Eat This Word: Bagna Cauda

 

WHAT? A hot soak for your veggies. Bagna cauda, Italian for hot bath, is a very old dish with a Piedmont pedigree. Once considered a poor man's meal, bagna cauda has become one of the region's most popular foods. The "bath" is a tangy sauce made from garlic, olive oil, and anchovy; butter is often added in as well. To keep the sauce hot, it's typically served over a flame. Raw, or sometimes lightly cooked vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces, are dipped into it using a long-pronged fork. In Piedmont, fennel, cauliflower, cabbage, and red peppers are the veggies of choice, but any vegetable that's good to eat raw works well with bagna cauda, too.

 

WHERE? Flavors of Veneto

 

WHEN? Thursday, February 4, 2016
 

HOW? Dry-Aged Beef with Roasted... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Hominy

 

WHAT? Indigenous edible. This venerable grain is in fact dried corn kernels that have been processed with an alkali—traditionally a lye or limewater solution—to remove their tough outer skins. Its consumption dates back to ancient Mesopotamian cultures; in her book Crazy for Corn, Betty Fussell referred to hominy as “the world’s oldest chemically processed food.” Hominy was a staple of the Native American diet, and vestiges of its past can be found in Mexican soups and stews like menudo and posole. Its most common contemporary American iteration is as grits, the Southern staple in which dry hominy is ground, simmered over slow heat, and served with butter and cream in either savory or sweet variations.

 

WHERE? Coastal Winter

 

WHEN? Friday, January 29, 2016... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Tourtière

 

WHAT? French pastry. As is so often the case with French words, tourtière means something slightly different in France than it does in French Canada. In Paris the word tourtière is obscure. It refers to a generic meat pie (sometimes also called a tourte) in a pastry crust that's baked in a mold called a tourtière. (Like tagine, terrine, and tian, the name of the dish comes from the name of the vessel in which it is cooked.) In Montréal, tourtière refers to a specific meat pie, usually ground pork, that's seasoned with cinnamon and clove and baked in a lard crust. It is traditional at Christmas, but it is eaten throughout the year. There are regional variations, such as the tourtières made along the Saguenay River that are filled with potatoes, onions, and cubed meat. Whereas in France it's unlikely to find someone who has ever had a tourtière, in French Canada, just about everyone has probably had one within the last year.

 

WHERE? ... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Hoecake

 

WHAT? Pancake’s papa. Johnnycakes, ashcakes, battercakes, corn cakes, cornpone, jurney cakes, jonakin, jonikins, Shawnee cakes, and hoe cakes (or hoecakes) are all regional variations of flatbreads made with cornmeal, water, and salt. According to the website foodreference.com, since Native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to cook with corn, they are also most likely to have taught them how to make these precursors of our modern-day pancake. Hoe cakes were, as Culinaria United States notes, “supposedly created by slaves who cooked ‘journey’ cake batter on their hoes under the hot sun while working in the fields.” The original three-ingredient recipe has evolved during the last 400 years, and eggs, oil, butter, and even baking powder are now standard in most recipes. You can of course opt for a mix, but Aunt Jemima prefers wheat to cornmeal. Whichever recipe you use, the frying pan has become the cooking utensil of preference.

 

WHERE? ... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Sorghum

 

WHAT? Sugar in the rough. Before refined sugar was popularized in America around the time of World War I, sorghum syrup was a common sweetener that was used on pancakes or in baking. Its use was so widespread that it was known as "the sugar of the Plains." The juice is extracted from the stalks of the sorghum plant and, like maple syrup, is boiled down. Today, you can find sorghum syrup, which is far better for you than refined sugar, at health food stores. Other varieties of the sorghum plant furnish a millet-like grain, used in porridge, breads, and soups in many parts of the world. In the United States, however, despite the grain's reputation as "a powerhouse of nutrition," (Food Lover's Companion) it is mostly used for animal fodder.

 

WHERE? New England Winter

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Eat This Word: Sorghum

 

WHAT? Before refined sugar was popularized in America around the time of World War I, sorghum syrup was a common sweetener that was used on pancakes or in baking. Its use was so widespread that it was known as "the sugar of the Plains." The juice is extracted from the stalks of the sorghum plant and, like maple syrup, is boiled down. Today, you can find sorghum syrup, which is far better for you than refined sugar, at health food stores. Other varieties of the sorghum plant furnish a millet-like grain, used in porridge, breads, and soups in many parts of the world. In the United States, however, despite the grain's reputation as "a powerhouse of nutrition" (Food Lover's Companion), it is mostly used for animal fodder.

 

WHERE? Arizona Seven at the Beard House

 

WHEN? Friday, November 20, 2015

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Eat This Word: Harissa

 

WHAT? This fiery, rust-colored condiment made from chiles, garlic, cumin, and olive oil is traditionally stirred into the broth ladled over couscous. Harissa is also used to add heat to many other Tunisian dishes, ranging from salads to brochettes. Commercially prepared harissa is available at specialty stores in the United States, but homemade harissa is easy to prepare and will last about a year if covered with a layer of olive oil and stored in the refrigerator. Neighboring Morocco and Algeria also use the condiment in their cuisines.

 

WHERE? Local and Salted, Pacific Northwest

 

WHEN? April 21, 2015

 

HOW? Anderson Ranch Lamb Loin with Charred Ramps, Sweet Tooth Mushrooms, Harissa, and... Read more >

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Eat This Word: Pupusas

 

WHAT? Referred to as “a distant cousin of the empanada” by Rob McKeown of the Boston Phoenix and “the world’s most overlooked pancake” by Robert Sietsema, pupusas are less well known than their Mexican counterparts, but just as tasty. A staple food in El Salvador, pupusas are thick, handmade corn tortillas made with masa harina (a dried hominy flour) and water. Traditional pupusa preparation calls for kneading the ingredients together before slapping the dense dough into disks and frying them on the griddle until hot and golden brown. Before cooking, pupusas are often stuffed with savory fillings such as quesillo, a mild, white cheese, fried pork rinds, braised chicken, refried beans, or loroco, an edible Central American flower. The snacks are usually served with curtido, a pickled cabbage slaw, and salsa. Pupusas were brought to the United States by El Salvadoran immigrants and they are sold in pupuserías in cities across the country.

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Eat This Word: Kulfi

Kulfi

 

WHAT? Indian ice cream cone. The Chinese first introduced ice cream to the world as early as the first century, but it was the Mughals that brought kulfi, a denser version of the frozen treat, from Persia to India in the sixteenth century. Kulfi’s unique conical shape sets it apart from most Western-style scoops—it’s also made without egg yolks as a thickener. Rather, its texture comes from milk that is boiled down until thick and creamy, then mixed with pistachios, cardamom, rose water, or other delicate flavorings before being poured into cone-shaped metal molds, sealed, and frozen in large earthenware vessels. The creamy confection is traditionally served with falooda (fine, silky Indian noodles made from corn flour), and is prized as a hot weather refresher. The dessert is so popular in India that master ice cream makers called kulfi-wallahs are often hired to make fresh kulfi on-site for special events, such as weddings.

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Eat This Word: Cavatelli

Cavatelli

 

WHAT? Few Americans understand either the regional diversity of food in Italy or the pride that Italians take in their cuisine. Take these little, handmade pasta curls, for example. Made from a stiff dough of semolina and water that is traditionally shaped on a wooden work surface by curling it with the tip of a butter knife, cavatelli are claimed by the Molize, Puglia, and Abruzzo regions of Italy. The dough and the shaping technique are similar to those used for orechiette, but the shape is closer to gnocchi. Cavatelli (or cavatieddi in Apulian dialect) are traditionally served with cooked bitter greens, such as arugula, and tomato sauce.

 

WHERE? Delmonico's Does Mardi Gras!

 

WHEN? February 17, 2015

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