3 New Valentine’s Day Cake Recipes That Prove You Made an Effort

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This (gluten-free!) flourless chocolate cake is decadent, rich, and super-easy to make. The key is to fold the melted butter-chocolate mixture into the beaten egg batter as gently as possible—whipping air into the eggs gives lift and lightness to the cake, and over-mixing the final batter forces out all of the tiny air bubbles you’re after. The result is a delicate cake that wants nothing more than a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a sprinkling of crunchy toasted hazelnuts for contrast.

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Turnips > Carrots: Prove Me Wrong

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You know you work at a food magazine when the extremely hot topic of conversation at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday involves the relative merits of…the turnip. Sound dull? Trust me: It was not. But let me back it up a step and explain how this all began. Tasked with developing a recipe for a weeknight rotisserie chicken pot pie, I had to dig deep, look into my heart, and ask myself, “What makes a pot pie a pot pie? What elements of the pot pie are non-negotiable, and which are begging to be improved upon?” (Yes, these are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.)

I’ll tell you what was the first thing to go: sad, soggy, lifeless cooked carrots. Forgive me if you disagree, but I’d be happy if I never saw a cooked carrot again in my life. What they lack in texture, they rarely make up for in flavor. They’re sweet-ish, I guess? I don’t know, I’ll leave the sweetness to a vegetable that’s more worth my while: the turnip. They’re supremely crunchy with a slight radish-y kick of heat when raw, yet pleasantly sweet with a very appealing juicy-yet-firm texture when cooked. Both things that carrots do not have. (Ok, I’m done raggin’ on ‘rrots.)

Fast forward a couple of days. I’ve completed my journey of pot pie introspection and it’s time to get cooking. As you might guess, I made the decision (albeit controversial) to nix the carrots in favor of turnips. Developing recipes for Basically can be tricky at times because we have a self-imposed limit on the number of ingredients in any given recipe. (The number is 10.) Given that constraint, every ingredient included really and truly has to carry its weight. There’s no room for throwing something in there just because it looks pretty, or just because we’ve got it on hand. Which meant out with carrots and in with the turnips. (For all the pot pie purists in the house, fear not, I left in the frozen peas.)

Chicken Pot Pie

ALEX LAU

Miss me with those lil bits of cooked carrot.

I proudly paraded my golden brown puff pastry pot pie around the office as soon as it was finished, carrying with me plates and forks for all who wanted a piece o’ dat pie. I could not have anticipated what ensued: an hour long heated debate about whether or not the turnips belonged. People tasted the pie with the utmost skepticism upon noticing there were no overcooked orange bits swimming amongst all that creamy, chicken-y goodness. One editor loathed the loss of the carrot—only to find herself fishing around for more turnips after the first bite. Another made it clear that he will stand by cooked carrots always and forever. An unpopular opinion in my book. Even senior food editor Chris Morocco was anti, saying he doesn’t love turnips and his favorite kind of turnip is a daikon…radish. (Yeah, I was confused, too.) But then as more people got their skin in the game, Team Turnip began to turn out. The tides shifted and suddenly the Bon Appétit staff was ALL about those ‘nips.

It became clear to me that a vote was in order. So we voted. And guess who lost? That’s right, the CARROTS. Despite everyone’s skepticism, the turnips slayed with a vote of 9 to 2. So take it from even the harshest of critics, turnips are the bomb and they’re here to stay. They’re an oft overlooked root vegetable and deserve a real moment in the spotlight. Next time you’re in the produce aisle and find yourself reaching for a bunch of the basics, remember this tale, and pivot to the turnip department instead. As senior staff writer Alex Beggs declared: “FREE THE TURNIP!!!”

Go make yourself some pot pie already!

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‘Subterfuge and deceit’: What the Crown’s case against Mark Norman says — and what it has to prove

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« FFS keep me out of this. » If you’re in politics or news media in Ottawa, you’ve seen that well-worn, profane phrase pop up in your in-box from time to time.

The Crown put those words — culled from an email allegedly written by the former head of the navy in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2015 to now-former CBC journalist James Cudmore — in bold type as it laid down the foundation of its criminal breach-of-trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman in documents released late this week.

It was — in the estimation of prosecutors Barbara Mercier, Mark Coven and Jeannine Plamondon — a recognition by Norman that he was in « in the wrong. »

What he allegedly did wrong, according to the court filing released Friday, was provide information about a Liberal cabinet decision to halt a $668 million leased supply ship contract for the navy to both the shipyard involved and the media.

