Friday, September 27, 2013

New Blog Address -

It is with a twinge of sadness that this blog content is going to be moving over to Ninth Street (  Please update your RSS to direct there for all of our new projects, recipes, and other baking-related endeavors.

Thanks for all your support!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A New Venue

Thanks to all our followers, supporters, and friends who have seen Berenbaum's grow since January 2011. After searching for an independent location for some time, Frank Ferrell, owner of Ninth Street Bakery would like to retire and I (Ari) made an offer to purchase his business.  

We hope to blend the old with the new by modernizing Ninth Street's recipes, introducing new products, redecorating the cafe space, and giving Matts Props, our resident vegan chef, an opportunity to shine by increasing the vegan options available on a daily basis.

Stay Fresh, Day One, and Berenbaum's will be folded into Ninth Street's ordinary operations.  We will continue to serve vegan dinners on Tuesday and Saturday nights, and our bakestand will still be in operation Saturday mornings.  More dinner openings may follow based on demand.

We will be looking for your support as we try to grow Ninth Street's business.  If you or anyone you know would like to lend "transition assistance" of any kind, feel free to be in touch via berenbaums at gmail dot com.

In the meantime, please join us Saturday, September 14th, for an evening of "Celebrating 32 Years of Ninth Street" festivity, 5-9PM, where we will symbolically pass the NSB torch and Matt Props will prepare a vegan menu.  All are invited.

(click to enlarge)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week 119

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Our awesome customers: The Stock-Hoffmans, DB, AM, AS, HM, JCD&LDG, Marybeth&Allen.

Giveaway winner Amy M. with her winnings:

Allen and Lisi

Da Crew: Many thanks to our crew this week: Val, SZ, Chef Matt, Andy, and Anlo.

Day One: Thanks to all who came out for Day One -- BBQ Shack.  We had a great attendance and the patio weather was perfect.  Standouts were the succotash, cole slaw, and three-bean salad.

Track of the Week:

This week: We have important news to announce this week at Stay Fresh on Tuesday - come on out and join us!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Restaurant Critic Yamamoto On Great Chefs

From the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi":

“A great chef has the following 5 attributes: First, they take their work very seriously and consistently perform on the highest level. Second, they aspire to improve their skills. Third is cleanliness. If the restaurant doesn’t feel clean, the food isn’t going to taste good. The fourth attribute is impatience. They are not prone to collaboration. They’re stubborn and insist on having things their own way. What ties these attributes together is passion. That’s what makes a great chef.”

Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 118

This week we had Walnut Raisin Mandel Bread, Pineapple Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, Jamaican Black Bean Hand Pies, Mixed Berry Hand Pies, Black Bean Mole Chili Hand Pies, and Superfood Salad.

Our favorite customers and friends: EC&SMG, the Marvelles, the Stock-Hoffmans, Ian&Sebastian&Pepita, AS, HM, RML.

Da Crew: Mad shouts to our hardworking crew: Chef Matt, Val, Andy, Lauren, and Jennifer.  Extra shouts to Lauren for her first bakestand-working experience - you picked it right up!

Track of the Week:

Back to School: You know Fall has dropped when there is gridlock on Broad Street for Duke move-in day, excited parents walking to E.K. Powe for Open House Night, and butterflies aplenty anticipating the first day of school (today!).  We wish all our parents and students a welcome return from vacations near and far and send you the best of luck in your child's academic progress and prowess.

Day One: Check out this week's menu: BBQ Shack!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"You Could Spend Your Entire Life Trying to Figure Out the Egg"

Title quote from David McMillan, of Joe Beef (Montreal).

With the publication this year of Rose Carrarini's "How to Boil an Egg", I thought I would share two of my favorite egg videos from the web.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 117

This week we had Chocolate Chip Scones, Jamaican Black Bean Savory Hand Pies, BBQ Tofu Savory Hand Pies, Pineapple Hand Pies, Pear Hand Pies, and Superfood Salad.

Thanks to our favortite customers and friends: Judy&Ed, Dave&Nancy, the Springs, EC&SMG, Karah&Karen, Kelly, Paul&Jess, Horst, AS, JB, SMW&EB, Taj.

Da Crew: Many thanks to our industrious crew: Val, Lauren, Chef Matt, Fantine, and Anlo.  Special big ups to Fantine and Anlo as it was their first time working the bakestand - you guys did a great job!

