Tony is all about food. His ongoing projects have been featured in the press. To learn more, you can view his gallery, read his blog, or simply contact him directly.

Archive for the ‘butter’ Tag


Mo’ Butta’ Mo’ Betta’

Today I’m going to blog about brioche. It’s been long overdue, let me explain why.

It all started a few weeks ago when I received an email from the Culinary Institute of America. The Culinary Institute of America. I had to read the message a few times so the words could sink in. Dean Sciacca, a dean at the culinary school and reader of my blog, was inviting me to give a talk on storytelling and culinary tradition at their Hyde Park campus in New York. I had never done any public speaking before; not outside of school at least. I was excited, nervous, curious, honored — all at the same time. I wrote back with the most enthusiastic yes I could possibly muster in an email, all while keeping my cool (I think).

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My Roasted Chicken Phase

I’ve always known I like to eat things in phases. I remember, for instance, the first time I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at my neighbor’s house; fireworks were going off in my mouth — sweet and salty fireworks. I was only seven, maybe eight at the time, but I was convinced that I could eat pb&j’s for the rest of my life and be very happy. We didn’t have pb&j at my house. The closest thing we had was Dibis wa Tahini (دبس و طحينة), which is essentially carob molasses mixed with tahini sauce, served with warm pita bread for dunking. It was good; a less glamorous, slightly messier version of a pb&j, but still not the same. I’ll have to blog about this sometime.

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Middle Eastern Yogurt Soup

It’s almost February, it’s cold and it’s the perfect time for soup, if there ever was one. Keeping true to my kibbeh promise from my last post, I made kibbeh b’laban (كبة بلبن او كبة لبنية), which literally translated means kibbeh cooked in yogurt. Not only was it my first try at making this on my blog, but it was my first attempt ever. In order to get everything right, I called my sito (grandmother in Arabic) and stayed on the phone with her until I got every last detail of this dish right. It also took a long time since I had to convert her measurements of “handfuls, half-handfuls and pinches” into more relative quantities. All in all, it was lots of fun and in retrospect, a major success.

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Baklava with Mom

Thank you for all the Christmas wishes – I wish everyone happy eating and the very best for 2009! My Christmas food coma lasted slightly longer than I anticipated with all the leftovers we have had at my house. In all seriousness, my mom went into full-on Arabic mode and cooked enough food to feed a medium-sized Army; needless to say it was more than enough for the 20 guests we had at our house.

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Making the neighbor’s cookies

It’s time I made a dark confession. 

You see, when I started this blog, I promised you the whole Mediterranean – and I played favorites. I withheld from you the Aegean nations, the lands of Greece and Turkey. Two ancient countries with rich cuisine that fell through the proverbial cracks of my internet blog. As you know, I grew up in a kitchen that straddles Lebanon and Syria. I’ve discussed the details of turning humble chickpeas into delightful hummus. I’ve strolled the streets of Florence in search of traditional Tuscan biscotti. I’ve even blogged about the time-honored Moroccan tradition of preserving lemons. Yet I have not seen the Parthenon, nor have I savored the moussaka of an Athenian gourmet chef.

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