Archive for April, 2010

Farm to Table

Friday, April 30th, 2010

So yesterday I was lucky enough to visit 2 farms in East Tennessee. One was where Mockingbird will be partnering with the Niceleys to bring you a Jefferson County Farm to Table dinner. The other was another working farm near Johnson City where my little brother will say his nuptials in late June. There were baby cows at the Niceley’s and peacocks at the other! All in all not a bad way to spend the day.

Stay tuned for more information about the dinner. It will be August 13 and the menu is in development. Our goal is to have everything but the liquor and some pantry basics be from Jefferson County. They’ve even been raising spelt (which you can purchase at the Three Rivers Market) so it’s going to be awesome.

Design

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Mexican Snacks (Part 2)

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

These are more grassroots snacks than the packaged items at the gas station. All sold for 25 pesos which right now is about $2 a piece. Candied peanuts, toffee, brittle, guava action, milk caramel, and more sweet goodness.

Mexican Drinks

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The 2 drinks I really only get in Mexico:

Pina Coladas
Auga de Sandia

Pina Coladas are in fact delicious when made with fresh pineapple, good rum, and rich coconut cream. In looking for recipes the Pina Coladas’ Wickipedia entry lists a number of origin stories but I like the one that says a pirate gave it to his crew to boost moral in the 1800s. The basic recipe  is:

Ingredients:
– 1 part rum
– 2 parts pineapple juice (use fresh pineapple in your blender here)
– 2 parts coconut cream
– 1 cup crushed ice
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy in the sun.

Now Auga de Sandia is good whenever you have a cold watermelon. It’s about the most refreshing best thing ever and as many times as I attempt to make it into a cocktail, if your watermelon is fresh and fruity and sweet and full of water-melon flavor, there is nothing better than just straight up watermelon juice. Here’s the drill: throw some cold watermelon, seeds still in, peel removed, in your blender. Blend. That’s it. The seeds will sink to the bottom or you can strain through cheese cloth. Mmmmmm.

Fresh, Fresh, Fresh

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

It doesn’t get better than fresh fish. 2 nights in a row I got a whole fried fish. The fish isn’t battered but flash fried, only the guts are gone. It was served with minced garlic and some parsley in olive oil. I asked for tortillas. I’m always fascinated by being able to pull off the meat and not get any bones. I tried to eat the eyes, told myself the whole walk over, I was going to eat the eyes. As soon as I went to take them out of the sockets I got grossed out. Damnit. The second night we dug into the meat in the head area, super fatty and delicious.

Everyone’s Favorite

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Yep, we all love, we all eat bad versions on a regular basis, it’s hard to resist. It’s so good, it’s actually good for you, and it makes you think of the tropics. It’s Guacamole! I ate a plate of it for lunch one day in Mexico.

The basics: avacados, lime, and salt. That’s it. Extras to add: dice onions or tomatoes or some fresh made pico de gallo. It’s like magic. I often think that the chips make a big difference as to the level of satisfaction. Here you should fry your own flour tortillas. That’s hardly ever a feasible plan, since the joy of Guacamole is how fast you can whip it up, but it is the best.

El Tábano

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The food chatter about Tulum seems to consist of 2 topics, 1 that there aren’t a ton of good restaurants nor are there many street food options and 2 El Tábano which seems to be everyone’s favorite place to eat in Tulum.

We ate there twice and even though I was sick the second night I still managed to get down a pretty incredible meal. The place is itty bitty especially since both nights we went it was raining so all that was available were the 6 tables inside and by inside I mean under a thatched roof since everything in Tulum is open air. This was a fancy hut of sorts. The menu and wine list were on floor to ceiling chalkboards. There were as many servers as cooks and the kitchen is open in the middle and there were 3 women cooking. There looked to be a few prep areas, the cooler and by cooler I mean the kind of cooler one has to get ice in, the stove/oven area, and in the center plating and chopping. There is a bar where you can sit and watch the women cook and it looked like they were having a great time. There was lots of smiling and laughing.

Here are the things we ate:
Pollo Rojo (chicken roasted in 5 peppers)
Mango and fish ceviche
Soupa de Pollo
Achiote pork
Meatballs with coriander and topped with potato chips
Stuffed poblano pepper
Roasted tomatoes topped with goat cheese and anchovies
Shrimp cooked in habenero butter
Fish tacos
Grouper cooked in  a beer sauce
Crepes stuffed with poblano peppers
Chocolate cheesecake (this was really interesting. It had the smallest amount of cheese for the cheesecake part but was cooked into a cookie crust with a topping that was akin to a coffee cake, brown sugar and butter topping but was with chocolate and no butter. It was amazing.)
Flan that was amazing
Banana Cake that I think was made with plantains instead of bananas

Typing out this list looks like a ton of food. I guess it was. If I could recreate that chocolate cheesecake I would be one happy person. My pictures of the food are awful because I hate using the flash and it was really dark…Everything was cooked perfectly and the flavors were all amazing. Mmmmm. Yay for good dinners.