Home is Where the Cook Is: Brooklyn Supper

 

elizabeth-stark-pic

One of the best things about cooking is that anyone can do it. You don't have to be a celebrity, a trained chef or a stay-at-home mom to understand the time, energy and dedication it takes to make delicious food.  Food has recently become a huge part of our pop-culture and with it the emergence of food blogs. One such blogger is Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper, who focuses on recipes that are both simple and seasonal. We caught up with Elizabeth and asked her about her life with food.

What is the name of your blog and how long have you been blogging for?

My blog is Brooklyn Supper. I started the blog with my husband Brian in June of 2008, so we've been at it for over five years.

Who do you cook for at home?

I have two young daughters so my day-to-day cooking is about striking a balance between what they'll like while also keeping with my preferred focus on seasonal vegetables and local foods. Planning dinner parties and cooking for friends is my favorite reason to get into the kitchen, and I try to entertain as often as I can.

What or who inspires your cooking?

I used to spend hours thumbing through cookbooks, but now I usually work in the opposite direction –– by visiting the farmer’s market or the butcher and finding ingredients I really want to work with and then devising a recipe to use them. Or sometimes I’ll have a craving for a certain ingredient and ask “What can I make with horseradish?” and just look around the grocery store until I have something great. All of my best recipes come together as I shop.

What kind of food do you enjoy to cook the most?

I love making food that takes time. There are few things I enjoy more than braising meat on the stovetop all day or having a flavorful stock simmering away. In the summertime, though, I am all about making fresh fruit pies.

What is your biggest cooking disaster?

It's tough to pin down just one! I once worked for weeks to capture wild yeast and then make a wild yeast sourdough bread. I ended up with a sourdough brick (bread baking eludes me to this day). It also took me multiple tries to master homemade caramel. It's actually a cinch to make, but it took a lot of burnt sugar and gloppy messes for me to figure it out.

What is your best tip for other cooks at home?

Know your ingredients. If you start with quality meat, fresh produce, and great ingredients, it's a lot harder to go wrong. Learning about the growing season in your area and getting to know food producers can help you to make the most of what's available.

If there is one dish that is your signature, what would it be? 

I look forward to the winter months as a time to challenge myself to come up with fresh, healthy meals combining local storage foods or hoop house crops (such as leafy greens and root vegetables) with fresh California citrus. I enjoy playing with sweet and sour flavors, as well as color. This pretty layered farro salad incorporates blood oranges, kumquats, kale, and caramelized shallots, for a fresh and satisfying midwinter salad.

Click here for  Elizabeth's recipe for Farro Salad with kumquat, blood orange and kale that you can make at home. 

blood orange kale farro salad 2

Weekend Warrior: Block Parties and Art

Rain Room TGIF, and now what? Here’s a look at events around New York City that are worth checking out.

All weekend

Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival kicks off this weekend. Check out the schedule online.

On Saturday and Sunday, New York gets a lot more articulate with the New York City Poetry Festival.

Escaping to the Hamptons this weekend? Check out Turtle Shell Health's Masters of Health and Wellness conference.

It'll be a lively time at BAM's Animation Block Party, with animated films playing all weekend (with some family-friendly ones too).

Friday

Photographer Michael July's book Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair will launch with a photo exhibition, free wine and beer, music, and a signing at the Powerhouse Arena this weekend.

Outdoor movies: Iron Man 2, Star Trek, U, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Beer

Saturday

From 10 to 7, check out local food and beer from more than 20 microbreweries in Williamsburg at the New York State Food and Beer Expo.

Celebrate hipster-life at the Bushwick Block Party this Saturday with Roberta's, beer, and denim cutoffs.

Tasting Table's Sous Chef Series reprises this weekend at Williams-Sonoma with Chef Anup Joshi of Tertulia. Learn how to make his slow-roasted tomatoes at 11a.m. in the Columbus Circle store.

Outdoor movies: Brave and Working Girl

Sunday

This Sunday is the first day of Harlem Week (not to mention the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation), with 'A Great Day in Harlem' lasting from noon to 8:30p.m.

It's the last day of the Rain Room at MoMA! (And it's staying open late so you won't miss out!)

Outdoor movies: American Pie and See No Evil, Hear No Evil

Happy weekend!

Q&A: Moriah Cowles, Orchard Steel Knives

knives, Brooklyn, Moriah Cowles,

When you use something repetitively everyday, after a while you seldom seem to wonder who made it. For chefs and home cooks alike, a great knife means everything. The durability of the blade, the weight of the handle in your hand as you are slicing and dicing away, and the sharpness are major factors when handling a knife. You want a knife to best fit you, and Moriah Cowles, of Orchard Steel does just that. I had the pleasure of being introduced to Moriah recently and chat about her love for being a blade smith and creating the perfect balanced knife.

Name: Moriah Cowles

Job: Bladesmith and Owner of Orchard Steel LLC.

Large brown knife

Where did your love of knives come from and what made you get into creating knives?

It is sort of a round about story. I have always been in love with art and food. I grew up on an apple orchard in Vermont in a community of farmers and food loving people very connected to the land. I also have always loved art and had a need, not just a desire, but a need to make things with my hands. I found blacksmithing by accident while fulfilling an art credit at Colorado College. In the class I was able to sculpt red hot steel into table legs and hinges, providing the perfect marriage of art and function. I fell in love.

After college I went back to Vermont to work on the family apple orchard. Over the next three years I acquired a forge and anvil, took a couple classes in blacksmithing and spent 6 weeks apprenticing with a bladesmith during a bicycle trip through Mexico. It was during one of those moments of limbo, trying to work out my next step in life when I received an email from a friend living in Brooklyn. She connected me to another friend of hers, Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn, who makes beautiful high end kitchen knives in Gowanus. A month later I was in my truck, apple boxes packed with clothes, heading to Brooklyn. I worked with Joel for two years, learning so much from him and having a blast. I now have set up my own metal shop in Sunset Park where I make my own kitchen knives from start to finish, all in house. I forge, heat treat, grind, sharpen, make and fit and sculpt the handle pieces, epoxy it all together and finish the knives in the shop.

Moriah Cowles

A lot of knives are sometimes too heavy to handle accurately. How do you find the perfect balance?

I don’t have a formula, I think it’s just been a matter of practice and feel that only comes with time. Since my knives are all forged, each is a bit different, even the handle wood and its weight affects the balance. At first I had to work with each knife’s handle and blade weight to balance them piece by piece. Somehow after working through many designs and just making knife after knife, I have come up with a design and handle to blade ratio that produces a balanced knife. There are so many people out there with different preferences for knife designs, styles, weights and handle sizes. All I can do is make knives that feel good to me, that is my constant. Using my own preference as a base, I am then able to shift the design and add or subtract weight and bulk to the knife and handle upon request.

Examining the blade

Does your love of food effect how you construct and build a knife?
I think it would be hard to make a good kitchen knife without loving to cook; there would be too much disconnect. Food has always been a part of my roots, as well as my family’s livelihood. Since there’s not enough time in the day to be both a chef and a knife maker, I had to choose one. Fortunately I have been able to get friends and customers who take my knives into the kitchen with them and give me their feedback. It is a unending learning process, which I love. Plus, now when I cook at home, I have a great supply of sharp knives to use!

Where can the readers purchase your amazing knives? 

There is an online shop on my website where I post knives I have made already. Folks can also order knives from me by sending me an email with the size and handle wood preference. For now, my knives are on my website www.orchardsteel.com. If I decide to sell at any retail stores in New York or beyond, I will post it on the website as well!

The makings of the perfect knife

Where do you go for a no fail meal?

Honestly… home. If I can make it home when both of my roommates are there, without saying more than a couple of words about what we’re going to make together, we dance about the kitchen, talking about the day, chopping veggies, sautéeing onions, baking pastries...you name it. Somehow an incredible feast lines our table every time, and that blows my mind.

Smoothing out the blade

Check out some other Q&A Stories from the blog:

Local Inspiration: CUT Brooklyn

Q&A: Chef Alfred Green

Q&A: Alison Cross of Boxcar Grocer

Q&A: Chef Sylva Senat

The Good Eats at Smorgasburg: Jack’s Chedbred

cornbread, jack's chedbred, smorgasburg, jack sorock

How does a Midwestern jazz pianist turned lawyer then cornbread baker find himself selling the Southern staple at Brooklyn’s most competitive flea market? Ask Chedbred founder Jack Sorock and he isn’t quite sure himself, but he can trace the fixation back to a bed and breakfast spot in Colorado called the Baldpate Inn where his family vacationed every summer. The culinary cornerstone of each visit was a rich, indulgent cornbread that nearly bordered on dessert and though Sorock sees this as the recipe to beat, he’d rather not try. It touts two cans of creamed corn with twice as much fat, sugar and cheddar cheese as his own recipe. But sheer determination and countless tastings led to a recipe that tastes unmistakably close to the same nostalgic blend of textures without needing a triple bypass.

cornbread, jack's chedbred, smorgasburg, jack sorockWhile trudging through the grind of a corporate stint in New York, Sorock apprenticed his way into cornbread mastery with Momofuku Milk Bar’s Adam Wile. The secret (or as much of it that he’d share) is all in the placement and layering of the cheese. “Cornbread is textually one note. I made it more self sufficient by putting cubes of cheese on top and a crumble finish that gives it the richness it deserves. I think the cheese bite gives it a little bit of the drama.”

