Back to Basics

Back to Basics

4 Types of Salt and How to Use Them

By Tawnya Manion | September 12, 2013

Photo: QuintanaRoo

Marcus likes to mix things up when he’s cooking by throwing surprise flavors into traditional dishes. However, he never denies,  knowing the basics of preparing food is the first step to learning the art of cooking. That’s why in this post I want to get back to basics and explain the differences between the varying salts on the shelves of your local grocery store. Here are four different easy-to-find varieties, with tips on what they are and when to use them.

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Back to Basics: Chayote

By Ashley Beck | July 9, 2013

chayote and corn with chiles

Photo: Josuah

Chayote is Native to Mexico and Central America and is a member of the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, along with cucumbers, squash, and melons. Similar to summer squash in taste and consistency, chayote was one of the many crops introduced to Europe by early explorers. In many Asian cultures the stems and leaves are more often used in stir-frys and soups. In Latin America, the fruit is the more popular entity, and is prepared in various ways. Read More

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Back to Basics: Avocados

By Ashley Beck | July 2, 2013

Avocado toast with sliced radishes for an added crunch!
Photo: barron

Photo: barron

Name: Avocado; Persea americana; Alligator Pear; a fruit, specifically a large berry that contains a single seed.

Origins: Avocado trees are native to Central Mexico, and classified in the flowering plant family, Lauraceae, which also includes cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel.

Peak Season: April – July; does not tolerate freezing temperatures and can only be grown in tropical and subtropical climates. Read More

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Back to Basics: Chia Seeds

By Ashley Beck | June 25, 2013

photo: sweetbeetandgreenbean

Name: Chia (Salvia Hispanica), a flowering plant; member of the mint family (Lamiaceae).

Origins: Indigenous to Central and Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Cultivated in pre-Columbian era by Aztec’s and was said to be as important a crop as maize (corn).

Nutritional Value: 1 oz. of chia seeds contains 18% of daily calcium intake, 27% phosphorus and 30% manganese similarly to other nutritious seeds such as sesame and flax.

Prep: Chia seeds are easily added to  smoothies, oatmealsalads, etc… for an extra boost of energy. You can even make them into a delicious and healthful pudding! The seeds, when added to a liquid, give off a gelatin-like substance making this Chia Seed Pudding Recipe a cinch. Read More

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Back to Basics: Argan Oil

By Ashley Beck | June 18, 2013

mixed greens with argan oil apple vinaigrette

Argan oil pesto

Two weeks ago we introduced Argania’s argan oil, where it comes from, and the fairness of it all. Since we know it’s a new concept for some of our culinary palates I have asked our friends over at Argania to share some ideas on how to use this flavorful oil.

Name: Argan oil made from kernels from Argan Trees (Argania spinosa L.)

Origins: Indigenous to Southern Morocco, these trees grow wild in semi-arid soil and have a deep root system protecting them from soil erosion.

Nutritional Value: Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and fatty acids. These properties are known to lower cholesterol, increase circulation and reduce high blood pressure.

Prep: Argan oil works fabulously as a finishing oil. Use it instead of olive oil in this roasted spring-garlic hummus recipe or drizzled on top of grilled veggies, or crostini. Try it in this delicious pine nut basil argan oil pesto or on a mixed greens salad with argan oil apple vinaigrette. Read More

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Back to Basics: Spring Garlic

By Kendall Kish | May 28, 2013

garlic, spring garlic

Spring garlic is regular garlic that is picked just before the bulbs fully mature. It resembles a large green onion or leek, but with small, reddish-pink bulbs. It is sweeter and milder than traditional garlic, and is only available for a few weeks in the spring. The uses and health benefits are the same as regular garlic, but the taste is worth seeking out for the few weeks that it is available. Read More

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Back to Basics: Baby Bok Choy

By Kendall Kish | May 14, 2013

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy

Name: Brassica chinensis, bok choy in Cantonese means “white vegetable”, also known as Chinese Cabbage.

Origins: Chinese cabbage was studied for its medicinal qualities during the Ming Dynasty. The vegetable then spread to northern China before being introduced to Korea where it became a staple vegetable for making kimchi. Now commonly available in North America, Bok Choy is a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine.

Peak Season: Late winter to early summer. Read More

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Back to Basics: Radishes

By Kendall Kish | April 20, 2013


Radishes get a bad rap. You might think of them as a bitter root vegetable, but when radishes are at their peak season in spring, they are actually refreshing, sweet, and crisp. They can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, and are a true symbol of the season as they pair so nicely with asparagus, peas, spring onions, and spring greens. They add beautiful color and texture to an ordinary salad or crudites plate, and would be great with healthy cilantro, basil, and mint yogurt dip. And if you really aren’t sold on radishes yet, try roasting them to mellow the bite that they are sometimes associated with – see the recipe below for roasted radishes garnished with their green leaves. Read More


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Meet the Team

About The Team

Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More


Streetbird Rotisserie
Marcus’ Bermuda
Eatery Social Taqueria
Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Marc Burger