. We wouldn’t merely fall in love with the store’s appearance—what Kathy pinpoints as the most important element of cupcake selling—although it leaves very little to be desired, with crisp white furniture, a wall decal menu, and a display case filled with sumptuous-looking baked goods. No, it’s Katalina’s personality that will keep us wanting more. As Kathy prepared for the day one morning, hours before opening, I had the opportunity to stand in Katalina’s kitchen, soaking in wafts of glutenfree brownie from the oven. The cozy kitchen was the perfect antidote to the
early morning walk over, accompanied only by a few workers repairing the street outside. Even after having been baking since 5 a.m., Kathy, with her friendly eyes and slim build, was almost dancing between the oven, the cooling racks, the sink, and the icing station. When I ask which of the items is her favorite to make, she responds, “It’s all fun to do!” and then modifies that statement: “The Whoopie pies are especially fun, because people get silly when they see them.” Trained as a kindergarten teacher, she loves bringing children back into her kitchen for birthday parties and baking classes. Their favorite part, she notes, is the decoration process, during which they tend to overload on toppings. “They’re happy…that’s all that matters.” The kitchen has the same clean, open feel as the rest of the bakery, with the daily specials menu posted Yale Epicurean
above the icing station and rows of colored sugars waiting by the industrialsize refrigerator. A month in advance, Katalina’s is already thinking about Valentine’s Day. Heart-shaped cake pops and sugar cookies are lining up for their moment of glory. Cupcakes based on chocolate, from spicy chocolate ganache to chocolate-raspberry, will join the clamor. And in the less commercialized caring-andsharing spirit of Valentine’s Day, a Katalina’s worker will take leftover goods to a nearby shelter or church as he does every other day. Although Kathy herself is not a huge fan of the holiday, lamenting its Christmas-like hype, her story with the bakery is rather reminiscent of a classic love story. After leaving her first foodindustry heartthrob, Koffee, she took a break from the scene to teach fitness classes. She then started selling baked goods from out of her house for parties, bar mitzvahs, and the P&M Market for about four or five years. Finally, the stars aligned with a loan and Yale’s property, 16 | Winter 2012
and she found the means to grow. Kathy doesn’t see Katalina’s as much of a romantic destination for the special day, though, since it doesn’t stay open late. “When I opened Koffee?, we wanted people to stay. Then we realized you don’t really make the money that way,” she notes, in explaining why she hasn’t set up the bakery to be a camp-out spot. She pauses to mutter “blue cheese, pear, and lemon frosting,” as she walks from the trays of freshly baked cupcakes to the icing mixer. She scoops the lemon frosting into a bag with a notched tip, and squeezes it effortlessly into expert swirls on each small cake. As in the best relationships, Kathy has an open mind to change and development. “Tell me what you want and I try to make it happen” sums up her philosophy. She bakes cakes, tarts, and made cupcakes for party favors after a recent wedding. She’s also branched out into savory cupcakes, such as lemonbasil, pear-blue-cheese, and pumpkin cream cheese with goat cheese. She makes allergy-free, gluten-free goods
“to include as many people as possible.” And she’s planning to expand her offerings: “People haven’t realized that I’m here yet, so I can’t offer everything I want to; but, in a month or so, we’ll start opening earlier, to do breakfast things.” She envisions coffee cakes, scones, and espresso-based drinks — but no muffins. “Everyone has them,” she notes, even Dunkin Donuts (a few doors down). On top of everything else, she’s checking out the French Culinary Institute’s croissant class in the spring. And lately she’s been experimenting with homemade Pop-Tarts, which, she says breathlessly, “are really good.” The journey has not been without hurdles. She hosted a competition for cupcake recipes when opening: “Because I’m a part of Yale, I wanted to get students involved.” Sixty people came — but one of the recipes had a balsamic reduction, and, through a simple mistake, the fire alarm went off. “When the firemen came, they said that they hadn’t even known this was here.” The best part is that Katalina’s food Yale Epicurean
is genuinely delicious. The cupcake categories are traditional, specialty, vegan, and gluten-free (all under four dollars), and there are a few flavors available in the “mini” size, for $1.25. But if you’re just not in the mood for a cupcake, Katalina’s also offers generous whoopie pies and semi-healthy-looking oatmeal bars, in addition to a range of drinks, including Stash tea. My first taste of Katalina’s was a mini red velvet cupcake, which came on a small compostable plate and had a nice balance of sweetness and texture. Upon returning with friends, I sampled more, including gluten-free chocolate, coconut lime, and the Yale Bulldog (designed by Paulina Haduong ’13, with cayenne pepper, raspberry filling, and Nutella frosting),. The moist coconut lime shone from the rest, but they were all tasty — and aesthetically pleasing — with their delicate icing swirls and decorations. Kathy and the bakery have just celebrated their three-month anniversary, and they’re still going strong. I have hope for their sweet future. Nina Russell is a freshman in Timothy Dwight who enjoys turning sugar, flour, and butter into new entities far greater than themselves.
