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Delicious food kept the crowd rocking at the annual festival
Plenty of food trucks were on hand to feed the hungry crowd.
From June 13-16, Bonnaroo 2013 attracted 80,000 people to a large farm in Manchester, Tennessee. Wrapping up its 12th year, the music festival had acts to please every musical taste. From indie darlings like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and Walk The Moon, R&B old and new from Wu-Tang Clan and Kendrick Lamar, to classic powerhouse acts such as Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and the indomitable Sir Paul McCartney, the attendees were dancing from dawn to well past dusk for all four days of this mega festival.
Click Here for the Top Bites at Bonnaroo 2013 Slideshow
That kind of rocking out will build up a huge appetite, and Bonnaroo did not disappoint in its edible options. Vendors could be found both inside the Centeroo stage area and outside lining the campgrounds and thoroughfares leading to the festival hub.
Standard fair food such as corn dogs, funnel cakes, and fries were easy to find. More specialized vendors shared space among them, serving up bites of gator or yakisoba. The Food Truck Oasis offered unique dishes in perfect walk-and-eat portions.
While there was more than enough delicious food to fuel those four crazy days and nights, the award for tastiest festival dish had to go to the Amish Baking Co. doughnuts. These rings of dough, hand dipped in a sweet glaze piping hot from the oven, were fluffy, chewy, and downright heavenly. (Full disclosure: we ate three of them.) Check out the slideshow for some great dishes being served at Bonnaroo 2013!
American Eats: Locavore Bonnaroo as Pop Community
Food is culture, that’s a given. But what about food as pop culture? Is there a second tier of American food, an equivalent of The Bay City Rollers occupying some déclassé rank beneath Flannery O’Connor, Mark Rothko, Paul Robeson? And what do we do with that which is both, people like Chuck D. and Jack White, pizzas topped with baby arugula and farm-fresh cheese, hamburgers made of Kobe beef? Is the cuisine of the United States spread across the low- to middle- to high-brow?
At Bonnaroo this year, Mr. White twisted the universe into songs simultaneously brand new and immutably old, smudging all concepts of sonic social class out of existence. The food for sale, however, presented a more complicated arrangement. You could at the beer stands spend seven bucks on a tallboy of Coors, but also spend eight on one of dozens of microbrews in the Broo’ers Festival tent. You could spend six bucks on a slice of pepperoni pizza or eight on a bowl of green veggie curry over rice. Bonnaroo’s food, vastly more diverse than that of most public events of this size, included both the low- and middle-brow.
Except Bonnaroo is always trying something new, and this year a few lucky folks jumped on the festival’s first high-brow dining experience open to the general public. Bonnaroots, a four-course, farm-to-table dinner made entirely of ingredients sourced within 100 miles of the site, was a collaboration between the festival, Oxfam, and a non-profit named Eat for Equity. Eaters sat at long tables beneath an arbor while on a nearby stage a woman in a frog-green bodysuit played trumpet to the beat of a drummer with more hair than “Islands in the Stream”-era Dolly Parton. Cultural tiers converged. Continue reading &rarr
Batten Down the Hatches, Eatbox: Shannon’s Brief Return to Food Service
Jonathan, posing with his food truck empire
When Jonathan Coffman took over command of the Eatbox food truck and moved it to Jackson, Tennessee, nothing could have fully prepared him for the Sisyphean effort it would take to feed twenty thousand hungry Bonnaroovians at the Food Truck Oasis. First of all, festival organizers threw him a bit of a curve ball by asking him to fill the gourmet meatball niche at the festival, when he was more used to serving kebabs and burritos at much smaller events around Jackson. Undaunted, Coffman built a trailer filled with chest freezers. He rallied a small army of friends and family to staff the truck. He rolled thousands upon thousands of meatballs. And then he allowed me, a food truck novice, to wander into the middle of all of it, just because I asked.
My previous experiences in food service are dark-night-of-the-soul kind of material I was truly one of the worst waitresses to ever spill a drink or drop a dessert at the Big Boy and TGIFridays of Mansfield, Ohio, and my tips usually reflected it. But Bonnaroo is all about new experiences, and I thought that working behind the scenes of one of the food trucks, preparing the food itself, might help to erase the memories of those old disasters.
