Speak Up

Friday, February 27, 2009

Contest: Win 2 Books!!

My dear friend, and fellow chef's wife, Jessica Conant-Park has written the fourth edition of her Gourmet Girls Mystery Series, FED UP. The series is described as Bridget Jones meets Janet Evanovich meets Julia Child. A cozy, culinary, romantic, humorous, chick lit mystery series set in the Boston restaurant scene. This latest book is near and dear to my heart; my chef was given the opportunity to write some recipes for the wedding in the book. So check those out too!

"Part-time student Chloe Carter is planning her best friend’s wedding, working for her parents—and glued to her chef boyfriend, Josh, as he competes to star in a new TV series. The premise:Josh hijacks unsuspecting grocery shoppers and prepares them gourmet dinners. Everything’s going great—until one shopper drops dead.With the cameras on him from the beginning, Josh is obviously innocent, but Chloe wonders: Was it one of Josh’s competitors? Or the deceased’s husband? Or someone on the crew?Sifting through suspects, Chloe deals with wedding chaos and Josh’s erratic behavior. She’ll have to balance her plate while trying to catch
a food felon…"
Now, the contest part!
The prize:
Jessica has so generously donated a signed copy of her latest book, FED UP as well as the new paperback version of TURN UP THE HEAT, the third book in the series.
The rules:
-To enter, simply leave a comment on this post answering this question:
How would you title a book about your life with a chef?
-You must leave your email address so we can contact you. Once a winner is contacted they have a couple days or so to respond with a mailing address.
-All entrants agree to be placed on Jessica's Food Fiction newsletter list.
-Don't fear if your not married to a chef: title your book about your life and its connection to food.
A winner will be chosen at random next Friday, March 6.
If you want to double your chances of winning some great books, head over to Jessica's Newsletter site and check out her other contest to win Fed Up, Turn Up the Heat, Michelle Scott's complete Wine Lovers Series, and Mia King's Sweet Life and Good Things. To enter, email the newsletter team at:foodfiction@gmail.comfoodfiction@gmail.com with the subject line "Food Fiction Contest."All you have to do is tell them your favorite meal or send them your favorite recipe! (You will be added to Michele and Mia's newsletter list unless you note to opt-out.)That contest runs until March 1, 2009.
Good luck!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

C-CAP Honors Drew Nieporent

Chefs, culinary students, foodies and critics alike were eating in harmony last night at the 11th Annual C-CAP benefit. This was my third C-CAP event to volunteer at and I think I did a fantastic job. I worked the registration table for a couple hours and then I was able to partake in all the delicious food tasting. But best of all, I was so pleased with myself for being able to recognize so many industry folks. I realized I'm well-versed and involved in this industry more than I give myself credit for.

Founder of C-CAP, Richard Grausman

*All photos from Feedbag correspondent Laurie Pila Horowitz*

Another volunteer came near the table I was working at and said, "This guy says he's with the press." I of course knew who "that guy" was right away. So I kindly let them know that Josh Ozersky works for city search and writes The Feedbag blog and should be given a press kit right away. I was even called a hipster just for knowing this. I'm no hipster, but I know food personalities. I was able to chat with a chef I seriously admire, Wylie Dufresne. He was serving some a warm chestnut-horseradish soup with pear and ver jous. I regret not going back for more. We joked about his one point win over my chef at the Tofu competition this past summer.

Wylie Dufresne

I got to meet the talented Philip Grausman who created "The Bean", a trophy given to the honoree of each event. I watched Lynn Crawford and her Four Seasons crew walk by. They always seems to travel in groups of 10 or more. This year honored Drew Nieporent, restaurateur and founder of the Myriad Restaurant Group. I checked in his older brother, who looks just like him. Handsome Marcus Samuelsson was there, too looking rushed as chefs always do. He serves as C-CAP's restaurant chair.

WD~50's chestnut horseradish soup with pear and ver jous

I can't wait for the next event and I look forward to working with these talented food personalities more. Who knows, maybe my chef-or your chef-will be named as the honoree.

For other wrap-ups of the event, see these blog links below. The Feedbag definitely has the best photos.
Marcus Samuelsson and Drew Nieporent
The Feedbag

Grub Street

Restaurant Girl

Time Out New York


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Holy Recession Special! - Four courses at Perry St. for $35!

Time are tough for some, and downright awful for others right now. And nothing cures and comforts as much as a delicious meal. And no better place to give you a taste, quite literally-of something soothing, than Perry St.

Perry St.’s $35 dinner prix fixe has changed its format from 2 savory courses and dessert, to 3 savory courses and dessert. Yes, 3 savory courses AND a dessert! It highlights some of their most delicious food at an unbelievable price. They will change this menu frequently to keep it interesting.

