Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Now Serving Hot Links

3 Easy Pieces
Spaghetti with Breadcrumbs, Quesadillas, and Shrimp. That's what three Dallas chefs cook at home for their families on their day off. Good looking and simple recipes ... I'd forgotten about Quesadillas as a potential meal so this was a nice reminder of a really quick, delicious save for busy days. This is the feature story of the food section at the Dallas Morning News and free registration may be required.

The King of Casseroles?
We Texans, like most Americans, love our casseroles. Though what usually sets a Texan casserole apart from its neighbors is the spices used. Not shy with the peppers, most Texan casseroles have a bit of a kick. And one of the most popular casseroles we make is King Ranch Chicken Casserole, a soft, slightly spicy, cheesy mixture of tomatoes, corn tortillas, chicken, cream and peppers. It goes down easy and is the ultimate comfort food.
Yep. I love a good King Ranch Casserole which I'd never heard of until I moved to Texas. Homesick Texan has not only a recipe but her always-fun-to-read commentary as well.

Mooncakes and the Mid-Autumn Festival
Growing up, our group of girl cousins were told that the Moon Goddess Chang E would powder her face so as to be at her most beautiful on that night. Being a deity, the powder that falls from her puff would bless young maidens with beauty. Hence, we should sit demurely with our faces upturned toward the moon and think "pure thoughts." ...

Also, I could not wrap my mind around why the aunts did not have to participate in the same vapid moon-gazing; at that tender age, I did not know of anyone in greater need of Chang E's magic powder than Second Aunt.
Memories of the Mooncake Festival ... a good read.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
As I anticipated, there is a heckuva a lot of agenda in the book. However, I find most of the agenda congenial. Because I've grown increasingly suspicious of anything that represents itself as "non-fiction" there are some facts I would like to check out--particularly things like whether a patent on a genotype gives you the right to shut down nearby farming operations into which your patented genes have dispersed by air. If so, we all have a lot to be concerned about with the control of the eight basic crops in the hands of only four companies.

But I've also grown used to the fact that a specific wildly idiotic example is held up as the universal practice. I'm also suspicious of unquoted sources and innuendo.
Steven Riddle is reading the latest trendy food-ethics book (the label is my own) and has reactions similar to the ones I have felt from simply reading enthralled foodies' reviews. Being Steven, of course, he is eminently fair and so also shares an overview, a bit of Ms. Kingsolvers' humor, and a danger that never would have occurred to him without the book. Certainly I never would have thought to consider this book alongside Dante's warnings about gluttons, even though I am currently working my way (very slowly) thorough that classic. Check it out.

Good Blogs Alert!
A lot of people probably have already discovered these blogs but just in case ...
  • Tigers & Strawberries
    Barbara Fisher has intelligent and interesting food writing as well as a passion for Asian foods to make at home. Take a look through her archives and you will find accessible recipes for a gaggle of noodle dishes as well as the more commonly thought of stir-fries ... many of them inspired by the sort of restaurant cooking she used to do. As well she has thoughtful writing on food subjects of the moment when they arise ... such as the media terror over fewer bees and the trendiness of cupcakes. (Which is to say that I agree with, right? Right.)

  • CHOW Tour: Mongol Rally
    From London to Mongolia, fish and chips to fermented horse milk, all in a month. Writer Joshua M. Bernstein and his crew are eating their way across 8,000 miles in the Mongol Rally... Which leads to such seminal moments as ...
    What interests me more are pinkie-size bricks that appear to be made out of the stuff that’s inside malted milk balls. I walk up to a woman wearing a vibrant purple dress and a green headband. Her front four teeth are fake, which she demonstrates by disconcertingly sliding them around her mouth while talking.

    She tries to sell me a bowl of milky liquid, which looks suspiciously like the sour goat milk I despise. But I do buy several bricks for five soms (less than a penny).

    “Moo?” I ask. Thankfully, animal sounds are universal. I’m guessing it’s milk curds.

    The woman nods. “Aaruul.”

    Mims and I take a bite of one brick. It’s as dry as chalk and tastes like sour Parmesan.

    “All the moisture has been sucked from my mouth,” Mims says.
    Good stuff.

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