Morris Ramen is the Place to Be

Photos by Elizabeth Geboy, story by Veronica Laverdure

Morris Miso Ramen

In December of last year, Morris Ramen took the cake of the ever growing ramen scene in Madison. Located near the Capitol on 106 King St., the small, but cozy restaurant delivers big, steaming bowls of perfectly cooked noodles and more. The fairly new ramen shop is co-owned by former Restaurant Muramoto chef Matt Morris, former 34 North chef Francesca Hong, and Madison restauranteur Shinji Muramoto.

The co-owners definitely put a lot of thought into renovating the restaurant after taking the place of the sleek Red Sushi restaurant that moved to a new location. Inside, there are large, dimly lit wooden light panels surrounding small wooden tables lining the wall that provide a relaxed atmosphere to the restaurant. On one side of the small tables are small wooden-block shaped chairs that have large ropes on each side, and on the other side there’s a long booth type of seating that gave the seating arrangement a communal feel. There’s also a large table in the front that could accommodate a larger group of people.

Not only are there small and large tables, but a long bar that wraps all the way around the kitchen. The kitchen has black and white tiled walls and is filled with bustling workers attending to each customer’s needs, cooking, and cleaning dishes. It was satisfying to be able to see that the kitchen was noticeably clean and that the employees were enjoying their job. The lighting, accompanied by the furniture and decor created a romantic ambience.

A friend and I went late on a Saturday night to Morris Ramen and had the most pleasant experience. When we walked in, the restaurant had various candles lit that created a nice aroma accompanying soft music playing in the background. A kind host quickly seated us at the bar of the restaurant where we were also quickly greeted by a server. Our server was very bubbly and helpful when it came to picking out what to eat. Overall, the service was quality considering that we walked in close to closing time.

We were provided with two menus: a drink menu and a regular menu. The menu was extremely simple and divided between four different types of ramen choices and other “not ramen” choices such as chicken wings, fries, Brussel sprouts, and different types of donburi. The menu also had an option where you could order a round of drinks for all of the hardworking staff which I thought was quirky and fun.

The drink menu was also very simple but was divided into cocktails, tap beer, tall boys, sake, shochu, japanese whiskey, and wine. The cocktails had creative names like “Wake Me up Before You Jinro” ($9) that consisted of innovative ingredients like cucumber infused jinro soju, vodka, basil, and lime.

I was eager to try something that seemed like a traditional option and chose the Morris Ramen. For the low price of $13, it came in a very large bowl with chashu pork belly, ajitama (seasoned soft-boiled egg), and menma (lactate-fermented bamboo shoots) and of course, ramen noodles. The noodles were cooked thoroughly to the point I felt like they had the perfect amount of firmness and the broth was extremely flavorful — it seemed as though the chef let the broth sit for a while for all of the ingredients to combine. Although the noodles and the broth were both delicious, the meat was definitely the highlight of my meal. The pork belly was cooked and marinated so that it was tender, but not dry. I hadn’t eaten much during the day, and the bowl was more than enough to satisfy my hunger.

My friend that accompanied me ordered the pork bun ($4.50) and the satsuma Fries ($5.50). We shared the fries and she let me have a bite of the pork bun and if I wasn’t already wowed by the bowl of ramen, both dishes definitely made me want to come back. The pork bun consisted of pork belly, pickles, hoisin sauce, and a steamed bun. Again, the pork was very tender and juicy and the hoisin sauce gave the sandwich the kick of flavor to bring everything together. The fries were also cooked and seasoned very well but the highlight was the gochujang aioli that came with it. The aioli consisted of red chili, fermented soybeans, and rice. The sauce tasted almost like the sauce that they put on buffalo wings but was also somehow sweet.

While we were there, almost every seat in the restaurant was filled which means that it’s evident: Morris Ramen is definitely the place to be.Morris Short Rib Donburi

Lucille: More Than Just Pizza

Photos by Melissa Talia Simon, story by Annie Trucco

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When eating out in Madison, I always try to find new restaurants. Living in a town with so many amazing options when it comes to food, I feel guilty not exploring all that Madison has to offer. Located at the corner of King and Pinckney on the Capitol Square, Lucille is one of my favorite spots in Madison. The building has a rich history; since its construction in the late 1920s, it has been home to the Capital City Bank, WIBA radio, Madison’s first commercial radio station, and as of 2016, Lucille.

