Who said pasta had to be boring same old?
10 offerings below prove there are alternatives.
From left to right: top row: Corals, Conch Shells, Hearts; middle row: Lanterns, 5 grain Reginelle above Squid Ink Spaghetti, Morels; bottom row: Snow Drops, Fricelli, Rooster Combs.
This 'food for your eyes' landed in my email this morning courtesy of M5, its U.S importer/distributor.
Technical specs: "hand-made the traditional way using bronze die extrusion. This process creates a fascinatingly rough texture..."
After hard work you put into getting all the paperwork together, spending time with your accountant and 'most painful', writing a check to the Treasury, you deserve better than a run of the mill cocktail as a coda to your day.
Here's tempting image of Desir Noir Perfect by Marc Jean of Normandy Barriere in Deauville.
...Followed by recipe for Harvard 90's.
Glass: Cocktail glass
Garnish : Orange zest
30 ml Armagnac 1990
30 ml Sweet Vermouth
5 ml yellow Chartreuse
Instructions : Pour all the ingredients in mixing glass,filled with ice cubes, stir then strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Origin : Variation on Harvard cocktail recipe by Bar le Coq, Paris.
(* Recipe and image courtesy of B.N.I.A Armagnac)
New York based startup Goldbely only ambition is to bring local American food stars to our door.
If you crave Lou Maltani's Deep Dish Pizza which was part of our Chicago 10 do's and don'ts, Fra'Mani handcrafted Salumi straight from Republic of Berkeley, Boudin by Comeaux from Louisiana (not Lyon) or Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream from Columbus, Ohio whose recipe for Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream we shared back in July 2011, visit Goldbely.
Some items come with free shipping.
Giving credit where it's due I discovered Goldbely via GOOD...
(* Image above from Goldbely Facebook page)
This book landed on my desk earlier this week and I have not yet found time to follow Naomi on her travels to Rakhine State (near Bangladesh) and Kachin State (up north).
I did fall under the spell of a few of the recipes.
I give you first a 'meltingly lush' treat that might not be out of place for a late Saturday morning breakfast or Sunday brunch.
Fried Sesame-Seed Bananas
Makes 24; Serves 6 to 8
There are versions of sweet banana treats all over Southeast Asia. Sometimes the bananas are fried in a batter until crisp, sometimes they’re cooked in oil or lightly grilled, sometimes they’re simmered in sweetened coconut milk.
These fried bananas are meltingly lush, and they’re given an extra layer of flavor by a squeeze of lime juice. (Some friends like a little dusting of chile powder on top as well, for that hot-sweet-tart hit.) You can also serve them with tart-sweet mango or lime sorbet. They’re good for dessert, but almost better as a snack. Make plenty, for it’s hard to turn down second helpings.
Choose ripe bananas that are still firm. Cutting regular bananas crosswise in half mimics the size of the small sweet bananas that are used in Southeast Asia. If you do come across a hand of small sweet bananas, by all means use them.
The sesame seeds in the batter give a pleasing crunch that turns to chewiness as the bananas cool, as well as a mild sesame flavor.
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 cup sesame seeds
6 bananas or 12 small tropical bananas
Peanut oil for deep-frying
3 limes, cut into wedges, or sorbet or ice cream for serving (optional)
Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Slowly add the water, stirring to make a smooth, thick batter. Stir in the sesame seeds. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Peel the bananas. If using large bananas, cut crosswise in half. Cut the pieces or the small bananas lengthwise in half (in either case, you will now have 24 pieces). Set aside.
Put out a slotted spoon or a spider by your stovetop along with one or two plates. Set a deep-fryer, stable wok, or wide heavy pot over medium heat. Add 2 inches of oil, raise the heat to high, and heat until the oil reaches 360°F. Use a thermometer to check the temperature, or drop a dollop of batter into the oil: If it sinks slowly to the bottom and then rises to the surface, the oil is at temperature. If it bobs right up without sinking or darkens immediately, the oil is too hot—lower the heat slightly; if it doesn’t rise to the surface, the oil is not yet hot enough.
Stir the batter, then drag 1 piece of banana through the batter and slide it carefully into the hot oil. Repeat with 2 or 3 more pieces, one by one. Fry, moving the pieces around carefully and keeping them from sticking to one another, until lightly golden and crispy. Lift out of the oil with the spider or slotted spoon, pausing to let excess oil drain off, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining bananas and batter.
Serve hot, with the lime wedges, sorbet, or ice cream, if you like.
(* Excerpted from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012. Photographs by Richard Jung)
The 15th edition of Worlds of Flavor opened today as East Coast gets back on its feet slowly.
From November 1 to November 3, 2012, the conference under the banner of Arc of Flavor set the ambitious goal of re-imagining culinary exchanges from the Mediterranean and Middle East to Asia.
