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.

Week 108

Customers from Awesometown: EC&SMG; Tom K & Family; the Halpern; Allie and Jeff; the Stock-Hoffmans; JD; Sara&Jeff; Nat&Harris&Madeline; Leah; David&Nancy; Susan; Claire&Kevin; SMW&EB&RML.

Susan and Faye (2 weeks!), newest addition to the Berenbaum's fan club

Da Crew: Props to: Chef Matt; Lauren; Andy, SZ; Jennifer.  Extra props this week to Jennifer and Stu who made it to the market in record time considering the Running of the Bulls closed off most Downtown Durham street access.

Lil' Farm: This past week, EB and I got to make it out to visit one of our favorite farmers, George from Lil' Farm in Timberlake, NC (just north of Rougemont).  Seeing the acres upon acres of tilled and planted rows gave me the sense of scale of his operation that supports his stand at the DFM.  George is probably the most ebullient farmer I know, always throwing in a rap lyric or savant-like turn of phrase to our weekly bartering of breads for veggies.  Shouts to his whole clan: Eric, Lily, Lesley, Nicole, and Kelly.  Here's George driving his tractor (below).  If you visit him at the Farmer's Market, tell him Berenbaum's sent 'ya.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 107

This week was the Doughman Race which began and ended in the Durham Centre parking lot next to Hunt Street at the DFM.  We participated in the adjoining food fair replete with Triangle food trucks and had an amazing time chatting up Doughman runners/bikers/swimmers/eaters and sold a ton of hand pies (Tex-Mex!), challahs, salad (Spinach and Strawberry with Shaved Fennel, Toasted Almonds, and Lemon-Avocado dressing), and buttermilk biscuits.  Shouts to this week's giveaway winner Kate M-M!

Shouts to the crew: Thanks as always to our wonderful crew, Chef Matt, Lauren, Andy, Sara&Jeff, Jaime&Nancy.  This week we were lucky enough to have our bike delivery boy Jaime help out in the kitchen.  I was impressed with how fast he picked up the challah braiding.

Jaime rolling challah braids 

Chef Matt and Mackenzie on Hunt Street, Durm style hounds

This week: Day One is back in effect this Saturday starting at 5PM.  Family Night (tenders and tacos)!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why South Korean Ladies Don't Get Fat

South Korean ladies don't get fat.  If you look at the chart below, you will notice that South Korea has an obesity rate of 2.1% (2011).  The US, by contrast, has an obesity rate of 28.5%.

The key to South Korean fitness revolves around the consumption of fermented foods.

Why would fermented foods keep you skinny?

Fermented foods help us fire neurochemicals signalling satiation in the brain.  The only way to become skinny is to consistently limit the number of calories you consume.  The faster your brain becomes satisfied, the less you will need to eat.

Why does fermented food signal satiation?

Fermented foods contain both natural acids (lactic and acetic acids) as well as digestive enzymes.  Both of these things help to slow down the body's digestion.  The slower the digestion, the faster the brain signals satiation. Think of it like this: If you were to eat four Oreos, a highly refined product loaded with simple sugars, the brain might say, "Great, I can turn all of that blood sugar really quickly and easily.  Give me some more!"  This is why it is so easy to overeat on highly refined foods and then feel sick later.  But if you were to eat the Oreos coupled with a fermented food, your brain might say, "Wow! That was really intense.  This is going to take me awhile to digest so I'm actually feeling pretty full and will stop right there."

Common Fermented Foods:
  • Pickles
  • Yogurt
  • Cured Meats
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Breads (made with starter yeast cultures (e.g. sourdough))
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Cheese

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Forager

"[Euell Giboons] creates the impression that he is a millionaire by purchasing a dinner jacket from the Salvation Army and inviting professors and potentates to black-tie banquets at tables laden with sunfish caviar, cattail wafers, pickled top bulbs of wild garlic, wild-cherry olives, wild-grape juice, blueberry juice, dandelion wine, sautéed blue-eyed scallops, crappies cooked in tempura batter and served with mint and sassafras jellies, day-lily buds with pasture mushrooms, sautéed oyster mushrooms, buttered dandelion hearts, buttered cattail bloom spikes, wild asparagus, scalded milkweed buds, wild salads (made from Jerusalem artichokes, ground-cherries, wild mustard, watercress, wood sorrel, perslane, and greenbriar under wild-leek dressing), hot biscuits of cattail-root flour, May-apple marmalade, chokeberry jelly, dandelion-chicory coffee, candied mint leaves, candied candied wild ginger, wild cranberry glacés, candied calamus roots, hickory-maple chiffon pie, and sweet blackberry wine.”

