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What I Did On My Summer Vacation Part 2: Modernist Cuisine

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Before little Dirt Candy goes dark tomorrow (!) I wanted to make sure I put up the second half of my summer vacation, which involved three of my favorite things: lady chefs, lots of food, and plenty of booze. One of the biggest cookbook events of the last four years was the publication of Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine. Of course, the second biggest cookbook event of the last four years was me unwrapping my copy of Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine.

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The pea course involved super-punny placards.

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And in June, I got to go have dinner at their lab.

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What Dirt Candy Can Teach The World About Being Small

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Dirt Candy is small. Really small. Really, really, really small. Just look at this tiny kitchen:

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What does that have to do with you? Well, if you’re one of 35 million Americans who lives in an apartment, then you probably have a tiny kitchen, too. Or maybe you live in a house that was built without a kitchen for some reason and you’ve had to construct one yourself. In a closet. Either way, over the past six years of running Dirt Candy I’ve learned a lot about how to make the most of an absurdly small amount of space and some of my tips might help you.

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50 Shades of Doughnut

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Sometimes customers bring the kitchen crew at Dirt Candy treats, and treats are always welcome. But sometimes a customer goes that extra mile and brings us treats with a theme. So a huge thank you to Kelly who brought us Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream and donettes. Why? Well, if you were at packed, standing-room-only, Dirt Candy Food Porn-a-copia at GoogaMooga, then you know exactly what these treats mean. If you weren’t there, then realize that these foodstuffs mean that things are about to get very, very dirty at Dirt Candy.

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50ShadesofDoughnut

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Happy International Vegetarian Day!

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To celebrate international vegetarian day, I want to take a walk down memory lane. Let’s all cast our minds back to the olden days of vegetarian food. Like the rule says, we should only be eating food our grandmothers would recognize, and here are some of the vegetarian recipes they were making back in the day.

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Mmmm…eggy gloop surprise!

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I think that’s an eggplant surrounded by minty jelly squares that jiggle.

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Remember the good old days when we used to sit around eating potato “hamburgers”?

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I really miss egg mold with green onion sauce…

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My favorite old timey recipe: grape fantasies…

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I actually do kind of miss things like these garlic cheese balls, however.

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Elizabeth David Marginalia

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Peter Ross has been archiving and cross-indexing the post-it notes, scraps of paper, and marginalia he’s found in the massive collection of Elizabeth David‘s cookbooks that went to the London Guildhall library. What he’s discovered is that Elizabeth David liked to write notes to herself  and often, they were very mean.

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“Waverly Root is a pitiful phony.”

- scribbled in the margins of The Cooking of Italy by Waverley Root

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“The kind of pretentious rubbish that has brought French cooking into disrepute as a snobs preserve.”

- from the margins of Full and Plenty by Maura Laverty

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“Italian salad p50. Sounds just about the most revolting dish ever devised.”

- from a post-it note in Ulster Fare by the Belfast Women’s Institute Club

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Ah, the true meanness of the straight-shooter. Sometimes I think the food world needs a bit more of it these days.

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The recipe for Italian Salad and more on the marginalia of Elizabeth David, food writer extraordinaire.

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Getting Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

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Everyone always wants to find ways to make vegetables more exciting for kids so that they get into the habit of eating them at an early age because habits formed as a child last a lifetime. Now, some genius catering chefs in the UK have found the way: drug food! First up, their snortable asparagus powder, served at their events chopped into a line on a mirror with a rolled up $100 bill as a utensil. For real!

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Inspired by their example, I’m already considering a Fall menu that features Calming Carrot Soup, heated tableside in an old spoon and then injected directly into your arm, Huffable Hothouse Tomato Salad – aerosol tomatoes sprayed into a plastic bag and then immediately inhaled – and Smokeable Cauliflower and Waffles, served in a giant glass bong shaped like a wizard. I’m even going to change my pricing model so that your first meal is free, and then the price increases sharply from there. And I’m looking at a food truck operation that will allow me to locate my business in high school parking lots or maybe I’ll just do a pop-up in some schoolyards and public parks. Parents will love this! They’re going to quickly discover, now that plain old vegetables have the allure of dangerous narcotics, their kids just won’t be able to get enough of them.

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“This cauliflower is, like, totally cashed. Can we get another?”

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Unwrapping Modernist Cuisine

For those who don’t know what Modernist Cuisine is, I’ll fill you in. For those who came here for the box porn, just slow down for a minute so everyone can catch up. Modernist Cuisine is a self-published cookbook from Nathan Myhrvold, former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, and a guy who holds something like 100 patents. A few years ago, on his own dime, Myhrvold, Chris Young, Maxime Bilet and a staff of 20 decided to reinvent modern cooking. The result is Modernist Cuisine, a six volume, 2,438 page cookbook that sells for $625 (you can get it on Amazon for only $461.62). You can read all about it on their website. It’s been an object of much speculation and desire, and multiple delays have caused pulses to race and palms to get sweaty as the actual street date nears. I pre-ordered my copy months ago, and last night I came home to find a giant box waiting for me.

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Box porn and a look at the book itself inside.

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The Next Food Trend is Now!

We’re in the middle of a new dining trend, and no one even realized it. Carnival Food! New York City chefs are cooking just like the vendors at county fairs. And it’s not just New York. Some of the most popular shows on the Food Network and the Travel Channel (judging by the fact that they always seem to be on) are Diners, Drive-ins & Dives and Man vs Food – both of them odes to Carnival Food. And here in the wicked city I’ve got Fennel Funnel Cake on the menu (and even a fancy version of Cracker Jacks). So every time you hear about some new burger mutation, towering porcine gutbuster, bizarre dessert, or unlawful hybrid of savory and sweet at a classy restaurant, just remember that county fair vendors got there first.

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Chocolate-covered bacon!

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DoughnutBurger

The Indianapolis State Fair offers Doughnut Burgers

and so does RUB BBQ right here in NYC.

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Or have your Doughnut Burger with bacon, egg and cheese!

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Fried Coke!

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Fried Twinkie Lattes!

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Pork Parfait!

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And last, but not least…Fried Butter!

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We eat our food out of trucks. We eat it while walking down the street. We eat it at ourdoor beer gardens. Just like we’re at a county fair!

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Poutine! Cone Pizza! The KFC Double Down! All Carnival Food!

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So let’s give credit where credit is due. The most influential chef in NYC cuisine right now might just be Dennis Reas.

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A New Friend

In the war against the hegemonic patriarchy, Dirt Candy has a new friend: Feminist Hulk.

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Hulk smash gender discrimination!

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Truly inspiring tweets from the world’s only truly feminist superhero.

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Train Pigs!

Sometimes you come across a website that hates something so specific, and hates it with such passion, that you have to step back in admiration. Train Pigs is such a site. Whoever put this site together is repulsed – scandalized! horrified! – by people who eat on the subway and so they’ve put together a gallery of photos of people sucking up food on the dirty, dirty NYC subway. But it’s not the photos that won me over, it’s the captions, which are little nuggets of molten bile, barely cool enough to read without burning your eyes. Sample: “Parents who are train pigs, have children who are train pigs.” and “Thanks for the daring shot of this man eating broccoli and garlic. What a vile, disgusting creature.”

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porcineequality

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Go, go to TrainPigs and bask in the hate. It is truly refreshing, like a Finnish sauna for your soul!



menu


Menu

Snack

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Jalapeno Hush Puppies $6
served with maple butter
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Appetizers

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Mushroom $13
portobello mousse, truffled toast
pear & fennel compote

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Cucumber $12
roasted cucumber hot and sour soup,
black sesame, garlic chili oil, wood ear
mushroom, cucumber jelly

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Tomato $13
tomato cake with smoked feta,
yellow tomato leather, herb puree

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Potato $12
warm potato salad, crispy Japanese
yams, grilled sweet potato, olives,
bitter greens, apples

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Entrees

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Beets $20
salt-roasted beets, thai green curry,
beet gnocchi, whipped coconut galangal cream

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Pepper $18
fennel & pepper tofu,
parsley spaetzle, grilled
yellow pepper broth,
mustard crumbs

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Broccoli $21
smoked broccoli dogs,
broccoli kraut, salt &
vinegar broccoli rabe

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Corn $19
stone ground grits, corn cream,
pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche,
tempura poached egg

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- everything on the menu can be made vegan on request.

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Dessert

Rosemary Eggplant Tiramisu $12
grilled eggplant, rosemary cotton
candy, mascarpone

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Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar$11
sweet pea, mint, chocolate

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Popcorn Pudding$11
salted caramel corn

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Celery Cheesecake Roll$10
celeriac ice cream, peanut filling,

& candied grapes

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- vegan dessert selection changes regularly, please ask your server.

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Our wine list (and other beverages)

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Gift Certificates

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