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Nickel City Chef breaks out competition dishes for Sample menu Friday

   Fans of the Nickel City Chef cooking competition, Buffalo's own version of "Iron Chef,"
have a rare opportunity to feed their curiosity.

   Nickel City Chef Adam Goetz of Sample (242 Allen St., 883-1675), will present a menu of his
competition dishes on Friday, Dec. 2. As part of the Nickel City Chef "home team," Goetz has taken on
challenging chefs in a battle to create dishes from a locally-grown mystery ingredient in 60

   Usually, the only people who get to taste their efforts are the judges.

   On Friday night, though, Sample's menu will include Quail Egg Ravioli with Housemade Ricotta,
from the Ricotta Challenge, and Maple Braised Short Ribs from the Maple Challenge. Dessert,
from NCC's Duck Egg Challenge, is especially ornate. The egg's white was transformed into
coconut meringue, its yolk into lemon curd, and reassembled to resemble a sunny-side-up egg,
complete with grated cocoa "pepper."

   Goetz will also be signing copies of the show's cookbook, "Nickel City Chef: Buffalo's
Finest Chefs & Ingredients,"
released this fall. The book ($24.95, 112 pages softcover,
Buffalo Heritage Unlimited) contains Goetz's maple short ribs recipe and 31 more created by
competitors. It comes with a DVD with a documentary that goes behind-the-scenes at Nickel City
Chef, tracing its roots from field to kitchen.


'Snow Honeys': recipes and techniques from Julia Usher's 'Ultimate Cookies'

Here's the instructions and some of the recipes involved in making the "Snow Honeys," or his-and-hers snowpeople, from Julia Usher's "Ultimate Cookies," featured in today's Buffalo News.

Note: We couldn't include every referred-to tip from her exhaustive book, but this should be enough to help you size up the project.

Charm your Christmas guests with these delightful his-and-hers snowmen and women fashioned from Goofproof Macarons (recipe below). I’ve accessorized these honeys with rolled fondant scarves, top hats, and other decorations. And in the spirit of more is merrier, I’ve made smaller snow children to complete the happy snow family!

Snow Honeys

Makes about 10 (2 x 4 1⁄2-inch) 3-macaron snowmen or about 1 3⁄4 dozen (1 3⁄4 x 2 3⁄4-inch) 2-macaron snow children

Continue reading "'Snow Honeys': recipes and techniques from Julia Usher's 'Ultimate Cookies'" »

Live chat with Food Writer Andrew Galarneau

Come on by at noon to talk turkey with News food writer Andrew Galarneau.

What's going to be at the center of your table? Who do you trust to make the gravy? And are dinner rolls really passe?

It's easy to join in, so if you have a question or comment, don't be shy.


All 6 Buffalo food trucks in one place tonight - even the new one

The Amherst Chamber of Commerce has been helping train "Emerging Business Leaders" in Western New York for the last year. To celebrate, it's hosting the first-ever Buffalo food truck summit tonight in Amherst.

The new one - The Place to Go, operated by Kenny Moriarty of Lexington Avenue's The Place - makes six. It's supposed to join the usual band of wheeled kitchens - Lloyd’s, Whole Hog, Roaming Buffalo, Rolling Joe Café, R&R BBQ - in Amherst from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The address is Ciminelli’s Centerpointe Corporate Park, in the parking lot of 350 Essjay Road, Amherst.

Even without Moriarty's entry, it'll be the first time the five regulars have parked together to serve customers, said Pete Cimino of Lloyd.

If you go, bring something for others who are hungry: admission is a Food Bank donatable item.

"We will also be holding a food drive for the Food Bank of WNY so admission to the event is simply a canned good or other non-perishable item to be donated," wrote the Chamber's Caitlin Campbell McNulty. "The food trucks have also agreed to donate 10 percent of their proceeds from the evening to the Food Bank."

Live chat at noon with Food Writer Andrew Galarneau

You might learn something if you stop by at noon for a live chat, hosted by News Food Writer Andrew Galarneau, about cooking, restaurants, and all things edible. It's simple to ask a question or offer a thought.

Recipes: Sunday sauce, bison meatballs

Here's how Nina Barone, the News' November Cook of the Month, makes her long-simmered tomato sauce and meatballs for family gatherings. Interestingly, she prefers bison for the meatballs, providing a softer texture in the finished dish.

Nina Barone's Sauce

2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (no seasoning)
18 ounces tomato paste
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion (1/2 cup), finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, minced (1 teaspoon)
1/4 cup olive oil
8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon raw sugar
1 large bay leaf, whole
4 whole basil leaves

1. In an 8-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over low heat until fragrant. Add onion and garlic. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent and start sizzling. Stir.
2. Add crushed tomatoes and paste and raise heat to medium. Add 8 cups of water and stir to combine.
3. Add salt. Stir. Add sugar and stir. Add one large bay leaf and basil leaves.
4. Allow to cook on stovetop over medium heat until a low boil (slow bubbling) - cook for about 15 minutes and then turn down to simmer. Cook for 4 hours.


1 pound ground bison, or beef

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup cubed, day old Italian ciabatta bread (must be a little dry and hard)
1/8 cup skim or 1% milk
1 cup toasted Italian breadcrumbs without seasoning
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 eggs, whisked
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
A dash of ground pepper

1. Toss bread in milk to moisten. Let's sit for a minute to absorb. Mix in onion and garlic.
2. Add breadcrumbs. Add Romano cheese. Stir to combine.
3. Add eggs and parsley and salt and pepper.
4. In a large bowl, use hands to combine all ingredients. Do not over mix or meat will become tough. If too moist, add another tablespoon of breadcrumbs.
5. Form into balls.
6. Add 2 tablespoons water to bottom of  baking dish.
7. Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes. Yields 16-18 meatballs.


