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This Week in Food: Raw Wine Fair, Baita at Eataly, Shochu Tasting

Raw Wine Fair
(99 Scott Avenue, Brooklyn)
Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m
.

Taste a selection of organic and biodynamic wines from over 100 national and international producers at this fair dedicated to educating guests on natural wines. Special guests who are scheduled to participate in panel discussions include staff members from Wildair and the Four Horsemen. Food will be available for purchase from eateries like Roberta’s. Tickets are $50 in advance. Reserve yours here.

Baita Winter Pop-Up
Eataly (200 Fifth Avenue)
Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 12 p.m. Saturdays

Eataly’s rooftop pop-up Baita is now open and filled to the brim with alpine fare and winter cocktails. In addition to warm raclette, this year’s menu includes a polenta bar and the chance to dine on roasted calf leg inside of a log cabin.

Land of Fish and Rice
Recipe Discussion
MOFAD Lab (62 Bayard Street)
Monday, 6:00 p.m. to  9:00 p.m.

Explore China’s Jiangnan region with host Fuchsia Dunlop, who will share recipes from her cookbook Land of Fish and Rice: Culinary Recipes from the Heart of China. A reception and book signing will take place immediately following the discussion. Tickets ($32) includes entrance to MOFAD’s exhibit, Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant. Reserve yours here.

Distilled, Not Brewed: Discovering Shochu
Japan Society (333 East 47 Street)
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

Sample 22 varieties of shochu distilled from ingredients like barley, sweet potatoes, rice, and brown sugar. A Japanese spirits expert will be on hand to discuss the drink, including its use in religious ceremonies. The talk will also feature a short musical performance. Reserve your ticket ($39) here.

Masaharu Morimoto: Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking
92 Street Y (1395 Lexington Avenue)
Thursday, 8 p.m.

Masaharu Morimoto and Kate Krader will discuss the best way to make traditional Japanese dishes at home, with the chef sharing recipes from his latest cookbook. Afterward the event, guests can stick around to get a signed copy of Chef Morimoto’s book. Tickets are $32 for general admission. Reserve yours here.

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This Week in Food: ‘Super Upsetting’ Cocktail Party, Taste of Bushwick, Big Apple Zinfandel

A ‘Super Upsetting’ Cocktail Party (Featuring Sandwiches)
Weather Up Tribeca (159 Duane Street)
Tuesday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Celebrate the release of Tyler Kord’s A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches with cocktails and sandwiches from an all-star lineup of chefs. The No. 7 Sub chef will highlight tasty fare from Jonathan Wu of Fung Tu and Justin Bazdarich of Speedy Romeo. Tickets are $25 and include cocktails, food, and a copy of the book. Reserve yours here.

Fast Food With Andrew F. Smith
Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) Lab (62 Bayard Street; Brooklyn)
Tuesday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Explore the ins and outs of America’s obsession with the fast-food industry thanks to author and New School professor Andrew F. Smith. Prior to the discussion, guests can sample healthy versions of classic fast-food treats. Tickets ($40 for general admission) also include entry to MOFAD’s current exhibit. Reserve yours here.

Taste of Bushwick

Boar’s Head Distribution Plant (24 Rock Street; Brooklyn )
Tuesday, 6:30 pm to 9 p.m.

The third annual Taste of Bushwick will take place rain or shine and includes the largest lineup of restaurants the festival has ever had. Restaurants and food businesses at the event — forty total — include Montana’s Trail House and Faro, among others. An after-party will be held at Syndicated, with plenty of drink specials. General admission tickets are $50.

Taller Copenhagen Dinner

The Pines (284 Third Avenue; Brooklyn)
Wednesday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Chef Karlos Ponte — of the Copenhagen-based restaurant Taller — brings his take on Venezuelan cuisine to Brooklyn for one night only. Dishes include caviar-topped corn crackers, black lentil noodles with chili and egg, and for dessert, cookie-dough-and-pineapple sorbet. An $85 ticket includes all nine courses; however, drinks are not included.

Big Apple Zinfandel Experience

Union Square Ballroom (27 Union Square West)
Thursday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cool off with a glass of wine (or several) at this walk-around tasting, which will spotlight more than 70 different California Zinfandels. Between glasses, you can nibble on curated cheese boards from Saxelby Cheesemongers. Tickets start at $85.

