Thursday, February 25, 2010

Preservation Supplement to LA Times Food Section 2/25/10

This week's LA Times Food Section features an article on Filipino chefs at top restaurants, but no Filipino food in those restaurants (Filipino Food: Off the Menu). This is truly a tragedy. I was in the military for nearly twelve years (enlisted Marine/Navy officer) and visited the Philippines at least half-a-dozen times. This is a cuisine that should get more recognition; it is a deep fusion of Chinese, Spanish, Mexican and other influences. Such a plethora of culinary sources might have been confusing 10 or 20 years ago, but not today. Bring on the Filipino-influenced cuisine, I say.

For example, how about a marmalade made with calamansi, the Philippine's famous citrus? (Kalamansi / Calamondin Marmalade a la Marketman)
It is on the bitter side, but the kalamansi flavor is superb. The texture is exactly as I wished for. If you don’t like bitterish flavors, don’t even think about doing this recipe. If, however, you are a fan of really good orange marmalade, you may find this kalamansi version an interesting alternative.
On Saturday, the Jewish festival of Purim begins. As this article explains, one of the important ways to celebrate the holiday is with gifts of food, particularly ready-to-eat food (At Purim, Food is a Blessing).

Of course, there are no mentions of home preserved food, but they would be perfect for the holiday. For example, the LA Times suggests a gift of bread, wine and cheese. Why not a little chutney or preserves with that as well? Hamantaschen are very traditional, but why not fill them with homemade preserves (fig jam sounds good)? Or perhaps you can give a DIY basket with all the fixings for hummus, including home canned garbanzo beans and some preserved lemons. Seems like a good idea to this goy.

In this week's restaurant review, the Tar Pit gets two stars (downgraded due to inconsistent execution) and some great compliments on its cocktail program (The Review: The Tar Pit is Campanile Chef-Owner Mark Peel’s Supper Club).

There are plenty of interesting infusions on the cocktail menu, as well as housemade ginger beer and lime syrup. Cocktails and food preservation. I've always thought bars need to do more preserving - house pickles, syrups, and infusions.

On the kitchen side, the appetizer of pickled deviled eggs is another "why didn't I think of that" moment. They serve their crab cakes with a preserved lemon remoulade. Pickled turnips (with seared salmon, a fatty fish) and onions (with cheese and charcuterie) also show up on the menu.

You can get a lot of good ideas for making and using preserved foods by checking out what is going on in the newer restaurants.

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