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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pucker up! Pickling and Fermentation Cookbooks

Sour flavors are growing in popularity in the US and there’s a whole bunch of great cookbooks to help satisfy this flavor fixation. Asian Pickles Karen Solomon has done it again. She has written yet another very informative and useful book in her inimitable personable and upbeat style. She balances solid information with a down-to-earth sometimes playful approach. Her books are always fun. In this book she offers up recipes for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian and Southeast Asian pickles. There are very traditional recipes for things like Miso Pickles or Green Mango Pickle as well as her own creative “inspired” pickles like Five Spiced Pickled Carrots and Sichuan Cucumbers with Orange and Almonds. You’ll also find chutneys and sauces.  Bottom line? KEEPER unless you really don't like anything pickled.  Fermented Vegetables The subtitle to this book is krauts, kimchis, brined pickles, chutneys, relishes and pastes. Interspersed in the book are visual guides and profi...
Monday, October 20, 2014

Tofu Feta Tomato Bake Recipe

Recipes for tofu fall into two camps, those that highlight it versus those that hide it. While I do sometimes add tofu to recipes to increase moisture and tenderness, I don’t need it to be camouflaged to enjoy it. I like both the soft and firm textures and I appreciate how it plays well with others. While we are used to it in Asian dishes, the truth is it gets along with lots of other flavors too. I’ve been playing around with some products from Pulmuone , a company that makes quite a few soy products and this is one of my favorite creations. I used  Wildwood sprouted tofu , which is made from sprouted organic soy beans. It has more calcium, iron and protein than conventional tofu and is a pleasantly firm. Anything but the softest tofu should work fine in this recipe.  I got the idea to use tofu and feta together because they have a similar texture, then I found a member submitted recipe for Baked Tofu with Feta and Spicy Greens in the Epicurious database and decided to take ...
Friday, October 17, 2014

Spirit Works Barrel Aged Gin: Drinks on Friday

Barrel aged gin has been gaining popularity the past couple of years. It started perhaps with Seagram’s Distillers’s Reserve and then a handful of craft distillers got in on the act and more recently Beefeater began producing one. Some distillers use charred new American or French oak barrels, others use barrels that once held red wine, whisky or bourbon, and even  Lillet, b ut I have to admit, on the surface barrel aging gin seems like an odd move.  I like gin, especially London dry gin, and the reason I do is because of the botanicals. I like a touch of clean bracing juniper, the freshness of the citrus, the brightness of coriander combined with delicate floral aromas. Barrel aging adds richness and roundness to spirits, not something I necessarily look for in gin. But Timo and Ashby Marshall proprietors of Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastapol are fans of gin too, and in fact, Timo told me his favorite gin was the same as mine, so I was particularly curious to try their barre...
Friday, October 03, 2014

Taste of Toronto

This Summer I got a chance to visit Toronto and to attend the Taste of Toronto food festival. Lucky me! Quite a few years ago I attended Taste of London so I had a sense of what it would be like. The Taste food festivals are not your typical free for all food event, because the restaurants are really consistently high quality and included by invitation only. This event is a particularly good one if you want to familiarize yourself with the Toronto restaurant scene. Here were some of my favorite dishes and the restaurants I would surely like to visit, on my next trip. One of the first things I tried was a gazpacho like soup from The Harbord Room . The crushed heirloom tomato soup with spicy wild watercress, creamy buffalo mozzarella, crunchy toasted sourdough crumbs and a refreshing dollop of tomato and white balsamic sorbet was perfect on a fairly steamy evening. Truly a winner. Khao San Road was the one booth where I tried all three offerings, starting with the cooling iced ...