This is a bunch of Brooklyn guys who decided to reinvent dried pasta. To do so they brought back some rare shapes and even made up a few new ones. They also bucked the flour norm and add some unique flavors to the mix. Mint, ramp, nettles even cocoa find their way into these unique shapes. To boot the guys are awesome. On a recent trip to the market I couldn’t find their zucca (a pumpkin like globe shaped pasta). I gave a call to see where I could find some. After they spent 10 minutes diligently tracking it down, they told me to just pop down to the factory and they’d give me some. You got to love that real Italian hospitality. So, when I heard they has a Sfoglini Pasta of the Month Club, it was an instant join. We opted for the 12-Month plan. You can never have enough pasta on hand.
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We’ve written about ‘Nduja, the spicy, spreadable pork salame from Calabria, before. It’s a pig shoulder and belly concoction mixed with various other ingredients depending on the village you’re in. Among them besides spices could be tripe or roasted peppers. Tony gave me the low down and said theirs, aside from being a Chicago version, was spiced for the American market NOT the hot headed southern Italian man. The ‘Nduja Black Label Iberico de Bellot is the Cadillac of spreads. Rich, creamy and just the right spice made me think this could be a winner for our current recipe testing back at my day job offices. Tony slipped me a ‘Nduja bomb and waved me off as if to say, “Go ahead take some a play. Call Chicago when you’re ready.” For you, you’re going to have to order some from his website.
I didn’t even know that sweet pepper relish was a thing when I dropped a sample spoon of the luscious condiment on my tongue. After 3 hours walking the aisles of the massive Fancy Food Show, you get a little tasted out. By that point, you are not expecting to taste something that excites you the way this did. As my tastebuds transmitted the sweet and spicy to my brain, Andrew Schiavetti, founder of Fourth Creek Food Co., smiled widely as if to say, “I’ve been seeing reactions like this all day.” On second bite, I knew I was hooked. “What is this?” I asked as if it came from another planet. Ready with the answer, the rep, explained in detail but all I heard was “amazing”. The story I missed, because my brain was focusing on taste, was one of those my-mom-made-this-awesome-so-we-jarred-it-for-your-pleasure type stories. The best part is their whole line is this good and I am subsequently addicted to bruschetta made solely of their products. Thanks mom Fourth Creek.
Old World Jewish cuisine and delicious usually don’t make it into the same sentence. That’s why when we read “A culinary laboratory where Ashkenazi stories and culinary wisdom from the Old World could be explored and brought into the new.” we immediately wanted to know who said it and why. Turns out Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern are not only behind the statement but behind a dinner series, product line and cookbook dedicated to keeping this slice of culture alive. Speaking of slices, tonight of all nights is the perfect time for a slice of the Gefilteria cornerstone product. Artisan Gefilte fish made where else BUT in Brooklyn. The duo now bring Gefilteria goods to you online and through some specialty shops in NYC. Bring a loaf to your holiday parties and keep the new traditions alive.
This reminds me of the Seinfeld bit about maximum strength aspirin. “Figure out what will kill me, and then back it off a little bit.” Death Wish Coffee is the only common household food product that I’ve seen promote a skull and cross bones warning. It claims “highly addictive.” Thanks to Howard Schultz for exploiting what a bunch of Italian guys do in a “bar” every morning and afternoon, we’re a strong coffee obsessed nation. Death Wish takes that to the max by combining the strongest beans with what they call a perfect roasting process. We imagine blow torches and heat shields are involved. They even dropped this juice in vodka for a limited Death Wish Coffee Vodka run. Apparently only available in Albany New York though.