Tuesday, March 31, 2009

B'inglish Langauge & Another good read!

My word verification a few days back for Girlichef was B'inglish...and you know what? I do feel it belongs in our foodie dictionary. We foodies who blog, speak our own language, and if it had a name I think it would be B'inglish. Or is it a cult following? I looked it up and could not find a definition, so I guess if we use it enough it will show up in the dictionary...

B'inglish- internet blog writers language that is interjected with a splash of wisdom and love...

This reminded me of how I love ChefBliss and her six word post...She came up with and announced a new word for us- blogcruising...

I over heard my hubby one night laughing and laughing. I came down stairs to see what was up. Had he started the movie with out me? "No" he said, as he held this book in the air... After reading a review somewhere, he had ordered it for me and somehow found himself reading it.... I picked it up one morning recently before my evening shift, and read the entire book without even stopping for lunch!

HELLO You hold in your hands a gastronautical questbook, a practical guide for the adventurous cook and a personal journey through the crazy, twisted, mixed-up world of food. If you see it as a manual for culinary show-offs, I can live with that. I just want to encourage you to play with your food... (intro word for word)

Author Stefan Gates goes on to explain more on the reason why he wrote this wacky, funny, and down right silly at times guide... I feel the look into his world of experimental gastronomy; a gastronaut's toolbox, cannibal recipes, cooking with aftershave, and much much more is worth the read! Especially if you want a great conversation piece to lay out on the table when other foodies or friends come over. You simply explain that you now belong to a new group...gastronaut's anonymous...

Next post...I am not sure, as of this moment I found out I have had walking pneumonia and told to stay in bed for the next three days as I have asthma and need the meds to kick in! So, I may be blogcruising when I feel up to it; other wise just not doing a whole lot of nothing else but bed cruising...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Key 'Elements'- Facts, Dinner, Lessons

'Kindai Bluefin Tuna'

This information is based on facts, a dinner, and lessons learned and are here presented to you, hopefully, in an entertaining and educational way -Chef E

Kindai Fish Species- Sustainably raised in Japan- Kindai maguro/Kindai tuna stands for Kuromaguro tuna entirely fed by humans, states my friend Robert Gilles @ Shizuoka Gourmet. I had noticed he wrote about the cloned embryos hatched and raised in ocean cages off the Japanese coast, a solution we have yet begun to grasp in our country to help with over fishing, polluted waters, and millions of hungry fellow human beings around the world.

I reached out to Robert and shared with him that I was attending a Kindai Dinner at a local restaurant, Elements, here in Princeton, New Jersey- an event to highlight and raise awareness of Kindai Tuna and other cutting edge fish farmed with sustainability with the wild population in mind- . A big 'Thank You' goes out to Robert for pre-educating me on this matter, and he has since written a new post to address my comments- Tuna Species: Kindai tuna/Kindai Maguro. He also made a comment that I find to be important enough to share, "It is also a very important issue to me to. The more because Japan is being unfairly accused of all kind of evils when it comes to fishing! This is the single country most active in marine preservation development and research"!

What I want to inject now is that Robert @ Shizuoka Gourmet introduced me to something new by way of his sharing what goes on around him in Japan, and now I would like to share how it was brought to my door step by way of Scott Anderson, Executive Chef of Elements Restaurant. If you follow my blog I had already made one visit to the restaurant, and due to a mysterious disappearance of a pint of cream, an over worked cook, hungry lover, a plot thickened into a saucy tale-'Elements'...What Son?. A few friends since then have given me mixed reviews about their restaurant experience at Elements, but I will not go into minor mishaps and still feel then and after last night that we would return for future events, and see what new things Scott and the staff have added.

As you arrived, park, and enter through the glass door that bares a familiar initial 'E', a moderately filled area around the bar was buzzing with diners. Wait staff quickly greeted you with a tray of fluted sparkling sake that was nice and refreshing, not too dry, sweet, but just right to start the evening. The hostess was asked what the schedule was. Diners were informed a six thirty to seven'ish reception time was to be expected. Soon modern shaped plates of three or four appetizers began to circle the room. Kobe Tartare stuffed Shishito peppers (favorite), Foie gras torchon, Caviar and Tator Tots, as well as Peterson's Charcuterie of the evening on crostini to name a few.

