Report: Roberta Roberti Photos: Jackie Gordon
A dozen or so Alliance members had a leisurely lunch at Bricolage, a Vietnamese gastropub in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on April 16, and were treated to a special menu, overseen by Executive chef and co-owner, Lien Lin, who, at about eight months pregnant, was proof that there is no rest in the restaurant business.
Bricolage is aptly named. Chef Lien explained how everything for the restaurant’s decor was carefully and thoughtfully chosen. From the eclectic chandeliers and sconces made of old rattan chairs, to the vintage mini TVs in the bathrooms, to the rough-hewn salvaged tabletops, everything in Bricolage is repurposed for a casual, rustic, yet chic and whimsical ambience.
We started with a couple of South African sparkling wines, and then dove hungrily into beautifully wrapped summer rolls with a delicious hoisin-peanut sauce, crispy imperial rolls, and a fresh, crunchy papaya salad. After that came pho ga, a chicken-based soup that we could embellish with fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves, and maybe a squirt of lime. Hearty and fresh at the same time, it was incredibly flavorful. Then we had an assortment of banh mi and lemongrass-marinated steak vermicelli. We finished the meal with an assortment of handcrafted French- and Vietnamese-inspired chocolates from Alliance member Milène Jardine, the most intriguing of which was a dark chocolate infused with coconut and kaffir lime leaf. Throughout the meal, we enjoyed several different kinds of wine from South Africa, selected by the Alliance’s wine committee.
This Vietnamese lunch showcased a few traditional dishes, but the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine peeked through, from the crispy shallots on the papaya salad and the soup, to the duck confit banh mi. It was It was the perfect comforting lunch on a gorgeous spring day.
Report: Caity Moseman Wadler Photos: Barbara Sibley
On April 9th, NYWCA members and interested members of the public gathered for a home fermentation workshop led by Myra Kornfeld at Myra’s Kitchen near Union Square. The workshop covered 4 methods of lacto-fermentation: salt only, salt + water brine, whey, and salt + whey brine. Participants sampled delicate fruit and savory beet kvass, Myra’s potent “firewater” (a delicious addition to bone broth), plus a few versions of kraut and kimchee. Myra provided a great workbook with recipes and methods using readily available ingredients and simple tools for home fermentation. Anyone can get started with just a 1-quart wide-mouth jar! Gadget lovers may also wish to invest in a wooden kraut pounder. Myra showed how easy it is to use traditional methods of preservation to transform produce into bright and boldly-flavored home ferments that support a healthy gut microbiome. Learn more about Myra at www.myrakornfeld.com.
Report and photography: Rose Malindretos
Diana Pittel and Sarah Abrams, founders of the Cocktail Club, hosted a lively and thirsty group of NYWCA members on Monday, April 8th, at the New York Distilling Company. Allen Katz, owner and distiller, shared his vast knowledge and passion for gin as we tasted and learned about three distinct styles of gin and their respective botanicals: Perry’s Tot (Navy Strength Gin with a whopping 114 proof, 57% alcohol and not one cough in the room! Spicy and intense!), followed by Dorothy Parker (American Gin, 88 proof, an original yet classic made with juniper berries, elderberries and hibiscus petals, citrusy and floral), and finally Chief Gowanus (New Netherland Gin based on a recipe dating back to 1809, made with American rye whiskey, juniper berries and Cluster hops). We also got to taste and experience the complexity of flavors in the actual juniper berry botanical before touring Allen’s impressive craft distillery. Finally, it was time to mix and shake! We measured, mixed and shook 2 fabulous cocktails: a Gimlet featuring Perry Tot’s gin and a New York Negroni spotlighting Dorothy Parker Gin. Cheers to a fantastic evening leaving us with a newfound appreciation for gin as the weather warms up and gin and tonics are calling out!
