Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Panama City Cooking: Sancocho at El Carbón Rojo

[Editor's Note: Every month, Juan Duque of Panama City stops by to share the cuisine of Panama with us. Enjoy! -Max]

El Carbón Rojo

Panama City Cooking 02
January 27th, 2010
by Juan Duque

Hi! Welcome back to Panama City Cooking. This month I wanted to feature a local restaurant, so you guys could get an idea of what kinds of food we have over here. For this first one I chose the Bar and Grill El Carbón Rojo. It’s basically “The Red Charcoal” in Spanish. This used to be another restaurant decades ago, until it was bought by three Greek brothers in the early 80’s and got its current name. We actually went behind the scenes for this one!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Windy City Cooking: Week 25

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


Top 5
by Jason Hissong
25 January 2010

A big Windy City welcome to Beach City Cooking's newest contributor, Ray Goldfield. Go read his column. It's great.

My column comes inspired by two places. First, Ray's column I mentioned above. Second, from one of my favorite films- High Fidelity. In the film, and the novel upon which it is based by Nick Hornby, the three main characters sit around a record store and create hypothetical Top Five lists. Top Five Side Ones, Track Ones, for example.

And thus I present: my personal Top Five Ingredients.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ray's Braise: Best Meals of 2009

[Please give a warm welcome to new biweekly columnist Ray Goldfield! Ray, in his column Ray's Braise, will take us on a culinary tour of the tri-state area and treat us to some of his favorite recipes. Enjoy! -Max]

Photo Courtesy Jason Perlow

In many ways, 2009 was the year everything changed for me in the world of food. I grew up in a home where food wasn't a huge part of day-to-day life. My father loved eating out, and he wasn't picky. My mother was certainly a good cook, but her tastes geared more towards salads and vegetarian dishes. In addition, growing up with dairy allergies, my diet was somewhat limited. It was very easy, as an adult, to fall into a routine of eating canned food and meat and potatoes without putting much effort into the food that I ate. Variety mostly came from eating out, and while I did certainly consider myself a food lover, I never had much interest in broadening my horizons. This started changing in 2002, when I won a contest in the Newark Star-Ledger to ride along on the Munchmobile, a yearly review trip that criss-crosses New Jersey visiting eateries of every kind. I was exposed to so many unique places and cuisines on these weekly trips that I came away with a much better understanding of my likes and dislikes. But it wasn't until years later, inspired by my friends (including those posting at this blog), that I really took the initiative in cooking for myself and bringing the things I love to eat when I'm out to my daily life and my kitchen table.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Windy City Cooking: Week 24

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday--and occasionally on Tuesday--Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


The Diner
by Jason Hissong
19 January 2010

Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks is one of my favorite images. Partly because everyone knows it, or some variation thereof. Partly because Hopper's composition of buildings and figures is well composed. Partly because on the surface it looks so pedestrian, so standard. And yet, looking closer, there's so much unknown about the figures in the piece. There's a figure whose face we cannot see. The red-haired woman with the other customer is looking at her had, disinterested in whatever conversation occurs between her, presumed, man and the soda jerk at work. All of the figures are within the walls of the diner. And outside, the streets are empty, lights turned out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Windy City Cooking: Week 23

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


Culinary Surprises, Culinary Simplicity
by Jason Hissong
11 January 2010

I purchased Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck Cookbook via a giftcard over the holiday season. While I haven't read it, and I probably won't ever cook from it, I have looked through it. It's fascinating. It's part autobiography, part modern art book, part scientific journal. The tome's opening pages feature stunning artwork by Dave McKean. One of the pages has an image of Blumenthal himself through McKean's mixed media lens, and the double page spread the words: Something interesting happens every time I put food or drink in my mouth.

While I don't have Blumenthal's culinary skill or knowledge, and I don't yet take the time to really ascertain what happens in my mouth every time I feed it, I do think this statement is accurate. And what I find fascinating time and time again is how often I am surprised by food, and how often simple food brings such enjoyment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chicken Piccata


When Jen and I lived in Valley Village a few years back, one of our favorite restaurants was Georgio's on Ventura Boulevard. It was a cozy little Italian joint, where the food was good and consistent. We especially liked their chickens Francese and Piccata. In perusing the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook that I recently received, I came across a recipe for Chicken Piccata that looked pretty great. So, armed with fond memories, I tested out the recipe, and it turned out well. Onto the recipe!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Windy City Cooking: Week 22

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


The New Year
by Jason Hissong
4 January 2010

The menu: antipasto of swiss cheese and crackers, sausage, raw red peppers, carrots, radishes. Roasted fennel, parsnips, and carrots. Main course: three cheese and broccoli soup, chili with rice, and pasta e fagioli. Dessert: Oreo/cream cheese balls and chocolate cake.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blue Cheese Dressing


I recently received a copy of America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and it's a terrific book. There are plenty of photographs, which is a big plus in my book, but it's the sheer number of handy recipes--over 1200--that makes the spiral-bound tome so worth owning. In flipping through the book, there are a bunch of recipes that stood out to me, but one in particular caught my eye: blue cheese dressing, mostly because I had some great blue cheese on hand, and some buttermilk I had to use up. This recipe turned out to be extremely delicious, and thankfully quick and easy to prepare. You won't even need to break out the blender or food processor. Okay, onto the recipe.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

White Corn Tortillas


I've been on something of a Mexican food kick lately. I really enjoyed making those flour tortillas a month or so ago, but I've always been more partial to flour tortillas than their corn counterparts. I think that's because I've had corn tortillas far less frequently, and because the ones I have had haven't been particularly excellent. I was leafing through the excellent Tacos book by Mark Miller that I mentioned in yesterday's Tomatillo Salsa post, though, and came across a recipe for homemade corn tortillas that looked easy enough. These tortillas turned out really well, and weren't terribly too much work, although you will get some good exercise out of the process if, like me, you don't happen to have a tortilla press lying around. Okay, onto the recipe!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tomatillo Salsa


Hey faithful readers, Happy New Year! I'm going to try and get these blog posts back to something resembling a more regular and respectable schedule. Thanks from Jason, Juan and myself for your continued support of the site! We'll have plenty more content for you in 2010, so stay tuned!