Grill has new chef
The Nickel City Grill at Harborplace has a new executive chef: Samuel "Bud" Boswell, a graduate and teaching alumnus of Baltimore International Culinary College. Mr. Boswell is originally from San Antonio, Texas, where his family has been in the restaurant business since 1900. He jokes that his career has run backwards; he had 17 years experience in the cooking business before he entered the culinary college. He once owned a Southwestern-style restaurant in Dallas.
Many of his staff come from BICC, and he plans to introduce to the grill an "extern" program, through which BICC students can get six to nine months of on-the-job training.
Mr. Boswell also has altered the Grill's menu to feature Maryland-style grilled food, with special emphasis on seafood. This winter, he plans to move to a slightly fancier, more classically styled menu.
If the world is your oyster, culinarily speaking, the time has come to share the bounty with fellow Americans in the 13th annual National Oyster Cook-off. Recipes are due by Aug. 13 for the event, which will take place on Oct. 17 at the St. Mary's County Oyster Festival in Leonardtown.
Cash prizes of $125, $80 and $55 will be awarded to the top three finalists in each of these categories: Hors d'oeuvres; soups and stews; main dishes; outdoor cookery; and salads. Winners will compete for the national title and a grand prize of $1,000.
For a copy of the rules, write Oyster Cook-off, Attention: DECD, P.O. Box 653, Leonardtown, Md. 20650. You can also write to that address, enclosing a $3 check or money order payable to National Oyster Cook-off, for a copy of the 12th annual National Oyster Cook-off cookbook, with 41 award-winning recipes.
Last year's Grand Prize recipe was from Wolf Hanau of North Miami, Fla., for an entry in the salad category. Here it is:
Cress and spinach salad with sauteed oysters and cabernet vinaigrette
20 fresh oysters
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1 bunch watercress
4 large mushroom caps, thinly sliced
4 scallions, sliced into thin rounds
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups "Italian style" seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 strips lean bacon, fried until crunchy, then crumbled
cabernet vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Wash and clean the three greens and tear into large pieces. Place equal amounts of mixed greens on four chilled plates. Clean and slice the mushrooms and arrange around and on top of greens. Dip oysters into frothy egg whites and roll in seasoned breadcrumbs. Saute in hot olive oil, turning once, until golden brown outside. Remove oysters and pat dry on paper towels. Place on top of the salad, dress with vinaigrette, and garnish with scallion rounds and bacon crumbs. Serve immediately.
Makes about 1 cup.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons cabernet sauvignon
6 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sour cream
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and sugar to taste
In a blender of food processor, blend all ingredients, except seasonings, until emulsified. Add seasonings to taste.
Author has a big beef
Environmental activist Jeremy Rifkin, author of "Beyond Beef, The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Industry" (Dutton, $21), has launched an international campaign to reduce beef consumption.
"We're going after the cattlemen," Mr. Rifkin told the Dallas Morning News. "We're going after the beef industry and the grain cartel . . . I don't think for a minute it's going to be easy."
Mr. Rifkin, never noted for the temperance of his discourse, calls cattle "one of the major environmental problems on the planet ahead of automobiles."
"People don't realize that there are 1.3 billion cows out there," he told the Dallas paper. "Cows take up over 25 percent of the whole land surface. They weigh more than the human race. They eat 900 pounds of vegetation every 30 days . . . They're gorgeous animals, but there are too many of them."
He has four major, er, beefs with cattle:
First, he says, cattle are a major factor in deforestation, as priceless rain forests are systematically destroyed to create pasture land.
Second, he says, when cattle are corralled in mega-feedlots, they contribute to water pollution.
Cattle also have a role in water depletion, he says: "In California, it takes 2,200 gallons to produce one pound of steak."
And finally, there's the notion that cow flatulence contributes to global warming. "I know it's been a source of amusement to people about methane," he told the Dallas paper, but it has to be taken seriously. The EPA says that ruminant animals -- cattle and other livestock -- account for 100 million tons of methane globally a year. That's 20 percent of all the methane and about 2 to 3 percent of all global warming."
But the first target of the "Beyond Beef" campaign is consumers' health. "The American public knows that saturated animal fat -- with beef being the premier animal fat -- is a leading contributing factor to heart disease, breast and colon cancer and stroke," Mr. Rifkin says. "Beyond Beef" aims to cut Americans' beef consumption in half and replace it with grains, fruits and vegetables.