Monthly Archives: November 2012

Mamma Agata Cooking School at the International Culinary Center

Along the Amalfi Coast

It’s a bit unfair, I know, to start off a post with a photo depicting a place as lovely and serene as the Amalfi Coast in Italy just as another winter storm is set to hit our area.  It really is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever been to in my travels.  This isn’t just because of the gorgeous, colorful scenery.  The food of this area is also incredibly delicious.  While the dishes might seem to be simple to make, the key is the amazing quality of the ingredients and the artistry with which they are put together.  This was all brought back to me during the weekend before Thanksgiving, when I was able to assist Chiara and Gennaro Lima of Mamma Agata’s Cooking School “The Hidden Treasure” during their culinary demonstrations at the International Culinary Center.

Adding in the green olives to the sauce

As a culinary student, I sometimes volunteer to help out when there are guest chefs cooking at the school.  Depending upon the program, we prepare the food in one of the kitchens that isn’t being used for a class or in the one to the side of the auditorium.  When I arrived to start my shift, another student was also there prepping for the evening’s demonstration.  I introduced myself to Chiara and Gennaro in Italian and asked how I could help out.  Chiara was so excited that I spoke their language (Her English is fluent, but it is easier for Gennaro to communicate culinary instructions in Italian.), that she set me to work right away working with her husband to get everything ready for the evening’s event.

Sauce for the Farmers’ Spaghetti

From the minute I first stepped into the kitchen, it was evident how much passion this couple has for the food of Italy and of the flavors of Amalfi Coast.  The aromas coming from the pots simmering away on the stovetop were rich and intoxicating.  The tart-tangy fragrance of the tomato sauce layered with the briny-meaty smell of the olives and capers combined with the earthy perfume of oregano enveloped the kitchen and the surrounding hallways in a warm, sunny Mediterranean hug.  More than a few staff members and chef instructors passed by our door, peeking in to see what was going on, drawn in by the enticing odors.

Plate of Farmers’ Spaghetti (Spaghetti del Contadino)

During the demonstration, Chiara and Gennaro talked about their cooking school, named after her mother, who was a well-known chef cooking for many celebrities and film personalities who vacationed along the Amalfi Coast.  They also gave out to the audience plates of this deep, intensely-flavored sauce wrapped around ribbons of artisan-made spaghetti from Italy, topped with a little fresh arugula for a peppery snap, and dressed with some of the olive oil that is made from the harvest of their own groves.

Gennaro making Eggplant ParmesanGennaro making the Eggplant Parmesan

Another of the dishes that the attendees of the demonstrations sampled was the Eggplant Parmesan that we put together in advance of the presentation.  The eggplants they prefer to use are the thin, Japanese-style ones, but really the key is to make this recipe when the vegetable is in season, otherwise they are more bitter and take extra care to prepare them.  As Chiara cautioned me, “Mai usare queste fuori stagione,” (“Don’t use them out of season.”).  This conversation was held as we were standing over a sink, squeezing out the brown-tinged bitter liquid from the thinly-sliced eggplants, which had been heavily salted to exude their water, so I could definitely see her point.

Making Eggplant Parmesan

The eggplants were then tossed in a light coating of double zero flour and then fried in grapeseed oil.  As both Chiara and Gennaro explained, it is less heavy than olive oil and makes a lighter coating on the eggplant than other oils.  My task was as “fry girl,” and I worked in tandem with Gennaro preparing the vegetables for the dish.  While frying up the eggplant at the stove, he and I also talked about Italian cooking in general and about the approach that the Italians use in working with ingredients, especially about how much more intuitive and instinct-led their recipes seem to be compared to the more closely structured French culinary methodology.

Eggplant Parmesan ready to serve

Once the eggplant was fried, Gennaro layered it with the tomato sauce that they’d made earlier that day.  He then added fresh basil leaves, mozzarella, grated Parmesan cheese, and, what was a surprise to me, a smoked scamorza, which gives the dish an extra depth of flavor.  The whole pan went into the oven, dressed with a few cherry tomatoes, to bake until the top layer was melted and bubbly.

Portion of Eggplant Parmesan

We served up portions of this creamy, hearty creation for the demonstration attendees to sample while they watched Chiara and Gennaro explain how they put it together and how each component works in harmony to create the tastes of this classic dish.  Frying the eggplant allows it to retain its shape and to keep it from getting soggy while soaking up the tomato sauce.  The cheese gives the dish its richness and makes it a substantial offering for the table, where in Italy it is served as a second (meat) course.

