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Elements Video: Dry-Fried Green Beans

In the latest Elements, green beans are blistered in hot oil, removed from the pan, and reintroduced after pork has been fried and seasoned in the pan.

Recipe: Canteloupe with Lavender Syrup, from Geoffrey Gatza's 'Big Night'

Here's another recipe from Geoffrey Gatza's last Big Night spread. His techniques for feeding a party of 75 to 100 people for about $100 were explored in today's Buffalo News

Gatza has an extensive collection of recipes published at the Big Night website, free for the download.

Cantaloupe and Cranberries with Lavender Syrup
Serves 8

This is a elegant yet easy dish to prepare. The delightful scent of lavender rounds out the cantaloupe flavor to produce something wonderful that your guests will always remember.

1 Cantaloupe, peeled and sliced

½ Cup Dried Cranberries

4 Cups Lavender Simple Syrup


Lavender Simple Syrup

3 cups water

1 ½ cups sugar

4 tablespoons dried lavender

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place dried lavender into a saucepan and mix with the sugar, water and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cook for a half an hour on low heat until it becomes a nice thin simple syrup. Strain out the lavender and let the syrup cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl mix together the Cantaloupe and Dried Cranberries. Pour chilled Lavender Simple Syrup over the fruits. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. This way the syrup will meld with the fruits and the fruits will not float thus insuring your presentation in a glass bowl will look beautiful.  

- Geoff Gatza


The scariest jack-o-lantern ever, and more Christie pumpkin art

Andrew o lantern mulville pic
(Photo by Mark Mulville)

When people see the pumpkin that Chris Christie carved in my likeness, many ask, once they stop laughing, is this guy some sort of artist? Christie, who works as a United Parcel Service supervisor, will tell you no, he's no artist. Alexx, the other chief pumpkin antagonist in their multi-carver family, will say the same thing.

Methinks they doth protest too much.

Here's Alexx's Bills jack-o-lantern. He said it took maybe three hours, from printing the picture from a website, making the stencil, and  carving it right down to the SPILLER on the jersey. Our picture was taken first; you can see the final version on Alexx's Facebook page.


Here's Ryan Miller, by Alexx, from last year:

Jack o lantern ryan miller closeup 2011-10-27_03-10-17_797

Chris did Twilight's Edward last year:

Jack o lantern twilight edward 13844_190847384739_609089739_3908205_688047_n

Recipe: Pancetta Tesa, Italian cured pork belly, from 'Salumi'

Here's one of the simpler recipes from "Salumi," by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, featured in today's Buffalo News.

Pancetta Tesa

This is one of the easiest and most satisfying salumi preparations to make at home: belly cured with salt and lots of aromatics, rinsed, and hung to dry. That’s all there is to it. You don’t even need any special drying area: you can simply hang it from a hook in your kitchen for a couple weeks, and it will be fabulous (though if you have a drying chamber, by all means use it). And you don’t have to dry it if you don’t want to: maybe you’ll be so hungry for it that you won’t be able to wait and you’ll want to cook and eat it right away. However, when you dry it, you intensify its flavor and make it a little more dense and chewy than if you were to cook it right away. Pancetta is usually used in cooking, but if you want to serve it with other salumi, thinly sliced and not cooked, we recommend following the basic dry-cure procedure and drying it until it has lost 30 percent of its original weight. Because we use a lot of aromatics in the cure, we’re providing exact measurements, but feel free to use the salt-box method (see pages 79–80) to cure the belly if you wish.