Report and photos: Caity Wadler
On Saturday, April 6, NYWCA members and guests soaked up some springtime rays and put their hands in the dirt to pull up some delicious treasures. Wildman Steve Brill returned by popular demand to lead this foraging tour of Central Park. Garlic mustard, burdock root, and Japanese knotweed were just a few of the wild foods we found hiding in plain sight. Wildman Steve also brought along some foods he had prepared to illustrate the culinary applications of our discoveries– think burdock root jerky and vegan garlic mustard pesto. Adventurous cooks and eaters in the group harvested plentiful and flavorful wild vegetables for weekend cooking projects. Zoe Mikhailovich planned the event. Learn more about Wildman Steve at https://www.wildmanstevebrill.com, and find him on Twitter @wildmanbrill.
Report and photos: C. Marina Marchese
Last week, NYWCA members were treated to an eye-opening evening of lessons in food styling with styling genius, Lisa Homa. She shared her own behind the scenes expert tips on using color, texture and design as important concepts to master for the perfect food shot. Attendees who submitted their own photos were treated to a valuable critic on how to improve their own work. Best tip of the workshop was design in groups of 3’s, repetition is visually pleasing. Stay tuned, our Instagram feeds are going to be looking very delicious!
Report and photos: Judy Rusignuolo
“Après Ski Without the Work!” Dine Around at Raclette
“Apres Ski” refers to the activities following a day of skiing. While there was no skiing involved on a mild evening in the East Village on March 19, sixteen members enjoyed a cozy gathering at Restaurant Raclette NYC to learn about and feast upon the time-honored Swiss culinary tradition called “raclette” (derived from the French verb racler, meaning "to scrape"). Imagine a large wheel of warm, luscious Alpine cheese expertly rack-melted and scraped over platters of thinly sliced meats, potatoes, vegetables and breads. It was a delicious and satisfying experience for all!
The menu was served family-style and included:
· Fig Tartine with prosciutto, toasted hazelnuts, balsamic reduction and Brillat-Savarin cheese on a toasted bagel
· Cauliflower Tartine with curry spice, hummus, golden raisins and toasted almonds on naan
· Traditional Raclette Suissa – melted Alpine cheese over a variety of meats (viande sechee, prosciutto di Parma, jambon de Paris, saucisson sec), roasted new potatoes, cornichon and pearl onions
· Arugula Salad
· Blackberry Thyme Cheesecake with lemon curd and bruleed sugar
Two wines were perfectly paired with our meal. A 2014 French Pomerol by Chateau de Viaud-Lalande and 2016 Spanish Casa Abril Godello were generously provided by Barterhouse Wine & Spirits. NYWCA members expressed appreciation to our hosts at Raclette NYC and our wine sponsors at Barterhouse.
Report and Photography: Alyson Vogel
A full house of enthralled listeners attended pre-Passover dinner on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at Jennifer Clair’s Home Cooking New York kitchen. Each woman brought a traditional Seder dish, and joined Middle Eastern chef, member, author, and culinary instructor Jennifer Abadi for an evening of storytelling and to learn about the diversity of culture surrounding Passover offerings in the Sephardic and Judeo-Arabic communities. Her stories came from her historical cookbook entitled Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe and spanned memories she garnered from women from Africa to Asia and parts of Europe. During this storytelling, the large group of us was sitting around a giant table tasting some delicious offerings beginning with a twist on a Syrian haroset made with dried apricots and orange blossom water, and even a balled Moroccan haroset that could have passed for truffles! This was followed by a delicious soup called Kibbeh Hamdah, a tart soup made with lamb meatballs, lemon and mint.
Other highlights were a Gibraltarian-style layered matzah pie with ground beef, turmeric and nutmeg. Desserts included Egyptian walnut date macaroons and Italian Almond Cake with almond syrup. Thanks to Jennifer Abadi and Rebecca Miller French for co-hosting a warm and inviting evening, and to Jennifer for signing many copies of her lovely cookbook that will be shared with friends and loved ones. As Clare Treves Brezel has said, "Preserving the memories and the recipes is so, so very important!"
The winter session of the Book Club gathered on January 17 to discuss Ruth Reichl’s debut novel, "Delicious!" The evening was hosted by Fanny Farkas at her charming apartment. She graciously treated those lucky enough to attend to a sit-down dinner centered around wintery fare of roast pork with fennel and pizzoccheri, a buckwheat pasta from the Italian Alps. Co-chair, Jeanne Voltz organized the event and prepared the book’s pièce de résistance, Billie’s Gingerbread (recipe below). Member Gisela Nelson provided the book’s delicious brownies.
