God Save the Chorizo - Cuban Stuffed Pot Roast Comes to Miami

April 20th, 2009

Chorizo Sausage

Photo by Nick Atkins — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Eusebio met Dionisia when she was only twelve years old. Too short to reach the stove, she had to stand on a block in order to prepare Boliche, a tender beef roast stuffed with spicy chorizo sausage and hard boiled eggs. Short of stature, but tall on taste, Eusebio Vallejo was immediately smitten. Four decades later, Lugareno, a Miami-based Hialeah company, gave Dionisia the chance to share her recipe with other Cuban transplants through a “Grandmother Recipe Search”, whose goal is to share and preserve the legacy of chorizo.

Alongside the efforts of chorizo aficionados to open up dialogues and preserve traditions. the Miami-based Rhythm Foundation is currently holding its annual Heineken TransAtlantic Festival, a boisterous jubilee of artists and musicians who bring disparate audiences together in the name of cross-cultural interaction.

As a primordial tie to one’s cultural identity, the preparing and sharing of traditional dishes is one of the most effective (and enjoyable!) ways to learn more about your neighbors. With Cuba at the forefront of many people’s minds, this is the time to fill up your kitchen with the evocative flavors of bitter oranges, roasted garlic and red wine. Not only will Cuban cooking energize your space, and make it a buen hogar (good home), you might also learn something about a country that is still off-limits to American visitors. So give this week’s Boliche recipe the old college try. The cooking time is three and a half hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to cha-cha-cha.

For more festivals in Miami, dance your way over here.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Beer-Battered Cheese Bread with Gouda and Bacon - Bam! It’s Springdance in Utrecht

April 13th, 2009

Cheese Bread

Photo by Smaku — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

In addition to tulips, clogs and windmills, the Dutch are famous for their “live and let live” approach to other people’s lives. Besides fostering a tolerance towards mind-altering substances, this open-minded attitude has attracted and nurtured an active community of artists and top-notch festivals like this week’s Springdance. Eddie Van Halen, Hieronymus Bosch, and Delftware — a lot of wonderful things have come out of Holland, but this week, I’ll only be focusing on two of them: beer and smoked gouda. As an extra-special tribute to the Nether Netherlands, I’ve dug up a recipe that uses both these ingredients, along with some bacon, which is a long winded way of saying that I’ve found the best recipe, ever.

Famous for its smoking pipes, historical buildings and its namesake cheese, Gouda is a city in Southern Holland with a population of 72,000 very lucky people. Bright yellow with a distinctive sweetness, Gouda is finished off in a brine solution which gives it a telltale saltiness and, in some cases, a crunch.

Whether you love it or hate it, Gouda will make you thirsty, and you don’t have to leave the Netherlands to get your drink on. For centuries, the Dutch have been turning out some of the best brews around, along with world famous breweries, like Bavaria, Grolsch and Heineken. Pilsner, known for its prominent hop character, is the most popular type of beer in the Netherlands. Around the 1840’s, public opinion traded the Bohemian brewing style for the Bavarian tradition, which resulted in a clearer, sharper Pilsner, and a more impressive shelf life. Both Heineken and Amstel are considered Pilsners, although they tend to be a bit sweeter than their Belgian counterparts, Jupiler and Stella Artois.

Any Pilsner would be perfect for this week’s recipe from The Delicious Divas: Beer Battered Cheese Bread with Smoked Gouda and Bacon. For other decadent things to do in the Netherlands, “hop” on over to KadmusArts.com.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Mangalitsa Madness and Feijoada Fun - The Belgrade Dance Festival Hearts Pork

April 6th, 2009

Mangalitsa Roast

Photo by Paul & Hien Brown — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

This week, we have picked the Belgrade Dance Festival as our festival of the week, which means that I will be concentrating on pork.

Yes, pork. In Serbia, it is customary to offer bread and salt at the gate of a home, and to present the host or hostess with food or spirits once you’ve crossed the threshold. Many a Serbian doorway has been entered with some form of Mangalitsa in the visitor’s hot little hands. (Or big hands, actually, because Serbia has the tallest population known to man, with men averaging 1.86 and women, 1.7). Mangalitsa is a Serbian species of pig that is making a bit of a comeback (click here for a better-written, more informative article on this species) that boasts the smallest amounts of bad cholesterol of any domestic animal species. Hardy, curiously endearing and extremely disease resistant, Mangalitsas — or, more accurately, Mangalitsa recipes — have been the rage for years in Serbia, but the rest of us are just catching on to the benefits of eating wooly pigs. (Not that there are any benefits to eating animal meat at all, and if you’re a vegetarian I support you and apologize).

