What Are You Printing For Dinner?

3d printed food

Peter Callahan, a celebrity caterer credited by Martha Stewart with inventing the bite-sized slider, bought his first 3-D plastics printer two years ago to wow guests at a holiday party. Today, he has his sights trained on printing the food itself. He imagined drumsticks with edible bones; could they be made of celery? Blue cheese? Hot sauce? Callahan already makes an edible cracker spoon to use with caviar, but he envisions an entire line of cutlery, plates and menus that could be printed and consumed at parties. He sees mini-milk cartons made of chocolate and Asian-style takeout boxes formed from wontons.

“People like new,” he says. But when it comes to food, most of us still cook like cavemen, over fire. Kitchens are “the most primitive thing in our house,” says Hod Lipson, an Israeli engineering professor at Columbia University, who was a pioneer in the field of 3D printing, and food printing in particular. But soon, Lipson claims, we’ll be able to download and print dinner.

Food printers use powders (mostly sugar) or pastes (cooked or uncooked pureed meat, vegetables, grains). The most advanced models have multiple syringes, like printer cartridges, each containing a different ingredient. The syringes extrude the ingredients layer by layer, allowing the printers to build elaborate, computer-generated shapes that would be difficult, if not impossible, to shape by hand or mold. Currently, the food needs to be cooked either before or after printing. But scientists, including Lipson, are working on a printer that cooks as it prints.

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For the Forager or Francophile, a Dandelion Salad

Dandelions’ sawtooth leaves bring a pleasant bitterness to the table, and make for a great salad. They’re best picked when tender, before the plant blooms, and they can be served raw or cooked.  Larger leaves may be sautéed, stir-fried or stewed with olive oil.  However, the dandelion is usually overshadowed by spring foods such as green garlic, asparagus, sorrel and rhubarb.

Dandelions grow everywhere so that foragers (searchers for wild food resources) are in luck.  The dandelions should be picked before they begin to flower.  Also, the forager should make sure that the leaves have not been treated with toxic chemicals.

Cultivated and wild, fresh-picked dandelion greens are being sold at farmers’ markets.  A long-leaved variety is also sold at supermarkets; these need to be trimmed as the top eight inches are best for salad.

A dandelion salad takes only 20 minutes to prepare and may include ingredients such as garlic cloves, grated ginger, lime juice, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, olive oil, beets, baguette slices, goat cheese, dandelion greens and eggs (the beets can be cooked and peeled up to two days ahead).  One version of the salad is modeled after a classic French recipe.

Nutritionists and science have shown that the dandelion is a green that’s good for you, and high in vitamins A and C.  Interestingly, the leaf was well known as a folk medicine cure-all, in the past.  Maybe dandelions could become the new kale?

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It’s Dinner: But Is It Cooking?

What is a meal kit?  A meal kit includes all of the ingredients and recipes to make delicious meals at home.  More than one hundred companies now offer to do the planning, shopping, and prepping, leaving the joy of cooking, and eating, to you.  The United States meal market could grow by as much as five billion dollars over the next decade.

Meal kits are regarded by some as a positive development in cooking culture.  The kits provide ideas and eliminate the need to decide “what’s for dinner?”.  Feedback from customers, especially millennials, is that these kits are teaching them how to cook, so they can feel involved in the kitchen,

Blue Apron is one of the leaders in this category, and the company offers a subscription service with: original recipes weekly (500-800 calories per serving), fresh ingredients (pre-measured to avoid waste) and convenient delivery across the nation (arriving in a refrigerated box).  As a pricing example, Blue Apron offers a 2-Person Plan including 3 recipes per week for a total of $59.94 ($9.99 per serving) or a Family Plan for 4 including 2 recipes per week for a total of $69.92 ($8.74 per serving).

A price point of $9-$10 per meal is a lot of money for most people.  However, some believe the kits are worth the time saved driving/walking to the store and shopping.

The meal kit market gets very specialized at a point.  Fans of Northern California cuisine and chefs can join Sun Basket, and enthusiasts of Georgia farmers and Southern chefs may subscribe to PeachDish.