The crowd began to displace to the dining room as one might guess many were ready to sit and relax after a long work day. Time actually slipped by as you can occupy your time people watching. Nick Sakagami was being interviewed by a familiar face from the original Iron Chef Food Network show, a local Today Show guest was encircled by friends who recognized him as they came in, the kitchen staff was full of extras from a local sushi restaurant, Shumi in Somerville, NJ, and well it was just an interesting crowd all around.

Eventually all seated, Chef Anderson enters the room and introduces the key parties in pulling off this unique dining experience, and hence the wait staff begin their quest to serve the crowd.

Chef Anderson was found to be equally approachable as I did the other stars of the night, so in my true form I chatted away. He has said yes to discussing to a group of inner-city culinary students coming into the restaurant for a tour and a talk from him and the staff. This would be a great opportunity to introduce young men and women to what I find to be the perfectly flowing kitchen and restaurant design in my career. The talent should be shared, so that a star in my class would also have the opportunity to shine one day.

Dinner finally begins to appear slowly but surely. A plate of Sushi and Sushimi are placed in front of each diner, Classic and Not So Classic the menu reads. Feeling there was a key element missing from this dish, several pieces of sushi were lifted to see if a hidden sauce was present once bites were taken. Fish may shine on its own at times, but possibly a little dehydrated soy-miso-hoisen sauce might have gave it a little more kick. Each dish had an addition of libation pairings to go along, and the Chokaisan, Junmai Daiginjo, Tenju Shuzo Brewery Sake was a perfect match.

The second through the fourth course slowly arrive as most of the room seem to patiently sit, conversing, having wine or cocktails that may or may not be paired with the courses. We dine on dishes of Shima Aji that had tequila vinegar, smoked maple steel head trout roe along side tiny cubed Stayman Winesap apples...

Madai in green goddess consomme with cucumber and parmigiano, Kampachi that is coffee cured along with Tokyo scallion that seemed seared and oh so yummy!

After that fifth course we were served in a more timely manner than our last five dishes, and I have to mention that Chef Anderson is from Florida, so like me I found out he likes his chicken skin. He created a dish of Mahata that was wrapped and cooked in chicken skin to absorb some of its flavor, and set atop creamed corn with a piece of dehydrated BBQ sauce off the corner. The taste was very nice I might add.

Then one of my favorite dishes of the night was sat in front of me, the Wagyu Beef ('Wa' means Japanese and 'gyu' means cattle), with white miso and yuzu reduction. Lets just say the beef with its natural flavor and marbling literally melted in your mouth.

The Bluefin (loin) Bourgogne (as in the waiters words) "What the meal was all about" was placed in front of us. The dish like most was a bowl of color (carrots), contrast (crunch of edamame and silky pearl onions), and the ever so present thick slice of loin on top of the bourgogne sauce made from a short rib base with an offset corner piece of Otoro artistically placed on the loin.

The final two courses were Fish & Chips and Chocolate Cube with cardamom sponge (looked like sponge, but it was a cake) along with a creamsicle side and crushed pistachio. The fish and chips were fun as you tasted the thinly sliced tuna tasso with the potato chip ice cream's silky smoothness and crunchy bite, and off to the corner was the cute little dab of malt vinegar caramel. This was a great ending to the wonderful education.

What Scott along with Nick Sakagami did was introduce a full house of diners to the concepts and flavors of Japanese cutting edge fish breeding by way of the Kindai Tuna (listed on Elements website), as well as new Kindai species that have not been served in the United States as of yet. He presented nine of the ten courses with grace and skill that showed off each component of the fish. I know if he is reading this (I found out he read my last piece) then I would like to share that for your first event of this proportion your team in the back and front pulled it off without the diners knowledge of any problems. We might have waited a little too long for some of the first courses, needed a few added touches here and there to the plates, but it was all worth the time and effort for the public to learn a few lessons in quality.