From "A Forager", John McPhee, 1968

Learning From Our Customers

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how much there is to learn about our customers' preferences and tastes.  I would say that a company that feels they know everything about their clientele is not pushing the envelope.  With the Day One project, we initially tried to build off the enthusiasm from the Ramen Night by offering a sit-down experience with a prix fixe menu.  As it turns out, even for an ardent niche market like the vegan community, attempting to change the menu every other week and expecting our fans to follow every new theme was likely unreasonable.  Ramen Night was successful in part because we promoted it with six weeks of lead time.  Day One has been up and running for nearly two months now and we have learned that with the short promotion lead times, it is likely more prudent to go with a more informal set-up and more family-friendly foods.  This lowers our price point as well, which is a sensitive issue for those who typically think about sliding-scale affordability.  We look forward to serving you next on Saturday, June 1 with FAMILY NIGHT, 5PM-10PM at Ninth Street Bakery.  Please feel free to leave comments or questions with any other suggestions you might have for us.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 106

This week we had Superfood Salad, BBQ Tofu Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Spiced Pear Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, Vegan Duplex Cremes, Raisinwiches (Vegan), and Vegan Chips Ahoy Cookies.

Many thanks to our hard-working crew: Andy, Val, Fantine, Jaime&Jay, SZ, and Chef Matt.

Track of the Week:

This Week: Day One will be off for next Saturday for Memorial Day, but Berenbaum's will be up and running.  It will be the Doughman Race that day, and we will be a part of the food fair that goes along with it.  We will be stationed across the street from our usual spot to accommodate all the food trucks that are coming out.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day One: Corner Store Gastronomy

This week things got crazy with our concept.  Portabello Vegan Jerky?  Hand-cut BBQ Potato Chips?  Fakey Oreos?  Who does this?

Next week is our last week for corner store/bodega gastronomy.  Come join us before we pour the last glass of Grape Drink.  Proceeds go to benefit the Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network and raise awareness about food deserts in Durham (where some of the foods we have to offer are the only food choices available on a daily basis for our fellow Durhamites; and if you don't believe me, just ask Dennis Coles).

This Week's Track (via Chef Matt):

Week 105

This week we came to market with Jamaican Jerk Tofu Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Apple Caramel Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, Bagels, Buttermilk Cake Donuts, and Potato Salad (Vegan).

Mad shouts to the crew: Chef Matt, Val, Andy, Sara&Jeff, Nancy&Jaime, Lauren M.

Track of the Week:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 104

Write-up this week from SZ who ran the market as I was out of town.  Also big ups to our crew Jason, Josh, Val, Chef Matt, and Andy!

It was a brisk and cloudy Saturday morning, but that didn't stop the crowds from descending on the market. The stand was left with only a handful of Caramelized Banana hand pies when noon rolled around.  The Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Savory Hand pies were a huge hit, followed closely by Matt's Superfood Salad
[Ingredients: kale, edamame, black beans, carrot, onion, cranberries, toasted sunflower seeds, dressing (rice wine vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, grape seed oil, garlic, salt, pepper)]. Big thanks to Josh and Jason for lending their time -- they were a huge help!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Day One: Indian Cuisine

This week's wrapup on the Indian Cuisine theme (from 5/4/13) comes from Chef Matt.  Check out this photo of the Parlour's Vegan Mango Lassi Sorbet that we plated as our dessert course.  I heard the flavor was "off the chain".

In the great melting pot which is the American landscape you can find so much amazing culture if you bother to look around for it: Music, fashion, philosophy, lifestyle, and food from every corner of the world is often represented within the confines of a mere city block. As cultures become more interwoven in America, they also (sadly) can become more watered down and bland in their transition towards assimilation. In my mind the loss of cultural authenticity is most tragic when it comes to food (and, no surprise to anyone who knows me, music). 