Track of the Week:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week 116

Many thanks to our tenacious crew (Lauren, Andy, SZ, Jeff, and Chef Matt) who continue to rock it in my absence (while on vacation).  Writeup this week from SZ:

This week, we had Pear Sweet Vegan Handpies, Barbecue Tofu Savory Vegan Handpies, and Superfood Salad. The clouds were out for most of the morning, but we got some sun towards the end of the market. Big thanks to Jeff for being on point and making sure the stand was ready to go.

Day One: We had one of our busiest nights yet, with a line out the door for much of the evening, eagerly awaiting a taste of the vegan fare Matt and Andy were cooking up. Andy's gluten-free Thai Coconut Cake with Mango Sauce came out amazingly well, and Matt's Tod Man Khao Pod (Thai Corn Fritters) were a huge hit. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Week 115

This week, we had Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Apple Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, and Superfood Salad.

Many thanks to our outstanding crew who are picking up the slack in my absence while on vacation: Chef Matt, Jeff&Sara, Andy, and Lauren.

Via DB

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 114

This week, we had Smokey Greens and Mushroom Savory Hand Pies, Sunflower Bread, Mixed Berry Pies (Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry), Superfood Salad, Caramelized Banana Hand Pies, and Ginger Lime Iced Tea.

Thanks to all of our wonderful patrons: Wenny and Kevin, Sarah and Malcolm, Yulya and Rubin, Susan and Jonah, JD, Joy et al., Matthieu, Jennifer L., Chris&Kate&Jerry, Sarah and Malcolm.
Giveaway winners Sarah and Malcolm

Da Crew: Big ups to Val, Jennifer W., Andy, and Chef Matt.

Day One (Lil' Farm to Fork):  Saturday night, we were delighted to host the good farmers from Lil' Farm and raise their produce up through some inventive dishes.  As I was looking at the beginnings of Matt's creations -- e.g. a pan of roasted mixed heirloom tomatoes in a cornucopia of colors -- I thought about the care that went into both the cultivation of the vegetables and the preparation of the meal.  In this setting, we were able to treat the ingredients with dignity -- a sack of onions to peel and chop is not a chore, but a rite of some kind.  A box of tomatoes became holy.

The dish that impressed me most was the eggplant entree.  In his rendition, Chef Matt started with a mashed potato base, sauced it with tabasco gravy, topped it with eggplant that had been roasted and then grilled using a special spice blend, then came tomatillo salsa, crispy fried onions, and finally fresh green onions. When you took a bite, it was like tasting five layers of flavors mingling together.

Also, Matt should get extra dap for composing his menu on 48 hours notice with only a slight clue as to the ingredients and quantities he would have to work with. It was kind of like Iron Chef, and when he went to the ice cream maker to churn the Tomato and Basil sorbet, I felt like that was a classic move worthy of the Food Network.

Day One Track of the Week (selected by Pandora "Underground Hip Hop"):

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cranes and Excavators

Everywhere you turn in Central Durham, cranes and excavators appear to be pushing dirt and laying foundation on new structures.  New multi-story residential is going in at Hull Ave. and Swift Ave., across from the Police Department on Chapel Hill St. and Gregson St., and in the huge Erwin Mills development off Ninth Street.  Main Street in front Duke East Campus has also been closed for the entire summer due to bridge demolition and replacement.

This is especially important when you have a two-year-old son who is obsessed with big wheels, machines, cranes, and things that go!  It is as if the entire city is his playground.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 113

This Week: Our friend Fantine came and volunteered with a great financier cake recipe.  A financier is like a rich tea cake made with almond meal and butter.  We dubbed them the "Moral Monday Financiers" and gave 50% of the proceeds to the NAACP of NC.  Also, Chef Matt's Hibiscus Iced Tea was the perfect refreshment for the humidity, and his Superfood Salad (Raw Kale Salad with Edamame, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews, and Cranberries) was popular as always.

Da Crew: Many shouts to our awesome crew: Fantine, Chef Matt, Val, and SZ.  Extra shouts to SZ who worked all morning for Berenbaum's and then all night for Day One.

Awesome customers of the week: The Halperns, RML+1, Jennifer, Julie+1, the Scotts, Erin, the Darnielles, the Meyers, EC&SMG&RG, Jonah&Mike.

