Sunday, October 27, 2013

Prawn plans & pumpkin news

Prawn plans
I love exploring the Vietnamese Markets in Port Arthur. I checked out at one with a can of minced prawn in spices, for about $1.15 and the woman at the counter asked my plans for it. I told her I planned to warm it and serve it over steamed rice with a slow-cooked egg in the center.
She approved, and I felt like an insider. It was colorful and delicious with a few green onions from my garden sprinkled on top.
This particular brand of minced prawn, and there are many, included spices like peanut, chile, lemongrass, sugar, garlic, onion and (too bad) MSG. I plan to keep one in the pantry because it is a super-quick way to jazz up noodles and rice to make you feel like you’re in a restaurant.

Fresh 20
Stock up on 20 fresh ingredients and plan your next several meals for a happy, healthy family. Melissa Lanz profiles her own and other families are doing fine enjoying seasonal fresh foods like a cultural fusion of red beans and quinoa. I love what fall menus bring in “The Fresh 20” cookbook, but I can look forward to winter with mushroom polenta and cabbage pork stew.
Lanz even makes her own ketchup (that tastes like tomatoes) and tortillas. She shares how in this beautiful book. The photos convince you that you can do this, too.
Here’s another twist: Strawberry Gazpacho with Feta Cheese Crostini and spring rolls in a bowl so you can cut out that pesky rice paper step.
For this week’s “Pumpkin trending” update, try her pumpkin hash, pumpkin shepherd’s pie or roasted pumpkin. Here’s one with another vegetable you may not think of:
Radish Butter ( to serve with flatbread and steamed artichokes)
12 to 16 red radishes
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 fourth teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add all but 2 radishes and boil for 10 minutes. Thinly slice remaining two radishes.
Drain the radishes and place into a food processor or blender. Pulse to puree, then add the butter and salt and pulse to blend.

What’s the buzz?
Bottle tops look like bee hives and a beekeeper-hive-bear scene plays out in the bottle of a new liquor that is sweet on fall nights. Bärenjäger, the original honey liqueur, introduces Bärenjäger Honey & Tea, a blend of premium honey and tea liqueur; and Bärenjäger Honey & Pear, a delightful combination of premium honey liqueur and Williams pear brandy. With an old world feel and taste, sippers will realize they’ve hit a serious blend that’s not like the colorful nightclub fluff. Don’t play with this stuff.
Of the two, my favorite is Bärenjäger Honey & Tea, made from all natural ingredients and no artificial flavors. The new spirit offers an herbaceous nose, a sweet black tea and honey taste and a long finish of lingering black tea notes, makers say. I served it in a tall shot glass with an oversized blackberry soaking up the golden fluid.

Bärenjäger Honey & Pear is made with generous amounts of pure, real honey and high quality pear brandy sourced from Germany. The brandy is distilled exclusively from Williams pears, which are highly aromatic and flavorful. It put my tasters in mind of a high-end cough drop, and we all know people who like that sort of thing. It’s soothing and comforting.
Look up this brand and learn all about bears, too. In the 15th century, beekeepers and farmers made a mead-like moonshine to aid hunters attract bears and lure them from their dwellings.

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