For those of us who are really into food, a quick trip to the bookshelf to look up a recipe often ends up in an hour or two spent sitting on the floor reading about something entirely unexpected. Recently I went looking for a recipe for shrimp quenelles and my search led me to Madeleine Kamman's heavy tome, The Making of a Cook. Next to the section on seafood mousselines and quenelles was a fascinating entry about frogs. According to Kamman, frogs are not farmed extensively in America but they are in France, where the legs are snipped off still-living frogs. The legless critters are then tossed back in the pond to grow another set. Eeeeeeewwww, right? I almost swore off eating frog's legs forever. I lasted 11 days. I probably could have gone longer but Café Dalat, the Vietnamese restaurant at Central and San Mateo, does a magnificent breaded frog leg appetizer. Looking over the menu the other day, I marveled aloud, "Ooh, fried frog legs!" but the expression on my date's face suggested he'd heard me say, "Ooh, fried bog dregs!" So how could I resist? The crispy golden legs arrived looking more like deep-fried shrimp than the slimy green webbed snack he was expecting. And they were scrumptious dipped in Dalat's salty, tangy nuoc cham sauce. Keep up the good work, frogs. We'll eat ’em as fast as you can grow ’em.
All the News That's Fit to Eat
Have you ever tried to eat a sopaipilla the size of a down comforter? Well, maybe not down comforter size but how about ... almost as big as a medium pizza? Our indefatigable interns brought one of these monsters back from Delicia's, a café tucked into a blink-and-you-missed-it strip mall between the Rio Grande river and Atrisco (3915 Central NW, 833-0488). Delicia's staff is very friendly, the kind of friendly that makes East Coast émigrés suspicious. (Why are all these people being so nice? What do they want?) The food is pleasantly unambitious, good New Mexican grub done very well. An entrée of pork chops smothered in onions, tomatoes and jalapeños tasted like it was home cooked by somebody's grandma. In fact the cook looked like somebody's grandma as she called across the dining room to ask me, "Hon! Do you like onions?" Yeah, I do like onions and I like Delicia's. I bet you will too. They're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and until 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Chewing the Fat
Travel, Meet Cows, Examine Nuts
Brett Bakker on the state's shortage of organic commodity inspectors
Organic produce, meats and processed foods are a booming $18 to $20 million dollar industry in New Mexico but a critical shortage of state inspectors threatens the survival of these small businesses. If they can't get inspected and certified organic, the producers can't effectively market their goods to those who are eager to buy them. Through volunteer fundraising, a small group of folks hopes to add 10 part-time, contracted inspectors to the state's current team of three. Brett Bakker, chief inspector for the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, spoke to Alibi about the inspector training process and what it entails.