Kitchen Call: Food for thought on Black Friday

Linda Bassett

I do not shop on Black Friday. Not at the mall, not online. I lie around in a turkey haze from the previous day. Maybe I put together a turkey sandwich. Family members must fend for themselves.

I did sit at my computer long enough to compile a bunch of interesting food information I have collected over the last weeks that might be of interest to readers:

Hurricane Sandy can’t keep New York restaurants down

Myriad Restaurant Group in New York City is recovering from Hurricane Sandy. All of their restaurants are currently open for service and are taking part in a relief initiative to encourage residents and holiday visitors to “Dine Out NYC and Eat Down, Tip Up.” In partnership with City Harvest, local FDNY, NYPD and Modell's Sporting Goods stores, they are accepting food and clothing donations for areas in need. Participating restaurants include Tribeca Grill 375 Greenwich St.; Corton 239 West Broadway; Nobu New York 150 Hudson St.; Nobu Next Door 105 Hudson St.; Nobu Fifty Seven 40 West 57th St.


Three chocolate facts: First, according to ABC News, the demand for chocolate increases by nearly 3 percent annually. Second, the average American consumes about 11 pounds of chocolate in a year. And third, more chocolate is purchased in winter than any other season.

“Chocolatiers are working overtime to keep up with demand as holidays approach,” says Pam Williams, president of Ecole Chocolate Professional School of Chocolate Arts.

Williams’ and her co-author Jim Eber’s new book, “Raising The Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate” documents the global journey from cocoa bean to chocolate bar. This book looks at the future of the world's finest chocolate through the eyes of people who “live chocolate” every day and strive to preserve its richest forms for future generations.

Williams and Eber explore almost every growing region from Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Peru, Southeast Asia, and Costa Rica highlighting the promises and pitfalls ahead for fine chocolate, while unwrapping the possibilities for all of us who believe that life without the very best chocolate is no life at all.

Lobster and the British royal family

Did you know that lobster was so plentiful in the American colonies that it was used as garden fertilizer? That it was commonly fed to servants and prisoners? In fact, a law was passed in Massachusetts forbidding it to be served to anyone more than twice a week. The British royal family changed all that in the 19th century, bringing lobster from trash fish to luxury dish.

According to Turner Fisheries of New England, the biggest lobster on record, weighed 44 pounds, and was caught in 1977 off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Spanish foods

New Jersey-based subsidiary Hojiblanca USA, Inc., importer of fine products from Spain, is promoting the health benefits of the traditional Spanish breakfast. The key ingredient is extra virgin olive oil, which contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Breakfast in Spain includes orange juice or coffee, an apple, and whole-wheat toast topped with Serrano Spanish ham, tomato slices, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the company recommends its own brand). Below is the company’s recipe, for a regional Spanish bread. I have not yet tested this, saving it for a blustery day when the smell of baking bread can warm up the kitchen.

Andalusian Bread

3 cups flour

3 T milk

1/2 t baking powder and yeast

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1-1/2 cups water

1 t salt

1 t sugar

Mix about 1/2 cup flour with the milk, baking powder, and yeast. Roll it all into one firm ball and then set it aside in a bowl covered with warm water for about ten minutes.

Once the flour has risen, mix it with the rest of the other ingredients to make it into a bigger ball.

After 10 minutes of mixing the dough put it in a bowl; cover it for about an hour to let it rise. After the hour divide the dough into many pieces and place them in the pan. Put it in the oven at about 350 F for about ten minutes.

Set aside to cool and when the loaf is hard cut it in slices for breakfast.

Linda Bassett is the author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.” Reach her by e-mail at Read Linda’s blog at Follow Linda for quick recipes on Twitter at @Kitchencall.