Boston Herald, November 2017

Lovin’ Spoonfuls event features favorite eats, helps reduce hunger, food waste

By Scott Kearnan

November 1st, 2017

Boston Herald

It has been, to put it mildly, an eventful NFL season. Political football has forced many fans to not only choose a favorite team, but decide whether they support players who kneel to draw attention to police brutality and racism or stand with a president who brands quiet protest as unpatriotic.

But when Ashley Stanley rolls out her Ultimate Tailgate Party on Sunday at the waterfront Flynn Cruiseport Boston, the annual fundraiser for her nonprofit organization Lovin’ Spoonfuls will support some totally controversy-free work: Getting more good, healthy food into the hands of Massachusetts’ most hungry.

“Food is not just a human right, but a human necessity,” Stanley said. Some complex social issues are debatable, basic biology is not. “No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, no matter who sits in the Oval Office, you cannot deny that every human being needs food.”

Stanley founded Lovin’ Spoonfuls in 2010, and the organization now operates six trucks in geographically focused areas, distributing up to 65,000 pounds of food weekly to reach 35,000 people at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. This year, Lovin’ Spoonfuls will rescue 2.5 million pounds of food, a record. Stanley hopes to soon reach communities in every corner of the state.

 Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ efforts are unimpeachable but not immune to political winds. Like many working in various areas of social service, Stanley says she has some new concerns about her mission in the “terrifying times” of the present administration. Reducing food waste should be receiving the same concentrated zeal that recycling efforts did 30 years ago, she argues.Experts say food waste (more specifically, the CO2 emissions from the production of wasted food and the methane emitted once it reaches landfills) is one of the single largest drivers of global climate change. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency has set a goal to reduce domestic food waste by half by 2030.

But as the future efficacy of the EPA increasingly comes into question, the agency’s commitment to goals like that could be called into question.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to support solutions from the private sector, says Stanley, who has emerged as a public expert on issues related to hunger and food waste. Sunday’s Ultimate Tailgate Party taps her industry connections far and wide: The DJ-soundtracked, Boston Harbor-side event will serve up favorite tailgate-inspired eats created by two dozen local celeb chefs from such restaurants as Coppa, Little Donkey and Toro, the lauded joints from dynamic chef-duo Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette; “Top Chef” runner-up Tiffani Faison’s barbecue spot Sweet Cheeks Q and Southeast Asian-inspired Tiger Mama; and Eventide Oyster Co., an acclaimed Maine seafood hit that just opened a Fenway neighborhood location. Eventide’s Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor just jointly won Best Chef: Northeast at the James Beard awards, the Oscars of the food industry.

Stanley’s longtime friend Andrew Zimmern, celeb chef and host of the Travel Channel show “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” will emcee the fundraiser, which will also feature meet-and-greets and a silent auction.

There are many challenges to reducing food waste and stabilizing food insecurity. But in a culture full of contentious debates, Stanley is rallying support around a cut-and-dry issue — alleviating hunger — that, she says, is no pipe dream, provided the right resources are brought to the field.

“We have a shortage of solvable problems in the world right now,” she said. “Why not tackle the ones we can?”

For more information and tickets to the Ultimate Tailgate Party, go to lovinspoonfulsinc.org.

 

Brown Butter Lobster Roll

The brown butter lobster roll is a signature dish at Eventide, and Andrew Taylor, Mike Wiley and Arlin Smith, co-owners of Eventide Oyster Co. and Eventide Fenway, have shared the secrets to every highly covetable component.

 

Steamed buns

2 t. active dry yeast 1/4 c. white sugar 1 T. nonfat dry milk solids

1 c. warm water (110 de- grees) 1/2 t. baking powder 3/8 t. baking soda 1 T. kosher salt 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 6 T. melted butter

Combine yeast, sugar, milk solids and water in the bowl of a mixer; allow yeast to start bubbling.

Combine baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 cup flour in a separate bowl.

Add the dry mixture to the yeast mixture; begin mixing with a dough hook until incorporated.

Stop the mixer and add 1 cup of flour to dough.

Mix on low and add melted butter in a stream to the dough until incorporated.

With the mixer on medium speed, add some of the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Transfer to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes. Dough should be completely smooth and slightly tacky to the touch, but not sticky. Knead in more flour, if necessary.

Let rise in a greased and covered bowl in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and portion it out by pulling off pingpong-ball-sized pieces. Roll into tight balls between your palms, then flatten out by rolling into small logs.

Arrange each log side by side in a steamer basket lined with parchment paper, leaving 1/2 inch between them.

Cover the basket and let rise again approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Place the covered steamer basket over boiling water and steam the buns for 12 minutes.

Remove the basket and let cool uncovered at room temperature.

Once cool, refrigerate or freeze until needed. Yields 15-20 buns.

 

Brown butter vinaigrette

1 stick unsalted butter 2 T. nonfat dry milk solids 1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt to taste

Melt butter over medium heat.

When butter starts to foam, whisk in nonfat dry milk solids.

Reduce heat to medium-low and continue whisking until all the milk solids turn golden brown and the butter smells nutty.

Transfer into a metal bowl and add lemon juice to stop the cooking of the milk solids.

Season with sea salt to taste.

 

Lobster meat

Four 1 1/4 lb. soft-shell Maine lobsters 2 gal. sea water (or heavily salted water)

1 T. white vinegar Ice bath

Add vinegar to seawater and bring to a vigorous boil.

Turn off heat, submerge lobsters into water and cover for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, remove lobsters from water and submerge them into the ice bath until cool to the touch and easy to handle.

Remove the meat from tail and claws. (It will look very rare.)

Cook in Combi-oven at 147 degrees, full steam for 15 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. Tear meat by hand into bite-size pieces.

For an alternative easier method: Simply steam lobsters with seawater for 7 minutes. Remove lobsters from steamer and chill in refrigerator until easy to handle. Remove meat from tail and claws and tear meat by hand into bite-size pieces. Yields roughly 1 lb. picked meat.

 

Eventide Oyster Co. Brown Butter Lobster Roll

6 steamed buns 1 lb. picked lobster meat 2 T. brown butter vinaigrette

Sea salt to taste

Finely chopped chives

Separate buns with your hands and cut a slit down the middle from the top to resemble a split-top hot dog bun.

Steam buns until warmed through, approximately 3 minutes.

Meanwhile: Warm the lobster meat in a saute pan with the brown butter vinaigrette. Be careful not to overcook the lobster meat. Season to taste with sea salt.

Spoon the dressed lobster into warm buns.

Top with chopped chives and serve immediately.

 

We’re not done with mouth-watering suggestions for your tailgate party: Go to our Fork Lift blog at bostonherald.com for exclusive recipes for La Brasa Chicken Wings and Cumin Beef Frito Pie.

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