Currently, the menu will be:

- Cream of Tomato Soup, Sourdough, Basil and Cheddar
- Slow Baked Cod, Aromatic Black Beans, Sake and Cilantro
- Fried Chicken, Smoked Gravy, Roasted Sweet Potato and Lemon Confit
- Warm Valhrona Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream

The menu is available every day from 5:30 – 6:30 and 9:30 – 11:00.

Jean Georges has a similar deal. The 4 course meal at the 4 star rated Jean Georges on Central Park West, is offered Monday-Thursday from 5:30-6:00 and 10:00-11:00 PM. (This meal would normally be upwards of $100 per person.

These deals are generous to say the least so take advantage of this fantastic offer soon.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Pineapple Jerky

I was skeptical when I was recently approached by Jerky.com to write a piece about their product. I don't want to give free advertisement for just a random product. They asked me what product I was interested in trying. Mind you they have everything from buffalo to elk, and even things like ostrich and bacon jerky. All of their products are high quality, gourmet jerky if you will, so when I saw pineapple jerky and pictured a pineapple flavored meat product of some kind.

Well, it finally arrived, and pineapple jerky is NOT meat at all - it's dried pineapple! How is that jerky?! I felt tricked into forfeiting my one shot at free jerky and they send me DRIED FRUIT! I could have had BACON JERKY(!) and you send me dried fruit!

I proceeded to complain to Erik when he came home, and then realized I hadn't even tried it. I've had dried pineapple before, and I honestly don't care for it. I avoid it in the trail mix bag - generally going for the nuts and more interesting dried fruit, and I certainly never seek it out on its own.

After a couple of hours of purposefully ignoring it sitting on the table while it quietly taunted me, I decided to try it. I never thought I would say this about dried fruit, but it is AMAZING. They are ultra-thin and dry slices of pineapple, core and all, and have the texture of chewy fruit leather with a subtle whisper of honey. I could eat them all day long.

It was like I was in a spy movie, where I just realized that the side I was working for was actually the bad guys. Everything I ever thought about jerky has been a lie!

Long live pineapple jerky! May your chewy, tart flesh dehydrate the way into the hearts of the world.  

For more gourmet fruit jerky as well as a wide selection of U.S. made beef jerky and snacks, visit Jerky.com.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hats Off to Drew Nieporent

Wednesday, February 24th is the 11th annual C-CAP benefit honoring Drew Nieporent with over 35 restaurants and chefs offering tasting of their delicious dishes. I went last year to volunteer and I'm thrilled to be going again. It's wonderful to see so many chefs come together for a great cause, celebrating a restaurateur who would normally be considered a competitor.

The proceeds for C-CAP benefit underserved high school students interested in entering the culinary arts. Benefits include internships, scholarships, career and college advising, and product donations. The tickets are $600, but for Juniors (under 35) the cost is only $225. I know times may be tough for some of you, but perhaps you know someone who would enjoy a night of champagne, food, and fun. Pass the word around!

Careers through Culinary Arts Program C-CAP
11th Annual Benefit
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Chelsea Piers, Pier 60 and West 23rd Street
6:30-9:00 PM general admission

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Battes Hits Round 2 On The Feedbag

Some more footage of Josh Ozersky's visit to Perry St was revealed on The Feedbag today. I'm not really an egg fan, but this poached egg looks rich and tasty. I love the idea of eggs. The hard shells, the variety of shapes and tastes they can take on. I even like getting the hens from my Uncle's hen house in Ohio. But after I take my last bite I always regret eating them. That doesn't stop me from ordering them at diners and brunches though.

Take a look.

The Feedbag makes Scotch Eggs at Perry St. from The Feedbag on Vimeo.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Josh Ozersky at Perry St

Citysearch's very own Josh Ozersky featured my chef, Erik Battes cooking some fried chicken. I've been hearing talk about this fried chicken for a while now and I'm jealous that I haven't had the chance to eat it yet. It involves some very interesting cooking techniques. This ain't your mamas fried chicken. Have a look:


Monday, February 16, 2009

Meaning of Desperate

I don't like that I've become some doting wife whose only hobby relies on the career of her husband. After all, he doesn't run a blog dedicated to being married to a teacher.


Clarification: 2/17/09

I'm quite happy with everything and this blog really did save my life. But I guess sometimes I wish I didn't need to be saved in the first place. Then again, if the tables were turned, and he needed support because I was working all the time-well he'd never survive. So it seems things are exactly the way they need to be. Yay.

