Cookfight! Kim Severson vs. Julia Moskin

The concept of COOKFIGHT is incredibly fresh. New York Times journalists Kim Severson and Julia Moskin, who also happen to be best friends, choose a theme (dinner on a budget, for example) and then compete to see who can make the best meal. The results of their efforts fill the pages of this book; a book so chock-full of winning recipes, I’m not sure which one I want to make first. Ok, that’s a lie, I know which one I want to make first but it means I’m choosing sides in the Cookfight. (Don’t tell Kim, but it’s Julia’s pasta with roast chicken, currants and pine nuts.)

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to the New York Times building (my first time!) to interview Kim and Julia about their book. Instead of a lengthy 20 minute interview that meanders in all directions, I decided to pose various Cookfights to them to watch them duke it out. Coke vs. Pepsi, Mounds vs. Almond Joy, etc. The results are in the video below; but if you have a job where you can’t watch videos at work, I’ve broken it all down for you underneath it with comic book speech balloons that recreate the conversation.

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Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy Cookbook (A Video Interview)

My friend Amanda Cohen, chef at Dirt Candy in New York’s East Village, has a pretty incredible cookbook out right now called, appropriately enough, Dirt Candy. The remarkable thing about the book is that it’s in a graphic novel format, so there are drawings and speech balloons and little boxes and exclamations and all of that good stuff you expect to see in a graphic novel. What’s great is how this format enhances the experience of reading a cookbook…the combination of text and imagery carries the points home further so the various techniques described (sweating, reducing, etc.) are made incredibly clear. Today I popped into Dirt Candy to sit down with Amanda to chat about the book, how it came about, how she wrote it in this format, and to get the dirt on some of the stories she tells (about Iron Chef, for example). Thanks Amanda for taking the time to talk to me and congrats on your awesome new book!

Waiter, Don’t Take My Plate Away

Back in the old days of my blog, I used to write Thursday Night Dinner Songs. Those files went missing, I got older and more self-conscious, and the days of food related songs on my blog were over. But tonight I Tweeted that I wanted to write a country song called: “Waiter, Don’t Take My Plate Away” (because so many servers take our plates away before we’re finished) and was surprised to see it get ReTweeted many, many times. So then I thought: “What if I actually write it?” I sat down at the piano, took out a notepad, and created the song you can hear up above. A few notes: (1) sorry that you can see up my nostrils; (2) sorry that I turn blue every few seconds; (3) yes, it sounds like Dolly Parton’s “Why’d You Come In Here Looking Like That?”; and (4) I know I’m not a great singer, which is why I’d love for you to record your own version of the song….

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Someone’s In The Kitchen With…Zach Brooks

When Craig got his L.A. job offer and I knew that we’d be moving out here, I took great comfort in the fact that Zach Brooks, creator of the legendary N.Y.C. food blog Midtown Lunch, made a similar move a year prior. Which is why, when I thought of starting up my web series “Someone’s In The Kitchen With” again here in L.A. (check out my new L.A. kitchen in the background!) I knew precisely who my first guest should be. Join us as, then, as we chat about Zach’s blog, his childhood, his life in radio, how he thought up the idea of a site that’d tell office workers where to eat a good lunch in midtown Manhattan and how he’s expanded his empire to include downtown New York, Philadelphia and, of course, L.A. Thanks, Zach, for being my first L.A. guest! Your final interview bit about L.A. makes me excited to be living and eating here.

Someone’s In The Kitchen With…Penny De Los Santos

If you haven’t heard of Penny De Los Santos, you clearly don’t follow many food folks on Twitter. The woman is a superstar to the nth degree. Beloved by food bloggers everywhere for her photography (she works regularly for Saveur and National Geographic) and for the stirring lectures she gives at food conferences, the woman is unstoppable. So how lucky am I that she came to my kitchen (when I still had a kitchen) to talk about her career and the nitty gritty of food photography? Learn how to take great pictures of food (essential tip: it’s all about the light) and scratch your head as I make a weird Harry Potter analogy. Thanks, Penny, for dropping by!

Previous Episodes: Anita Lo & Charlotte Druckman, Lauren Shockey, Ludo & Krissy Lefebvre, Sara Jenkins, Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, Ed Levine, Matt Armendariz, The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

Someone’s In The Kitchen With…Lauren Shockey

It’s not every day that one of New York City’s anonymous food critics comes to your apartment and unmasks herself on your web show to all the world. But that’s precisely what happened when Village Voice food critic Lauren Shockey stopped by to talk about her brand new book, “Four Kitchens,” a book that covers her time cooking at wd-50 in New York and restaurants in Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris. Find out all about how this 27 year-old became a food critic at a major paper, the challenges of restaurant criticism, the food that she cooked at wd-50 (“Campari Tofu with Smoked Eel”), her ultimate conclusions about molecular gastronomy, how to properly hold a knife (and mince chives), what it’s like being a woman in the brigade system in France and Lauren’s favorite off-the-beaten-path New York City restaurants. P.S. I’m pretty sure that I have a cowlick in this episode.

Someone’s In The Kitchen With…Ludo & Krissy Lefebvre

Yesterday saw the premiere of the new Sundance show “Ludo Bites America.” It stars French chef Ludo Lefebvre and his wife Krissy Lefebvre who, together, have taken the Los Angeles restaurant scene by storm; creating pop-up events that sell out so quickly you have a better shot of getting J.K. Rowling to write you another Harry Potter book than you do scoring a table there. The show tracks the Lefebvres as they create pop-up events all around the country. The first episode (which you can watch here on Hulu) is an entertaining mix of culinary tourism and high-stakes cooking drama. Ludo and Krissy stopped by my kitchen yesterday to chat about the show, the reality of reality TV, the virtues of a pop-up vs. a food truck vs. a restaurant and whether or not I could bribe my way into winning a table at the next LudoBites when I move to L.A.

Previous Episodes: Sara Jenkins, Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, Ed Levine, Matt Armendariz, The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

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