Monday, January 10, 2011

Foodie? Some Words About Nomenclature

Danse Macabre: The Foodie copyright 2010, 2011 Dylan Meconis
I love food.  I pretty much love all food barring some finicks about texture, and the odd histamine reaction.  I unapologeticly love pot pies from the freezer section, and I love the fads of trendy cuisine. One of the best moments when I was home in Alaska came while having lunch with some friends at a favorite restaurant.*  Kinley's is one of those trendy places where your side salad comes with goat cheese, and your fried chicken sandwich comes slathered in the house sour cherry preserves.**  JVW had ordered the bacon wrapped date appetizer. This is the apotheosis of dates -- dates should always be paired up with something savory, lest their sweetness take over whatever one is eating.  It is a favorite.  I bit into one.  The meld of smokey, sweet, and salt with a lemon and garlic in the background to cut through all the richness was perfection. 

For all that, my tastes are not all that abstruse, or so I like to think.  Until, I find myself saying things like, "You know, that would be really good with some goat cheese," when a classmate is talking about making macaroni and cheese. Such a totally trendoid thing to suggest.  My classmate asked me, "Are you one of those foodies?"  Yes, but hopefully without the sour faced snobbery that shows up in the illustration above (which I find hilarious, but that might be the art history classes talking), and in some contemporary food writing.

However in the playful spirit of the best contemporary food, I offer one of my favorite fusion dessert recipes. 

Garam Masala Pumpkin Brownies

Intensely rich, serve in bite size pieces.  These brownies would be absolutely divine with dulce de leche, and bananas on top.  And creme fraiche or chevre.  And pecans.  Maybe bacon too.  You know, trendy things.

3/4 cup butter
2 c brown sugar
1 1/4 c Dutched cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 T vanilla extract 
3 eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 1/2 c flour
1 c chocolate chips
1 1/2 coconut
1 tsp cinnamon (I used the Vietnamese)
1/2 tsp garam masala (but check the ingredients, garam masala sometimes includes mustard, which I have yet to like when paired with chocolate.  One could alternatively experiment with pinches of cumin, coriander, clove, cinnamon, fenugreek, and nutmeg or mace -- when the blend tastes right, use 1/2 tsp of the blend.  But for this application, I use the Spice Islands Garam Masala blend.  It's pretty wimpy otherwise, so I only use it for desserts.)
1/2 tsp cayenne, or to taste, or use something milder, or a splash of Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat 350 grease a 13"x9" pan.

Melt butter over low heat (or nuke it, but I never do) and stir in sugar. Return to heat, stirring until the mixture appears smooth and shiny. Transfer to mixing bowl.

Stir in cocoa, salt, baking powder, and spices
Blend together eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Add to cocoa mixture, beating 'til smooth.

Add flour, chips, and coconut, stirring 'til well combined.

Spoon batter into prepped pan and smooth over. Bake 35 minutes or so, or until a toothpick or fork inserted in the center comes out with only a couple of crumbs clinging to it.

Absolutely delish.

*Anchorage is, slightly inexplicably, one of the better places to eat that I've ever been to.  It's not Rome, but what is?  I theorize that the long cold winters and the constant caloric drain to keep warm have supplied the drive to perfect the nouvelle pizza, and haute diner food.  And beer? I could weep missing the breweries of Anchorage. 
**It is fantastic.  I have wondered ever since why all fried chicken sandwiches don't come with sour cherry preserves.

1 comment:

  1. I will give you some of my pizza recipes, if I remember. Well, they are less recipes, and more "here's the crap I throw on top" but some are quite good. Some are unique. Some are not, but are tasty.

    Also, is it somehow ironic that in a country that has no grasp of Mexican flavors, the best fajita (or in my case generic Mexican) seasoning mix I've ever found is made in Milton Keynes? Milton Keynes is known for nothing except being an absolute dump on the outskirts (way, way outskirts) of London, having the worst bathrooms ever at the National Express bus station, and having a flight school. But they have Discovery Foods, which, for all their other sins, makes tasty fajita seasoning.