Monday, January 19, 2015

The pepper sandwich and flavor trends

I was at the famous Whataburger on the Bay in Corpus Chrisi, home of the franchaise. It was a busy morning with bus loads of kids, and I was enjoying a  jalapeno biscuit and the view. A distinguished senior man in a pressed western shirt and bolo tie took his seat and the staff was making over this obvious regular.
He had a foam container at his booth, even before his order came up. When his sandwich arrived he discarded the top bun, cut up the remaining layers into precise squares and opened the lid of his container. He began spreading on a thick white substance like he was icing a cake. I had to step in.
I’d already pledged to wish this gentleman an good day as I left, but I had to ask, what was he spreading? It was mayonnaise, he said. A super thick layer.
Mr. Jim Webb
said he owned Crawdaddy’s restaurant in downtown Corpus, which started a conversation on good Cajun food. But, as we spoke, his breakfast ritual got more interesting. He had opened I don’t know how many tiny paper pepper packages and covered the layer of mayo with black pepper dots. It was a pepper sandwich for sure. I wondered if he was saving calories by not eating the top bun so he could compensate for all they mayo.
I could not eat at Crawdaddy’s on that trip, but I’d love to head back that way. When I mentioned Port Arthur, he said he’d put his gumbo up against any gumbo from Beaumont, Port Arthur, “and even Orange.”

Flavor trends of 2015
McCormick’s Flavor Forecast saus we’re headed for a “liquid revolution” of fresh purees and juices to blend with bold spices and herbs to intensify sauces, pasta, dressings and more; shawarma spice blends of cumin and cinnamon will be a favorite and a sour and salt will highlight pickled ginger and sour cherry. Look for smoked spices as well.
Heard of umami? It’s the “fifth taste” we will see in mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and nori.

Gumbo query
I confess, or boast, that I have a jar of roux base in my pantry. I know, my grandma made it from scratch, but this stuff is good when you need a Cajun fix. Here’s my question to readers: How do you use this roux in ways other than mixing up a gumbo? Do you ever and a few tablespoons to other bases for a gravy or something? There’s got to be more ways of getting that gumbo flavor going for dinner. If you’re willing to share your ideas, please contact me at address below. Also, let me know if you are willing to share your ideas with readers.

Darragh Doiron is out there trying new things for you Culinary Thrill Seekers. Reach her at Published in Port Arthur News

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