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Here's a couple more lenten favorites from the cooks in today's Buffalo News story. The vegan spinach and leek pie, or spanakopita, is made with olive oil instead of butter and replaces the cheese with rice.From Egypt, there's mousakka - not like the Greek version with its ground meat and bechamel sauce, but a simpler combination of eggplant, tomato, green p…

Dan and Jane Oles run Oles Farm in Alden, home to a community supported agriculture project, or CSA, also known as a subscription farm. People pay one price before the growing season for a share in the Oles' work, an increasingly popular way to get a season's worth of fresh vegetables while supporting local farms directly.The Oles will be talking about their effo…

A pasture-raised Old Spot hog will be the guest of honor Monday night at a dinner celebrating its tastiness in myriad ways. Raised at T-Meadow Farm in Lockport - suppliers of heritage pork to Manhattan's finest restaurants - the Old Spots are renowned for their rich flavor. Held at Bistro Europa, 484 Delaware Ave., the dinner will combine the work of host Chef Steve…

Food and Drink

I have probably eaten more than my share of pastelillos, the deep-fried Puerto Rican turnover usually stuffed with seasoned ground beef and cheese. When a friend told me about TiTi Cafela's, which I reviewed in today's Cheap Eats column, he made sure to mention the curry chicken pastelillo he found there.He also mentioned that the place had no problem serving his…

The annual celebration of beer and food starts at 6 p.m. in the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center.In its fourth year, the event has grown to include dozens of beers and their makers, tastings from local restaurants, and live music.Bring your growler for a fill-up, learn more about brewing your own at one of the educational displays, and help raise money for the NACC, locate…

Here's a recipe from "Chocolates and Confections," the step-by-step candy-making treatise authored by Culinary Institute of America instructor Peter Greweling that's reviewed in today's Buffalo News. You can use either fruit puree, using the freshest fruit you can find, or fruit juice to flavor these chewy treats. Pectin Jellies MAKES ONE 9-INCH SQ…

Here's a recipe from "Chocolates and Confections," the step-by-step candy-making treatise authored by Culinary Institute of America instructor Peter Greweling. The formation of rock candy is an exercise in crystal formation, so it might be especially impressive for young science geeks.Rock CandyMakes 6 PiecesRock candy is simple and fun to make. The longer y…

With Western New York's Spring Restaurant Week just two weeks away, it's not too late for local restaurants to take part, said organizer Vince McConeghy.About 125 restaurants have already confirmed, but there's room for more to join the promotional effort, he said. If you have a locally owned eatery and want to join, go to the Western New York Restaurant Wee…

People planning to start a food cooperative in East Aurora are gathering on Feb. 28 to talk about the possibilities.The event will feature a screening of "Food, Inc.," a documentary about the food industry in the United States, and how the nation’s food supply has come to be controlled by “a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, …

If you were ever forced to buy a "meal plan" as the price of freshman education, you might well get a lump in your throat reading Ratty Gourmet.Twin sisters at Brown University use their blog to offer gourmet cooking and eating suggestions like Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Nutella S'mores, and Roast Turkey Cranberry Paninis. Nothing that unusual, except all …

Food and Drink

Curry chicken with basmati rice, a reasonable $5 at Somali Star.Grant Street runs through neighborhoods that are home to much of Buffalo's Somali community, and a fair amount of Puerto Rican people.So I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to find a Somali-Puerto Rican restaurant, Somali Star, at 139 Grant St. (Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., 931-0478)If it's not the…

Food and Drink

Jennifer Szustakowski and Tony Concialdi enjoy their just desserts after taking the Nickel City Cake Challenge. (News Photo by Harry Scull Jr.)Tony Concialdi III of Panaro's triumphed in the Nickel City Cake competition Saturday, playing off the "Wedding in Buffalo" theme an homage to blue-collar receptions more at home in VFW halls than hotel ballrooms.Hi…

Barbara Jezioro, the News Cook of the Month, serves these vegetable side dishes with her version of chicken in wine sauce. The chicken dish is best made the day ahead and refrigerated in its sauce, but these green beans and potatoes should be whipped up just before serving.Baby Red Potatoes with ParsleyAbout 7  small red potatoes per person2  ½  tablespoons …

Last year's season sold out in days, so if you want to catch one of Buffalo's homegrown cooking competition events in person, now's the time. It's $35 a person, which gets you a cocktail from the cash bar and catered appetizers as you watch the melee. A Nickel City Chef, from the "home team," so to speak, has 60 minutes to outdo another area …

Four Niagara County Community College culinary students are in Schenectady today representing the Buffalo area at the New York State qualifier for a student-level Iron Chef-type competition.Representing the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation, Amanda Vizcarra of Gasport, Christy Zippier of Grand Island, Greg Madole of Lockport and Nathan Gatti of Williamsvill…