With our Indian Night menu, we really aimed to capture some of the more exotic flavors that many strip-mall Indian restaurants would be hesitant to advertise to the average American palate, yet without totally sending anyone into completely unknown territory. 

While everything had its place (e.g. naan (shouts to Andy for preparing this), chickpea (chaana) salad, curry, and the incredible mango lassi sorbet that really stole the show for most folks (prepared by our homies at The Parlour)), my favorite component of the night was the Indian pickle course. Traditional Indian pickle is probably the most sour, salty creation I've ever tasted in my life. Bolder than any food on the planet, and so unapologetic in its aggressive one-two punch of flavors that are criminally underused (or often completely avoided) in most cuisines that have found success in our country. The spices were so exotic and unfamiliar; the way the pungency carves a path through your palate and wakes it up take-no-prisoners-style is simply mesmerizing (our version was toned down just a touch so as not to overshadow anything else, but next time you're dining at an Indian spot you owe it to yourself to try the real deal). 

Shout out to everyone that's been kind enough to allow us to get a little nerdy with our themes and cuisine. The fact that y'all keep coming out with so much support and interest motivates us to keep the ball rolling on this culinary adventure that is Day One. We have an endless supply of inspiration and look forward to feeding folks interesting food as long as you'll have us. Stay tuned...

Day One: Food Desert Gastronomy

On May 11th and May 18th, Day One Vegan Pop-up will be composing a menu from scratch, inspired by gas stations, bodegas, corner stores, and convenience stores.  Please see the menu posted below.

On March 22nd, I attended the Duke/Durham Health Summit, an annual event that sits at the crossroads of Durham community health and the Duke Health System.  The theme of food deserts came up several times, as well as the statistic that the poverty rate in Durham has jumped from 13.6% (2008) to 20.4% (2011) (American Community Survey).  That means one in five Durhamites live in poverty, and that number increases to one in four (27%) when you look at the child population.  Connecting poverty to food deserts is not a reach.  We often talk of low-income communities, when really we should be talking about no-income communities.  When families do not have a disposable $15-20 to buy ingredients for several meals at a time, they visit corner stores to purchase single meals that are sustaining and will cost only $2-3 each.  These meals are generally cookies, candy, chips, and soda.  To confirm this, Matt Props and I traveled to Trinity Food Mart, M&M Food MartHolloway Street Food Mart, and Big Apples.  We started at Trinity, and as we moved East, the choices that you might find at an ordinary gas station became slimmer and slimmer, the aisles more bare, and the point of sale enclosed by a plastic barrier.

To raise awareness on the dearth of choices available at corner stores, as well as the poverty that forces those choices, Chef Matt and I are next going to do a menu of corner store gastronomy, except everything will be made entirely from scratch, and vegan to boot.  We will donate $0.75 of every entree purchased to the Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network which serves homeless families with children, with an additional lump sum to them at the end, and additionally we will provide a personally prepared pop-up dinner for this charitable organization's clients.

We hope that you can join us on either May 11th or May 18th at Ninth Street Bakery (136 E Chapel Hill St., Durham) to sample our take on some corner store classics and raise awareness about food deserts in Durham.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 103

This weekend, we had a new product in the mix (and possibly my favorite thing that we have done since the Pear Tart Tatin) -- Eccles Cakes.

Eccles cakes date back to the 18th Century in Eccles, Britain.  They are a puff pastry filled with brandy-soaked raisins, brown sugar, butter, and spices.

Eccles doesn't really belie the deliciousness of the cakes, so we were thinking of a "Raisin Tatin Pastry" (which is not quite it either), but feel free to suggest a modern name.

The historical recipe?  "The meat of a boiled calf's foot (gelatine), plus apples, oranges, nutmeg, egg yolk, currants and French brandy."  From:

A good sample recipe for you to try at home:
Lauren with the Eccles pastry

Mad shouts to the crew: Chef Matt, Lauren M., Val, Andy, SZ, Jay&Jaime, and Claire.  Extra special thanks to Lauren for helping out with the product development and production of the Eccles Cakes.

