A Happy Halloween
After a team member’s child ended up in the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai one Halloween, the nurses & doctors strolling the halls dressed for the occasion helped buoy flagging spirits. Recognizing the positive impact the festivities contributed, we have made it our mission to be a part of the day on our own terms.
For more than 15 years, Classic team members (pictured) have arrived for the young patients with costumes and treats. It’s a favorite tradition around here, a unique and humbling experience allowing us to dress up, be silly and for those few hours let the kids be kids (or superheroes, even though they’re superheroes every day). It makes our day to see the children enjoying the sweets, and occasionally special guests, Batman & Robin, have been known to make cameo appearances
In years past, we’ve had to alter the celebration due to Covid protocols but we are grateful to continue the tradition of providing treats for patients, families and staff.
Vote for Classic!
Thanks to you, our team members and vendors, we have been nominated again for Best Caterer AND Best Crab Cake in the Baltimore Style Readers’ Choice Awards for 2022! We’d love your support – click here to vote for all of your Baltimore favorites! Voting ends on October 8th.
Fun Find: Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
Styrian pumpkin seed oil has been produced in Austria since the 1700’s. The pumpkin was originally imported to Europe from the Americas and the seed extraction from the Cucurbita pepo was laborious because the original pumpkin seed had a cover which slowed down production. Thus, Styrian pumpkin seed oil was considered valuable and reserved mostly for medicinal purposes. Experimentation and achance mutation in the mid 20th century led to the current orange pumpkin with a dark forest green band and hull less seeds inside and Styrian pumpkin seed oil became a beloved pantry staple in the Austrian kitchen, earning the nickname “green gold”, both for its rich flavor and its boost to the local economy.
The dark green oil is so dark that at first it looks black. But as it settles, its green hue creates great visual contrast on the plate. The oil partners brilliantly with most salads, dressings, and spreads and is a perfect garnish for butternut squash soup. Or try Amy Sherman’s recipe of toast with parsley mint salad in her book Salad for President for an easy taste of the Styrian oil’s versatility. While high heat cooking is to be avoided, the oil can be added last minute to scrambled eggs or warm potato salad. It also adds nuanced flavor to baked goods. Think olive oil cake, but with Stryian pumpkin seed oil. And it is rich in antioxidants, essential Omega-3, and Omega-6—so a bowl of vanilla ice cream laced with the oil might be considered a healthy choice!
For those born in the Mid-Atlantic States or New England, the dwindling sunlight is a harbinger of cool mornings and turning leaves. Soon, our yards will be layered with fall colors. Leaf peeping is a popular past-time in the States, and also in the parks and mountainsides of Japan. The Japanese took their love of this fleeting moment of beauty one step further by creating a culinary tribute to this soulful experience, and literally consuming it. Momiji, or 紅葉, is what this treat is known as today, or “maple tree”. Interestingly, the kanji, the Japanese characters, that momiji is comprised of means “to become crimson-leaved”; in short, the word choice emphasizes the transient beauty of the maple leaf, and the autumn season overall.
It is rumored that 1300 years ago, a traveler was so moved by the splendid sight of the cascading maple leaves, he wanted to eat and share them with fellow travelers. Sometime in the Edo period (1603-1868), the concept of frying food in oil was introduced by Spanish and Portuguese missionaries, and the dish evolved into maple leaf tempura, a seasonal treat that locals and tourists of the Osaka region still enjoy to this day. Most recipes call for the neutral-tasting leaves to be preserved in salt for up to a year, washed, and then fried in a sweet sesame batter. Modern travelers visiting Osaka can find the fried maple leaves packaged like chips, and seasoned with green tea dust, kinako (roasted soy flour), or spicy shichimi. They might also be spotted leaving on trains alongside an iconic fall omiyage, a souvenir gift for friends who may have missed the incomparable autumnal display.
Harriet’s Reading Picks: Tastes of Aubrac, Sebastien BrasSebastien Bras’ The Tastes of Aubrac is a perfect cookbook even if most readers will never attempt to produce the 40 selected recipes. Visually stunning and beautifully written, the tome illuminates the four cornerstones of Sebastien Bras’s life: family, friendship, Aubrac, and cooking. The book is divided into four sections: white, green, yellow and red. Each color represents a different season and contains narratives about family, tools, activity, memory, travel, ingredients, producers, people; and always ends with Aubrac. Peek into any of these seemingly quotidian titles and the everyday reaches toward unpretentious perfection—almost mystical—as the family’s narrative, dedication, and brilliance is revealed.
The evocative writing in the seasons sections creates four distinctive moods. The winding nature of the travel part chronicles the chef’s expanding horizons and inspirations for new dishes and directions; the tool section exemplifies the Bras family’s originality and delight in their art. The tales of the tools read like an adventure story: the hedgehog, invented by the family to craft liqueur bonbons; the miwam mould, based on the taiyake: a Japanese sea bream-shaped waffle mold; and the potato gouttière to make the iconic potato waffle dessert. But the standout tool anecdote recounts the history of the cooking probe passed from Meme Bras, to her son, Michel Bras, to his son, Sebastien Bras himself; Sebastien likens it to a magic wand. Even though many kitchens now rely on digital probes, he prefers the power of his instincts and his lineage. The ingredient section takes the reader on a romp through new fields to learn about Lady’s bedstraw and Bald Money; and lastly the chef’s love and respect for family and community is graciously rendered within the family, people, and producer section.
The Tastes of Aubrac is an exceptional book. Beautiful, peaceful, inspiring and intelligent. Sebastien’s deep respect for the past informed his choices and taught him about work and generosity. As he looks to the future, always desiring to reach higher, he consistently acknowledges his roots. He studies the world, internally and externally, and seeks to cook what he sees. He believes that “cooking is giving what you have.”
Chef Parker Greene
As a kid heading into fall, our family would always make masala chai. It is a milky, sweet, spice- filled black tea preparation from India. It is a great way to kick off the colder seasons and something to warm you up on those crisp fall days. Today, it is something I prepare every fall, when the leaves change, and the temperature cools down. It is one of the drinks that makes me nostalgic and gives me a cozy feeling every time I drink it.
|Serves 8 – 10|
6-8 cloves, course ground
8 green cardamom pods, ground
1 cinnamon stick, about 1 inch long, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground fennel
6 teaspoon tea leaves (black or green)
5 cups milk
6 ¼ cups water
¾ cups sugar or to taste
MethodPrepare spices; can be ground in spice grinder, small blender or broken down with a mortar and pestle.
Bring the 6 ¼ cups of water to a boil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add all of the spices and boil for about 2 minutes over medium high heat.
Add tea leaves and boil for another minute. Then reduce heat and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Pour in the milk and return to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 more minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Strain through a fine strainer into cups or mugs and serve hot.
Click here to print the recipe.