Friday, March 20, 2009
Any web savvy folks/designers in the area that will work for food? Foodaphilia needs a bit of aesthetic help, but I'm as poor as every other graduate student out there. Shoot me an e-mail, let's haggle.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Top Ten Philadelphia Food Blogs
Blogs.com contacted me recently to ask if I'd be willing to choose 10 of my favorite Philadelphia food blogs to be highlighted on their website. It took me all of about two seconds to agree. But what a tough list to write! Philadelphia has over 60 food bloggers who call this city their home so it was tough to pick just ten to call "The Best" when I read and appreciate them all. I managed to pick ten favorites, and here they are.
Top Ten Philadelphia Food Blogs
Monday, March 16, 2009
I was recently invited to Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse for a steak and wine tasting. I brought along friend and fellow food blogger, Jess, for a night of wine and deliciously prepared steak in an impressive and sometimes overwhelming setting. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that evening, but luckily Jess and her iphone were present to make up for my bad form. Del Frisco's is located in the historic Packard Grande Building on the corner of 15th and Chestnut. The restaurant has three levels, two full kitchens, and a 34 foot wine tower that holds nearly 2500 bottles. The main floor is beautifully decorated with elaborate swags of curtain and dark wood.
I felt a bit out of place despite choosing my nicest dress pants to wear. There is a dress code, but apparently that doesn't apply to the waitresses who were clad in the miniest of mini skirts and fishnet stockings under thigh high black boots. Jess and I both agreed this was an interesting uniform, but when you're slinging cocktails to big wigs, I suppose every little bit helps. After a drink in the bar, we were brought downstairs to the Vault, which was in use when the space housed the First Pennsylvania Bank.
More importantly, the steak we sampled this evening was totally worth the awkwardness of the environment for me. The servers they had pouring wine and passing samples of steak were excellent, knowledgeable and dressed like adults, so the entire experience in the Vault made up for the bar experience on the main floor.
Executive Chef John Stritzinger came out with 9 cuts of beautiful raw beef on white plates to explain to us the nuanced differences between flavor profiles and tenderness in the cuts we would sample, and then the eating began! Del Frisco's started in the South so they're not shy about flavor. Each of their steaks is heavily dusted with salt and pepper before cooking and drizzled with clarified butter before a final run under the broiler prior to serving. The end result is a steak with flavor in every bite. We sampled the filet mignon, which was the most tender of all the cuts, but also the most subtle in flavor. Then on to the New York Strip, which is one of the most popular steaks in this country. My favorite was the Rib-Eye, the boneless version of Prime Rib, it has excellent marbling throughout so is loaded with flavor and remains tender when cooking.
If you've got someone to impress or you're having your own economic stimulus party, please visit Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, they really know how to cook a steak and can help you pick out a wine from their immense selection that you'll love as an accompaniment.
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse
1426-28 Chestnut Street
(15th & Chestnut)
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Woah! The Philadelphia Weekly has just accomplished a terrific overhaul of their website. It all looks amazing, but the best part is the Restaurant Guide. You can search cuisines by neighborhood and see all the important details of every restaurant in the city, including a helpful description of the restaurants atmosphere and nibbles. There is also an entire section devoted to thinking locally in regard to food production and preparation. The new site is awesome, good job PW!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I began my love affair with the sweet potato sometime in September, a few weeks after I found I out I had Diabetes. Not only is the sweet potato a nutritional dynamo (it's high in fiber, Vitamins A & C, and betacarotene) but it has the lowest glycemic index of all the root vegetables. Sweet potatoes have a variety of applications, but most of my favorites fall into the savory category. The naturally occurring sugars in the sweet potato however, lend themselves well to desserts, such as traidtional sweet potato pie, so why not bake it in cake? I used my favorite butter cake recipe and adapted it slightly to accommodate the addition of mashed sweet potatoes. This cake is moist and dense, but surprisingly light feeling in your mouth, and just sweet enough from the addition of maple syrup.
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups milk
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cubed, boiled, and mashed.
1/3 cup maple syrup
Cream the butter and sugars in an electric mixer until light and fully combined. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, incorporating completely after each addition. Let egg and butter mixture blend until very light in color, about 4 minutes on medium/high speed.
In a separate bowl add the flours, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine.
In a large measuring cup, measure the milk, add the mashed sweet potato and maple syrup and stir to combine.
When the butter mixture is light and fluffy, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well. Add 1/2 of the liquid ingredients and stir. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and liquid mixture, making sure to end with the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl when giving it a final mix.
Pour the batter evenly between two 9 inch round cake pans that you've buttered and floured. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cakes in their pans for 15 minutes, then turn out on to wire racks to cool completely.
When cakes are completely cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting, and decorate the sides with chopped walnuts.