Archive for April, 2009

A Modest Proposal - Easy Irish Recipes for Not-So-Easy Times

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Goose Bento

Photo by Amorette Dye — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

A while back, The New York Times featured an article in which they asked several chefs to divulge what it took to make them literally throw in the towel and deem a recipe too high-maintenance. Well, this week, I’ve found a recipe that makes soufflé look like a walk in the culinary park. It starts off with the genteel request to “dust your crook with a goose’s wing”. A recipe that requires both a dictionary and the ligaments of a waterbird seems awfully intimidating, but meekness is so 2008. It’s Yes We Can time, people! Go find yourself a goose!

This week, while the Cork International Choral Festival rolls on in Ireland, thousands of people will be enjoying drink and fodder from the trying times of yore. Now, a country commonly associated with the word “famine” might not conjure up images of mouth-watering delights, but the names of this week’s recipes get my eyes watering with emotion. Boiled Boxty? Dublin Coddle? If it was good enough for Jonathan Swift, it should darn well be good enough for you. (If you haven’t found a goose yet, you can also use a clump of heather. Phew!)

Boiled Boxty (also known as Belcoo Boxty, depending on where you hail from) is a traditional dish from the counties of Fermanagh, Cavan, Donegal and Leitrim. The main ingredient (drum roll, please) is potato, but you’ll also need flour, salt, baking soda and bacon fat. Friendly for your wallet, less so for your heart- you’ll find the traditional recipe from the “Your Place or Mine” BBC series here.

Next up is Dublin Coddle, a mid-sized delight with an impressive literary run in the works of many Irish authors, including James Joyce. No better for your health than Boxty, this semi-boiled, semi-steamed dish requires pork sausages, rashers, potatoes, onions, barley and a whole bunch of Guinness. It’s more of a winter dish, really, but with this unpredictable Earth of ours, it just might snow this Tuesday. If you have fifteen minutes to dedicate to prep time, discover the rest of the recipe in “A Taste of Ireland” by Theodora Fitzgibbon.

Had enough potatoes? Find other ways to spend your time in Ireland.

- Courtney Maum

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

Monday, 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

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

Monday, 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

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

Monday, 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

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