Monday, June 27, 2011

Goat Cheese Mousse, Sour Cherry & Pistaschio Terrine: A Tragedy in Three Layers for the International Incident Terrine Party

What's in a name? As it turns out, absolutely everything. 

If, for example, this were the International Incident Spreads Party, or the Tortes Party - or even the Cheese Party - what I have made here would be a modest success. The bottom layer is a goat and cream cheese mousse, lightly flavored with fresh cherry juice. On the top perches a layer of goat cheese and fromage blanc mousse, dotted with fresh chopped basil. There is a scrumptious sour cherry spread from Croatia's Dalmatian Coast sandwiching the two layers together, and the whole lot is topped with crumbled pistachio. Tastes good, and with a bit of set design it even looks sort of pretty. But nonetheless, this wiggly loaf is a failure.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summertime Swedish Meatballs: Lamb, Mint, Saffron Cream

Generally speaking, I despise chain restaurants.  I hate the idea of all that  sameness  turning America into one big Land of the Bland. It's depressing. I have no desire to ever visit a Ruby Tuesday or a Panera Bread or a Chipotle.  Twice I have resorted to Boston Market take out in a pinch, and I felt dirty after. Once, many years ago, I ate at a Red Lobster, and I am still trying to scrub the greasy memory of that overcooked scampi out of my soul. I don't think I'm a food snob (well, maybe a little), but mainly I just don't want to be able to get the exact same thing wherever I go. It's boring and lame.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

From Philly Hoagies to Baltimore Crabs: Two New Twists on Classic Local Cuisine, a Guest Post Exchange with Emily Malloy

Please welcome the always awesome and frequently hilarious (only when she intends to be, I assure you!) Emily of Cleanliness is Next to Godliness. We've worked up a fun little guest post exchange highlighting the iconic dishes of one another's cities, as you'll see below. She's come up with a very cool twist on a Baltimore classic, while I've deconstructed a Philly hoagie and turned it into something completely different. Hint: My dish is on the right above, and if you want to learn more, you'll have to go check out my guest post on her blog. And now, without further ado, heeere's Emily!

Hello all! My name is Emily of Cleanliness is Next to Godliness and it's an absolute pleasure to be with you today! When Madame Trix and I were brainstorming our guest post exchange, we thought it would be a ton of fun to tackle each other's local cuisine. Trix hailing from Baltimore and yours truly from Philadelphia, this made for a fun task! Such. Fun. I am so glad that we were able to do this. However, being the foodies that we are, we each consequently did the local dishes with a twist! Because we're twisty people!*
Thanks again to Trix for this fun experience!!
*Please take note that I did not say twisted people. There is a big difference. :o)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spicy Tequila and Peach Habanero Chutney Ribs for an Inspired-By French Fridays with Dorie

Today's French Fridays with Dorie recipe was supposed to be a jam and cola spareribs dish, but ... well, you know me, right? While I am sure that Dorie's glaze is fine, it sounded a bit too sweet for my taste. I love the spices she used - Chinese 5 spice and ginger - but the jam and cola combo sounded, if I am being honest - cloying. When there's a sweet component to my food, I need it to be balanced with something sour or spicy.

Enter these tequila ribs, which actually started with a jar of peach habenero chutney. The label claimed it was spicy, but I have learned to grow suspicious of such claims. I bought it anyway, hoping to be proven wrong, and I was - this stuff was gooey fire all the way, and I loved it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Street Meats of Krakow & Prague: A Tale of Many Sausages, Things on Buns, Polish Pizza, and the Mysterious Kielbasa Man

A Wenceslas Square wiener
Zapiekanka at Plac Nowy in Krakow
Prague sausage!

If you've been following my posts chronicling my recent trip to Eastern and Central Europe, you'll have figured out by now that Poppa Trix and I can eat like nobody's business. From huge bowls of pho to piles of raw meat to kilos of ham to multi-course chef's menus, we are no wilting flowers when it comes to tasting new things and experiencing other cultures through food.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spring Vegetable Pot au Feu for French Fridays with Dorie

I haven't been very regular with my French Fridays with Dorie posts lately. To be honest, I just haven't been all that inspired by the dishes (with the notable exception of the bacon, asparagus, and egg salad, which I wish I'd made, and the quiche, which I completely futzed with).

But her warm weather vegetable pot au feu really appealed to me, partly because it's more of a method than a recipe, and partly because of that lovely, squishy poached egg, which I'll get to in a moment.  The basic idea here is that you successively saute and simmer some spring veggies in chicken or vegetable broth to create layers of flavor, and finish the whole lot with chopped herbs or an herb coulis of your choice.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

West African Pepper Soup, for Whatever Ails Your Body or Soul

I cannot explain my peculiar affinity for West African food. Certainly nothing in my middle class meat-loaf-and-pork-chops middle-of-nowhere American upbringing prepared me for the rich flavors of palm oil, stew meats, and salted fish, or for the fiery heat of Scotch bonnet peppers. But, as I have discussed here before, in posts about red red and keleweleLiberian bean soup,  and even maharagwe, an East African dish to which I obstinately added hot peppers, something about the cuisine speaks to me.  But then, who knows what memories may lurk in the ghostly ancestral memories of our tastebuds?