HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Indian Pot Roast from Whole Foods Market


  
         If you are thinking “native American”, this recipe probably wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.  But we’ve long since stopped calling Native Americans “Indians”.  No, the name of this dish refers to the Asian sub-continent of India.  And that may be even more surprising.  The cow is considered sacred by most Hindus.  That makes beef taboo in all but two Indian states: Goa on the west coast and Kerala at the southern tip of India.  There you will find it sold in restaurants.  But in the rest of India, you’ll have to seek out international restaurants catering to Western customers who simply can’t live without their beef. 
Sacred Cow in front of McDonald's...
never inside!
Behold the Maharaja Mac
Where, I wondered, does that leave McDonald’s? There are over 250 McDonald’s in 12 Indian cities and not one Big Mac to be found in any of them.  Instead the offerings are limited to the McVeggie—bread, peas, carrots, potatoes, Indian spices, lettuce and Mayo on a sesame seed bun. The McChicken is self explanatory. The Filet o Fish sounds exactly like the one at home.  And what is the Big Mac equivalent?  Two browned chicken breasts, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on “ Sesame bedecked bread buns”.  Top of the line, it’s called the Chicken Maharaja-Mac. And it costs just 60 rupees. That’s 1.30 cents. So what’s with Whole Foods “Indian Pot Roast”?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mario Batali's Ziti with Tuna and Salami



         I love pasta and I am always on the lookout for a new and different way to prepare it.   There are sauces that require hours on the stove and that are best made in huge batches. “Bolognese” falls into that camp. Whatever the recipe, there is something so entirely comforting about a pot of “Sunday gravy”, which is what many New York Italians still call their grandmother’s spaghetti sauce.  Stewing away on the stove all day, it requires an occasional stir and multiple tastings and sends out aromas that perfume the air with oregano, tomatoes and basil.  When it finally makes its way to the table, the anticipation has been cooking right along with it all day.  There’s inevitably enough left over to freeze or simply hide away in the fridge for a weeknight second helping. 
      Then there are the sauces that come together quickly enough to make a perfect weeknight dinner.  There are quite a few of these if you look under Pasta in our recipe list.  We lean heavily on the classics –Carbonara, Linguine with Clam Sauce, Linguine with Lemon Garlic Shrimp (better known as Shrimp Scampi).  But when I found this recipe from the incomparable Mario Batali, I’d never heard of any pasta dish like it.  And this is from someone who lived in Italy.   It’s from the Chef’s “Simple Family Meals”  (Harper Collins 2011).  Once I made it, I loved it. The dish blends the taste of very high-end canned tuna with the spicy counterplay of salami and red pepper flakes all wrapped up in a simple onion-y tomato sauce.  Extra points go to the ease with which you can make it.  It’s one of those under 30 minute wonders which deliver far more taste than their cooking time would indicate.   But I was still puzzled that I’d never heard of anything like it.  So I went to google.it to see if I could find the roots of Chef Batali’s creation.