Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh, Rats!

Have we all read this?

Dinner at an Exhibition

This is amazing.
This is why I love journalism.

I'm not going to be making rat anytime soon (well, maybe), but I will tell you that I condone this meal as artistic expression, personal experience and sense of accomplishment for both eaters and creators.

Maybe this reminds you of a lost pet, or maybe it reminds you of the late-night bags of rat-filled trash in downtown Manhattan. Maybe this angers or outrages you, or maybe, like me, you are both intrigued, jealous and hungry.

A meal like this explores ones own conceptions of edible, which I find to be an extremely interesting aspect of food.

Many of you reading this can remember a time you witnessed me eat something not edible, or outside the realm of enjoyable eats. This is not new behavior for people. How do you know what tastes good if you don't try everything?

The experience of unknown edibles is a high chased by many foodies. To try something you've never had before, that very well none of your friends have had either, can be a rush in itself, especially if it tastes good.

To discover new foods fulfills deep ancestral behaviors - the greater variety of foods the better chance of survival - that satiate you on a mental level.

That's why I try things like goat head soup, blood sausage and jellied duck eggs.

I encourage everyone to try foods outside their comfort zone.

Who knows, maybe you'll host the next rat dinner.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Duck egg

With an increase of fresh produce and seasonal goods from farmers markets, comes availability of some limited goods. Like duck eggs for instance. You may not see duck eggs throughout the year. But come summertime, when farmers are pushing all their wares, an opportunity will present itself.

There you'll be, face-to-face with duck eggs.

What better way to enjoy it, than simply fried and sandwiched.

Shaved Pecorino, homemade mustard, onion pocket, and very soft backyard lettuce with a fresh fried duck egg.

You don't need a recipe for this one. Just make your favorite breakfast sandwich.


Assembled and delicious. Of course I salt and peppered the egg, and buttered the roll.

Yeah, you see that yolk? All up in that Pecorino. A nice long burn from the strong mustard is offset by the sweetness of the onion roll. It all comes together.

Took like 5 minutes. Go make a sandwich. Don't pass up the duck eggs next time.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blue, not Sad.

I love blueberries. I like them best raw (crazy, I know!) eaten out of the carton or in cereal.

It seems everybody has a hard-on for these anti-oxidant rich bush berries; and they want to cook them.

Why not?

Little tubs of mealy blue fruits for $4.99 coming from Chile later in the year are never going to compare to the fat, sweet American berries in season now. So we may as well use them while they're good.

I've found quite a few recipes during my regular foodie research, and I'm ready to give you all the best ones.

First we need to make sure we have blueberries come wintertime, so we're going to make some things that will last.

Blueberry Butter Suggested: Southern biscuit with BBbutter, duck rillette and arugula. Pancakes with BBbutter, brie and candied pecans.

Blueberry Ketchup Suggested: It's ketchup! Awesome on home fries with pork bits, or with meatloaf.

Blueberry Pickles From Saveur, "Chef Tyler Kord, of No. 7 Sub Shop in New York City, created these sweet-tart pickled blueberries for his sandwich of brie, pistachios, and chervil." Oh really, good with brie? Try along side coleslaw and good steak.

Blueberry BBQ Sauce Suggested: put it on a lamb burger with mint and onion rings; try it with spicy pulled pork and sweet potato fries; or just make ribs.

Because we all have black rice in our pantries, and because rice pudding is amazing, here is a rice pudding recipe.

Blueberry Rice Pudding  I would like to note that full fat and real sugar will make this much better. I would also like to note that I do actually have black rice in my cupboard. 

I'm not much for baking. Hot ovens and exact measurements are not my strong suit in the summertime. So there isn't even a clafoutis recipe let alone a cobbler or a slump. It's hot; and I want to make/eat cold things.

Blueberry Moonshine Pops Make these and everyone will eat them. People will be impressed that you know where to get moonshine, and they'll want the leftovers.

Blueberry Basil Pops Because herbs taste great in frozen desserts, and because you already have pop molds, so you should be making different kinds.

Blueberry Vanilla Fro-Yo Ladies swoon.

And because on top of everything, blueberries taste amazing raw, I give you a fresh preparation.

Blueberry Papaya Salad Bring this to the next BBQ. Make people love you.

That, my friends, is how I do blueberries.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Worldly Dips

Fresh salads, cold food, and no-cooking meals.
In summertime, these become necessary phrases for everybody.

But what happens when those leftovers need a little pick me up?
I'll show you three dips that will immediately spice up your day and make cold summer meals come alive with flavor. (Corny, but true.)

These dips from around the world and around the kitchen bring levels of intensity, layers of flavor, and a fresh pop to any cold summer meal spread.

Mexican Multiple Chili Dip
Mint Cardamom Yogurt Dip
Cilantro Lime Nopales Dip

I read them twice too. Get your ingredients ready.

First up is this fantastic dried chili dip. Adapted from Diana Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, this dip is a wonderful accompaniment to cold meat, with tacos, used as a marinade or as a hot sauce (add extra hot chilies for hot sauce.)

Mexican Multiple Chili Dip

2 Cascabel Chilies
2 Chilies de Arbol
2 Meco Chilies
1 Guajillo Chili
4 Tepin Chilies
2 Roma Tomatoes (about 1/2 pound)
1 Clove Garlic roughly chopped
1/2 cup Water
Salt to taste

From top left, counter-clockwise:
Chilies de Arbol, Guajillo Chili, Tepin Chilies, Meco Chilies, Cascabel Chilies

Fire roast the tomatoes or broil for 8 - 10 minutes. The skins should char and the tomato should be soft and cooked through. Toast the chilies in a hot dry skillet, turning constantly to avoid burning. When they cool, take out the stems and crumble, leaving the seeds and ribs.
Put tomatoes with their skins, water, salt and garlic in the bottom of a blender, adding the chilies on top. Blend until relatively smooth, you'll want to see some of the chili skins and seeds throughout. Serve at room temperature.

A bit about the chilies here. Feel free to substitute different dried chilies if you don't have some of these available. Keep in mind that spicy or smokey chilies are used here, so stay away from sweet fruity chilies like ancho. You may use canned chipotles if other smoked chilies are unavailable, but skip toasting them. The smokey flavor is essential to this dip. The Tepin Chilies and Chilies de Arbol are included for their heat, and the Guajillo and Cascabel chilies are here for their light fruity flavor and low heat index. I also only used two of the tomatoes, but feel free to use more if you find the sauce too spicy.

Mint Cardamom Yogurt Dip

This dip is based on many mint-yogurt dip recipes available online, but I added green cardamom for it's bright lemony flavor. I wanted to use mint because I have so much growing in my backyard and fresh herbs are the rule for summer spreads.

about 8 ounces Greek style yogurt
1 packed cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup cucumber chopped
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon water
3 green cardamom pods
1 small clove garlic, finely diced
Salt to taste

In a hot, dry skillet, toast the green cardamom pods until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt. Add the mint, oil, 1/4 of the cucumber and water to a blender, pulsing until relatively smooth. Leave some of the mint rough if you like. You may want to add a little of the yogurt to help get everything moving. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated into the yogurt. Salt enhances the flavors, but be careful not to add too much. This should be a chunky, minty cooling spread or dip, fantastic alongside heavily spiced foods.

This can be served immediately, but improves drastically after a day in the fridge.

Cilantro-Lime Nopales Dip


1 Nopale cactus paddle, trimmed and cleaned of spikes and nubs
Juice of one large lime
1 clove garlic, rough chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet or white onion
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
A generous handful of fresh cilantro
salt to taste

Fire roast your cactus paddle over a flame on your stove, until lightly charred and soft. Chop roughly and add to a blender, along with all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
This is a fresh tasting dip whose main flavors are cilantro and lime. The cactus paddle adds volume and texture to this dip. Fresh Nopales paddles have gooey, okra-like characteristics that is desired in many stews and tacos. When blended with the other ingredients in this dip, the cactus' viscosity keeps everything together without feeling like you're eating slime.

 Serve all three together for a trio of complimenting flavors. If the chilies are too hot, have some cooling minty-yogurt. Have some tangy cilantro lime dip for a balance that will keep you coming back for more.

Make a spread of meats, breads, and vegetables for an easy, exciting break from plain leftovers. Cold fried foods are really great with these dips.

You can thank me later.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Happy Independence day America. Grill, drink, eat and be merry.

Heat for the Heat

In this early-July heat, the best way (besides a pool) to cool down, is some nice iced coffee, and some chili-searing spicy food.
Spicy food, and the capsaicin in chilies, makes you sweat and cools you down. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it works. Look it up. Well-known fact in the culinary world. Just saying.

Hot, hot, hot!

And so, when I saw this review, I knew where I had to go next for my spicy hot Sichuan fix. It's hard to find truly spicy food outside of a home kitchen. I look forward to testing their mettle.

Remember This Post? I'm looking forward to some Hot and Numbing combo. (Ma-La)

I'll probably also try and recreate some of the dishes I try, and use up some of those Sichuan Peppercorns I've been hoarding.