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Posts tagged as condiments

Chile-Tomato "Harissa"

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:01pm

Is there anything more fun than conjuring something delicious from nothing but your imagination and leftovers? Don’t answer that, but instead consider the primal satisfaction that comes from being both resourceful and frugal. I may have read a few too many Laura Ingalls Wilder stories as a young girl, but preparing meals from a perfect recipe with perfect ingredients is neither as fun nor as tasty as making things up as I go from whatever I have on hand. Urban pioneering. Or something.

Anyhow, that’s all a long explanation for how I arrived at making this harissa, the of-the-moment condiment that is making its way into every meal at our house. Not only was the harissa itself arrived at in my attempt to not waste lovely ingredients leftover from other recipes, but in turn I’m using the harissa to make up an endless number of flavorful dishes on the fly.

I’m calling this harissa although it’s really a deliciously ubiquitous chile-tomato paste, relevant to put a Middle Eastern spin on a dish, but also at home in Tex-Mex and Asian dishes as well. The depth of flavor comes from toasting the chiles and spices as well as roasting the tomatoes. I lean on the grocery-store versions of harissa and chile pastes as much as the next person, but you really can’t beat the intensity and freshness of flavor achieved by making harissa yourself. Harissa typically doesn’t include tomatoes, but I do love how the tomatoes temper the paste’s heat, and add a level of acidity, that I think widens harissa’s horizons. Scrape the finished, cooled paste into a jar and enjoy for several weeks, in any way you can think of.

A few ideas to get you started:

Spoon over leftover steak, pork, chicken, tofu, or any number of vegetables and roll into warm corn tortillas.
Smear on grilled flatbread and top with an egg fried in olive oil.
Stir into broth for cooking couscous or rice. Serve the cooked grains with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, olives, fresh herbs, a crumble of cheese, and toasted nuts. Top with a poached egg to gild the lily.
Swirl into a bowl of pretty much any soup to take it from just fine to truly incredible. Think Asian noodle soups, Italian-style broth soups, Mexican-style tortilla soups.
Whisk into vinaigrettes.
Add to pasta sauces, creamy or tomato, for lovely color and depth of flavor.
Mix into and onto meatloaf or meatballs.
Brush onto grilling or roasting chicken.
Spread on generously buttered bread before making your best grilled cheese sandwich ever. Ditto quesadillas.

Do not be surprised if you consider rubbing it into sore muscles!

Recipe for Chile-Tomato “Harissa” at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Rhubarb Mostarda, Little Foot Farm: Outstanding in the Field 2012 Prep, Part I

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jun 12, 2012 at 10:03am

little foot farm scott pampuch stephanie meyer fresh tart

Let’s call it summer and make plans to eat outside, preferably as often as possible. Dinner al fresco pretty much anywhere feels special, but dinner on a farm is particularly divine for us city dwellers, away from cubicles and concrete, with time to learn about, discuss, and savor food prepared at its source.

In fact, one of the best meals I enjoyed in all of 2011 was an Outstanding in the Field (OITF) dinner, at Riverbend Farm near Delano. I realize that a setting so gorgeous can work strange magic (farm goggles?), but I’m quite sure that aside from the view, the bounty of family-style platters, piled with fresh salads, cheeses, and wood-fire grilled meats, would blow my mind in the dingiest of rooms. When the night ended with chanterelle mushroom ice cream – a dish at once delicious, clever, and just plain fun – I knew I’d had an unforgettable meal.

scott pampuch mike phillips stephanie meyer fresh tart

little foot farm stephanie meyer fresh tart

If you missed last year’s event, no worries: OITF is circling back to the Twin Cities on August 9, this time landing at picturesque Little Foot Farm near Afton. Given OITF’s stated mission to “re-connect diners to the land and origins of their food and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it,” there will most certainly be discussion about how Little Foot owners Karen Weiss and Sally Doherty found their calling, especially given they were inspired to raise hogs in general and Berkshires in particular after being served “awesome” Berkshire pork by chef Lenny Russo at a 2005 OITF event.

little foot farm mike phillips karen weiss scott pampuch stephanie meyer fresh tart

little foot farm stephanie meyer fresh tart

little foot farm stephanie meyer fresh tart

little foot farm mike phillips karen weiss stephanie meyer fresh tart

Weiss and Doherty sell their heritage-breed Berkshire and Gloucestershire Old Spot hogs directly to food enthusiasts and a few local chefs, including chef Mike Phillips of Three Sons Meat Company (formerly Green Ox).

I tagged along with Phillips and chef Scott Pampuch – the two are this year’s OITF host chefs – as they scouted the farm for the event and chatted with Weiss about Little Foot’s sustainable philosophy and their careful practices for humanely raising and selling best-quality, highly-prized pork (as well as chickens, eggs, produce, and bedding plants).

little foot farm stephanie meyer frest tart

little foot farm berkshires stephanie meyer fresh tart

little foot farm karen weiss berkshires stephanie meyer fresh tart

little foot farm stephanie meyer fresh tart

little foot farm scott pampuch stephanie meyer fresh tart

As we talked, there might also have been a fair amount of piglet cooing going on, even by the charcuterie boys (the pic up top might be one of my favorites, ever). Oh my goodness the Gloucestershire Old Spot piglets are adorable with their snuggly snorting and flirty sly smiles. We were smitten!

little foot farm karen weiss mike phillips stephanie meyer fresh tart

You’d think it might have been tricky to move from petting pigs to planning the menu but alas, it was a seamless progression. Both Phillips and Pampuch are known for their pork mastery, so it goes without saying that the meal – which will also include piles of gorgeously prepared vegetables – will be at its essence utterly porktastic. The charcuterie was begun the very next day, in fact, with the butchering of two hogs.

Picture a dinner table set with a colorful variety of snappy, custom-made condiments to sample with each course, including the spicy-tangy-sweet Rhubarb Mostarda pictured below. Serve the mostarda as a foil for rich pork belly, pork terrine, or pork rillettes.

Buy tickets for this year’s dinner at the OITF website. See Little Foot Farm’s website if you’re interested in purchasing heritage-breed pork, chicken, eggs, produce, or bedding plants.

See you on the farm!

rhubarb mostarda stephanie meyer fresh tart

Chef Matt Morgan’s recipe for Rhubarb Mostarda at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Pickled Carrots (To Eat on Everything)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on May 31, 2011 at 9:15am

pickled carrots

Thanks to a conversation with my friends Chef Ian Pierce of 128 Cafe and Joy Summers of Eating the Minneaple and CityPages, witness my latest food obsession. Recipe for addictively crunchy-spicy-sweet Pickled Carrots, at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.