“Where have all the bees gone?” That message, posted years ago in a gallery window during a Downtown Phoenix First Friday street festival, stuck with Ian Horvath, then a high school student known for making chocolate truffles for his friends. He did some digging and discovered scientists were alarmed about a dramatic loss in hives. According to scientists, bee pollination accounts for a third of our food. Although the dramatic losses seen in 2006 have somewhat subsided, the plight of the honeybee is far from over and Horvath hasn’t forgotten.
The French sablé – pronounced SAW-bluh – is a simple but elegant, sandy-textured butter cookie.
Rachel Ellrich Miller, owner of Pistol Whipped Pastry, had something else in mind when she created her rustic sable – pronounced SAY-bull – pastry. “Go big or go home,” the Bouchon, True Food Kitchen and Parlor pastry chef alum says. “I love butter, so my sable is extra buttery and not as dry [as a traditional sablé].” Another difference is the sheer size. Jam or marmalade is sandwiched between two 3-inch slabs of cookie dough, made with local Hayden Flour Mills flour, and baked until golden brown. The cookies – practically tarts – weigh almost a quarter-pound each.
Native Arizonan Chris Sossaman was in her forties before she ever tasted a cup of coffee. Sossaman is, and always has been, a tea drinker. “I really started Tea Royalty for selfish reasons,” Sossaman says. “I love tea and I love dining out, and I’d say to the server, ‘Tell me about your tea,’ and it was comical. No one knew if the [iced] tea was made from concentrate or fresh brewed.” Don’t even get her started on boxes stuffed with who-knows-how-old bags of cut tea. It’s as scandalous as iced tea made in concentrate form.
That slight nip in the morning air means it’s time to swap cold cereal for something warm and satisfying, like a steaming bowl of heart-healthy oatmeal. Want to make it even healthier? Annette Downing of Matcha MarketPlace packages whole oats with a teaspoon of emerald green matcha, the ceremonial powdered green tea from Japan. Purported to have more antioxidants than other green teas, matcha is consumed whole, versus steeped and discarded. Downing packages the matcha-spiked oats in individual servings with other flavors and brown sugar, although there is a sugar-free option if you prefer to add your own sweetener.
Comforting stews mixed with exotic spices eaten hand-to-mouth with pinches of tangy flatbread called injera sum up the interactive pleasure of dining at 18-year-old Café Lalibela in Tempe. The only way to make Ethiopian cuisine more intimate would be to eat it in your own home – and now you can.
Chef Atsade Desta and her daughter Salam Beyene (also the restaurant’s manager) recently created an enticing retail line of their most popular vegan dishes, available at Whole Foods locations throughout the Valley (look for them in the refrigerated section).
Choose from five stews ($5.99 each), including spicy misir (red lentils spiced with berbere, a highly flavorful and aromatic mixture of chiles and warm spices); yekik alicha (buttery yellow split peas); gomen (onion-and-garlic-flavored collard greens); tikil gomen (mildly spiced cabbage, carrots and potatoes with turmeric and cumin); and fosolia (stewed tomatoes with green beans and carrots). Eat these delicious stews chilled or warmed (our preference) with injera ($2.50 for two 16-inch rounds) – thin, spongy sourdough bread made from teff, a nutritious ancient grain. Utensils are optional.
Odds were good that Cassie Weisz would become an entrepreneur in the culinary field. She grew up surrounded by kitchen playthings. Her mom owns the long-running, whimsical kitchen playground Two Plates Full, which is filled with artisanal items for the kitchen and dining room, and Weisz didn’t fall far from the tree. She started Never Enough Sugar, an online, boutique bakery, even before she graduated from The Art Institute of Phoenix’s baking and pastry program in 2010.