Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zip it good

by Jacki
Cooking with fresh ingredients is best -- of course. But fresh ingredients don't "keep" well.

One of my favorite ingredients is ginger. I purchase it from a local market in Torrance, CA called Randy's Market on Sepulveda Blvd. If you've never been, grab your reusable bags, cash or checkbook, and get there NOW. This place offers the best produce and the best prices: Granny Smith Apples cost me anywhere from $1.49 a lb to $1.99 a lb at the grocery store. At Randy's they cost around $0.59 cents a pound (maybe even less!).

Back to ginger...

Ginger just doesn't keep well. The second you slice into it and get what you need out of it, you may as well toss the rest. However, a Thanksgiving 2008 discovery has allowed me to sustain fresh ginger in my apartment for 2 weeks!

The ginger inside the bag with the air sucked out. Please accept my apologies for the bad photo...

This magical discovery is the Ziploc Freezer Pump and Bag. As someone who covets all modern kitchen technological advances but has no place to store them, you can imagine my excitement when I found this somewhat archaic version of food storage at my Vons. (In case you can't imagine my excitement, picture a blonde jumping up and down on the foil and saran wrap aisle, channeling my inner Monica Gellar as I repeated over and over again "This is the coolest thing ever!")

What it is: a very affordable version of those vacuum seal food storage systems on infomercials.

How much it costs: if I remember correctly, the starter kit, which comes with a pump and 3 bags, clocks in at around $9. (It might be a little more...)

How it works: the special bags have a "hole" in the upper right hand corner that acts as a valve. Once the pump is placed over the hole, pull the pump up and down to suck the air out of the bag.

Down side: if you're sealing something to be left out on the counter, sometimes air will re-enter the bag after a day or so, and you'll have to "re-pump" the air out. This doesn't seem to happen with stuff put in the freezer or refrigerator.

Definitely don't: use with a liquid marinade. The pump will pull the liquid out of the bag and it gets a little messy.

If you're totally over throwing away perfectly good food just because it's not filled with preservatives that keep it fresh, MAKE THE INVESTMENT IN THESE BAGS TODAY. I've used them in various ways: freezing turkey meat, keeping cream cheese and regular cheese fresh and mold-free in the refrigerator, and most recently, keeping my ginger in good standing!

The bags also came in really handy at Thanksgiving when I wanted to save myself some time: I pre-chopped onions and leeks the night before, and the next day when it was time to add those ingredients to my stuffing, they were fresh and ready to go!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And now there's the "Marked5" truck...

by Ivy

I had some fun tonight walking about downtown LA on a Friday night...

Some of the local color you see in LA.
That monstrous camera in the back was mounted to this Audi A8.

After our drunken stumbling out of the Crocker Club and having attempted to watch a burlesque show by The Feminine Oddities at the Hive Gallery, we ran into "Marked5", yet another food truck riding the trend of asian-inspired fast eats. This one like Kogi BBQ, sees Twitter as a valuable marketing tool to create a legion of followers and intensify hype(see: my personal kogi making experience at home).

Anyway.. onto the comparison. :)

Kogi: Korean inspired tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc.
Japanese inspired burgers and bites, etc.

Great menu. My initial impression is very good. At first glance, readability is clear. Their menu is straightforward, concise in a legible, san-serif font. Good descriptions for the food and clear pictures of the food.

Drat. Tofu looked yummy. They ran out of Tofu. Wow, Tofu is the most popular one! LA is quite the health conscientious city.

Our friend Kenny hears the pangs of hunger and is the first to take the plunge even though he wasn't totally hungry. He goes ahead and orders the "Torakku Beef".

Nice! We note the goods filled in the refrigerated part of the truck up for purchase: Pocky, Arare(Japanese rice crackers), Green Tea, Pocari Sweat, Wasabi Peas, Calpico, Mr. Coffee, Grass Jelly and various other asiany items, mostly Japanese. Of course, being that Kenny just ex-patted from the U.S. to Shanghai last year, orders the Grass Jelly in true Commie fashion. Chairman Mao would be proud.

The adequate amount of cooking time passes. No complaints there in speed and delivery. Not crowded though. The people who work there were nice and friendly. Kenny receives his order hot and fresh. After the initial bite, he expresses, "Ooh, this IS really good!", so Rena and I decide to order our own to share. We order the "Torakku Beef" and our other companions order the "Shrimp Spring". Like Wendy's burger patties, the sticky rice buns are shaped into flat squares.

