Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, January 31

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Event Sat Oct 18 2008

Bon Appetit at The Spice House

If there's ever a good time to run out of cumin and cardamom, my friend found it this week: on Wednesday she visited The Spice House Web site to look up their address (1512 N. Wells St.), and noticed a free event the following night featuring Bon Appétit Editor Barbara Fairchild, plus free food and wine.

Even better, she invited me.

Fairchild was on hand to sign copies of the brand new Bon Appétit cookbook, Fast Easy Fresh, which features 1,100 quick dishes for everynight cooking from the magazine's popular column of the same name. I'm in the midst of a self-imposed moratorium on buying cookbooks (the shelf I keep them on is sagging under their weight), but I'll admit I had to wrestle with my inner junkie to resist picking up a copy, because the dishes on the tasting menu were every bit the embodiment of the book's alluring title.

Spice House staff used the recipes in the book -- and their own stash of spices, of course -- to prepare Bourbon Molasses Chicken, Beef Tenderloin with Wasabi Garlic Cream, Moroccan Shrimp, Pumpkin Soup, Chocolate Macaroons, and Pumpkin Raisin Bar. Everything was delicious, but the shrimp, soup and macaroons were standouts. The sweet shrimp were set off by a lovely Moroccan spice blend and a dash of crushed peanuts. The macaroons were everything a macaroon should be: sweet and crispy on the outside, but ultimately chewy with a hint of salt.

The pumpkin soup deserves its own paragraph. I'm a lover of squash soups, but they often have a bit too much pulp about their consistency. The cream in this one not only gave the soup a lovely mouth feel, but its sweet pumpkin-pie-like flavor was set off perfectly by a garnish of savory sauteed mushrooms.

If I cave and buy this book at Borders, the pumpkin soup will be to blame.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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