Alex Atala - Photo courtesy of D.O.M. Restaurant

The link between nature and culture: An interview with Alex Atala of D.O.M. Restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil

For so many chefs it is no longer just about “the final plating”. Understanding where the ingredients come from, how they were grown and raised, how to ensure its sustainability for future generations is just as important. For Alex Atala, considered by many to be the ambassador for Brazilian ingredients, it is one of his primary focuses and a part of what drives him to create. During my interview with Chef Atala we touch on his appreciation for cooking, the trials of opening his now world famous restaurant, and his personal food memory.

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Chilled Snake Squash Soup with Mint

Meatless Monday Recipes: Chilled Snake Squash Soup with Mint courtesy of inSHAPE

I’d never seen a snake squash until I walked into our local Harlem market and found a huge bin of them. The one that I selected, if you can call it that, had no external cuts or nicks.

The soup is served chilled, which makes it perfect for a summer get together. This is a great recipe to do the day before!

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Paneer ka paratha

Meatless Monday Recipes: Paneer Ka Paratha courtesy of inSHAPE

When there’s an active youngster in the house (or more than one), snacks are really important. Buying packed snacks underscore our modern struggle with weight and overall health, so we try to snack mostly on foods that grow or things that we can make at home.  Yes, this can take time and, for what it’s worth, a little muscle. Do yourself a favor and give this simple recipe a try for a yummy snack treat that you and your kids will love.

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PolyScience Discovery Immersion Circulator

Gadgets for the home kitchen: Immersion circulators

Last week I wrote about the awesomeness that is ChefSteps, an online cooking instruction site with a focus on “cooking smarter” utilizing modern techniques and kitchen gadgetry. A gadget they highly tout, and one that has garnered more and more attention over the past couple of years has been the immersion circulator.

Up until the recent past, circulators were only available to professional kitchens or the particularly adventurous home cook who had cash flow to burn. That, however, is no longer the case. Companies like Anova, Sansaire, Nomiku, and one of the original pioneers in immersion circulator technology, PolyScience, have made efforts to bring the device in to the home kitchen at a much more affordable price.

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Cool and Creamy Summer Salad

Meatless Monday Recipes: Cool and Creamy Summer Salad courtesy of inSHAPE

Editor’s Note: A hearty well done to Harper, daughter of Kim Watkins of inSHAPE Fitness on coming up with this recipe. Start ‘em young! :)

When you walk in your door, and your five-year old daughter has an idea for a recipe, you may think that it’s for cookies or some other sweet treat. How exciting when she points to melon and cucumbers to start a dish!

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ChefSteps

Learning to cook… with ChefSteps

I need to learn to cook.

Ok. Yes, I do know how to cook, but that isn’t what I mean. I need to learn to cook well. Like, restaurant well. Given my propensity for wanting to eat restaurant quality food on a regular basis, I need to learn to cook fast lest my bank account decide to find a more doting benefactor (“Always take, take, take. Why don’t you GIVE!!”).

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Asparagus Soup with Ricotta Dollop

Meatless Monday Recipes: Asparagus Soup with Ricotta Dollop courtesy of inSHAPE

This spring vegetable is about to become a little more scarce in the market. It was late coming out because of the long winter but it really can’t take the intense heat so grab a bunch soon. Homemade soup is so easy, and given the poor nutritional content of pre-made soups, you really should take that extra 20 minutes to do it yourself.

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Marc Orfaly

Why it matters to me: An interview with Marc Orfaly of The Beehive in Boston

For so many these days its all about the limelight. Its about getting paid, getting respect, and being superstars. Easily forgotten is the idea that the culinary industry is first and foremost a service industry; an outpouring of familial hospitality extended to strangers, with food as the focal point.

Many who make the choice to do this, day in and day out, do so out of the respect they have for the food, and a desire to carry on what others who influenced them had done before. Having the opportunity to speak with Chef Marc Orfaly of The Beehive in Boston was a reminder that there are people who cook for the right reasons.

During our conversation we talked about some of Marc’s early experiences in the food industry, his suggestion to those interested in getting in to the culinary industry, and his personal food memory.

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