Tastes Great! It's like a Japanese Hamburg steak with some carmelized onions, lettuce, secret sauce with rice in a convenient sandwich form. The secret Torakku sauce was really good except that it was starting to drip all over the place. Bread is a good medium for absorption but I don't miss it--the rice works well with all the components. I still don't like the drip factor and I feel like I'm in one of those Carl's Jr. commercials where I'm a saucy wench. As for the Shrimp Spring, I don't have a picture of it, but duuuuude... they were light, crispy, airy which really brought out the savoryness of the shrimp nestled in its bubble of fried goodness. Pretty freakin' delicious.

Slight downside. It started after the Kogi phenomenon. Kogi has a cult following, it has more brand influence and reach. I've noticed at Taco festivals around Los Angeles if it features 20 Mexican taco booths, at least one Kogi truck will be there to represent fusion tacos. On the up side, with a good product people will come--Marked5 is keenly aware of sprucing up their identity with a logo, twitter site, and street team who are passing out business cards with their website.

"Torakku Beef" A tasty mess

Sticky Rice buns fall apart even though they are ever-so-slightly toasted on the outside. My suggestion in making the "bun" hold together might be resolved by making the outer sides of the rice buns super crispy, cracker-like--take for example Korean

Overall Rating:

Kogi: 4/5 stars, I like it. However I still would not chase this moving restaurant and wait in a mile long, one-hour line. Especially now that I can make these suckers at home.
Marked5: 3.8/5 stars, work on the bun and I would rate it much higher. Good flavor and product. I would definitely eat this again if we crossed paths again. I definitely want to get those Shrimp Springs again.

I really like these asian-inspired food trucks. It offers variety and carves out a new food niche that's distinctly Los Angeles. Even LA Weekly Pulitzer prize winning food critic, Jonathan Gold gives them a shoutout:

Not since Pinkberry has anything captured the local imagination as quickly as Kogi, the Korean taco truck whose owners went from giving tacos away on Hollywood Boulevard to becoming rock stars of cuisine in little more than a couple of months — which is to say, 10 times faster than it took Guns N’ Roses or System of a Down to break out of the tyranny of small clubs. The Doheny, the swankest membership tavern in town, has arranged tasting menus of Kogi food paired with their exquisitely balanced cocktails, and the crowds that form when the truck rolls up to UCLA are big enough to disrupt traffic. In the parking lot outside the Brig in Venice, Kogi becomes an impromptu nightclub, a taco-driven hookup scene as perfervid as anything with a $40 cover charge. Last Saturday night outside the Brig, Kogi swarmed with customers, while the Green Truck, the high-quality organic purveyor that was the first of the gourmet trucks, stood by an empty sidewalk just one block away.

Rena also had dinner at Pete's Cafe before meeting up with some of us, somehow they ended up meeting this super nice guy named Tom Gilmore. Apparently, he owns half of downtown LA. No fucking joke. He was nice enough to hook us up with free entry into the Edison Bar nearby. He wrote on his business card for us to give to the bouncer, "Please let these people inside -[signed]Tom".

Friday, May 29, 2009

A most satisfying meal.

by Jee
click to enlarge

Welcome to the Ideal Breakfast.

by JeeI woke up this morning and saw this image. (morning breath drool)

This here is my ideal breakfast, except I would have more bacon and a bottle of Tabasco on the side. With a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa, depending on my mood.

Plus, I love strawberries with waffles. And I love bacon with waffles. So does that mean I love strawberries with bacon?

This is a win, win, win situation.

The bacon built right in:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


by Nidhi
I was mentally (somewhat) prepared to go to Yoga tonight and even had my yoga pants on. There was still some time left for the class so I switched on the TV and started watching Iron Chef. Mistake! The challenger was cooking with South Indian spices and that's all the hint I needed to get my stomach screaming for some South Indian food, which I hadn't had in a while. I don't find too many decent South Indian restaurants in LA and the 2 that I liked just recently got demoted to a food/health dept. grading of C. That was a bummer!

I did try Paru's a few times and came back with mixed feelings. I like its proximity to home and also the slightly quirky, colorful and warm ambience. Tonight I liked it more than before. We got the Queen Paru combo to share and a fried potato appetizer on the side. The Queen Paru platter is as grand as it sounds. It came with a ghee roast dosa, sambhar, light chickpea curry, idli, raita and poori. It's more than enough to share between two people.