A Treat for Every A Treat for Every Occasion For a…
Secret admirer present
Pure chocolate (“chocolate is the answer to everything”)
Granola bars, or the top of a cupcake
Goat cheese cupcake with sour cherry butter cream
T Strawberry pop-tart
Q&A Where do you get your recipes from? “I surf the web to get ideas for recipes to make, then go from there.” Have you thought about coming out with a cookbook? “I think about it…and then I think about all the work that would go into it…” As a single parent, she says, she just doesn’t have the time—and I believe her, as she was going to her son’s hockey game at 8 that evening and returning to the store to bake at 5 the next morning. “I go into New York and see which places have been successful,” and, she follows, most of them have come out with cookbooks.
What do you see as Katalina’s niche? “Any person in the food industry is trying to keep up with what’s coming… Like, in New York, cookies and milk bars are a new thing,” she says. “I want to be more of a bakery…cupcakes are no longer a trend. They’re here to stay,” she explains. What next? “Push-up cake pops!” Kathy shows me the plastic mold she’ll make them in. Based on the same model as ice cream push-ups, they’ll be filled with layers of cake and icing and sprinkles and decorations—“Just really fun.”
REVIEWS | SERENA GELB
have to confess: I’m a little bit obsessed with food. When it comes to health and diet books, I’m a zealous packrat. Aside from my growing hoard of cookbooks, I have a steadily flourishing collection of books that interweave diet, lifestyle, and health. I recently read Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, and I was blown away. Carr takes Hippocrates’ philosophy, “let food be thy medicine,” and dresses it up with tutus, sparkles and magical unicorn dust. Crazy Sexy Diet is one among many in my collection, but Carr’s practical advice and unassuming wisdom makes her book stand out. I love to know what food does for me—how it can make me slump and how it can make me shine. Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet is an ultra-modern diet philosophy that focuses on alkalizing the body by blending the vibrancy of raw foods with the comforts of cooked. To get her readers jumpstarted into her Crazy Sexy Life-style, she includes a fun 21-day cleanse (including daily meditations, neti pots and body brushing to boot). After battling an incurable cancer and learning to treat it naturally by putting herself in sync with her body, Carr has learned to give life (and herself) a giant hug, and helps us to do the same. Through her diet, she helps her readers “grab the unicorn reins of the present and future” and become “Wellness Warriors” in their own right. Crazy Sexy Diet hops on the bandwagon of the “this isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle” movement. But I think it works. Carr doesn’t design weekly meal plans or force begrudging readers to count calories. She gives guidelines and suggestions, cheering the reader on throughout the book––but she also knows when to take a step back and give us the reins. Her plan is designed to suit 18 | Winter 2012
SEXY A Super Disco of Health
any lifestyle or locale with minimal constraints. Instead of imposing restricting rules, she emphasizes fresh produce, plant-based foods, and vibrant salads. She suggests 60 to 80 percent of the plate be full of fresh, raw food (salad, chopped veggies, shredded carrots) and 20 to 40 percent be cooked. Unlike many “Raw Food Gurus,” Carr doesn’t believe adding an ounce (or two or three!) of cooked foods will completely nullify the benefits of raw. Instead, she understands that we can all benefit from the added nutrients and enzymes of raw, living foods, but that we can also benefit –– psychologically, emotionally, and even physically — from comforting cooked grains. Carr also emphasizes juicing. This is the part of her book I find hardest to follow. I am not against juicing. It has many benefits. Carr explains how fresh juices send nutrients directly to the body, and how juices allow us to give our digestive systems a break. Most Americans following the SAD (Standard American Diet) over-tax their bodies with hard-to-digest food items throughout the day. Starting the day with sugary cereals, fatty bacon, and fried eggs causes a “traffic jam” in our intestines. Carr begins her mornings with cleansing green juices and often doesn’t eat solids until noon. However, juicing is messy and impractical (especially for a college student), and juicers are expensive, hard to clean, and bulky. If I lived near a juice bar, I would love to begin my mornings with a few zesty cups of green magic, but dorm life does not support the juicing phenomenon. So, unfortunately, the most difficult part about Carr’s 21-day cleanse is following her daily juicing suggestions. Nonetheless, I am a huge fan of Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. It’s an easy read for a lazy Sunday and chock full