The restaurant includes three stories. The first floor is home to a large bar and a few dining tables. Upstairs, there are several booths that overlook the first floor, creating an open and lofty environment. My favorite part of the restaurant is the secret basement lounge. Home to yet another bar, the basement incorporates an old vault from the Capital City Bank to create an alluring, underground lounge area.

A beautiful building and enjoyable atmosphere are important; however, Lucille is a restaurant so you may be wondering if the menu is as great as the location itself. The answer is yes. In essence, Lucille is a pizza place. However, pizza is not the only thing you will find on the menu.

Of the “Platters For Sharing,” I am a big fan of the Italian Pantry Salad and the Steel Pan Nachos. The “Fried Cedar Grove Cheese Curds” under the “Snacks” section of the menu are also a very tasty option. The portions of the starters are relatively large, but when shared, they work perfectly as sides or supplements to the pizza. Which brings me to the most important part—the pizza! Separated into two categories, “Steel Pan” and “Wood Fired,” Lucille offers several specialty pizzas along with the option to customize. The Steel Pan pizzas are larger and more filling than the Wood Fired, and are made with a New Glarus Spotted Cow fermented crust. The doughy crust is complemented by crispy caramelized cheddar that outlines the sides of the pizza to create the perfect crust. Of all of the Steel Pan pizzas, I go for the “Veg-Fest” or “Sausage-Fest.” Both of these pizzas are a party (if you couldn’t tell by their name) of either an assortment of vegetables or meat. The Veg-Fest is an awesome vegetarian option while the Sausage-Fest is a heavier, more filling option. If you aren’t a fan of thick crust or are looking for something lighter, the Wood Fired crust is equally as satisfying. My favorite Wood Fired Pizza is the “White Wedding” which is a tomato-less pizza topped with arugula, crunchy peppers, and shaved parmesan cheese. It is perfect if you are in the mood for pizza, but don’t want to feel incredibly full afterwards.

Lucille stays open until 2am, 7 days a week, and with an extensive cocktail, wine, and beer list, and a featured DJ, the restaurant doubles as a nightclub. Another awesome aspect of Lucille is their vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. In addition to marking all of their starters as either VG, V, or GF, any of their pizzas can be made with a gluten free crust. This may be a small thing, but it is good to know if you are someone who faces these diet restrictions. The menu can get a bit pricey, but the shared nature of the restaurant makes it not only affordable, but also a great place to bring a big group!

There are so many things that make Lucille my go-to restaurant in Madison, but I think that what keeps me coming back is the experience. Between the beautiful room and views, the amazing food, and the lively and exciting atmosphere, Lucille holds a special spot in my heart as my favorite place to eat in this town.

Quick Banana Bread

Photos and story by Annie McGrail

Recipe adapted from Aunt Holly
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Banana bread is one of the only foods I can think of where the main ingredient is better old and brown, rather than yellow and fresh. Cooking it as either a loaf or in personal sized muffins makes the sweet bread perfect for any occasion.

I find banana bread to be a great thing to make as a college student for a few reasons:

1) I never eat all my bananas before they turn brown.

2) It is easy to make – 10 minutes prep plus cook time.

3) Easy to switch things up – plain, nuts, chocolate chips or maybe both.

4) The perfect snack for between classes is a banana bread muffin.

Ingredients:

3 to 4 ripe bananas

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon baking soda

Toppings (chocolate chips, walnuts, both or none)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Two ways to bake:

Loaf: Bake in a buttered loaf pan until a toothpick stuck into the bread comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Slice and serve.