The platter and the food in general at Paru's is on the heavier side but quite delicious. They also have a very unique, LA and Yoga inspired menu with some lighter/healthier options. Most of the dishes are not super spicy and very different from North Indian food which is what most Indian restaurants usually serve. It's definitely worth going to once in a while and when I am ready for a little ghee love. And no, I didn't end up going to Yoga.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oscar Meyer Deli Creations: Turkey & Cheddar Dijon

by Tony

Ok... I was bored one day for lunch and decided that I'd choose something to eat from my local Ralph's market. I ended up getting Oscar Meyer Deli Creations since it was on sale and a 2 liter of Coke Zero. At this point, I'm thinking to myself that it's better than fast food. Or is it? At least it seems like it... and that's all that matters, right?

Ok... So there's not much to report here. The package comes with a roll, some mayo looking sauce, mustard, and shredded cheddar. In a nutshell, you just throw all that shit in between the buns and throw it in the microwave for about a minute.

Ok... So the thing isn't all that bad, but I wish they weren't so cheap with the cheddar. I mean seriously, that's the best part of the meal, wouldn't you agree? Anyway, 12oz of Coke Zero, a few bites, and about 12 minutes later, I'm done with all of it. If you're looking for portion control, this is the meal for you. It's somewhat filling if you eat it fast enough. :) All in all, it's worth a try, but don't expect too much.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Take 1 Recipe, Mince, Reduce, Serve

Published: April 21, 2009|

OF what possible use to me is Twitter? I’m not interesting enough to follow around. To convey the capsulized brilliance of my life at any moment, 140 characters are too many. The same, I reluctantly add, goes for you: unless you’re hemorrhaging, I think I can wait to know what you’re doing until the next time we talk. Let’s get coffee later. My tweet.

STIR ONCE, TWEET TWICE Maureen Evans making lemon lentil soup in Belfast. Her miniature recipes have a following.

But wait. There is one thing. A woman in Northern Ireland has turned Twitter’s solipsism upside down. She sends tweets that tell followers nothing about herself. Instead, they tell useful, interesting things, things they might really want to know.

She tweets recipes.

Honeyed Tagine: brwn lb/500g yam or lamb/T oil&butter/t tumeric&ging&s+p&cinn; +c onion&carrot9m; +c broth/3T honey/9prune. Cvr~h@400F/205C.

Biscotti: mix 1/3c sug/3T oil/egg/t anise flavr; +c flour/t bkgpwdr. Roll log to fit bkgpan; pat down. 30m@375/190C. Slice~14; brwn+6m/side.

Look closely. These are awesome acts of compression. Ingredients, actions, quantities, times and temperatures — both Fahrenheit and Celsius — boiled down to utmost richness, density and clarity. A dish, a meal, a trip to deliciousness magically packed into the tiniest carry-on bag.

And she has dozens:

Kashgar Noodles: mix3.5c flour/2egg/t salt; knead+12T h2o. Cut4; roll30x10cm/12x4". Cut crosswise cm/.5". Cvr30m.Pinch+stretch dbl. Boil6m.

Saffron Asparagus Orzo: brwn c orzo/T butter/garlic; +.25t saffron&s+p/2.5c broth. Cvr@low9m; +2c asparagus3m. Fold+8T parmesan. Srv w parm.

You’ll find her at “Tiny recipes condensed by @Maureen,” she writes. “Serves 3-4. Delicious ideas from all over the world.”

Though not a trained chef, she is an enthusiastic home cook and traveler, with a close connection to Twitter through her partner, Blaine Cook, who was Twitter’s lead architect. They live by the sea in a rented castle; when I reached her by phone the other day, she said she was looking out over the low tide.

“I do this as a coffee-break hobby,” she said. “Kind of like sudoku. I really get a kick out of how complex a recipe I can fit into 140 characters.” The recipes are from her collection of cookbooks and her travels. “They’re solutions to what’s fresh and what’s in season.”

Ms. Evans’s recipe tweets, begun for her friends, have attracted more than 6,000 followers and coverage in the British press. “It’s attracted a bizarre amount of attention relative to what I consider my serious work,” she said, meaning her life as a poet, writer and anarchist. “Which perhaps is an indication that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.”

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tofu -- who knew!

by Jacki
I'd like to say "amen" to Nidhi's post on eating a light, healthy dinner to feel less guilty about eating a sweet treat. I'm completely on board, so much that my recent strategy is to eat a dinner that's 100 calories or less.