Nick Sakagami and I had a chance to chat after the dinner came to a close, and he touched on a note I try to emphasize in my post; fish in his country of origin is treated with respect and delicacy; once introduced to the palate it must be in perfect harmony with its surroundings, preparation, and plating to be truly appreciated. I look forward to seeing what other fantastic species of Japanese fish Nick Sakagami brings to our table!

Nick Sakagami, born and raised in Japan until he came to the US to attend University of Southern California and now works for a sushi grade seafood wholesaler (Ocean Fresh Fish and Seafood Marketing, Inc) spent most of the evening going from table to table giving each diner his time speaking about the fish and the Universities farm program, and how after 32 years of research by dedicated and talented researchers opportunities such as this night were possible, as well as answering questions. I want to personally thank Nick from my heart for introducing our country to one of my favorites, White Tuna.

Elements Restaurant
163 Bayard Lane
(Route 206)
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 924-0078
Executive Chef-Scott Anderson

Check out a blog couple I met last night- He helped with the dinner while she watched from the chefs tables along side the kitchen... Alexander Talbot & Aki Kamozawa

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ethiopian Super Bowl Finale

In the past three weeks Joie de vivre @ An Amatuer Gourmets Guide and I have taken two other trips to Ethiopia. We both cooked dishes from the same cook book, Exotic Ethiopian Cooking by D.J. Mesfin. Added twists on some dishes in the second post, as well as cooked dishes I made in an ethnic restaurant I managed and was chef back in St. Louis...I am presenting for my finale a triple pass look at three views of this super bowl of goodness...Lentils, Okra and Chicken Alech'a...

Someone out there is thinking "has she lost her mind, did she just mention football"? This is March Madness- basket ball season. I admit, I am not into sports at all, but if the cleats fit, then wear them when you can...

This is the more focused picture, since my photo-shop program for some reason is not opening any pictures from my camera *frustrated chef arrrgh* Just when I began to learn what the heck I was doing to produce better photos...

I wanted this one to be the million dollar baby shot! My favorite burnt orange place mats complimented the reddish glow of the chicken spice, and okra mix (I was told a tri-pod needs to be used)...oh well it all tasted fantastic!

These flavors will continue to be a monthly menu item for us, since they were missed greatly over the past four years. I was glad I got back into the 'swing' of Ethiopian food (oh no now baseball). The lentils are always healthy with their added protein, and fiber. I love spicy foods, and you can make the berbere or we't (spicy), and alech'a (mild) versions in any of the dishes you have seen. There are so many dishes you can easily prepare at home, and not to mention the teff injera is super easy to make. I actually did not even realize they ate okra until I went through some of my other books from Africa.

Here is the recipes of what I actually cooked for this post-

Yekik Alich'a- Mild Split Lentil Sauce

1 1/2 cups lentils (I mixed Moong/Urad Dal/Lentils)
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika powder
salt/pepper to taste

Cook onions in Nitter Kiber (Ethiopian butter in first post) for about three minutes. Add half of stock (or just to cover), lentils, and seasonings and cook on simmer (adding stock as needed) until they are done.

Doro-Bamya We't (combined two recipes; both have same ingredients)
Spicy Chicken-Okra Blend

three medium chicken breast, cubed medium
2 cups frozen or fresh okra
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup diced fire roasted tomatoes with chilies
1/4 onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika powder
salt/pepper to taste

I placed them all in a baking dish and placed in the oven, 425 degrees on top rack, and baked for at least a half hour; st iring occasionally until chicken was done.

Served both together side by side with injera (traditional teff flour bread).

NOTE: One thing in my job is I always hear about how someone does not like okra because it is slimy. If you fry it with the onions in oil first then it will not be, but even in this dish I used frozen and it was not slimy at all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ume-boshi Cookies & Rice pudding

This is my 'Sweet Rice' post addition to my 'Lets Talk Rice' series this past week. I chose to make an Ume-boshi sugar cookie that has a sweet and salty flavor combined; along with a jasmine rice pudding flavored with only coconut milk and brown sugar. They both were a success, and went well together.

