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.
1) “Is this any way to treat an Asian pear?,” The Process by David Hagedorn. Asian pears aren’t a fruit I’ve ever given much thought to. Thanks to David Hagedorn, I learned quite a bit about them this morning, including that they are much firmer than other pears, crunchy even, and no matter how many times he tries, Hagedorn discovered that they aren’t suitable for a gratin (too watery). I’m intrigued by the Thai Skirt Steak Salad with Asparagus and Asian Pears.
2) “Cornmeal Waffles with Cheddar, Chipotle and Scallions,” Dinner in Minutes by Bonnie S. Benwick. Benwick took an exciting direction with Dinner in Minutes today, delivering a southwestern “breakfast for dinner” entrée that sounds like a delicious combination of smoky and savory.
3) “Squirrel: It’s all gravy to Romney,” by Whitney Pipkin. Before you get too excited, realize that the story isn’t about Governor Romney’s desire to feast on rodents. Romney in this case is Romney, West Virginia, home of the Squirrel Fest buffet where, yes, they eat squirrels. Apparently raccoons as well. While this may play like the Food section equivalent of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” it is nonetheless interesting from a cultural perspective and not all that weird when you think about it as as good source of lean protein.
4) “Five fresh ways to use the nut of the moment,” by Jane Touzalin. The pecan is probably my favorite nut, so I’m down with Touzalin’s varied set of recipes, which include Frozen Fruit Salad and Fig and Pecan Tapenade with Goat Cheese.
New York Times
1) “Fighting to Save the Flavor of New York,” by Jeff Gordinier. It’s clear that recovery from Hurricane Sandy will be a lingering challenge for New York for some time. Pete Wells has already written about the storm’s effects on the small business culinary gems of lower Manhattan. Gordinier’s story focuses on a different type of restaurant threatened by Sandy: historic Brooklyn landmarks, including the Coney Island pizzeria Totonno’s, founded in 1924 by Anthony Pero, the man many credit with bringing pizza to the U.S., and Nathan’s, the famous boardwalk hot dog stand. There is hope that these storm-damaged landmarks will reopen, as their loss would represent not just a major blow to the community but to the city’s food history.
2) “Who Needs and Oven? Just Bury the Beans,” by John Willoughby. Ever heard of a bean hole? No, it’s not your mouth stuffed with black beans, but rather a pit in your backyard in which you bury hot rocks with a pot of beans to slow roast for 8 hours or so. Willoughby, along with Chef Chris Schlesinger, explore the old-fashioned technique, offering up three great bean recipes that are adaptable to an oven if you lack a backyard or don’t want to rip up the lawn.
3) “The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Brussels Sprouts,” A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark. Pasta, bacon and Brussels sprouts…I’m sold. It’s a great combination, one Clark says has replaced pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe as the noodle dish du jour. I offered up my own pasta and sprouts dish back in February (homemade Orecchiette with Roasted Brussels Sprouts).
4) “Cold-Proof Your Salad,” How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Bittman dives into season root vegetables, serving up Braised Turnips and Radishes and Beets Baked in Foil. He writes not just about the roots but their greens too. I didn’t realize, for example, that chard is beet greens.
The New York Times. I labored over this decision. It was a very close week. I almost called a tie, but have vowed I won’t do that with only a few weeks remaining in this competition. Yes, that’s right. At the end of the year, there will be a winner. And the score is very close. Credit Jeff Gordinier’s moving look at landmark Brooklyn restaurants threatened by Hurricane Sandy as the deciding factor this week.
The Washington Post: 24
The New York Times: 22