Before you go and write this off as obvious post-dancer body dysmorphic disorder (you wouldn't be totally wrong), I ask that you first recognize this: it's all in the name of research.

I'm currently exploring and creating recipes for my dessert blog. I figure if I'm going to choose baking as a hobby and still fit into my jeans, I have no choice but to take a gastronomical blow for the team. (That's Team Jacki and Moffit, my cat. Below is a picture of her atop my favorite cookie book with her tongue out. She's my number one fan!).

I certainly can't ask Moffit to cut back on her Sheba, so it's up to me to eat low calorie, low fat dinners to leave plenty of room for brownies, cookies, and the like.

I have found such a perfect dinner in Steak and Garlic Tofu by House Foods. Having always been a fan of tofu in soups and other dishes, I stumbled across this product one night when I was craving stir-fry broccoli but didn't want to purchase chicken to complement it.

And yes, I really eat it with chopsticks -- that wasn't just creative food staging!

Nutrition facts first: a 1/4 of a package has 90 calories, 4 grams of fat, is cholesterol free, and packs 11 grams of protein.

Price range: under $2 bucks, and you can get 3 to 4 servings off of it. This is a frugal woman's dream!

How it looks: I'm thinking that the tofu people need to discover a more appetizing, aesthetic process for packaging this stuff. It just looks like a giant gelatinous brick of moving gunk with flecks of pepper in it. YACK. No wonder people think I'm crazy when I buy this stuff.

Fresh out of the package: Taste this stuff without cooking it first, and it's as flavorless as flour.

Make it wok: Heat some olive oil, dice up the tofu and add to the wok with a little bit of sea salt. In 5 to 7 minutes you have sharp, peppery, garlicy-goodness defining itself in your mouth. It's so good -- and strangely satisfying!

If you had to dip it in anything (which you don't in my opinion) you could always reach for Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce. This sauce also spices up chicken and noodle dishes without having to do anything more than unscrewing the cap on the jar.

Again, if you don't put more stock in eating dessert, you could always pair this with baby broccoli (from Trader Joe's) or regular broccoli, trimmed with long, thin stems still attached to the crowns.

Off to my brownies I go...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

101 Cookbooks : Carrot Soup

by Nidhi
In an effort to compensate for my intense sweet tooth and other such not entirely healthy cravings, I have been cooking quite a bit from Heidi Swanson's 101 cookbooks blog. I made the carrot soup for a second time with carrots leftover from the carrot cake I baked earlier in the week (see? sweet tooth!).

I followed Heidi's suggestion and added some paneer croutons made with paneer which was also left over from the matar paneer I cooked the week before. I also ended up running some of my soup through the blender and then adding some more of the non-blended soup with more solid carrot pieces on top. I liked the mix of textures. The delicious soup was accompanied by a sourdough roll from La Brea Bakery. I topped it with a drizzle of lemon olive oil and red pepper flakes for more flavor and a little spice. I tend to like a little spice in almost everything I eat.

Like most of Heidi's recipes, the soup left me feeling happy and healthy afterwards and way less guilty of a small sweet treat for dessert.

Friday, May 15, 2009

You are what you eat

We purchase refrigerators the way we fill them: out of necessity—to preserve the milk; to keep the greens from wilting. But from the right vantage point, an open fridge is the perfect staging grounds for a discussion of consumption. And if the aphorism holds true—if we really are what we eat—then refrigerators are like windows into our souls. It’s that sentiment that’s at the heart of Mark Menjivar’s inventive exploration of hunger, “You Are What You Eat,” for which he photographed the contents of strangers’ refrigerators. As you can see, whether it holds neatly ordered rows of labels-out condiments or zip-locked stacks of shot-and-gutted buck meat, there’s almost certainly a narrative to a fridge’s arrangement. full story here

Twittering can be a valuable marketing tool

Article: Foodies flock to Twitter-savvy food trucks
(Roach Coach Phenomenon)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mayonnaise for hair and Racial food slurs

by Ivy

Raid your fridge for the mayonnaise(not to be confused with "Mayonnaise" Conditioner) that you'll need to use as a mask in your hair. Squirt a good glob in your palm and spread through your hair. Leave in the mayonnaise mask for 30 min with a shower cap over it. If you don't have a shower cap, wrap your head with Saran Wrap so that you seal in the cream and prevent it from drying it out prematurely. Shampoo thoroughly then rinse out with water. You won't need conditioner, this mask is pretty luxurious and if you have dry hair it will make it feel softer, shinier and moisturized. Make sure to wash off every bit with shampoo, otherwise rinsing with only water, you'll end up smelling like mayo.