Pork belly can come with skin or without. Buy it with the skin if possible. The skin will help the belly to keep its shape as it dries. But skin must be cooked in order to become tender; if slicing the belly to eat without cooking it, as for a salumi board, remove the skin. The skin can be added to stocks and soups for great body, or it can be braised until tender and fried for cracklings. If you’re unable to buy skin-on belly, don’t worry; the belly itself will be just as good.
4.8 ounces/135 grams sea salt (salt-box method, see pages 79–80, or 3% of the weight of the meat)
3 tablespoons/18 grams black peppercorns, toasted and roughly cracked in a mortar with a pestle or beneath a sauté pan
¼ cup/20 grams juniper berries, crushed
8 garlic cloves, minced
8 bay leaves, crumbled
8 rosemary sprigs
One 10-pound/4500-gram fresh pork belly

1. Combine the cure ingredients in a nonreactive container large enough to hold the belly flat (or use a zip-top plastic bag; see page 106). Add the belly and rub the cure all over it. Refrigerate for 5 days, flipping the meat and rerubbing it to redistribute the cure at least once, midway through curing.

2. Remove the belly from the pan and rinse off the cure ingredients under cold running water.

3. If you’re using weight to determine doneness, weigh the meat and record the result. Poke a hole through one corner of the belly, run a piece of butcher’s string through the hole, and knot it. Hang the belly for 2 to 3 weeks, or until it’s lost 30 percent of its weight.

Yield: One 7-pound/3000-gram pancetta

“Reprinted from Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. Copyright © 2012 by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. Photographs copyright © 2012 by Gentl & Hyers. With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.”

'No Reservations' finale party at Lafayette to feature Bourdain sidekick Zamir

On the occasion of its last episode, fans of Anthony Bourdain's international eating adventure show "No Reservations" will have a fine chance to say goodbye at the Lafayette Hotel on Nov. 5.

Zamir Gotta, Bourdain's Russian fixer-sidekick, will be the star for once, at a farewell viewing party featuring a Bourdain impersonator contest, and lots of Russian vodka.

Gotta has been a character on "No Reservations" since 2005. Viewers might remember him from the episode that included a Bourdain visit to Buffalo, broadcast in 2009. "Zamir, bringer of peace, singer of songs, drinker of vodka, guide to the Russian soul, accompanied Tony Bourdain in episodes in Uzbekistan, Russia, Romania, Rust Belt, and the Ukraine," says the website of No Reservations’ production company.

The event, on the first floor of the Lafayette Hotel from 9 p.m. to midnight, is hosted by Chef Mike Andrzejewski of Mike A's at the Lafayette and SeaBar, and organized by Feed Your Soul. It's a special edition of the every-other-Monday industry nights Feed Your Soul and Andrzejewski have launched at SeaBar.

It's $20 for light snacks and one specialty Moscow-inspired Double Cross vodka cocktail designed by Mike A's beverage whiz Tony Rials. For $50, get a photo with Gotta, a seat at Mike A's and a "Bourdain's Last Meal" appetizer, including tastes of foie gras, bone marrow and pork belly.

Here’s the website,, which contains details and the application for the Bourdain look-a-like contest.

Roman pizza coming to Elmwood

By Jill Terreri

A new pizza place is coming to the Elmwood Village, but it promises to be a unique experience, restaurateur Gerald Clementi told the Planning Board this week. 

Clementi, formerly of Caffe Aroma, and Myron Robbins, president of Buffalo Management Group, which owns 715 Elmwood Ave., traveled to Rome in March to learn how to make Roman pizza, Clementi said. 

Pizza al taglio is sold by weight, and the dough rises for 72 hours, making the dough more digestible, he said.   

Clementi won approval for the project, which includes an outdoor cafe, from the Planning Board and the Common Council's Legislation Committee on Tuesday. Information on when the restaurant will open was not immediately available.

The board stipulated that the outdoor patio extend no more than eight feet from the facade of the building. 

The space, near Breckenridge Street, has housed Chow Chocolat and Quaker Bonnet. 

All hail seitan: Amy's Truck debuts veggie delights on Allen Street tonight

Amy's Truck, the mobile outpost of vegetarian-friendly University Heights eatery Amy's Place, will start dishing up Veggie Wet Shoes ($6) and other specialties tonight, reports Buffalo Rising.

If you already know that Veggie Wet Shoes is curly fries topped with spicy lentils, grilled onions, peppers and tomatoes plus cheddar cheese, this is terrific news. All hail seitan, the satisfyingly meatlike veggie burger (based on wheat gluten, of all things) that fills the Biff Sandwich ($6). There's a nod to Amy's Place's Lebanese roots with a lamb-beef kafta meatball sandwich ($7).

"We will be parked at 110 Elmwood Ave. In their parking lot between COMAND and El Buen Amigo. We'll start serving at 6:30 until we run out of food! So come down to Allentown and come hungry!" according to the truck's Facebook page.

The menu is lengthy for a Buffalo truck, with loads of vegetarian and vegan choices along with meaty options.:

Amys truck menu


Get your reservations ready: Local Restaurant Week starts Monday

Take a look through the listings for Western New York's cavalcade of cuisine, where $20.12 buys a taste of fine dining or dinner for two, just not at the same place.

Besides those noted in the article in today's Buffalo News, many more await at

Protocol, 31 Club, Mother's, Ristorante Lombardo, Sample, Viking Lobster Co., Asa Ransom House, Chester's Cajun Grill, The Roycroft Inn, Dick & Jenny's, Tabree, Fortunata's - there's probably a place on the list you've wanted to check out.

The event ends Oct. 21, though some restaurants keep those specials around longer.

Restaurants set benefits for Promised Land Farm after barn fire

Local restaurants have announced plans to aid a local farm family whose barn was destroyed by fire last week.

Promised Land Farm in Corfu lost a building, farm equipment, freezers full of food, and more, with damage estimated at $200,000 by fire officials. Trattoria Aroma, Shango Bistro and Bistro Europa, both customers and supporters of farmers Dan and Jane Oles and their family, have invited their customers to help the Oles.

Trattoria Aroma is holding a dinner at the farm on Oct. 20, with all proceeds going to the family. It’s a $150 seat, though you can donate more. Vans leave from Trattoria Aroma locations at 2 p.m. Reservations through

Shango Bistro is hosting a benefit at 6 p.m. Oct. 11. It’s $25 for hors d’oeuvres, Flying Bison draft beer and live music.

At Bistro Europa, 50 percent of Fri. and Sat. food profits will be donated to Promised Land Farm.

Seats for Nickel City's new cooking battle, Snout-to-Tail dinner on sale now

Following four years of sellout success with Nickel City Chef, Christa Glennie Seychew is adding a new series to Feed Your Soul’s lineup of events showcasing local culinary talents and the farmers they adore.

Nickel City Firing Line is a live cooking competition that resembles Food Network’s popular show “Chopped.” Buffalo-area sous chefs will have mere minutes to create dishes before facing a panel of critics. Unlike the television show, Firing Line will feature fine snacks and a cash bar for the audience, plus a chance to vote on the winner.

Preliminaries Nov. 7 and Nov. 14 will narrow the field from six to two. The survivors will tackle a market basket and a secret ingredient in the Dec. 2 finale, all at Artisan Kitchens, 200 Amherst St.
Tickets, $32, go on sale online this morning through, and will probably sell out quickly.

There’s also $29 tickets available for Nickel City Cupcake Challenge, a Nov. 4 event featuring three local cupcake specialists battling for Buffalo’s cupcake crown.

On Monday, $30 tickets go on sale for Big Fuss, an Oct. 24 party raising money for a local farmer, organized by Seychew’s Feed Your Soul events. Bistro Europa’s Steve Gedra is in charge of the food, and 100 percent of proceeds go to a farmer helping feed Western New York.

Another hot ticket: Gedra, along with Carmelo Raimondi and Bruce Wieszala of Carmelo's in Lewiston, are among a tiny group of chefs who use local pork extensively, from pigs they butcher themselves. The trio will present a nine-course dinner with beverage pairings at Bistro Europaon Oct. 28, celebrating the fine swine from T-Meadow Farms in Lockport.

It's $150 per person, not including tax and tip. Call 884-1100 for reservations.

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