Friday, September 19, 2014
Yes, the book (by Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand and Heather McPherson, an old friend and food editor of the Orlando Sentinel) does have a Florida-focus. But shrimp there are not that different from shrimp here. And the book is packed with great ideas even if the closest you get to fresh fish is the glass case at the supermarket.
Everybody wants to eat more fish, and everybody is a little intimidated when we get in the kitchen with it, so a good book on cooking fish is worth raising a flag.
One of my favorite chapters is "Year-Round Sauces and Accessories." Using something like this sauce as a dip for shrimp or as a base for a salad with leftover fish is a great catch.
Green Goddess Cocktail Sauce
From "Good Catch," by Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand and Heather McPherson (University Press of Florida, $28).
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
COMBINE all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
YIELD: 1 1/2 cups.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
So you love locally made food products? You've got a chance to do them some good, by casting your vote.
A bunch of N.C. products made the list of finalists for the Martha Stewart American Made Awards. You can vote six times a day online through Oct. 17 and the companies with the most votes win. (How American, right?)
Go to www.marthastewart.com/americanmade to find the nominees and cast your votes every day.
While the categories also include crafts, design and style, the food categories are our interest today. And there are some very sweet N.C. food products in the running:
Queen of Oats, Cornelius. Regulars at the Davidson Farmers Market will recognize Kelli Swick, who makes protein bars, granolas and breakfast cookies with no added refined sugars.
Muddy River Distilling, Belmont. Robbie and Caroline Delaney make rum, including the popular local rum Queen Charlotte.
Blue Kudzu Sake Company, Asheville. (Man, I get around, but I missed the news that we have an N.C. artisan sake, one of only six micro sake makers in the U.S.)
Elizabeth's Pecan Products, Turkey, N.C. Pecan-based candies and other products.
No Evil Foods, Asheville. Vegan crafted "meat" products.
Smoke Signals, Marshall. A wood-fired micro bakery with naturally leavened bread and artisan pies.
Carolina Wild, Pink Hill. They're making muscadine juice (and thank them for being sponsors of "A Chef's Life," the PBS show about Kinston chef Vivian Howard of the Chef and the Farmer).
Videri Chocolate Factory, Raleigh. Bean-to-bar chocolate in Raleigh's Warehouse District.
Little Black Dressing Co., High Point. All-natural salad dressings.
Mae'd Bakery, Carrboro. All-natural treats, including a dessert bar to eat after nursing.
White Whale Bold Mixers, Durham. Exotic-juice and herb cocktail mixers.
Piemonte Farm, Burlington. Cheese, jams and breads.
La Farm Bakery, Raleigh. Home of artisan bread by the talented Lionel Vatinet.
Raleigh Cake Pops, Creedmoor.
Sugar Island Bakery and Supplies, Surf City.
Goat Lady Dairy, Climax.
And not to miss S.C.: King Bean Coffee Roasters and Callie's Charleston Biscuits, both of Charleston, are on the list, too.
Friday, September 5, 2014
What are you doing Sept. 26-28? See how this sounds: 10 books, 10 authors, lots of meals.
We have a winner in our random drawing for a copy of Francine Bryson's "Blue Ribbon Baking From a Redneck Kitchen."
The cookbook goes to Diane Voorhis of Rock Hill. Thanks for entering, Diane.
Stay tuned. We'll have another cookbook giveaway soon.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Francine Bryson got a chance to write her first cookbook after becoming a crowd favorite on the CBS show "The American Baking Competition." Her simple recipes, many from her family favorites, include pies, cakes, cookies, candies, cheesecakes and other treats.
The book isn't officially out until Sept. 9, but we've got a copy to giveaway. Bryson will be signing copies next Friday and Saturday (Sept. 12-13) at the Southern Women's Show at the Charlotte Convention Center.
To enter a random drawing for the book, send an email with "Redneck Kitchen" to email@example.com. Please include your town and a daytime phone number. The deadline is 9 a.m. Friday. We'll announce a winner Friday afternoon.
When summer starts to slide into fall, I start watching for the fresh ginger.
Grown by several of the Hmong farmers who come to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, it's a little different than the gingerroot sold at supermarkets. The skin is very thin and a little pink, and the tall green stalks are still attached. The women who sell it tell me they use the leaves to make a soup, and someday, I'll get around to trying that.
In the meantime, though, I revel in the fresh ginger. It's as juicy as the green garlic we get in the spring, when the growing season is just beginning again. I find that the ginger has a little more heat than the ginger that has been cured for long keeping at the store.
I've been watching for it for several weeks, and it finally showed up at the market on Saturday, at the beginning of the long weekend. I bought several fat rhizomes for $1. On Sunday, I was casting around for a use when I found this recipe at the website thekitchn.com. The ingredient list may look intimidating, but if you do any Asian cooking, you probably have most of this. Make it with gingerroot from the supermarket if you don't have a source of freshly grown ginger. The flavor will still be vivid.
Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs With Miso and Ginger
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons miso paste
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce or red chile paste
REMOVE the chicken from the package and pat dry with paper towels.
COMBINE the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or small chopper and process until combined into a paste. Place the chicken in a bowl, pour the paste of it and mix well, until chicken is completely coated. Refrigerate up to overnight, or cook immediately.
HEAT oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the chicken in a single layer on the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the chicken pieces halfway through the baking time. When chicken is cooked through (the internal temperature should be 160 to 165 degrees), remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes. Serve hot.
NOTE: You could probably also grill this with great results. Just keep an eye on the thighs to make sure the paste doesn't burn.
YIELD: 4 servings.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I was talking to a friend recently about fast meals and she seemed surprised by one of my favorite tips: Tortillas.
Bread gets stale faster if you refrigerate it, but a pack of tortillas will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. And if you have tortillas on hand, you always have something easy you can make.
You can slap pretty leftover vegetables and meat with a little cheese between two tortillas, heat it on a dry skillet and call it a quesadilla. You can make a burrito with leftover rice and beans. You can slice up dried-up tortillas and toss them in soup to stretch it a little, or stir them into scrambled eggs.
Corn tortillas have more flavor and texture, but flour tortillas are more flexible. Honestly, I love both of them.
A few years ago, my friend Jane Snow, an Ohio food writer, spun off from the flavors of moo shu pork to make a sort of Asian wrap using cole slaw mix, a squirt of hoisin sauce (bottled stir fry sauce will work), rotisserie chicken and flour tortillas. I've been varying the idea ever since, tossing in any leftover meat from the grill for a midweek meal. I've even used sauteed tofu, or skipped the meat and tossed in leftover black beans.