According to a survey, on the Kevin and Bean show / KROQ on their feature "The Wheel of Stereotypes", callers said that white people smell like mayonnaise. While I don't think this is true, I thought it was an interesting bit of trivia to mention since most other races have created derogatory statements about other races based on what they eat, i.e. Indians smell like curry, Koreans smell like kimchee, black people smell like fried chicken, Germans smell like kraut etc etc etc. Anyway, I would not recommend you wash any of the aforementioned in your hair other than mayo. lol. Although I dare you to try it!

Egg and oil have been known to have properties to add shine and volume which can be used individually as masks as well. Mayonnaise seems to offer the best of both worlds. Give it a try!

Overall rating: Surprise! It's a fantastic deep conditioner for dry hair. I'm usually a proponent for buying hair products from the store or beauty supply store. I am happy to report that this was a good product replacement that you can do at home to save money. I will never look at Mayonnaise in the same way ever again.

I also tried EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in the hair a few weeks ago. It worked pretty well, but you definitely need to Shampoo twice to make sure you don't leave your hair too oily with Mayo residue. My hair felt rather greasy afterwards, however, olive oil has a long history of being used in hair and skin since early civilization. Based on my experience, Mayo worked the best.

Avocado & Mayonnaise Conditioner for hair

by Melly
Treatments purported to be good for hair

- Avocado + Mayonnaise Conditioner
- Olive oil + Honey
- Mayonnaise onditioner
- Beer rinse

Yesterday, I attempted the avocado and mayonnaise conditioner. I mashed up half of an avocado and mixed it with some mayonnaise (that happened to have olive oil in it). I gooped it into the ends (ear or so and down) of my dirty hair and left it for about 30 minutes. Had to shampoo the crap out of it at least three times to get all the bits of avocado out.

Result? It did, in fact, work. De-tangled my hair and made it look much less dry and crappy. For the record, I haven’t cut my hair or paid very much attention to it since about September of ‘08. It wasn’t the miracle solution that the internet people claimed it would be, but it did work sufficiently. It also cost a hell of a lot cheaper than a $15-30 bottle of whatever deep conditioner.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Burger King Burger Shots Vs. Jack in the Box Mini Sirloin Burgers

by Ivy
Alas, my review for the Burger King Burger Shots has come.

"Grab. Tear. Enjoy"

The wrapper and the ad campaigns suggest they want you to share these burgers. Whereas the Mini Sirloin burgers from Jack in the Box seem to emphasize impact of beefiness in a tiny little punch(little cows! little moo-moos!). The overall physical size of these burgers is smaller than the Jack in the Box Mini Sirloin Burgers and comes in a pack of two(or six-pack) instead of three-pack like Jack in the Box Mini Sirloin Burgers.

Yup, that is my leg on the left side in that photo, don't get too excited now. ;)

I'm not really diggin' the flimsy paper wrapping now that I have the Mini Sirloin Burgers in a box for comparison. Like McDonalds hamburgers, the buns are misshapen due to the thin material used to protect them. In regards to size, they are oddly similar to McDonalds hamburgers except they are two burgers conjoined in the middle by the bread and yes... conjoined meat!

Also where's the cheese? >:(

I totally miss the cheese like in McDonalds burgers. What a travesty! I think price point wise, these are a little cheaper about a dollar or two than what Jack in the Box offers for these slider type burgers but you get 2 instead of 3. It's a good snacker size for a pack of 2. For a meal, you need 2 packs of 2. For a hungry man, you'll need a 6-pack.

Which one packs a better flavor?

Verdict: Not bad. Tastes like McDonalds hamburgers, except no diced onions and NO CHEESE! =(

Read onto...

Mini Sirloin burgers from Jack in the Box

It stands up to any sit-down restaurant that serves slider burgers like ESPN Zone or any ol' sports bar. However, it won't beat a Kobe slider burger from a four-star restaurant. I really enjoyed the peppered taste in the ground beef. The buns were sweet(Hawaiian sweet rolls) and it was garnished with American cheese, sweet grilled onions, and ketchup.

Maybe this is just a ploy to get parents and children to share a 3-pack of burgers--to fatten
their children and prep them for good ol' American obesity. Yessss, start them young my pretties!

I also liked the hard, box packaging instead of the cheaper paper wrapper that BK used.
The buns were plump too--they looked awfully cute like a baby's bottom. I was tempted to give um' a good ol' pat.

Verdict: Yippee kayeaayyy DELICIOUS! And what a catchy tune!

Here's the brilliant ad associated with these burgers. Wrong, yet so good:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Slow down and enjoy the beauty of mountain magic and its people. Bizarre Foods: Andrew Zimmern: APPALACHIA

by Ivy

Wow! What a curious peek into a piece of Americana that most Americans don't realize or appreciate. You'd think this is pure hillbilly country, but Appalachia has its own rural, rustic and mountainous charm. A few upscale restaurants feature contemporary fare along with local ingredients such as Squirrel and Possum. The Swiss have also made their stake here in a town called "Helvetia" and also carry their traditions and culture in Appalachian cuisine. He also feasts with Native Americans who treat him to an authentic Thanksgiving dinner that was more similar to what the Pilgrims ate than whats familiar to the American table today. Andrew Zimmern also makes it clear that he not only eats what's known to be "bizarre" but also has to earn the right of being delicious or even an epicurean delight. I may never try some of these things, but I'm always curious to watch him eat or describe it!

Central casting office from Deliverance. Speaking in tongues. Moonshine. Dolly Parton. If you listen to the ethnocentric pop culture Mandarins you would think the Appalachian Trail is littered with this hill country iconography. It's not. The trip we took through West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee was the crème de la crème of all our domestic shoots. Chic little restaurants in Asheville NC, killer barbecue stands on the rural highways in Tennessee, real country stores in the mountains of West Virginia where even the hams are cured on the premise. That's the Trail that I saw. -Andrew Zimmern

Here are the main items he ate and also my comments:
  • Squirrel Au Vin: Prepared like Coq au vin, but Squirrel instead of Rooster.
    This looked like a good preparation if I ever were to foray into squirrel meat.

Squirrel Head
  • Squirrel Brains: He described the taste "creamy, like Foie Gras".

Mmm... brains....need brains...
  • Fried Squirrel: Everything tastes better fried! I've been researching the flavor of this online... it seems that squirrel tastes closest to Rabbit. Squirrel has a distinct flavor that owns it's own "squirrel" taste meaning it doesn't exactly taste quite like chicken. Another called it chicken with a gamey taste.
  • Moonshine: Powerful fire water rooted in the spirit of Prohibition.

    Moonshine continues to be produced in the United States, mainly in southern Appalachia.[29] The product is often called "white lightning" because it is not aged and is generally sold at high alcohol proof, often bottled in canning jars ("Mason jars"). A typical moonshine still may produce 1000 gallons per week and net $6000 per week for its owner.[29] The simplicity of the process, and the easy availability of key ingredients such as corn and sugar, make enforcement a difficult task. Old, abandoned moonshine stills can be found throughout the Appalachian Mountains in the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. -Wikipedia

  • Swiss culture + Appalachian: Andrew discusses how the Swiss decided to settle in the Appalachian Mountains to a town they called Helvetia. The next two items that follow in this list are from that area, such as...
  • Pfeffernüsse: A Cookie made with Sugar, Cinnamon with handfuls of black pepper.
    Sounds SPICY! I'd want to try this.
  • Doe a deer... first, cooked over a flame, stuffed with it internal organs, bacon, veggies, buried over coals and cooked again. Hmm.. internal organs...hmmm..hmmmmm.
  • "Bouli Flada": essentially an Onion Pie and literally translates to "bulb pie". It looks good! The result and preparation look similar to a quiche. It's food grounded in old Swiss tradition mixed with mountain ingredients.
  • Andrew learning Polka :) Definitely a highlight for me! LOL!!!
  • Livermush in Shelby, NC; Livemush contains pig liver, fatty cuts, head meat.. ground with cornmeal and spices, and then is baked into a loaf. Dates back to 300 years ago during Civil war and Depression era. He explains that it has a "textural crunch!?" LOL. Locals describe it as "comfort food". To most Americans not from that region, the closest relative to Livermush would be akin to the hot dog. Locals vote that the best condiment with Livermush is half mustard, half mayo or half mayo and half grape jelly?! or darnit, all three. Blegh...
  • He also visits the Cherokee. The Trail of Tears runs through Appalachia.
    He visits a Native American woman's home, together they cook deer with "Sumac", which is a lemony spice, Trout cooked with nuts, berries, and flowers, "Sochan" a leafy, cressy, peppery vegetable or plant, Roasted Bear, and Chestnut bread baked with back fat from pig. He also underlines that "back fat" is misused in cooking, it's actually the underbelly from a pig and not from the back side. After assessing their entire spread, this is all reminiscent of an original Thanksgiving and a reminder of where we come from. They begin with a Cherokee Prayer before eating and we actually hear our native tongue.

