It’s strawberry season and I love it. I felt inspired to whip up a quick dessert for myself (OK, it’s enough for a group of 8 people) on a Sunday after watching a movie with a character named Ichigo. Ichigo means strawberry in Japanese.
Pardon the long absence! Due to a combination of many factors (mainly that I have been focusing on finishing my dissertation!), we have neglected our duties as World Tasters for some time. However, I am now a full-fledged doctor (not medical), and we are ready to share our food experiences with you. Since, our previous post, in addition to my graduation, Tricia has relocated to Blue Bell here in PA. In our explorations of the area, we ran across a wonderful Korean Supermarket just down the road – Assi. Inspired by our trips to Assi, I recently decided to tried to make my own version of Korean BBQ (as you may know, BBQ sauce is a passion of mine). Brisket was a great cut for this recipe, but I think pork shoulder may also work well. The big secret is to cook it for a while to make sure the meat really cooks properly. The result is a deliciously tangy, slightly spicy, and wonderfully tender BBQ beef.
The Northeast has seen an incredibly hot summer this year. For us, we’ve had ample opportunity to grill out and smoke meats on a trusty new smoker (posts upcoming!). But for all the hot eats we’ve cooked up, cool and refreshing side items are a must. And this chilled carrot soup recipe really fits the bill. While carrot soup doesn’t sound incredible interesting, I decided to put in some unique ingredients to spruce it up. Cardamom, ginger, and cumin really complimented the natural sweetness of the carrots in the soup, and a few additions (tapioca, basil oil, and fresh cream) really dressed this up for a dinner-party opening course. We think it makes for a great start to a nice meal!
Summer on east coast is hot, hot, hot and a great way to keep cool is with some homemade ice cream. This past weekend, we chose to celebrate the summer heat with some fresh blueberries and strawberries. And a great way to compliment your homemade ice cream? By sandwiching them between two shortbread cookies! This was our first time making ice cream sandwiches and they are a cinch to make if you have some patience (or just a weekend) but we promise, they are worth the wait. Make a few to serve at your next summer BBQ!
When I was young, finding calamari on a restaurant menu was a bit or a rarity (growing up in small town OH). Having moved to the Northeast during college, however, I have become accustomed to fried calamari being a commonplace item at many eateries. Tricia and I are both big fans of battered and deep-fried squid. Still, alternative preparations of calamari are less common at restaurants, and many people remain hesitant to cook squid themselves at home. I put together this recipe after finding frozen calamari at a local grocery store – it came out really well, and I wanted to share how simple it was to put together. The flavors are influenced by Spanish cuisine, and this is an excellent dish for a tapas-style menu.
Mac & cheese is honestly one of my top 5 favorite things of all time. My favorite version involves pancetta and lots of extra sharp cheddar cheese. But come summer, that version is a bit heavy for my tastes. So to brighten it up in the spirit of the tremendous heat wave we’re having up here in Ithaca, I’ve made a few changes. It’s still creamy and rich, but my summer version has fresh picked peas to add color and sweetness, a squeeze of lemon for extra zing, and goat cheese for its exceptionally smooth tanginess. These flavors are all complemented by pork that has been spiced with toasted fennel, cumin, and coriander. As an added bonus, this summery mac & cheese is a “one-pot” meal!
Who doesn’t love sweet corn? In addition to the traditional corn on the cob, corn can be incorporated into a lot of dishes, even desserts. Here, we made corn pudding – kind of a cross between cornbread and bread pudding. We call this a baked corn pudding because the texture is fluffy and cake-like on the one hand, but it is also gooey and thick like pudding. This unique texture is what makes this item (you could even eat it as a side dish for your next Thanksgiving!) so good and will keep you asking for seconds. Did I mention that the recipe is quite simple and there’s no way you can screw it up?
Hot weather in the summer calls for a cool summery drink. My favorite (non alcoholic) drink is half lemonade and half iced tea, or better known after the man who made this drink famous, the Arnold Palmer. What makes this drink so refreshing is the mixture of the equally tart and equally sweet lemonade with the briskness of tea.
To start off my summer, I decided to make my own version of the Arnold Palmer but with twists on both the lemonade and the tea. For the tea, I decided to brew the black tea with a couple of dried rose buds and cardamon – hence the name Rosie. Rose buds have found their way into a lot teas giving simple teas a more vibrant flavor. Cardamon provides a balancing spicy and woody flavor.I found dried rose buds at an Asian store, and cardamom is always available at any Indian store. But these days, you can find these type of ingredients in the international section of many supermarkets. For the lemonade, I gave more sweetness and fruitiness by adding blackberries to the mixture.
One of the reasons that I love Indian cuisine is that there is such a multitude of vegetables that are consumed. I love meat (and I love Indian meat dishes), but vegetables are a great accompaniment. Unfortunately, with American food and grocery stores, diversity in vegetables is somewhat hard to come by. And for this, I cherish trips home to my mom’s house. The last time I visited, my mom, Tricia, and I ventured out to one of the local Indian markets in central Massachusetts. In looking for vegetables for dinner, we came across a banana flower. This is a rare treat that is usually not found even in Indian stores around here. The banana flower is literally the flower that precedes the fruit of a banana tree. You can peel it and eat the heart and the bracts (the pods that will develop into banana fruits), which are absolutely delicious. The catch with a banana flower is that it is a bit of hassle to get the bracts and heart out. But Tricia and I made a team effort out of it and the end product was absolutely worth it!
Char siu is quite possibly the most famous Cantonese dish of all. Literally meaning “fork roasted,” char siu is pork (usually shoulder) that is marinated in a sweet and thick blend of sauces and then roasted until it becomes crisp and almost candy-liek on the outside. Traditionally, char siu is made over a charcoal fire with large cuts from the shoulder (usually a 1/4 shoulder). For my recipe, I cut much smaller strips of pork and did the entire thing in the oven (although I may try the grill in the future). The smaller pieces actually worked out well, as they led to more of the crispy end pieces that are the most delicious. To be honest, I was pretty impressed with myself for making char siu – it was my first try and it came out delicious (and good to look at too)! For those that have only had char siu prepared at a Chinese deli, I think you’ll be impressed by how tasty and relatively simple it is when made at home.