Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/food/public_html/wp-content/themes/StandardTheme_20/admin/functions.php on line 229
lunch | Manolo's Food Blog
Archive - lunch RSS Feed

Street Eats from Coast to Coast – NY today, Oakland in August

Announcements for two street food events made it into my mailbox today –

New Yorkers, get thee to Lower Manhattan this afternoon for the Street Vendor Project‘s Pushcart Market, which started this morning at 10 and will go until 6 (with a very happy Happy Hour at 5 PM). Among the yummy offerings — handcrafted ice cream, jerk chicken, and vegan desserts — plus a chance to win much coveted tickets to the Vendy Awards.

For more details check out their Facebook page.

Those on the Left Coast have a little more time to prepare for Oakland’s 2nd Annual Eat Real Festival, which will be held August 27-29. In addition to 80 vendors selling everything from traditional street tacos to creme brulee to clam chowda, there will be loads of DIY mini-classes teaching you to make your own cheese or how to vertically garden, as well as various forms of entertainment including food related poetry slams and noodle pulling demonstrations.

I went last year

and ate quite well…

Chicken livers

moroccan.jpg
Mr. Henry forgot the livers.

It could happen to anyone. It could even happen to you if you had endured three solid weeks of liquid skies.

In New York it’s been raining forever. Strange never-before-seen varieties of mushrooms are sprouting from tree roots and branches. The baby hawks have frizzy feathers. Liberal-minded New Yorkers have acquired new empathy for Bangladeshi villagers in monsoon season.

Friday afternoon a soggy Mr. Henry’s lumbered into Citarella. Center cut pork chops, sweet potato purée, asparagus under the broiler, and cucumber salad constituted his quick and easy dinner menu. The humidity, however, had sapped his strength. He needed fortification.

For strength nothing beats chicken livers, especially chicken livers Moroccan style.

To rinsed and trimmed livers add salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, a teaspoon or more of cumin, a half teaspoon each of curry powder and hot paprika (cayenne works very well, too), and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

After the livers have marinated for a good long while, sauté them in their marinade and serve them on toast with lots of chopped cilantro (or parsley). Finish with cold clementines.

moroccanspices.jpg

Normally Mr. Henry marinates for a few hours, perhaps a day….marinates his livers, that is, not himself. But this time he plainly forgot. Since no one else in the family enjoys this hearty delicacy, no one missed them at table.

On Monday he remembered. What would a weekend bathing in strong spices do to a chicken liver?

It worked miracles – an intensity of flavor never before experienced. Considering the gravity of the moment, he felt it appropriate to open a bottle of Burgundy at lunchtime.

Fish caper

Mr. Henry was short on time and on ingredients. Ocean caught off St. Augustine, cleaned and frozen in skim milk right on the boat, mahi-mahi filets had not yet completely thawed. At 11:15 a.m. Mother Henry was ravenous, asking whether her son was ever going to fix that fish.

When lunch is late, Mother Henry is not at her best.

mahimahi.jpg

How do you hurry a mahi-mahi onto the lunch plate? The answer is salt.

Sea salt liberally applied helped the fish thaw. Scouring the fridge for ingredients, Mr. Henry found a bottle of capers, a lemon, and some dried parsley flakes – just sufficient to construct a sauce piccata.

Dredge the salted filet in flour (with black pepper) and sauté to a light brown in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Remove to a serving plate and deglaze your pan with lemon juice, white wine, or both. (Add more butter if you want more sauce.) Add capers and chopped parsley (fresh is preferable), combine briefly and pour over the filets.

From start to finish the whole thing won’t take more than five minutes, so don’t begin until your guests are ready to eat.

The recipe works equally well with filet of veal or breast of chicken. To assure the meat is evenly thin, pound it flat beforehand between plastic wrap.

caper.jpg

Capers are a curiosity – immature flower buds cured in brine or vinegar. The best ones are Italian cured only in rock salt. Before using these you should them soak in cold water for a few minutes.

Mr. Henry’s friend Famous Howard lives exclusively on take-out. In his refrigerator there are precious few items, but always a bottle of capers. Howard finds the addition of capers adds immeasurably to the flavor of almost any sandwich.

beardedheroseal.jpg

As a history buff Howard might be excited to learn that capers are mentioned in The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian story from the third millennium B.C.

The Garden of Eden

thefallcranach.jpg

Ever since Mr. Henry began working from home, lunch has become his special repast, a delightful and often solitary communion with leftovers and a laptop.

In winter he usually applies heat to whatever he finds resting in the refrigerator but from spring through autumn lunches are eaten cold. Indeed, many foods taste better cold or at room temperature. Italian antipasti served under olive oil aptly illustrate this principle.

Whether eating cauliflower, asparagus, fennel, potatoes, lentils, cucumbers, lettuce, olives or bread, there is one magical preparation that seems to transform each into a fulfilling experience – hummus.

A preparation of ground chick peas with tahini, hummus surely dates to prehistory. In the Middle East both chick peas and sesame were cultivated as early as 10,000 BC.

Did Eve prepare hummus for Adam and the boys? Alas, her recipes don’t survive.

Native to India, cucumbers are mentioned in the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.

Wandering in the desert the Hebrews sent forth lamentations for chick peas and leeks so abundant back in Egypt.

A certain degree of imagination is required to believe that the Garden of Eden was once located in Iraq, yet surely pockets of beauty remain. Have you ever tasted dates from Basra? The salty, sandy soil of southern Iraq yields the most flavorful date.

When you pour a dollop of olive oil on feta cheese does your imagination not stray back to classical Athens, an empire built on the exportation of olive oil?

Mr. Henry eats the food of the ancients. Moreover, when he cooks he usually reaches for an iron skillet probably indistinct from ones forged by the Hittites late in the second millennium BC. Sic transit gloria mundi.