Day One: We had the greatest turnout thus far for Day One -- Jamaican Night.  Chef Matt's menu was on point (especially the hushpuppies aka "Festival Fritters"), the reggae soundtrack was solid, and it sounds like we are going to have to start preparing food two hours earlier (8AM?) to keep up with all the demand.  Next weekend we will have our first Farm to Fork event featuring Lil' Farm from Timberlake, NC (just north of Rougemont).

Track of the Week (selected by Chef Matt):

Monday, July 8, 2013

10-Day Pastrami

This past weekend for a family reunion, I cured and smoked my first pastrami.  I didn't have a Bullet Smoker but instead improvised using an ordinary charcoal grill.  The results were really good - a juicy thick-cut smoked brisket with ruby red crust.  The only change I would make would be to go from a 6-day cure to a 10-day cure (I bought my brisket too close to the event).  Here is some advice if you want to try it at home using your own charcoal grill.

First follow the curing method used by Noah Bernamoff in the Mile End Deli Cookbook.  The briskets he smokes are likely larger than what you will buy, so scale down the amount of dry cure and rub ingredients accordingly.  (A couple of notes on his curing method: 1) I would also drop the the garlic as a necessary precaution unless you don't mind your fridge reeking of garlic for ten days.  You can add as much garlic as you like in your final rub - I used about four minced cloves for a 3-pound brisket.  2) I would add more sugar in your cure than he calls for, and I would use about half brown sugar.  3) Assuming you did not oversalt the brisket, it's not necessary to soak the brisket in water for 4 hours prior to smoking as Bernamoff does.  A simple rinse will suffice.)

Once you have prepped the cured brisket for smoking, add about fifteen coals to the grill and alight.  Wait until the grill gets down to a temperature of 250 degrees, then place the coals to the side of the grill.  Add four soaked wood chips to the coals.  Place the grill rack back on, brush lightly with oil, then add the brisket on the side without the coals (so it cooks by indirect heat), fatty side down.

In about an hour, the temperature will decrease to 200 degrees, so when 45 minutes have elapsed, start six coals burning in a separate container (I used an old clay flowerpot).  When the coals are hot and covered with ash, add to the already-burning coals and add another four soaked wood chips on top.  Make sure to clean out your ash catcher from time to time so that that the coals are ventilated and can receive oxygen.  Repeat this process for about six hours until the brisket feels firm to the touch (like a medium/medium well burger).  The internal temp will be about 160 degrees.

Remove the brisket and place in a steam tray and steam for about two hours until fork-tender.  Serve immediately, cutting the brisket into slices across the grain.

Further Reading on Pastrami:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 112

Despite overcast skies to begin the day, customers came out and enjoyed the temptation of food trucks, baked goods, fresh veggies, and of course Lenny Mojo Hand G.  This week we had Bialys, Shakshuka Bialys, Cherry Hand Pies, Lemon Balm Iced Tea, BBQ Tofu Hand Pies, and Black Bean Mole Hand Pies.

Our awesome customers: Marybeth and Allen, the Stock-Hoffmans, the Springs, Yulya, Jo&Terry, the Coward-Ginsbergs, Stan, Eric M., Jenny, Heather M., Linda, Elena.
This week's giveaway winner Eric M.

Day One: Southern Soul Picnic: Day One was busy start to finish this week.  We had a Fried "Chicken" Basket, Baked Beans, Slaw, Watermelon Salad, Deviled "Eggs", Drop Biscuits, and Blueberry Crumble Pie.  Chef Matt's deviled "eggs" have to be one of his greatest new creations.  He hollowed out a potato and inserted a silken tofu "egg" with the taste and consistency nearing a deviled egg (mustardy), served with a garnish of fresh dill on top.
Day One Track of the Week

Track of the Week:

This Week: Day One and Berenbaum's are off this weekend for the July 4th holiday.  Enjoy your barbeques!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Daniel Rose on Taste Matters

And relatedly, on Charlie Rose: "There is no greater pleasure than being able to give people exactly what they ask for."

Bialy Revivalism

In her 2002 book, The Bialy Eaters, Mimi Sheraton mourned the end of the bialy tradition in the U.S., claiming good bialys were nowhere to be found, even at the legendary Kossar's of New York.  That book prompted a bialy investigation on our part, the results published here.  Since that time last summer, we have produced bialys on and off, and very respectable bialys can now be found on intermittent basis at Loaf and Chicken Bridge Bakery, as well as at well-regarded Nouveau Jewish eateries across America (cf. Mile End Deli, Wise and Sons).  This weekend, we will be making our bialys again, and adding a new stuffed bialy to add to the traditional poppyseed and onion variety: the shakshuka bialy!

