Traditional recipes

BLD: A 'D' worth celebrating.

BLD: A 'D' worth celebrating.

What's in a name? When a restaurant names itself with three letters that don't make a word, you want to know the backstory. There's a valet out front, which is less about the fanciness of the restaurant and more about its location immediately adjacent to a residential neighborhood with inadequate parking. Inside, it's pleasant and modern, and the food is plated in a straightforward manner. I think of it as a good date restaurant: its classy, but a casual sort of way.

I started with the soup of the day: poblano and corn puree, and I have mixed feelings about the result. It was true to the poblano flavor and the corn sweetness could also be sensed, but the seeds one assumes were added for texture atop the dish were as unyielding to the bite as a wooden matchstick. A dish of the day is sometimes based in a sudden inspiration, (and I will offer some leeway in that regard) but a garnish of that hardness should never have been allowed on the soup in the first place.

The cajun-style Macaroni and cheese was far more on the mark. It comes served piping hot in an itty bitty cast-iron pot, but don't let its size fool you; you will be far fuller than you expect. Maybe the dish is somehow larger on the outside than it is on the inside. The real answer behind how something so small can be so filling lies less in bending the laws of time and relative dimension in space and more in the mac and cheese's creamy richness. I hesitate to call it “cheesy” though. There's a little breadcrumb on top, and below that lies a sauce that is pure smoky, spicy flavor. It's almost as though they've infused the essence of how a bonfire smells into the cheese.

Initially, I was not a fan of the BLD house beef burger. The burger commits what I consider the cardinal sin of having too low a fat content. The result is a patty that's dry when it should be juicy, which is not a good first impression. Its redemption comes in the flavor: this is high quality beef, you can tell the cow was well cared for, and the finish shows off the natural wholesomeness like a prairie sunset. The fries are an example of what a good french fry should be: crisp outside and a soft inside that actually tastes like potato. Sadly, they cool off quite quickly, you would be forgiven for eating all of them first.

In my mind, the best dish of the whole experience was the trenette with roasted tomato pesto. The taste is fantastic but, oh! That aroma! The smell is as fresh as tomatoes on the vine, with a basil undertone. I would bottle it and make my kitchen smell like this all the time if I could. The optional chicken sausage would be worth the extra money as the onion's acidity needs a meat like chicken to round it out. But as a whole concept, even sans chicken the dish works well.

Sometimes I'm guilty of hyperbole, but I reserve my absolute highest ratings and my 'bests' for only a few dishes. My meal at BLD was not in the 'best' list, but it was very good, and the high points dramatically outweigh any negatives I mentioned. At BLD, I'd say the D stands not just for 'dinner', but for a 'damn fine dinner'.


14 Hanukkah Desserts Worth Celebrating

When celebrating the holidays, you want to serve up something really special. This Hanukkah, dress up your table with a spread of heavenly desserts. Your family and friends will be asking for seconds—and the recipe!


  • ASIN : 1580087205
  • Publisher : Ten Speed Press Later prt. edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 208 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9781580087209
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1580087209
  • Item Weight : 1.79 pounds
  • Dimensions : 10.15 x 0.6 x 8.55 inches

Top reviews from the United States

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This is the perfect book for those who believe a good burger depends more on fancy toppings to flavour it and not on the quality of ingredients that make up the "meat" of the finished food.

Does anyone remember, "Where's the beef?"

Before starting, the first question should be, "What about the beef?"

There's a difference between freshly ground sirloin and store-ground round with 30 percent fat just as there is a difference between "rare" and "well done" steaks. Sadly, this book doesn't begin with a lesson in good beef (from a cursory glance, neither do many other cookbooks). But, it has room for a brief history of 'Sutter Home Vineyards' and the origins of burger chains.

Apart from that, the recipes are interesting. An example of ingenuity is the 'Sauerbraten Burgers' with four ingredients for the topping, six ingredients for the wine basting sauce and 10 ingredients for the burger -- starting with "2 pounds ground beef". Good start. Now, is that 30 percent fat ground round? Or 7 percent fat? Surely not ground sirloin? If so, say so!

Or does it matter? Why the half cup of finely crushed gingersnaps? To add flavour, or to soak up excess fat? Building a better burger is somewhat like building a better house it's not just the quality of workmanship that matters. It also depends on the quality of materials a house built with 6-foot studs will be different, cheaper of course, than one built with 8-footers.

It's not that this is a "bad" book it's just that it would help greatly to provide a basic introduction to the best beef for burgers -- or lamb, turkey or any other main ingredient. Then explain the heat just as with pizzas, there's a vast difference between one cooked at 300 degrees and one done at 900 degrees.