Elbow room in a food truck is limited, but even so, there are a number of people working behind the scene at any given moment to get your food to you. I by-passed the grill and assembly positions (though, bless their sweet Southern hospitality, I think the Eatbox workers were prepared to let me do whatever I wanted in there) and apprenticed myself to Maria (non-Bonnaroo job: fourth grade teacher favorite summer hobby: teasing Zeke, who was working next to her) at the topping station, where I figured I would do the least damage. Continue reading &rarr
Baking Bites’ Top 10 Recipes of 2013
I always look forward to a new year after Christmas because I like the idea of starting fresh, not just because I like to stay up late to watch fireworks and drink champagne on New Year’s Eve. It’s good to look back over the past year and remember some of the things that made it so great. I posted well over 150 recipes on Baking Bites this year, but some got a little bit more attention than others for one reason or another. Here is a countdown of the top 10 most popular recipes of 2013, a list that I hope to make a new tradition in years to come.
10. Oatmeal Lace Cookies are one of my go-to recipes when I want a quick cookie fix. They’re easy to make and delicious to eat, with a buttery brown sugar and oatmeal flavor that is dangerously addictive. They make great ice cream sandwiches, too.
9. Two Layer Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake is a fantastic holiday dessert that gives you two pies in one. A sweet and spicy pumpkin pie is baked on top of a dense, creamy cheesecake, so you get two beautiful colors in every slice and two complementary flavors in every bite.
8. Ultra Moist Banana Bundt Cake with Greek Yogurt is a great use for both overripe bananas and leftover Greek-style yogurt. As the name suggests, this super moist cake is loaded with lots of banana flavor. You could divide it in half for two banana bread loaves, instead of baking a whole bundt cake, too.
7. Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast is one of my favorite indulgent brunch dishes, made by stuffing thick-cut challah or brioche with a lightly sweetened cream cheese mixture. It’s so good that you almost don’t need syrup to enjoy it. Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.
6. Chocolate Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes are a twist on a classic cream filled chocolate cupcake, but with a chocolaty filling that is even more satisfying than the usual vanilla cream. Just use the cone method to get perfectly filled cupcakes every time.
5. Molten Microwave Chocolate Cake is the easiest, quickest chocolate cake that you can make. This recipe bakes two generous servings in just a few minutes – and you can’t beat that when you have an urgent chocolate craving.
4. Coconut Cream Whipped Cream is a nondairy alternative to regular whipped cream and is made with coconut cream, the fatty part of coconut milk. It has a light coconut flavor and is a hit with both vegan and nonvegan whipped cream lovers.
3. Buttermilk Magic Cake is a delicious dessert that “magically” bakes into two distinct layers in the oven, a custardy base and a light, tender cake. It’s like two desserts with half of the effort!
2. Vanilla Coconut Muffins are a delicious muffin recipe that I never get tired of – and if you’re a coconut fan, you won’t either. They feature a great combination of vanilla and coconut that is just addictive enough to keep bringing you back for batch after batch.
1. Peep-Infuse Vodka was the number one recipe of this year – and it’s not even a baking recipe! It is, however, a fantastic, fun recipe for adults to make on Easter and a great way to use up all of those leftover marshmallow Peeps that get stuffed into Easter baskets. The vodka can be used to make delicious cocktails, like a Peep Vodka Lemon Drop, and it makes a conversation-starting centerpiece for Easter brunch, too.
Feeding people makes me happy. It’s just about as plain and simple as that. There are few things in this world that I delight more in than my family and friends gathered around my table enjoying a meal. Pull up a chair and join us! Read more&hellip
Can you eat cicadas? Yes, and here’s the best way to catch, cook and snack on them.
In 2004, Caroline Goon heard that the periodical cicadas that had just swarmed the D.C. area were edible. After considering different advice on how to eat them — with or without wings, headless or head on — the 20-year-old went to a tree near her apartment complex in Wheaton, Md., pulled a few adult cicadas off and gave them a quick fry. The result?
“I remember distinctly that at the time, it tasted like a crispy, salty-ish snack,” she says.
Insect-eating — a.k.a. entomophagy — is not common in the United States, where prevalent cultural norms include a disgust factor. But since a 2013 report from the United Nations, advocates here have promoted insects as a sustainable protein source, leading to a wave of high-tech bug powders and snacks over the past few years. And cicadas are eaten in many other cultures. They have also historically been a food source for some Native American tribes.
Now that cicadas are emerging again in the Eastern U.S., chefs, entomologists and insect-curious folks are prepared to explore the culinary possibilities.
In 2004, Goon went with a simple fry, as she didn’t have many concrete guidelines. This year’s emergence comes with more instruction — and more possibilities — for preparation.
You’ll need a bit of knowledge on their life stages to create the best edible experience. For the past 17 years, these Brood X cicadas have slowly matured underground, sucking on plant sap. Over the past few weeks, nymphs have created tunnels from which they’ll emerge when the soil is warm enough. These nymphs will pop out of the ground, climb upward, then molt their nymphal case, just like a crab casting off an old exoskeleton. At this stage, when they are called tenerals, they will appear creamy white, with a few blushes of yellow. They will then develop their full adult exoskeleton, which is black and dark brown, and be ready to mate.
