Saturday, November 28, 2009

I met my match

My two favorite TV shows have to be No Reservations and Bizarre Foods hosted by Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. I have always preferred No Reservations because Anthony Bourdain comes off as more authentic and his wry wit is always entertaining. Both of these personalities have tried Durian on their shows. If you are not familiar with Durian, it is a popular fruit in Southeast Asia. Many find the odor to be offensive and it is banned in many tourist areas. While Bourdain loved Durian for it's custard like consistency and myriad of flavors, Zimmern couldn't stand it. While recently shopping at Asian Direct in Richfield. I came across Frozen Durian in the freezer. I had to get it. I'm certain that I'm more of a man then Zimmern, and surely my tastes will match those of Anthony Bourdain. Well, after thawing it out in the fridge (which isn't a good idea if you want all of it's contents smelling like old smelly gym socks) I layed it out on the counter. The smell was intoxicating. This is coming from someone who isn't bothered by the smell of Korean Kimchi (Fermented Vegetables). After gathering up some courage I took a bite. I failed. There was no way I could swallow it. It tasted like the worst rotten fruit you can imagine. Maybe Andrew Zimmern isn't such a girly man after all....

....I still have a couple Durian Popsicle sticks I picked up at Asian Direct, maybe I can redeem myself some day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Minnesota Caviar

Why pay a Benjamin Franklin or two an ounce for Beluga caviar imported from Russia when Herring caviar is available for $3 an ounce. Dockside fish market has been processing Lake Superior herring caviar since 2003 and sells it out of their Grand marais outpost or in the Minneapolis area at Coastal Seafoods

While it looks very similar to the sushi topping Tobiko, it is actually the roe from the Lake Superior herring, a fish indigenous to Minnesota. It has a creamy texture but also pops with a buttery flavor reminiscent of the sea...Well maybe the Lake Superior sea. Dockside suggests putting it on a water cracker and using a light dollop of sour cream, thinly sliced red onions, and fresh lemon juice mixed in.

I apologize to any muppet fans...

When I was a kid I never could understand why Kermit put up with Miss Piggy. That said, I had to post the inspiration for my blog title. The pic above is pork ears in chili sauce from Grand Szechuan in Bloomington. My favorite rendition is from Tian Jin in Chanhassen but they seem to have taken this Sichuan cold dish off their menu. This dish is definitely texture driven...the cartilage is chewy/crunchy which I love, and the chili oil is addictive.

Buy a salami for your boy in the army...

Don't you hate when you hear a catchy song or phrase and you can't get it out of your head? This jingle has been stuck in mine after reading about some great Salami being made in Duluth, Minnesota by Northern Waters Smokehaus. I originally saw the article on The Heavy Table
After leaving Deer camp this weekend I had to make the short trek from Deer camp to try their Salamini which recently won the top professional Salami award in Armandino Batali’s Salumi Restaurant's Salami Challenge in Seattle, a national competition. For those unfamiliar with Salumi, it is the mecca of Chartcuterie (Italian dry cured meats) in America run by celebrity chef Mario Batali's Dad. In the pic above the Salamini is pictured on the right encased in white, which is actually a culture (Goerdt uses one from southern Italy) then dipped in a penicillin mold to give it this characteristic look. Chorizo is pictured on the left (Not to be confused with the Mexican Sausage Chorizo) The Chorizo is similar to the Salamini but has a spicy kick due to the added ingredient of peppers. The owner, Eric Goerdt, uses only the finest pork from Berkshire hogs. Berkshire swine are highly prized for their marbled meat, especially by the Japanese who also prize the marbled meat of Kobe beef. Eric's use of fresh ingredients and top quality meat really shows in his Salamini. While Salami can be used in a variety of ways I enjoy it best by simply slicing it to as close as paper thin as possible and eating it by itself.