That said . the list of ingredients and toppings is truly fascinating. Anyone who's learned to cook a perfect burger without "extras" will find this an invaluable guide to some truly delicious dining experiments and experiences.

But first: Learn the basics before you expect magic from "1 tbs Paul Pridhomme's Meat Magic Seasoning Blend'. Okay?


In Praise of Mediocrity

The pursuit of excellence has infiltrated and corrupted the world of leisure.

Mr. Wu is the author of “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads.”

I’m a little surprised by how many people tell me they have no hobbies. It may seem a small thing, but — at the risk of sounding grandiose — I see it as a sign of a civilization in decline. The idea of leisure, after all, is a hard-won achievement it presupposes that we have overcome the exigencies of brute survival. Yet here in the United States, the wealthiest country in history, we seem to have forgotten the importance of doing things solely because we enjoy them.

Yes, I know: We are all so very busy. Between work and family and social obligations, where are we supposed to find the time?

But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our “hobbies,” if that’s even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be.

If you’re a jogger, it is no longer enough to cruise around the block you’re training for the next marathon. If you’re a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following. When your identity is linked to your hobby — you’re a yogi, a surfer, a rock climber — you’d better be good at it, or else who are you?

Lost here is the gentle pursuit of a modest competence, the doing of something just because you enjoy it, not because you are good at it. Hobbies, let me remind you, are supposed to be something different from work. But alien values like “the pursuit of excellence” have crept into and corrupted what was once the realm of leisure, leaving little room for the true amateur. The population of our country now seems divided between the semipro hobbyists (some as devoted as Olympic athletes) and those who retreat into the passive, screeny leisure that is the signature of our technological moment.

I don’t deny that you can derive a lot of meaning from pursuing an activity at the highest level. I would never begrudge someone a lifetime devotion to a passion or an inborn talent. There are depths of experience that come with mastery. But there is also a real and pure joy, a sweet, childlike delight, that comes from just learning and trying to get better. Looking back, you will find that the best years of, say, scuba-diving or doing carpentry were those you spent on the learning curve, when there was exaltation in the mere act of doing.

In a way that we rarely appreciate, the demands of excellence are at war with what we call freedom. For to permit yourself to do only that which you are good at is to be trapped in a cage whose bars are not steel but self-judgment. Especially when it comes to physical pursuits, but also with many other endeavors, most of us will be truly excellent only at whatever we started doing in our teens. What if you decide in your 40s, as I have, that you want to learn to surf? What if you decide in your 60s that you want to learn to speak Italian? The expectation of excellence can be stultifying.

Liberty and equality are supposed to make possible the pursuit of happiness. It would be unfortunate if we were to protect the means only to neglect the end. A democracy, when it is working correctly, allows men and women to develop into free people but it falls to us as individuals to use that opportunity to find purpose, joy and contentment.

Lest this sound suspiciously like an elaborate plea for people to take more time off from work — well, yes. Though I’d like to put the suggestion more grandly: The promise of our civilization, the point of all our labor and technological progress, is to free us from the struggle for survival and to make room for higher pursuits. But demanding excellence in all that we do can undermine that it can threaten and even destroy freedom. It steals from us one of life’s greatest rewards — the simple pleasure of doing something you merely, but truly, enjoy.

Tim Wu (@superwuster) is a law professor at Columbia, the author of “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads” and a contributing opinion writer.


How long do dried beans last?

According to the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, "if stored properly in a cool, dry place, they have a minimum shelf life of one year, keeping indefinitely and withstanding harsh or tropical environments."

Time alone won't make beans go bad, per se, but they certainly won't taste the same. After 2&ndash3 years, the beans will start losing their nutritional value, and most naturally found vitamins will be gone within 5 years.

If you're unsure about when you bought the bag if beans in the back of pantry, they're probably safe to eat as long as they check out with these standards:

  • No signs of pantry bugs &mdash if weevils have made a home in your container or bag, it's time to throw it away.
  • No mold growth &mdash Pinto beans are usually a beige/tan color. So if you see mottled skin, dark spots or any visible traces of mold, you should toss them.
  • No unusual smells &mdash dried beans should not have a strong smell. If there's a rancid aroma when you open your bag of beans, this cold be a sign of molding, fermentation or pest droppings. Toss 'em!

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French officials perplexed by gold bars and coins found stashed in old house

The surprise discovery of three jam jars filled with gold bars and hundreds of gold coins in an old building marked for renovation has left a mountain community in eastern France perplexed and celebrating.