A review for all neophytes who might not appreciate why bialys are so beloved:
1. Bialys do not get a full proofing rise prior to going in the oven, resulting in a density and intensity of yeasty flavor greater than that of a bagel or roll.
2. Bialys should be very thin in the middle, giving a textural contrast analogous to the difference between the crust and interior of a good Neapolitan pizza.
3. Oven-roasted onions bring out the sweet flavors of the bialy and make the treat more savory.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Week 111

Moral Monday Muffin: This week we baked a small batch of Moral Monday Muffins with the proceeds going to the NAACP of NC.  The main ingredients were zucchini, walnuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Our Favorite Customers: RG&SMG, JCD, Daniel and Jess, the Halperns, Chris and Kate, the Springs, Tom K. and family, Amy and Steve, Jenna and Peter, Leah, Jeff, RML, Erin, Jenny, Carl, Mark&Kristin&Eli.
Giveaway winners Jenna W. and Peter

Da Crew: Many thanks to our crew hard at work rolling up babkas, folding hand pies, and generally handling their biz: Chef Matt, Lauren, Andy, and SZ.

Track of the Week: 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Andrew Zimmern on Taste Matters

Week 110

This week, we had Peach Dumplings, Black Bean Mole Chili Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Azuki Red Bean Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, Palmiers, and Pasta Salad.  The dumplings were based on LM's memories of roadside SC peach dumplings, which are traditionally baked in a pan so that the peach sauce glazes them.  We made them more like turnover pastries in flakey puff pastry dough coated with sugary wash to bake them to a glistening caramelized hue.

Our Superlative Customers: The Stocks, EC&SMG, the Marvelles, AS, Leah, HS, JCD, Yulya, Jeff.

Da Crew: Many thanks to our shiny happy pastry-baking crew: Val, Andy, Chef Matt, Sara&Jeff, and Lauren.

Day One: This week, we did a really inventive Chinese Food menu: General Tso's "Chicken", Lettuce Wraps, Hot and Sour Soup, Cold Peanut Noodle Salad, and the Azuki Red Bean Pies.  Attendance was at an all-time high, and the diversity of customers made the night really special.  The crew went to Fullsteam after the shift, and I think we were all a little giddy from both joy and exhaustion.
Our opening tune of the night

JCD: I would like to do a special shout-out to one of our volunteers, JCD, who has been instrumental in making suggestions with regards to marketing Day One.  I could not imagine a more enthusiastic advocate of our brand, and he has made spreadsheets, literally spreadsheets, of marketing tips, and countless emails and SMSs with regards to possible improvements.  He has also brought no fewer than fifteen friends through the restaurant to dine with us.  Thanks dude, maybe one day we'll name a dish after you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 109

This week, we tried croissants for the first time.  Croissants are scary because there is a lot that could go wrong (typically in the laminating stage), but I think we pulled them off pretty well.  The natural leaven used gave the croissants a deep richness and the crumb was buttery and flaky.  If I did them again, I would increase the hydration slightly so they would be a little lighter and airy-er.

Our favorite customers: Jenny, Margaret, Kevin & family, Jonah&Ian&Pepita&Sebastian, EC&SMG, Beth&Edith, the Halperns, the Stocks, Dave&Nancy, Horst. Leah, and Margot.

Da Crew: Many thanks to our hardworking crew: SZ, Val, Andy, and Chef Matt.

Day One: This week DJ Adam Rogers blessed us with some jams.  Here he is cuing up the Trammps "Rubber Band" after Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way".  Listening to vintage records again was so amazing - the depth of sound and texture is just so much better than MP3s.

This week: Chinese food night at Day One Durham!  I'm especially psyched about the General Tso's "Chicken".

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day One Email List

Day One now has an email list.  Join it to receive weekly updates on our menus, themes, and happenings.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Day One: Family Night

This past weekend, we had Family Night at Day One.  On the menu was "chicken-fried" tofu tenders, black bean soft tacos, Superfood salad, hand pies, and Andy's Vegan Apple Pie and Blueberry Pie.

EB is a big fan of the hand pies

The Chapman Family Singers, Bodie, Christy, Dave, and Bijoux

DJ Adam Pyburn killed it with a really laid back family mix.  His opener (below) was tight.