Another pork-loving country that happens to be represented in the Belgrade Dance Festival is Brazil. Feijoada has been the national dish of Brazil way before the thong was declared national attire, although eating Feijoada will not help you out if you plan on wearing one anytime soon. A fragrant stew of pork, beans, rice and fresh herbs with several orange slices thrown in for good measure, the Feijoada is best served with a cold beer and followed by a nap. Although it’s unnecessarily longwinded and somewhat difficult to follow, I’m including this Feijoada recipe because I used it myself and it was so gosh darn good, I couldn’t get my guests to leave. Maybe I should have thrown salt and bread at them in an unhospitable reversal of the Serbian welcoming tradition.

Good luck in your kitchens. If you can’t make it to this week’s festival, at least take the time to visit other great festivals in Belgrade. The Feijoada will take you all day.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Tyler Florence Wants You to Make Paella - The Carnestoltes Carnival in Catalonia, Spain

March 30th, 2009

Moms Paella

Photo by Louie Escobar — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

The Tarragona Dixieland Festival is a potpourri of musicians and artists from all over the world. Thirty bands, 180 musicians, 122 concerts and countless jam sessions will rock the streets of Catalonia for one entire week. There will be dancing, there will be singing, and because this is Spain, dios mio, there will be paella.

Gourmet legend attributes paella to the Valencian region of Spain near lake Albufera. There are three different varieties of the famous rice dish: Valencian paella (veggies, rabbit, chicken and um, snails), seafood paella (if you’ve ever had a bad seafood paella, you will remember what’s in it), and the anything-goes edition known as paella mixta.

At Carnestoltes (Catalonia’s version of Mardi Gras), behemoth paellas are cooked right on the beach and served up to a boisterous mix of tourists and Catalonians, along with local wine. Paella isn’t exactly a “light” dish, so after a week’s worth of it, a little detox is called for. The end of the Carnestoltes carnival falls on Ash Wednesday, and is represented by the burial of a sardine in the sand. The sardine is a gift to the salt-loving sea, and symbolizes the beginning of Lent — the 40 day period where good Christians give up vices like chocolate, Shiraz, Ebay, or snails.

Wena Paella

Photo by Pablo Andrés Venegas Romero — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Traditional paellas can take entire days to make, but Tyler Florence has a tasty version that only takes an hour. Don’t have an hour? Read more about the Tarragona Dixieland Festival or find other tempting going-ons in Catalonia.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Have Klezmer, will Kugel - Three recipes for Passover

March 23rd, 2009


Photo by Robyn Lee — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

As an homage to this week’s festival pick, The Jewish Music Festival, we’ll be looking at three traditional delicacies that are as steeped in tradition as they are in calories. Bialys, strudel, and latkes are the celebrated darlings at the Annual Jewish Craft & Food Faire in Carmel, California, but they’re also edible mainstays at many (and most) Jewish celebrations.

The much-loved bialy, (short for the Yiddish word bialystoker), is a chewy yeast roll that is baked, but never boiled, with a stuffed center of diced onions, garlic, bread crumbs or poppy seeds. Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants introduced the bialy in the 19th and 20th centuries, though history credits the businessman Harry Cohen with the bialy’s debut in NY. This Brooklyn Bialy recipe will take you three and a half hours, and win you three hundred friends.

Next up is the strudel, a stuffed and layered dessert with origins in the Byzantine Empire and fervent admirers in the Israeli culture since the 1920’s. Two tasty facts about the strudel: in Middle High German, the word means “whirlpool” or “eddy”, and the symbol @ represents a strudel in text-messaged Hebrew. The earliest surviving strudel recipe was handwritten in 1696, but if you can’t make it to the Viennese City Library where it now resides, here’s a great one from “That Hungarian’s In My Kitchen” by Linda Radke.

Latkes (or potato pancakes for the uninitiated) are scrumptious staples of Czech, Ukrainian, Yiddish, German, Korean, Russian and Swedish cuisine, but they play an especially important role in the Hanukkah tradition. The oil used to cook the latkes is symbolic of the miraculous oil that fed the flame in the Second Temple of Israel in the Hanukkah story. Whether you like your latke with applesauce, lingonberry jam, powdered sugar, or with nothing but a smile, here’s a simple latke recipe from the James Beard award-winning author, Claudia Roden.

Find out more about the The Jewish Music Festival in California and visit other Jewish festivals here.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

The Best Little Festival in Texas - Music & Mosquitoes in Clute

March 16th, 2009

Pulled Pork

Photo by Marshall Astor — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Barbecue, paintball, fajitas and karaoke… no, you haven’t landed in paradise, you’re at the Great Mosquito Festival in Clute. This annual event celebrates the best and the worst that Texas has to offer. (Namely, barbecue and mosquitoes). As full of wind as a corn-eating horse, the Mosquito Festival lives up to its reputation as one of the liveliest events in Texas. The three-day extravaganza attracts 18,000 visitors a year to a divertissement of food booths, arts & crafts, cooking demonstrations, competitions and a carnival presided over by a 26 ft. inflatable mosquito named “Willie-Man-Chew”. Festival goers can sample delectables from some of the area’s best eateries (Lupita’s Gorditas, Thibedeaux’s fried crawfish, and famous frito pies from Brian Armstrong’s) and enjoy foot stomping tunes by Wilfred Chevis and the Texas Zydeco Band, Latin singer Elida Reyna and local country favorites, Micky & the Motorcars. The Randy Rogers Band will headline this year’s festival in July.

Because this is Texas, the festival features a stupendous BBQ cook-off. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta judge it: each year, the Executive Swat team has a helluva time deciding the winner but you, lucky reader, can try out these recipes at home. Cowboy-poet Tibb Burnett has a knockout Barbecue Sauce and musician Steve Welch packs a load of ingredients (and flavor) into his Baby Back Pork Ribs. And why not round things up with a recession-proof recipe that combines three of life’s greatest treasures; Texas, Beer and Chicken.

Once you’ve wrapped things up in the kitchen, it’s time (as they say in Texas) to paint your butt white and run with the antelopes to the RedGorilla Music Fest in Austin. Check in with Kadmus for more top festivals in Texas.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Celebrity Chefs Take Florida - South Beach Wine & Food Festival

March 9th, 2009

Key Lime Pie

Photo by Robyn Lee — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Big names, big personalities, and mighty big portions… good times are always in season at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Presented each year by the Food Network, the festival features dozens of your favorite celebrity chefs and foodies for a 4-day extravaganza of wine and spirit seminars, food tastings and demonstrations set against the paradisiacal backdrop of lovely South Beach.

Paula Dean, Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay — bam! They’ll all be there, cooking up their signature dishes and sharing tricks of the trade. From “Cocktail Time with Sandra Lee” to “Taste Wine Like a Master Sommelier” to “Beyond Chicken Nuggets”, couch potatoes and culinary connoisseurs alike will find plenty of inspiration at the South Beach Fest.

They’ll also find plenty of food with international influences. Mexican, Spanish, French, Mediterranean… there’s the South Beach Diet, and then there is South Beach Food. Eclectic and fresh, yes. Floridian? Not so much. But there is one Floridian recipe you shouldn’t leave home without, and that’s Paula Dean’s take on Bubba’s Key Lime pie. You also shouldn’t leave home without your tickets to this week’s Festival of the Arts BOCA, where master violinist Itzhak Perlman will be in residence for a week. Read more about the festival right here in our Picks section, or check out more festivals in Florida.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Poutine, Please - The Jean Talon Market, Montreal

March 2nd, 2009


Photo by Brad Haynes — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Less expensive and more authentic than the Atwater Market, the year-round Jean Talon Market offers the very best — and most surprising — edibles in Quebec. From the city’s finest chocolate to the reputable organic meats of the Boucherie Fermes Saint Vincent, savvy tourists mix with lucky regulars at the liveliest farmer’s market in Montreal.

Opened to the public by then-Mayor Camillien Houde in 1933, the market was installed on the hallowed grounds of the Shamrock Lacrosse Club. Passionate, professional and downright courageous, walls are constructed around the market to protect its stalwartly vendors from the relentless Canadian winters. In the summertime, Jean Talon hosts more than 300 vendors from all over the country and the surrounding area is closed to vehicles.

From ice cream to barbecue, onion bhaji to calamari and chips, whether you are coming to look or coming to buy, come hungry. In addition to Quebecois specialties such as Tourtiere (meat pie) or cretons (a pâte of ground pork, lard and onions), visitors can sample the piece de resistance of the proletariat — poutine. A massive dose of French fries, gravy, melted cheese and salt, poutine is the saving grace of many a hungry (and hungover) student. Tourists can face-off with this national specialty in diners, pubs and restaurants throughout the region. A veritable tabula rasa of carbohydrates, the poutine can be customized depending on the nature of the establishment it’s found in. Poutine with fresh tomato sauce, poutine topped with foie gras, poutine with a superfluous dose of chili con carne…

If you have an ounce of mobility left after this dish, walk (don’t run, it’s bad for the digestion) to the Festival du Bois, a quintessential celebration of francophone culture and music. Can’t get enough of Canada? Ruin your diet with this simple poutine recipe and check out more festivals in Québec.