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This Week in Food: Food Swap, Greenmarket Turns 40, and Absinthe Tasting

Seasonal Jewish Cooking: A Talk and Tasting, 92 Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Monday, 7 p.m.

Explore the history of Jewish cuisine — from its inception to its modern focus on seasonality and sustainability — during this discussion featuring The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen author Amelia Saltsman. Saltsman will discuss the six mini-seasons central to Jewish cooking traditions, with samples of select recipes provided. Tickets are $25 and can be reserved here.

BK Swappers Food Swap, Fine & Raw, 288 Seigel Street, Brooklyn, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Swap your homemade, edible goods and pick up some chocolate and beer along the way. Attendees are encouraged to bring items like homemade jams, jellies, spice rubs, and breads to trade with others free of charge. A selection of food and drink will be available for purchase. The event is free, but guests must RSVP in advance here.

NYC Greenmarket Turns 40: What’s in Store for the Next 40 years, Hunter College Silberman Building, 2180 Third Avenue, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Curious about the status of your local greenmarket? Attend a panel discussion featuring Greenmarket’s director Michael Hurwitz and chef Peter Hoffman of Back Forty West, who will be joined by a farmer and buyer to address public food policy. Reserve a free spot here.

Hot-Sauce Tasting Dinner Menu, Heatonist, 121 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Heatonist is collaborating with private chef duo bigLittle for a hot-sauce tasting series, where $75 nets you five courses paired around select hot sauces, small bites, and a Kings County Distillery cocktail. The menu will not be revealed until Thursday evening, and all guests must provide any dietary restrictions in advance. Guests can RSVP here.

Absinthe Tasting, Clement, 700 Fifth Avenue, Friday, 6 p.m.

Jared Fischer (Clement’s director of wine and spirits) and Ted Breaux (Jade Absinthe’s founder) will lead an absinthe tasting designed to teach guests what to look for in absinthe besides a green fairy.  The tasting includes a welcome cocktail and three absinthes modeled after traditional recipes from the Combier distillery in Saumur, France. Small bites are included in the $65-per-person ticket package. Reservations can be made by contacting clementpny@peninsula.com.

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This Week in Food: Metzgete, Best Baguette, and Military Food Talk


Metzgete, Trestle on Tenth, 242 Tenth Avenue, Monday through Saturday

If you’re craving pork, Trestle on Tenth is hosting its eighth annual Metzgete, which honors all parts of the pig. Chef Ralf Kuettel’s menu includes pork terrine, smoked pork belly, and a plate of homemade sausages among other Swiss dishes. The special menu is available for dinner service only.

Behind the Wine Tours and Tasting, Brooklyn Winery, 213 North 8th Street, Brooklyn, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Want to learn the ins and outs of an urban winery? Brooklyn Winery is offering a tour of its facility followed by a tasting of select Brooklyn Winery wines. Tickets are $25 after promotion; reserve them here.

Just Food’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Smackdown, The Bell House, 149 7th Street, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Who needs TV cooking shows when you can go out and watch the real thing? Watch five local CSAs race against the clock to create epic veggie dishes from a mystery box, with prizes awarded to the most creative and tasty. Tickets ($27.24 for general admission) include one WhistlePig cocktail, one raffle ticket, and bites from Saxelby Cheesemongers, Fleishers Craft Butchery, and Four & Twenty Blackbirds, among others; reserve them here.

Best Baguette, Sofitel New York, 45 West 44th Street, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Need a carb kick? Twelve competitors will compete for the title of New York’s best baguette, with audience members following along as a jury of celebrity chefs and writers determine a winner. Guests will also be able to vote and choose their favorite, as well as talk to the bakers about their recipes. Tickets ($32.64 per person) include a tasting of cheese, charcuterie, and wine; reserve them here.

Combat Rations: Tasting and Talk, MOFAD, 62 Bayard Street, Brooklyn, Thursday, 6 p.m.

Did you know the military helped create the McRib? Author Anastacia Marx de Salcedo will lead a discussion on the military’s impact on the American diet throughout history. Guests will also be able to sample combat rations. Tickets are $15 for general admission; reserve them here.

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Check Out the Mother of Pearl Dinner at Brooklyn Taste Talks

The third annual Brooklyn Taste Talks festival kicks off Friday with a dessert party on the McCarren Hotel rooftop (160 North 12th Street; 718-218-7500) hosted by Dominique Ansel and Questlove, and will be capped on Sunday evening with an all-star BBQ for 1,600 people (tickets are $45), featuring such idiosyncratic pairings as Upland’s Justin Smillie collaborating on a dish with rapper Heems, and Allison and Matt Robicelli, of the eponymous bakery, teaming up with George Takei and Telly Leung. As Dan Holzman, of Meatball Shop repute, tells the Voice, “This is real.

“Taste Talks are getting big,” Holzman goes on. “There’s been a massive change over the last decade in how we all approach food. We’re more interested in quality, in provenance, in eating out not just for a special occasion and with service that’s friendly, not fussy. And the internet is sharing that lifestyle with people and spreading these ideas. People want to be part of the conversation around food, and this is the perfect time and place to do that.”

The Saturday-night centerpiece event is the Mother of Pearl Dinner, where five chefs, including Holzman and Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao, are collaborating — sometimes on the same dish — to throw a party that’s sure to be a good time.

“It’s literally a conversation on a plate,” Holzman says. “It’s a great opportunity for the community of chefs to cook together, which we never get to do usually. I just decided what I’m going to be cooking, actually, so I can tell you — it’s a striped bass, steamed with clams and tomatoes and fennel. The clam juice with the tomatoes is going to make this amazing sauce.

“A lot of food events are focused on rich people at fancy restaurants doing tastings,” Holzman notes. “Don’t get me wrong, those can be great, and make a lot of money for charity, but this is different. This is more of a grassroots event. A chance to join the conversation about food.” Whether that’s literally, over dinner, or as part of one of the talks and panels taking place all weekend, there’s plenty of food for thought on hand.

Conference passes, including an all-day Pies ‘n’ Thighs Chicken and Waffle Brunch, are $100, but there are also free events — check out the Future Food Expo showcase.

Brooklyn Taste Talks runs from September 11–13. For a full program schedule and to purchase tickets, visit www.taste-talks.com.

 

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This Week’s Five Best Food Events – 2/9/2015

Mother nature has been a beast these last few days — time to throw on another layer and head out to eat and drink. Consider one of these five events.

Cutting Edge Food Trends, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, Monday, 7 p.m.

Is matcha the next big thing? When will bugs join bread as a must-have when visiting the grocery store? Andrew Zimmern brings his culinary expertise to the Upper East Side for a discussion on food trends. The traveling gourmand will also be joined by Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin as well as food historian Francine Segan. Reservations are $30; secure them through the Y’s website.

Beer, Pickles & Cheese, Jacob’s Pickles, 509 Amsterdam Avenue, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Spread the love pre–Valentine’s Day with a fundraiser organized by the West Side Campaign Against Hunger. Guests can snack on pickles, cheeses, and a variety of beers from Long Island’s Barrier Brewery during the tasting. Tickets start at $50; secure yours through the event website.

Beard on Books, James Beard House, 167 West 12th Street, Wednesday, 12 p.m.

Food academic Dr. Libby O’Connell explores how dietary cravings have been shaped by cash, technology, and social innovations during this informal gathering. The discussion includes trivia, recipes, and complimentary snacks and beverages. A suggested donation of $20 is encouraged.

A Chocolate Love Affair, The Access Theater: The Gallery, 380 Broadway, Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m.

Who needs an intermission when a chocolate tasting is part of the show? This interactive performance led by chocolatier and artistic director Megan Sipe allows guests to move around the theater and become part of the show. Most importantly, it explores the impact of chocolate on the five senses. Chocolate will be served by dancers at moments throughout the night. Tickets start at $30.

Tiki Night, Spirited, 638 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, Friday, 7 p.m.

Airline ticket to Hawaii too expensive? For $20, guests receive a tiki cocktail and pupu platter, and can purchase additional tiki cocktails for $10. Cocktail aficionados can also chat up the authors of Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Cocktails and Stories From the World’s Hippest Borough. You’ll need to make a reservation.