Significantly, the Crown’s court brief — which contains extracts of emails and text conversations seized by the RCMP in the course of their investigation — expands the scope of the claims against Norman to include allegations that he breached cabinet secrecy on 12 separate occasions.

None of the information contained in the 76 page filing has been tested in court, nor have any of the documents cited been entered into evidence.

Norman, the former vice chief of the defence staff, is charged with one count of breach of trust.

‘Repeated, continuous, covert leaking’

« Mr. Norman knowingly and deliberately leaked this information. In various communications, he acknowledged this information was privileged and confidential, » said the filing, the latest legal salvo in this high-stakes political drama.

« Moreover, the content of his communications demonstrates that he knew the use to which the leaked information would be put by Davie, Davie lobbyists and the media. »

The Crown alleges Norman leaked information — including behind-the-scenes details related to the supply ship program and the cabinet discussions about it — to an executive at the Davie Shipyard in Levis, Que., using his personal Gmail account.

The leaks, according to court records, started on Oct. 3, 2014 and continued into November 2015, when the future of the project was hanging in the balance.

That timeline covers a much longer period than the original allegation did, and includes months before and after the former Conservative government signed a letter of intent with the shipyard to lease the badly-needed vessel.

The newly-elected Liberal cabinet moved on Nov. 19, 2015 to put the project on hold, but word leaked to the media and Cudmore broke the story. The decision was reversed days later after a political controversy erupted. Furious, the government ordered an RCMP investigation after an internal probe failed to pinpoint the leak.

The Crown submission quotes from emails Norman allegedly wrote and claims he was the primary source of Cudmore’s story.

« This case will come down to to one issue: whether Mark Norman’s repeated, continuous, covert leaking of confidential information to Davie and the media was done with criminal intent, » said the court documents.

Nasty and personal

« We say it was because, by his own words and by ready inference, his conduct was designed and intended to dishonestly corrupt and oppress the decision-making process of cabinet, the principle of cabinet confidence and the lawful and accountable decision-making process to be followed by civil servants. »

The Crown did not release actual copies of the emails as part of its submission.

But the quotes it shared with the public pull back the curtain on the nasty (and sometimes personal) political and bureaucratic battles that went on over the supply ship contract.

At one point, the documents allege, Norman and Davie executive Spencer Fraser conspired to discredit the head defence procurement official, retired rear-admiral Pat Finn, who opposed the lease plan.

Another email allegedly quotes Norman taking a profane swipe at former chief of the defence staff and retired general Tom Lawson, who apparently did not support the project either.

Dave Perry, a procurement expert at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said that if anything, the emails reveal senior levels of the federal government are like workplaces everywhere — where frustration with the boss is « not necessarily PG material. »

He said we are only getting snippets of conversations in the court filing — not enough to evaluate the strength of the Crown’s case.

« I would reserve judgment on the overall intent [of Vice Admiral Norman] until I see what’s actually behind this, » Perry said.

A high bar to hit

The legal bar that the Crown will have to meet in order to prove a breach of trust has been set fairly high by the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2006, justices on the high court said prosecutors must prove not only criminal intent but also personal benefit to the accused.

Retired colonel Michel Drapeau, a military and access-to-information law expert, said evidence meeting that standard was not spelled out very clearly in the Crown’s court filing, but may become evident in next year’s trial.

Proving that Norman had something « personal and material » to gain is « absolutely crucial, » he said.

Prosecutors said many of the issues touched on in earlier court filings — such as the claims of political interference raised by Norman’s defence team, headed by Toronto lawyer Marie Henein — are irrelevant.

The Court « should not wade into the realm of politics to second-guess the decisions of ministers, cabinet or government on non-legal issues, » the Crown’s submission said.

There are well-established mechanisms for officials who disagree with cabinet decisions, and the Crown submission even suggests at one point that Norman could have become an official whistleblower within the system.

‘Subterfuge and deceit’

« The defence’s position that Mr. Norman’s conduct in secretly releasing confidential information could somehow be excused because he felt civil servants were not doing what he thought was in Canada’s best interest, or what individual ministers wanted them to do, is remarkable to say the least, » the submission said.

« This Court could never countenance an irresponsible, unlawful approach to dispute resolution that would see a senior member of the military ignore his lawful duties and instead embark on an agenda of subterfuge and deceit. »

Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Erin O’Toole said he was surprised to see the scope of the Crown’s case open up to include the former government.

And that, he said, makes the release of the government documents sought by Norman’s lawyers even more important.

