Any Texas pit master will tell you that there isn’t one single style of Texas barbecue. Texans from all over the state have their own distinctive preferences, from the dry rub variety of central Texas to the sweet, tomato based marinades of the east. But barbecue isn’t unique to Texas, nor even to the US in general. Asia has its own special version of this well loved global flavor: Introducing Char Siu.
Have you ever wondered how they make that delicious green sauce that goes with Mexican spicy shrimp tacos? For me, that is the motivation for preparing this dish. It’s not that I’m not into shrimp. It’s because to me the green sauce is what makes the meal distinctive. I have sat and pondered the mystery of the green sauce many times and have concluded that it means different things to different people. For some it’s a green salsa while for others a creamy avocado topping. After much experimentation I finally found the recipe I was looking for – a garlic cilantro lime sauce using sour cream or greek yogurt as its base.
When I first moved to Texas I was bemused by the name chicken-fried steak. It made no sense to me. Either something is chicken or it’s steak. Now I’m used to it and the name makes perfect sense. Chicken-fried steak is, quite simply, a piece of steak that’s battered and cooked in the same way one would fry chicken. We think of this dish as being classic Texas comfort food but is it really Texan? Which state is actually known for chicken fried steak and how did it come to exist?Continue reading
The new meal on Flavorly’s menu this week is Pistachio Roasted Rack of Lamb and I for one couldn’t be happier. For some reason lamb seems harder to find in grocery stores than other meat and is infrequently on the restaurant menu – at least where I live here in Texas. I miss it. Sundays roasts were always something I would look forward to growing up; a kind of a British institution. I have often wondered why lamb is so elusive in the US and have read numerous theories. But it’s time to set the record straight. I can think of at least five reasons why we should be eating more lamb and here they are.
Pad Thai is one of the most simple and delicious street food dishes around. Rice noodles stir-fried with eggs and some tofu, shrimp or meat are the basis for the dish. It is typically flavored with some tamarind pulp, fish sauce, garlic, chili and sugar. Final touches include a garnish of lime wedge and chopped, toasted peanuts. It is probably the most famous Thai noodle dish, checking all the boxes for deliciousness – but why? What is the science behind its remarkable flavor?
I could literally be doing this tonight. That is to say eating chowder – for dinner in the sitting room – here in my Airbnb in Boston. I can even fake a New England accent reasonably well. It’s not that hard, to be honest, if you’re British. I love an opportunity to write about regional cuisine while actually physically there in person. There’s nothing quite like experiencing it first-hand to make me want to put pen to paper (okay, fingers to laptop). And what better excuse does anyone need to justify sampling New England cuisine? None whatsoever or “No Suh!” as the locals might say.
Needless to say, clam chowder, lobster roll, cannoli and Boston cream pie have been at the top of my do-to list this weekend. Maybe it is destiny that the address where I am staying is located on the same street as America’s very first restaurant…a snippet of local culinary history right here on my door step.
My least favorite color in the entire world is orange. To begin with, it screams headaches, 1970’s décor and spray cheese. It means fake suntans, unbrushed Cheeto teeth and Hobby Lobby for three dismal months of the year. It’s Easy Jet when you wanted United Airlines. It’s Fanta when you need a Coke. It’s Mastercard when they only take Visa. I know no one and nothing that looks good in man-made orange. But I do like sunsets and vegetables. Orange vegetables get a carte blanch in my house. A Get Out of Jail Free Card. A Pass Go and Collect $200 status. In truth, orange vegetables are the bomb. Quite honestly, I can’t get enough of them and the best part is, they’re incredibly good for you.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and has become increasingly so the older I get. Not only is it the start of the festive holiday season but it’s an opportunity to take a breath and consciously sit and think about all I am grateful for. That sounds trite but making memories and revisiting traditions helps to cement this gratitude. Usually we begin the day with a very early start involving the local YMCA Turkey Dash. Next we head home and watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on the TV with a glass of champagne in hand. Then, as the National Dog Show is starting, the Thanksgiving turkey is shoved in the oven and we sit down for a game of Christmas-opoly, charades and other silly games.
The practice of roasting a turkey is not much of a big deal to a Brit, because we grew up enjoying ‘Sunday roasts’ most weekends. So when Thanksgiving comes around I try to think of different ways to prepare the turkey, just for the thrill. Here are a five ideas I have tried out with reasonable success. And a sixth for good measure.
I have a confession to make. I have never been to Casablanca. In fact, I am writing this blog about Moroccan Tagine without ever having been to Morocco or experienced authentic tajine. When I say I haven’t experienced it, I mean I haven’t had the pleasure of cooking it in that unmistakeable cone-shaped earthenware pot. I haven’t shared a traditional communal tagine in a mountain village and I haven’t been to Marrakech and haggled for one in the local markets. Clearly, after considerable research today, I have missed out on an unforgettable lifetime experience! In fact, I am starting to think that once Covid’s over I need I need to start planning a vacation to Morocco and not just because I have a crush on Humphrey Bogart…
Well this is it. I’ve been putting off writing this blog for a long time. There’s only one meal left on Flavorly’s menu that I haven’t touched on in some form or other when discussing regional cuisine. And it’s Peri-Peri Grilled Chicken. Why have I left this amazing dish until last? Because it is a classic example of South African cuisine and since Chef F and the Fourie family hail from this beautiful country, I feel they are far more qualified to talk about it than I. However, by coincidence I did have the opportunity to spend a few years working in South Africa in my 20’s and have some very fond foodie memories. So, this blog is a kind of homage to that period of time in my life. In that spirit I will share with you three of my favorite culinary experiences from those days.