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Jarhead

January 22, 2019

What do you when it’s freezing cold, the snow is coming down, and you’re stuck at home?

Around here, it would seem people make french toast, get wasted, and poop. It’s the only way to make sense of those last minute snow emergency purchases of bread, milk, eggs, beer, and toilet paper.

As for me, I was able to make it out for a last minute shop before the snow began to fall. But on my list were some of the staples like Trader Joe’s frozen raspberries, some snack foods for the kids, and a bag of organic pears. But the most important thing I needed were tabs of dishwasher detergent. Because my plans were for doing a lot cooking, and the near-constant running of the dishwasher was the only way I was going to make it through my list.

Well, the dishwasher and the stash of empty kimchi jars I’ve got scattered around the kitchen.

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The Blueprint

January 21, 2019

What’s the best way to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday?

As a food blogger, I’ve struggled with this over the years. In the early days, we stuck to food content, and business as usual. But in recent years, we’ve turned a corner. Because MLK has his own day. Some people have the day off from work.

Why?

So we can do a little more shopping?
So we can catch up on a little sleep?
So we can go about the business of life?

No. No. No.

Doctor King was murdered to silence his voice, to prevent the spread of the messages he preached. So I think one of the best things we can do today is to amplify those messages of love, peace, and justice. If you’ve got the whole day off thanks to the good doctor, the least you can spare is twenty minutes to hear a speech on the elements required to build a better life.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, here’s a speech from October 26, 1967 in Philadelphia, delivered to junior high school students. It’s fantastic, and continues to be relevant today.

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The Birthday Party To Come

January 18, 2019

Parties are part of what I do.

Every month, as part of the Yelp gig, I organize an Official Yelp Event. And I guess those are like parties of sorts. There is typically food and drink. They are two hours. And I hear from Yelpers who make the guest list that these events are fun.

Still, in my heart of hearts, I don’t quite feel like a party person. Fortunately, I have very little to do with the party being held at Casa del Fussy tonight. It’s a sleepover, and Little Miss Fussy is having five other kids over.

She has planned out the whole thing. I get to fill the role of hunter-gatherer and procure the food. Fortunately, I know a thing or two about pizza, and I have some good friends who pointed me in the direction of the cake I forgot I wanted.

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The One Thing Everybody Wants

January 17, 2019

It’s become a trope around food circles within the Capital Region.
Someone will ask, “What’s the one thing that’s missing from the local culinary landscape?” And the chorus will respond, “Ethiopian food.”

There are a few other common answers like, “A dim sum restaurant with cart service.” And invariably there are the negative answers along the lines of, “The last thing we need is yet another Italian restaurant.” There are also a small handful who continue to long for a place to get banh mi, made on a proper roll that shatters when you bite into it. Although those voices seem to be fading a bit. Sometimes, there is a lone voice calling for an upscale German spot.

Those are all fine and good, but personally I have a longing for simple, casual, rustic food from Spain and France. A legit tapas bar, with bocadillos, and without the aspirations of being a full restaurant, would be right up my alley. Small plates. Spanish wines. Think Lucas Confectionery, but with more of a focus on food than wine. Ooh. Actually, I should pitch that to Heather and Vic.

Then there is the dream for a casual French bistro. Imagine the warm comfortable feeling you get when walking into one of our classic taverns. Well, take that, reduce the menu to a few simple classic dishes, like braised chicken, grilled sausage with lentils, mussels in wine, a ham and cheese sandwich, and a small steak with fries. Maybe through in a ratatouille or something for vegetarians. Serve good cheap wine. Supply great crusty bread with cultured butter. And I’m a happy man.

But I’m the outlier. The good news is that for those who have been waiting for Ethiopian food in the Capital Region, your wait is over.

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Drinking Yogurt

January 16, 2019

What do you know about the human biome?

Personally, I know next to nothing, just the little pieces of information I’ve picked up along the way. But it’s an interesting idea that each of us is made up of more things that aren’t human, than our own human being parts. We are each an entire universe of microorganisms.

Where it starts to get weird is that these microorganisms can have an impact on behavior. It sounds like make believe, but it’s science. Have you read the thing about mice and the toxoplasma parasite?

That made the news a few years ago, and I’m not quite sure how far this line of scientific inquiry has come since then. Perhaps, just perhaps, my current love and interest in fermented foods is driven by the bacteria I’ve already consumed trying to increase their numbers. It may be the only thing that helps explain the following interest in drinking yogurt.

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Fussy Frozen Green Beans

January 15, 2019

Last week’s post about frozen broccoli was a surprise hit, and elsewhere on social media a reader asked about the other frozen vegetables I lean on during the winter months. So today, I thought I would share another staple of the vegetable side dish repertoire.

But first, I should note, that winter is still a great time to shop the local farmers markets. I was just at the Schenectady Greenmarket on Sunday and picked up a butternut squash, some beets, a cabbage, and a bag of dried beans. The winter storage crops that grow in and around the Capital Region are some of the tastiest vegetables we produce.

I also happened to find some local braising greens. Unfortunately, I was a bit distracted and forgot to ask how they were grown given that we’re currently in the heart of winter, so that will be a topic for another day.

Today, I have to start by saying, not all frozen green beans are created equal.

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Tour de Wing Uptown: Nominations

January 14, 2019

Now, it’s winter. The calendar has said it’s been winter for a while, but with all the rain it has felt more like “the unlocking” than anything else. This week, there is no mistaking that winter has finally arrive.

That means it’s time for the FLB winter tour.

I’m not entirely sure where we got the fool idea last year to do pizza slices in winter and wings in the spring. Wings are most assuredly some of the best, calorically dense, winter foods we’ve got in this frigid zone. They are the staple of taverns, which are designed to warm you from the inside out.

So that’s what we’re going to do in the very near future. And on the last wing tour, I committed to doing one last follow up tour in Albany. We started downtown. We hit midtown. And this year we’ll be exploring uptown, where I don’t think Mike Graney owns a wing place, so he can’t win a third time.

Today is the day to not only announce the date of the next tour, but also to open the floor up to nominations. So put those thinking caps on, grab your calendar and a pen, and let’s get geared up for the Tour de Wing: Uptown Edition.

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