Track of the Week:

This Week: Day One is rolling along - we had our highest customer count yet this past weekend.  This Saturday night we are doing a Vegan Indian Cuisine.  We hope you can make it!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day One: Southern Soul

On Saturday, we rolled out our first of two weekends celebrating Southern Soul food gone vegan.  Mac and Cheese, Chicken-fried Tofu, Sauteed Kale, we hit on all the iconic foods that have been revived since the 80's under the Nouveau Southern banner (cf. Bill Neal, Watts Grocery).

Highlight of the Meal:  Hands down - the chicken-fried tofu.  It was so good it made me think Chef Matt should be freezing those cutlets and packaging and selling to the Whole Foods freezer section.  Here is his description of how it's prepared:

I always assumed "chicken-fried" was just a fancy term for breadcrumb-laden slabs of meat but it turns out it's actually beef boiled over in chicken stock, then breaded and fried. Using that method, I took cutlets of dehydrated extra-firm tofu and reconstituted it in boiling bouillon before breading and frying it up and finishing with gravy. If Paula Dean wanted to live to see her ankles ever again she'd be whipping up grub like this....

The soundtrack:

For next time:  Our second and last weekend for this menu is Saturday night.  We have adapted the menu to an a la carte system.  Check it out here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 102

At the Stand: Sunny weather and the first pickings of the season had everyone in a good mood Saturday. Lettuce starts, tomatoes to plant, strawberries, and herb plants -- these are the beginnings of Spring.

Highlight of the Week: Chef Matt's Vegan Cole Slaw.  I didn't think it was possible, but Matt used silken tofu to create a ranch dressing that was stunningly good.  The sweetness of the quick-pickled cabbage and the red onion and carrots was complemented by the creaminess of the silken tofu and the refreshing earthiness of the dill and chives.  The ingredients were: cabbage, carrot, onion, red onion, dressing (silken tofu, sweet onion, garlic, rice wine vinegar, dill, chives, salt, black pepper, white pepper).

Mad Shouts to the Crew: Chef Matt, Val, Andy, SZ, Jay&Jaime, Jennifer.

This weekend: This is the final weekend for Day One's Southern Soul theme.....come get some before the final glass of agave sweet tea is poured!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day One: Jerusalem

Last Saturday was our first night of the Day One pop-up restaurant venture.  The menu was smash and our customers really enjoyed every part of it.  The most talked-about items were the 1) carob corinander cola (sweet-spicy complex flavor (cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, burnt sugar) with a good bite) 2) the beet broth that the kubbeh dumplings sat in 3) the maamoul (a semolina cookie with walnut filling and orange blossom and rose water essences) and 4) a late addition to the menu not of Jerusalem decent - a wisteria infusion drink provided by Lindsay Perry of Full Flower Herbs - so floral!

The day began inauspiciously at 5:30PM with a chimney fire at Pizzeria Toro that spewed smoke throughout Downtown and sent diners and gawkers to the sidewalk, soon followed by six fire trucks blocking off entry to Durham's Five Points.

We are looking forward this weekend to a Southern Soul Food theme.  We hope you can join us!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 101

Thanks to all who came out this week on a beautiful Spring day, 75 and sunny.  Durhamites were out in full force for the Art Walk and we and the food trucks on Hunt Street were busy busy busy.  This week we had Toasted Kale Salad, Empanadas de Pina (Pineapple Hand Pies), and BBQ Tofu Hand Pies.

Track of the Week:

This Week: After an ambitious Jerusalem-themed event, this coming weekend Day One gets funky with a Soul Food menu.

This Year's Lucky Dogs

These four vendors were chosen from many to be admitted to the Durham Farmer's Market Wednesday market, lucky dogs!  Maybe next year they will let us in!

From DFM market manager Erin Kauffman in her newsletter:

"And finally, the WEDNESDAY MARKET OPEN THIS WEEK!! This year, we have 4 new Wednesday Market vendors that will be selling with our regular Wednesday Market vendors. This year,Big Spoon RoastersImagine That Gluten FreeTempeh Girland Waterdog Farms will be at the Market. The Wednesday Market is open from 3:30 to 6:30 pm, weekly."