The mayor of Morez, a small industrial town in a picturesque valley in the Jura, said the value of the find was more than €600,000 (£520,000). Town hall staff first found three jam jars of gold bars and coins worth €500,000 at the back of a dusty shelf, then opened a safe hidden behind boxes in a wardrobe to find up to €150,000 in gold coins.

The mayor, Laurent Petit, said the three-storey building in the town centre had been lived in by four brothers and sisters without children. When the last died in his 90s last year a relative offered to sell the building to the town hall for €130,000. Morez, like many other towns in France, was seeking to buy up and renovate old buildings to attract families back to its emptying centre.

“The house was packed with objects and furniture,” Petit said. “There had been several generations who didn’t throw anything away, kept everything and lived really frugally. I agreed we’d buy the property as it was and we’d gradually empty its contents ourselves.”

When Covid-19 struck last spring and France was locked down, the east of France was heavily hit and plans for workers to tidy the building were put on hold. But Morez, near the Swiss border, had a glorious past as a historic manufacturing centre for clocks and spectacles and officials wanted to check if any items were of historic interest.

Senior staff, including the mayor, the head of services and the local museum head went in themselves. They followed social distancing rules, taking one floor each, and carefully sorted through boxes and cupboards.

“Three jars full of gold bars were sitting behind lots of other objects on a shelf,” the mayor said. “There was surprise and stupefaction. None of us had ever held a piece of gold. I’d only ever seen gold bars in photos, and thought they must be huge. But these were small, weighing 1kg and the size of a cigarette packet.”

The five gold bars and more than 1,000 gold coins were estimated to be worth €500,000.


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‘Aren’t our lives worth more?’: Daunte Wright mourned at Minneapolis funeral

Two days after the streets of Minneapolis filled with people celebrating the conviction of a former police officer for murdering George Floyd, the city held a funeral on Thursday for Daunte Wright, a young Black man shot dead by police during a traffic stop.

The killing of Wright, 20, two weeks ago by a police officer who said she mistook her gun for a Taser shocked a city still reeling from Floyd’s death and anxiously watching the trial of his killer, Derek Chauvin. The shooting of Wright, the father of a one-year-old boy, in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center sparked days of protests and led to dozens of arrests.

Wright’s white coffin was covered in red roses as hundreds of mourners, including Representative Ilhan Omar, whose district includes Minneapolis, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, paid respects at Shiloh Temple International Ministries.

The service began with gospel songs and prayers before Keyon Harrold, a renowned jazz trumpeter whose son was falsely accused by a white woman of stealing her phone in a New York hotel earlier this year, performed while an artist drew a likeness of Wright.

Wright’s mother, Katie, wept as she remembered her son.

“I never imagined I’d be standing here. The roles should be completely reversed. My son should be burying me,” she said.

Floyd’s relatives were among the mourners at the funeral as was the veteran civil rights leader the Rev Al Sharpton, who gave a eulogy that picked up on the competing claims for why Wright was stopped. The police said it was because the licence tags on his car had expired.

His mother, Katie, said her son called her and said he had been pulled over because he had an air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror, which is an offence in Minnesota.

Aubrey and Katie Wright receive a flag presented by Ilhan Omar during the funeral. Photograph: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

“We’ve come today as the air fresheners for Minnesota,” said Sharpton, who also gave the eulogy at Floyd’s funeral last year. “We’re trying to get the stench of police brutality out of the atmosphere. We’re trying to get the stench of racism out of the atmosphere. We’re trying to get the stench of racial profiling out of the atmosphere.

“We’ve come to Minnesota as air fresheners because your air is too odorous for us to breathe. We can’t breathe in your stinking air no more.”

When the police attempted to arrest Wright after the traffic stop on outstanding warrants, he tried to get back in his vehicle and leave. But he was unarmed and evidently not a threat.

A person raises their fist during the funeral for Daunte Wright. Photograph: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The police officer who shot him, Kim Potter, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after claiming she meant to reach for her Taser but instead fired her gun. Potter and Brooklyn Center’s police chief resigned after the shooting.

Ben Crump, the lawyer for the Wright and the Floyd families, led the mourners in a chant of “Daunte Wright’s life mattered”.

Crump turned to Minnesota’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, and said that he hoped the state would pursue “full justice”.

“Too often traffic stops end up as death sentences,” he said.

On Wednesday, the public paid respects to Wright who lay in an open casket dressed in a jean jacket decorated with red and green buttons, and blanketed with red roses.

Minnesota’s governor, Tim Walz, issued a proclamation calling for a statewide two minutes of silence at noon to remember Wright.


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