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DIY: Cranberry Orange Relish Redux

So the Big Meal is almost upon us. You’re a Thanksgiving house guest and you haven’t even prepared a dish to bring?! Of course not. Because procrastination is as American as Turkey Day itself. I know what you were thinking; just pick up a cheap bottle of wine or a six pack from the local bodega on the way. But you’re better than that. Here’s a last second dish that involves five minutes with a Cuisinart and a few ingredients that you possibly already have in your refrigerator. No fuss, no muss: Cranberry-Orange Relish Redux.

First, a few words about this seductive side dish. Cranberry-Orange Relish is so full of awesome, we can’t even begin to describe it. It highlights literally every other food on the Thanksgiving table. You want a bite of dark meat, white meat, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans? All of it, tastier with a smattering of the tart, sweet stuff on top. Heck, we’ll eat it anytime of year. We don’t need to wait for a special occasion. If you’re suffering from a random mid-day craving, the Cinnamon Snail Food Truck–famous for their vegan fare and creme brûlée donuts–makes a mean rendition atop their Thanksgiving-inspired seitan sandwich.

But this dish is simple enough to be masterfully executed by anyone with opposable thumbs. Now’s the part of a ‘how-to’ where you’d generally read a recipe. That’s what’s so genius about Cranberry-Orange Relish: no recipe needed. Just take out a few oranges, quarter them and throw in, like, a small carton of cranberries, add some brown sugar, maybe a few pecans and some orange juice and just start blending. Everything is made to taste. If it’s too tart, add more brown sugar. If it’s too sweet, more cranberries. The only advice we can offer with certainty is that you shouldn’t over-process, because it’s nice to have noticeable shards of zest and berry for textural significance.

So what are you waiting for? Snatch the dusty, old Cuisinart from under your kitchen cabinet and snap to it. Your value as a house guest is about to increase dramatically. Enjoy your Thanksgiving — and don’t say we never did anything for you.

 

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How Il Mulino Got Back on Its Feet in 24 Hours After a Fire

Restaurants may be putting out metaphorical fires every night, but sometimes an actual disaster can show how well a team works together. Il Mulino New York’s (37 East 60 Street; 212-750-3270) uptown location just had one such disaster, a presumed electrical fire on Wednesday, November 5, that closed the restaurant and blanketed the place with smoke. Roughly 24 hours after the damage occurred, though, the restaurant was back to normal, preparing plates of homemade pasta while diners chatted about Taylor Swift’s new album.

How’d the management team do it?

Licensed public adjusters Anthony Luparello and his partner Steve Libal were onsite shortly after the fire was extinguished. Hired by businesses in the wake of a catastrophe, they often enter restaurants as everyone else heads for the exit. Luparello noted that he personally handles “anywhere from 15 to 20 restaurant disasters” in an average year, while his company, The New York Adjustment Bureau, handles somewhere between 30 and 50. Disasters can range from small kitchen fires to cars plowing through bagel stores.

There are a few things restaurants can do to help set them up for a quick recovery, says Luparello. “Lay out a game plan and go through with it,” he says. “The longer you leave smoke and water damage, the worse it gets. Thankfully, the location of the fire [at Il Mulino] was in an area that didn’t seat customers and had nothing to do with the kitchen or prep area for employees. However, any type of fire damage can cause smoke and water issues. ”

For restaurants, which depend on Thursday-to-Sunday crowds, reopening as soon as possible is crucial. A lost weekend due to closure can be devastating. Since the fire occurred on Wednesday afternoon, the team had to make decisions fast in order to ensure the business wouldn’t lose more customers.

At Il Mulino, “the management and staff were precise in getting things done correctly and fast,” says Luparello. “They have a standard of excellence, and it was shown through intense organization following a problem. We were able to organize a cleaning company to come in and sanitize everything. The staff was extremely helpful in getting it done right away. Basically, everything was done overnight. There was no break. The key was getting the smoke out of there as soon as possible so it didn’t really set in to the carpets. It was all cleaned.”

Michael Greco, director of operations at Il Mulino, worked with owner Brian Galligan and his partners to oversee a staff game plan. After dealing with the initial shock of the fire and making sure that all staff members onsite were OK, Greco moved forward with contacting those who had a reservation that evening. “We had to contact all of the staff, and call all of the reservations and let them know we had a fire and we would be open as soon as we could,” Greco says.

To the team, Greco reiterated the mantra, “Let’s try to do something that couldn’t be done.”

Then they worked around the clock to get rid of the smell of smoke. “One thing we did was to make the restaurant smell like food,” says Greco. Chefs began cooking garlic and rosemary on one side of the kitchen, with orange and cinnamon boiling together to produce pleasant fragrances on the other. Tablecloths and carpets were replaced, and the kitchen ordered an entirely new inventory of food.

For restaurant owners and managers who face a similar situation, Greco advises decision-makers to keep their cool. “I think the first thing is keep a calm head, and have some sort of training with your staff ahead of time if a fire should break out,” he says. “Come up with a fire recovery plan.”

In the end, the dining room was as good as new: “If I didn’t see it, I would never have believed there was a fire there,” Luparello says.

Check out photos of Il Mulino’s brief ordeal on the next page.

A look outside Il Mulino
A look outside Il Mulino
Smoke damage at the bar
Smoke damage at the bar
Another look at the damage Il Mulino suffered
Another look at the damage Il Mulino suffered

 

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This Week’s Five Best Food Events in NYC – 6/9/2014

Bummed about California Chrome missing the Triple Crown? Or maybe the Rangers are giving you night sweats? If your weekend didn’t turn out as planned, here are a few food events that should get you back into your groove.

Decade of Shack, Shake Shack, 23 Street and Madison Avenue, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.

Celebrating a decade of really long lines and amazingly addicting food, the Madison Square Park location of Shake Shack is offering celebrity-chef created shackburgers all week long. Each day, the Shack will feature a limited number of a different chef’s creation; look for work from David Chang, April Bloomfield, Andrew Zimmern, Daniel Boulud, and Daniel Humm. On June 12 — the stand’s actual birthday — the team will be giving out “pay what you’d like” Shack-ago dogs, and there will be live music all day long. Dominique Ansel will also be contributing a birthday cake, which will be available while slices last. There is a two burger per person limit, and all sandwiches are available on a first come, first serve basis — so expect lines.

Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop: Black Progressive Era Food Reformers and the Case Study of the Tuskegee Institute, NYU Food Studies, 411 Lafayette Street, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Jennifer Jensen Wallach, author of How America Eats: A Social History of U.S. Food and Culture , will lead a discussion on African-American food practices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The talk will specifically cover the work of Booker T. Washington, who viewed food habits as a possible avenue for breaking down racial barriers. Tickets start at $10.

Crab & Beer Feast, Ngam, Tuesday, 99 Third Avenue, 6 p.m.

Ngam is running a $40 special of two jumbo Maryland crabs every Tuesday night. The crabs are steamed with Thai herbs and served with spicy dipping sauces, and Singha beer pairings are also part of the experience. Supplement your seafood with dishes from the regular menu, which will also be on offer. Seatings, which take place at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., must be made in advance by contacting the restaurant.

Beard on Books: Luke Barr, James Beard House, 167 West 12th Street, Wednesday, 12 p.m.

Luke Barr, a descendant of famed food writer M.F.K. Fisher and editor at Travel + Leisure, will lead attendees on a historical journey through his great-aunt’s diaries. His book, Provence 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and The Reinvention of American Taste, captures the historical meeting between James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones, delving into how these encounters helped shape American cuisine in future decades. A suggested donation of $20 is encouraged, and the event includes refreshments provided by Sarabeth’s.

Hop Plant Sale and Peak Organic Tap Takeover, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, 285 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, Thursday, 7 p.m.

If you’re a fan of home brewing, take your creations to the next level by picking up a hops plant or two. Guests will learn about Thousands Win, an organization that specializes in rooftop gardens growing hops in urban areas, while sipping Peak Organic Brewing Company beers. For more information on rooftop hops, read about Thousands Win’s innovative enterprise.

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Why Mark Bittman Thinks You Should Be a Part-Time Vegan — Plus a Recipe

“Being a little bit vegan might be like being a little bit pregnant,” said Mark Bittman, whose The VB6 Cookbook came out on May 6. That evening, he appeared on a panel at a benefit for Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit that combats factory farming and operates sanctuaries where farm animals can live out their days. The event, called “Conscientious Table,” outlined the consequences of our country’s food system — climate change, animal suffering, health crises — that are undoubtedly grim, but the overall mood was optimistic. Change, the speakers agreed, is still possible, and Bittman’s quasi-vegan approach may be one solution to a host of complicated issues.

Bittman’s latest book stems from a previous Vegan Before 6, a more philosophical volume in which he lays out a diet he adopted upon a doctor’s recommendation, after gaining weight and facing the onset of diabetes. The idea is to make two meals a day plant-based, while allowing for flexibility at dinner time. But is this flexitarian method enough to address the tolls of industrial agriculture upon both personal and global well-being?

It’s a move in the right direction, the panel agreed. At the talk, held before a full house in The Foundry, a gorgeous restored space in Long Island City, the speakers acknowledged that insisting Americans go totally vegan may be too daunting a proposition. Dr. Melanie Joy, author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, said that veganism exists on spectrum. “All or nothing thinking can really get in our way,” she said. “It’s about moving from apathy to empathy.”

Empathy for animals is certainly a strong motivation for vegetarians and vegans, but the environmental wages of our food system, too, are a major concern. Speakers noted that industrial agriculture is a known producer of greenhouse gases, a force behind climate change. Farm Sanctuary President Gene Baur cited other costs that most people don’t consider, like the depletion of water and fossil fuels. Moreover, “70 percent of our health care costs would be eliminated if we shifted to whole food, plant based diets,” he said.

“There is a greening trend in America,” Bittman said. “The writing is on the wall that we’re all going to eat a more plant-based diet.” However, there are significant political roadblocks to encouraging Americans to eat more “real food,” which Bittman defines as “food that has no ingredients, because it is an ingredient.” Climate change denial persists within Congress, for instance, and election season begins in Iowa, a major agricultural center.

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said that the blame leveled against farmers is misplaced: “The problem is a food system run by a very small number of companies,” she said. And those companies aggressively market junk food to children, setting them up for lifelong addiction.

The obstacles to fixing a food system that contributes to poor diet and pollution are daunting, the speakers said. But it’s possible to take action on a local and personal level: “You can be a part-time vegan if you want to be,” Bittman said. The VB6 diet, with its emphasis on unprocessed foods, is one step. Bittman also encouraged the audience to consider how food is sold and marketed in their towns, and to ask contenders for local office to state their position on the food system. “It should be a proving ground for political candidates,” he said.

Gene Stone, author of Forks Over Knives, agreed. “Everyone has some skill they can apply to address the issue,” he said.

Bittman’s skills were evident in the dishes served at the event, all made from recipes in the new cookbook. After the jump, find one of those recipes from The VB6 Cookbook to try at home.

“Chorizo” Tacos
Makes 4 servings
Time: 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the desired texture

Soft corn tortillas make a perfect vehicle for this tofu “chorizo,” which is so good you’ll find a lot of other uses for it too. Make it as soft or as crisp as you like, but use a nonstick pan for the best results; cast-iron is a good second choice. Since it’s easy to double the batch well ahead of time, you might think about making this dish the next time you have a brunch.

Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1½ pounds firm tofu (1½ blocks)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 limes, 1 halved,
1 quartered
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
¼ cup chopped scallions, for garnish

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Stack the tortillas on a large square of foil and wrap them loosely.

2. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Crumble the tofu into the pan with your hands. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet occasionally, and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the tofu browns and crisps as much or as little as you like it, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

4. When the tofu is almost ready, put the tortillas in the oven.

5. Add the bell pepper to the pan if you’re using it. Sprinkle the mixture with the chili powder; stir, and cook, continuing to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan until the mixture is fragrant, less than a minute. Squeeze the juice of the halved lime over all, garnish with cilantro and scallions, and serve with the tortillas and lime quarters.

More Ideas
For a little more kick without being too fiery, try 1 or 2 poblano chiles instead of the bell pepper. • Substitute 3 cups well-drained cooked or canned black or pinto beans for the tofu. (If you’re using canned beans, rinse them before draining.) • Use tempeh instead of tofu. It will be tangier and slightly more dense, closer to the texture of ground meat. • Small whole wheat tortillas are good, here, too. Soften them the same way as described above.

From The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman