Do you want to know what’s happening in the food world? Check out the links below for this week’s latest.
‘Cake Boss’ shows off his bakery – The Washington Post
Super Chefs Keep Opening Restaurants – Super Chef
The Golden Rules for a Perfect Restaurant – The London Times
A Taco-Tasting Tour of Mexico City – The Financial Times
How to Eat like a Parisian – The Chicago Tribune
Venezuelan Ice Cream Parlos Has 860 Flavors – BBC News
Wine and Spirits Stories
Grapevine Moth Forces Quarantine in Napa – The New York Times
Restaurant Wine Ordering No-No’s – The Chicago Tribune
Ten Spots to Tip Your Glass in NYC – The Globe and Mail
If you’re hungry, this may not be the best time to look at food photos, but then how can you resist?
Peking Duck from A La Shanghai Chinese Cuisine in Latham, NY
Governor’s Chicken from Joy Yee’s Noodle Shop in Chicago, Il
Bacon Wrapped Scallops from Daniel’s Broiler from Bellevue, WA
Grilled Leek & Sheep’s Feta Tart from Saffron Restaurant & Lounge in Minneapolis, MN
Penang Curry from Grandma Thai Curry in Kent, WA
Feijoada is a stew of beans with beef and pork and is considered by Brazil as their national dish. It’s a recipe that was originally brought to South America by the Portuguese, based on recipes from the Portuguese regions of Beira, Estremadura, and Trás-os-Montes.
The basic ingredients of Portuguese feijoada are beans and fresh pork or beef meat. In northwest Portugal (chiefly Minho and Douro Litoral), it is usually made with white beans; in the northeast (Trás-os-Montes), it is generally prepared with red (kidney) beans, and includes other vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage. The stew is best prepared over low heat in a thick clay pot.
Portuguese feijoada is usually served with rice and assorted sausages, such as chouriço, morcela (a blood sausage), farinheira, and others, which may or may not be cooked in the stew.
The Brazilian feijoada is prepared with black turtle beans, with a variety of salted pork and beef products, such as salted pork trimmings (ears, tail, feet), bacon, smoked pork ribs, at least two types of smoked sausage and jerked beef (loin and tongue).
This stew is best prepared over slow fire in a thick clay pot. The final dish has the beans and meat pieces barely covered by a dark purplish-brown broth. The taste is strong, moderately salty but not spicy, dominated by the flavors of black bean and meat stew.
In Brazil, feijoada is traditionally served with rice, and accompanied by chopped fried collard greens (couve mineira), lightly roasted coarse cassava flour (farofa) and peeled and sliced orange. Other common side dishes are boiled or deep-fried cassava, deep-fried bananas, and pork rinds (torresmo). A pot of hot pepper sauce is often provided on the side. The meal is often washed down with cachaça, caipirinha, or beer.
Since it is a rather heavy dish that takes several hours to cook, feijoada is consumed in Brazil only occasionally, always at lunch time. Traditionally, restaurants will offer it as the “daily’s special” only once or twice a week, usually on Wednesdays, Saturdays, or sometimes on Sundays. (As a traditional holdover from old Catholic dietary restrictions, the Friday’s special dish is more likely to be fish.) However, some restaurants will serve feijoada all week long.
A popular myth states that the Brazilian feijoada was a “luxury” dish of African slaves on Brazilian colonial farms (engenhos), as it was prepared with relatively cheap ingredients (beans, rice, collard greens, farofa) and leftovers from salted pork and meat production. Over time, it first became a popular dish among lower classes, and finally the “national dish” of Brazil, offered even by the finest restaurants.
However, historians like Luís da Câmara Cascudo consider that feijoada is a Brazilian version of stews from Southern European countries like France (cassoulet), Spain, Italy and, of course, Portugal. Traditional Portuguese bean-and-pork dishes (cozidos) like those from the regions of Estremadura and Trás-os-Montes are the ancestors of Brazilian feijoada. The earliest printed references to the dish appeared in the mid-19th century, based on menus of upper-class, urban restaurants.
Other former territories of the Portuguese Empire still retain the feijoada as a major typical dish of their respective cuisines. Angolan and São Tomean feijoadas add palm oil for flavouring.
If you’re looking to try Feijoada for yourself, here are a few restaurants you could check out.
7438 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33141
2315 W Airport Fwy
Irving, TX 75062
13 W 46th St
New York, NY 10036
Rio Brasil Cafe
3300 Overland ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Taste of Brasil
906 S Oak Park Ave
Oak Park, IL 60304
These days, access to foods from all over the world is easier than ever, especially when it comes to exotic fruits. This series will introduce you to some of the world’s most interesting exotic fruits and how you may see it served either at a restaurant or at someone’s home. We’ll start with the Durian, known for its less than inviting smell. The durian is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae).
Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.
The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.
The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as “a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds”. The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.
According to Larousse Gastronomique, the durian fruit is ready to eat when its husk begins to crack. However, the ideal stage of ripeness to be enjoyed varies from region to region in Southeast Asia and by species. Some species grow so tall that they can only be collected once they have fallen to the ground, whereas most cultivars of Durian are nearly always cut from the tree and allowed to ripen while waiting to be sold. Some people in southern Thailand prefer their durians relatively young when the clusters of fruit within the shell are still crisp in texture and mild in flavour. In northern Thailand, the preference is for the fruit to be as soft and pungent in aroma as possible. In Malaysia and Singapore, most consumers prefer the fruit to be quite ripe and may even risk allowing the fruit to continue ripening after its husk has already cracked open. In this state, the flesh becomes richly creamy, slightly alcoholic, the aroma pronounced and the flavour highly complex.
The various preferences regarding ripeness among consumers make it hard to issue general statements about choosing a “good” durian. A durian that falls off the tree continues to ripen for two to four days, but after five or six days most would consider it overripe and unpalatable. The usual advice for a durian consumer choosing a whole fruit in the market is to examine the quality of the stem or stalk which loses moisture as it ages: a big, solid stem is a sign of freshness. Reportedly, unscrupulous merchants wrap, paint, or remove the stalks altogether. Another frequent piece of advice is to shake the fruit and listen for the sound of the seeds moving within, indicating the durian is very ripe and the pulp has dried out a bit.
Durian fruit is used to flavour a wide variety of sweet edibles such as traditional Malay candy, ice kacang, dodol, rose biscuits, and, with a touch of modern innovation, ice cream, milkshakes, mooncakes, Yule logs and cappuccino. Pulut Durian is glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk and served with ripened durian. In Sabah, red durian is fried with onions and chilli and served as a side dish. Red-fleshed durian is traditionally added to sayur, an Indonesian soup made from fresh water fish.
Ikan brengkes is fish cooked in a durian-based sauce, traditional in Sumatra. Tempoyak refers to fermented durian, usually made from lower quality durian that is unsuitable for direct consumption. Tempoyak can be eaten either cooked or uncooked, is normally eaten with rice, and can also be used for making curry. Sambal Tempoyak is a Sumatran dish made from the fermented durian fruit, coconut milk, and a collection of spicy ingredients known as sambal.
In Thailand, blocks of durian paste are sold in the markets, though much of the paste is adulterated with pumpkin. Unripe durians may be cooked as a vegetable, except in the Philippines, where all uses are sweet rather than savoury. Malaysians make both sugared and salted preserves from durian. When durian is minced with salt, onions and vinegar, it is called boder. The durian seeds, which are the size of chestnuts, can be eaten whether they are boiled, roasted or fried in coconut oil, with a texture that is similar to taro or yam, but stickier.
In Java, the seeds are sliced thin and cooked with sugar as a confection. Uncooked durian seeds are toxic due to cyclopropene fatty acids and should not be ingested. Young leaves and shoots of the durian are occasionally cooked as greens. Sometimes the ash of the burned rind is added to special cakes. The petals of durian flowers are eaten in the North Sumatra province of Indonesia, while in the Moluccas islands the husk of the durian fruit is used as fuel to smoke fish. The nectar and pollen of the durian flower that honeybees collect is an important honey source, but the characteristics of the honey are unknown.
As you can see, Durian is actually quite versatile in its culinary uses, so the next time you happen to dine at a Southeast Asian restaurant, ask for Durian. If you manage to survive the smell, you may find yourself liking this very pungent fruit.
When it comes to champagne, it’s usually only broken out for a party or milestone, but food and drink is meant to be enjoyed whenever the mood hits. So if you’re having a good day, why not uncork a bottle of champagne and celebrate. Life is too short not to. On that note, here are 10 Things to Know About Champagne.
True Blue 1: Wine can only be labeled “champagne” if it is made in the Champagne region of northeastern France.
Quick! Duck! A cork leaves the champagne bottle at a velocity of 38-40mph but can pop out as fast as 100 mph!
True Blue 2: To be called “champagne,” it must be made only from the Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or Chardonnay grapes which grow in the Champagne region.
Monk-ey Business: Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Hautvillers, is considered to have invented champagne. He allowed the carbon dioxide to build up in the fermentation process, thus creating bubbles.
True Blue 3: True “champagne”, as opposed to other sparkling wines has to have gotten its bubbles by undergoing the fermentation process twice: once in barrels and again in bottles. Champagne can be produced elsewhere, as long as credit it given to the “methode champenoise” on the label.
Caviar Dreams and Champagne Baths: The famous Marilyn Monroe is said to have taken a bath in bubbly. It took 350 bottles to fill the tub!
Designated Driver, Please? The world’s largest champagne glass, unveiled at a festival in Spoleto, Italy, stands nearly 7 feet tall, and can hold the equivalent of 22 regular bottles (558 ounces) of champagne. That’s a lot of bubbly!
Slow and Easy: According to Janis Lightner of the Miramonte Winery in Temecula, California, if you drink champagne too fast, you will swallow all the bubbles and they will go into your bloodstream too quickly – which for many of us results in a headache (or getting drunk way too fast). This can be avoided by taking small sips and letting the bubbles dissipate in your mouth before you swallow. Try it! You will prolong the enjoyment of your champagne, and you’ll feel much better tomorrow!
Under Pressure (Literally): The pressure in a bottle of champagne is 90 pounds per square inch about three times that in an automobile tire.
It’s All About the Cup Size: Legend has it that the champagne “coupe” (a shallow, broad-rimmed goblet) was modeled in the shape of Marie Antoinette’s breast, using wax moulds.
Sometimes in my reading foodie stuff, whether through a book or online or a magazine, I come across some quirky food words that make you scratch your head as to what the heck they are, until the definition helps shed some light. See what I mean below.
apee: Dating back to the 1800s, this soft, sour cream-based sugar cookie takes its name from the initials of its creator, Philadelphia cook, Ann Page.
callaloo 1. the edible young green leaves of a plant (as taro or a member of the genus Xanthosoma) of the arum family used as greens 2. a soup or stew made with greens, onions, and crabmeat or pork
oenophile: a lover or connoisseur of wine
pandowdy: a deep-dish spiced apple dessert sweetened with sugar, molasses, or maple syrup and covered with a rich crust
salmagundi: a salad plate of chopped meats, anchovies, eggs, and vegetables arranged in rows for contrast and dressed with a salad dressing
tomalley: the liver of the lobster
When it comes to food or drink, it’s always fun to educate yourself and pick up some culinary knowledge when you can. Although not much of a wine drinker, I recently went to a Wine 101 Class and picked up some information from a knowledgeable presenter that I’d love to share with you.
When it comes to sampling your wines, it’s a two part process:
Evaluating the Wines
Info About the Grapes
Those 9 grapes are follows: White Grapes (Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) and Red Grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah). Other grapes that are also gaining importance include White Grapes like Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Blanc and Red Grapes like Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Petite Sirah and Tempranillo.
Fermentation of the Wine
Simply, it’s a natural process where yeasts convert natural sugars to alcohol (which stays in the wine) and carbon dioxide (which dissipates).
To read about the whole process, click this Wikipedia link.
To end, here are the final take aways I got:
Overall, it was a fun and informative class and if there happens to be a Wine Class or any other kind of class about food, you should check it and who knows what wonderful tid bits of information you could learn for yourself.
Awhile back, we learned about the Mexican sandwich known as the Torta, but just as popular is the Cemita. Also known as a Cemita Poblana, this sandwich is usually street food and originated from the city of Puebla. What differentiates the cemita from the torta is the bread. The torta has its influence from the French baguette while the bread for the cemita is a sesame-seeded egg roll.
When it comes to the ingredients for the cemita, they are usually restricted to sliced avocado, some type of meat, a white cheese, onions and chipotle sauce. The cheese is often a panela, which is similar to a fresh mozzarella, but at times quesillo, a Mexican string cheese, is also used.
The most popular meat in a cemita is beef milanesa, a thinly pounded and deep-fried piece of beef. Cueritos (pickled pig skin), queso de puerco (pork head cheese), and carnitas (stewed pork) are also well-known ingredients you’ll see in a cemita. Like most foods, there are regional variations. For example, the Michoacán version of a cemita uses a smooth bread, without sesame seeds, and isn’t eaten as a sandwich. Instead, it’s served with milk or atole.
Now that you’ve learned a little more about the cemita, it’s time to try one for yourself. Check below for some restaurants to check out.
339 East 108th St
New York, NY 10029
805 S 112th St
Seattle, WA 98168
3619 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
Cemitas y Clayudas Pal Cabron
2560 E Gage Ave
Huntington Park, CA 90255
Dorado Tacos & Cemitas
401 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446