Cooking the meatballs in tomato sauce

Plates of pork meatballs, cooked in a tangy tomato sauce were also served during the demonstration.  Gennaro explained to me that their usual recipe calls for using only ground pork as the fat to make the meatballs tender and delicate.  I could see what he meant after sampling a few unsauced meatballs that he had me try to check the seasoning.  They just melted in my mouth the fatty richness coating my tongue.  For those who don’t eat pork, they also have a recipe that uses beef and veal, however, to those they add some milk so that the meatballs stay moist in order to replicate some of the texture and mouthfeel that the pork fat gives them.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

For this dish, I was also on the frying station.  The meatballs were dusted with a little bit of double zero flour before being flash fried (again using grapeseed oil) to give the outside a bit of crust and color.  Then, the meatballs were nestled into a baking dish and covered in the tomato sauce to cook, soaking in its sweet-tangy flavor.  They came out of the oven, juicy and mouth-wateringly delicious.  I could have eaten several platefuls of them.


To end the day’s presentation, Chiara and Gennaro whipped up a batch of their special lemon-scented, sweet coccoli (fritters).  The fritters were consumed faster than I could get a photo of them, coming out of the frying oil and then being rolled in sugar.  They served them along with a small glass of limoncello (lemon liqueur) that is also a specialty of the region where their cooking school is located.  After inhaling its sweet, citrusy bouquet, I realized that I’m long overdue for a trip to Italy and soaking in its sunshine and amazing cuisine.  On my next visit, I hope to stop by the Amalfi Coast to see Chiara and Gennaro to experience some more of their hospitality and maybe even pick up a few more Italian cooking tips.

View of the Bay of Naples

Buon appetito!

For a schedule of the upcoming events at the International Culinary Center, please see their website.  They also have a series of one-off courses as well, like this one.

Some of the recipes that were showcased in the demonstrations can be found in the Mamma Agata cookbook.

Basic Chicken Stock

Stock ingredientsStock Ingredients

I’ve spent a few Thanksgiving holiday weekends over the years nursing a cold, so I wasn’t too surprised to wake up this morning feeling a little bit run down.  Between school and volunteering in order to get some more kitchen assisting experience, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately.  This weekend is the first one I’ve had in a while to catch my breath.  I’ve been tackling those little projects around the apartment, like cleaning out the freezer.

Chicken parts

For the practical exam that we had to take at the end of the second level of our culinary program, I had bought a few chickens to practice butchering skills.  I’d packed up the parts and had put them in the freezer thinking that, at some point, I’d make stock with them.  Today seemed like as good a day as any to tackle this culinary project.

Mirepoix – the aromatic element for the stock

Making stocks was one of the lessons we learned early in the Culinary Techniques course.  Now that our group has moved into the level where we cook the family meal each lesson for students and staff, we make stocks every night in large volume so that others in the school can use it as needed for their recipes.  It’s kind of made me fall in love with the process of creating these richly fragrant bases for adding to sauces, cooking risottos or turning into soups.  So, I gathered up the ingredients and set aside a couple of hours to let the stock simmer away, giving me the perfect opportunity to figure out my Christmas card/gift list.

Chicken stock all packed up

Basic Chicken Stock

Prep Time: about 2 1/2 hours

Yield: about 2 1/2 quarts or 2.36 litres of stock


2 1/2 lbs. or 1.15 kilos Chicken parts (body, wings)

5 pints or 2.5 litres Water

12 oz. or 340 grams Onion, cut into large chunks (approximate)

7 oz. or 200 grams Carrots, cut into large chunks (approximate)

5 oz. or 140 grams Celery, cut into large chunks (approximate)

1 Bay Leaf

6-7 Parsley stems

10 Black Peppercorns


Place chicken parts and water into a deep pan.  Make sure that the water covers the chicken completely.  Bring the mixture up to a simmer over low heat.  Skim off the impurities that rise to the top of the liquid and discard them.

Water and chicken pieces in the pot

Impurities rising to the top of the stock

Scum from the stock

Add the onions, carrots, celery, bay leaf, parsley stems, and peppercorns to the pan.  Keep the liquid on a low simmer and let it cook away for about two hours, until the chicken has released its flavor into the water.

Herbs for the stock

Adding vegetables and herbs to the stock

Once the stock has simmered a couple of hours and has taken on a light chicken-y taste, ladle it into a bowl and place the bowl in a water bath to cool it down.  Then, if not using it right away, pour the stock into containers to store and to freeze it.  The stock will keep for several months in the freezer.

Straining the chicken stock

Cooling down the chicken stock

Chicken stock ready to use

Note that I did not add garlic, thyme or salt to this recipe, as some recipes call for.  This is because I wanted the stock to have as neutral a flavor as possible so that I could have the flexibility of using it in many different kinds of dishes, including just to make soup to fight off the winter sniffles.

Buon appetito!

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

16 - Sweet Potatoes & Pecans 2Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

Did Thanksgiving creep up on you this year like it did to me?  I felt like it was just sort of hanging out there, lurking in the corners, and then after all the drama we’ve had around here with the hurricane and then the Nor’easter it waited until just the right moment to pounce on me, “Ta DAH!  Remember me?  It’s holiday season again!”  (kinda sorta like we used to hide and then jump out of the dark shadows to scare the pants off of my younger siblings when we babysat them).  So, if you’re still pulling together that menu for tomorrow and are looking for colorful side dishes for that holiday table, here’s the recipe for Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans I came up with last year when I was invited to a potluck holiday dinner.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

This vegetable side is a combination of savory with a mild sweetness and hints of citrus and spice so that it balances out all the other foods that you might have on your table.  By using chicken stock to make the mixture creamy, I also limited the amount of butter that I put in the mashed up potatoes, keeping the dairy indulgence for the regular spuds or another helping of pie.  It is easy to transport to a potluck holiday dinner and can be made in advance and reheated just before serving it.  One of the best parts of this dish, too, is that the leftovers can be used to make these Sweet Potato Pancakes for breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving.  I might have to make a batch of this just so that I can have the extras to do just that.

Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 1 hour, more or less

Serving Size: 8-10 (see what to do with the leftovers)


4 large Sweet Potatoes

1/2 c. Chicken Stock, warmed up

3 Tbsp. unsalted Butter

1 Tbsp. Orange Zest

1/2 Orange, juiced

2 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice Powder

1/4 tsp. ground Ginger

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 pinch Black Pepper

Candied Pecans for garnish (recipe below)

1/2 c. Pecan halves

1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1/4 tsp. Salt


Peel the sweet potatoes and cut in to large chunks.  Place in a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down, allow the water to simmer, and cook the potatoes through until they are tender.  You can also cook the potatoes in the microwave until tender, if you prefer.

Cooked Potatoes

With a fork or potato masher, smash up the potatoes until they are relatively smooth with almost no lumps.  Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine with the potatoes.  Then, mix in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, making sure that the butter is fully incorporated.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Butter

Add the orange zest and juice, the spices, and the salt and pepper and mix well.  Taste.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.  The flavor should be slightly citrusy, mildly creamy, and have a pleasant backnote of warmth and spice tones.

Mixed Sweet Potato Mash

Spread the potatoes evenly into a baking or serving dish.  This recipe made a good-sized portion of a sweet potato side dish plus some leftovers.  It can be made in advance and then reheated just before it is served.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Before serving it, decorate the top with the Candied Pecans.  Make a few extras to nibble on while waiting for the guests to arrive.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Serving Size: 1/2 cup


1/2 c. Pecan halves

1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1/4 tsp. Salt


Place pecans in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Dry roast them for a couple of minutes until they just start to change color and become fragrant.  Toss them briefly to make sure that they pick up a bit of color on the other side as well.  Then, turn the heat down to medium-low and pour in the maple syrup.  It will bubble up.  Stir immediately with a wooden spoon to make sure that all the pecans are coated in the syrup, but don’t let them clump together.

Let the mixture cook for about 30 seconds to allow the syrup to stick to the pecans.  Turn off the heat, and add salt to season.  Please let the pecans cool down before testing them as they’ll be very, very hot coming out of the pan.  Cool on parchment paper, separating the pecans so that they don’t end up in one giant, sticky mass.

Candied Pecans

Buon appetito e Buona Festa!

Chef Jacques Pepin Culinary Demo on Classic Techniques

Chef Pepin making an omeletteChef Jacques Pepin

As a student at the International Culinary Center, I also have a chance from time-to-time to attend to culinary demonstrations held by the school’s deans, who are preeminent culinary luminaries.  These events are very popular, as much for the techniques being shown to us as for the words of wisdom that these master chefs impart to us during their talks.  Last week on Wednesday,  Jacques Pepin spoke to students and alumni about Classic Techniques and why they are so important to know for chefs or anyone who would like to cook well.

Butter “Flowers” – a decorative technique

As Chef Pepin described it, Techniques are “Something that you repeat so much that it becomes a part of yourself, a part of your DNA.”  With Technique + Talent, “at the end, you can do something marvelous.”  He also spoke about how much work he put into learning techniques and practicing them until carrying out basic culinary tasks were just like breathing, like an extension of himself.  His advice to the group gathered for the demonstration was to keep on learning and practicing these techniques until they becomes the same for us.

Mayonnaise with a Tomato “Rose”

“One of the first things to do in the kitchen is certainly to sharpen your knives,” stated Chef Pepin.  As culinary students are taught almost from the first moment they start (aside from being told to be on time and in proper attire for every class) keeping their knives sharp and mastering basic knife skills are fundamental components for success in their careers.  Chef Pepin showed the audience what he meant by peeling an apple in one long, curling ribbon and also by removing the skin from a tomato and then shaping it into the form of a rose, each time discussing how keeping proper control over the knife and its movement was allowing him to take off just the external part of the fruit while the flesh stayed intact.

The classic French rolled omelette

As Chef Pepin explained, in order to master Techniques, it is about taking the time and working on them.  Peeling vegetables, chopping herbs, segmenting citrus fruits, working with eggs, these are all items that we can do more efficiently once we’ve learned the proper skills and techniques and keep trying to become better at them.  In this culinary program, we spend hours upon hours and many lessons going over and repeating various knife cuts and preparations to try to hone our abilities and to refine our techniques.  We also repeat the same lessons many times over such as the proper cooking of proteins and making sauces.

Chef Pepin making mayonnaise

Taking a few eggs, Chef Pepin made mayonnaise during his presentation.  This is one of the sauces that for me always seemed challenging to get right.  Whisking together the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, and salt, Chef Pepin emphasized that “temperature is very important.”  All the ingredients should be at the same temperature to assist in making the sauce come together.  He turned out a gorgeous, light yellow mayonnaise, seen in the photo with the tomato rose.  Then, he poured a bunch more oil into the bowl and broke the sauce.  You could hear a gasp of disbelief come from the audience.  The point he was making was that “there’s no secret” as to why things break.  There’s always a reason. This is something that is learned from mastering the technique of making an emulsified sauce like a mayonnaise.  He then proceeded to whisk the sauce again to bring it back to its proper state.

Chicken Ballotine (Chicken stuffed with chicken and herbs)

To further bring home the point about mastering techniques as well as refining one’s knife skills, Chef Pepin also deboned a chicken and then put it back together in this neat little package.  He also demonstrated cutting apart a chicken.  Watching Chef Pepin talk to us while working away at the different techniques he was explaining, really made it clear that learning these fundamental skills to the point that they are second nature is a time-saver, and likely also a money-saver, and that good techniques should have a place in everyone’s kitchen.

Buon appetito!

Peking Duck-style Duck Pie for #PiePartyGE

Pile of Duck Pancakes from Chinese New Year’s Potluck

With apologies to all fellow #PiePartyGE attendees who were waiting for this recipe.  Something named “Sandy” pre-empted the originally scheduled publishing of this post.  

It all started innocently enough.  I sent out a Tweet asking fellow #PiePartyGE attendees if I should try to recreate the Duck Pancakes that I made earlier this year for a Chinese New Year’s potluck into a pie for last week’s event.  The response was overwhelmingly positive.  So, then, I was on the hook to come up with just exactly how I would pull off this crazy idea.

Rolled out scallion pancake for pie crust

First off, the main question was how to build a crust that would capture the same tastes and texture as the pancakes themselves.  After mulling it over, drawing some diagrams, and talking to one of my chef contacts at school, I came up with the thought, “What about if the ‘crust’ was actually made of a scallion pancake.”  Aha!  That sort of became the eureka moment for pulling this whole thing together and to create the flavors for which I was looking.

Whole roasted duck

The duck filling would be easy, as I decided to mimic the way that I’d constructed the pancakes, by using the whole roast duck recipe from Jamie Oliver that I’d used the last time.  Then, I used a second scallion pancake as the top to the pie.  Once the whole pie was baked, in order to get the Chinese-restaurant-style rolled pancake concept in every bite, I topped it with a slather of hoisin sauce, a handful of chopped scallions for crunch, some finely chopped cucumbers for freshness, and crumbled, crispy duck skin to add an extra pop of flavor.

Savory pies table

The results must have been a success because folks dove on the pie once we were allowed to start sampling the entries for this year’s event.  In fact, at one point, it was harder to get a spot at the savory pies table than it was to get one at the table filled with sweet pies.  When I managed to get back to the place where I’d originally left my pie, I saw a slightly crumpled, disposable aluminum pan with a lonely piece of the scallion pancake shell and a few crumbs of meat and scallions left in it.  The Duck Pie had been almost entirely demolished.

The remains of the pie

This pie wasn’t an entirely perfect production.  While I did capture the flavors that I wanted to have, the scallion pancake made a tougher crust than the usual pie dough recipe.  It also ended up being a bit difficult to cut through when the time came to serve it.  I’m not sure if a looser dough would help to solve this problem.  I might also add some extra hoisin sauce the next time to bake into the meat filling of the pie itself, as I’m a big fan of having that sauce with scallion pancakes and duck (often taking over a container of it just for myself, to be clear).  The only other option I’m toying around with is how to make these into handpies or mini dumplings to make them easier to serve at next year’s gathering.

Serving of Duck Pie

Peking Duck-style Duck Pie

Prep Time:  3 hours (includes time to roast the duck)

Serving Size: 8 portions


1 Whole Duck (this can be made with duck parts, too)

Chinese 5 Spice Powder


Ground Black Pepper

1 portion this recipe for Scallion Pancakes from Serious Eats

Toasted Sesame Oil

Hoisin Sauce

2 Scallions, white and green parts chopped finely

1/4 c. finely chopped Cucumbers


Seasoned whole duck

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place duck in a roasting pan.  Sprinkle the outside of the duck with Chinese 5 Spice Powder, salt, and pepper.  Rub seasoning into the skin.  Pierce the skin in several places with a fork to allow the fat to render out while roasting.

Roasted whole duck

Put the duck in the oven and cook for about two hours, basting every 10-15 minutes with the rendered duck fat so as to keep the skin crispy and to even out the cooking process.  Remove the duck from the oven when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and breast reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Let the meat cool while preparing the scallion pancake.

Shredded duck in duck fat

The duck can be roasted, the meat shredded, and then the meat stored in its own rendered fat for a couple of days prior to making the pie.  To prepare the duck for filling the pie, heat the meat and the fat in a shallow pan and add extra Chinese 5 Spice Powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Scallion pancake as bottom crust

About 30 minutes before the duck has finished roasting, being making the scallion pancakes according to this recipe.  Instead of dividing the dough into four pieces, split it into two, making a top and a bottom crust for the pie.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly brush the pancake with toasted sesame oil.  Place the pie pan with the scallion pancake into the oven and let it cook for about 20 minutes until lightly golden.

Duck pie topped with second scallion pancake

Remove the pie pan from the oven.  Brush the pancake base with a light coat of hoisin sauce.  Fill the pie shell with the shredded duck meat, drained of fat.  Top the filling with the second scallion pancake.  Brush that with some additional toasted sesame oil.

Duck Pie pre-garnish

Place in the oven and cook for another 20-25 minutes, enough to heat the meat through and to allow the crust to turn a light golden brown.  The pie can be served room temperature to warm, which made it a perfect dish to serve at the pie potluck.  Prior to putting it out on the table, garnish it with more hoisin sauce, the scallions, and cucumbers.  For an extra twist, fry up some of the duck skin and crumble it on top to add a bacon-y type, smoky crunch to the topping.  Serve some extra hoisin sauce on the side.

Finished Peking Duck-style Duck Pie

Buon appetito!

Thank you to GE Monogram for hosting us in their gorgeous kitchen showroom space.  Thanks as well to fellow sponsors Kerrygold USA, Smirnoff, Harvard Common Press, and Dub Pies for helping to make this gathering such a terrific event!

Hurricane Sandy Updates

Tree down on the Upper East Side

It might seem as though I’ve been very quiet during the past few days, but if you follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you will see that I’ve been using my social media streams to communicate with others in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to direct folks to resources, food, water, gas, and other things that they might need.  I’ve also been checking on friends and family to see how they are and to offer a place to stay for those who don’t have power or access to their homes.

Water at the entrance to the FDR Drive

Fortunately, everyone seems to have come through safe and sound.  Folks will have to empty out their refrigerators and clean up their homes and yards, but at least they are all right physically.  Some of us took hits during last year’s Hurricane Irene, including my parents who lost power for several days.  So, this year, while I was prepared for the worst, the damage was minor, despite my hearing construction equipment flying around outside of my building on Monday night.  Today, there’s a steady hum of chainsaws and jackhammers going on outside of my window.

Debris on the FDR Drive (closed to traffic by the NYPD)

The food blogging community and food community in New York is amazing and has been sharing information and resources (especially about where to find food and water) to help get this mess cleaned up and to get the city in shape again.  I saw a Tweet about an initiative launched by Creative Culinary and Jenn Cuisine to write up a post for today about a comfort food that you’d take to a friend or a neighbor and to tag posts for today with the hashtag #FBS4Sandy.  They also ask that you donate to the relief efforts.  I’m putting up this post with a list of additional resources and tangible ways that you can contribute to helping out at this time and in the months to come.  I’m skipping over the comfort food recipe because, frankly, to be blunt about it, my friends who have had to evacuate from their homes and/or who don’t have power are not really going to be making those anytime soon.

Trash washed up on the East River shoreline

If you are are a regular reader of this website, you’ll know that I strongly support local food artisans, area markets, and the farmers markets in New York City.  I don’t have enough words to write about these terrific people and what they contribute to the city.  Right now, these folks need help, too, and may not be in a position to get loans or other types of assistance.  They have lost wages, have had inventory destroyed,  and have been unable to get to their clients during this time.  Some of them have no idea when they will get back into their kitchens or storage units.  Help them out.  Shop at their on-line stores, drop by the local NYC markets to visit them and to buy from them, send your friends and family gifts for the holidays or just because.  Also, get out there to the area markets on your next trip to the city.  These people create jobs and opportunities for all New Yorkers and are an invaluable part of our community and way of life.  For more about some of them, listen to Heritage Radio Network‘s series of interviews about the storm’s aftermath:

Storm remnants - East 95th StreetConstruction site strewn down East 95th Street

Here’s a list of suggestions for places to go visit in the city this weekend, if you need to get out of your home and would like to support the city with your wallet.

Eater (also has list of where to make donations)

#EVopen (restaurants open in the East Village)

Greenmarkets (note that the Union Square one is moved to Madison Square Park)

Brooklyn Flea (Saturday and Sunday)

Smorgasburg (Saturday and Sunday)

Village Voice (list of various resources, including food distribution centers)

New Amsterdam Market is closed this weekend due to the hurricane damage, but they are hosting their Peck Slip Pickle Festival next weekend.  Also, New York Mouth is donating a portion of the proceeds from these gift packs to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. 

Here’s a partial list of other ways that you can help out with the relief efforts or get help if you need it.  I am not endorsing one organization, website or company over another.  The best way to find out what they need is to follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter, which seems to be being updated more frequently than their websites.

American Red Cross (

Brokelyn ( – various resources

Brooklyn Based ( – various resources

Brooklyn Exposed ( – various resources

Brooklyn Recovery Fund (

City Harvest (

Citymeals-on-Wheels ( – for a list of resources to access if you need food, water, food stamps, click here (


Food Bank for New York City (

Food Systems Network NYC (

Food + Tech Connect (

Friends of Firefighters (

God’s Love We Deliver (

Manhattan User’s Guide ( – lists various resources ( – including Parks Department clean-up opportunities

New York Blood Center (

New York Cares (

New York City Coalition Against Hunger (

New York Food Truck Association (with JetBlue setting up food trucks to feed people)

New York Irish Center ( – Specifically helping out with Breezy Point/The Rockaways

Occupy Sandy (

Red Hook Initiative (

Restore Red Hook – taking funds for businesses that were in a particularly hard-hit area of Brooklyn

Salvation Army (

Slow Food NYC (

The Brooklyn Kitchen/The Meat Hook ( – Specifically helping out with Breezy Point/The Rockaways