Muffins: Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Fill 3/4 full with banana bread batter. Bake for 10 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.IMG_3907

Matcha Cake

Photos and story by Jiatong Qing
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Originating in the Tang Dynasty one thousand years ago in China, then thriving in Japan for another one thousand years, matcha tea powder symbolizes an important item in Zen monasteries. Matcha tea has high intensity flavor, and combines sweetness and bitterness of whole green tea leaves. Nowadays, matcha tea powders has become increasingly popular to be used in baking and desserts, such as matcha cakes, ice creams, and smoothies. With a green and vivid color, matcha cakes looks healthy and bright, and the delicate taste of tea in every bite brings you peace and cool in comfortable summer afternoons.

Ingredients:

6 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cup sifted cake flour

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon milk

3 cups water

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup light olive oil

5 teaspoon matcha powder

10 strawberriesIMG_1361

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and set a pot with 3 cups of water to boil. Lightly spray an 8-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray and set it aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking soda, sugar, salt, and eggs together in 2 minutes and set it aside. In another bowl, stir the milk, boiled water, vanilla extract, olive oil together, and put it into the flour mixture and whisk it for 2 minutes, then add matcha powder until the mix is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake it in the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Cut the strawberries into slices. After the cake is done, allow to cool completely in the pan, and decorate it with strawberry slices on the top.

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Why Shakshuka is the Best Way to Eat Your Vegetables

Photos and story by Elizabeth Geboy

ShakshukaThis is the catch-all, clean-out-your fridge kind of breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce, but there are many variations on it. Having extra broccoli, spinach, or pasta sauce has never looked better. Even potatoes can be sauteed and added. Spices like cumin, paprika and za’atar (sumac and sesame, can be found at specialty spice houses) make it exciting, while cheese like feta or mozzarella can cool down the palate. Pieces of sausage or tuna can turn this into a full dinner, or a breakfast to power your whole day. This is a great way to utilize farmer’s market vegetables, and it’s easy to adapt as the season progresses and the produce changes.

Traditional shakshuka is simple: eggs, tomato sauce, chili peppers, onion. The beauty of it is the flexibility of the recipe, the tomato sauce being a canvas for flavor. It is relatively quick and satisfying, full of protein from the eggs and healthy vegetables. You’ll need a pan with a lid that fits and a kitchen knife, but that is all the equipment needed. There aren’t really measurements for this recipe… It is based on what you have in the pantry and what you want in your shakshuka.Shakshuka.prep

Ingredients:

Tomato sauce (pasta sauce works well, or well-chopped tomatoes then mixed with spices)

Eggs (1 or 2 per person)

1 small onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

Vegetables: bell pepper, broccoli, rapini, spinach, kale, eggplant, mushrooms, peas, potatoes (cook before making shakshuka)

Spices: cumin, za’atar, paprika, pesto, fresh hot chili, harissa paste, tomato paste

Herbs: parsley, mint, basil, thyme, cilantro

Cheese: feta, fresh mozzarella

Meat: sausage, lamb, tuna (cook these before, too)

Prepare the vegetables: trim greens, cut eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms and peppers into pieces, roughly chop the herbs. Start the pan on medium high with a little oil or butter. Add the onion. Saute for a minute, then add the first of the vegetables: eggplant and mushrooms. Then peppers and broccoli, then greens like kale or rapini.  If using meat, add to the pan. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Add a pinch of all the spices, salt and pepper (if using whole tomatoes, add a spoonful of tomato paste here).

When the vegetables have browned and cooked down a little, flood the pan with tomato sauce or the chopped tomatoes. Stir occasionally, heating the tomato sauce. When it bubble along the edges of the pan, reduce the heat to medium low. Add the cheese if using, in clumps so it melts together. Make spaces in the sauce, and crack eggs into them.

Simmer on the stove top with the pan covered for 10-15 minutes, until the whites are cooked through by the yolks are still runny. Toss a handful of chopped herbs on top of the shakshuka. Serve warm with fresh bread, or with a spoon of plain yogurt.

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Autumn Butternut Squash Casserole

by Téalin Robinson

Whenever Thanksgiving rolls around, you begin to think about the wonderful food your family will cook, which results in copious amounts of leftovers to be turned into whatever crazy concoction you can think of. Unlike the traditional Thanksgiving feast most people enjoy, my family goes straight to the unusual dishes you would only think of creating in a food science class. Occasionally the experiments lead to delicious versions of turkey soup or sweet potato burritos.

