Food (Section) Fight! is my weekly look at The Washington Post's Food section and The New York Times' Dining section with my verdict on which section had the better content for the week.
Apologies for the lack of links today. I had to write this one fast, as I'm headed to a cooking event tonight. All the stories and recipes are available and easy to find from the main Food and Dining section links that appear above.
(1) "Bowl o' red, take three," The Process column by David Hagedorn. Everyone has their chili recipe, even me. Hagedorn discusses the evolution of his own chili-making, including three mouth-watering recipes: a Dark Pot Roast Chili flavored with cocoa and espresso powder, a Korean-inspired Kim Chili and the Indian-inspired Paneer and Butternut Squash Kashmiri Chili. I love that he says onions and garlic are "non-negotiable" for any chili; some cooks would say they are non-negotiable for any good dish! And I totally agree with putting black beans in chili, irate Texans can just deal.
(2) "Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto," Dinner in Minutes column by Bonnie S. Benwick. Raw cauliflower pesto either sounds intriguing or off-putting, depending upon your view of the somewhat pungent vegetable. I'll trust Benwick's assessment though. The pesto is made with almonds, sun-dried tomatos, pecorino-romano, garlic, capers and parsley. How can that not be good?
(3) "It costs more to use the good stuff, but it pays," Spirits column by Jason Wilson. In this week's column, Wilson tackles two pieces of conventional wisdom about spirits: 1) that the "good stuff" shouldn't be used in cocktails, and 2) that older spirits are better. He disagrees with both adages and provides a good explanation as to why.
(4) "Labeling meals with at-a-glance analysis," Smarter Food column by Jane Black. Black examines the Bon Appetit food service company's new simplified system for helping diners identify healthy foods. Sure sounds a lot simpler, and ultimately more informative, than other methods.
(5) "Where the Bison graze in style," by Tim Carman. I'm not a football fan, so I've never been to a tailgate party. I had a coworker explain it to me recently and was surprised to find out that it's much more elaborate than the name suggests. Although a tradition at many schools, Howard University has only allowed it in recent years, but that hasn't stopped the event from becoming a pretty big deal, serving up some interesting southern cuisine like Keith Benn's Seafood Boil and Ice Tea-Brined Chicken.
New York Times
(1) "Peanut Butter Takes On An Unlikely Best Friend," De Gustibus Column by Dwight Garner. When I was a kid, I ate a lot of peanut butter and honey sandwiches (I wouldn't eat jam or jelly), but on occasion, the honey was replaced with pickles, an interesting and better-than-you'd-think combination. So I was surprised to read in Garner's story that this combo, which he also likes, is apparently rather rare and unheard of by a lot of people. Of course Peanut Butter & Co. in Greenwich Village makes one they call the "Pregnant Lady," developed as the name implies to satisfy a particular customer's craving. As an aside, I'm curous what this "De Gustibus" column is, as I've not seen it before.
(2) "Helping Quiche Find Its Savory Roots," City Kitchen column by David Tanis. Tanis makes a good argument for the return of the quiche, which gets little attention these days. I'll admit, I've never made one, and I'm not sure why. I love pie, and the Classic Quiche Aux Lardons made with bacon and gruyere sounds delicious.
(3) "Good Things, Small Package," by Jeff Gordinier. A generation ago, dumplings were called "pot stickers"; they've come a long way since then. Gordinier looks at continuing evolution of the popular Asian-inspired dish, which now includes a pretzel-like version at Talde in Brooklyn's Park Slope.
(4) "Add Some Twists and Turns to a Familiar Route," A Good Appetite column by Melissa Clark. Clarks discusses how to take a simple dinner--roasted chicken thighs with squash--and make it livelier. She added coriander seeds and lemon to the chicken and glazed the squash with maple syrup. Shame whoever did the photography for this story used acorn squash instead of delicata as the recipe calls for.
(5) "A Public Display of Affection," Restaurant review by Pete Wells. Wells begins this week's review of "21" (21 West 52nd Street) with a disclaimer of sorts. He rates the restaurant "satisfactory," i.e. no stars, and seems to find the food rather boring, but yet he likes the place as a sort of throwback to a bygone era of New York dining. Frankly, I'm a little surprised to see such nostalgia from a restaurant critic for a place with a dress code and mediocre food.
The Washington Post. It's a pretty close call this week. Some interesting recipes in both publications, but the clincher is the really great chili story by David Hagedorn.
The Washington Post: 22
The New York Times: 19