Monday, April 8, 2013

When Investment Bankers Go Vegan

"“Ten years ago I would’ve said no vegan restaurant would be successful, but people are looking for different ways to eat and this [Veggie Grill] is a great concept.” - Rahul Aggarwal, Brentwood Associates


Also, why do we need fast food at all (albeit a healthy fast food) if the human element of cooking is obviated?

"Programmable, state-of-the-art combination ovens store recipes, cook with moist or dry heat and really do take the guesswork out of cooking. An order-tracking system tells cooks when to start preparing various parts of dishes and requires their input only at the end of each order. Almost all activity is tracked in real time, which helps the managers run things smoothly."

Week 100

This weekend we celebrated our 100th weekend in business.  Thanks so much to all the regulars who came out and made it a special day (photos below).  It helped that the weather was fantastic (sunny and 65-70).  We also sold babkas to American Meltdown for their dessert course at the upcoming grilled cheese competition in Los Angeles (they plan to fill it with mascarpone and nut butter).

Yulya and Rubin

Alexis and Jonathan 

Jenna W. 



Casey and Ashley 

Stacy R.

 Tim M.

 Tom K. and family

Robin M.

The Crew: Shouts to our always-awesome crew: Jaime and Nancy, Chef Matt, Val, Andy, SZ, Jason&Josh.

Track of the Week:

This week: Our Jerusalem event is this Saturday, the kickoff of our new weekly pop-up restaurant!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Natural Sore Throat Remedy for Kids

My toddler is too young for cough medicine, so this "remedy" was prescribed by the on-call nurse I spoke with. You can give it to kids as often as their cough is consistently irritating,  and as she said, "you can't overdose on it."

Bring one cup of apple juice and two tablespoons of brown sugar to a boil.  Boil over medium heat for 10 minutes until it takes on a syrupy consistency.  Allow to cool and dispense in 1-2 tablespoon doses as often as needed.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 99

This week at Berenbaum's: Coconut Macaroons (for Passover); Orange Kale Salad; Smokey Kale and Mushroom Savory Vegan Hand Pies; Caramelized Banana Sweet Vegan Hand Pies; Vegan Rice Crispy Treats.

Our Amazing Customers: AS, EC&SMG, Sherry+1, Natalie&Madeline&Harris, Beth&Edith, Yulya.

Shouts to our kickass crew: Val, Andy, Jaime&Jay, Sara&Jeff, Chef Matt.

Track of the Week:

Coming up: Next weekend, Market hours shift to 8AM to noon and it will be our 100th weekend selling at the Farmer's Market.  We will have a special giveaway so we hope you can make it!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Amazing story by Joseph Mitchell, "Mr. Hunter's Grave" (1956), that covers among other things, edible wildflowers, strawberries grown on Staten Island, oysters raked from the Lower Bay of New York, and an ox roast ("or what they call a barbecue nowadays").

There was a walnut sideboard in the dining room, and it had been polished until it glinted. On it were two lemon-meringue pies, two coconut-custard pies, a pound cake, a marble cake, and a devil's food cake. "Four pies and four cakes, counting the one I just finished," Mr. Hunter called out. "I made them all this morning. I also got some corn muffins put away, to eat with the chicken fricassee. That ought to hold them."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jewish Penicillin

This week for Passover we made traditional Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls (aka Jewish penicillin). Two years ago, I posted a vegetarian version, and after seeing Mitchell Davis' four stockpots of soup going for his seder at the Beard House, I thought I would post my unfancy recipe.

Yield: About 18 cups soup, or about 12-14 servings.

Salt and pepper three pounds chicken (you can pretty much any part you want; there is a theory that backs, necks, and feet give the best flavor).  Roast on high heat (~430-440 degrees) until it takes on color, about 30-40 minutes).  Save skin and liquids (separately) if making gribenes and schmaltz.

Add roasted chicken along with three carrots, two medium onions, and a stick of celery (all chopped) to stockpot along with enough water to cover.  Salt and pepper conservatively (you will add more and adjust at the end).  Bring the pot up to boil then down to a simmer.  

Simmer for 2 hours, skimming at the beginning.  (Don't spend your entire time skimming like there is no tomorrow.  You want to remove most of the remaining impurities after roasting, but when the soup is refrigerated, the fat will congeal to the top and you can remove it easily with a spoon.)  