Several years ago, amidst our untraditional Thanksgiving, my grandmother attempted a new dessert recipe, in addition to the usual pumpkin, apple and blueberry pies. Somehow the idea that apples, squash and corn flakes mixed together would create an unforgettable taste, came to my grandmother. Since that Thanksgiving, this delectable Butternut Squash Casserole became a fall season staple in my household.

Casserole Ingredients:

resized_20161110_1543523 c mashed, cooked butternut squash

¼ c + 2 Tbsp butter, room temperature

¼ c brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

6 c sliced Jonathan and Granny Smith apples

¼ c sugar

Topping:

2 Tbsp butter

½ c chopped pecans

½ c brown sugar

1 ½ c corn flakes (crushed)

Begin by peeling and cooking your butternut squash until soft and mashable. Then combine the cooked squash, butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl, and then set it aside. Next, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, and then add the sliced apples. Sprinkle them with sugar for extra sweetness. Then, cover and simmer the apples over low heat until they are browned and barely tender. Finally, spread the apple mixture in the bottom of an oval 3 qt casserole dish, and spoon the squash mixture over the apples.

Next, to begin the topping, melt the butter over the cornflakes in a medium sized bowl, and mix in the nuts. Place the topping over the squash and bake it at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Eat this unusual dessert warm and sliced like a pie.

Pumpkin Bars

by Téalin Robinson

Rather than attempting the classic pumpkin roll, which should really remain as the original winter season chocolate Buche de Noel, my grandmother decided to spice things up by creating pumpkin bars instead. As one of her favorite autumn recipes, and one of mine also, I simply had to share her secret for constructing these delicious bars. They have a more light, cakey texture, rather than your usual dense layer bars. Due to its versatility for occasions, these pumpkin bars are perfect for sweet snacks, fall desserts or as a small breakfast treat. When warmed with a drizzle of icing or topped with whipped cream, these bars go well with a tall glass of milk, or a fresh cup of coffee.

Pumpkin Bars Ingredients:

1 cup shortening

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 c chopped walnuts

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp allspice

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups flour

½ tsp ginger

1 cup dried coconut

Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

Milk of your preference

2 tsp vanilla

To begin, beat the eggs and set aside. Cream the shortening and the vanilla together until combined. Then add the sugar and beat the mixture until fluffy. Add the beaten eggs and the pumpkin. Next, stir the flour and the spices slowly into the creamed mixture until it’s smooth, for about 3 minutes. Once the mixture is without lumps, fold in the coconut and the nuts. Spread the mixture into a greased 10×6-inch pan, and bake it at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

While the bars are cooling, make the glaze to go on top. The bars taste just as wonderful with a scoop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Making the glaze is fairly simple; begin by sifting the powdered sugar to remove any lumps. Then add the milk of your preference (I use skim milk since it is thinner) to the powdered sugar creating a runny consistency. Then add a touch of vanilla. I prefer to use 2 tsp for the full vanilla effect, but the amount added is up to you. Finally, drizzle the glaze over cooled bars, and enjoy.

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Pizza, Please.

by Madison Fortman

Pizza continues to be a classic favorite that comes in a plethora of styles. It is a dish that continues to evolve as people experiment with new toppings and cooking techniques. As a native Chicagoan, I am biased toward Chicago-style pizza. The thick and crunchy crust serves as the base for not only a mound of chunky tomato sauce, but also a healthy portion of cheese. Walking into Pizza Brutta, though, I was convinced that maybe I may be converted into a lover of more than just the Chicago deep dish.

Tucked into Monroe Street, Pizza Brutta is bustling with young families, Madison natives and a sea of Badger fans. The restaurant is small, but gives off a comfortable and family oriented, community vibe. The restaurant on Monroe is one of Pizza Brutta’s two locations, another location recently opened in Middleton. My mouth began to salivate as soon as I walked into the storefront, with the overpowering aroma of fresh pizza washing over me. The restaurant was packed, but diligent workers frantically moved about, seeming to have service down to a science. Making my way up to the front counter I contemplated the variety of Neapolitan pizzas that Pizza Brutta has to offer.

