Monday, 27 May 2013

A New Recipe Experiment: Cinnamon and Cayenne Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Salted Cookies

It's not often I present a stand-alone recipe on this blog, but here's a pretty good one for you. Yesterday, I went back to Columbus for a combined Arrested Development premiere party and birthday celebration for Phillip, an OSU cultural anthro grad student who I had met during my campus visit back in March. Among his confirmed guest list were Lisa (a fellow blogger and cultural anthropologist.. as noted at one point, we outnumbered the non-cultural anthro folks, an apparent rarity) who was baking this delicious cake (I especially loved the mango jam) and Abby (a bioarchaeologist who was bringing chocolate covered frozen bananas). All I knew until Sunday morning was that I was also bringing a bottle of red wine. Eventually, I settled on baking cookies that needed to include chocolate (to match the red and because I love chocolate), spice (to complement the wine notes) and salt (to enhance the chocolate). A winning combination, no? Well, that was yet to be determined; I could only hope that these theoretically classic pairings would work together. Here we go with trial test #1.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

An Impromptu Return to The Crest Gastropub

The Crest Gastropub on Urbanspoon

Nearly one month ago, The Crest Gastropub officially opened in Clintonville. At the time of its opening, which I attended and subsequently wrote about, I knew that I had to return and build on the previous write up to include a more proper review of the food. And so, when the opportunity to dine at The Crest presented itself this weekend, I had a feeling it was the right place to be, you know? (Two points to those who understand the reference.) To backtrack a little, I met up with my soon-to-be-roommate Alex (my faculty friend Amanda's step daughter) in Columbus and finally took on the physical search for an apartment for the fall. We had made it through our only scheduled appointments for the morning when Hunger hit at brunch/lunch time, at which time none other than The Crest was in sight. Thankfully it didn't take much convincing to head over to The Crest, especially as Alex had also heard nothing but good reviews from her circles. The final review, if you'd prefer to bypass the descriptions below: you won't be disappointed (or at least, you shouldn't be). Keep reading though, if nothing else for the pictures.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Another Scoop of Success: Opening Day of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Easton

Jeni's Ice Creams on Urbanspoon

It wasn't until about six months after my move to Granville that I had my first tastes of the eclectic flavour combinations coming from the first branch of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, located in Columbus's North Market. And since that inevitable day back in April 2011, I have continued to support and enjoy the results of James Beard Award winner and Slow Food Columbus Central Ohio Terra Madre delegate Jeni Britton Bauer's creative and entrepreneurial spirit. This past Thursday, and despite the windy and very rainy weather, it was evident that the 200+ others (in my estimation) who literally braved the storm and remained in line were also there to support both Jeni and her ice creams, being among the first to do so on opening day of the new scoop shop at Easton.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

In Recognition: A Cross-Cultural Gastronomic Tour

Greetings from Granville, dear Reader! As I look back at the date of my last post, it's quite striking how quickly time is flying by here on the Hill. Denison's Commencement exercises were held earlier this month, I participated in my final Division meeting (and a great potluck that followed) and I recently returned from a trip this past weekend back home to celebrate my parents' 30th wedding anniversary. Amidst all of the celebrating with colleagues, friends and family over the past few weeks, food was, of course, a central piece. And last night, the same was also true. For those of you who don't know, I've been living this past academic year across the street from Denison's outgoing (literally and figuratively!) President Dale Knobel, who will be retiring with his wife Tina after 15 years of service to the University. I had at some point last semester mentioned to him that one of my bucket list items before we both leave Denison was for me to cook for both of them. A few changes in date later, and with the help of the CCCE, our dinner finally came to fruition. It was certainly a relaxed dinner both in celebration and appreciation for everything the Knobels have done for Denison and especially for our office. Concurrently, for me it was also an opportunity to reflect on the myriad food and culture programmes and foodie experiences that I have enjoyed and which have cultivated my interest in food studies over the last 31 months. On our menu: white wine apéritif, with selections of cheese, fruit and crudités; Lyonnaise-inspired salad; carne asado with chimichurri sauce and roasted garlic mashed potatoes; pancit canton; zucchini chocolate mocha cake with buttercream frosting and strawberries; and beskuit, with coffee and rooibos tea.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

CCCE "Farewell" Dinner at Gallerie Bar & Bistro

Gallerie Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

I learned way back in November that a new restaurant had entered downtown Columbus and had brought with it "French dining." And despite it automatically being placed toward (if not at) the top of my must-try list, it wasn't until earlier this week that I finally made my way over there. After being prompted by my CCCE family (here, I'm specifically referring to Beth, Erik and Marilyn) to select a restaurant for my farewell dinner, I spent quite some time going back and forth between simply wonderful and consistently rated restaurants throughout Columbus. I found myself, however, returning to Gallerie Bar & Bistro. Perhaps my Provençal-theme cooking demo last Friday with Marlaine or the fact that I'll be returning to France this summer (for the fifth time) to co-lead a program focusing on language and cooking or maybe my deep-rooted attachment to French gastronomy had something to do with that. Whatever the influence(s) may have been, the point is that we found our way to the Arena District, up the spiral staircase pictured above and were seated in a more or less secluded section of the restaurant, within its smart, modern and sophisticated aesthetic which fused so well with the rest of the concurrently built Hilton Columbus Downtown hotel.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Provençal-Inspired Cuisine à la The Seasoned Farmhouse


As I consider the importance of place and space on the diversity and culinary variation of regional French cuisine--in a word, terroir--I often turn to Provence as the first example of rustic, countryside cooking, where dishes are produce-heavy and light, pairing nicely with the sunshine and generally favourable, breezy weather. Provençal cooking as I've experienced it to date is at one end of France's wide gastronomic spectrum. Geography has a lot to do with it of course, including the culinary influences of its neighbours. Provence and southeastern France border northwestern Italy, and are particularly defined by ingredients and cultures of the Mediterranean; equally so, they are influenced by the spices and techniques of North and West Africa. This disposition for olive oil and chickpeas over the arguable prevalence for pork and cow-based dairy products were particularly well highlighted in a cooking demo I attended this past Friday with Marlaine at The Seasoned Farmhouse. Recently opened in Clintonville (the demo we attended was just the third to be held in the new space), this set of programming was created by chef Tricia Wheeler, graduate of the French Culinary Institute of New York and founder of Edible Columbus. And joining her was Shawnie Kelley Foy, author of 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go and owner of Wanderlust Tours. On Friday's menu: Provençal Chickpea Salad, Provençal Summer Herb Bread, and Provençal Herb Pasta. And paired with each dish was a different wine from the Côtes du Rhône appellation.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Life in Granville: An Italian-American Experience

Good evening, dear Reader. I've been under the weather lately and so much of my free time has been spent sleeping. (And for those of you who know me well know that I need to catch up on quite a bit of that..) In any case, I'm feeling much better now and am of course finding quite a bit of comfort through food. And while I have the energy (more so the memory), I wanted to catch you up on a dining experience from last Saturday. I received a call around 11am or so from fellow Gleek and Les Mis singing partner Amanda, who informed me that Elio, Damian and Alex were aiming to replicate for the first time her mother-in-law's recipe for Italian wedding soup, in celebration of Alex's birthday. With an invitation to join them, I went through my mental index of dishes to potential bring over and add to the occasion. For some reason, Italian wedding soup equated to lemons which yielded my first attempt at a limoncello cake with toasted meringue topping.