BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘Bon Appetit

The Banh Mi of Our Dreams: Meatballs are Hot

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Hard to beat the vegetarian banh mi at Baguette, with two types of tofu and mushroom pate.

Banh Mi with meatballs, and Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana, both from the January issue of Bon Appetit.

When will I learn not to make such a potschke when I’m rushing out to a potluck. But it’s always fun to experiment when you have an audience of food lovers that includes more folks than just your husband. So for the Slow Food Corvallis annual potluck, I decided to make the Pork Meatball Banh Mi, that hybrid Vietnamese-French creation that had been calling to me from the meatball special issue of Bon Appetit. There’s something about these umami-packed sandwiches that I always crave. Is it the mushroom or liver pate slathered on the baguette? Or the Sriracha-accented mayo? Or the quick-pickled daikon and radish slivers? None of these parts on their own are that special. But together they create a truly memorable culinary creation. Let’s just say that Baguette is my favorite, not to mention the cheapest, place to eat in town.

I wasn’t excited to make another porky dish, but these meatballs were ethereal. Seasoned with basil, chopped lemongrass (my addition), Sriracha chile sauce and a dash of fish sauce, they were like the most succulent dumpling filling. I also happened to make them with special hazelnut-finished Red Wattle pork from Heritage Farms Northwest, which I ordered through the new online farmer’s market, Corvallis Local Foods. They are pretty adorable, happy pigs…and the adults can weigh up to a ton! We had this rare pork at a Slow Food dinner where we compared it to a more conventional breed.

As a vegetarian option, I also made this curried wild mushroom pate for the banh mi, with shiitakes and velvety delicate winter chanterelles (who knew they grew all winter?) also ordered through Corvallis Local Foods. Other dishes at the potluck last night included a lush truffled potato gratin, a Moroccan lamb and pumpkin tagine, and brie baked in homemade, extra yolky brioche. For dessert, we feasted on some ethereal homemade Fig Newtons, baked with locally wheat from Harrisburg, that were infinitely better than the Nabisco ones. It was great to again meet Linda Ziedrich, the author of inspiring cookbooks on pickling and jamming, there, though I’m not sure what she made. We’ve had her call into the KBOO show, and I ran her membrillo recipe with my quince article. Dan was delighted that Intaba sent her excellent (and I think gluten-free?) spinach and meat lasagna home with us, so that was dinner tonight. When a bunch of foodies gather, that’s one potluck where you know you’ll eat well.

The champions of the Sting, Sting and More Sting event: honey, stinging nettles and Sting songs covered by the band The Nettles.

Written by baltimoregon

February 7, 2010 at 2:05 am

Lovely Local Lamb and Figs

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Getting intimate with the rack.Getting intimate with the rack.

Dan’s uncle and aunt, our yenta (not in the busybody sense), came all the way from New York to visit, so I wanted to make a special meal.

Eggplant Parmesan? Fresh fish? But then I stumbled upon new Bon Appetit recipe for Lamb Chops with Fresh Herbs and Roasted Figs. That’s what I would make. But calling these lamb chops is a bit misleading. It’s rack of lamb cut into chops. Not the most recession-friendly recipe. But luckily I found an affordable local source of lamb just down the road. I even biked to their store to procure it. Nice rack. Had to crack a little joke as I took the 3-lbs. of meat (and mostly rib bones) from the freezer.

Blushing beauties: Kadota figs.

Blushing beauties: Kadota figs.

The hardest part of the recipe was timing the cooking of the lamb right and carving the chops. All you do is rub the rack with herbs and garlic, add some salt and pepper, brown, roast then roast the succulent halved Kadota figs in the lamb fat. I especially love such plain-looking green figs with their resplendent blush interiors. In Siddhartha, when Herman Hesse compares “her mouth to a fig split in two“: that’s a description that’s stayed with me. Don’t you just love Google Books?

To whet our appetites, we noshed on local cheeses (including the end of an addictive Rogue Creamery Rosemary Cheddar) with hazelnut sourdough bread from the farmers’ market. They sampled my pickles; the kosher dills were a hit, maybe even better than Ben’s? What better compliment could a girl get. The asparagus and okra pickles didn’t go over as well.

Rounding out the meal was Julia’s always reliable, amenable whole grain salad. I threw blanched green beans from our garden and roasted local Italian peppers into it. I recommend making it with Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend (Israeli couscous, orzo, split garbanzo beans and red quinoa). I think that’s the Trader Joe’s item I most miss. I always pick some up when I’m in Portland. It’s supposed to be coming to Corvallis. Of course, they’ll probably discontinue carrying this product by then.

The meal.

The meal.

Julia's whole grains.

Julia's whole grains.

Written by baltimoregon

September 10, 2009 at 9:17 am

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