Their teneral and nymph stages are ideal for eating, says Martha Weiss, professor of biology at Georgetown University and co-director of its environmental studies program.
The challenge with eating these stages? “They are a short-lived phase,” says Weiss, who has studied insects for decades. In other words, if you’re even a little curious, be ready to collect them. You can decide later if you actually want to partake, but Weiss recommends against eating full-grown adults, which she says are the “least good to eat” and may be infected with a fungus that could render them unappetizing.
The first time Weiss saw periodical cicadas was in 2004. As a self-proclaimed “science mom,” she was excited to encounter them with her two young daughters.
“I let them stay up until midnight so that we could go outside and pluck cicadas from their nymphal cases as they emerged,” she says. She served them up, dipped in chocolate, to her daughters’ classmates — to mixed reactions of intrigue, awe and disgust. “My older daughter is 23 now, and I still run into her classmates who say, ‘I remember that you gave me a bug to eat when I was in second grade.’”
You may have already seen light brown nymphs if you’ve been gardening. Weiss has started kitchen testing with nymphs she found by turning over flagstones. If you are concerned about pesticides, gather them from places where fertilizer or chemicals have not been spread, such as an untreated yard or wooded area. You’ll probably have better luck looking for nymphs and tenerals at night. Pop them into a container and freeze it to kill them humanely. When you’re ready to cook, remove from the freezer and rinse very well to remove any dirt. Parboil or blanch them for about two minutes to “firm them up,” and then they’re ready to cook as you like. If you have food allergies, especially to shellfish, you may want to forgo or take extra caution. Weiss advises not to eat empty nymph cases you’ll know because they are hollow and split open.
As a chef and executive director of Brooklyn Bugs, whose mission is to promote insects as a sustainable protein source, Joseph Yoon plans to try them at every point in their life cycle, drawing on nose-to-tail ideas of cooking.
The Forest Feast
Erin Gleeson was a professional food photographer in New York for many years, working with top chefs, restaurants and publications. But in 2011, she moved with her husband to a cabin in the woods in Northern California. Her blog celebrates cooking healthy and locally-sources recipes that will inspire you to learn how to eat more sustainably. And, as you would expect, her photos are spectacular.
Easy Elegant Mini Cheesecake Bites
If you haven’t already started to seriously plan your Thanksgiving menu, you better start now because T-Day is exactly 2 weeks away. Seriously, two weeks away and you know Costco is going to be crazy next week. This year Thanksgiving is going to be very interesting here. Unlike previous years where I do most of the cooking, this year I am going to be heavily relying on others, especially my husband.
As you’re ready this, I am having my right shoulder surgically repaired because aging + playing sports aggressively + aging (again) = my body is not getting younger and I better treat it right. Earlier this year I dislocated my right shoulder while working out and an MRI revealed that I tore my labrum which is the ligament in my shoulder which holds the ball in my upper arm in the shoulder socket. Because it’s torn, my shoulder easily pops out and dislocates itself which is extremely painful. There are days when opening up the refrigerator hurts so bad it paralyzes me momentarily. After months of physical therapy my shoulder was not getting better and because I would like to continue playing and competing in sports I am having it surgically repaired. Because my physical therapist reads SSL and has probably been wondering what happened to me, all I can say is, “Hi Chris, I’ll be seeing you again very soon.” So as you’re reading this I am probably in surgery or just out of surgery on heavy medication sipping grape juice and eating saltine crackers in a beautiful hospital gown.
All of this to say, my husband who cannot cook to save his life, will have to be my sous chef under my instruction and watchful eye. There has been one too many incidents of him pouring salt into a recipe calling for sugar, so Thanksgiving cooking should be interesting since my arm will be in a sling and I will not be able to use it through the holidays.
I realize that I’m rambling without any medication. This is me under a little bit of anxiety. Last week I spoke with my boss at PBS and thankfully she is allowing me to rest and take time off if I need to. If this surgery is anything like one of my 3 c-sections, I will push through and keep working like normal. But if the pain is anything like an exposed root nerve on a tooth, I might not be posting for awhile. Let’s hope for the former and pray it doesn’t feel like the latter.
With all of that said, today I have a great simple but elegant cheesecake recipe. These cheesecake bites are pretty simple to make and look fabulous with a little bit of jam on top and a touch of lemon zest to make them pop. I like this method of making mini cheesecakes because from the time you start making these until they are cool enough to serve, it takes less than 90 minutes. This means you could start making these as you begin to prepare dinner and have them ready by the time you need to serve dessert. I also love this size of cheesecake because they are perfect for potlucks, dinner parties, bridal and baby showers, birthdays, and any other social function you need to bring dessert. This recipe also makes one dozen mini cheesecake bites which is a reasonable portion size for a small dinner party or family dinner.
