Spice master Chef Lior Lev Sercarz gave a zestful talk about his life, career, the art of flavor, and his new book The Spice Companion at Williamsburg’s Museum of Food & Drink (62 Bayard Street) this past Thursday night. Lior was an engaging speaker, and it’s obvious that when he’s talking about spices, he’s speaking directly from his heart.
He asked the audience how many times we’d actually tasted the spices in our cupboards, by themselves. I cook a lot, but I’ve probably never shoveled a lone spoonful of paprika into my mouth. Lior’s point: these are ingredients we’re putting into our cooking every day, so why aren’t we tasting them? Why aren’t we smelling them? We should be giving ourselves a sensory vocabulary of spices so that we know how to use them as creative culinary tools. He passed a few spices around to the audience for us to taste and smell—turmeric, cayenne, ancho chile powder, ginger, cinnamon, cocoa powder. I noticed that when confronted with the spice itself, it allowed me to really get to know the depth of its personality, while imagining where I could go with it in a way that just wouldn’t happen if I muddled it into a recipe. Continue reading →
If this weather is leaving you longing for warmer days or perhaps a tropical vacation, save the airfare and head over to Battery Harris (64 Frost St) where you can enjoy a spicy meal and exotic cocktails that will shake off those winter shivers.
We were invited for a taste and chat with Head Chef Zachary Frankel who shared some recipes and told us why spice is perfect during the cold months.
Spicy food is really satisfying in the winter because it warms you up from the inside. Spice makes your metabolism fire. I also think having island treats reminds people of the summer to come.
I’ll admit it. My spice cabinet is a bit of a mess. And it seems the more cooking I do, the greater into disarray my cache of seasonings falls. A six-year-old, nearly untouched jar of marjoram rests atop a pillow of unlabeled ziploc bags filled with heaping spoonfuls of unidentified yellow and green aromatic powders. Towards the back of the cupboard, a tub of oregano the size of a house cat mocks me. Too much of this, too little of that, and what to do with it all, assuming the old stuff still has pungency? Greenpoint’s Tara Suan, has come up with an idea to combat these common kitchen conundrums.