Hello, and welcome to our first, and probably last, “Microdata Monday.”
Micro what? Microdata. According to wikipedia:
Microdata is a WHATWG HTML specification used to nest metadata within existing content on web pages. Search engines, web crawlers, and browsers can extract and process Microdata from a web page and use it to provide a richer browsing experience for users. Search engines benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data because it allows search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide more relevant results to users.
Umm.. meta what? And more importantly, what is any of this crap doing on a food blog?
Courtesy of the Slow-Carb Diet where we basically eat no carbs, most of my favorite foods and more importantly, meals (sandwiches, pasta, risotto, stir fry with rice, french fries. . . .) are virtually impossible to eat. Since starting the Slow-Carb Diet last week, dining out (except for “cheat day”) has taken a back seat to our new favorite hobby: Creative Cooking.
Yesterday we spent a few hours re-organizing the kitchen and getting rid of some appliances we barely use anymore now that we have our Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven. We have become obsessed with “sousviding” which has been working out really well for us. Meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, eggs. . . even fruit.
Is it a Pluot? Is it an Apricot? If you can’t tell, it may very well be their cross-bred relative: the Pluot.
Pluots are a creation of 20th century cross-breeding, a hybrid of plums and apricots. As the result of a 50/50 hybridization, Pluots display traits of both “parents” although they tend to show more plum (approx. 70%) than apricot characteristics (30%). But percentages do fluctuate with each individual cross-breeding.
Beans are an integral part of the Slow Carb diet. On Monday when we started, we sousvided a pound each of black beans, red beans, white bean and chick peas. (Note to self. . no need to sous vide them. . .just buy the cans and rinse. . .sooo much easier!!) I like beans, we both do actually, but having a side dish of beans at almost every meal was starting to get a little boring.
Meanwhile, I had created a new board on Pinterest called Burgers (Just started thinking that burgers really do need a board of their own. Cook them. . . look at them. . talk about them. . . eat. Beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey, veggie . . . Who doesn’t love a good burger!!) and that light went off in my head. Let’s just make some veggie burgers. Unfortunately almost every recipe I came upon included some ingredient we cannot have. Whether it be cheese, flour, breadcrumbs, or some other sort of carb, I was starting worry about how they would stay together. This is what I came up with.
During this multicultural holiday week where we celebrate both Passover and Easter, I have been giving a lot of thought to food, as I always do.
According to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Mircea Eliade editor in chief [MacMillan:New York] 1987, volume 5 (p. 558):
“Among Easter foods the most significant is the Easter lamb, which is in many places the main dish of the Easter Sunday meal. Corresponding to the Passover lamb and to Christ, the Lamb of God, this dish has become a central symbol of Easter. Also popular among European and Americans on Easter is ham, because the pig was considered a symbol of luck in pre-Christian Europe.”
But for me, this week my thoughts have been directed more specifically towards lamb.
I love lamb. I could share dozens of stories of the numerous meals I have eaten over the years that included lamb.
This is one of my favorites from a restaurant called Los Lenos in Montevideo, Uruguay. Continue reading →
Peka, which means “under the lid” or “under the bell”, is a traditional Croatian way of preparing food. Peka is made with lamb, veal, or chicken or my personal favorite, octopus. Variations of Peka also include potatoes, carrots and onions. All the ingredients for Peka are placed in a round pot and covered with an iron lid. This lid is then covered with embers from the fireplace in which it sits.
While visiting friends on the island of Hvar in Croatia back in 2006, I had my first experience with Peka at a restaurant called Konoba Humac. That summer we were truly blessed by being invited to share in the Konoba Humac experience.
Amongst the most highly prized of all mushrooms, Morels don’t look or taste like regular mushrooms. These honeycombed, capped mushrooms have a smoky-nutty flavor and aroma all their own which is favored by cooks worldwide. When in season, chefs tailor their recipes to highlight and preserve the natural Morel flavor. Morel mushrooms are affordable enough to be enjoyed quite often, but are also seen as a luxury ingredient for special occasions.
While researching Morels I found not only some really creative recipes, but also some interesting and humorous factoids about this visually stunning tasty tidbit.
So why are we discussing a sauce on Freaky Spice Friday? Well, because this week’s featured spice is Cubeb Berries (bear with us here). The only modern cuisine making extensive use of Cubeb is Moroccan (though it is also used to flavor gin and as an adulterant in Patchouli oil). But in medieval time, it was used and traded extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
Since starting Shami’s Gourmet, we have learned about so many new and exotic foods. One that really caught my eye is the Egyptian spice Dukkah (or Duqqa). It is a mixture of herbs, nuts and spices and it’s most common use is as a dip with vegetables or fresh bread.
The origin of the word “Duqqa” is from Arabic which means “to pound”. The mixture of ingredients in Dukkah are pounded together after being dry roasted to a texture that is neither powder or pastelike. It is a texture all its own.
Until a few days ago I had never heard of Smoked Shrimp Powder. According to Samuel Obeng, owner of the Bronx restaurant Papaye, smoked shrimp powder is a West African flavor staple that tastes as if you somehow barbecued fish sauce. Well doesn’t that sound tasty!!