Meal kits might help to cut down on food waste through pre-portioned ingredients.  According to an estimate by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up to thirty-one percent of America’s post-harvest food supply is thrown away.

One complaint about the kits is that too much packaging is used, and besides current recycling methods, there is a hope that one day the insulation will be compostable.

As far as home-cooking trends are concerned, meal kits are at the forefront.  How much staying power will they have?  Time will tell…

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Lucy’s Whey to Open Third Location: Upper East Side

The artisanal cheese movement continues in Manhattan, with popular cheesemonger Lucy’s Whey opening their third shop. The newest, to open at 1417 Lexington Avenue, at East 93rd Street, follows the Chelsea Market and East Hampton location. This location will have expanded offerings and include a café.

Read the full story here.

BKLYN LARDER: SPECIALTY AND PREPARED FOODS MARKET

228 Flatbush Avenue at Bergen Street (Prospect Heights) • 718.783.1250

bklyn larder 3

BKLYN Larder

Their Success…creating multiple revenue streams under one roof in a way that feels cohesive, organized, and inviting.  Walking into BKLYN Larder, a food lover will feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store.  And while there is literally candy (as well as chocolate, ice cream, and other sweets) all around, the store also contains a variety of crackers, pickles, meats, cheeses, and snacks, as well as a prepared foods bar and sandwiches made-to-order.  In addition, BKLYN Larder caters for holidays, parties, and meetings.   All these different business models could overwhelm a small space, but instead they work together in harmony to create an enterprise that is simultaneously bustling and intimate.

What makes this multiple revenue stream enterprise work is, first and foremost, the clear vision driving each component.   Since its opening in 2009, BKLYN Larder, from the owners of nearby Franny’s, has sought to be the go-to market for sustainable, local, homemade specialty food.  That ethos shines through in each piece of the market—from the traditionally-made cheeses, to the Mast Brothers chocolate bars, to the homemade pastries and prepared foods.

It is this vision that really helps BKLYN Larder create a synergy between its revenue streams. The vintage feel of an old-school market saturates the enterprise, harkening back to an era when the neighborhood market was the go-to place for foods of all kinds, be it a sandwich for lunch, a turkey for your holiday table, or the perfect basket of treats for a special gift.

Secondly, BKLYN Larder succeeds because the owners have kept each piece relatively simple.  They have a carefully chosen selection of prepared foods, pastries, and sandwiches, a straightforward catering menu, and a well-curated assortment of specialty items.  The store layout is likewise simple, so that guests are able to move through the enterprise freely and see each component easily against the minimalist design aesthetic.

BKLYN Larder is a model for making multiple revenue streams not only work, but work in a way that adds to its overall concept and charm.

Take Aways…When creating an enterprise with multiple revenue streams, keep in mind the vision for your enterprise and how each piece fits into that vision.  Make sure that each piece adds to your vision in some way other than additional revenue.  Each revenue stream should also enhance your overall concept.  Furthermore, it should be simple enough in its execution to keep it from overwhelming your operations and service flow.

Major specialty food service distributor expand operations in The Bronx

The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc., a specialty food service distributor, recently signed a long-term lease for up to 35 years for 234,000 square feet of space. The expansion will add 100 new jobs to the New York City area– increasing the 313 employees they currently have at Dairyland USA Corporation, a subsidiary of The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc, to 413 in total over the next 5 years.
The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. plans to invest between $15 million and $20 million in renovating new and unused space

Haven’s Kitchen August Supper Club on Tuesday, August 14th

This month Haven’s Kitchen welcomes Seamus Mullen, Hero Food author and Chef and Owner of Tertulia, and Chef Lior Lev Sercarz, Proprietor of La Boîte á Epice. An evening that will start with cocktails, canapés, and conversation in the teaching kitchen. After informative conversations, you’ll enjoy an intimate dining room for a heroically delicious, spiced-to-perfection dinner served with hand-selected wine pairings.
Get your tickets now