CONSIDER the Parmesan problem: Imagine that you’re making lasagna with a recipe that calls for topping it with “a cup of grated cheese.”

This was a straightforward instruction when the box grater was the only way to shred cheese. In the last few years, though, more cooks have bought Microplanes, which can turn a small chunk of Parmesan into mountains of billowy ribbons of cheese. And there lies the difficulty: the heavier shavings of a box grater can fill a cup with twice as much cheese as a Microplane’s fluffy snow.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the managing editor of the blog Serious Eats, once asked 10 people to measure a cup of all-purpose flour into a bowl. When the cooks were done, Mr. Lopez-Alt weighed each bowl. “Depending on how strong you are or your scooping method, I found that a ‘cup of flour’ could be anywhere from 4 to 6 ounces,” he said. That’s a significant difference: one cook might be making a cake with one-and-a-half times as much flour as another.

Professional chefs have long argued that there is nothing simple about a simple cup of flour. Nor is there anything foolproof in that cup of grated cheese, a half-cup of diced carrots or a tablespoon of butter. When you fill a measuring cup or spoon with any ingredient, the amount you get depends on a number of factors: how small you’ve sliced it, how tightly you’ve packed it in, how carefully you’ve scooped and whether you manage to get all of it out of the spoon. (Consider the mess of getting all the honey out of a tablespoon measure.)

But when you weigh the same ingredients on a scale, none of these factors comes into play. Four ounces of flour (or cheese, carrots, honey or anything else) are 4 ounces, no matter who’s measuring, or how.

Over the last few years digital kitchen scales have become cheap and widely available. I’ve tried several and even the cheapest — the Ozeri Pro, about $20 — was easy to use and thoroughly accurate. Other models were just as terrific: The Soehnle digital kitchen scale, about $23, and the Oxo Good Grips model, $50, were slightly snappier to look at than the Ozeri Pro, but all three were equally adept at their primary function.

Yet the scale has failed to become a must-have tool in American kitchens. Cooks Illustrated magazine said scales were in the kitchens of only a third of its readers, and they’re a fairly committed group of cooks.

There’s a simple reason for this: The scale doesn’t show up in most published recipes. American cookbooks, other than baking books, and magazines and newspapers generally specify only cup and spoon measurements for ingredients. A few, like Cooks Illustrated, offer weights for baking recipes, but not for savory cooking. (The Times Dining section recently began using weight measurements with baking recipes.)

This creates a chicken-and-egg problem for the kitchen scale. Cooks don’t own scales because recipes don’t call for one, and recipes don’t call for one because cooks don’t own one.

Consider this a plea on behalf of the kitchen scale. It’s time for recipe publishers to recognize this humble gadget for the amazing tool that it is. If more recipes began specifying weight measurements, more cooks would buy a scale. And they would instantly recognize it as one of the most useful gadgets in their kitchens.

Cooks who have ditched cups and spoons for a scale can be rhapsodic on the subject; many describe getting a kitchen scale as an epiphany on the order of sharpening knives that haven’t had an edge in years, or buying a new set of eyeglasses. Not only does a scale provide the most accurate measure, but also, as you get used it, you’ll notice it begin to change how you move about the kitchen.

With a scale, you can get your ingredients together more quickly, and with less clean-up. Recipes that call for weights are also easier to halve, double or otherwise adapt. And the scale is handy for many other tasks.

“The greatest feat the kitchen scale accomplishes is that it turns almost any recipe into a one-bowl recipe,” said Deb Perelman, who writes the blog Smitten Kitchen. “You’re not hunting for six cups and six spoons to make a cake.”

Instead, you place a bowl on the scale, then pour the flour straight from the bag until you get to the desired weight. Most kitchen scales let you bring the readout back to zero after each ingredient. Do that, then pour your next ingredient — and so on. With a scale you can get away with using nothing more than a bowl and one spoon.

Ms. Perelman and other cooks who’ve taken to using scales say that over time, they begin to pick up the weight-volume conversions of common ingredients whose weight barely varies. This lets you use a scale even for recipes that don’t specify weights. If you know that a cup of sugar is 225 grams, why bother reaching for the cup?

Dave Arnold, director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute, recommends that you make a chart with the standard equivalences, and tack it up next to the scale. The conversions sometimes require some math, but there’s a payoff if you can brave it.

“If you start cooking that way, it makes your life so much easier,” Mr. Arnold said. “You’ll do everything just so much faster.”

But the scale is handy even if you’re not converting recipes. For instance, it makes getting the right portion size for dinner a breeze. When I’m preparing pasta for two, I lay the box of linguine on the scale, and then pull out 4 ounces for each person.

Mr. Lopez-Alt does a similar thing making hamburger patties, and Ms. Perelman uses the scale for portioning batter evenly between two layers of a cake, and making a batch of dinner rolls that are each the same size.