And his Chedbred snacks are arguably worth center stage. They’re moist, hearty and full of roasted kernels of corn and cheddar cheese that holds together bite after bite. The entire experience is a far cry from the sandy, crumbly mess you’re often left with from a box of Marie Callendar’s premade mix. Try a Maple Bacon drizzled with maple syrup and and it’s as if everything wonderful about breakfast has been fused into one handheld delight. Sorock’s newest additions to Smorg include a Garlic Confit with Chives, Jalapeno and Raspberry Swirl complete with complimentary “spreds”: sea salt honey butter, honey lime butter and a sherry shallot jam.

Sorock later partnered with his longtime friend and New York Cookery founder, Jon Ellsaesser, where his Southwestern chili (an epic recipe five years in the making), is the ying to the Chedbred’s yang. The deep flavors are enhanced with black beans, cultured Mexican crema and a braised brisket so tender the mere mention of it induces a Pavlov’s dog salivation. It would appear that this perfect match is destined to eventually go in one direction: a brick and mortar cafe somewhere in the city, that Sorock may or may not have alluded to.

I’m not quite sure; I stopped listening after I dunked a brick of Chedbred into my cup of succulent chili.

cornbread, jack's chedbred, smorgasburg, jack sorock

To taste Jack's Chedbred, check them out at Smorgasburg this weekend.

For more food vendor and farmers market stories:

Morningside Park Farmers Market

Perfect Picnics from your Farmers Market

Fighting for Red Hook Food Vendors

Spanish Harlem's La Marqueta

The Evolution of Food Trucks

Colonie: Bruijkleen for Brunch

Brunch service at Colonie, Bruijkleen Named in honor of the Dutch who first came to Bruijkleen (Brooklyn), Colonie is a pioneer for the new food frontier in the Brooklyn Heights food scene. Since their opening in 2011, Colonie has been dishing out fresh, local ingredients in simple yet exquisite ways. Not to mention the décor, which when done by Public and Double Crown vets, Tamer Hamawi, Emelie Kihlstrom and Elise Rosenberg, you know it's nothing short of perfection--from the rustic wood planked ceilings and living wall all the way down to the multi-purpose menu placemats.

Two years ago my boyfriend and I came to this Brooklyn Heights gem on one of our first brunch dates and quickly realized we were ruined to go anywhere else. From the bright smiles that greet you as you walk in the door to great dishes like the Seasonal Special shown above (even to the Beatles White Album meets Jay-Z's Black Album with a hint of Motown soundtrack), every detail is thought of and most of all, they make you feel at home.

Looking for more brunch ideas?

If it's your first time trying Colonie for brunch you must sit at the kitchen bar. You will be mesmerized by their synchronized movements and ability to time everything just right; especially in front of an audience. Start with their signature bloody mary that involves jalapeño, cilantro and sherry along with usual suspects. If you're looking to keep it booze-free try one of there many fresh squeezed/pressed juices like apple, grapefruit, orange and cucumber.

The magnificent array of eggs just about any way you like or anything topped with such makes this an egg lovers paradise: Eggs "benny" as they like to call out when the order comes in, ramp and gruyere scramble (seasonal and sometimes with leeks) and the naughty duck hash topped with a perfectly poached egg. Even for you brunchers of which eggs aren't your thing, there are plenty of sans egg options: comforting shrimp and grits, sweet and earthy beet salad with local ricotta and pomegranate, or maybe you'd like a Nordic delight of gravlax (cured salmon) with rosti and dill creme fraiche. For those of you with a sweet tooth there are delightful and airy doughnuts filled with rhubarb jam, Nutella, or salted caramel custard (oh my!). Or how about beautiful billowy pancakes or light and lovely french toast both served with seasonal fruit compote and whipped crème fraîche.

So if you are looking for a new spot to try this weekend, look no further, your brunch Mecca has arrived. They've got something for every taste, and a cure for any hangover. In fact, you can even order three entrees amongst two of you and no judgements will be passed. Trust me, this theory has been tested on several occasions. Not even a blink of an eye.

 

Kitchen Bar at Colonie

 

COLONIE, BRUIJKLEEN 127 ATLANTIC AVENUE BROOKLYN, NY (718) 855 - 7500 info@colonienyc.com