4 links Italian sausage

1. Bring sausage in 2 quart saucepan to boil; after boil, cook for 5-10 minutes so it's partially cooked. (Finish cooking in sauce.)
2. Add meatballs and sausage to sauce pot. Continue cooking.

Around the world in 55 food blogs, from Algeria to Vietnam

Saveur magazine's web staff has curated a tasty selection of food blogs from around the globe. It's an enthralling culinary journey, with no passport needed. Of course, you may find yourself hungry for dishes you've never tasted, but that's the risk you take. And also the point.

Helen Rosner writes:

These writers are committed to celebrating regional recipes, restaurants, techniques, and ingredients; we draw on their sites as culinary guides to everyday life in specific places all over the globe. (We're also moved by how many region-specific sites are written by expats who maintain a connection with their homeland through food: Korean cooks living in Australia, Greek cooks living in the Netherlands, Indian cooks living in Peru, and more.)

(Via Metafilter, where readers pitch in with excellent suggestions the editors didn't list, including more vegetarian and vegan-centric blogs.)

Buffalo gets its own restaurant gossip blog, Dining Rumor

In September, Dining Rumor had its soft opening. The blog's anonymous author, pen name Dining Roomer, wrote: "It has been said that Buffalo is not a small town, it's a large room."

And Dining Roomer has been publishing stuff hot off the chit-chat telegraph. There's ruminations on the future of Buffalo's restaurants, too, and even a long, thoughtful interview with Corey and Cheryl Kley, who took over Rue Franklin recently. (Here's Jane Kwiatkowski's interview with the retiring Joel and Andree "DeDee" Lippes.)

But Dining Rumor's core content, so far, seems to be largely unsourced mentions of business deals, grudges, plans and speculation involving restaurant types of all stripes, often by name. You know, gossip.

Which raises pressing questions:

* Can I officially say "Buffalo restaurant scene" without air quotes now?

* Can the food papparazzi be far behind? (Pretty please.)

* How long before the posse rides out in search of Dining Roomer? Keep your head down, man (or ma'am). You say you're a front-of-the-house type. Just remember that as a species, cooks have cleavers, pots of boiling oil, and various levels of impulse control.

Cantina Loco to open for take-out Nov. 17

Mike Andrzejewski is keenly aware that folks are waiting to try his take on tacos and other Mexican favorites.

After a series of construction surprises and license tangles, the Seabar chef is crossing his fingers and saying Cantina Loco will open at noon on Thursday, Nov. 17.

He plans serve take-out tacos, burritos and more from the new restaurant, at 191 Allen St., the northeast corner of Allen and Elmwood Avenue. No alcohol yet; Andrzejewski said he's going to get a chance to square away the kitchen operations first.

Recipe: Bloody Mary Tomatoes, from 'The Extraordinary Cookbook'

Here's a recipe from "The Extraordinary Cookbook," featured in today's Buffalo News. One of Stefan Gates' simpler party ideas is turning cherry tomatoes into little vodka bombs. The recipe comes complete with a cautionary tale:

Be very careful when you pass these around, since they are disarmingly tasty and sneakily alcoholic. They are also perfectly bite-sized, so you’ll find yourself popping them into your mouth one after the other like grapes, and, before you know it, you and your friends will be completely legless.

The following story is a salutary lesson—and too funny to keep to myself. A few years ago, we held a big lunch party after my daughter’s baptism, and the lovely vicar kindly agreed to come along, accompanied by the equally lovely lady minister. Anyone who thought their presence might add a little gravity to the situation was to be sorely disappointed, however.

It all started when the Bloody Mary tomatoes came out, and both vicar and minister tucked in with great enthusiasm. It’s possible that I forgot to mention that the tomatoes were packed with vodka, but anyone could have been forgiven for thinking that they were just very tasty. And, of course, vodka can be strangely hard to detect, especially when you’ve got a glass of wine in the
other hand.

Anyway, both vicar and minister enjoyed the tomatoes enormously, so much so that by the time they sat down to eat they were already slurring their words. The vicar struck up a ferocious theological argument with the minister and before long I heard him use a phrase that was, well, let’s just say, it was very naughty. Upon hearing himself utter said phrase, it dawned on him that perhaps it was time to leave.

He and the minister thanked us all profusely and ambled out. A few moments later, we heard an enormous crash,and we all raced out to the hallway to find the vicar and the minister rolling on the floor in fits of giggles, having knocked a large picture off the wall. Luckily, damage was done to neither property nor preacher, so I gave them both a hug and sent them wandering off down the street.

Bloody Mary Tomatoes

serves 6

30 ripe cherry tomatoes (about 2 pounds), the tastiest you can find

1 1/2 cups good vodka

1/4 cup sherry (optional—if you don’t have any, replace with vodka)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon freshly grated

horseradish (optional)

4 fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

celery salt and table salt, to serve

Prick each tomato several times using a toothpick. In a bowl, mix together the vodka, sherry, Worcestershire sauce,Tabasco sauce, horseradish, and thyme.

Place the tomatoes in a large jar (or several small jars), then pour over the marinade until they are covered. (If necessary,add a little more vodka so that all are submerged.) Leave for at least two days. The tomatoes get a little wizened and overly alcoholic after a few weeks, and by the time they are a month old, they are over the hill and should be put in a food processor with chopped tomatoes to make a ferocious Bloody Mary.

Serve the tomatoes with a small dipping bowl of equal measures of celery salt mixed with table salt.

(From "The Extraordinary Cookbook," by Stefan Gates, Kyle Books, 224 pages, $29.95)

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