Here's a snapshot of Arc of Flavor from its program notes:
"Imagine a great arc of flavors, a multi-hued rainbow of savory aromas and palate-teasing fragrances, of ingredients and techniques, peopled by chefs and merchants, by talented cooks and skilled farmers, with a myriad of bustling eating places, restaurants, lively markets, street stalls, home kitchens, bakeries and soup vendors, sidewalk cafes and tea shops—in an arc that extends from the Mediterranean, with its olive-oil and wheat-based cuisines, all the way to the great Asian subcontinent, where rice is king of the table and freshly fragrant spice blends are queen, then curves on into China and Southeast Asia, the latter with its culinary traditions of coconut and tamarind, aromatic herbs, and blistering chilies."
If you cannot attend, here's my short suggested reading list:
-Spices by Fabienne Gambelle (Flammarion)
-Consider the Fork, a history of how we cook and eat by Bee Wilson (Basic Books)
-Cooking without Borders by Anita Lo (Stewart, Tabori and Chang)
-Curried Cultures, Globalization, Food and South Asia edited by Krishnendu Ray and Tulasi Srinivas (UC Press)
A natural networker, Lisa Skye managed to get a variety of chefs including Daniel Boulud, Pichet Ong to contribute recipes based on this summer favorite, corn.
The result, I Love Corn (Andrews McMeel Publishing, June 2012) covers a world of flavors in 50 recipes including Serenade Vegetable Tacos by James Laird of Restaurant Serenade in Chatham, New Jersey.
First recipe I picked today leans on the sweet side of things by New Jersey native, pastry chef Colleen Grapes of The Harrison and Red Cat in New York City.
Poached Peaches and Rhubarb with Warm Corn Shortcakes
I love to make these biscuits, which can be paired with beautiful, ripe peaches and bright, ruby rhubarb from some of my favorite New York City greenmarkets in the summer! Be creative and add spices and herbs. Take out the whipped cream and use ice cream. Use beautiful ripe fruits, or stew dried fruits. Make it your own, do it with love! When serving, I like to use a bowl so you can scoop up the juices, but use whatever plate you like best.
3 cups water
3 cups sweet white wine
2 cups granulated sugar
4 medium-size peaches
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup honey
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass
1½ pounds rhubarb, sliced into 2-inch pieces, green parts discarded
½ cinnamon stick
1½cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus some for sprinkling over the shortcakes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1¼ cups heavy cream
½ cup fresh corn kernels, cooked (about 1 small ear)
2 cups heavy cream, kept cold
• Make the peaches: In a medium-size saucepot over high heat, bring the water, white wine, and sugar to a quick, rolling boil. Turn off the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
• Use a paring knife to score the tops of the peaches, then place them in a separate large pot. Cover them with the poaching liquid until they float. Discard the remaining poaching liquid. Place a clean, thoroughly wet kitchen towel on top of the peaches in the liquid. This helps them stay submerged without touching the bottom of the pot.
• Place the pot on a low heat (do not let boil). Poach until just tender when stuck with a toothpick. Turn off the heat and let the peaches cool in the liquid to about room temperature.
• Remove the peaches and reserve the liquid. Remove the skins and slice into ½-inch slices. Store the slices in the liquid so they can be served at room temperature.
• Preheat the oven to 350°F.
• To prepare the rhubarb, combine the sugar, honey, orange juice, and water in a medium-size bowl.
• Smash the lemongrass stalk with the back of a knife, then cut into 3-inch pieces. Place the rhubarb, cinnamon, and lemongrass into a medium-size ovenproof saucepan. Pour in the orange juice mixture.
• Cover the saucepan with aluminum foil and place in the oven until the rhubarb is tender, about 40 minutes. Leave the oven on. Remove the foil, let cool, and discard the lemongrass and cinnamon stick. Refrigerate until needed.
• To make the shortcakes, place the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and butter in a large bowl. With your hands, press, pinch, and fold everything together until just incorporated.
• Add the heavy cream and corn kernels and mix until the dough just forms a ball. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times just to make sure it is completely combined.
• Press out the dough on a lightly floured surface so it is 1¼ to 1½ inches thick. Using a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter (in the shape that makes you happiest), cut the dough and place the shapes 3 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Reshape the remaining dough and cut more until you use all of the dough.
• Sprinkle a little sugar on top of the shortcakes before they go into the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on the edges. The centers should be slightly fluffy to the touch, or you can insert a toothpick. If it comes out with just a few crumbs, the shortcakes are done.
• Let the shortcakes cool until just warm.
• Meanwhile, make the whipped cream by pouring 1½ cups of the heavy cream into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until stiff peaks begin to form. Keeping the mixer on high, count to five and then turn it off. This mixes the cream to just slightly beyond stiff peaks.
• To serve, cut each shortcake in half. Pour about 2 tablespoons of poaching liquid from the rhubarb on the bottom half of each. Place pieces of rhubarb on the shortcake, using enough to form a layer. Then layer a dollop of whipped cream. Then place enough peaches on top of the cream to form another layer. Add more cream. Repeat the layers once more. Place the top of the shortcake on top and dust with a little confectioners’ sugar.
• In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of the rhubarb poaching liquid, and 2 tablespoons of the peach poaching liquid. Make sure the poaching liquids are still very warm, or reheat if necessary. This makes a sauce to pour around your dessert, provided you haven’t already eaten it!
