ashley beck

Chasing FlavorsTips

Coconut Macaroons, 5 Ways

By Ashley Beck | August 6, 2013

coconut macaroons

With all the French macaron hype, coconut macaroons (Congolais in France) have been left in their almond flour dust. However, these gooey, chewy, coconut-y treats are just as delectable and way easier to make. And just like their French buttercream-filled counterparts, they can be flavored anyway you like it.  One of the many things my meins mideg (Armenian for grandmother) taught me was how to transform leftovers and not to waste what we have.

Her leftovers-in-a-cookie-or-boereg (traditionally a cheese and herb filled phyllo dough parcel)  ideas don’t always work, but when they do, they are magic. And like magic, it’s impossible to figure out how it happened (because, of course, she can never remember what bits and pieces she put in it).  This idea of resourcefulness is a practice instilled in her by her mother, as they, like many immigrant families, had to make use of every bit they bought. To me, her tendencies to continue to use this “waste not, want not” mentality is not only about being economical, it’s about keeping the memories of her mother alive by making these thrifty ideas part of our family’s traditions. Read More

Food PoliticsNews

Healthy Junk Food: Could the Cause be the Cure?

By Ashley Beck | July 31, 2013

burger
Photo: Terry Bain

Photo: Terry Bain

David H. Freedman, writer for The Atlantic, seems to believe it is the most plausible answer. When I first laid eyes on his article,  “How Junk Food Can End Obesity” , I was intrigued if not completely skeptical and even a bit scared (Especially since I was right in the middle of reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food). Fast food chains and processed foods are what got us here in the first place. It’s not real food. It’s filled to the bliss point, with the Big 3 (Sugar, Salt, Fat). Why would we look to them to undo our unhealthy habits? Read More

Health & Wellness

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

By Ashley Beck | July 24, 2013

sugar cubes
sugar cubes

photo: howzey

The low-fat diet for the last 30 some odd years has not only been all the rave, but in fact endorsed by health institutions and nutritionists alike. The one thing that has been overlooked, however, could be the one reason we have the highest obesity and  other metabolic syndrome (hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) rates than ever before. Read More

The Modern Pantry

The Modern Pantry: Baia Pasta

By Ashley Beck | July 23, 2013

Founders of Baia Pasta
Baia Pastas, lovingly made by two Italians in Oakland, California.

Baia Pastas, lovingly made by two Italians in Oakland, California.

Made by two Italians in California with wheat from Utah, Montana, and Colorado, Baia Pasta is as authentic as it comes, and yet as local as one can get. “We believe that American wheat is among the best in the world and are very proud to create the first pasta that glorifies all its features. We always travel with a couple bags of Baia Pasta” say the founders, and after you read more about this delicious, locally made pasta phenomenon, I am sure that you’ll do the same. Read More

RecipesRestaurants

Ambessa Tea Stories: Tea-Brined Double Fried Chicken

By Ashley Beck | July 10, 2013

Sweet tea added to the brine gives this fried chicken an unexpected twist. (Photo:  armaburrito)
Sweet tea added to the brine gives this fried chicken an unexpected twist. (Photo:  armaburrito)

Sweet tea added to the brine gives this fried chicken an unexpected twist. (Photo: armaburrito)

As I was reading the July issue of Food & Wine I came across two well accomplished chefs in Nashville that are reinventing the way we look at Southern cooking or Soul Food. Over here we are all about reinventing traditions, making new with the old, or as Marcus would say, “Taking a step back, before we take a step forward”. Especially when it involves adding tea and spices to the mix.

The Chefs: Erik Anderson is a vet of The French Laundry and Noma. Josh Habiger comes from a background at Alinea and The Fat Duck. Together they came to Nashville and founded The Catbird Seat, a name that suits their enviable 32 seats. The cherry on top? Anderson and Habiger cook up a surprise menu for your viewing pleasure and lovingly serve it up to you as well. “The experience is what you make of it” say the two culinary phenomenons. Some menu items include Maple-and-Thyme Custard served in an eggshell with bacon crisps and a drizzle of barrel-aged maple syrup or this take on a Nashville Favorite: Tea-Brined and Double-fried Hot Chicken. Read More

Back to Basics

Back to Basics: Chayote

By Ashley Beck | July 9, 2013

chayote and corn with chiles
chayote

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

What To Eat And Drink

Picnic Basket: 4th of July in Your Own Backyard

By Ashley Beck | July 4, 2013

Fourth of July Picnic

The great thing about picnicking at home or in your own backyard (balcony, roof deck, what have you) is that the sky’s pretty much the limit. You can make all your favorites, open a bottle of rosé or two or three or…(it is a holiday), spread a blanket on the floor, cop a squat and enjoy your independence from needing to be anywhere but in your own backyard. Here are some ideas: Read More

The Modern Pantry

The Modern Pantry: Bluebird Grain Farms

By Ashley Beck | July 2, 2013

Sam Lucy carefully inspecting his crops

Sam Lucy carefully inspecting his crops

“For us [Sam Lucy and his family], bluebirds are a reminder that every single thing we do as farmers is connected to—and impacts—the environment at large. We believe that nutritious food produced from nature is the cornerstone of a healthy community. And we take pride in making great food available to our friends, our neighbors, and you.”

Bluebird Grain Farms uses nothing but the most ideal terrior to produce the most ideal grain. The finest 100% organic grains from balanced soil. They understand that health soil makes healthy, nutrient dense foods and strive to give their customers and community the very best. Read More

Listicles

What to Avoid at the Supermarket

By Ashley Beck | July 2, 2013

photo: GabrielaP93

With hundreds of cereal choices, deceiving marketing on labels and growing processed food aisles, grocery shopping can be daunting, if not utterly irritating. That is why it is imperative to go in with a plan. Know what you need (and what you don’t), know what things to avoid and how to best navigate amongst the sea of distractions. Read More

Back to Basics

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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Featured Recipe

Photo by Sudhamshu Sauces & Rubs

By Marcus Samuelsson

Awase

More Recipes

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. MarcusSamuelsson.com strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More

Restaurants

Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Norda
Marc Burger