Say what you will about fusion cooking, but the union of Jewish and Chinese cuisine is a match made in heaven in Soy Vay teriyaki sauce, which recently nudged its way into the Fox family repertoire. The kosher blend of preservative-free soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onions, soy and sesame oils and sesame seeds is pretty much everything I would put in a marinade if I happened to have all those ingredients on hand.
The label narrates the origins of the product--which is what results when a Chinese girl meets a Jewish boy and they compare family cooking habits. The label also recommends the Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce for fish, meat, poultry, tofu "and whatever else you may dream up."
After preparing Soy Vay salmon and chicken to rave reviews, Shiksa Fox pretty quickly dreamed up pork teriyaki to get rid of the frozen rolling pin of tenderloin at the back of the freezer. She was already eight hours into the marination before she began to worry about being struck by a thunderbolt.
In the end, the roasted pork--succulent, salty and nutty, with a dark caramelized finish--outweighed any non-Pareve guilt. I earned a "Mommy, you are a genius," and dinner went off without a smiting.
Sheila Lukins, one-time proprietor of the 165-square-foot-shop Manhattan takeout shop The Silver Palate and author of several cookbooks, has died at age 66 of brain cancer.
She and business partner Julie Rosso opened the shop in 1977, selling cocktail fare, salads, pastas, side dishes, cookies and mousses. They also catered, and made sauces and preserves. Their food incorporated a wider world of flavors, including Greek, northern Mediterranean, Provencal, and rustic Italian.
It wasn't just a store -- it was a force for cultural change, and soon the need for a cookbook was obvious.
The Silver Palate Cookbook was published by Workman publishing in 1980. Many Americans discovered pesto, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar and arugula in its pages. It's been referred to as the "Joy of Cooking for a new generation of American cooks."
Its best-known recipe is Chicken Marbella, a marinated combination of unlikeliest ingredients (prunes, olives, 1/4 cup of oregano, brown sugar) that cooked into an irresistibly garlicky, sweet-tangy caramelized sauce.
You people just don't want me to succeed, do you? Just as I began to steel myself to make it through another Meatless Monday, what should appear in my Google Reader but this meatsterpiece?
You may remember Ben Frank, the Larry Flynt of his own food porn domain at the blog "I Ate That" from his beet battle with Crema's Rachel Lehman. Proving he's no one trick pony, Ben has offered his own Greek-inspired take on the classic cheeseburger and fries using gyro seasoning, Chèvre cheese and Parmesan roasted butternut squash fries.
Gallop your goat over here for the full skinny while I curl up with a nice wheatgrass smoothie for dinner. I think I can. I think I can.
The Wall Street Journal recently posted a story entitled "Vegetable Gardens Help Morale Grow," detailing the benefits of employee agricultural projects at several companies. If you don't believe the author's thesis--i.e. that growing stuff makes people happy--ask my 4-year-old, who recently brought home two Japanese eggplants from his pre-school garden.
"WE BROUGHT YOU EGGPLANTS!" He screamed, brandishing two shiny bulbs--one white and one purple--along with his empty lunchbox and a ream of crayon-scribblings.
For two days, he chattered about eggplant--the archetypal yuck food of my own childhood. He detailed the planting of the garden outside his classroom this spring, the subsequent monitoring over the summer and the ultimate harvest, during which he and a beloved teacher "sneaked outside to pick it."
On the afternoon before I actually cooked the eggplants for dinner, he took umbrage at something I said--something as baleful as "Sweetheart, it's time for a nap"--and he took aim at me with his greatest threat: "If you make me rest, I will not share my eggplants with you!" (Entry No. 1 in my journal of "Things I Never Expected My Children to Say.")
In the end, he rested, I cooked, and later we all dined on homegrown eggplant. Shaved into thin coins with the mandoline, sauteed with garlic in olive oil and sprinkled with fresh grated Parmesan, the simple preparation earned the highest praise: "Mommy, you are a genius. I love eggplant." (Entry No. 2 in my journal of "Things I Never Expected My Children to Say.")
With harvest in full swing, who else is reaping the rewards of gardens at school or work? Specifically, how are you preparing your homegrown eggplants?
My carb du jour is orzo. The little rice-shaped pellets recently stole my affections from couscous, which was my pet starch earlier this year. Like couscous, orzo has a form that belies its substance. Both foods masquerade as high-fiber whole grains--looking like cereal separated from chaff--but they're actually shaped from ground semolina. The pretense amuses me in the same way that savory ice cream tickles my funny bone.
Despite the titillating trompe-langue, I still haven't managed to prepare an ace orzo recipe. There's always the cold pasta-salad standby with diced vegetables, olive oil and vinegar. Orzo adds heft to soup. And hot with butter and salt is a sturdy alternative to humdrum noodles. But if someone has a recipe that exploits the looks-like-rice-but-feels-like-spaghetti textural play, I'd love to have it.
Ask a parent and you'll hear it: the week before school starts is positively lethal. The children are bored with the pool, the neighbors, the toys, the television. But they're anxious about school, too.
We found an art project we'd never heard of: a recipe for moss graffiti. Looks like graffiti, eventually, but it grows bigger and greener and leaves the world more beautiful.