The scale also ensures repeatability. I once calibrated exactly the amount of beans that I need to make coffee the way I like. Now, every morning, I place my can of beans on the scale, and then scoop out 28 grams — allowing me to repeat the same pot every day.

Michael Chu, who runs the Web site Cooking for Engineers, uses a scale for making iced tea. “A slight difference in how much sugar you add to your tea changes the flavor dramatically,” he said. “So I figured out just how much sugar I like, and now that’s how much goes in.”

I’ve also found that it’s simpler to weigh liquid ingredients rather than to use a liquid measuring cup. A fluid ounce of water weighs roughly one dry ounce, which means that a cup of water will register 8 ounces on your scale.

Recently I needed 7 1/2 cups of water for polenta. If I were using a two-cup Pyrex measure, I’d need to fill it three times, and then almost fill it one more time, which is obviously a lot of effort. Instead, I simply placed the pot on the scale, then ran the faucet until the scale registered 60 ounces.

But these are all ancillary benefits. A few new cookbooks offer recipes that specify weights for every ingredient, and it’s when you cook from those that you notice the true brilliance of using a scale.

The other day I made the delicious macaroni and cheese from “Ideas in Food,” the new cookbook by the husband-and-wife chefs H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa. The recipe included shredded cheese, butter and several other ingredients that would have been a mess to measure with cups and spoons.

With the scale, I made the entire casserole with just a grater, one knife, one spoon, one bowl and a baking dish.

Cookbook publishers of America: every recipe can be this friendly.

Click here to read the article in the NYTimes

First lady Michelle Obama’s initiative in the White House to get Americans to be healthy and stay fit has not only trickled down to the public, but has also become part of the curriculum in schools and universities.

In Miami two culinary colleges have started campus gardens this year, and while they are centered on different layouts, crops and ambitions, each was grown from the same motive: healthy eating and sustainability.

Johnson and Wales University and Miami-Dade College are using visual and hands-on learning to teach aspiring chefs about eco-friendly cooking.

Johnson and Wales University, College of Culinary Arts

Walking around the campus, one wouldn’t necessarily know that the greenery positioned throughout the parking lot and up the concrete stairs is not landscape, but consists of herbs, vegetables and even some unidentified species. Over a few acres, 90 different varieties are strategically planted for students to get familiar with and identify.

JWU Director of Culinary Operations, Chris Wagner, stopped teaching classes last year to focus on the garden, which was the brainchild of the Dean of Culinary Arts Education, Bruce Ozga.

Wagner explains that a campus garden comes to life from a combination of teacher initiative and student demand. “We do it because A:  it makes sense, and B: the climate here is perfect,” he said.

Wagner, who grew up on a country farm in Germany and has been with JWU for ten years, said it’s helpful for students who don’t know what juniper berries or star fruit look like to see it come from the earth.

On our tour around the building, Wagner pulled a tamarind off a tree and instructed me to take a bite; thus imprinting upon my taste buds and knowledge bank the extreme tartness of this chewy fruit used in Caribbean dishes,  in a way that I wouldn’t have remembered if I’d only been told about it in a classroom.

I learned about custard apple, which has the consistency of crème brûlée, and I was shown wild coffee beans which would take 1,000 of to make a single cup.

Wagner admitted even he was surprised by the way things grew, such as how pomegranate stems have long thorns to protect themselves. When we passed the habaneros, Wagner noted that they are ‘hotter than hell would ever be.’

While JWU has 17 kitchens, three dining rooms, one bar and too many students to be fed from the garden, they do use what is ripe to aid and supply the school.

Keeping in line with sustainability, Wagner’s dream is to have solar panels run the campus. Instead of using gas to cook, he wants induction, which is magnetic cooking where the pot is heated by agitation. To demonstrate, he placed a dollar under the pot and turned it on. Moments later, water was boiling and the dollar was not singed.

Miami Dade College, Miami Culinary Institute (MCI)

The recently inaugurated MCI, where students receive an accredited two year associate degree, teaches students fundamental structures for cooking organically.

The message that Director John Richards instills in his students is that being sustainable must ‘continue in a circle.’

Case in point: the food byproduct generated from cooking goes into a compost system that turns 100 lbs of waste into 18 lbs of compost in 18 hours, which then gets put into the earthworm farm and used in the garden.

“A good chef comes from experience, not accreditation,” says Richards, who is from Kentucky and moved to Miami to head the school. He launched the garden in June to give students and culinary graduates experience that starts at the roots. “We don’t put out chefs, we put out good cooks,” he explained.

The entirely edible and organic garden is a block away from the building in a combination locked, fenced-in area that used to be full of dumpsters, motorcycles and rusty trucks.

