I like tamales. No, I love 'em. Playing with a steamed halibut special at work, I ended up complementing the dish with fresh corn tamales. I served it with roasted yellow grape tomato salsa, chipotle, ramps and tomato corn salad. Maybe I was channeling my inner Bobby Flay, all to say it was a boldly flavored day. Here's what it looked like!
The other evening I was lucky to spend an evening with Stefania Barzini. Hosted by Beatrice Ughi, Stefania is a well renowned Italian chef and author. She also runs a cooking school, as well. With five of us sharing a typically small New York City kitchen, Stefania led us gracefully through preparing a wonderful set of dishes that included - among other things - polpette (meatballs), as well as a unique hummus made with shaved bottarga. It was a tasting preview for an upcoming workshop.
Lapsed religious obligations can't defeat more primal familial ties. Guilt hits Jew, he bakes matzoh. I used ancient Italian grains (Sicilian Palmento, Parman Miracolo) Einkorn flour from Maine, and then some white whole wheat from Montana. Sadly one last matzoh got carbonized, my offering to the days of old. Chag Semeach!
Lacking puntarelle but want to something similarly savory? Rick Easton has a fabulous suggestion; use the stems of any green broccoli or rape. Making a pasta dinner, I tried Rick's trick with my new taglia. It led to a delightfully composed (and eaten!) salad. For those food snobs who would scorn this heresy, invite them to try it with some anchovy and lemon olive oil. Also consider a nice scarpetta of bread to soak up all the juices. Buon apetito!
Banh Mi is the Vietnamese sandwich that captures that nation's delicate flavors combined with remnants of its French colonial past . Below is my home made version. It's a baguette filled with Southeast Asian umami fillings which can include anything from grilled beef to liver pate, along with carrots, pickles and condiments. Recently I found a recipe from Alberto Ferran that used some modernist ingredients, namely flourless tirsol. A powder usually used for frying foods, it is used with Banh Mi to crispen the crust. Adapting it with sourdough, here's my first Banh Mi. Pretty damned tasty!
My friend Domenico... how to describe him? It's hard to capture all the qualities that make him such a great friend. Especially around food. I often mention him in my posts on Stir The Pots. There's a reason. He's a man of food, whether cooking, baking or eating it. Below are some shots of a meal we made together recently centering around porchetta of pork belly. Domenico did the vegetables. I did the roasting. We hung out drinking wine from the California-based Calcareous vineyard where my brother works. It was a wonderful night with a wonderful friend. Here's some scenes from the feast!
Mangalitsa is a heritage pork originating in Hungary. It's a fat, amazing cut of meat brought here by a New Jersey-based charcuterie called Mosefund. I was introduced to Mangalitsa when Mosefund owner Chris Anderson came as a guest to my workplace. I saw Mr. Anderson last month at the Charcuterie Masters Event in Flushing, who gifted me me some of his company's Mangalitsa burgers. They're great. Free ad for them but I promise that they're worth a try. Got to trust a man who puts his cell phone on the package.