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Inside Talisa’s Yellow Kitchen

As much as I love to take on a challenge and cook an exciting new recipe, it’s also a hassle to break my routine and invest in a new set of ingredients.  On top of that, I haven’t had much time to do much grocery shopping for myself, which is ironic since I work for a company that is all about grocery shopping.

Instead of looking for recipes, I’m looking to explore new ingredients and versatile ways to use them. I’ll be poking around other people’s kitchens and asking what they do with their staple ingredients.   Why am I doing this?  Hopefully to draw some culinary inspiration, change up my usual shopping list and ultimately, to expand my cooking repertoire.

This is the first of a series of Wunderkammer Interviews.  The concept behind the name Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities”, being that everyone has their own individual cabinet(s) of curiosities.  Just look in your kitchen.


My first victim, Talisa.

4. kitchen
And her kitchen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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Wunderkammer


Wun•der•kam•mer (noun): 1. “wonder room” in German; 2. encyclopedic collections of types of objects whose categorical boundaries included natural history, geology, ethnography, archeology, religious or historical relics, works of art, and antiquities.  Besides the most famous, best documented cabinets of rulers and aristocrats, members of the merchant class and early practitioners of science in Europe, formed collections that were precursors to museums.

Reinterpreting the original concept of the Wunderkammer, this new thread on World to Table is going to feature modern day (kitchen) cabinets of curiosities.  It wasn’t until Talisa and I shared what we usually stock up in our respective kitchens, that I realized how different our pantries and cooking habits really were.  Asparagus, couscous and ricotta are solid staples in her kitchen, while mine is almost never without an abundance of tomatoes, a loaf of Pullman bread, or a giant chunk of Parmesean.  We’ll be exploring a wide range of cooking spaces — from the big to the small, from the sparse to the cluttered.

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Fancy Food Findings

Last weekend was spent at the Javits Convention Center in New York, eating my way down the aisles of the 54th Annual Fancy Food Show.  From sampling black truffles to trying the latest Jelly Belly jellybean flavors, there was something for everyone.  Equipped with comfortable walking shoes, a camera in tow, and an empty stomach, I managed to do some investigatory tasting and gathered a few new finds that I thought would be awesome new taste-bud-tantalizing additions to your kitchen cabinet:

Sweet & Sour Tamarind and Sweet Tamarind
Sweet & Sour dried Tamarind is nature’s answer to Sour Patch Kids.  Shelled, pitted, baked twice, then sprinkled with brown sugar and Thai chili, it tingles your tongue, stunning it with a tart zing, then it rounds off with a spicy kick at the end, leaving your mouth slightly numb and wanting more.  I must confess I didn’t get the chance to try the Sweet Tamarind, but I’m curious to know how to prepare it, any ideas?

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