Andrew shares a traditional meal with a Native American family in Cherokee, North Carolina.
  • He also encounters the "Mushroom Man". They both bond by eating Wasp larvae inside a chestnut. The little buggers are crawling in his palm and they lick it off. He describes the flavor of a wasp larvae whose diet consists mostly of chestnut as "milky, nutty like a raw almond and.... sweet" ?! LOL. What a wild and adventuresome pair they make.

Yes, that's a mushroom
  • They go foraging for wild and exotic mushrooms in the woods which they later take to an uber fancy, "Marketplace" restaurant. These mushrooms seemed to have earned their namesakes due to their tastes or appearances...
    - "Hen of the Woods" which they later eat with Rabbit puree. The mushroom resembles a cockscomb.
    - "Honey Mushroom", fetches for $25/lb. You too can have a career in mushroom picking. Seems like truffles aren't the only ones that are profitable.
    - "Beefsteak Mushroom". They taste like beef. Later, they get to try it pickled with red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar. Ooh yum.
    - "Ox Tongue Mushroom". Vegetarian Lengua anybody?
    - "Chaga Mushroom" which can only be described as looking like a giant piece of charred or burnt wood. It only grows in high elevations. Later they create a dessert drink out of it. In the past, it was used in folk medicines. They also mention that this ground up tastes like smoky coffee
  • In the last quarter of the show, he goes to a real "Smoky Mountain" Cookout... which features Raccoon and Possum

  • He asks will there be "Local Possum?" They respond"Yea, REAL local...Trapped in the backyard local!". Every edible item seems to be gathered, trapped or hunted down. Later you see whole Possum has been cooked, fried, baked with apples and potatoes. The Possum skull in the pot looks pretty fierce with the sharp teeth. LOL
  • He mentions at the cookout you get a "sense of people who live there--Professional Whittler, a woman Storyteller & Weaver", and Hillbilly music. Hahaha. Wow, what an experience! LOL!
  • Possum is "more organy and a little gamey". He says, "Both pretty darn good tho"
  • Raccoon "more refined, almost an elegant meat--mellow, sweet, tasty". He also remarks since the taste of the meat is so refined, Raccoon could probably be served at a fine dining establishment and no one would be the wiser! Sure would help our pest population.

  • Remember the feud between the McCoy vs. Hatfields? Some of the attendees seem to be descendants from the McCoy family.
  • The beauty of the mountains and Appalachia look in one word AWESOME. Perhaps this is as close to what our early frontiersmen experienced when seeing America's true unspoiled, untamed nature.
Here is Andrew Zimmern's blog post on the Appalachian episode.
Another link to the restaurants they tried
Travel Channel cliffnotes of the Appalachian episode
All pictures within this post courtesy of Tremendous Inc.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Up Next! Andrew Zimmern: Appalachian Mountains - Tuesday at 10 E/P

Stay tuned!

My review of one of my most favorite
food hosts on television.. the purveyor of the most bizarre....

Andrew Zimmern:
Appalachian Episode.

If it looks good... EAT IT!

Appalachia Episode
This week's episode takes place right here in the US in the Appalachian mountains.
The mountain range runs north to south touching more than a dozen states, and many of the people in the area still maintain the traditions and foods that were a part of life for their ancestors.

First, Andrew goes squirrel hunting in Cass, West Virginia. You have probably heard of chicken fried steak, but have you ever tried chicken fried squirrel? He also samples good, old-fashioned Swiss cooking in Helvetia. Next, Andrew heads to North Carolina to attend the Livermush Festival.
Livermush, made out of ground-up pig parts, was invented here. Other items on the menu this week: bear meat, wasp larvae, and mushroom coffee.

Be sure to tune-in this Tuesday at 10 E/P. Below is a the promo video for this week's episode.

If you want a more detailed description of where Andrew visits and what he eats, check out our Appalachian travel guide at: