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Unbelievably Delicious Yam Plah Duk Foo

Yam Plah Duk FooAmong Thai friends, the equivalent of “How are you doing?” seems to be “Have you eaten yet?” In many ways, this expresses the Thais deep love of food, and among their favorites is Yam Plah Duk Foo. The word yam in Thai means salad, the word duk refers to a type of fish, while fu and doo mean fluffy.  Sometimes this dish is simply called yam pla fu, but whatever the name, it is just as crunchy delicious.

Because it requires quite a bit of preparation, this culinary delight is not as readily available as it should be in Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. That is truly unfortunate because yam plah duh foo is definitely worth the effort expended to create it. [Read more…]

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Turkey Can Be Served In Many Ways

Turkey

Photo Credit: icoNYCa https://goo.gl/q0GoCp

The Thanksgiving dinner is usually attended by family and friends plus one regular guest: the Thanksgiving turkey. There are several theories about how this bird became a permanent fixture of Thanksgiving celebrations. Purists are careful to say this bird may or may not have been in the original menu when the Wampanoag Indians and the Colonists celebrated the year’s harvest. Despite this ambiguity, having this dish at the center of the table has been the quintessential culinary symbol of Thanksgiving through the centuries.

The time honored way of preparing this bird in the United States is to roast it in an oven and serve it with gravy, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and yams. Through the years, however, cooks all world have found new ways to give this dish their personal mark. You now have oven roasted, rotisserie broiled, barbecued, and deep fried. Moreover, even the usual side dishes have changed a bit in many homes. [Read more…]

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Yorkshire Pudding: When Puddings are Not Always Dessert Food

Puddings are usually sweet and hearty creations served as dessert, but the Yorkshire pudding departs from this stereotype. It is more commonly served as an accompaniment to Sunday’s roast, and many cooks use beef drippings in their recipe to give the pudding a savory richness.

Video from: Jamie Oliver

A Pudding with History

Some food historians say that it originally came from Burgundy, France, but no one knows exactly who invented the Yorkshire pudding. Through the centuries, however, this hearty dish has become a favorite among people who like plain hearty dishes that go well with Sunday’s roast. [Read more…]

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Ankimo: Beyond the Usual Raw Fish and Nori

ankimo

Photo Credit: takaokun https://goo.gl/ritzwb

Maki, California roll, Nigiri sushi, temaki, and uromaki are among the favorite items of sushi lovers whenever they visit a Japanese restaurant or a sushi bar, but not too many will order ankimo. Many call ankimo the foie gras of sushi, mainly because it is made from monkfish liver. This high end delight is creamy and light; it is Japanese food at gourmet levels.

What Ankimo is All About

Ankimo is not always available in sushi bars. In fact, it you want to be sure it will be served when you eat out, it would be best to inquire before you go. Ankimo is becoming progressively rare as a treat today because the population of monkfish or anglerfish has dwindled considerably. In World’s 50 Best Foods, CNN Travel says, “The monkfish/anglerfish that unknowingly bestows its liver upon upscale sushi fans is threatened by commercial fishing nets damaging its sea-floor habitat, so it’s possible ankimo won’t be around for much longer.

“If you do stumble across the creamy, yet oddly light delicacy anytime soon, consider a taste — you won’t regret trying one of the best foods in Japan.” [Read more…]

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Getting to Know Soul Food

Soul Food

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo https://goo.gl/WBu2E1

Origin of Soul food can be traced back to the time when slavery existed in the United States. It is a cuisine with a long political history; it is also a testament to African-American creativity. People have discovered what an indescribable delight soul food can be, and it is amazing that it all started with scraps, leftovers, and the less desirable vegetables and cuts of meat.

Soul Food Over Two Centuries Ago

In “Soul Food”, a Brief History”, the African American Registry reviews the beginnings of soul food back: “Soul Food is a term used for an ethnic cuisine, food traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans of the Southern United States. Many of the various dishes and ingredients included in “soul food” are also regional meals and comprise a part of other Southern US cooking, as well. The style of cooking originated during American slavery. African slaves were given only the “leftover” and “undesirable” cuts of meat from their masters (while the white slave owners got the meatiest cuts of ham, roasts, etc.).”

Apart from the leftovers from the slave owners’ tables, the slaves also expanded their food choices by growing their own vegetables. The African American Registry adds, “We also had only vegetables grown for ourselves. After slavery, many, being poor, could afford only off-cuts of meat, along with offal. Farming, hunting and fishing provided fresh vegetables, fish and wild game, such as possum, rabbit, squirrel and sometimes waterfowl. Africans living in America at the time (and since) more than made do with the food choices we had to work with…”

[Read more…]

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From the Middle East: Feasting on Shawarma

Shawarma

Photo Credit: Vera Yu and David Li https://goo.gl/B2PxzK

Shawarmas are now as easy to get as hotdogs. But you have to admit that there is a different kind of fascination in watching that huge mass of meat slowly turning on a rotating spit with a grill behind it, as your server shaves off fine slices of meat for you.

Shawarmas are just as filling as hamburgers, and they have the added advantage of variety. You can have shawarmas made of chicken, lamb, beef, or veal; and each one tastes as good as the other. What’s more, instead of the ubiquitous bun, you get your meat in a warm pita.

Origins of the Shawarma

In Gulf News’  Shawarma: Arabic Fast Food, Mohammed N. Al Khan quotes Chef Ahmad Salaibi, Head Chef of the Automatic Restaurant at the Beach Centre in Jumeirah. Salaibi says, “Shawarma is the Arabic fast food. The original shawarma recipe is Turkish and known as the Iskandar shawarma,” says Salaibi…”                                          [Read more…]

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Mexican Rice – Adding Zing to Your Carbs

Mexican Rice

Photo Credit: Meal Makeover Moms https://goo.gl/l8yoH5

There are times when you want to serve something other than plain steamed rice for your Mexican dishes, or something other than corn and buns to go with your barbecue. That’s when you should whip up a generous pot of Mexican rice – a crowd pleaser that is sure to give your table lots of flavor and character.

What the Western world (particularly Southwest USA) knows as Mexican rice is simply referred to as “arroz rojo” or red rice in Mexico. It is a side dish made of rice sautéed in garlic, onions, tomatoes, chili, and other ingredients. Enough water or clear broth is then added to cook the rice completely. Arroz rojo is usually served with Mexican food, but it goes well with a host of other dishes as well. [Read more…]

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You Can Never Go Wrong with Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler https://goo.gl/f3MuH1

Shepherd’s pie is a filling dish made of minced lamb covered with a crust of mashed potatoes. Basically, this pie is simple fare, but there is more to this dish than meets the eye. While this dish is sometimes referred to as nursery fare, it is said that no less than Tory grandee and bestselling author Jeffrey Archer serves it with champagne when he holds receptions.

A Pie Steeped in History

Purists insist that you have to use lamb when you make this dish; if you use beef, what you get is cottage pie. Food historians believe the name shepherd’s pie appeared only in 1877, a few years after the invention of the mincing machine. Prior to that, chunks of meat may have been used as filling. [Read more…]

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Enjoying the Irish Champ

Irish Champ

Credit: Don Crowley

The Irish champ is not an Irish football player or a prizefighter; it is actually a simple and very affordable dish made from mashed potatoes, butter, milk, and onions or chopped scallions. This dish is also known as “poundies” in many areas in Ireland. It is a common dish, good for everyday meals.

Preparing the Champ

There was a time when it was considered poor folks’ fare, but today it is simply known as a popular, easy-to-prepare favorite. The nice thing about the champ is that it allows a cook to use leftover potatoes.  In British Food’s Irish Champ, Irish Champ Recipe, British and Irish food expert Elaine Lemm says, The Irish love potatoes and there are numerous recipes using them. Champ, like Colcannon, is another way of using potatoes either from fresh or as a way to use up left over ones…” [Read more…]

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Feasting on Wild Boar

wild boar

Photo Credit: Joshua Rappeneker https://goo.gl/xilq8M

The words “wild boar” may conjure images of Vikings with horned helmets roasting captured game over a bed of coals, but today wild boar meat has acquired a more sophisticated quality.  Technology and globalization have both contributed to elevating this meat to a refined level in the culinary arts. In addition to this, however, there are some agricultural places where the wild boar population is considered a serious threat. This has urged people to increase consumption of wild boar meat, and this has encouraged cooks to come up with new recipes for this rich yet wonderfully lean meat.

What Wild Boar Meat is Like [Read more…]

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