Cereal is Cereal is Cereal

Quaker Oatmeal Squares may sound like a senior citizen cereal, but it's the most filling, crunchy, and perfectly sweet morning breakfast. The cinnamon dusting of Life and the crunch of Golden Grahams. I picked some up at my local A & P the other day, here in Newport, Jersey City-a 16 ounce box for $4.99. I knew it was expensive as far as cereal goes, but it's healthy and I don't buy it every day. Then, this weekend I head over to Wal-Mart in Secaucus, only two towns over, for some much needed cleaning supplies and pantry staples. The same box of Oatmeal Squares-$3.12, AND it was a 24 ounce box! Are you kidding me? Why was I being upcharged at the A & P? Oh, I know why...because idiot yuppies (oftentimes like myself) shop there!

I am so annoyed! I can't even put into words how tricked I feel. And there is nothing I can do about it, except to boycott the store. Which I will. The only thing is the other stores nearby aren't that great either. The Shop Rite is close, but gross. Sticky floors, broken shopping carts, crowds, and long lines. On my block is Morton Williams, but they upcharge for everything. However, they have tile floors throughout the store, a great cheese selection, a wide variety of Indian food, and it's 100 yards away! The Wal-Mart doesn't have produce or meat. BJ's, the club store only carries insanely large amounts of veg that always go bad in a house of two. Nearby NYC has Trader Joe's, and that comes with lines so long they end at the front door. Plus, they don't carry the pantry staples I need.

What's a shopper to do? I suppose for now I'll stick to BJs for toilet paper, pre-made pizzas and paper towels. Head over to Shop Rite for vegetables and fruit, Wal-Mart for dry goods and cereal, and keep getting my Uncle in Ohio to send me some farm fresh beef, pork and eggs. It may be a lot of work-but there's no way I'm getting ripped off again.


Friday, February 13, 2009

New Burger at Perry St

Valentine's Day is tomorrow and what better way to warm your heart than to fill it with the delicious cholesterol from a juicy beef burger?! Today Frank Bruni wrote about his dissatisfaction with Corner Bistro's burger calling it "flabby" with a "dull flavor". Well Frankie, don't give up on the West Village just yet. Perry St has got a burger on the menu now. My husband has been wanting to do a burger at the P for as long as I can remember. A home, we rotate our favorite meals and Erik's "perfect burgers" are number one on the rotation. I like mine medium-well, melted white American cheese, pickle chips, ketchup, and bacon. MMM.

In honor of the new Perry St burger, I'd like to share a poem completely dedicated to the classic American hamburger written by Perry St's very own Nick Curtin the cook.

I Sing the Burger Electric

I sing the Burger Electric
As the armies of moo consume me and I consume them,
They will not let me go until I admit defeat,
I see myself fall to the hordes of Red Meat, and yet continue to masticate, mixing flesh
with condiments.
Why am I so drawn to adorning the deceased with the Ketchup of the gods?
And if I do defile the dead so, what is to stop me from flinging mustard into the faces of
the living?
And if the Ketchup does not complete my Burger?
And if my Burger does not feel complete without the blessing of Heinz?

The love of the medium-rare vanquishes all, and the Burger vanquishes all,
That of the ground chuck is perfect, and that of the flaming grill is perfect.
That of the Burger is perfection, the taste not only appearing in the meat,
It is in the tomato, pickles and lettuce also,
It is in the golden fries which so decorate the wasteland outside the world of the Burger,
The strong juices which flow down the chins of the average consumer,
Leaving 4 out of 5 doctors wondering why America has such high cholesterol.
The 5th doctor kowtows to ground meat between appointments.
The fragrance which drifts slowly through cities, weaving its way through every house,
Wandering into the nostrils of the young, taunting the willpower of the old, and
Laughing at the middle-aged,
The Burger lies naked on the grill, as the fries dive headfirst into a lake of oil, seen as
They swim through the yellow, and roll about in the great vat, manned by a
High school drop-out, arms scarred from oil burns,
The heaves which echo from the fat man’s throat as his teeth penetrate the bun,
Sesame seeds dropping onto wax paper beneath his chin,
Teenagers, College students, the depressed, the lonely, the hungry,
The Cows let out a melodic moo, calling all from the streets into the small diners,
Meeting a guy named Vinnie who would love to make you a Burger,
Provided you enjoy your Burger with the physical properties of a charcoal briquette,
But you consume anyway, so that the mooing will cease,
The greatest of cow consumers are different people than the rest of the world, their saliva
Having been replaced long ago in exchange for milk,
Their loins growing hot at the sight of the girl behind the butcher’s counter, searching for
the Meat of choice,
The recipes were discarded long ago, replaced by experimentation and finally finesse,
Finding the perfect Burger,
The ground Filet, the salad herbs, gently placed on a Portuguese sweet roll, surrounded
By seared potato minions, determined to discover the secret of the beef,
Only to find, that to truly know means to meet a grisly end at the teeth of a connoisseur,
Martyrs in the name of potato,
As the Burger stands triumphant, knowing its place in society, the king of fast food,
The strangest of quality meals, it remains on its throne of bread, awaiting a beautiful end, promised to so few.

