Monday, February 25, 2008

Sled for Sandwiches

Cincinnati received some snow and an impromptu sledding outing left us cold and famished. We wanted something heavy but spicy enough to thaw our icy bones and found the perfect treat in Gourmet, a Bahn Mi.

It's hard to find comfort food that also dazzles the palate. This sandwich piled high with mellow braunschwagger, roasted chicken, and mayo is brightened with jalapenos, sweet onions, cilantro, and soy sauce. In this Vietnamese fusion treat you will be excited by the spiciness and then pass out from the heaviness of the meat and the comforting aroma of a toasted baguette. Enjoy!

1/2 lb daikon, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1/2 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (24-inch) soft baguette
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 lb liverwurst
2 fresh jalapeños, thinly sliced
1/2 sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch rings
3/4 cup packed cilantro sprigs
2 cooked chicken breasts from a rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced
Lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Shred daikon and carrot in a food processor fitted with medium shredding disk. Stir together vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss with shredded vegetables. Let slaw stand, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat baguette on rack in oven until crusty, about 5 minutes. Cut off and discard round ends, then split baguette.

Mix together oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce and brush on cut sides of bread. Spread liverwurst on bottom layer of bread and top with chiles, onion, and cilantro.

Drain slaw in a colander.

Arrange chicken, slaw, and lettuce on cilantro. Spread top layer of bread with mayonnaise and cut sandwich crosswise into fourths.


Goes very well with a little bit of whiskey or a cold beer.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Skordalia, Opa!

This week I had some scary Skordalia. Normally I'm elated at the sight of this garlicky spread on a menu and when I ordered it at a Greek restaurant in Ybor City, Florida I was expecting a warm, pillowy mass of olive oil and pureed potatoes. Ah but no. What we received were cold, lumpy mashed potatoes that although laden with garlic, tasted very stale. My mom, who was my dining companion, didn't know what to think as she had never had Skordalia but I was rightfully bummed. So, to set everyone's Skordalia standards at an appropriately high level, I am passing on a recipe from Greek Chef Michael Psilakis who owns two Greek restaurants, Athenos and Kefi in NYC.

The key is to get the potatoes as smooth as possible, I find it's best done with a ricer or a hand cranked processor but if you have a light hand you can use an electric processor. Be warned, if you over process this it will turn into a gummy mess.


3 medium-size potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small shallot, peeled
1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Boil potatoes until soft (about 30 minutes). Immediately mash potatoes finely or put through a ricer, and transfer to a bowl. In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup vinegar, garlic and shallot; purée. Using a spatula, mix vinegar mixture into potatoes, then slowly stream in 3 tablespoons olive oil, mixing until emulsified. Add more oil to make a smooth, soft purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep hot.

Serve with olive oil on top with warm pita bread. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Comfort Food

When your little life is getting kicked in the shins it's time to hole up in the kitchen until the storm is over. Moments like these I like to make a big batch of comfort food, watch movies, and forget my woes. Here is a wonderful and blessedly easy recipe for delicious, healing black bean soup, enough to outlast a week of miserable feelings. The coconut milk gives this soup a silky texture and dreamy taste, add more if you like. Let me know what you think!

Black Bean Soup

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cans (or 4 cups) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne ( to your liking)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup of orange juice
generous grating of black pepper
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup of coconut milk

2 cups of brown rice
4 cups of water

In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and bell pepper until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the seasonings wait a minute, add the tomatoes and stir to combine mash up the tomatoes for a minute. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and the beans. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, adding the orange juice towards the end. If soup is to thick add additional cup of chicken stock. Just before serving, add the coconut milk, and heat through. Serve in bowls with some brown rice underneath. Makes 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Feed Your Lover

What to do on this day of love?
Here are three classically romantic spots that are sure to seal the deal.

1. Riverview Revolving Restaurant

Although technically in Covington, Ky this restaurant was quickly adopted by Cincinnatian's because of its novelty. The food is ok but the experience is one of a kind. Get a steak, sit back, and start to believe the world really does revolve around you two.

665 w. 5th Street, Covington, Ky 41011 (859) 491-5300

2. Asiana

This Hyde Park restaurant is filled with enough pink to fully satiate any valentine excursion. The Drunken Noodles are delicious as is the deep fried banana. My favorite aspect is the BYOB policy, and if you bring a six pack the kind people at Asiana will keep the rest cool for you, but if you plan on having a good Valentine's day treat her to a bottle of fabulous wine from the store next door.

3922 Edwards Road Oakley, OH 45209 (513) 351-0999

3. Prima Vista

Another one with a breathtaking view, Prima Vista sits on top of Price Hill and lords over Cincinnati, and that's just with the menu. Traditional Italian food is prepared with passion and perfection be sure not to overlook the exquisite sides including, mushrooms, asparagus, potato gnocchi. The view, food, and service are impeccable and worth every penny that you will surely spend on this extravagant Valentine's date.

810 Matson Place Cincinnati, Ohio 45204 513) 251-6467


Don't be put off by the name, foul is an amazing dish that you and yours will enjoy. Foul is a fava bean dip that originally hails from the middle east and is traditionally eaten at breakfast with pita bread.
Here is a fabulous recipe:

1 (15 ounce) can cooked fava beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked fava beans
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash cinnamon (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash cloves (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash turmeric (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash cayenne (but season to your own taste!)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or to taste)

1 small potato, peeled and cooked, added when onion is cooking (optional)

  1. First, cook onion in vegetable oil until slightly browned
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant
  3. Add large chopped tomato and cook until it just starts breaking apart
  4. Add spices and lemon juice and stir
  5. Add fava beans and salt to taste
  6. Leave on low heat for about 15-20 minutes
  7. Put in blender and puree until smooth or coursly mash with a fork
    (I like mine thicker than hummus)
  8. Place in serving dish and drizzle generously with olive oil, parsley, and a little mint
  9. Eat with pita bread
Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Restaurants that recycle

Does anyone know of restaurants that recycle in Cincinnati, Oh? I work downtown and I know a number of these establishments do not. I am interested in changing that, if anyone has some ideas let me know!