Where Did You Find That?

Posted by Peggie

11533__57125_zoomBefore I leave town, I wanted to share some of my favorite things – restaurants, kitchen suppliers, ingredients, mail order suppliers, etc.  Many of these are in the Salt Lake valley and a few are either mail order or national chains.  I’ll add more as I think of them. So, let’s get started.

Restaurants

  • Food for Thought – This restaurant in Draper features all homemade items.  Great soups, salads and bakery items.
  • Piñon Market – Victoria recently sold this restaurant but the new owners plan to continue her traditions.  The tarragon chicken is excellent.  Don’t miss the scone and muffin of the day, using whatever fruit is in season.
  • Petite Feast – Victoria’s new endeavor with plans to offer cooking classes
  • Fratelli Ristorante – Homemade Italian food using Grandma’s marinara recipe.  ‘Nuf said.
  • Les Madeleines – French café with great pastry
  • Gourmandise – a bakery and café.
  • Pierre Country Bakery – bakery and café with great pain au chocolate
  • Rebecca’s Chocolates – not a restaurant but definitely a store to visit.  Try the dark chocolate lemon cream.
  • Moochie’s Meatballs – specializing in Philly Cheese Steak.  The owner is from Philly, so she knows. A second location just opened in Midvale.

Kitchen Items

  • Baker’s Cash and Carry – a bakers paradise with unusual supplies – candy molds, bulk chocolate, candy melts, sprinkles in colors you didn’t know existed, unique food gift packaging and everything you would need to make a grand wedding cake.
  • Spoons ‘n Spice – a pricey but good kitchen store.
  • Orson Gygi – kitchen items and baking supplies

Food

  • Downtown Farmer’s Market – wonderful local food – not to be missed.
  • Liberty Heights Fresh – the only source for Valrhona cocoa in the valley.  Also lots of cheese, chocolate, and olives.
  • Trader Joe’s – Valrhona chocolate bars – for eating and cooking
  • Pirate O’s – interesting food items (many imported) including Scharffen Berger 9 oz. baking chocolate bars.
  • Caputo’s – two locations with a third scheduled to open soon.  A deli, imported chocolates and Italian food items.
  • Whole Foods – go for the bulk spices, especially cinnamon.
  • Mill Creek Olive Oil - flavored and plain olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  They sell $3.00 sample bottles – a nice gift or easy way to try them out.
  • Salt Lake Roasting Company - coffee beans!
  • Urban Farm & Feed – run by the same people who organize the Wasatch Front Farmer’s Market.  Open year round – local items including eggs and cheese making kits.
  • Honeyville Farms – my source for bread and pastry flour, yeast and Mexican vanilla (before I started making my own)
  • Penzey’s Spices – mail order spices including whole nutmeg and vanilla beans
  • The Spice House – mail order spices and salts

Cooking Classes

Dinner at Fratelli Ristorante

Posted by Peggie

Fratelli1

What foodie group would turn down a chance to eat out.  Not us – that’s for sure.  The Foodies had dinner tonight at Fratelli Ristorante at Quarry Bend run by two brothers.  They make their tomato sauce in house from Grandma’s recipe, and it shows.

Fratelli2

The occasion was to say goodbye to me,  I’ll be moving to North Carolina in the next few weeks – it will be tough to leave this group but sunshine calls.  I commented that we had our biggest turn out tonight for any activity we have held.  Just goes to show that a good restaurant will bring out the crowd.

Hot Tamales

Posted by Peggie

The Foodies descended on the church kitchen to learn how to make tamales.  Marilyn agreed to lead the lesson and provide the recipe.

It’s not a hard recipe, but did take quite a while.  An assembly line was formed and an hour and a half later we had about 60 tamales.

It all began with two members cooking the meat – chicken and pork boiled together, cooled and fat skimmed.

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Once we gathered, the meat was diced and we added sautéed onions and some enchilada sauce.  The recipe calls for red chili sauce, but we went with a milder one.  The masa was softened with some sauce and a little chili powder.  The corn husks were softened in water.

Assembly lineThen it was time for the assembly line.  Some spread the masa on the corn husks, others added the meat mixture and folded the tamales, and then they were tied shut with thin pieces of husk.