Neapolitan pizza is known for having a tender, doughy crust, topped simply with sweet tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh mozzarella. Classic Neapolitan pizzas include the Margherita, but plenty of other options with Neapolitan style also exist. The pizza is generally cooked in a wood-fired oven that allows the ingredients to melt and blend together. Compared to Chicago or New York style pizza you can expect the Neapolitan pizza to focus more on the basics of simplicity and freshness. The end result is a light, flavorful pizza that surpasses expectations.

I found myself choosing the Olivetto pizza. This dish is under the pizza category of “Pizza Rosso” simply meaning the pizzas have San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, sea salt and any additional toppings specific to the individual pizza. Layered perfectly on the Olivetto were basil, artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese.

Behind a transparent counter and working space, I watched Pizza Brutta chefs work to make each pizza fresh and to the customers specific liking. While you can order off the restaurant’s signature pizza menu, customers also have the autonomy to design their own personal pizza. From rolling out the dough, to topping the pizza, and finally seeing it come in and out of the oven, Pizza Brutta is unique in allowing customers to witness the entirety of the pizza making process.

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My Olivetto pizza was delivered sizzling out of the wood-burning oven in a prompt manner. The pizza was a gracious size and priced at $11.50. While the pizzas are a size that you could share, if you are feeling ambitious, my suggestion is to order your own. You may even find it hard to possess enough self-control to not eat the whole pizza in one sitting, but if you do, it serves well as left overs for another meal.

As I bit into my first slice, for a second I could almost envision myself removed from the busy restaurant in Madison and in a quaint cafe in Italy. All the ingredients tasted so fresh and were put together with such thought and passion. It was hard to control myself from not downing one slice after another. The warm crust was lightly golden with a subtle crunch, but you’ll find that in the center, the crust was soft and a doughy delight.

The tomato sauce was also light and sweet. The tomatoes used to make the sauce were grown outside Naples, Italy, giving the dish an authentic Italian touch. In addition, their mozzarella is made fresh in-house. The restaurant’s focus on quality, fresh ingredients has to do with their pledge to agricultural sustainability. If interested, you can find more about their goal for providing the best local ingredients on their website.

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To top off the meal, I could not resist ordering a Nutella pizza for desert. It hit every sweet tooth craving imaginable. Its hot and freshly baked pizza dough was covered in dollops of Nutella and garnished with powdered sugar. Simply by writing this article I have flash backs to the sugary treat, which was heavenly and worth every bite.

If pizza is not for you, or if you are looking for a side with your pizza, there are salad options that Pizza Brutta offers as well. There are kids meals too and also accommodations for people who are gluten-free. Pizza Brutta offers college students the ability to have more than just a typical fast-food pizza slice; they offer an authentic experience. The specific Neapolitan style of pizza is also something not regularly offered on campus. With the Madison location not being far from campus, the prices being reasonable and the pizza being extremely unique, Pizza Brutta is definitely a place that college students can enjoy.

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An Effortless Combination: Brussels Sprouts & Eggs

by Elizabeth Geboy

Possibly the simplest way to prepare brussels sprouts is also the greatest. Sliced, browned, served. And absolutely delicious. This protein packed, high vitamin dish is a beneficial breakfast or lunch, even if you’re in a hurry. The sprouts can also be sliced in advance to make your morning even easier. Brussels Sprouts’ peak season is mid-fall, and you can buy them on the stalk at the farmer’s market (or pre cut off, if you fancy an easier route). This is my go-to whenever I’m hungry, or when I need to make brunch for friends. It’s about two eggs per person, but it can be adjusted depending on how hungry you and your friends are.

1-1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts

2 eggs

1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Lemon

Optional: chopped fresh Serrano, or other dried chile, to taste

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Remove the bottom of the brussels sprouts with a paring knife. Cut all the sprouts into thin slices, breaking apart the large leaf pieces. Alternatively, fit the single chopping blade to a food processor, and shave all the brussels sprouts.