of amazing tips and tricks for leading a Crazy Sexy Life. Though it’s not a “cookbook,” Carr does share recipes (both cooked and raw) near the end. And, though it is, in a sense, a “diet book” there are no meal plans or calorie counts. Crazy! Carr knows how to turn life into “a super disco of health” and shows us how to do the same. 1. Create an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Learn about pH, the acid/alkaline balance, and say goodbye to the SAD, acidic diet in favor of alkaline raw organic veggies, sprouts, green drinks, green smoothies, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, love, and oxygen. 2. Drink lots of clean, purified water. 3. Decrease the amount of animal products you consume (especially dairy products) and move towards more of a plant-based diet. 4. Shake your booty. Your lymph system, which carries away waste, needs you! Unlike your heart, it doesn’t have a pump. Aerobics is the pump. Brisk walking is the pump. Yoga is the pump. 5. Stress also creates acidity, so turn down the volume on chaos and turn up the joy factor. Find and regularly commit to activities that help you bring it down a notch. Some ideas: meditation, gratitude journaling, guided relaxation or visualization CD’s, nature. 6. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. Optimal hours: 11pm – 7am. 7. Chew. Your stomach does not have teeth. 8. And stop eating late so that when you snooze, your body can focus on repair instead of digestion. 9. Set boundaries so that you have the physical and emotional time to take care of yourself –– it’s not selfish, it’s self-preserving. 10. Make time for fun, for love, for laughter! Serena Gelb is a Freshman is Branford who divides her time between eating and adding to her collection of food-related literature. Yale Epicurean
RECIPES | ALISON JAMES & FRANCES SAWYER
Italian Heart Beets T
wo recipes for an amorous Italian dish Italian is the language of love, and food is the language of the heart. Combined, in Italian food, is the inevitable expression of amore. Wary of being cliché, as Italian food very easily becomes, there are still tasty ways to capture the heart of with something other than spaghetti and meatballs. We’re proposing two recipes for you to make for your lover (or friend, mother, ex… or just yourself). The beet in these dishes paints a festive pink/red color and proffers a more unexpected flavor than tomato. The first one, an easy risotto recipe, any beginner in the kitchen can make; if you’re feeling up to a bit more work, but with impressive results, we’ll steer you towards the second recipe, a delicately filled handmade pasta.
Red Beet Risotto
hough risotto is often on the menu at higher-end restaurants, a beginner home cook can most definitely make a tasty version. The difference between cooking normal rice and risotto is only that risotto requires a little babysitting with constant stirring. (Though this could also give you something to focus your attention on during awkward date conversation pauses.) The risotto comes out a shocking pink color, thanks to the natural magic of the beets. There’s magic in the rice, too, as you watch normal rice grains slowly turn into a creamy, luscious concoction. So grab your wand (spoon) and head into the kitchen to work your magic. • • • •
Ingredients (Serves 2-3) 2 small red beets, peeled and grated* 1 Tbsp olive oil Between ¼ and ½ cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves
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• • • • •
1 cup Arborio rice ½ cup wine, either white or red 1 quart of stock, vegetable or chicken ¼ cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping Cracked black pepper and salt
Instructions 1. Attach your hand to the spoon you’re planning on stirring with. Accept that you will not stop stirring for the next 30 minutes. This is the key to risotto—it’s not too complex, you just can’t leave it alone. 2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they are soft. 3. Add the rice and garlic to the pan, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. You’ll see the grains become translucent with a little dot left in the center. 4. Pour in the wine and let it cook another couple minutes until the liquid is evaporated. 5. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Pour in the stock ½ cup at a time, stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed. (Remember, constant stirring!) Keep doing this until your timer goes off. 6. At the 15 minute mark, toss in the grated beets, and stir to mix them in well. 7. Continue cooking and adding stock (you may not end up using all of it, or you may need a little more, depending on your rice) for another 5 or so minutes until the risotto is done. At about 18 minutes, start doing tiny taste tests. It should be a little chewy, but not hard on the inside. Err on the side of being a little undercooked; it will continue to cook a little bit after you take it off the stove, and you also don’t want the creaminess to become mushiness. Mushy is not sexy.
