Times Top 5: Brooklyn-Born Food and More Soup Recipes

From the NY Times Dining Section 02.25.09

We've known for some time that Brooklyn has a growing number of artisan food producers. Space is cheaper, for one thing, but there's also a passionate community that is welcoming locally made cheese, chocolate, even a line of Brooklyn-made knives (!), with open arms. We've got the rundown, plus an easy orange-olive salad and a great tip for making soup, in today's Times roundup.

1. What's cooking in Brooklyn? The Mast brothers (above) are making small-batch chocolate, while Tom Mylan has opened a butcher shop (he also teaches butchering classes at Brooklyn Kitchen). The article comes with an interactive map so you can find all of these people.

2. Using less water (and less energy) to cook pasta. Food scientist Harold McGee argues that using huge amounts of boiling water (that just goes down the drain) is wasteful. He estimates that America could save $10 to $20 million in oil costs each year, and he conducted a few experiments to determine if pasta could cook in less water and less time. We have to say, he didn't convince us... See what you think.

3. Orange salad with black olive puree. Simple and seasonal, from Bittman.

4. Soup's secret ingredients: chicken backs, lamb necks, and shin bones. Adding bones to soup as it cooks gives body and flavor without the need for homemade stock. We're trying this, most likely with the lima bean soup. Mm.

5. Tough times for coat check attendants. This is primarily a restaurant story, but it's a funny, short essay, and the accompanying recipe for Prime Rib Hash (adapted from Keens Steakhouse, one of our favorites) looked too good to pass up.

Last week's Top 5: Polenta Pizza for Breakfast

(Image: Tony Cenicola for The New York Times)