Heat a large pan over medium with enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the brussels sprouts (turn down the heat to medium low if they pop and spray too much). Add thyme, salt and cracked pepper. Add the spicy chile here, if including it. Move the sprouts around in the pan every few minutes, until they are cooked down and browned. Push them over to one half side of the pan, turn down the heat to medium low. Crack the eggs into the open spaces, and cook as much as you like – ‘over easy’, half-cooked yolk, or flip to make the egg ‘over hard’.

Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon.

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French Chocolate Macarons

by Annie McGrail

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There is nothing quite like a wonderfully sweet dessert, and while I spent a month in France over the summer studying abroad, I was never without them. However, as I went from one incredible pâtisserie to another I always found myself ordering the same thing: one chocolate macaron (un macaron chocolat). Each one was uniquely delicious as it slowly melted in my mouth with every bite. Macarons come in every flavor imaginable: pistachio, rose, Nutella, vanilla, raspberry and many more. As a chocolate lover myself, I had to stick to the classic chocolate.

Unfortunately, after I returned home, I was never able to find ones that were the right balance of rich flavor and light feel. This drove me to search for the perfect recipe to make great macarons on my own, and I believe I have found it. This recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons may seem time consuming, but it is completely worth it to make such a remarkable French pastry.

(From butterbaking.com, but all ingredients transferred to American measurement standards).

For the macaron shells:

3 cups almond meal

2 2/5 powdered sugar

½ cup cocoa

4 egg whites

2 tbsp strong coffee

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup sugar (superfine, food processed)

4 egg whites

For the chocolate hazelnut ganache:

2 ¼ cup finely chopped milk chocolate

¾ cup & 2 tablespoons heavy cream

½ stick unsalted butter, softened

5 ½ tbsp Nutella

For macaron shells:

Line 4 – 6 trays with baking paper. Sift the almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa into a large bowl and mix well. Pour 4 egg whites, the coffee and vanilla over the dry ingredients. Do not mix, and set aside.

To make an Italian meringue, put the remaining 4 egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, but do not turn on. Put the superfine sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir. Place over a medium heat and fit with a candy thermometer. Watch the sugar as for it to boil. When the mixture reaches about 230 F, turn on the stand mixer and whip egg whites on high speed, until they form very soft peaks. The sugar should be 239 F at this stage. When the sugar reaches 239 F, turn off the heat. While the egg whites are still beating on high, pour the sugar syrup, very slowly, into the eggs. Aim for a point in between the side of the bowl and the moving whisk. Continue to beat until the mixture cools (feel it through the base of the bowl).

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Fold the Italian meringue into the almond meal mixture in three batches, until well incorporated and smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with medium round nozzle and pipe small 1 inch rounds of mixture onto the lined trays, allowing a little room for spreading. Tap each tray onto the bench a few times, HARD, to remove air bubbles. Repeat until all the mixture is used. Set the trays of macarons aside for about 30 minutes so they can develop a skin.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the macarons for 11 – 12 minutes, opening the door at the 8 minute mark and the 10 minute mark, in order to let out any steam. If they grow and develop little “feet”, they have worked. They are ready when you can gently lift one off the tray without leaving its foot behind.

Set the macarons aside to cool completely while you make the ganache. Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate. Set aside for 2 – 3 minutes, then stir, starting from the middle, until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the cream. Set aside in the refrigerator until firm. Add the melted butter and Nutella to the ganache and use a stick blender to blitz the mixture until it is light and fluffy (you can also do this in a food processor), scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Match the macaron shells up so they have partners of similar size. Upturn one shell of each pair of macarons. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. Pipe a little ganache onto the center of each upturned macaron. Sandwich it together with its partner.

Keep refrigerated, if not consumed immediately. Makes 50 – 60 macarons.