But we must not forget the other players in the masterpiece we know as Burger,
The grill, flames passionately licking the edges of the beef, conquering the evil of e-coli
To pave the way for charcoaled goodness,
The waitress, wearing a tight black number, balancing your meal delicately on her arm in
A true attempt to earn her tip,
The grill master, the bulk food supplier, the dishwasher, the farmer, his wife who insisted
They send some cows to the meat factory because she needed a new sewing machine,
All instrumental in composing the delicate orchestra which sends your taste buds into a
Dancing frenzy as the flavor crescendos with a burst of juice, never just piano,
Never just forte, the Burger is rife with dynamic,
But be warned, for the Burger is a delicate instrument,
I see it defiled by the hordes of pork and I am disgusted, for the beef is not to be touched
By the Piglets of pestilence, for the beef shall stand alone, and though the pork is
Good and tempting, resist the double Burger with bacon,
The devil’s meal, the conqueror of the cardiovascular challenged, two meats are not
Better than one.

O my Burger! I dare not leave you for the likes of healthier foods, though I know it must
One day be so.
Until then, O Burger, may you aid me as you have aided the others,
The lost, the hungry, the confused, the lonely, the desperate, the happy, the rich, the poor,
The lovers, the haters, the doers, the living, the dying,
May you bring them to the place which they seek, whether it be satisfaction of the
stomach and tongue, or Nirvana so they seat themselves next to Buddha and boast
of an enlightenment found through the simplest of animals, or just a place far
from our world of temptation and reality television,
O say these are not the flavors and smells of the Burger alone, but of a culmination of
Many lives, meeting at your plate to bring you happiness unmatched,
O say these are bliss in a beef package!
Does anyone know which well-known poem this one mirrors? Between the genius of us all, I'm sure someone knows.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Almost As Good As a Chef

James, 31

Time Out just came out with there "Singles" issue so if you're looking for love in NYC, have a look. Time Out says that these fellas are worthy of a date. I can't speak for all the singles, (there are over 100) but I know James. And James is a 10. As Jean-Georges's director of restaurant services, James works all of JG's eateries and I've been lucky enough to run into James at Spice Market, Matsugen, and of course my main squeeze: Perry St.

James is always dressed to the nines and treats me like I'm part of the family every time I step into JG establishment. The perfect balance of pleasant conversation and privacy during my meal. But don't take my word for it. If this gentleman seems to be your type-email him yourself. jamesl@tonypersonals.com


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Desperate Chefs' Wives Sans Me?

Way back when in October 2007, there was an article written about the wives. Page Six magazine did a little spread that was springboard from this blog. I've always had the magazine, but I'm only now deciding to share it with you. It was my first press about the blog and this little blog baby was only a few months old. I was still writing anonymously at the time and when Valerie Stivers-Isakova decided to interview me I was thrilled. BUT since I was writing anonymously I couldn't reveal my name or participate in this amazing photo shoot. The two-page spread had stunning wives all dressed up in evening wear. When the article was written I had no idea there was going to be any photos. Boy, was I shocked when I rushed to the newsstand that brisk Sunday morning.

Click each picture to see the full photo and article pages.

Looking back on it now, I'm so happy the article was written. It was in the infancy of the blog and I would have much more interesting things to say now, but I think it was a glimpse of things to come. Maybe I'll get a photo shoot with all of you! I'm not sure, but I get the sense that the women in this article don't read my blog. Who's missing out now?

From left: -Meredith Davies, dating Harold Dieterle from Top Chef 1
-Margaret Zakarian, married to Geoffrey Zakarian
-Anna Caputo, married to Michael Psilakis
-Gwen Hyman, married to Andrew Carmellini
-Gate Hailie Maya "Maya", dating Marcus Samuelsson, and I've met Maya-she's even more stunning than that picture and just as friendly as can be.


Monday, February 9, 2009

The Reverse Effect

Just leave me alone. Did I just say that?

As you all know very well, chefs work a tremendous amount of time each week. And as far as my life goes I see my chef for about an hour when he gets home from work sometime after midnight each night. That is, with the exception of Sundays and Mondays. We spend Sundays together doing any number of normal semi-newly-wed activities. We see movies, go grocery shipping, get haircuts (we have the same hairdresser), eat brunch in the city, eat burgers local, go to the mall, walk the waterfront, and so on and so forth. Then Monday comes.