« I was intimately aware of a decision with respect to an interim [supply ship] and saw zero influence on the process by Mark Norman, » O’Toole said. « I would be happy to waive and be involved in waving cabinet confidence in relation to the Conservative cabinet’s decision. And I know former prime minister Stephen Harper would be as well. »

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These Paris Restaurants Prove That There’s Something New-School In an Old-School City

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It used to be that New Yorkers—especially chefs—wished they were in Paris. Now everyone opening a restaurant in Paris wants to be in Brook-LEEN. In the 10th and 11th arrondissements, young chefs are forgoing the Michelin route to start their own lo-fi, high-energy spots where open kitchens, mash-up menus, and scruffy servers are the norm. How not-stuffy are they? Many of these places are vibey natural-wine bars that happen to have creative chef-driven food. You can dip in for a five-euro glass of Gamay—imagine!—and a dish or two without strapping in for a whole “experience.” It’s that kind of effortless French chic that we can never seem to re-create after our vacation—luckily, we’ll always have Paris.

It wouldn’t be accurate to call Camille Fourmont the godmother of natural wine in Paris—she’s only in her 30s! But her tiny DIY-distressed wine bar has converted many a drinker to the noncommercial side. Her spot-on palate extends beyond interesting wines: Even without a kitchen she assembles unforgettable plates from the country’s best raw, cured, fermented, and jarred ingredients. Trust us when we tell you that you will eat a bean off a toothpick and rank it among the best bites of your trip, if not year. So, yes, it’s worth waiting for the chill regulars to leave so you can snag one of the empty seats or an inch of the zinc bar.

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Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Vibing in Paris at the construction yard turned hip restaurant-wine-bar hybrid Yard.

The closest Paris has to an American-style bar—if bars in the States drew so many good-looking 20-somethings in search of the next underground wine release from the Auvergne that the crowd spilled into the street for an impromptu weekend hang. (One can dream.) Tapas, like tacos made on a crepe iron, absorb all that funk. If you’re really hungry, Oliver Lomeli, the young Mexican filmmaker who owns this spot, also runs Café Chilango next door, where you can sink into queso and tostadas.

In addition to having the coolest design we’ve seen in ages, Déviant is an open-air destination for the Le Fooding set, where the only things missing are windows and chairs. Sure, you could just order pét-nat and hang at the snazzy terrazzo bar, but Pierre Touitou, chef at sister restaurant Vivant, is (literally) right there in the kitchen. You can rack up a few seasonal small plates—the spicy wings, which are simmered in a tamarind-galangal glaze for ten hours, have the sole permanent spot on the menu— without spending a fortune, leaving you wiggle room for a bottle of something intéressant.

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Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Tender octopus with fresh peans brings all the boys… er, everyone to Yard.

Husband-and-wife team Omar Koreitem and Moko Hirayama have something magical. Their alchemical combination of Middle Eastern, Japanese, and French food, natural wine, and life-altering cookies is why this place bubbles over from breakfast until they leave to pick up their kids around 4:30 p.m. It’s casual and welcoming even to clumsy tourists and generous in both flavor and spirit. Whether you’re ordering a bowl of clams with chermoula and a cloudy glass of white or a slice of halvah cake with buckwheat tea, you’ll feel the magic.

Here it’s all about yakitori and…pasta! (And a funky wine list, of course.) The Japanese-style counter seating encourages you to focus on the food in front of you—in this case, binchotan- grilled skewers of poultry (try the pigeon), fish, and vegetables—each of which has its own brilliant flourish. There’s also a pasta of the day (maybe with liver, if you’re lucky) and other inventive bites from Franco-American chef Robert Compagnon. And because this is still Paris—and his wife and partner, Jessica Yang, worked pastry at Guy Savoy—the desserts are not to be missed. Order the 49-euro tasting menu and feel sorry for people eating at uptight three-star places.

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Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Sipping wine at La Buvette.

Getting a table at Bertrand Grébaut’s Septime is worth the effort—there’s a reason it’s on the World’s 50 Best list—and so is securing one of the handful of stools at Septime La Cave, its spin-off wine bar nearby. This is the kind of place you wish you had in your hood: an atmospheric but relaxed little bar where you can enjoy a zippy pét-nat, a plate of thinly sliced ham, and some thoughtfully assembled seasonal dishes that Grébaut could easily serve as an amuse at his mothership—all for under 25 euros. La vie, she is not fair!