8. Take it off the heat and stir in the parmesan. 9. Add salt and cracked black pepper. (Less is not more—spice it up! But taste as you go to make sure you don’t OD.) 10. Divide into your bowls, top with some parmesan cheese, and serve. 11. Silently congratulate yourself while seductively spooning creamy spoonfuls into your mouth. *If you don’t have a grater, this could also be done with roasted beets. Wrap them in aluminum foil and stick them in a 400 degree oven for a half hour, or until they’re really tender, then dice and add them at the 10 minute mark. Alison James is a senior Italian major in Pierson College. She has an ability to turn any conversation into a conversation about food, and her favorite days are when the dining halls serve either of her favorite foods—eggplant or sweet potato.
Bleeding Heart Ravioli
othing says “I love you” like homemade pasta. How incredible is it that it’s possible to take mere flour and eggs and turn them into delicate slippery pastas, ready to be filled in any way you can imagine? To continue with our Valentine’s Day theme, we’ve decided to fill these ravioli with bright red beets and smooth goat cheese.
• • • •
Pasta 3 cups of flour 4 eggs 1 tsp olive oil 1 pinch of salt Filling Yale Epicurean
• • • •
2 Beets, sliced Goat cheese Fresh cracked pepper Olive oil
• • • • •
Sauce 4 TBS butter Zest of an orange Fresh chopped mint Fresh cracked pepper Salt
Instructions 1. Start by mixing the pasta ingre 2. dients. Mound the flour on the counter and make a well in the center. In the well, mix the eggs and salt, gradually incorporating the flour until a firm dough is formed. The final dough should be stiff, but smooth. Let it rest, covered in plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes. As it sits, slice 2 fresh beets in 1/4 inch slices and boil in water until soft. Drain the cooked beets and toss lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper. 3. After the pasta has rested, take 20 | Winter 2012
it out of the plastic wrap and run it through a pasta machine as your particular model’s instructions recommend. Ultimately, you want the dough to be as thin as possible for ravioli. (As a note, it is possible to roll the pasta out by hand, but is much more time and labor intensive.) 4. Lay the now almost translucent piece of pasta on the table, and place the cooked beets at even intervals, leaving 1/2 an inch of dough on all sides of the beets. Then, place a dollop of goat cheese on top of each beet. Next, take a paintbrush and wet the pasta around the beets with water, then top with a second sheet of pasta. The water will help form a seal between the layers. Now, cut the ravioli in circles, crimp the edges with the tines of a fork, toss lightly in flour to keep them from sticking to one another and refrigerate them until you’re almost ready to eat. 5. To finish the dish, boil the ravioli
Photo by Earl Lee
for 4-5 minutes in salted water. As the ravioli boil, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the orange zest and mint. Toss the cooked ravioli in the butter and serve with cracked pepper, a handful of chopped mint, and candlelight. Frances Sawyer is a senior in Pierson College. A longtime cook and lover of Italian food, she has been known to host biscotti-making parties take pretty pictures of Pierson courtyard.
Serves 1 The ingredients and equipment you need in this recipe should be easily accessible in your residential college dining hall, with the exception of the freezer.
Equipment • •
1 blender 1 freezer
• • • •
Ice-cream Base 2 very ripe bananas 1 tbsp of honey 1 tbsp milk (optional) sugar to taste
Very Berry half cup of any berries
Roasted Peanut Butter 3 tbsp peanut butter 2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
Nutella 6 tbsp nutella dash of salt
• • • •
Rocky road a chunk of chocolate 10 almonds (or any other nut) 2 tbsp cocoa powder a handful of mini marshmallows
Directions 1. Slice the bananas, then freeze in a zip lock bag. 2. Bring the frozen bananas to your dining hall, and combine them with the honey, milk (if so desired) and flavorings of choice. 3. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Eat immediately if you prefer soft serve. Freeze for a couple of hours before serving otherwise.