Most of the time I have fabulous Mondays. I get through my work day knowing that Erik is at home waiting for me. Such a treat! When I get home we might make dinner together, go out to eat, or even go ice skating across the street.

Some Mondays are awful! Keep in mind I spend Tuesday through Saturday alone. I come home, check my emails, blog, read, grade papers, make dinner, make my lunch for the next day, shower, watch some TV, make tea, facebook my brother, and a number of other solo activities. So once in a while when I come home on a Monday I just need some "me" time. I want to check my emails and change out of my teacher clothes and just do my own thing. But the chef is over hollering from the couch that he wants to go out to dinner. Well, keep in mind I'm staring at the bag of empty Chinese food containers by the door. So he woke up at 4, ordered Chinese food and now he wants to go out to eat. Come on! Oh yeah, he ran the dishwasher. Amazing. He didn't clean the bathroom because he said it doesn't need it. Really? It's a bathroom! Home to poo, pee, earwax, and slime in the sink. I'm pretty sure it should be cleaned every week-at the very least. But what do I know.

Needless to say, today was one of those Mondays. I don't know what to do. We've been arguing ever since I got home and just can't seem to shake it. So I was honest and said I need to spend the rest of the night alone. Well, that was easy when I was taking a shower and now writing this blog. But now I'm bored and he's hogging the good TV playing a video game.

Am I terrible? I know my time is limited with my chef. I appreciate the moments we spend together, I do. But he's kind of being a jerk today. And I know I am too. But at least I admitted it. I know why I'm cranky. I came home aready pretty tired and on top of that, for an hour we just yammered on about what we wanted to do tonight. Every time he suggested something and I agreed he'd change his mind and say, "Never mind, I don't want to do that now."

So it's 6:30 now and I'm wrapping up this blog post thinking it's going to be a long night.


Saturday, February 7, 2009


I am lucky enough to be married to a chef who does get a couple weeks off each year. For the past three years Erik and I have gone away during the spring and this year we're off to Italy! We've been saving for the last 12 months and the vouchers we got coming from Costa Rica helped to send us overseas. We're landing in Milan mid-April then driving/railing around from Milan to Florence, Parma, and Venice. Hopefully we'll also end up in some small towns and authentic Italian restaurants.

Erik went once with his parents for the big millennium. Remember that? But this will be my first time. I'm looking forward to warm pasta, salty cheeses, Earthy wine, and one of a kind handbags.

Anyone who's been to Italy is encouraged to let me know any travelers pointers and tips. I'm really looking forward to this and I want it to be perfect!


Friday, February 6, 2009

V-Day, D-Day

The biggest BS holiday is quickly approaching us. You know it because as a chef wife, you may have experienced this holiday in another lifetime, years before your chef was a chef. Restaurants are packed with love birds and lust birds alike dining over Valentine themed entrees and creme brulee in heart shaped dishes. If I sound bitter, it's because I am. Why can't I go out on the 14th and looks longingly into my husband's eyes sharing a heart-shaped box of cheap chocolates? Oh yeah, because he'll be deep in the layers of Perry St making all the deuces happy.

But I've accepted my fate, really I hate. Besides, it's now an excuse to save money for our trip to Italy this spring. In the Battes home, Valentine's Day doesn't exist this year. We're better off for it, too. Right?


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Check's Been Taken Care Of

If you're a chef's wife you know that one major and often overlooked perk of the job is free food! Sometimes I eat at restaurants thinking I'll get a free drink or two taken off the menu and then the bill comes and I feel like an idiot. Then again sometimes you think no one notices you're eating there and all of the sudden you're leaving a tip on a ONE CENT check. Well, I've quickly learned not to expect anything.

I have to say that working for Jean-Georges has given Erik and I plenty of times to be thankful when we eat at JGV family restaurants. I mean, the guy's not flying me to Vancouver to try his new dishes or anything, but Jean-Georges takes care of his own. So what to do when the server comes to your table and says that the bill has been taken care of? Not only have they comp'd your meal, but they sent extra courses, wine, and dessert. And since I never carry more than six bucks in cash, I have to sheepishly ask the server to run a bill for 1 penny, then leave a debit tip on that.

How to tip? How much do you leave when there is no bill? How much do you leave when they send tons of extra courses? How much do you tip when the service was awful for that matter? I always worry that I don't tip enough. And now with the restaurant industry suffering in NYC I feel a need to tip even more since other people who aren't able to-aren't.

What do you do when the check comes? Check out my new poll, too.