If you’re looking for other cheesecake recipes, I recently posted a Black Tie Cheesecake recipe (with a link for step by step video instructions) which is also perfect for the holidays.
So say a prayer for me and send me positive thoughts of healing. I could use them today.
From Poached to Sautéed, Here Are 40 of Our Best Shrimp Recipes
Shrimp is one of our favorite protein options to cook with. It's heart-healthy, super versatile, and easy to find in the grocery store. When cooking with shrimp, save the shells for seafood stock. If you're buying fresh, feel free to ask the fishmonger to de-vein them for you, but it's easy enough to do at home with a careful hand and sharp paring knife.
There are so many different ways to cook with shrimp. Use them for delicious pasta recipes, takeout-inspired stir-fries, soups and stews, and crowd-friendly appetizers. Shrimp shines in a summertime clambake alongside corn on the cob and baby red potatoes. We also love a creamy, flavorful bisque year-round (but who can deny that it's most delicious when served seaside?). Our recipe for Pressure-Cooker Shrimp Bisque is made with a homemade seafood stock using shrimp shells (told you they would come in handy!), plus bite-sized pieces of sweet shrimp. A combination of paprika and fresh dill brighten the bowl.
Another one of our favorite ways to cook shrimp is with pasta. Our Cream-Free Shrimp Alfredo is a lighter take on fettuccine alfredo. This clever recipe uses pasta water instead of heavy cream the starches in the water help to create a thick, rich sauce. And, of course, we have to include at least one recipe for Shrimp Scampi, but we took it one step further and included two! Our classic version is done just right, with plenty of fresh parsley, garlic, lemon juice, butter, white wine, and red pepper flakes. If you're looking to go low-carb, try Shrimp Scampi with Yellow-Squash Noodles, which substitutes spiralized vegetable noodles in place of pasta.
No matter which way you fry, stir, boil, or bake them, these shrimp recipes offer endless inspiration for weeknight meals and dinner parties alike.
Cannoli Bites Add-ins
I made these bites in the most classic way: cannoli cream filling topped with some mini chocolate chips and dusted with powdered sugar. But there are lots of ways you can make these cannoli bites your own!
Here are some ideas for getting creative with this base recipe:
- Mix finely chopped pistachios or mini chocolate chips into the cannoli cream before piping
- Dip the rims of the cannoli shells in chocolate. You can dip them wet chocolate rims in some crushed pistachios if you wanted to also!
- Or dip the chocolate rims in sprinkles!
- Mix 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder into the cannoli filling to make chocolate cannoli cream
- Drop a tablespoon melted chocolate into the bottom of the cannoli shells and let it dry before filling them with the cannoli cream filling. Now you’ve got mini chocolate cannoli bites!
Regardless of how you choose to make these mini Italian desserts, they won’t let you down. They’re completely delicious and everyone is guaranteed to love them!!
On no less than 3 occasions over the past 5 years, I have felt like a failure to my Italian heritage and New York upbringing. When it comes to making cannoli, it’s been a rough go around here.
But I decided to give one of my favorite desserts another shot for Thanksgiving this year and this time I found my patience to allow the ricotta cheese to thoroughly dry out and skipped the whole mess that’s involved with frying cannoli shells.
While these cannoli bites are not exact knock-offs of traditional, they are reeeeally reeeeally close. Really close!!
In fact, the only difference that I found is in the shells. And that was only because these cannoli shells weren’t super crispy from being fried. That’s because you won’t be frying these shells – you’re going to bake them!
But the cannoli cream is a spot on match to full-size cannoli and it’s spectacularly delicious, thanks to the abundance of mascarpone cheese in the recipe.
And after the shells are filled with cream, the flavors of the two begin to meld together into what we all know fabulous cannoli should be.
These mini Italian desserts were a huge hit on my family’s Thanksgiving dessert table last week but there’s no reason why they should be relegated to just one holiday – spread the love with these cannoli bites all year long!
Since cannoli are a favorite special occasion dessert among so many people at the holidays, these cannoli bites would be a fantastic dessert for Easter, Christmas, or Christmas Eve too.
OR! If you have a big cannoli lover in your family, group of friends, or co-workers, these cannoli bites would make a REALLY fun birthday surprise!
I also highly recommend my cannoli cake for a delicious birthday or anniversary cake but these little bites are just perfect for sharing. They would look really sweet lined up on a white platter or stacked up on a tiered serving stand.