Unlike Ruth’s wonderful memoirs, most were curious but underwhelmed by her roman à clef and it quickly became secondary to the fabulous meal and great company. Thanks to all who attended, contributed and helped, especially Fanny.
Adapted from "Delicious!" by Ruth Reichl (Random House; 2014)
When the Book Club tasted Billie's Gingerbread, a majorplayer in the novel, we could understand the hoopla. It was "Delicious!"
Whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sour cream
1½ sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large pieces fresh ginger, finely grated, to measure ¼ cup tightly packed
Grated zest from 2 to 3 oranges, 1½ teaspoons
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.
Grind your peppercorns, cloves and cardamom and measure out ¼ teaspoon of each. (Pre-ground spices won’t taste as good.)
Grind your cinnamon stick and measure out 1 teaspoon.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolk into the sour cream; set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy and almost white, about 3 minutes. Add grated ginger and orange zest.
Beat the flour mixture and the egg mixture, alternating between the two, into the butter until each addition is incorporated. The batter should be as luxurious as a mousse.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 40 minutes, until the cake is golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Remove to a rack and cool 10 minutes.
½ cup bourbon
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
While the cake cools in the pan, simmer bourbon and sugar in a small saucepan about 4 minutes. It should reduce to about 1/3 cup.
While the cake is still in the pan, brush half the bourbon mixture onto its exposed surface (the bottom of the cake) with a pastry brush. Let the syrup soak in for a few minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack.
Gently brush the remaining mixture all over the cake.
¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
5 teaspoons orange juice
Once the cake has cooled, mix the sugar with the orange juice and either drizzle the glaze randomly over the cake or put in a squeeze bottle and do a controlled drizzle.
Report and photos by Lauren McGrath
Seats were hard to come by at the Dine-Around January 7th at Yoon Haeundae Galbi NYC. The original family restaurant was founded in 1964 in Busan, South Korea, and Amy Lee, the NYWCA organizer, has been a regular at the NYC location since it opened in April 2018. The original restaurant's founder's grandson, Bobby Yoon, was the gracious host of the event.
Yoon explained about his family business and the differences between this location and the one in Korea: over there people have their own individual banchan (Korean small plate appetizers) and they also take charge of their own grills. At our event, the waitstaff dexterously handled all the cooking and explained the various cuts of beef and other dishes, which included a popular soy bean-based soup, a shrimp and scallion pancake, many cuts of super tender and well marinated beef, and some particular delicacies from the bones, as well as delicious potato flour noodles finished in the beefy cooking broth around the edge of the grill.
The atmosphere was festive and convivial and it was particularly nice to gather around the communal grills with fellow members while further exploring Korean cuisine.
Report: Rose Cirrincione. Photographs: Alison Price Becker
NYWCA members met on December 4, 2018 at The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on the Upper West Side to learn about challah baking and braiding – our ultimate goal was to perform a community service event in which the baked challah rolls were being donated to The New Jewish Home, a senior care facility.
Irene Yager and Jackie Addy made the challah dough earlier in the morning and several batches were ready for the members to braid, shape, glaze, and bake in individual rolls. The class was led by Kate Landowne, an amazing instructor offering various tips and suggestions on baking challah. The kitchen had an amazing sweet smell of challah; we were all lucky enough to sample fresh, hot baked challah with a little drizzle of honey accompanied by a refreshing glass of kosher white wine.
After the members finished baking the batches of rolls for The New Jewish Home, it was time to learn how to make challah dough from scratch – “Challah in a Bag.” This recipe was so simple to make – and delicious. In a 1-gallon plastic ziptop bag we added yeast, water, sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups of flour with as little mess as possible. Then just knead the dough gently in the bag so it doesn't burst or rip.
I attended several challah baking events throughout the year and this one was my favorite so far. We had a wonderful evening of baking and networking. Each member went home with the challah recipe, braiding instructions and a batch of challah dough ready for the oven! I baked my challah for Shabbat – bread was scrumptious and delicious!