Thursday, January 28, 2010

25 Miles - Odds & Ends

100 Miles is turning one! I started this blog one year ago on January 30, 2009. A lot has happened in the past year. I've learned what it means to actually have a blog, all that goes into it, how to attempt to write on a regular basis, how to maintain it, and how to get it out in front of reader's eyes. It's been a challenge often and hugely rewarding always. I am still learning and I expect I will continue to do so for as long as I own 100 Miles. I have also met some of the most extraordinary people, fellow bloggers, writers, chefs, and restaurateurs. I have eaten the most amazingly delicious food. I have also cooked a lot more in the last year than I have in a long time. And I've been on some incredible food travels: France, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, and most recently, Yosemite. Starting 100 Miles has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life. I am so happy I am a 'food blogger' and that I started 100 Miles.

I was away this week attending the '25th Anniversary Chefs' Holidays 2010 at the Ahwahnee' in Yosemite National Park: three days of cooking demos and eating with chefs Suzanne Goin, Duskie Estes & John Stewart, and Jody Adams; since my week was short I thought I'd use this opportunity to do a little catching up. I actually wrote most of this post before I left on the trip. There have been a few items, some mentions, and a review that I've been meaning to get to so I will post them now.

Review: 'Tips Cooks Love: Over 500 Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts That Will Make You a Better Cook'

Tips Cooks Love: Over 500 Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts That Will Make You a Better Cook. Rick Spears & Sur La Table. Andrews McMeel Publishing. $15.00. (372 pp) ISBN-13: 978-0-7407-8344-9

The title really does say it all. This is a great book to have close at hand in the kitchen. If you have a question about how something is done chances are you'll find the answer in this book. Arranged from A to Z authors Spears and Sur La Table give real advice, tricks, and tips on hundreds of subjects. Why is my turkey breast dry? Why did my cheesecake crack? How do I achieve a lump-free gravy? These questions and more are answered. This book is not only for the beginning cook; seasoned pros can use it too. It not only covers tips on cooking, it also discusses equipment, ingredients, and processes. There are also ten deconstructed recipes designed to put the learned tips into perspective. Read up on parchment paper then flip to the recipe for fleur de sel caramels and put your knowledge to use . Randomly flipping through I came across two pages devoted to Tips on Deep Frying, at the citrus fruits entry there is a break out tip to only zest the colored surface of the rind while avoiding the bitter white pith, there are several pages listing equivalent measures in tablespoons, cups and ounces, volume and weight. The book is friendly, well-designed and easy to use. There is a huge amount of useful information. I see myself grabbing it often. Every cook should consider adding this book to their collection.

Mention: Real Simple - A Time Inc. Lifestyle Group Publication

I was approached to take a look at another Time Inc. publication - Real Simple. I was yet again unaware of what the magazine was, or was about, but now after looking through it I can say I am quite impressed. It's a large format, high page count publication with a whole lot of lifestyle content including a food section. The issue I have includes these sections: Recipes for a Good Time, Secretly Simple, 10 Ideas For, Road Test, Five Easy Dinners and a Nutritional Index. The Road Test section tested fifty-two pancake mixes and reports findings on seven. The recipes for finger food and hors d'oeuvres in Recipes for a Good Time are easy to prepare, tasty and healthy. Quick blender hollandaise sauce is the recipe in Secretly Simple, and five easy to prepare weeknight meals are highlighted in Five Easy Dinners. This is a magazine most likely geared toward the working professional who has a family but from what I can see anyone looking for healthy, tasty, easy-to-make meals and food tips should also take a look.

Mention: What Is Fresh

I receive so many food-related newsletters that I can barely keep up with my in box. Somewhere, in one of them, possibly Serious Eats or Tasting Table, or on my Twitter feed, I came across What Is Fresh and felt it warranted a shout out. Unfortunately, this will only apply to my New York-area readers. What Is Fresh is a website that tells you what is fresh at each of the New York-area farmers' markets. It lists by day of the week and location what markets are on, what vendors will be at them, and what they will be selling. For example, I went to the site and clicked on the 77th Street Greenmarket page and saw that Berkshire Berries of Massachusetts will be selling syrup and honey at the next market. This may not be the best time of year to use the site because many of the markets are closed for the winter but come spring I can see this being useful in finding ingredients and planning meals and menus. It's definitely a site to bookmark.

Mention: Good Guide

Another recent find was Good Guide, a website that rates natural, green and healthy products. There are so many new, green products out there how does one know which to buy or use? It seems that many mainstream corporations have jumped on the green bandwagon too. Does that mean their products really are natural, green and healthy? Good Guide rates each item by 'health,' 'environment' and 'social.' Forest green in all three is the best rating. Light green and brown are good to not-so-good. It has an iPhone app for on-the-go decisions, and you can personalize your page with your favorite products and those you want to avoid. You can also write your own user review. The site is in beta at the moment but it is quite thorough even at this stage. It seems like a good place to go for help in becoming greener, and in making green decisions. Something we all should be considering and doing.

Thank you!

I'd like to thank all my friends, family, fellow food bloggers and new foodie friends for reading, commenting, supporting and being a part of the first year of 100 Miles. I am most grateful and humbled by all of you, and I appreciate your support so very much.

Check back for more blogging fun and a full report of my adventures in Yosemite.

Bon app├ętit!

Upcoming Posts: Yosemite: my report about the 25th Anniversary Chefs' Holidays 2010 at the Ahwahnee' in Yosemite National Park: three days of cooking demos and eating with chefs Suzanne Goin, Duskie Estes & John Stewart, and Jody Adams. Interview with Chefs John Stewart & Duskie Estes owners of Zazu & Bovolo restaurants in Sonoma County. Reviews: Venezia: Food & Dreams by Tessa Kiros, My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family and Big Sur by Romney Steele, The Spirit Kitchen: Everyday Cooking with Organic Spices by Sara Engram and Katie Luber and Kimberly Toqe.

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  1. Charles, keep up the good work!!!

  2. Congratulations on 1 year! I have really enjoyed reading about your travels and cooking adventures this year. I look forward to many more to come!

  3. hi charles happy bloganniversary !!! I wait for you to come back to Paris and we'll hit the nice restaurants here !!! come on !!

  4. You had me at root veg, Charles. :-)

    Happy 1st Anniversary to 100 Miles! You have done so much in a single year, it's hard to believe it hasn't been longer. It's been great reading your writing, and learning about your life as a chef and passionate gourmand. Ultimately, it's great to be able to call you a friend.

    I really cannot wait for your interview with Duskie and John. They are two of my favorite people, presently -- an inspiration for anyone who likes to cook and eat local ingredients.

    Happy Anniversary!

    PS: You have awesome taste in music. ;-)

  5. Congratulations Charles!! I really enjoyed reading your great stories, your amazing food experiences, and your recipes, all year! Look forward for many more.

  6. Thanks everyone for all the great support and comments. I REALLY appreciate it -- more than you know! Here's to the next year.

  7. Congratulation on the 1 year!!!