Sanity has returned and I am once again able to focus on my favourite subject, great food!

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics are over and have been deemed a success by most people, myself included, though being tropical-born, I’m not crazy about winter and, unfortunately, am not a true-blue (red?) hockey fan either. But I have to say, even the chickens were quiet during those few overtime minutes when we were all afraid to breathe, in case the puck went into the American fire instead of the Canadian frying pan.

So that’s my excuse for being absent from this blog for so long — way too many distractions! I return with a neat trick I learned by having lunch at Market Restaurant earlier this week. Market is New York uber-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vancouver outpost. I ordered the Soy Glazed Short Ribs with Apple – Jalapeno Purée and Rosemary Crumbs.

The meat was perfectly seasoned, tender and delicious. But what took it over the top wasn’t the apple – jalapeno puree, which, to be honest, was a little too mild; I expected more fire. But those rosemary crumbs. Wow! They sat in a little hillock just north of the meat, waiting to do their thing. Ribs are slow braised, and once they’re perfectly cooked, they become deeply flavoured, but while you’re blissing out on the flavour, you don’t expect much more than meaty velvet in the way of texture. Enter the crumbs. Dip a morsel of the rib in those crumbs and heaven happens. The happy intersection of tenderness and crunch is outstanding. And it occurred to me that this might be something you could do with any juicy but tender meat or seafood, for example pot roast, a simple wine-based beef stew, or even a mild-flavoured, tender grilled salmon (think pink). Serve the crumbs in a small dish alongside the main plate because the crunch will fade quickly in the presence of liquid. (more…)

He’s written cookbooks with Jean-George Vongerichten and been a personal friend for 15 years, says Mark Bittman, New York Times food writer and author of a number of best-selling cookbooks himself.

Vongerichten, one of New York’s best-known celebrity chefs, thrilled the Vancouver restaurant scene when he opened Market at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel last year, about the same time that another New York City culinary superstar, Daniel Boulud, opened DB Bistro Moderne where Lumiere used to be.

In the NY Times latest food section, Bittman offers up Vongerichten’s favourite fried rice recipe. featuring leeks, crispy fried shreds of fresh ginger and a sunny-side-up fried egg. “It’s the straightforward but extremely clever refinements on the classic that make his recipe special,” says Bittman.