Skip to content

Seasons’ Eating: Gulai Ketam dan Nenas (Crabs and Pineapple in Spicy Gravy)

2012 September 27

By Amri Abuseman

Fishing Boats

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – Greetings from the other side of the world!  I have been here in Malaysia for nearly two weeks and am still trying to adjust to the heat and humidity.  While here, my family and I have been traveling to the northern coastal regions of the country to visit our extended family members, and sample food from those regions.

In general, fish and seafood are abundantly available and are the main source of protein.  Before refrigeration technology came along, fish and seafood were all consumed fresh.   Leftovers are turned to long-term sustenance by drying, pickling or fermenting to produce cooking ingredients like shrimp paste, fish sauce and shrimp crackers.

On the east coast of Malaysia one can still find traditional fishing villages and I was lucky enough to visit one this time around.  The fishing season for small-scale fishermen is from March until late October before the northeastern monsoon hits. These days the traditional perahu (boats) have been replaced by lighter and faster versions made from fiberglass and packed with an outboard motor. But, like the fishermen of old they still head to sea as the sun rises over the horizon.

The first idea that came to mind when I saw Karleen’s Whole Wheat Peach and Pineapple Muffins was to share my family’s recipe for Gulai Ketam dan Nenas (Crabs and Pineapple in Spicy Gravy).  Pineapples are grown locally in Malaysia and available year-round.  The crabs used in this recipe are flower crabs (portunus pelagicus), found in the coastal areas around Southeast Asia.  Shrimps or dried salted cod (bacalao) can be substituted in this recipe.

The local markets here are one-stop-shops where you can get both wet and dry ingredients, all of it extremely fresh.  For example, coconut milk, a staple in Southeast Asian cooking, is freshly grated and squeezed on request.  In addition, you can also get prepared foods like nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk served with hot chili sauce), fried noodles and traditional cakes at the markets for breakfast.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

read more…

Seasons’ Eatings: Whole Wheat Pineapple Peach Muffins

2012 September 14

By Karleen Armstrong

Pineapple flowersDenver, CO – Summer is coming to an end.  In these post-Labor day weeks I wanted to celebrate the season with bright color and fresh flavors.  It’s a chance for one last tropical, sunny food getaway before the Indian summer days arrive eventually bringing full-blown fall.  Last week’s Tacos al Pastor from Lauren transported our taste buds through Texas and California for the perfect Mexican summer bite.  I knew the pineapple from Lauren’s marinade would be the perfect ingredient in my recipe to honor the long, hot days of summer.

Pineapples are definitely not local to Colorado.  Luckily, my home state produces another sweet treat.  Orchards become abundant with peaches this time of year.  I combined the two to bake a classic breakfast snack with a tropical twist and some local love.  Colorado peaches are easy for me to find absolutely anywhere.  I can simply stop by my favorite famer stand, grocery store, or if I’m in the mood to drive, take a road trip to the Western Slope and pick some up at the orchards themselves.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

read more…

Seasons’ Eatings: Tacos al Pastor a la Fake Meat

2012 September 6

By Lauren Wilson

Taco toppings

Brooklyn, NY – Kara’s recipe for Chicken Parmesan with Fresh Tomato Sauce brought me back to being 8 years old and cooking with my nona.  It also conjured up all the comfort and pleasure I find in Italian cooking, and had me yearning for the cold weather so I could whip up a big old batch of gravy.

But I decided to go a little more abstract with my connection to her recipe on this relay: using the protein, fresh herbs, sauce, and crushed chili as the perfect excuses to try out a recipe I had been literally dreaming about since I read the latest issue of Lucky Peach – tacos!  The issue featured a thoroughly entertaining Choose Your Own Adventure style story, Voyage of the Taco Belles, about a pair of gals who head out west to indulge in California-Mexican treasures.  The recipe provided for Tacos Al Pastor has been ever present back there in my brain just taunting me with it’s promise of deliciousness.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

read more…

Seasons’ Eatings: Chicken Parm with Fresh Tomato Sauce

2012 August 30

By Kara Rota

Beefsteak tomatoes at Monkshood Nursery's farmstandNew York, NY – After Marc’s Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil Flatbread, I was looking forward to Relaying off of the tomato and basil to make one of my favorite go-to dishes: chicken parm. But first, let’s address some fascinating linguistic history. Have you ever wondered why the cheese prominently featured in chicken parm (or, as it’s often referred to, chicken parmesan) is mozzarella? The ‘parm’ in the title likely comes from parmigiana, meaning ‘from Parma’, in Northern Italy. To confuse the matter further, chicken parm is a Southern Italian dish (Veal parmigiana, which did originate in Parma, consisted of veal cutlets breaded and fried – no cheese, no tomato). Another theory attributes the ‘parm’ to the Sicilian word parmiciana, referring to the slats of wood which compose the central part of a shutter and overlap, as does the thinly sliced eggplant in eggplant parm. The inclusion of parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) cheese is the least complex explanation.

Then there’s the sauce: most Americans commonly refer to a classic Italian tomato-basil sauce as marinara, which actually means ‘mariner’s wife’ and, predictably, traditionally includes seafood. The tomato sauce we’re talking about is more accurately called pomarola, whether the Tuscan variety, which is cooked longer, or the Neapolitan, which is cooked for less time and is often applied to pizza.

But my family isn’t one to get caught up in the technicalities. My Uncle Tony grows Jersey tomatoes behind his shoe store, chops them with basil, salt and pepper, onions, and a little vinegar, and keeps it in the fridge for weeks to eat with too-sharp Provolone and crusty bread. And my Uncle Richie has been known to enjoy lasagna I’ve made with spinach, tofu, leftover mushroom risotto, and eggplant-tomato sauce I’d frozen towards the end of last year’s tomato season. When it comes to devouring the glut of summer tomatoes, the authenticity of the dishes we make with them is the least of our concerns.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

read more…

Seasons’ Eatings: Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil Flatbread

2012 August 23

By Marc J. Duquette

Heirloom tomatoes fresh from the garden

Pelham, NH – You’re invited! It’s a beautiful, clear August afternoon and we are headed outside to the grill. Imagine a group of friends gathered around the patio, sharing a bottle of wine around a perfectly set table, centered with vase full of colorful, fresh-picked flowers. The whole scene is surrounded by an incredible garden landscape. I swear I’ve come across this photo spread a thousand times in cooking and gardening magazines! Well, this is the perfect recipe if you find yourself longing to create such a place and time. It’s actually a very simple dish but the technique and freshness of the dish will blow you away. We are going to create a Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Basil Flatbread.

A key feature of Recipe Relay is the hand-off from one recipe to the next–an ingredient, method, or preparation. Therefore, from Sarah’s rustic Carrot Pizza, I’ll make use of the basil and I will relay her “pizza” idea in a somewhat different application by using a comparable dough to make flatbread on the grill. When I first started thinking about a recipe using basil, I came across the classic, and very common Italian Bruschetta–sliced Italian bread, toasted in the oven and topped with a tomato-basil mixture, usually served as an appetizer. I love making flatbread on the grill so it didn’t take me long to bring the two recipes together. Besides, what can be better than grilling outside this time of year?

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

read more…