Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Falooda! An Indian Treat on Devon Avenue -- Chicago Food Photo

Falooda is a thin, sweet noodle added to frozen desserts and drinks. I first had it in a Persian rose ice cream here in the states. I next had it as a sundae in Jaipur, India, served with ice cream and rose syrup. Today's was from a snack stand on West Devon Avenue in Chicago, which is part of an area becoming known as the International Marketplace because of the wide range of food stuffs and international restaurants and stores. 

The area around Devon and Western avenues is heavily Indian and Pakistani, but as we walked along we saw Middle Eastern, Near Eastern, Georgian, Eastern Eurporean, kosher, and Latin American influences.  The Indo-Pakistani offerings ranged from curries and kebabs to Indo-Chinese food (spicy and saucy) to vegetarian dosas (rice flour crepes) as well as snack foods such as samosas (filled pastries), chaat (assorted snacks) to the falooda.  This one had the noodles, flavored jellies, a kind of tapioca pudding, mango ice cream, a few whole almonds, and syrup. It was rich, satisfying, more than enough for the two of us and cost just $2.99.

Devon Avenue is also home to Indian and Pakistani clothing and fabric stores (think saris and other traditional outfits), jewelry stores, housewares stores and religious items dealers.  There are also a far number of dollar and value-priced merchants as well as food markets and restaurants.  

One important note: Some of the clothing stores and a few of the restaurants and other stores are closed on Tuesday, but if that is the only day you can go there are still an overwhelming number of places to check out.

It is accessible by bus or by taking the Red Line train to Loyala and catching the 155 bus.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Donut You Know -- Chicago Food Photo Feature

Mr. Blog Appetit and I are spending the month in May in Chicago so I thought I would post an occasional food photo here to share some of the Midwest bounty we are enjoying. 

Today's offering is a Stan's Donut lemon pistachio glazed donut. I was pleasantly surprised that the donut itself and not just the glaze was flavored with lemon zest. 

Chicago is more than a bit donut obsessed, with donut stand(s) near most "L" (subway and elevated train) stations. A frequent sight during the packed rush hour is commuters trying to maintain their balance while avoiding getting their boxes of donuts crushed. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

At the Winter Fancy Food Show

This is my second day at the San Francisco Winter Fancy Food Show after a gap of a few years. It's larger and busier than ever and loud, colorful and tasty.

I'm posting this with Blogger mobile for iPhone so I am not writing a full report here due to technical limitations, but some highlights:

Cultured non-diary cheese from Miyoko 

Full leaf tea in a bag from Silk Road Teas

Smoked soy sauce from Igeta (not yet available in the USA)

Roland Foods seasonings and sauces (unfortunately mostly food service)

More as I explore further and get home to a real keyboard. In the meantime as a sign on one display says: It's raining chocolate.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

My First Breakfast in Turkey

My first breakfast in Turkey a few weeks ago in Kayseri. The day before had been 20+ hours of travel and I needed something restorative.  This rich, spicy mutton soup did the trick. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kebab in Antalya

This wonderful eggplant and lamb kebab is from Antayla on Turkey's Liikya Coast, known to tourists as the Turquoise Coast.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pomegranates in Greece

Pomegranates are everywhere in Greece -- in backyards, hanging temptlingly over fences near city sidewalks and of course in the markets. This photo was taken in a small super market on the island of Hydra, Greece.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Greek Food Photo of the Day -- Pita Kebab with "Everything"

I'm on the road again folks, so you know what that means my irregular posing of (mostly) food photos of my adventures.

Right now we are in Athens where we had this charcoal-grilled lamb pita kebab at a locals cafe near the very meat-centric Central Market.  The waitress asked if wanted it with everything, which of course we did.  Everything turned out to be red onions, tomatoes, yogurt sauce and French fries. The pita was chewy and tasty, the meat was succulent and the overall experience a good one.  The first of many such snacks as we travel through Greece and Turkey, I suspect. 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Give a Fig - With Recipes for Lamb with Figs, Hot Chocolate Fig Sauce (with Sea Salt) and a Frozen Fig-Banana Dessert

I like figs - dried, fresh and cooked. Fresh they are juicy and earthy. Dried they are little nuggets of complex sweetness. Cooked they bring color and flavor to a dish.

I enjoy creating recipes with them for both this blog and my Jewish food column in the J weekly.  Seeing fresh figs in the farmers' market or produce store sets my imagination racing about new recipes I can develop and ways I can find to eat these.

It doesn't have to be a fresh fig either to get me going.  The first time I had fig jam slathered over cheese (try a creamy blue or a soft goat cheese) on a whole wheat biscuit-style cracker was a revelation.  Dried figs are like candy in my house to eat out of hand or create confections.

Figs are in season right now in California, which means my fig radar is going full blast.  For more about the types of fresh figs, tips and recipes using figs in recipes and more, check out the California Fig Advisory Board's website.

In honor of the board's upcoming California Fig Fest in Fresno, CA later this month (August 15), I thought I would share some of my recent fig recipes using fresh figs, dried figs and a wowser of a hot chocolate sauce with fig jam and sea salt. To see my recipe for pistachio fig tart with a honey glaze click here. For my fig almond tart in a cornmeal olive oil crust click here.

In the Jewish-Christian tradition, figs symbolize endurance, peace and fruitfulness. Adam and Eve clothed their nakedness with fig leaves. Early scholars ascribed medicinal value to the fig, which is biologically a flower rather than a true fruit. Today, California grows almost 98 percent of the U.S. crop of figs. Worldwide, Turkey is the number one grower of figs. Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Syria and Greece are also major growers. 

For the Lamb with Figs below, I used black mission figs, but brown turkey figs would also work. Sample before buying since figs’ intensity and sweetness vary.