(* Recipe from I Love Corn by Lisa Skye/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC-June 2012, all rights reserved)
Posted at 03:46 PM in Books, Food and Drink, Mouth Pleasers, Personal Organizer, Recipes, Recipes: Baking, Recipes: Desserts, Restaurants, Serge the Concierge, To Do Lists, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
With temperatures beating records in past few weeks, I have been switching from my usual 90% red wine diet to an almost even split between whites and reds.
My preferences have also leaned towards less alcoholic wines, 12 to 13 Degrees when possible.
Catalan producer Bohigas has farming roots dating back to 13th century yet the name Bohigas did not appear on a wine label until 1978.
They use local grapes Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada for whites and Trepat for red.
Their methods are organic (not yet certified).
The Bohigas 'Blanc de Blancs' Xarel-lo 2011 (100% Xarel-lo) displays floral tones, light acidity and soft elegant finish. Xarel-lo is one of the 3 grapes used to produce Cava.
It will be good company for seafood and lightly spicy dishes.
At 12% alcohol it will not knock you over.
Retails around $10-11
Toast the summer with a glass of Bohigas 'Xarel-lo'
A good way to forget your commute from/to work on a hot sticky day is to indulge in a popsicle that has something of an Italian Summer vacation air to it.
It comes to us from the people's republic of pops or more precisely Brooklyn People's Pops and their first book People’s Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop (Ten Speed Press, June 2012) by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell, and Joel Horowitz.
Cantaloupe and Campari Pops
MAKES 10 POPS
1 cantaloupe, about 2 pounds, peeled and seeded (see page 75)
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) simple syrup (page 7)
1/4 cup (2 fl oz) Campari
Cut the cantaloupe into large chunks and purée in a food processor. You should have about 21/4 cups (18 fl oz) of purée.
Transfer the puréed cantaloupe to a bowl or measuring pitcher with a pouring spout. Add the simple syrup until the cantaloupe tastes quite sweet. Now dribble in the Campari until you can detect its flavor. Campari is less alcoholic than most spirits, so this mixture can handle more of it, but it has such a strong presence that you want to be careful not to overdo it.
Pour the mixture into your ice pop molds, leaving a little bit of room at the top for the mixture to expand. Insert sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. Unmold and transfer to plastic bags for storage or serve at once.
Okay, okay. We know we already anointed peaches as the epitome of summer, but melons, those buxom orbs with their waffle-weave shells and floral aroma, are without a doubt another high point. A table stacked tall with gorgeous melons makes us lusty like no other fruit.
To prep a cantaloupe for puréeing, cut it around its equator and scoop out and dump the seeds and fibers inside. Set each half on a cutting board, cut side down, and lop 1/2 inch off the top horizontally so that you’ve cut off a flap approximately the size of a circle made by your thumb and finger. Now get the rest of the rind off by slicing longitudinally, as if you had the northern hemisphere on your cutting board and were cutting the surface off each time zone around the world. Once you’re done with both hemispheres, your cantaloupe is ready to purée.
Buy only cantaloupes that smell delicious even before cutting, because a scentless cantaloupe is probably a flavorless one. Along with the ideas in this chapter, cantaloupe pairs beautifully with lavender, hyssop, and tequila.
(* Reprinted with permission from People’s Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell, and Joel Horowitz, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group. Photo Credit: Jennifer May.)
Posted at 12:40 PM in Books, Food and Drink, Mouth Pleasers, Personal Organizer, Recipes, Recipes: Desserts, Recipes: Ice Cream, Sorbet and Pops, Serge the Concierge, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I don't spend all my waking hours reading cookbooks.
I do taste food, teas, coffee too.
For the second time i was lucky recipient of a batch of gourmet picks from Sea Island Coffee in the U.K.
While previous batch included coffees from Tonga to St Helena via Hawaii, this time I was treated to a trio from Jamaica, the Philippines and Yemen.
I started with RSW Peaberry from Jamaica Blue Mountain. Its crop represents only 5 percent of the area's harvest. Some credit the Peaberry beans oval shape for its more intense flavors. They come from 3 family estates, Whitfield Hall, Resource and Sherwood Forest whose farms range from 800 to 1700 meters in altitude. Their roots go as far back as late 1700's.
Aromas are deep and lasting.
Next, was my first taste of what has been getting a lot of buzz, civet coffee. The Philippine Alamid Kopi Luwak. Not sure if it was because of raised expectations or low acidity, this coffee with caramel tones registered last on my taste buds.
My favorite of the 3 has to be Haraz Mountains Mocha from Yemen. I learned from Sea Island Coffee that 'Coffea Arabica' label is a translation from Qahwa Arabiyah and that world 'Mocha' is a twist on Al-Markha port where coffee was exported to the world.
500 small family farms (around half an hectare each) harvest these beans in valleys as high as 3000 meters in rugged Haraz mountains in northwest Highlands. The volcanic soil proves to be perfect ground for Haraz Mountains Mocha which I enjoyed for its aromas, rich body and good acidity.