The area holds 88 species in different vegetable, herb, greens and flower beds, and is bordered by trees and bushes that carry things like sea grapes, papayas and yellow wild petunias.

Richards’ favorite part of the garden is a single, multi-citrus tree that has limes, oranges and grapefruit on it. Culinary Coordinator Victoria M. Nodarse, who helps the MCI achieve green standards, proved the entire garden is in fact edible when she pointed out a delicate calabaza flower that would be served stuffed with cheese.

The pair has big aspirations for the garden, including getting bee hives for the micro-organic growing experience (JWU wants hives too).  Eventually, students will be issued an iTouch to scan plants which will have barcodes attached to immediately identify them.

While the campus garden, which can seat up to 60, will host soil to soil events and serve as a classroom, MCI will expand to have other lots that will work as farms.  Produce from both garden and farms will go to the university’s ALPHABITE food truck and will be sold to a network of chefs through a website. The Produce will also be used in the kitchen of the eco-friendly, fine dining restaurant slated to open this fall on the building’s 8 th floor under the baton of chef Norman Van Aken.

Richards believes that MCI, which started with 50 students and is gearing to enroll 275 new students next semester, is taking the most advanced steps toward sustainability along the lines of other colleges in the country. “We’re all pioneers in this,” he said.

Jerusalem artichokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem

The Jerusalem artichoke — Helianthus tuberosus, to call this member of the sunflower or helianthus family by its scientific name — is in fact an originally New World root vegetable that was widely cultivated in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Never very popular among European settlers there, it was eaten more widely in Europe, to which it was brought back for cultivation by French explorers; hence its early English name of “the French potato.” The French themselves, however, called it tupinambur, after the Tupinamba tribe of Brazil, a representative of which brought a Jerusalem artichoke to Paris as a gift in 1613.

But it was the Italians who gave us “Jerusalem artichoke.” Struck by the plant’s similarity to the sunflower with its yellow, daisylike flowers that turn to the sun and its ovoid, hairy leaves, and by its root’s resemblance to the root of an artichoke, they took to calling it, in some dialects, articiocco girasole, the “sunflower artichoke.” (The word girasole is formed from Italian girare, to turn, and sole, sun.) Yet at some point, girasole became confused in popular speech with the Italian name for Jerusalem, Gerusalemme, resulting in articiocco gerusalemme, which was carried to the United States by 19th-century Italian immigrants even as it was being forgotten in Italy. Today, Americans call their own native plant “Jerusalem artichoke,” Italians call it carciofo, a word that comes from Arabic, and few people in Jerusalem even know what it is. The tricks that language sometimes likes to play on us!

Questions for Philologos can be sent to

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By Erik Mathes - Photos: Adeline Ramos

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At Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Davie, Florida, the mother-daughter duo of Adriana Schaked and Dafne Reich are elevating chocolate to an art form.  From the immense selection of milk, white and dark chocolate truffles (including sugar-free and vegan/non-dairy varieties), to the countless choices for both in- and out-of-the-box gift ideas, Schakolad is a spot you’ll want to etch into your memory for holidays, special occasions, and, of course, occasional (or more than occasional) bouts of sheer indulgence.

Adriana is the wife of one of Schakolad’s co-founders, Baruch Schaked, so the business is rooted in family values.   This reflects in dedicated customer service, one reason Schakolad has become such a beloved community fixture in this South Florida suburb.

Part of a franchise of about thirty stores nationwide, every Schakolad Chocolate Factory location is independently owned, meaning each store’s management can put an individual stamp on the products (kosher under ORB supervision ) and the marketing strategies.

schakolad 5Workshops for children and for adults

To attract children and their parents, Schakolad is now running $1 specials Monday-Friday until August 31st, as well as a series of summer programs for local youth.  These workshops ($9.50/child, advance registration required) introduce kids ages 6-15 to the history and process of chocolate making.  Participants then craft personalized treats, such as chocolate pizza, and assemble goodie bags for home.  There are also in-store events for adults, and the venue is available for birthday celebrations.

On a tour of the factory led by Dafne, I went through an unforgettable tasting of Schakolad’s finest confections.  I’m not a chocolate lover at heart, which I confessed to Dafne early on, but she explained she’d convert me in no time.  Was she ever right. The first offering was a milk chocolate cashew truffle, so rich and creamy compared to commercial candy, and even other well-respected brands I’ve had.

After sampling an dark chocolate ganache —70% cacao — with Jamaican rum, a velvety vehicle of bittersweet chocolate and sugary rum with no trace of alcohol aftertaste, I bit into bliss when I tasted the vegan dark chocolate espresso truffle.  My expectations of vegan food aren’t usually lofty since I’m a devout carnivore, but this non-dairy nub nailed it when it came to nuanced flavor, giving off just enough oomph to taunt my threshold for bitter tang while simultaneously seducing me with subtle sweetness.

Then, I sampled the “Schakolatte,” a smooth and luxurious hot chocolate drink.  The key to this luscious drink is the real chocolate, as opposed to powdered cocoa that is tragically used in typical drinks of this type.  If you’re passionate about hot chocolate, you need try a Schakolatte (also available with espresso), as it’s akin to the platinum version of your beloved drink, thick and full of flavor.

Looking for something to cool you down while you sip on your Schakolatte? Schakolad Chocolate Factory serves up silky ice cream in chocolate fudge brownie, cookies & cream, strawberry, coffee, and “caramel caribou,” a vanilla-caramel swirl studded with caramel-filled chocolate chips.   

Now that you know the goodies you can treat yourself to, let me tell you about the unique gifts found at Schakolad.  I’m sure you’ve used wine as a present before, but have you ever given a bottle of wine that’s been dipped in divine chocolate?  Didn’t think so.  Have you presented your lady a pair of designer shoes for birthdays past?  Perhaps she’d like heels made of milk chocolate this year instead.  Schakolad Chocolate Factory can make these, and more scenarios happen.

With an abundance of different molds Schakolad can create almost any high-quality chocolate object conceivable, including cars, flowers, and even toothbrushes and teeth made from white and milk chocolate (to mess with the minds of recent dental school grads and veteran dentists alike!).  They also sell chocolate handcuffs, multiple flavors of chocolate body paint, and other risqué chocolate objects for more adult parties.

With their vast assortment of original gift ideas, custom selection of fine truffles, ice creams and hot drinks, Schakolad Chocolate Factory is well worth a visit if you haven’t already been.  You’ll be running back for seconds!

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Erik Mathes is a personal chef, in-home cooking instructor, creator of the blog “Rantings of a Chef” at, and founder of


 Schakolad Chocolate Factory
7740 Nova Drive, #3
Davie, FL 33324 (Just south of 595 and east of University Dr.)
(954) 472-6155

Monday - Thursday ~ 10am - 7pm
Friday ~ 10am - 5pm
Saturday ~ CLOSED
Sunday ~ 12pm - 5pm

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Letter from Judy Jurisich, whose cooking school, The New Orleans Cooking Experience, is in an old and welcoming refurbished house on Bayou Road - home to marvelous tastes, lots of good company and convivial gatherings. (The New Orleans Cooking Experience, 2275 Bayou Road | New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-945-9104 For reservations: 504-430-5274 or send an e-mail to

“Hello Friends of the New Orleans Cooking Experience,

“We’re almost at mid-summer now, and we’re finally getting our normal daily afternoon thunderstorms boiling up out of the Gulf. They are keeping us a little cooler, but our famous humidity is still with us, as always, in the summer. But in New Orleans everyone and everything tends to be a little slower and quieter in the subtropical heat.

The banana trees are very happy these days. We have a lot of crabs and shrimp on the menus, and we’re starting to see Louisiana blueberries and the famous Ruston peaches coming in….”

And then she proceeds to give the following recipes: 

From Gerard Maras


2 cups fresh peaches, peeled, sliced ...5.peaches
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons flour
1 recipe pastry dough*
In a 2 qt. mixing bowl add peaches, blueberries, lemon juice and sugar.  Mix well with a spoon and let set for 5 minutes.  Blend flour into fruiit to dissolve.  
For individual cobblers, use a shallow oval ramekin, 3/4" Deep x 4" long. Roll out pastry dough 1/8" thick. Cut to shape of ramekin so when it is set in the ramekin it overlaps 1".   Fill each pastry with filling, just above the rim..  Fold pastry over to the center.
You will have a space with exposed fruit in the center.  Mix egg with water and brush the pastry with the egg wash.  Sprinkle with sugar and place in a 400 degree overn for 10 minutes.  Lower temperature of oven to 325 degrees and bake approx. another 10-12 minutes until nicely browned and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven to cool slightly, top with Vanilla ice cream and serve.
Pastry Dough
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 whole egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter...cut into small pieces...frozen
1/4 cup ice water
In a food processor, add flour, salt and cold butter.  Process on "Pulse", to blend the cold butter and flour quickly, resulting in a mixture resembling coarse cornmeal.  
Remove flour mixture from processor to a work bowl.  Add eggs and incorporate with a fork.  Add cold water, a splash at a time, and work dough briefly until it comes together. Gather dough together,and wrap in food film.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
From Chiqui Collier
If you’re wondering what corn macque choux means, we’ve not found anyone who knows.  It is a Cajun dish and it might be an originally aural Cajun French translation of a Native American name.   If anyone out there knows more, please send a note.
8-10 ears fresh Corn, shucked
4 slices smoked bacon
1 Onion, finely minced
1/2 stick unsalted Butter
4 Tablespoons finely chopped Bell Pepper (red and green)
1 cup Heavy Cream
Salt, Black Pepper and Crystal hot sauce to taste
Cut kernels from the cob and then scrape cob with the back of the knife to extract the “milk” and pulp.
Fry bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels.  In the bacon drippings, melt butter and sauté the onions on a medium heat until translucent; add corn kernels and the bell peppers and “fry” for about 5 minutes until the corn gets some color and the onions begin to caramelize.  Reduce heat, add corn pulp and “milk” and cover.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes   Add the cream and cook, stirring frequently for about 5-7 minutes.  Season the corn with *salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.  Just before serving, crumble in the reserved bacon.
*NOTE:   Taste the mixture after adding the bacon to see if you need to add salt.  If mixture appears too thick, add enough milk to desired consistency.
Yields: 6 - 8 servings
Lagniappe (translation: tip):
To turn this dish into Corn Cakes simply cool the prepared Macque Choux mixture.  Stir in 2 cups of Bisquick (or any favorite buttermilk biscuit mix) and two large eggs, beaten.  The mixture should have the same consistency as a thick pancake batter.  Heat a heavy skillet that has been filled ¼” deep with vegetable oil or a combination of oil and 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings.
Carefully slide a heaping tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil.  Cook until the bottom of the “cake” is well browned.  Carefully turn the corn cake over and brown on the other side.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve immediately
These can be served with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and a drizzle of your favorite maple syrup as a side dish for brunch or topped with a tablespoon of your favorite homemade salsa as a vegetable or an appetizer.

Florida residents visiting the hotel for at least one night on a weekend between now and August 31, will be given a voucher for a future complimentary one-night stay on a weekend to use before December 30, 2011.  The cherry on top? Guests also receive a complimentary double dip ice cream on their first stay. With summer weekend rates beginning at just $109, Floridians can afford to double their fun in Tampa.

To receive the complimentary one-night weekend night, rooms must be reserved by August 31, 2011. Complimentary night must be redeemed by December 30, 2011.

The InterContinental Tampa is centrally located in the heart of Tampa Bay, within walking distance to several popular shopping and dining destinations, and convenient to family-friendly attractions, including the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens.

To reserve the weekend Double Dip Florida Resident offer at InterContinental Tampa, please call (866) 402-0758 and mention rate code ILWFX or visit

Tourists and area residents alike are invited to Savor Nashville, a series of exclusive food events, June 3-5, 2011, in conjunction with Taste of Music City, Nashville's annual food and wine experience.
Savor Nashville kicks off with a VIP celebrity chef dinner on Saturday, June 4, 7:00 p.m. at the Hilton Nashville Downtown, hosted by Saveur magazine co-founder and noted food writer Colman Andrews.  Celebrity guest chefs will partner with esteemed local chefs for a five-course gourmet meal featuring locally sourced ingredients.  Grammy, ACM and CMA Award-winning songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman will provide a special acoustic performance with surprise guests.  The event includes access to a silent auction with 100% of auction proceeds benefiting Community Food Advocates.
All visiting chefs are James Beard award winners: Robert Del Grande, executive chef and partner of the renowned Cafe Annie in Houston; "Godfather of American Cuisine" Larry Forgione; Bob Kinkead, chef and owner of Kinkead's in Washington, DC; Lydia Shire of Locke-Ober restaurant of Boston; and Norman Van Aken of Norman's in Orlando.
Local chefs participating in Saturday night's dinner include Jeremy Barlow of Tayst, Matt Bolus of Watermark, Matt Simonds of Nashville Downtown Hilton, Brian Uhl of Midtown Café/Sunset Grill/Cabana, and Megan Williams of Capitol Grille.
On Sunday, June 5 at 2:00 p.m., Nashville chefs will compete in a shrimp & grits cook-off at the Hutton Hotel.  Visiting chefs will judge to determine the winners, while guests sample the dishes, taste Bloody Marys and mimosas, and enjoy live entertainment.  John T. Edge, director of Southern Foodways Alliance and renowned food writer, will serve as moderator for this cook-off.
Participating restaurants include Bound'ry, Cabana, Delicioux, The Dogwood Room at Park Manor, F. Scotts, Fish & Co., Red Pony Restaurant, The Standard at Smith House, Union Station and 1808 Grille.
Tickets are available at 


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As guest of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and Doral Overseas Chinese Business Chamber in Miami, Chef Chia-Mo Chen of Taiwan gave a cooking demonstration to chefs and media at the Inter-Continental at Doral Miami, 2505 NW 87th Ave., Doral.
Chef Chen prepared many Taiwanese dishes including:
Stir-fried pumpkin rice noodles
Makes 40 servings
6 packs, Rice noodle
4 lbs. Pumpkin
2/3 lbs. Pork loin (thin slices)
3 oz Clam meat
3 oz Dried shrimp
2 bunches Spring onion
2 cans Chicken broth
½ lb Carrots
Seasoning A : Salt 1 tsp + Corn starch 1 tsp + Sugar 1 tsp + 1 egg
  1. Soak rice noodle in water until soft, then drain ; soak dried shrimp in water ; pumpkin seeded, cut into half : cut half of the pumpkin to thin strips.
  2. Steam carrot and the other pumpkin, then puree
  3. Cut spring onion into 2” strips
  4. Marinate pork loin with Seasoning A
  5. Place a wok/pan over high heat.  Once hot, add cooking oil, fry dried shrimps (drained), pork loin.  Then add broth, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add in rice noodle, ½ tsp salt, clam meat and spring onion.  Season to taste.
taiwanese 2Sesame oil  Taiwanese noodle with shrimp
40 servings
Shrimp 80 pcs (with no shell)
5 packs Taiwanese noodle
7 oz Garlic, finely chopped
7 oz Ginger, thinly sliced
3 oz Fried/dried shallots
1 can Chicken broth
Salt to taste
3 oz. Black sesame oil
Rice Wine
  1. Cut shrimp back open, mix with some corn starch, fry shrimp to medium-rare.
  2. In large pot, boil water. Add noodles once the water reaches boiling point.   Only takes a few minutes to cook noodles.
  3. Drain noodles, mix with fried shallots, garlic.  Roll up noodles with chopsticks, display on plate.
  4. In a wok/pan over high heat, add sesame oil, add ginger, rice wine, and shrimp.  Simmer. Then add salt to taste.  Pour sauce over noodle.



A  French chef already festooned with awards and accolades, including three Michelin stars, has been recognized as World's Best Female Chef.

Anne-Sophie Pic, who helms the century-old restaurant Maison Pic in Valence, France, beat out Elena Arzak of Spain and Nadia Santini of Italy to snag the coveted title, a category introduced for the first time this year from the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards.

Monday's announcement firmly entrenches Pic - only the fourth woman in history to hold a third Michelin star - as a giant in the gastronomic world, still dominated largely by men.

Decorated with gold-gilded mirrors, plush sofas, a chandelier centerpiece and old black-and-white photos of multi-generational Pic family cooks, the restaurant exudes a hushed elegance that's on par with her cooking, described as soft, feminine and respectful. Frank, distinct tastes, new flavor combinations and respect for each ingredient are some of the tenets of her cooking, she says.

As a fourth-generation chef, Pic , 41, grew up in a Michelin-starred kitchen, dipping her fingers into copper pots of simmering crayfish and sampling the pastry chef's choux à la crème as a girl. The restaurant received its third Michelin star under her grandfather in 1934 for the first time. Since then, all three generations, including her father Jacques Pic, have received three Michelin stars for the restaurant.

After studying business management and working in the luxury goods market in the US and Japan, Pic was drawn back to her family's kitchen where she wanted to indulge in her "real passion."

Menu items include old favorites which serve her father's memory, like Jacques Pic's Sea Bass with Caviar, a "mythical" dish invented in 1971 with 30g of Aquitane caviar. Other menu items include pan-roasted Bresse chicken supreme, yellow lemon marmalade, steamed young chards and razor-shells, with simple juice; farm pigeon, poached with slightly smoked broth peas and little beans "embeurrés" with green anise; and hot Grand Marnier soufflé, with orange supremes and light cream rice pudding.  The menu ranges between €90 to €210. The eight-course Collection Pic menu is €330.

Pic was chosen by a panel of 837 voters around the world that included food critics, journalists, chefs and restaurateurs representing 27 different international regions.

She beat Arzak, also a fourth-generation chef, at her San Sebastian restaurant of the same name which specializes in Basque cuisine, and Santini, whose restaurant Dal Pescatore in Italy is also a century old and specializes in seafood.

Pic will be recognized at the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards gala at London's Guildhall, April 18. The award is sponsored by Veuve Clicquot.

It was April Fools’ Day and the Richter Library at the University of Miami was packed with students, staff, faculty, and a large crowd of curious who had come to have a good laugh at the Edible Book Festival. The only rules were that it must be edible, must look like a book, reference a character or scene, or represent a pun on a book title (War &Pizza, Brothers Karamatzah, etc…) and be funny!

“Come early before they eat them,” warned Barbara Gutierrez of UM.  “Which will happen right after the vote,”  urged Cristina Favretto, head of Scpecial collections at the University of Miami Library.  The public was invited to vote for the Whittiest Pun, Most book-Like and Best in Show categories.

What caught my attention right away was Tequila Mockingbird — an elaborate spoof on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize classic published in 1960. “Authors” Ashley and Linda Ford —mother and daughter team — had literally “translated “ the book into an edible display of a tequila bottle spilling in a pond of caramelized sugar next to a drunken chocolate bird, sprawled belly-up in the center of tequila shots made from caramelized sugar.

Then was an orange cake replicating the cover of the book : The Da Vinci Cod by Dan Prawn, created by a very serious Scott Britton in a suit and tie, a librarian who didn’t want to be photographed, and Kurt Vonnegut, a selected bibliomenu by student Vanessa Rodriguez with pancakes looking like the face of a clock and more odd elements.

While student Erica Moussa’s minimalistic Gone with the Wind consisted of a paper plate sprinkled with crumbs next to a fan and the back of the book; her Let it Rot! The Gardners’ Guide to Composting was an elaborate and creative structure, in the picture.

I didn’t stay to find out who the winner was; the artists had so much fun that I crowned all them all  — after all it is not the goal that counts but the road to reach it that’s the real deal … nor did I attempt to taste the edible books. But I certainly am looking forward to next year’s.


 N.B. In a recent e-mail Ms. Favretto writes: " ....Our "Wittiest Pun" prize went to Ashley and Linda Ford, and both "Most Book-Like" and "People's Choice" went to "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by the CookieCanes, three sophomores who share an abode and a love of cake shows on the Food Network."                       
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Vanessa Rodriguez: Eat this BookThe Hungry Mouse by the CookieCanes; Vanessa Rodriguez & Eowyn Osorio: The Fran with Four Brains                                                                      

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The DaVinci Cod by Scott Britton;  Kurt Vonnegut, a selected bibliomenu by Vanessa Rodriguez; Tequila Mockingbird by Ashley and Linda Ford


dsc09124 dsc09127 dsc09128 Grace Barnes: Tortilla Flat; Gone with The Wind and Let it Rot! The Gardners' Guide to Composting by Erica Moussa 

Miami Barcelona. This is not the newest Woody Allen release, but the Spanish airline  IBERIA’s newest non-stop route launched yesterday at an affair with local dignitaries and members of the Spanish business community held at the Mandarin Oriental Miami.

iberiaTo promote the three direct flights per week from Miami International Airport, the airline brought in chef Carles Gaig one of Spain’s culinary stars, and Michelin Star award-winning founder of Fonda Gaig in Barcelona — who showed off some contemporary Catalán dishes such as calçotada : grilled spring onions with Romesco sauce, and other specialties—, Catalan and Spanish TV3 celebrity Chef Nandu Jubany  and Portugese Master Bartender and Mixologist,Paulo Ramos,
The non-stop Miami-Barcelona flight will be the second U.S route inaugurated by Iberia this week as the airline has also started flying this past Monday, March 28, between Los Angeles and Madrid. Iberia also flies daily from Miami to Madrid thus operating 10 weekly flights from Miami to Spain.   



Local Caterers Compete for Title of “Best Matzah Ball in South Florida

It starts out like a typical old-time borscht belt joke – A rabbi and priest are seated together at a Matzah Ball contest. The priest turns to the rabbi and says, “I’m really not an expert on matzah balls but count me in when they start judging gefilte fish.”

Here’s the twist. The dialogue is not a joke but a hypothetical conversation between Rabbi Jonathan Berkun and Father Christopher Marino, a former Miami Herald food critic who claims his mother has the best gefilte fish recipe, two of the eight judges at the Forest Trace Second Annual Golden Matzah Bowl in Lauderhill, Fla. The competition, scheduled for 11:00 am, Thursday, April 7, highlights the best professionally-made matzah balls in South Florida, as well as the best homemade matzah ball recipe.

“Our 2010 Golden Matzah Bowl was the perfect prelude to Passover and a wonderful charitable event,” explained Owner’s Representative, Stanley Rosenthal. “So this year we figured, why not keep the matzah ball rolling?”

In addition to Rabbi Jonathan Berkun of the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center and Father Christopher Marino, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church and School in Miami, the panel of judges include TV personality Art Ginsburg, aka “Mr. Food,” freelance writer and former food editor of the Sun Sentinel Deborah Seeley Hartz, chef Michael Blum, Elaine Grossinger Etess, daughter of the famous hotelier and cookbook author Jennie Grossinger, and chair of the panel Jay Tabatchnick, grandson of the famous Louis Tabatchnick, founder of Tabatchnick Fine Foods.

“Our panel of judges is as diversified as our resident population,” explained Mr. Rosenthal

A South Florida call for the best homemade matzah ball recipe was posted on the Forest Trace community’s Facebook page and in local print and online media. The 2011 winner will be announced at the Golden Matzah Bowl, with a $100 donation made to the charity of his/her choice.

Eight chefs are participating in the Golden Matzah Bowl and will compete for the title of “Best All-Around Matzah Ball.”  Two hundred residents and invited guests, as well as selected judges, will rate the matzah balls and vote for “Best Floater,” “Best of Broward,” “Chef’s Choice,” “Father Knows Best,” “People’s Choice,” etc. The “Best All-Around Matzah Ball” chef will receive a $500 check for charity.

Admission for residents and guests is a box of matzah which will be donated to WECARE, the Broward organization that distributes food baskets to needy families for Passover.

Forest Trace is a luxury resort senior community situated on a scenic and tropical 73-acre campus with a 30-acre lake, flora and trees where senior adults can enjoy services, amenities, tennis, golf and dining.

5500 NW 69th Avenue in Lauderhill, just west of Fort Lauderdale, For more information or call 954.572.1800.


In anticipation of the launch of Qatar Airways’ 100th destination, the airline is offering travelers the chance to win free tickets to any of the destinations within its global network as well as other exclusive deals.
The airline will reach this historic milestone on April 6 — only 14 years after it started operations — when it begins scheduled flights to the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo. Here is a link to the promotion:
  • Flight Giveaway:
  • Between now and April 16th, customers can sign up for the promotion on for a chance to win free airline tickets. The airline has 100 pairs of Qatar Airways Economy Class tickets to give away to lucky passengers.
  • Global Giveaway:
  • On April 6th the Doha-based carrier will also announce a fabulous global offer which will only be accessible through the airline’s website
  • Bonus Mile Offers:
  • The airline’s frequent flyer rewards program Privilege Club is offering members bonus Qmiles and a special discount on award tickets redeemed at For Qatar Airways’ QNB co-branded credit card holders, additional bonusQmiles are also offered. Further details on these offers are available at
Qatar Airways’ Economy Class includes 3-3-3 row configuration compared to typical 3-4-3 configuration aircraft. This spacious layout, along with seats that are almost two inches wider than the competition (18.9”) and have a longer pitch (up to 34”),  to provide  Qatar Airways passengers with more room to move within the cabin.


Here are 7 pictures of European trucks whose trailers are decorated to look like the sides are missing and the products they are hauling  are painted on the sides and back. The first one is  of a  bottle of beer and looks so real, like it is coming out the side of the trailer..

The second is of canvas tote bag.

The third is of Pepsi cases and they are all stacked on the ceiling, and the bottom of the trailer is empty.

The fourth is of another truck with the windshield facing the back and there has been a driver painted in the driver's seat looking back  over his shoulder to appear like he is driving backwards. (Now this one is just plain scary, even when the German reads  'On the  wrong way?')

The  fifth one is of an aquarium with fish swimming in it.

The sixth one is of a bookshelf with books lined up in it and a post-it-note with an advertisement on it, probably for the company that sells the books.

The last one is for Pringles-Hot & Spicy. The 'inside' of the trailer has the appearance of having been through a fire.

Chinese Proverb: 
'When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.



Spicy Korean tacos! Grilled bleu cheese sandwiches! Fried lobster sandwiches! Key lime pie gelato! You can find all those tasty dishes from Miami’s food trucks. But where do you find the food trucks?


Miami Cheap Eats & Street Foodcan help. This iPhone/iPad app, available from the iTunes store ($1.99), is a comprehensive guide to South Florida’s food trucks, listing menu items, photos and handy links to Twitter feeds for real-time updates on their ever-changing whereabouts. In addition to helping users keep tabs on Miami’s food truck craze, Miami Cheap Eats showcases places to find delicious treats at great prices, including:

·   The best of Miami’s melting pot cuisine: fritaspupusaspan con lechon (to name some of the Latin American choices), plus Asian, bistro, diner and pub fare, burgers, pizza and much more

·   Hidden gems for downtown lunch breaks

·   Where to find the best seasonal specialties like tropical fruit shakes and local preserves

·   Concise, detailed reviews, far more useful than free crowd-sourced “OMG amazing!” comments – plus prices, so there are no surprises

·   Special promotions to let you know how to get the most bang for your buck

·   Cheap splurge locations for date nights

·   Lots of images, links to Google maps, up-to-date service info

·   Frequent updates

Developed in partnership with edible South Florida, the quarterly publication exploring foods, stories and communities by season,   Miami Cheap Eats is available for both the iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store. Follow @MiamiCheapEats on Twitter for food truck updates.


For more information, contact Gretchen Schmidt at

Gretchen Schmidt
Writer/Edible South Florida (

Food & Wine Talk Radio

Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
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Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor


Elizabeth Minchilli, author of  Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.  


James Beard Award-winning wine journalist Lyn Farmer on: Garnacha from Carinena; the next great wine


Cindy Hutson,chef/owner, Ortanique and Zest, author of From the Tip of My Tongue


Lidia Batianich, celebrity chef, TV host, author and restaurateur 






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