The Hot Chocolate Fig Sauce with Sea Salt can be made in advance, refrigerated and gently reheated. Use non-dairy ingredients for a vegan sauce. Bananas give the vegan Fig-Banana Frozen Dessert a surprisingly creamy texture.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Celebrate Bastille Day with Payard's Pink Champagne Raspberry Granite

Recipe and photo courtesy of Chef Francois Payard

I normally don't use others' recipes or photos but the pr person from Payard sent me these and I was smitten so I decided to share them anyway.

My fondest memory of Bastille Day is one more than 20 years ago spent at the cafe at Domain Chandon in Yountville sipping champagne and listening to cabaret singers.

This relatively easy dessert brings back those memories.   Granité is a sorbet-like dessert made without an ice cream maker.  It it has a more granular texture. The Italians have a similar dessert known as granita.

Happy July 14th!

Pink Champagne and Raspberry Granité

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

2 ½ pints raspberries
½ pint blueberries

1 ⅓ cups sugar
One 750-ml bottle rosé champagne
Juice of 1 lemon

1)    Combine 2 pints of raspberries, the sugar, and ¼ cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
2)    Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the champagne and lemon juice. Scrape the mixture into a shallow metal baking pan, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours. (You can make the granité ahead and keep it covered in the freezer for up to 3 days.)
3)    Using the tip of a spoon or the tines of a fork, scrape the granité into chilled dessert glasses, garnish with the remaining ½ pint raspberries and the blueberries, and serve immediately.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

In the Pink -- Pucker Up for Rhubarb: Recipes for Borscht And Buckwheat Blintzes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb Beet Borscht
I'm still seeing lots of rhubarb on the shelves of my supermarkets and produce stores here in California, which seems late in the season for these purplish red and green-tinged stalks.

I hope you have access to lots of fresh rhubarb where you live, but if you don't you can use frozen rhubarb available in many some  groceries, natural foods and specialty markets, and on line (no need to defrost for the recipes below, but defrost and drain first if using in baking.) That makes me think of buying some stalks, cutting in pieces and freezing them myself so I can have the tart goodness of rhubarb throughout the year.

My memories of this astringent ingredient are sweet, not sour. My Grandma Clara used to stew me up a batch of rhubarb harvested from a neighbor's field. 

The plant's stalks cook up pink.  Often strawberries or sugar are added to tame its astringency. In the borscht, I combine rhubarb's tartness with beets' sweetness. If serving cold, you may need additional seasoning.  I like to serve the soup cold at parties as "shooters" in shot glasses topped with a swirl of yogurt and sprinkle of minced dill or mint as an appetizer.

Buckwheat is from the same botanical family as rhubarb and blintzes made with the flour are an earthy complement to the tangy Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. The blintz wrappers are very versatile and can be used with a variety of fillings. Try the compote on top of cheesecake or ice cream.

Since your rhubarb may be more or less astringent than mine, taste as you add sugar since you may need more or less than I've indicated in the recipes.

Be sure to discard any rhubarb leaves as they contain toxic compounds.

Rhubarb Beet Borscht
Serves 6-8

1 1/2 lbs. beet roots, trimmed
8 cups vegetable stock or broth
2 Tbs. chopped garlic
1 lb. fresh rhubarb stalks, trimmed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. sugar or more as needed
1/2 tsp. lemon juice or more as needed
Garnishes (see below)

Thinly peel beet roots. Cut into 1/4" dice (4 cups). Bring stock to simmer. Add beets and garlic. Simmer 15 minutes until beets have begun to soften. Slice rhubarb into 1/4" pieces (3 cups). Add rhubarb, salt, pepper, and cardamom to soup. Simmer until rhubarb is falling part and beets are completely soft, 30-40 minutes. Taste. Add sugar and or lemon juice to balance taste sweet-tart. Cool and puree half in blender or with immersion blender and return to pot. Serve warm with garnish(es) or chill. If serving cold, taste and correct seasoning before garnishing.

Garnishes: Chose from one or more: sour cream or yogurt; sliced hard-boiled eggs; sliced, boiled potatoes, and minced fresh dill or mint.
Creative Commons license see below

Buckwheat Blintzes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
Makes 10-12

4 Tbs. melted butter, divided
1 recipe Buckwheat Blintz Crepe Batter (see below)
1 recipe Blintz Filling (see below)
1 recipe Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (see below)
1 Tbs. butter

Melt 3 Tbs. butter. Heat 8" omelet, fry or crepe pan over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter.  When sizzling, lift pan up and pour in 1/4 cup batter, swirling to coat bottom evenly. Return to heat.  Cook for 1 minute or until the top of the crepe is set and bottom is light brown or has brown spots. Turn out on a clean dishcloth. Repeat until batter is done, reapplying the melted butter before each crepe.

Lay browned side down. Place 2 Tbs. of filling in middle, leaving about a 1" margin at top and bottom of crepe. Fold top over filling, then fold bottom over. Fold one side over, then the other. Repeat with remaining crepes. Melt 1 Tbs. butter in a large fry pan over medium heat.  Fry in batches for 2 minutes on each side. Serve topped with compote.

Buckwheat Blintz Crepe Batter: Combine in a blender 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cold water, 2 eggs, 2 Tbs. oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Blend on high until well mixed, then for 20 seconds.  Let sit for 1 hour and blend again.

Blintz Filling: Combine 2 cups ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Mix well.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:  Simmer 1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb with 1/2 cup of orange juice until just soft. Add 2 cups quartered strawberries, 1 Tbs. lemon juice and 2 Tbs. sugar.  Simmer until strawberries are just cooked. Chill. Use at room temperature.
Photo credits: Soup: Blog Appetit; Rhubarb, By RhubarbFarmer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Another version of this post appeared in the j weekly.