Sur Mer

Originally the seafood offshoot of the seminal natural-wine bar Le Verre Volé—still a must— young Belgian-Ugandan chef Olive Davoux bought the space last year to showcase her talents. Imagine raw seafood with gochujang mayo and Bordier seaweed butter, or an octopus bun with XO sauce. And you can have it all at lunch for under 30 euros. Or dip into Davoux’s Asian-accented creativity at night, sit at the communal tables, and drink a lot more wine.

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Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Hanging out at Déviant.

Some come for its well-respected Mediterranean-ish food, like the stunning grilled peach salad with almonds. But this airy restaurant also attracts a devout following among natural-wine-bar owners and cult-wine importers. (You’ll find them Instagramming the latest Patrick Bouju bottles.) Recently, wine merchant Clovis Ochin, who made Action Bronson’s natty wine a sold-out success with Bouju, became a partner at Yard, expanding the space and increasing the wine focus with a bigger bar. Lunches are mellow affairs, while weekends go off the rails in a delightful way.

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5 Weeknight Dinners That Prove Your Oven Is Pure, Hot Magic

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Cheesy, saucy baked pasta is even more fun when you can slice it into wedges. But for clean slices, let the pie rest before cutting. Spaghetti, bucatini, rigatoni—if it’s pasta, it works for this recipe. Just don’t rinse the noodles; you want that starch. Also, roasting the vegetables first concentrates their flavors and removes excess water.

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Love Cocktails? Wear One of These Pins to Prove It

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I first spotted one of Mover & Shaker Co.’s enamel pins on cocktail man and Bitters author Brad Thomas Parsons’ Instagram a few months ago. I didn’t know before that moment that I needed a glossy little pin of Fernando, the green-and-citron mascot of the Italian amaro Fernet Branca. But the instant I saw that little gator guy proudly hoisting up a Branca-branded orange, I had to have him… and I don’t even like Fernet.

Then I discovered all of Mover & Shaker Co.’s other nostalgic and cheeky pins. There’s the Kool-Aid Man–inspired “Negroni Man” who is ready to bust through walls upon command (OHHHH YEAHHHHHH). Bender from Futurama and Archer wear matching red caps that say “Still Making Great Cocktails.” Salt Bae, a.k.a. the Morton Salt Girl-gone-bad, wields a scythe and a canister of salt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. These were clearly made by people who not only get my love of cocktails, but also share my appreciation for old-school cartoons and well-placed pop-culture references. So, naturally, I called them up to find out who they were.

I reached Nick Hogan, a bartender and cofounder. Hogan and his longtime friend Matt Shail founded the brand in 2017 as a little side hustle. It meant Shail could flex his graphic design skills, and Hogan, who was trying to drum up more of a name for himself in the craft bartending scene, could seed a bit of buzz by bringing the pins around to his gigs at bars and events.

They settled on two initial pin designs: One was a take on Angostura bitters, an iconic bar staple and one of the key ingredients in a classic Manhattan; the other paid homage to Fernet Branca, the robustly minty and bitter amaro that’s often shared between bartenders and impassioned drinkers as a “secret handshake” drink of sorts.

But it wasn‘t until a few months later that things really took off. When the second season of Stranger Things hit Netflix last fall, Hogan was inspired to create a pin that said “Stronger Drinks,” in the style of the show’s logo. Hogan and Shail got in touch with Pinlord, a popular Instagram account dedicated to enamel pins, who featured the design on its account. The pin went viral, and Mover & Shaker Co. sold their entire stock overnight.

For now, the pair is still approaching Mover & Shaker from the perspective of two hobbyists who just want to make cool stuff for people who appreciate booze. Both have other full-time jobs, and their primary focus (for the time being) is to keep creating designs that excite them. They’ve expanded to 40-some different pin designs, and have begun selling patches and t-shirts too. They do special collaborations and custom pins here and there, but mostly they stick to what they know, like the recent Two-Can Sam, a whimsical spin on vintage Guinness beer posters that instead features a certain fruit-flavored breakfast cereal mascot. Or one of my personal favorites: the Flair Bears, a Care Bears-inspired pin that takes a subtle jab at the ridiculous theatrics of “flair bartending”—the kind of performative cocktail-making that involves throwing liquor bottles high in the air, lighting things on fire, doing crazy-acrobatic pours, and so on.

“Bartenders are always coming up with puns for flair bartending,” Hogan says. “It’s like the opposite of craft bartending.” Other contenders? “Flairy Potter,” he says. “Or maybe Flairy Bird.” Consider this my vote in advance to Flairy Potter.

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