IMG_0809They will all be cooked at home – steamed for 2-3 hours.  Guess what we are all having for dinner!

So, round up a group of friends and give this recipe a try.  Thanks, Marilyn for the lesson!

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Mrs. Mitchell’s Hot Tamales – from Seasoned with the Sun, Junior League of El Paso, 1974.

Yield:  60

3 ½ lb. chicken
3 ½ lb. pork roast
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
7 Tbls. salt
2 ½ lb. corn husks

Red Chili Sauce:
24 pods dried red chili
4 cups water
2 tsp. salt

Masa:
2 Tbls. melted lard
5 lbs. masa harina
1 ½ lbs. lard
5 Tbls. baking powder
3 cups meat broth

Boil chicken and pork roast together and cook until meat falls off bones.  Remove from stove and let cool.  Discard fat.  Drain mean and save broth.  Then shred meats.

Clean and dry corn husks.  Corn silks brush off easily when husk is dry.  Wash in warm water and leave to soak until ready to use.

Red Chili Sauce:  Wash red chili pods and remove stems and seeds.  Bring chili and water to a boil; reduce head and steam 10 minutes or longer.  Puree in blender; strain sauce through colander or sieve if skins remain after blending.  This should yield 4 cups.  Add 2 tsp. salt.

Meat Filling:  Sauté onions and garlic in 2 Tbls. lard.  Add 1 cup broth, 2 cups red chili sauce, 2 Tbls. salt and shredded meats.  Let simmer 20 minutes, adding more broth is needed.

Masa:  Whip lard to consistency of whipped cream.  Mix in masa, adding baking powder and 5 Tbls. salt.  Beat until mixture is very fluffy.  Add 2 cups chili sauce and 2 cups broth.  Mix well.  Add more broth is masa seems too thick to spread easily.

Assembly:  Spread husk with masa by placing 1 heaping Tbls. masa in middle of husk, spreading toward outer edge, top to bottom.  Leave bottom 1/3 of husk free of masa.  Spread 2 Tbls. meat filling in middle of masa lengthwise.  Overlap husk and roll up.  Fold up bottom of husk about 1 ½”.  Tie shut with thin strip of husk.

Cooking:  Steam tamales by placing them upright on folded end in steamer.   Top with husks or foil, cover tightly and steam 2 – 3 hours.  Tamales are done when one can be rolled clear and free of the husk.

Rhubarb Pie, Oh My

Posted by PeggieRhubarb pie

One of our fellow foodies, Kathy, asked me to make a rhubarb pie for her dad.  She even sent me a recipe – Rhubarb Meringue Pie.  The first issue would be to find fresh rhubarb.  We had both lived in upstate New York at one time and remembered that almost everyone had rhubarb growing in their yard.  Utah – that’s another story.

Believe it or not, she quickly found some in a local grocery store.  It is that time of year. She brought me a bag of stalks and we made a plan to have a pie by last Friday.

This recipe was from a blog I had never seen.  After checking out the recipe, I felt good that it would turn out.  This blog, Simply Recipes, is by Elise Bauer and includes recipes she and her family have tested and created.  I may have to check out more from this site.

One interesting part of the recipe was how the meringue was made.  The recipe called for a gel to be made from cornstarch and water that would be added after the sugar/cream of tartar mixture had been added to the whipped egg whites.  I had never seen this technique before but I figured I would give it a try.  I must say that it turned out really well.  (This was after I realized my cream of tartar had a 87¢ price stamped on the bottom and, perhaps, needed to be replaced.)

I will say that I believe my pottery pie pan also makes a big difference.  This is a pan I purchased in Penn Yan, NY when we lived near there.  I have often gotten comments on pies I’ve made from standard cookbook recipes, and I am sure the pottery pan is the reason.

The pie was made and picked up.  I heard only good things and as you can see below, I think he liked it.  A lemon meringue pie is next on the horizon.

Dad pie

By all accounts, the pie was a hit!

A Knife Lesson

Posted by Peggie

The "claw"

Chef Cody demonstrates “the claw.”

Chop, dice, slice, or julienne?  Chef Cody met with the Foodies to show us some knife skills.  He is currently employed at Primary Children’s Hospital, but has worked in several places throughout the valley.

