Gizmodo discovers a genius cheese grater business card designed by marketing firm J. Walter Thompson for Bon Vivant Cheese Shop in Brazil.
American Food Roots covers the inspiration behind an American twist on Filipino lumpia
Fresh mackerel is on the receiving end of new praise (and recipes) from Zester Daily
Josh Ozersky pens a piece on the new trends in smoked foods for the Wall Street Journal
Speaking of smoke,Texas Monthly released its once-every-five-years list of the 50 best barbecue joints in the Lone Star State, naming Franklin BBQ (in Austin) the best.
Imbibe highlights the cocktail scene in the Crescent City, noting that the past and the future find common ground in New Orleans.
by Adriana Lucci
I distinctly remember trying green almonds for the first time. I had just meandered into a farmer’s market in Paris and found myself between two stalls; one vending small cylinders of goat cheese with ash-ripened rinds, the other towers of jarred marmalades resembling stained glass windows as the spring sun shone through them. In front of me was a humble white tent like all the others; in its protective shade stood a man supervising three brown woven baskets filled to the brim with small green pods. I picked one up and felt its fuzz, wondering if its color and texture would resemble that of a lovechild conceived by a tennis ball and a peach. Turning on my charm, as I tend to do when speaking to a person with whom the fate of my next meal lies, I asked the man what the fuzzy pods were and what I could do with them. He was understandably much less enthused by my prospective snack than I was. Apathetically he stated, “They are fresh almonds. You just eat them.”
A child of New England, I had never before seen fresh almonds and was fascinated by their white baby fur. Meanwhile he stared straight forward, at nothing in particular, mindlessly pricking each drupe with the tip of a knife, through its fuzzy jacket, halting the blade so not to puncture the almond’s crisp tender fruit. He then circumferenced the pod until it was halved—like the process of splitting an avocado in two—and with an effortless flick of the wrist, pried open the shell to reveal a smooth white embryo.
The almond man was still staring strait forward, but his open palm motioned toward me, offering the snack resting at its center. I released the fruit from its hull, instinctively peeled back its smooth membrane, and popped it into my mouth whole: watery, crisp, grassy, tart, and meaty. Its taste is the essence of budding springtime. That afternoon I passed my time under the shade of a tree with a sack of green almonds, imitating the man at the stand, using my room key instead of a knife with some success.
Until recently I had nearly forgotten about green almonds, but in the past few years I’ve been reminded by their burgeoning presence on pricey restaurant menus as a garnish for salads and seafood entrees, peaking my interest once again.
In France green almonds often serve as a pre-dinner snack alongside an aperitif or chilled fruity rosé. On another day in Paris I saw them sliced and sprinkled over jarred compotes. All over the Mediterranean green almonds are eaten plain, dressed with salt and paprika, tossed in fine grain sugar, or dipped in salt water for noshing. In the Middle East, the earliest green almonds are pickled, husk and all, as an accompaniment to lamb or roast chicken. I phoned George Yemetz, one of the owners of Yemetz Family Farms in Livingston, Calif., who recommends slicing and adding green almonds to salads and stir-fries.
The mature almond is the one we know best. The jacket shrivels, the fruit hardens, and finally loses its shell toward the end of the summer. Farmer Nate Siemens, of Fat Uncle Farms in Wasco, Calif., informed me that that first time I ate green almonds they were one stage prior to maturation. He called it “the firm white stage”, available from early May to early June, that is preferred by French chefs for easy slicing. At the beginning of their season in late April, green almonds can be eaten whole with the husk. Their seed has the jellied texture of lychee or a firm grape. This is when they are best for pickling.
George and Nate sell their green almonds at numerous Southern California farmer’s markets, but you can find them at specialty food stores in other parts of the country. Be sure to purchase almonds of a soft green hue, without any bruising or brown spots. You should store them in the refrigerator, where they may last up to a week, but green almonds should be eaten as soon as possible after purchase—especially when they’re young. The entire green almond season is a short six weeks, between late April and early June, and I urge you to seize the opportunity before it passes.
Green Almonds With Chili Salt
Adapted from recipe by Nate Siemens
3 dozen green almonds, shelled and washed
2 tbsp. light olive oil
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1. Mix the green almonds with the oil in a small bowl. Combine the sugar, salt, and cayenne in separate bowl and stir to combine. Dust the almonds with the chili-salt mix and serve.
Photography by Meredith Paige
Happy Mother’s Day!
How to grill blue crab, the resilient crustacean residing in the Gulf of Mexico; from Texas Monthly. Photo: Blue crab in holding tank by Meredith Paige.
Should you have to be 21 before you can drink coffee? The Atlantic reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to investigate and potentially regulate caffeine.
The editors of the James Beard Foundation have compiled their favorite food moments in film into one 70 second video, entitled “Food in Film: Family.” See if you can recognize each of the different movies that appear on screen.
Dust off the old Jello mold—if you still have one. Zester Daily gives us a bit of history of jellied desserts; plus an enticing recipe much more appealing than the iconic Jello salads of the ‘50s.
The New Yorker posted a montage of photographs of a chocolate plantation in Brazil, a tease for an article in their latest issue about chocolate entrepreneur Frederick Schilling and the rise of artisanal chocolate.
Esquire has a new cocktail to add to your repertoire: Snapdragon, a “spicy Thai reviver” made with tequila, Cointreau, St. Germain, lime and Thai chili. Get the recipe here: