Monday, August 23, 2010

The Best of Vacation

I just experienced a much needed long weekend in Maine with family. Hammock time and a midnight boat ride to admire the vivid Milky Way in the sky above the Northwoods was just what the doctor ordered.

I also ate my fair share of local bounty, including this gorgeous and delicious fellow above.

While returning to Philly I took the advice of New Hampshire's discount liquor stores (tax free shopping!) and stocked up on some much needed bar staples.

Back to work!

Monday, August 02, 2010

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The Cooking Channel's Ice Cream Truck rolled into Philly last week and I was on call to snap some photos and meet up with Ching He-Huang, one of Cooking Channel's chef-hosts.
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Free scoops of ice cream will almost always draw a crowd, and last Wednesday's stop was no exception. Cooking Channel staffers were swarming the crowd, recording interviews and collecting information on what Philadelphians love about Bassetts Ice Cream.
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In honor of the event, Bassetts unveiled a new flavor, Guatemalan Ripple! From the Bassett's website: "Developed by WMMR's Preston & Steve, Guatemalan Ripple is a Guatemalan-sourced coffee base with mocha fudge ripple blended with mini coffee-filled chocolates. Available in dipping parlors in July"

After sampling a scoop of Bassetts new flavor, I had a few minutes to sit with Ching and dish about her food story.

E: You started your culinary business ventures when you were just 21, that's incredible! What was it like starting out on your own so young?

Ching: Looking back, it is a lot of hard work, I gave up most of my 20’s to working on building my business. At first, I bargained with this land lady for the use of her commercial kitchen on this strange office block. I struck a deal with her, and got three months free rent as a trial for my business. She was my guardian angel, really. But I’ve always loved food and It was the only thing I knew to do when I finished university. There was no other choice I was eating and working to live.

E: Any advice for other young food entrepnuers?

Ching: You need to have a passion for it. Being in food and the food industry is a tough choice, any business is tough, but with food its even tougher. If you truly want a proper food business as well, make sure you’re armed with all the information and research. You need to give it everything.

E: Do you like ice cream? Do you make it yourself? Any recipe you want to share?

Ching: I love ice cream, I have a sweet tooth. I love green tea, black sesame, mango, all the Chinese flavors. For me, a very simple recipe is using cream, sugar, and mixing in a mango puree using fresh as well as tinned mango for the depth of flavor. Blend it up, put it in the churner and then there you have it.

E: Your book and show are called Chinese Food Made Easy. Is Chinese food easy to cook?

Chinese food is easy. Sometimes, people email me and facebook me “Ching, this is not so easy! I’ve got to get like X,Y & Z!", but really, as long as you understand the steps to making Chinese food, of how to treat the ingredients, it is easy. It’s about what flavor combinations you enjoy and putting them into a dish in balance.

Make sure to check out Ching's show on the new Cooking Channel, Saturdays at 1pm!

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And don't forget to check out Guatemalan Ripple next time you're at Reading Terminal Market or one of the many scoop shops that serve Bassetts Ice Cream.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

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