Archive for March, 2009

Have Klezmer, will Kugel - Three recipes for Passover

Monday, 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

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

Monday, 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

Celebrity Chefs Take Florida - South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Monday, 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

Poutine, Please - The Jean Talon Market, Montreal

Monday, 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