Everyone brought veggies, knives and cutting boards to practice what we were learning.  First up, dicing an onion.  Cut it in half pole to pole, cut off the stem end, peel back the skin, lay cut side down on the board, slice horizontally several time, cut vertically from the stem end almost to the root about ¼” apart, then dice by cutting parallel to the root end.  Whew!  You know, it looks easy when someone else is doing it AND they have a really sharp knife.  But everyone caught on quickly.  After chopping and dicing onions, potatoes, peppers, shallots and leeks, some had the makings of a great soup.  Lots of baggies used to take everything home.  And no cut fingers!

Sue chopping her leek.

Sue chopping her leek.

Just which knife is best and how do you keep it sharp?  There are lots of good knives – some really expensive and some not.  A chef’s knife should feel good in your hand and have a slight curve to the blade.  My 8” Victorinox chef’s knife is a good quality knife and relatively inexpensive.

Keeping knives sharp is important and you need to sharpen them frequently.  Some use a steel each time they use the knife.  I have a simple sharpener recommended by America’s Test Kitchen that only cost $10.00.  It even works on my serrated bread knife.

Thanks, Cody.  It’s really great to have all this talent in our church.

Roasting Chili for Rellenos

Posted by Marilyn

I found the most delicious recipe for chili rellenos on epicurious.com.  The recipe itself is from Bon Appetit, Dec 2002 – Cheese and Shrimp Roast Poblanos with Red Bell Pepper Sauce.  Anyway, the instructions tell you to char the poblanos until the skin is blackened on all sides and then enclose them in a PAPER bag for 10 minutes.  Since I didn’t have a paper bag — who has those anymore? –I thought I’d use a plastic one.  What that bag did was to keep the heat in and cook the chili too much.  The result was chilis that were just too limp and without some structure.  Note to Marilyn – stockup on some paper bags just for chilis.

You Can Pay Me Now, or You Can Pay Me Later

Posted by Peggie

A few weeks ago on NPR I heard a show that asked callers to tell what their favorite slogans were.   The early bird gets the worm, a penny saved is a penny earned – you get the idea.  I don’t remember many others because I got to thinking about mine.Dollar

I probably don’t mean what you think by “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”  And what does this have to do with food?  I’m getting there.

First a story – one of my Facebook friends posted a question a while back.  He wanted to know where he could get some cheap running shoes.  He had recently taken up running to lose weight.  Several people offered suggestions about which stores were the best.  But my answer was “You don’t want cheap shoes.”  Especially for a beginning runner, you need good support.  Someone who is out of shape is more likely to be injured.  And when those shoes wear out (in about 6 months) they should be replaced quickly.  So you can pay for good shoes now, or you can pay doctor bills later when you are injured.

What does this have to do with food, you ask?  Everything.  It can be a whole new mind set that determines how you spend your money.  Should you pay $2/lb. for fresh asparagus in season or $1.00 for a box of Hamburger Helper.  Processed foods can be cheaper.  Fresh and local foods tend to be more expensive.  But in the long run you’re better off with the healthier option.  You can pay for fresh and local now, or you can pay for cholesterol/heart medicine later.

But what about all the extra time it takes to make meals from scratch.  True, it does take more time, but isn’t that time well spent?  You know exactly what’s in your food, you can tailor it to your family’s tastes, you control the things that you might need to avoid (e.g., salt) and you end up with a dramatically better, and better for you, meal.  You can pay now (by taking the time to make meals) or you can pay later (by sitting in the doctor’s waiting room).

You can take this further by making some ingredients you might buy.  Taco seasoning, hot chocolate mix, mustard, and vanilla extract can all be made easily at home.  And that’s just the stuff I’ve already tried.  (Ricotta cheese and mascarpone are next.) They taste substantially better than their commercial counterparts and, in these cases, they’re usually cheaper to make than to buy.

So, if you’re thinking of branching out in your cooking – DO IT!  You’ll be glad you did.  Remember, you can pay now (for fresh, local, maybe more expensive but homemade food), or you can pay later (for all the health problems that come with highly processed foods).

Happy eating!