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Watch What You Eat: Buzzfeed’s Tasty Videos

By Daniella Byck

As my third semester of college came to a close, I found myself immersed in a new form of stress relief. Pushing aside flashcards and textbooks, I could be found huddled over my phone watching seemingly anonymous hands easily combine pre measured ingredients, throwing together an elaborate dish with ease. With winter rolling in and finals piling up, Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos became my oasis.

Tasty’s Facebook page describes the concept as “food that’ll make you close your eyes, lean back, and whisper ‘yessss.’ Snack-sized videos and recipes you’ll want to try.” The videos are all shot in the same aerial style and set to an upbeat, lyricless soundtrack with an emphatic declaration of deliciousness to end each clip. The entire experience is confined to about one minute.

“Its satisfying to watch a really good meal be prepared in such a short period of time,” said sophomore student Jess Schwartz.

The videos have given birth to a social media empire. The Facebook page was established in July 2015 and has since garnered 74,602,410 followers. Additionally, Tasty can be found on Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and its own mobile application. Beyond the main Tasty page, there are spin-offs such as Proper Tasty’s twist on British recipes or the course specific Tasty Desserts.  

“I find tasty videos extremely therapeutic,” said senior student Jacob Weissburg. “They’re always a terse distraction in the middle of a busy day when I’m scrolling through Facebook.”

The aesthetic qualities streamlined across all Tasty videos create a perception of simplicity. Tasty’s world of seemingly concise and convenient cooking provides a welcome respite from hectic exams, conflicting activities and bustle of student life.

”Tasty videos are the meditations of millennials. Immediately gratifying and extremely stimulating,” said junior student Molly Galinson.

The relationship between food media and relaxation is not unexplored territory. The idyllic sets of Food Network shows summon an illusion of organization and order. Instagrams touting slow motion shots of cheese pulling off of pizza invite a satisfying mental reward. Harper Magazine published a piece drawing parallels between food porn and sexual porn – both share a sense of effortlessness while addressing primal human needs. In fact, food videos trigger the same pleasure centers.

“It soothes me to watch videos of people doing easy cooking,” said sophomore student Lindsey Feder.  “It takes my mind off of life.”

With exams coming to a close and winter break approaching, I found myself inspired to take on a deceptively simple Tasty recipe. The video titled Cheese Spinach and Artichoke Bread Ring Dip seemed easy enough. Alas, after a mishap with slow to rise bread rolls and a mess of kitchen tools, I produced a dish far more time consuming and complex than advertised. However, my real life experiment did not tarnish the video watching experience. Each new videos still brings with it a welcome opportunity to escape into the fantasy world of the Tasty kitchen.

Photo retrieved from Tasty’s Facebook page.

Video retrieved from Tasty & Yummy’s YouTube Channel.

Street Eats with Jeremy: Taste of Jamaica

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Taste of Jamaica

What I ordered: Jerk Chicken Lunch

Price: $8

Right away, I added a bit of the spicy, red sauce to this mix of rice, jerk chicken, beans, carrots, string beans, cabbage, broccoli, red bell pepper and spices. This is no organized meal like a Bento box, but rather it’s a bowl full of textures and flavors, all blending in with one another. Even more, it is plentiful, so even if you have a large appetite, you will be perfectly stuffed upon completion.

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What I liked: First of all, this dish exudes a savory, mouth-watering aroma. The shredded chicken is perfectly moist and is paired in good ratio with the amount of rice. In addition, the many shapes and sizes of the chicken pieces along with the variety of vegetables makes each bite unique. The veggies are tasty, in abundance and easily identifiable. The jerk spices give the meal some heat, although not overpowering, and the spice lingers on your tongue, as you would expect from jerk chicken. With plenty of rice, meat, veggies and beans, this meal certainly satisfies and is well worth the price.

taste-of-jamaicaWhat I did not like: Although this meal has many ingredients, I found it to be overall somewhat soft; it could use some kind of crunch factor. In addition, I almost wish the jerk spices and flavors were more powerful. Lastly, because this meal is fully mixed and not compartmentalized, there is not too much involvement on the part of the eater (no scooping, dipping, pouring), which could provide a more active eating experience.

Overall Score: 7/10

-Jeremy Kogan