Moss Graffiti Mix
1 or 2 clumps of moss
2 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 cups water or beer
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Corn syrup, optional
Wash the moss well to remove all the dirt from its roots. Combine the moss, buttermilk, water and sugar in a blender and puree. If the mixture seems like it will drip from a paintbrush, add enough corn syrup to thicken it to a paint consistency. Apply it to a brick or other wall. Check back weekly to spray the design with water (when it's hot and dry) or apply more moss paint.
We made a batch and painted a bricko block wall with it. If I were to make it again, I'd use half as much beer. That way, it will be thick enough that we won't have to add corn syrup.
One afternoon down, three to go.
Following up on an earlier Bites thread that may as well have been titled "What Good is a Banana Pepper, Anyway?" I have an answer.
The solitary plant that yielded a lone comma-shaped fruit a few weeks back recently rained down peppers. The expression "coals to Newcastle" came to mind, as did my father's saying: "The bad news is it tastes like shit, but the good news is there's enough for tomorrow."
Necessity being the mother of invention--and my necessity was to feed four adults with a bunch of near-their-sell-by-date ingredients and a half-dozen banana peppers that were so big they reminded me of the Gilligan's Island episode when they grow the super-sized radioactive carrots--I came up with this extremely precise recipe:
Mix some cream cheese with some feta and some bacon crumbles. Cut tops off peppers and extract seeds. Somehow or other, jam cream cheese-feta-bacon mixture into peppers. (Do not let guests see you do this--it's not pretty.) Place peppers in greased baking dish and cook at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
The good news is it was fantastic, the bad news is I'm out of peppers. Hint, hint.
Scene intern Caroline Hallemann contributed this post.
Do you yearn for eggnog ice cream long after yuletide? Reminisce about Ben & Jerry's long-gone Tennessee Mud? Want to celebrate the harvest with ice cream loaded with fruit from your own orchard?
Mike Duguay of Mike's Ice Cream (the creamery that supplies the decadent frozen wares at Sip Cafe in East Nashville and Mike's Ice Cream Fountain downtown) can make these and other dairy dreams come true with his customizable ice cream catering. The minimum order is five gallons, which can be scooped into pint and quart containers if requested. Prices range from $100 to $300 for the minimum, depending on ingredients and the time required to satisfy your ice cream whim.
It's every kid's fantasy job to invent ice cream flavors--Bites readers, indulge your inner child. What flavor would you have Mike churn up?
Former Metro councilman Jeff Ockerman hit the big time when his recipe for scallop ceviche won the Chairman's Challenge recipe contest hosted by Food Network magazine.
According to Food Network editors, "We were swimming in seafood recipes after we announced that the secret ingredient for our February/March 2009 contest was citrus. We got 20 entries for orange salmon alone! But only one dish had judges talking Iron Chef: Jeff Ockerman's scallop ceviche."
Director of Health Planning for the State of Tennessee and an adjunct professor of law at Vanderbilt University, Ockerman got the nudge to enter the contest from his 83-year old mother.
"She handed me this magazine in mid-March after I drove her and my father back home from a Florida vacation, saying 'Here, this might interest you,' " Ockerman says. "Even though I decided on the recipe quickly, I was fairly analytical. I thought of three criteria that I'd use if I were a judge: When would the winning recipe likely be printed? What's an unusual dish that's easy to make? What unexpected ingredient would make the judges notice this recipe?
"The idea of a ceviche just popped into my head; it's an interesting-sounding dish and it's very easy--mainly chopping vegetables. I had some candied citrus peel in the fridge that I'd made earlier, and I thought putting something usually used for jams and baking in a scallops-vegetable dish would attract the judges' eyes. And because the lime juice makes it so acidic, I added the citrus syrup."
The complete recipe is posted after the jump.
I vaguely remember in the early 80s eating a powder-dusted novelty snack called bacon-and-eggs popcorn. It was OK. Not as good as the sour-cream-and-onion variety, but still amusing and salty and went great with Molly Ringwald movies.
After tasting Loveless Cafe's recently debuted Piggy Popcorn, a salty-sweet orgy of popcorn, caramel and bacon, all I can say is the person who spray-painted the yellow coating of flavor particles onto that breakfast-flavored movie snack from my tween years should be ashamed. Very, very ashamed. Piggy Popcorn makes it taste like packing material by comparison.
Popped in bacon grease and tossed in caramel sauce and chewy nibs of thick bacon, Piggy Popcorn is to Cracker Jack what filet mignon is to the gray bits of hamburger on a frozen school pizza. Each perfectly puffed kernel of Piggy Popcorn yields an airy crunch, broken softly by a molar-bonding layer of caramel or rebounded by a leathery tag of Loveless' hickory-smoked country-cured bacon.
Loveless staffer Colleen Phelan gets the recipe credit for Piggy Popcorn, which retails for $6.95 per seven ounces at Loveless Cafe or the online store.
Say what you will about Loveless biscuits--some say they're the best, while others disagree. I could argue both sides. But if there's a better bacon-caramel popcorn around, I'd like to taste it. No, seriously, I'd like to taste it. Please send it to 210 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203.
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