recipe


V.20 No.32 | 8/11/2011
Ray Sisneros knows how to grow a cabbage.
Courtesy of the Cuba Farmers’ Market

Locovore

Market Report: Cuba

The little turnip that could

Only about eight booths long, the Cuba Farmers’ Market has a big heart. And since there’s not always enough booty to go around, getting there early is recommended. Cuba is a hub for a large, beautiful and funky area. The market is a distillation of the surrounding mountains, canyons, valley and scrubland, and it foments a sense of community that’s been waiting to happen. Locals are “over the moon about it,” says Shari Smoker of the UNM Prevention Research Center, which helped create the market last year. “They just love it so much. It’s giving people a place to have a sense of community and talk to their neighbors and get to know their growers.”
Enough ingredients for two batches of baklava
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

Food of the Gods

Baklava goes New Mexican

I fell in love with Greek food in my high school years in Detroit’s Greek Town. Among the recipes I’ve made my own is this one for baklava—rich with butter, crispy layers of phyllo and sweet New Mexico honey. It’s one of my favorites. My friend Marissa Evans and I got on a baklava jag and, over two weeks, made piles of the stuff.

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V.20 No.28 | 7/14/2011
Wild rice
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

Hearty Flavors From a Handful of Seeds

Cooking with whole grains

I came late to whole grains—being brought up eating white rice at every meal. With the possible exception of rolled oats, most of the grains I encountered were hulled, bleached, sweetened and renutritionized before they hit my plate.

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V.20 No.27 | 7/7/2011
“Plant offal” includes carrot tops and spinach bottoms.
Ari LeVaux

Flash in the Pan

Robbing the Compost Pile

Carrot tops, spinach bottoms and the whole radish

The preparation and consumption of animal offal has become trendy in recent years. From headcheese to braised pig feet, there are all sorts of ways of turning animal refuse into delicacies. And while plant offal hasn't exactly become the new rage, B-list plant parts can be incorporated into tasty meals as well. Ari LeVaux provides recipes for three such underused ingredients: spinach roots and the greens of carrots and radishes.
V.20 No.24 | 6/16/2011

Food for Thought

American Sardine

When tiny fish are hugely sustainable

A seafood meal is the one opportunity most Americans will ever have to eat a wild animal. Given the illegality of selling wild game, only hunters and their lucky friends get to munch the many tasty beasts that roam the boondocks. Eating a wild thing is like walking around in bare feet. It's exposure to an ecosystem, and a direct connection with the planet. Eating wild fish is like a swim in the ocean—except in this case, the ocean swims inside of you.

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V.20 No.23 | 6/9/2011
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

A Cut Above

I try a new take on steak and peppers

When it comes to flavor, it’s hard to beat a well-marbled rib eye. But when it comes to cost without sacrificing flavor, I go for the flatiron. It comes from the top of the shoulder and is sometimes called a top blade, top boneless chuck or petite steak. It’s used in steak frites in restaurants, and it’s sometimes hard to find at a standard grocer. When trimmed out by a good butcher, a tough, sinewy membrane down its center is removed to leave a perfect steak for the grill.

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V.20 No.20 | 5/19/2011
Ari LeVaux

Food for Thought

Chicken From Scratch

When the roosters get tough, the tough make coq au vin

Coq au vin, literally “rooster in wine,” is a recipe that can be simple or complex. My version is geared toward those starting with a big, tough old rooster in the yard, but it works with any chicken. An old hen would also do the trick, but I don't kill my hens. So that leaves the roosters, the meaner the better.

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V.20 No.12 | 3/24/2011
mangoneada
Ari LeVaux

Food for Thought

Spicy Thirst Destruction

A homemade paleta that’s perfect for spring

I ordered my first mangoneada because I thought it sounded vaguely like mango-lemonade, which seemed perfect on a warm day. Better Spanish speakers may have realized the word refers to an unscrupulous use of power, like graft or bribery. With my first slurp I began to see why. Mangoneadas are powerful and desirable. On a sunny day, you could bribe Satan with one.

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Food

A secret pinto bean recipe now released to the public at large.

I used to think beans needed salt pork or ham hocks to come out right. Not so. Beans are just as delicious with no meat at all. I imagine there may come a time when you don’t even need beans to make beans–just air and a discerning palette. In the mean time, here’s my world-famous recipe for beans.

1) Rinse some dry beans and soak them over night in a large saucepan. The beans expand as they absorb water, so while it’s difficult to know how many you should soak, you can be pretty sure you’re soaking too many. That’s okay, they’re cheap. Some people say you need to sort the dry beans for rocks prior to rinsing, but I prefer to simply buy “rock-free” brands and gamble with my very life.

2) After soaking, drain the beans and replace the water with fresh, then boil them for about five minutes, removing the white scum that forms on top. I like to believe the white scum contains extra fart-producing elements. I have no scientific basis for believing so, but you’ll want to scrape it off anyway because it looks gross.

3) Dump the beans and hot water into a slow cooker (i.e. Crock-Pot®) with half a diced onion and one or two cloves of crushed garlic, then let it cook on high for about five hours. The longer beans cook, they softer they become. Don’t add salt while they’re cooking. Salt lowers the boiling temperature of the water and will cause your beans to cook less quickly. It will also inevitably lead to somebody bitching about how salty they are. It’s best to just salt them to taste once they’re in the bowl.

I like to eat my beans with a little shredded cheddar cheese, and sometimes with some red or green chile. When it’s time to put the leftover beans away, let them cool off to room temperature without a lid before sticking them in the refrigerator. This guards against a disgusting aroma your beans might otherwise develop.

I think my house is haunted. I keep hearing sounds behind me, but when I turn around there’s no one there. Just a terrible smell.

V.20 No.7 | 2/17/2011
Sautéed scallops and shrimp on a bed of hot wakame tea salad, topped with crispy fried shallots
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

Cooking With Tea

Brew a world of flavor from this versatile plant

Tea has had multiple applications for centuries—but only recently by Westerners—as an exciting component in Asian cooking: to infuse flavors into meats, jazz up marinades and sauces, and to create broths and garnishes. Here, food writer Mina Yamashita shares one of her favorite recipes.
V.19 No.46 | 11/18/2010
L'oceano
Ari LeVaux

Have Fork, Will Travel

Italian Land and Sea

The pleasures of pesce alla Ligure

Special series: The Alibi’s resident food columnist Ari LeVaux reports from Italy for a few issues. Buon appetito!

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V.19 No.40 | 10/7/2010
The Corn Maiden’s gift
Ari LeVaux

Food for Thought

The Children of My Corn

New Mexican posole with a twist

As I was preparing my move to New Mexico, a Blackfoot Indian woman came by to see about renting my house in Missoula, Mont. She didn't rent the house but we became friends, and before she left she gave me some bright red kernels of dried corn she got at a powwow.

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V.19 No.36 | 9/9/2010
Tomatillos + meat = stewlicious
Ari LeVaux

Food for Thought

Very Verde

Tomatillos are good for more than just salsa

I feel sorry for tomatillos, the way I used to feel for the last kid to get picked for kickball. Tomatillos languish on otherwise empty tables at the end of growers’ markets, often destined for the compost pile because they're nobody’s favorite. It's not their fault. It's just that nobody knows what to do with tomatillos.

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V.19 No.31 | 8/5/2010

Mina's Dish

Nostalgia With a New Mexican Kick

I grew up the oldest of six kids in a Japanese-American family. My mom honed her cooking skills working at her aunt and uncle’s diner in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, where she met my dad, a truck driver who delivered produce. It was 1940, and she was 18.

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V.19 No.29 | 7/22/2010

Food

Vegetables I Have Known

Oh beets, with your vivid, royal coloring, the shock of hot pink spiraling through you like Mother Nature’s own blacklight poster. I am so in love, I clicked on a NYT recipe for a salad of shredded you. My eyes juiced your image, regarded only briefly the measurements and directions, and then returned to you, a root the color of guts in my dreams.

Follow the recipe or throw caution to the wind as I did and trust your own gut as it resonates with the most bewitching of vegetable forms. (How could I have ever scoffed at still lifes?)

Let the juices stain your fingers as you shred the mighty beet with your common cheese grater. Squeeze in half a lemon after scornfully discarding the seeds. Taste. Another half a lemon, then, or not. Do the same with oranges.

Drizzle just the slightest bit of olive oil. Tip your palm cupping just a touch of salt. Stir. Taste.

Make a lot. Over days in your fridge, the flavors commingle and mellow. The citrus, less bright. The beet, less earthy.

Like ĺkaros, my ambition spurred me to dig up yet more roots for grating. The passé carrot found new life with sesame oil. Since I posses no mixing bowl and own only, instead, a purple Kool Aid pitcher, I shoveled my pile of three shredded carrots into this container. Sesame oil goes far, flavor-wise, so a few drops was all this dish required. Next, peeled tomatoes, chopped and strained, were added as a second layer. A touch of sweet Mirin and rice vinegar spilled onto those.

A little salt goes a long way in this dish, too. A couple of hearty stirs dispersed the tomatoes and carrots. (Not too many, or the delicate flesh of the tomato may be pulverized.) Once served, top with unadorned avocado.