Lucas Sin is a freshman in Davenport college. Back at home, in Hong Kong, he serves as executive chef for his private kitchen Bo Zai that aims to pravomote Hong Kong food culture through re-imagined Asian cuisine. Here on campus, Lucas is eager to eat, cook and learn with fellow young chefs and foodies.
n-free, Ice Cream-free “Ice Cream”
If this Valentine’s Day is going to be spent alone, you may find yourself wanting to curl up on a couch and eat away your sorrows. Though my sympathies may offer you little comfort, perhaps a bucket of ice cream will. I present to you, in an optimistic twist, a low-fat, gluten-free, vegan (if so desired) “ice cream” that will hopefully leave you smiling on this Valentine’s Day. Suffering alone on Valentine’s Day is painful enough - don’t let yourself suffer the guilt of eating an entire tub of fattening ice cream too. Photo by Earl Lee
RECIPES | BEAU GABRIEL
Charlotte Malakoff I
n 1819 Marie-Antoine Carême, the world’s first celebrity chef, found himself stranded in St. Petersburg. The French cuisinier had been engaged as the personal chef to Tsar Alexander I, but upon reaching the imperial capital had become intensely depressed by the dismal state of Russian cooking. What use were the glittering imperial palaces and sparkling court society when pois and carottes were available only four month of the year? But while he waited for a ship home, Carême, renowned for his brilliant innovation, had just enough time to turn to more reliable ingredients -- sugar, flour, and eggs -- and presented the Petersburg nobles with this fabulous dessert. Carême had been born in Paris in 1784 and abandoned by his parents during the Revolution. Working at first as a kitchen boy, he rose to become the most famous cuisinier and pâtissier of his time, and is considered the world’s first celebrity chef. His gained early attention for his construction of pièces montées, elaborate creations that often were scale models of Parisian monuments, which he used as centerpieces and displayed in the window of his shop on the Rue de la Paix. He went on to define the practices of “haute cuisine,” devised a sauce classification system still revered to this day, wrote several books, and is even credited with inventing the chef’s toque. At the height of his powers, Carême worked in the kitchens of Tallyrand, Napoleon, and the well-fed Prince Regent of England. After leaving the Regent, he moved to Russia. The northern climate and dearth of haricots proved too much for Carême, who knew what was good for him and went home to Paris after just two months. But, before he left, he developed the aforementioned Charlotte Russe, or “Russian Charlotte.” This impressive cake can take several forms. It is traditionally made by lining a mold with ladyfingers and then 23 | Winter 2012
filling it with custard or mousse. The variant presented here is the Charlotte Malakoff, and is filled with chocolate mousse. The name refers to the Malakoff redoubt, a Russian hilltop fortification that formed part of the Sevastopol defenses during the Crimean War. After a long siege, French forces captured the hill in 1855, marking the fall of the city. The idea is that the finished dessert resembles this hill. Thus the Charlotte Malakoff pays tribute to the dessert’s northern origin while also celebrating the triumph of French rifles -- and whisks. While at first glance this recipe can seem as daunting as the Sevastopol earthworks, it is actually relatively simple to make. Carême supposedly gave his recipes away freely, and if you’re looking for an adventure (I took trips to three different stores looking for a pastry tip before I managed to borrow one from the generous pâtissiers in the Pierson dining hall), a sure-fire way to impress your friends, or just a charlottemold full of fun, this recipe is pour toi. • • • • • • • • • • •
Filling 1/4 pound (one cube) butter, room temperature 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar 3 large eggs, separated 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, brandy, cognac, or dark rum* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1/2 pound (8 ounces) semisweet chocolate 1/2 cup grated (or sliced) blanched almonds 1 cup heavy cream a pinch of salt Lining 24 whole 5” or 6” ladyfingers 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or brandy, or cognac, or dark rum)* Decoration 1 cup heavy cream
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla (or Grand Marnier, etc.)* Raspberries Batterie de cuisine one 12” by 4 1/2” loaf pan, or one 6-cup (1 1/5 quart) charlotte mold, or a child’s sand bucket electric mixer, bowl rubber scraper copper or glass bowl (for beating egg whites) medium bowl (for beating cream) small saucepan medium-sized saucepan grater or nut grinder or small Cuisinart (for “powdering” almonds) pastry brush or small spoon pastry bag and tip Basic Ingredients butter confectioners’ sugar semisweet chocolate bars eggs blanched sliced almonds almond extract Grand Marnier or other chosen liqueur* 1 pint heavy cream ladyfingers
* Which liqueur you use is up to you -I used brandy, which was the cheapest option, and it worked perfectly. 1. Put the butter, sugar, and egg yolk into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until light and lemon colored. (This should not take very long.) Add the liqueur and almond extract and beat to blend. 2. Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a small saucepan of simmering water. (Be careful not to splash any water into the chocolate!) Heat the chocolate, stirring until melted. (The chocolate can also be melted in a microwave, stirring every 30 Yale Epicurean
seconds or so.) Pour this into the butter and sugar mixture. 3. Using the nut grinder or Cuisinart, “powder” the almonds. You should stir the almonds between grindings, and be careful not to create a paste. If you would like to have more texture in the mousse filling (or didn’t have the prescience to buy a Magic Bullet within the next ten minutes!), use a kitchen knife to chop the almonds. Add the almonds (which, if ground, should have a consistency of coarse cornmeal) to the chocolate, butter, and sugar. Mix well. 4. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then add one tablespoon of granulated sugar and a pinch of salt, and beat until just stiff. Fold this into the batter until no white streaks remain, but do not over-mix. Then whip the cream and fold it in, too. 5. Grab your pan, charlotte mold, or bucket. Any pan or bowl that is 24 | Winter 2012
roughly the depth of a lady finger will do, as long as it is tapered towards the bottom. For safety’s sake, you may want to line the mold with foil. Brush the flat parts of the ladyfingers with liqueur. 6. Cut the sides off some lady fingers, creating a triangular shape with the rounded edge preserved. Then radiate this around the bottom of the mold until it is lined. (You may have to experiment with different shapes until you get them all to fit.) Take the remaining ladyfingers and line the sides of the mold, the rounded sides facing out. They should touch, but not overlap. 7. Pour the mousse into the mold. Gently make sure the top is level, and then, using a sharp knife, slice off the tops of the ladyfingers that rise above the mousse. 8. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or over-
night. 9. The Moment of Truth: When ready, “unmold” the charlotte onto a plate by inverting it. (If you were cavalier and didn’t use foil to line the mold, you may have to run a knife around the edge first.) 10. Decorations! Add the sugar and liqueur to the cream, and beat it until it is whipped. Then, using the pastry bag, squeeze some rosettes around the top, and plop a raspberry onto each one. If a pastry bag is not an option, you can cover the top of the charlotte with whipped cream and then put on as many berries as you like. Voilà! M. Carême would be proud. Thanks to the wonderful Rebecca Gandy for her help.
DR. RANGELOVE | JOSH EVANS
Cooking and eating your way through the Valentine season L
ove is in the air but what on earth do you eat? Fear not – eating well and seasonally has never been this easy. Armed with a PhD in the Psychology of Sweet Sweet Love and a foraging map of New Haven, I’ve drawn up this handy chart to help you figure out just what to put in your mouth every day of this otherwise insufferable season. Just follow the arrows across and down to find your perfect food match. Oh you’ll thank me. I am ...
fine with that
Forage for chicory together, brew it like coffee, then You win the game of life. Go find yourself some local rub the grounds over each other’s bodies to celebrate chocolate. your undying love.
anxious to find someone
Kale chips are so outré. Get pumped for kale roots! You can get them for pretty much free cause no one knows that they’re even trending yet, and if you chew on them they last all day and then some; I’ve been known to keep a particularly juicy one going for three. Keep one of these babies between your teeth at all times to attract your soon-to-be-beloved. They will be impressed at your sophisticated taste, killer dental plan, and general bad-assness.
Uhh, confusing. You are anxious to find someone else? Is that what you mean? Either way, I suggest finding the nearest patch of sidewalk dandelions and taking a good munch, right then and there. Ideally in the company of this first person you want to jettison. They’ll vanish like textured soy protein kebabs at a vegan barbeque and you’ll be catching the eye of that real hardcore foodie type as you invite them over to enjoy some 0-mile bitter salad greens on the side of the road.
Decorative gourds. They’re still kicking around from Thanksgiving because they’re bizarre as hell and no one realises how darn great they are to eat. Sure, they have no flesh to speak of, and their seeds are, well, seedy – but you need something decorative to cheer you up! A barely edible Cucurbitacea, in this Rx-er’s opinion, fits the proverbial bill.