Ume-boshi is tricky to use in dishes other than intended uses as in salads and other Asian dishes like Marc @ No Recipes salad post. I ask him if he thought it would work in a rice pudding and he said it was extremely salty, so instead I chose the sugar cookie to be my guinea pig. Hubby loves rice pudding and I wanted to surprise him with his favorite dessert, but also a little extra- extra something... Now if my mom had only made it this way, I might have liked it better as a child!

Lets now talk about Jasmine rice , sometimes known as Thai fragrant rice, is a long-grain variety of rice that has a nutty aroma and a subtle and pandan-like (Pandanus amaryllifolius-leaves) flavor (caused by 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline). Jasmine rice is originally from Thailand. It was discovered as the Kao Horm Mali- 105 variety (KDML105) by Sunthorn Seehanern, an official of the ministry of agriculture in the Chachoengsao Province of Thailand in 1954. The grains will cling when cooked, though it is less sticky than other rices as it has less amylopectin.

I have found that Jasmine rice is often used in cooking Thai food around the world, and some say it has less aromatic properties than Basmati (Indian) , but that is a personal preference. In Indian cooking, spices are added to both kinds to enhance its flavor, but Jasmine really works well for sweet recipes like my rice pudding. The length and slenderness of the grains suggest that they should remain separate on cooking but it differs from other long grain rices in that it has a soft and slightly sticky texture when cooked.

I have not even begun to talk about the information I have found showing in the United States, and how there are knock off brands, so be careful when you are specifically looking for Jasmine. If you want an original version then learn the facts and shop at Asian markets for your ingredients as I do. You will be overwhelmed by the endless piles and bags stacked up high on wooden palates, but you will not be disappointed. I did however find a small package of 'medium' jasmine grain. Wanting to see how this would cook up in my pudding play, I picked up a package.

'Here is the pickled Ume (Asian Plum) and it is pickled with beefsteak tomato leaves, and the seed is almost as big as the little plum...'

Pickled Ume Fruit

For those who don't know what UME-BOSHI is:

Ume-boshi (梅干, pickled Ume) are a type of Japanese pickle. They are a traditional food which is popular in Japan. Their natural color is brown, but Umeboshi are often dyed red using an herb called akajiso (often supplemented with artificial red coloring in commercially available Ume-boshi). Ume-boshi may be round, and vary from unwrinkled to very wrinkled. Their taste is very sour and salty. Ume-boshi are made by drying Ume fruits and then packing them in barrels with salt. A weight is placed on top and the fruits gradually exude all remaining juices, which accumulate at the bottom of the barrel.

Ume-boshi are usually eaten with rice. As part of a bento (Japanese lunch box), a single Ume-boshi (with pit removed) is often placed in the center of the rice, resulting in what looks like the flag of Japan. It is also a common ingredient in Onigiri, rice balls wrapped in nori. Among Japanese, Ume-boshi are believed to be good for health, and may be eaten as a folk remedy for the cold. Because of their high salt content, they can be kept for a very long time without spoiling.

'One for me, one for hubby, and there is one for Tangle...cause I hear she loves rice...'

The next post will be my third and final trip to Ethiopia along with Joie de virve @ An Amatuer Gourmets Guide...she has already left the gate, but I will be there shortly...go see what she has made...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NJ Indian Market Tour- Chef's View

This week has been busy as usual, and today was fun for me. This was my first large group to take on this journey to India by way of going to a market and restaurant.
  • I talk about the ingredients available to duplicate Indian cooking in the home
  • How I came to love ethnic food and my passion for teaching
  • My own experience working in an Indian home kitchen as well as Indian restaurants
  • I order a variety of food for you to try
  • Talk about the Indian restaurant kitchen
  • Recommend New American Indian Restaurants in the area
  • Passed around my own instructional books on the spice, foods, and culture
  • Answer as many questions as you can throw out at me!
You also walk away with a gift bag of some unusual spices, recipes, and instructional materials that cover much of what I talk about...

Everyone including Intern Ang, said I did a good job, and had smiles when they left the restaurant (maybe because they finally got to eat!). The tour took three and a half hours from start to finish.

I already know where I ramble on and where I stop short (don't we all)...

Honestly, it was great fun doing this with them. They all were so much fun and nice all wrapped into one big group package!

I went fifteen minutes over my 'scheduled' and outlined tour...

Isles of spices, rice, chats, pickles, chikki tikki (brittle), and so many other good things...

Questions where answered by me while they checked every corner of the store out...

Rice...lots and lots of so many varieties that it can be overwhelming in a store like this...

The funniest part of the lunch was when you realize all of them had their cameras out and ready as each dish came to the table...

Camera and photo styling talk, but notice the two on this end of the table were digging into the food, lol!

New Jersey Bloggers...

Deborah Smith @ Jersey Bites

Robin from @ Caviar and Codfish

Melissa @ Sable Minded

John and Lisa @ John and Lisa are Eating South Jersey

Vanessa @ Chefdruck Musings

Alexandra @ A Food Coma

Gen @ Gens Blogggidy Blog

Lisa @ Jersey Girl Cooks

One person did not get to make it and she was really missed, although we did talk about her! We love our girl...Donna @ My Tasty Treasures

Thanks to everyone! I hope we all can do something like this again one day...

Yunnan Paella

'Paella is a painstaking dish, but well worth the effort'!

Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with high elevations in the northwest and low elevations in the southeast. Most of the population lives in the eastern part of the province. In the west, the relative height from mountain peaks to river valleys can be as much as 3,000 meters. Yunnan is rich in natural resources and has the largest diversity of plant life in China. Rice remains the top agricultural product for the country, and all of Asia.

Looking to find specific information on foods and flavors of the Yunnan area like specific spices, I learned that they are popular for their noodle stands, eat vegetation such as bamboo that are indigenous to the area, as well as common place ingredients available in China. Recipes and food preparation varies greatly from province to province. (more below)

'The Yunnan Palace Bamboo rice has a subtle flavor of green tea on its own, great texture, and kept its color to where you saw the contrast (I might have put to much chili paste on shrimp, and it came out a bit red looking on the final plating...)'

As I talk about more depth in my 'Lets Talk Rice' post; it is often regarded as a poor man's meal even in our country, and has been for decades. Rice is a good source of protein and staple throughout the world; although it is not a complete protein. That is why beans and rice are a perfect meal. A dish like this with seafood, or the chicken sausage all work as well.

I grew up eating rice, and as a poverty level income household it was common for us to consume rice combined with other ingredients for many meals on a weekly basis.

'Everything was seasoned separately, and then combined in a pan to place and bake in the oven...'

Paella- According to The Paella Company, Paella was originally a laborers' meal, cooked over an open fire in the fields and eaten directly from the pan using wooden spoons around the Mediterranean countries. Seafood is rare in the fields of Valencia where this dish began, which is why they used chicken, rabbit, duck and snails.

Snails were the most commonly used meat as they were cheap. For special occasions rabbit or duck would be added and the well-off would have chicken. Anyone that tries to tell you that the original paella was a seafood dish is wrong.

A friend Chef Joseph, who ran a 'Spanish' restaurant in Dallas, Rouge, and who grew up in Basque...situated between Spain and France, used to talk about how it was common to see local paella stands along the beach in his country. As he grew up seafood was introduced into this dish and it became a posh creation. I can just visualize the large pits with open fires under a covered stand, and the beach combers coming up and enjoying some good food on the spot.

My paella is inspired by the fact that I wanted to create something I have not written about as of late, and as most of you know I am big on fusion and playing with ingredients. What a better way than to bring two countries together in this manner.

Saffron eventually founds its way into this dish and was added to produce a yellow and subtle flavor for the main ingredient of assorted meats and then seafood; it did not contain the ingredients of heat as I have created. My seasoning- lemon grass, cilantro, basil, chili paste, onions, garlic, chopped tomato. The bamboo rice was par-cooked separately in a pan with only vegetable stock. No salt. No pepper, and then all combined, and placed in oven to meld flavors and to cook seafood and clams. I sauted the chicken sun-dried tomato sausage with onions and added to the clams and colossal shrimp for flavor.

Another Note: Yunnanese dishes are quite spicy, mushrooms feature prominently, and another important characteristic of Yunnan cuisine is the wide use of flowers as food.

EDUCATION: Bamboo rice is not a specific varietal of rice, but is rather short-grained white rice which has been treated with the juice of young bamboo plants. While milling the rice, the chlorophyll from the bamboo is added. This process causes the rice to be high in vitamin B, and gives it a flavor and aroma much like that of a jasmine green tea. It is eaten frequently in major ethnic groups of Yunnan such as the Dai; which are part of the 38% of the province's minority population.

A striking pale green, bamboo rice is not technically considered sushi rice, but is sometimes used for sushi to lend color to sushi rolls (after it is cooked, bamboo rice is usually moist and sticky). Bamboo rice should not be cooked like regular sushi rice. Rice should then be cooked as usual, but allowed to sit for 20 minutes after cooking.

Most research recommends Bamboo rice to be served as Sushi rice, or as an Asian-style risotto. Using it as a side dish when you want to add a striking note of color to a meal; this is what I am striving for. Some Asian markets carry bamboo rice, and it can also be ordered from mail-order food catalogs or specialty food stores. This product is all natural, and is imported from China. The cost for this exotic ingredient can range from $6 to 10 a pound.

Bamboo shoots (takenoko), mushrooms and a strong vegetarian stock would be a good combination with the contrasting color of a fish such as salmon, or the pink of shrimp after it has cooked. The shoots (new culms that come out of the ground) of bamboo are edible. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths. They are available in most Asian supermarkets.

E's NOTE: I found that when I cooked the rice I used a low temperature once it began boiling. Covered it and left it alone. Even after it baked with a while longer I still did not see a sticky or gooey consistency. I feel this rice could still be cooled and forked in a similar way to regular rice with only a small amount of starch. Actually it first reminded me of a barley texture.

I can see this rice replaced for most white or brown rice recipes, and cooking applications. It also though can really work well as a risotto (if you stir it, and add stock as you go to bring out the starch).

'We opened a nice, 2008, South African Chenin Blanc, and I must say it went well, and the whole meal was very filling and tasty...'

My next post will be 'Ume Rice Pudding', and then the 'Indian Market Tour' with the New Jersey Bloggers...

Lets Talk Rice- A Walk on the Wild Side

Let’s talk rice- A language I have now fully embraced... Fortunately, I have been a willing participant in a thing called 'Gluten-Free' eating; which rice is a part of my new eating lifestyle and can have a way of speaking through a recipe or dish of food in a way as simple as writing as Haiku poetry, or a beautiful song. I am however so sad about loosing the pasta choices I had before, but I know my health matters more. The red and white rice in the above photo were part of a gift package from hubby's step mother, Valerie. She so knows me! What a great gift...something I had not explored yet in my foodie adventures.

In December of 1997 it was reported that excavations of an ancient site in the city of Chengtoushan in central China's Hunan Province convinced archaeologists that under the ruins of the city wall lies a piece of rice field which could date some 6,5000 years back... I love history and find that definite proof that Asia introduced rice to our world by way of global trading throughout the centuries.

Many Asian dishes in our country (US) were introduced and adapted for our taste through immigrant that worked on the railways bridging the eastern and western United States together. Rice is a good source of protein and staple throughout the world still. Although it is not a complete protein, and is often regarded as a poor man's meal.

I grew up eating rice like many of you did, and it was common for us to consume it daily or a weekly basis as several meal replacements. Rice and beans remain a western favorite to this day.

Rice is the seed of the monocot plant Oryza sativa, of the grass family (Poaceae). As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in tropical Latin America, East, South and Southeast Asia. It is the grain with the second highest worldwide production, after maize (corn). Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is probably the most important grain with regards to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by our species. A traditional food plant in Africa, rice has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care. In early 2008, some governments and retailers began rationing supplies of the grain due to fears of a global rice shortage.

'If I had Greg @ Sippity Sup's talent with these babies and a video camera; then they would be twirling and doing the can-can for you, but they are slowly turning so that you can see them show off...'

Urban Accents: Yunnan Palace Bamboo- This short-grain Chinese rice echoes the taste of green tea and makes a perfect complement to any Asian-style dish where a bright color enhances the dining experience.

Yunnan food is what Chinese eat when they want ethnic is what I read in some online research. There's an emphasis on fresh herbs and unusual tastes, like mint. Or you can walk on the wilder side with food of the Dai people in Yunnan. There you will find lots of stuff cooked in bamboo tubes, rice stuffed in pineapples, fresh snake, and buckets of bile (not so yummy sounding, huh).

'I am going to make three unique dishes with each one of these special grains, and not what you might expect either...'

'On the last post I made this Himalayan Red rice with my Caesar Salad Tacos, and did not season it with anything but vegetable stock. No Salt. No Pepper. I let the cheese blend shells and the Green Goddess dressing communicate for the rest of its counterparts.'

Himalayan Red Rice has been grown in South Central Asia, in the Nepal area for many centuries. The rice paddies located in the foothills of the mountain regions produce the most aromatic red rice, and is also grown in parts of France. Similar in shape to brown rice but with a deep rosy color, it contains more of the natural bran than does the white version. For this reason it requires a longer cooking time, has a nuttier and more complex flavor and adds a texture to dishes unlike any other.

This is unlike Wild Rice which is usually used for species of the grass genus Zizania, both wild and domesticated, although the term may also be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties of Oryza. Originally wild rice was found growing in native grasses of the marshlands of North America and Canada, and is the most recent grain to be cultivated. Quinoa has begun to follow that lead.

This staple can be grown practically anywhere, but rice cultivation, due to its labor intensive value, is well suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rain fall. Parent species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of global trade and exportation have made it common place in many cultures.

Due to the cultivating methods of flooding rice fields makes this a very 'Green' product; that is a growing concern all over the world and important part of our diets. This would not be cost effective to produce it in the United States, nor would we want another pest controlled product on the market. A simple method of sound planning and servicing of the water damming and channeling reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, and deters vermin. Flooding is not mandatory, but all other methods of irrigation require a higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods. Not to mention fertilizing the soil.

Outside of Brown Rice or hulled rice, many of these varieties are healthier than the milled counter part, White Rice, so I highly recommend you try some of these other varieties. Any rice, including sticky rice, long grain, or short grain (such as risotto), may be eaten as brown rice.

Take eating healthy rice a step further and germinate your brown rice (GBR). Why do you want to do this? Because it's healthier and better tasting (I think) than the regular version! I'll discuss some of the health benefits and ways of making it on another post. Sprouted brown rice, GABA brown rice(for the amino acid GABA that is created during the sprouting), or hatsuga genmai in Japanese.

Risotto, also called Arborio rice from Italy is a high-starch (amylopectin), low-amylose round medium grain rice is used to make risotto. Such rices have the ability to absorb liquids and to release starch so they are stickier than the long grain varieties. Other grains include basmati of India, fragrant jasmine, and quinoa a protein rich seed of South America that was once grown by the Inca civilization, and almost lost. I have found so many varieties are available that I want to create an endless of recipes as seen in cookbooks such as 'The World's Finest Pasta and Grains', by Anne Marshall. She trots the glob, and especially Asia with an assortment of grain recipes.

I find that one of the most disturbing things about eating White rice here in the states is that we know it is buffed with glucose or talc powder (often called polished rice, though this term may also refer to white rice in general), parboiled, or processed into flour. White rice may also be enriched by adding nutrients, especially those lost during the milling process. While the cheapest method of enriching involves adding a powdered blend of nutrients that will easily wash off (in the United States, rice which has been so treated requires a label warning against rinsing), more sophisticated methods apply nutrients directly to the grain, coating the grain with a water insoluble substance which is resistant to washing. Not to be confused with the inexpensive versions of a parboiled rice sold and is referred to as 'minute rice'. Brown rice or its counterparts are a much healthier choice for our diets due to the nutrient and protein components.

HELPFUL HINTS: An Indian friend I cooked with back in Dallas, Christo, always reminded me that one of the most common errors made by the home cook when preparing rice with the absorption method is removing the lid on the pan frequently to check the progress of the water level. So it is important to keep moisture (steam) in the pan.

Do not stir the rice during the cooking process, because it releases starch from the rice, and it will become sticky. Either cover the pan while the rice is cooking, and forget about it until the time is up. I believe rice cookers are one of the best investments for cooking, unless you are making risotto, a high starch variety from Italy.

"My next post is 'Yunnan Paella'...and there is so much out there on this topic I cannot even begin to bore you any further" -E

Green Goddess Caesar Tacos & Award Thank You

Our 'Green Theme' last week made me think of an old familiar salad dressing. Mean and Green. Now I do not buy bottle dressings anymore, because we might use them once and then they sit until they just fall out of the refrigerator door. On occasion I might use it as a marinade for grilling, but otherwise who knows how long it will sit. Oil, vinegar, seasonings or fresh made is the best!

Doing some research I found two claims to fame for 'Green Goddess' dressing...the first giving credit to an article written in 1948, "The California Cookbook", by Genevieve Callahan, and from a play titled "The Green Goddess" , and attributed to the English actor in 1923, George Arliss.

'I used a classic Caesar recipe and added tarragon, and avocado...he reigns supreme'

Finding that the original recipe included anchovies was quite surprising to me. I like anchovies on occasion now, but as a youngster I would have gagged at the thought of bait in my food. Green was not a color I steered towards either, but I loved it! What does give it that green tinge anyway...tarragon, avocado, or fresh herbs I read about?

Lets give it a try and see! I wanted to put it up against its bottled successor, Seven Seas in the 1970's, but I could not find any (you can buy online); which they do not make but in small quantities and can be found on occasion. As a kid I was often out ruled on the 'dressing in the cart' by the other six in my family and had to eat French dressing regularly.

If you research the subject yourself you might also think, "This recipe sounds similar to Caesar dressing"... In Dallas for years we had an annual contest called 'The Caesar Salad Contest' for local chefs to enter and the public would come, taste and vote for the winner. This was my inspiration for the contest, but rolled as a cone with an heirloom tomato confit on top. I have used grilled chicken too.

'On wax paper or a Sil-pat you sprinkle 4 " rounds of parm, asiago, and romano cheese in a 350 degree oven till melts and browns on edge...remove'

'Once out of the oven, cool for a few minutes and then you must place them over the side of a plastic bowl to fold in'

Green Goddess Salmon Taco Salad

I made these before for large crowds, and with a wine tasting up against whites. These tacos with any filling are definitely an entertaining and conversation piece. I was over at Sippity Sup the other day and I saw how Greg cooked some salmon that lay across a pillowy bed of white cream with what seemed like a green throw wrapped lovingly about it. The salmon technique was calling out to me, and let me say these tasty pieces of fish on this crunchy mixed cheese shell is great!

'I will talk more about the rice, but it had a nice nutty flavor and I used no seasonings...I wanted the dressing and cheese to do the communicating'

THANK YOU: I want to thank Kendra @ Homegrown Housewife for thinking of me in her Vintage recipe post on Sunday. We are suppose to pass it on, and since I just did this for St. Paddy's day I will just say 'Thank You' to everyone that follows my post. My blog journey has been great, and am glad we can all share... Being able to communicate about what goes on inside our lives has come so far, and it is nice that we each can express our own views through our very own blog...

Next post I am talking rice...a language I have learned to embrace...