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Food

You've heard of the San Francisco gold rush. But that rush spurred another, lesser-known event: the egg rush. The legions of miners who swept into the region in the 1850s hoping to strike gold all had to be fed. And they needed protein to stay strong. But when food shortages hit, wily entrepreneurs looked for eggs in an unlikely source: the Farallon Islands.

Now, you can love your seafood and eat it, too. But first, you'll have to catch it. Fisherman Kirk Lombard's new book, The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast, teaches the art, science, ethics and wisdom of fishing for your next meal in the ocean. Through wit, poetry and anecdotes, Lombard makes the case that the sincerest stewards of wild sea creatures are often those who intend to have them for dinner.

Jonathan Garaas has learned a few things in three seasons of backyard beekeeping: Bees are fascinating. They're complicated. And keeping them alive is not easy.

Every two weeks, the Fargo, N.D., attorney opens the hives to check the bees and search for varroa mites, pests that suck the bees' blood and can transmit disease. If he sees too many of the pinhead-sized parasites, he applies a chemical treatment.

Serves 6 

Ingredients

For the sauce 

• 3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce 
• 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
• 3 tablespoons light soy sauce 
• 2 tablespoons Sriracha
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
• 1 1⁄2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves) 
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 

For the filling

Lisbon is a city of plazas, parks, overlooks and gardens. For more than a century, these beautiful public spaces were graced by Art Noveau and Moorish-style kiosks — small, ornate structures that provided chairs and shade and served traditional Portuguese snacks and drinks.

Weeknight Kitchen: Wasabi Steak

Jul 22, 2016

Serves 4 

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons mirin
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
• 400 g (14 oz) sirloin or rump steak, cut into 1–2cm (1/2 - 3/4 inch) slices
• 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
• 150 g (5 1/2 oz) watercress or pea shoots
• 200 g (7 oz) asparagus, shaved
• 150 g (5 1/2 oz) cooked edamame beans
• A bunch of spring onions, cut into strips
• 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Dressing

Weeknight Kitchen: Wasabi Steak

Jul 22, 2016

Serves 4 

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons mirin
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
• 400 g (14 oz) sirloin or rump steak, cut into 1–2cm (1/2 - 3/4 inch) slices
• 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
• 150 g (5 1/2 oz) watercress or pea shoots
• 200 g (7 oz) asparagus, shaved
• 150 g (5 1/2 oz) cooked edamame beans
• A bunch of spring onions, cut into strips
• 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Dressing

You probably know Neil deGrasse Tyson as an astrophysicist with a seemingly endless stream of science fun facts at his command. You might not be aware that he is also a great oenophile and lover of food.

Some 16 years ago, before I was a journalist and illustrator, I worked with Neil at the American Museum of Natural History. He would sometimes carry around a small canvas tote bag. As I recall, the bag would contain one of two things: either a weighty, mango-sized meteorite to show to guests of the museum, or a bottle of wine to gift to a colleague.

When we think of tools of warfare, we tend to think of spears, guns and other types of militaristic weaponry. But throughout history, food has often been a critical component of war — inspiring conflict and, in some cases, delivering victory. War and peace? More like war and peas.

We've created a quiz to test your knowledge of just a few examples of how the history of food and war are intermingled. Can you defeat the questions?

In the summertime, the air is thick with the low humming of bees delivering pollen from one flower to the next. If you listen closely, a louder buzz may catch your ear.

Cleaning a freshly picked head of lettuce can be an act of mindfulness, your worries melting away as you wash and tear each leaf. And the payoff, along with the beautiful summer salad, is a feeling of virtuous accomplishment.

But if you're a busy working parent, the rip-and-release salad kit in a bag can take some hassle out of dinner prep.

The food processor is, for me, hugely disappointing. Before owning one, I used to see them looking all shiny and powerful in the department store, and I'd fantasize about never chopping a vegetable by hand again. I failed to consider that cookbook authors have particular ideas about how each ingredient should be prepped. The food processor, no matter how many blades it may come with, often doesn't cut it.

The kitchen is hopping and hot at L'Ami Jean restaurant in Paris, as chef Stéphane Jégo gets lunch underway. Jégo, who has been at this small Paris bistro for 14 years, is joined on this day by Mohammad El Khaldy, a chef from Damascus in Syria.

I have lived in eight countries and 10 cities. I have never lived anywhere for longer than six years. But the one constant in my life, my anchor in a changing world, my defense against perpetual culture shock, is my pot of daal.

Daal -- yellow, red, brown or black — is a staple across India. It is often described, inadequately, I think, as lentil soup. Except it's so much more.

Weeknight Kitchen: The Famous Coconut BLT

Jul 7, 2016

Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients

• 8 slices sandwich bread
• Vegan mayonnaise
• 2 cups Coconut Bacon (see below)
• 1 large ripe tomato, sliced
• Lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry

Directions

Spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of mayonnaise. Top the mayonnaise with about 1/2 cup of the Coconut Bacon per sandwich, followed by slices of tomato and lettuce leaves. Top each sandwich with the remaining bread slices. Cut each sandwich with a serrated bread knife and serve immediately.

Invoking the expression "to be born with a marraqueta under his/her arm" in Chile is to speak of a child that has their future assured. It's a little more common than a silver spoon in one's mouth, and far more democratic, as the marraqueta, pan batido or pan francés — as it's called outside of the capital city of Santiago, where I live — is a staple food eaten sometimes as many as three times a day.

For 12 years, Chester, Pa., had no supermarket. In an effort to end this so-called food desert, a local food bank plunked down a nonprofit grocery store in the impoverished Delaware County city in October 2013.

Area food bank Philabundance opened the new store, called Fare & Square, in the same footprint as a former supermarket at the corner of Trainer and 9th streets.

Kate Weiler was in Mount Tremblant, Quebec, when she found bottled maple water in a local coffee shop. With one sip, she was hooked on the single-ingredient water with a hint of sweetness.

"I loved the idea that it was natural, plant-based hydration from a local, sustainable source that tasted great," says Weiler.

Maple water wasn't sold in her hometown of Saint Albans, Vt. In the process of searching for — and failing to find — a source where she could order it, Weiler decided to launch a business to bring the functional beverage to market.

What is a queer kitchen? Is there a recognizable queer style or sensibility that can be expressed through food?

These questions and more were at the heart of a recent conversation hosted at the Williams Sonoma flagship store in San Francisco's Union Square during the city's Pride Weekend. The gathering was organized by the New York-based gay men's food magazine, Jarry, a twice-yearly print publication launched last fall.

"Knee-high by the Fourth of July" is an old favorite saying, when you'd drive past a field of corn out in the country. And many of the old favorite varieties, called heirloom corn, have lots of new friends.

In recent years, seed companies have been reporting big sales numbers for these varieties. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri says sales are "skyrocketing" — a fitting verb for the fireworks holiday.

The fireworks are stacked high, the beer is on ice, and lumps of charcoal glow hot under the grill in anticipation of hot dogs and hamburgers. Fourth of July is a holiday celebrated through food. There's potato salad, popsicles, watermelon slices — and, of course, apple pie.

We have to posit first that baking itself can feel like magic. A simple loaf of bread might include only flour, water, yeast and salt, and it can still transform from a sticky blob to a pillowy ball with a texture unlike anything else you've ever handled to a final product that's perfectly crisp on the outside, perfectly tender on the inside. Not only that, but it will audibly crackle at you as it cools on the counter. It will pass through a perfect moment for consumption, and then that moment will be gone.

There are many important reasons to manage the world's wild fisheries. We do it to maintain stock levels, to ensure biodiversity and because fish are valuable. But researchers say there's something else in need of protection: The very people who rely on fish for food.

Scientists are predicting more than 10 percent of the world's population, a whopping 845 million people, will experience deficiencies in critically important micronutrients including zinc, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and fatty-acids in the coming decades if global fish catches continue to decline.

For the past few years, my friends and I have noticed two trends when dining. First, seemingly every high-end menu rebukes factory farming with an essay about locally sourced pork belly, and second, just about every one of these restaurants looks so much like a factory — with exposed light bulbs, steel details and brick walls — that I'm constantly looking over my shoulder for the foreman.

Nothing Says 'Hip' Like Ancient Wheat

Jun 27, 2016

Forget bold stripes and mule flats — could the next big fad be super-old wheat?

Consumer interest in healthy grains could sow the seeds for some long-forgotten bread wheats to make a comeback, according to an opinion article released Monday in Trends in Plant Science — presumably the Vogue of botany.

Physicists say they've discovered how to zap the fat out of chocolate.

The researchers, led by Rongjia Tao of Temple University, were able to remove up to 20 percent of fat by running liquid milk chocolate through an electrified sieve. And they say the chocolate tastes good, too.

During his daily bus commute in the bustling Indian city of Hyderabad, there was something that really bothered Narayana Peesapaty.

"Everybody was eating something on their way to work," says Peesapaty, who was working as a sustainable farming researcher for a nonprofit organization at the time. But it wasn't his fellow bus riders' snacking habits that troubled him. It was their plastic cutlery.

The moment my boyfriend — now husband — and I got serious about our future together, my father-in-law got serious about teaching me to cook Indian cuisine. My boyfriend was already skilled in the kitchen. But Dr. Jashwant Sharma wanted extra assurance that the dishes from his native country would always have a place in our home. Plus, as he told me recently, he thought I'd like it.

"We mix four, five, six different spices in a single dish. These create a taste and aroma that you don't get in any other food. People exposed to it usually like it," he said.

Weeknight Kitchen: Fish Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

Jun 22, 2016

Serves 4

Ingredients

· 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
· 1 pound cod or other whitefish, skin removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
· 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
· 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
· 1/4 cup flour
· 1 egg, lightly beaten
· 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus 1 tablespoon
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
· 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Remoulade Sauce

Why do onions make us cry?

Many a poet has pondered. Is it because their beautiful, multilayered complexity moves us to weep? Are we mourning the majestic bulb as we cut it up and consume it?

Or are these tears induced by the tragic tedium of chopping, chopping, chopping?

Yes, yes. All of the above.

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