At the end of the two hours, adjust again with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate soup overnight.

The next day, skim the surface and remove chicken parts.  Pass through sieve or cheesecloth if clear broth is desired.

Bring the soup back up to a low simmer.  Taste again for salt/pepper.  Thirty minutes prior to serving,  add cooked matzo balls, deboned soup chicken, and fresh herbs if desired (dill, parsley).

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Buzz: What is Kubbeh?

Our next pop-up restaurant goes off Saturday, April, 13.  At the center of the menu is kubbeh, a filled semolina dumpling served in soup.

Part of the inspiration for the project originated when I listened to Mitchell Davis' interview with Naama Shefi.  Shefi has just completed a three-week pop-up in New York centered around kubbeh called "The Kubbeh Project".  Kubbeh also appears in Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem", so the dish seemed like a natural, if not essential fit.

Read More:

Week 98

The product: The Olive Oil Matzos sold out quickly.  We will have to make more next year.  I heard from my sister MB that Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline, MA was selling 3 matzos for $6.25!  Happy Passover everyone!

Props to the steadfast, enthusiastic customer base: 
EC&SMG&MC et al., AS, Sherry+1, Allen& Marybeth, Harris&Natalie&Madeleine, Linda&Alice&Walter, Susan&Mike&Jonah, Fantine+1, RML, Amy B.

The amazing crew: Suja&Jennifer, Chef Matt, Jaime&Jay, Andy, and Val.

Jerusalem: Our next pop-up is up.  Check it:

Track of the Week:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pi(e) Day

The winning pie, a Ginger Apple Cream Pie by Lauren H. (the roses are painstakingly rolled apple slices)

Thanks to all who made Pi(e) Day a raging success on 3.14!  I think everyone had a mellow time and the strong finish by Clinton D. to win the pie-eating contest left us feeling we had witnessed a veritable spectacle.  By my count, there were about 21 pies eaten by ~60 people.

Special thanks to:

  • Our pie-baking contestants: Claire H., Shannon H., Lauren H. (champ), Briana B., and Stephanie T.
  • Our pie-eating contestants: Jim, Jeremy R., Clinton D. (champ), and Marcus J.
  • Our crew: Chef Matt, Val, Andy.

Track of the evening:

More Pics:!i=2413150821&k=Q8FD2PS

Next year: We are already looking forward to next year, wherein we will hopefully have a Pi-digit-memorization-recitation contest to accompany the pie-eating and pie-baking.

Week 97

The product: This week we had BBQ Tofu Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Jamaican Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot, Pecan Pie Tartlets, and Lentil Soup.

Our amazing customers and friends: Lauren H., EC&MC&SMG, Stan, Heather C et al., Allen &Marybeth, Horst, Nate&Amanda.

Mad shouts to the crew:
Claire, SZ, Val, Andy, Chef Matt, Jaime&Jay.

Smoothie People: We had a very fine smoothie (Mango-Pineapple-Banana) from a couple (Dominique and Quincy) that set up on Foster Street with a generator connected to a blender.  Exactly what I needed to keep to the morning moving!

Track of the Week:

This week: With Passover on the way (next Monday the 25th), our olive oil Matzos will be for sale this weekend!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week 96

The Product: This week we had an assortment of sweet and savory vegan hand pies (including Caramelized Banana), Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot, and Roasted Veggie Soup.

Our amazing customers and friends: AS, Allen&Marybeth, Horst, Sherry, Shayna, EC&SMG, LG&JD, Lisa, Alison&Kelly, Leah.  I just noticed that we are up to 555 likes on Facebook.  Did you know the Washington Monument is 555 ft tall?

Da Crew: As usual, I am awed by the dedication and dependability of our crew: Val, Andy, Chef Matt, Sara&Jeff.

Happenings: Monuts' store opened!  I dropped by on Sunday and the donuts (Apple Cider, Chocolate Chai, Red Velvet, Apple Pie a la mode) were delightful.  Big ups to owners Mo and Rob.

Track of the Week (selected by Chef Matt, RIP Biggie, 3-9-1997):

This week: Pi(e) day on Thursday.  Please RSVP!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ramen Studies

Photo by Jeremy Lange.  Photoshopped by AB.  Full article here.