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Stuffed Camels & Halva & Starbucks, Oh My! - The Dubai Shopping Festival

February 23rd, 2009


Photo by Mark Belokopytov — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Although Dubai has changed a lot from its Bedouin past, it still shares a passion for setting world records with its nomadic ancestors. The pastorialist Bedouins currently hold the Guinness World Record for the “largest item on a menu”. The “item” in question is a sort of meta-camel with manifest relations to the Turducken. This staple of Bedouin wedding feasts involves a chicken stuffed with rice and hard boiled eggs, a lamb stuffed with said chickens, and a camel stuffed with…well, you get the idea. Le tout is broiled over an open fire, decorated with nuts and the rest is food history.

You’re more likely to come across a Starbucks Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte in modern-day Dubai than you are a stuffed camel, but record-setting adepts will not be disappointed by a visit to the most populous city in the United Arabs Emirates. On February 13th, The Dubai Shopping Festival (officially cited as the Dubai Food Festival, but “shopping” rhymes with Dubai) just set the record for the largest dessert buffet in the world. Over 40 hotels participated in this mammoth exhibition of 2,232 desserts. A red-hot melting pot of world culture, Dubai cuisine is influenced by Lebanese, Iranian and Persian culture with significant input from every other country on the planet. Pistachio Baklava, Quatayef (Arabic stuffed pancakes), Iranian Halva, Coconut Burfi from India, Green Tea ice cream and brownies à la mode are just a smattering of the delicacies up for grabs last week.

Have a sweet tooth? Sneak some leftovers and head over to the Dubai International Jazz Festival. Because this is Dubai, jazz doesn’t mean just jazz. James Blunt and John Legend will share the main stage with up-and-coming talents like Peter Cincotti and Kaz Simmons.

Can’t make it to Dubai? Bring the flavors and sensations of the Middle East to you with this delicious recipe for Halva. Halva is relatively easy to make if you can get your hands on some rosewater. If you can’t, sit back and visit other great festivals in Dubai. Halva great day!

- Courtney Maum

Share This:

Monkey on Your Back - The Lopburi Monkey Festival in Thailand

February 16th, 2009

Hungry Monkeys

Photo by sivanelle — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Paris has its pigeons, Manhattan, overpriced horse carriage rides, and Greycliff, Montana, its peppy prairie dogs- but the Lopburi Monkey Festival has these living attractions turning green with envy. Tourists! Whereʼs the love?

Part tribute to Rama, the hero of the epic tale Ramayana, part thank-you party for the townʼs most famous residents, the Monkey Buffet Festival brings together two dozen of Thailandʼs best chefs and 2,000 of Lopburiʼs best-behaved monkeys for a massive buffet in the provincial capital of Thailand each November.

In addition to the 4,500 kilograms of fresh fruit, vegetables, sausages, ice cream and sodas laid out in an elaborate spread for the macaque, visitors and residents bring their own edible offerings for the furry fellows in hopes that the monkeys will bring them luck and fortune in the coming year.

Whether they are climbing up the stone walls of shrines or the clothed back of a tourist, the charming antics of the macaque bring in thousands of visitors each year. Amusing to watch, lucrative to film, the monkeys provide endless fodder for budding YouTube directors, but itʼs not all fun and games with the largest primate genus in the world. In the late 1990ʼs, scientists determined that 90% of Macaques carry the herpes B virus. No problem for the monkeys; big problem for you. A second study by the University of Toronto proved that urban Macaques carry the simian foamy virus — and you know you donʼt want that.

So hereʼs a good plan for the last two weeks in February. Rather than risking your life and health in Lopburi, head to the Phuket International Blues Rock Festival instead. Rest, relaxation and rhythm on the gorgeous sands of Phuket, and all for a good cause. (The proceeds from the festival go toward a childrenʼs education scholarship fund.) Now thatʼs no monkey business!

Tempted by Thailand? Visit other fab fests here. Feeling courageous? If you think you can endure 5 minutes of the worldʼs most annoying music and an irritating copyright notice, visit the monkey festival here. Want to try your hand at creating an authentic Thai delicacy? Then check out famous Thai Chef Vichit Mukura’s recipe for Plaa Ghoong, which blends the marine flavors of fresh prawns with the rich aromas of Thai herbs.

- Courtney Maum

Share This: