Chef Marcela Valladolid Makes Mexican Easy

A Taste of Mexico with Marcela Valladolid
Greg Rice

Good news for home cooks everywhere: Now you can have a celebrity chef in your kitchen every night with chef, author, and tv personality Marcela Valladolid's delicious new line of products, Marcela Valladolid for Safeway!

"I grew up in Mexico," Valladolid said. "I know what Mexican food is and I know what it isn’t. Marcela Valladolid for Safeway helps home cooks get a real taste of Mexico.”

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Top Chef Boston Contestants Announced

Bravo has released the names of the chef-testants for the next season of Top Chef filming in Boston. Local girl Stacy Cogswell, who is the Exec Chef at the Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner, is sure to be a fan favorite. Cogswell kept her particiaption a secret by telling family and friends she was traveling through Europe during filming.  “They’re going to be really upset with me,” she told the Boston Globe, knowing that her extended family in Quincy would soon be hearing the news.


Bravo described this season as one of the most exciting yet.

"This season features some of the franchise's "hungriest" chefs battling it out against the backdrop of Bean Town's flourishing culinary scene. The chefs will go knife-to-knife at iconic Boston locales including Fenway Park, Plimoth Plantation and The Bull and Finch Pub, which served as the inspiration for "Cheers" and where exterior shots for the show were filmed. Mirroring Boston's own rich history, Season 12 is full of firsts, including the first meal ever served on the field underneath the Green Monster, a challenge using only ingredients that would have been on hand at the first Thanksgiving meal, the first "Top Chef" food festival and the first fan appreciation challenge where fans of the show were invited to dine inside the "Top Chef" kitchen. The show will also feature a challenge highlighting Boston's finest from the police and fire departments."


Bravo also let it slip that Top Chef All Stars winner Richard Blaiswill join Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Hugh Acheson as a recurring judge and chef mentor. Also slated to appear in the series are celebs Emmy Rossum, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, MLB Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley, Jacques Pepin, “Cheers” actor George Wendt (which is totally awesome in our opinion), “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen (who went to Boston University), and local chefs such as Ken Oringer, Todd English, Barbara Lynch, Jasper White, Ming Tsai  and Jamie Bissonette.


Here's a sneak peek of what the season has in store. 


Here’s the full list of “Top Chef Boston” contestants:

Doug Adams, 29, Portland, Ore.

Stacy Cogswell, 33, Boston

Joy Crump, 46, Fredericksburg, Va.

Ron Eyester, 40, Atlanta

Gregory Gourdet, 39, Portland, Ore.

Aaron Grissom, 27, Los Angeles

Adam Harvey, 29, New York

Melissa King, 30, San Francisco

Rebecca LaMalfa, 32, Chicago

Mei Lin, 28, Los Angeles

George Pagonis, 31, Washington, D.C.

Michael Patlazhan, 31, Brooklyn, N.Y.

James Rigato, 29, White Lake, Mich.

Katsuji Tanabe, 33, Los Angeles

Keriann Von Raesfeld, 28, San Jose, Calif.

Katie Weinner, 35, Salt Lake City


Food Trend: Eating Insects

Eating Insects

Dining on InsectsGrasshoppers. Crickets. Beatles. Sounds delicious, right? While these every day insects and animals may not sound appealing on your dinner menu, more and more restaurants are making them a mainstay.


Last year, a team of students at McGill University won the 2013 Hult Prize, and a $1 million dollar start up prize, for their insect-based business pitch. Power Flour, they say, will feed millions of malnourished around the world.


“It’s a huge deal because we had a very ambitious but highly executable five-year plan in place,” said team captain Mohammed Ashour, whose team hails from McGill University in Montreal. “So winning this prize is a great step in that direction.”


Crickets that will eventually be ground up to produce Power Flour.

Crickets that will eventually be ground up to produce Power Flour.

Since the kinds of insects people consume from country to country varies, think weevils in, caterpillars in Botswana, caterpillars, Power Flour will vary ingredients according to the breeding cycles and nutritional profile of each culture.



Chapul: The Original Cricket Energy Bar

Shark Tank fans might remember an energy bar called Chapul. The Original Cricket Bar is made with protein from cricket flour. “For centuries, human civilizations have rightly considered insects an excellent, plentiful and resource-efficient source of protein,” the brand says. “Even today, 80 percent of the world’s people regularly munch edible insects as part of their normal diets – chapulines in Mexico, stir-fried red tree ants in Cambodia, inago (grasshoppers) and hachinoko (bee larvae) in Japan and casu marzu in Italy. And with good reason &mdash eating insects provides an incredibly rich source of protein, iron and omega-3 acids and are very low in cholesterols and fat.” Flavor varieties of the Chapul bar range from dark chocolate, peanut butter and coconut. All with cricket flour as the main ingredient.


Julian Medina would testify to that fact. The chef runs and operates Manhattan’s popular Toloache, Toloache 50 and Toloache Thompson restaurants. “Yes grasshoppers in Mexico are consider a snack, you can eat them in a taco, quesadilla, or however you prefer, you grow up eating the bugs, at least I did!”


Medina wanted to bring a bit of his heritage to the Toloache menus. So, he developed a recipe for grasshopper tacos. “Because I grew up eating them, so I though that New Yorkers should be able to taste what I grew up with, plus as a Mexican I want to give my customers authentic flavors of Mexico.”


The grasshoppers, he says, are full of proten and 100 percent organic. And while there is no set way to cook them, he likens them to a popular American snack.


The Grasshopper Tacos at Toloache.


“In Mexico we don’t have a rule how to prepare them, people just fry them with chiles and garlic and you eat them as a popcorn, you can sprinkle on a Tlayuda or quesadilla, at Toloache I make a taco, I sautéed them with jalapeños and onion, guacamole and salsa verde with handmade corn tortillas.”


What do you think? Would you ever eat insects?



NYC Food: SPYGLASS by David Burke

Spyglass Rooftop Bar


Reviewed by: Fabiana Santana

Archer Hotel
47 W. 38th Street (Between Fifth and Sixth avenues)
New York, NY

See map: Google Maps


Opening Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Price: $$$

More About Spyglass Rooftop Bar:

High atop the Archer hotel, Spyglass Rooftop Bar draws upon the bygone era of the fab '40s and '50s. Spyglass is a looker. In both views and decor. Panoramic views of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings make this an elevated happy hour that can't be beat. Especially when you're gazing at them from purple leather bar stools set against a chic bar with hanging circular crystal lights overhead.

The menu is courtesy of David Burke's fabrick down below (on the first floor). Signature sips like the Empire State - made with Hendricks gin, St. Germaine ginger, and basil - and the Top of the World  - a mix of aperol, watermelon, St. Germain, prosecco,  make it just as fun to hang out here as it is to be seen hanging out here.


Friday the 13th-Inspired Cocktails

You may want to steer clear of black cats this Friday. For the first time since 2000, Friday the 13th and a full moon will happen on the same day. Not only is the moon going to be a full one, it will be a rare Honey Moon.  National Geographic explains that " The amber colors are due to the scattering of longer wavelengths of light by dust and pollution in our atmosphere." It happens "with the sun's path across the sky at its highest during this month of the summer solstice, the moon is at its lowest, which keeps the lunar orb close to the horizon and makes it appear more amber than other full moons this year."

Your first chance at catching a glimpse is at 12:13AM EDT on Friday morning when it reaches its full moon phase, but your best chance will be early evening when it shines the brightest. To get you ready for the full moon fete, our fave tequila brand Sauza came up with a few Friday the 13th inspired cocktails to celebrate with!

Midnight Moon Margarita

Midnight Moon Margarita

  • 1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • 4 parts sparkling blackberry soda
  • ¼ cup fresh blackberries
  • ¾ part fresh lime juice
  • ¼ part simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge (for garnish)

Preparation: Place 2-3 whole blackberries in your glass. In a blender, puree the rest of the fresh blackberries with lime juice and simple syrup. Strain into a cocktail shaker, add the Tequila and ice and shake to chill. Pour your glass ⅓ full with the blackberry-lime-tequila mixture. Top with chilled blackberry soda. Garnish glass with a lime wedge. Salud!

Lucky 13

Lucky 13

  • 1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ¼ part DeKuyper® Pomegranate Liqueur
  • ¼ part JDK & Sons™ O3 Premium Orange Liqueur
  • 3 parts pomegranate juice
  • 1 part coconut water
  • ½ part lemon juice
  • ¼ tbsp. sugar (to rim glasses)
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish
  • Pomegranate seeds

Preparation: Rim your glass by running a lime wedge around the rim and dipping in sugar. In a shaker filled with ice, combine pomegranate juice, coconut water, tequila, liquors and lemon juice. Shake and pour into prepared glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and 13 fresh pomegranate seeds.

Superstitious Sipper

Superstitious Sipper

  • 1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ lime
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • 2 sage leaves (plus more for garnish)
  • Soda water
  • Cucumber slice (for garnish)

Preparation: Muddle together sage and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Squeeze in juice from half a lime, add tequila and ice. Stir and pour into glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a sage leaf and cucumber slice.