Summon what little resolve you have and haul yourself to East Rock. Wander through the woods and forage for sassafras. Bring it home, brew up some good ol’ fashioned real-deal root beer, and drink yourself silly. You will slide into a blissful stupor of forgetfulness. If the FDA comes calling, tell them you used sarsaparilla. And offer them a pint, for god’s sake.
Go get a wenzel. That’s local, right?
Go grab two wenzels and garnish them with some token parsley. Chervil if you want to get fancy. Call me up, I keep some on my person for just such occasions.
Find your nearest outdoor laundry vent. Pretend you are a baleen whale and suck up as much of that warmed lint-air as you can possibly take. It will be uncomfortable, which you will enjoy. You may even attract the attention of a new love-interest.
Compost. It’s like the most sustainable food around. So therefore it is also the most healthy. Procure a big bowl of it, and spoonfeed it to each other using stinging nettles as scoops. Remind each other that insects mean protein – and fibre from the chitin!
Dude! Dudette! Chill out! No one ever got nobody by being unchill all the time. Head up to East Rock, pick some sumac off the trees there, and brew it it’s because into some bright citrussy tea. Get hooked and maniI’m manic cally harvest it every day. You may still be single but you’ll be chill cause you’ll be drinking authentic hand-foraged wild sumac tea.
Go collect the last dregs of dirty snow from all around town, take it home, distill it, bottle it, and ferment it in your basement. Host a tasting party together where you drink it in flights of vintage-by-week. Award prizes for the most inspired discernments of terroir. Petition to the City of New Haven for an AOC or two. Take what you can get, they’re only getting stingier.
Best of both worlds! You sly dog you. Subsist on a diet of mustard greens and horseradish. It’s the equivalent to pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.
Ponder your ambiguous relationship status while nibbling on some claytonia, a green prized for its generally ambivalent attitude towards pretty much everything.
but not really
25 | Winter 2012
NEW HAVEN HAPPY HOURS MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY BLACK BEAR: 3-9 PM- 2-FOR-1 MUGS (EXCEPT FRIDAY) KELLY’S: 4-7 PM- $3/4/5 BEERS, $4 HOUSE WINES, $/5 COCKTAILS KOJI: 5-8 PM- $2 DOMESTIC BEERS AND SLIDERS, $4 HOUSE WINES, $5 MARTINIS OWL SHOP: 5-7PM: CHECK RESTAURANT FOR DAILY SPECIALS PACIFICO: 4:30-6:30PM- CHECK RESTAURANT FOR DAILY SPECIALS STELLA BLUES: 3-8PM- $3 WELL DRINKS KITCHEN ZINC: 5-7PM- $3 DRAFTS, $5 WINES, $4 BEER AND COCKTAILS
DAILY DRINK SPECIALS SUNDAY 116 CROWN: 1/2 PRICE BOTTLE OF WINE BARCELONA: 1/2 PRICE BOTTLE OF WINE PACIFICO: 1/2 PRICE BOTTLE OF WINE KELLY’S: 1/2 PRICE BOTTLE OF WINE STELLA BLUES: $3 WELL DRINKS
TUESDAY BAR: 10-11PM- $2 DRINKS FIREHOUSE 12: 4-7PM- $1.50 PBR PRIME 16: 7PM-CLOSE- $2 PBR
THURSDAY BAR: 10-11:30PM- $2 DRINKS BLACK BEAR: 9-11PM- $3 WELL DRINKS AND DOMESIC DRAFTS; 11-MIDNIGHT- $1 MILLER HIGH LIFE, $2 PBR FIREHOUSE 12: $3 DRAUGHTS
MONDAY BAR: EVERY OTHER PINT = 1 PENNY KELLY’S: 1/2 PRICE BOTTLE OF WINE PACIFICO: 1/2 PRICE BOTTLE OF WINE PRIME 16: 7PM-CLOSE- $3 SEA HAG BEER
WEDNESDAY BAR: 5-11PM- $2 WELL DRINKS, BUD AND BUD LIGHT BOTTLES BESPOKE: 9PM-CLOSE- $5 DRINK SPECIALS BLACK BEAR: 4-7PM- $3 WINE FIREHOUSE 12: $3 WELL DRINKS KELLY’S” $10 BURGER AND BEAR SPECIAL PRIME 16: 7PM-CLOSE- FREE BEER TASTING FRIDAY BAR: 10-11PM- $2 DRINKS FIREHOUSE 12:4-7PM-$3 DRAFTS