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The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 9, 2013


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Roots Of New Orleans Food
René-Robert Cavelier de la Salle found the mouth of the Mississippi River today in 1682. On that basis, he declared that river and its valley--quite a lot of territory--were the property of France. Those lands took on, to some degree at least, a measure of French culture, instead of Spanish or British. New Orleans, the capital of the colony, became the most thoroughly French city in America. That difference lingers to this day. Although French cooking can be found in any town with a significant restaurant community, a unique kind of French food has dominated the diets of Orleanians for almost three hundred years.

Today's Flavor
It's National Oyster Soup Day. Enough people have called and written me lately about that dish that it seems perfect timing. Oysters are still meaty enough that they don't shrivel in the broth. The classic oyster soup is made by straining and reducing as much oyster liquor as you can get your hands on, adding a bit of butter, salt, thyme, and green onions, and slipping the oysters into the simmering liquid a few minutes before serving. They're perfect when they seem to inflate and get curly edges.

Another good approach is to make a medium-dark roux and using that instead of the milk, to make a sort of oyster gumbo. Some chefs make a terrific oyster soup by stirring some of the sauce you'd use on oysters Rockefeller into the broth. It's all good.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
The water in an oyster is a living thing
Its flavor's as fresh as a day in spring
Open those shells and make some bubbles
The soup rewards all your troubles.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Stockville is in the vast grain-growing plains in southwest Nebraska. It's dry country but irrigated by those circular water-distribution systems that look like abstract art when seen from an airplane at 30,000 feet. The nearest major town also has a food name: McCook, population around 8000, a fifty-mile drive on major highways. But you can save thirteen of those by driving the back roads through the wheat and corn fields. On the other hand, the nearest places to eat are all in the same block ten miles away in Curtis, on the main highway. They are Martha Jo's, the Yellow Rose, and Curtis Cattle Company.

Art Of Wine
Victor Vaserely was born today in 1908. He was the leading proponent of Op Art--creating abstract illusions with perspective and geometric patterns. He designed the first of the Artist Series for Champagne Taittinger, with an original Op Art piece in blue, silver, and black, for the 1978 vintage. I have a single unopened bottle of it in the original box in my "cellar," and I expect it will bring four figures in a charity auction someday.

People We'd Like To Have Dinner With
Dennis Quaid was born today in 1954. I'd like to know where he got the accent he used in his New Orleans-based movie, The Big Easy. Nobody I know around here talks like that.

Edible Dictionary
fumet, [foo-MET]. French, n.--A highly concentrated stock, usually (but not always) made from fish or shellfish. A fumet functions both as a stock and a sauce with regard to the other ingredients of a dish. It's more of a cook's word than an eater's word, but it does turn up on menus now and then. Fumet is a major ingredient in dishes like courtbouillon, lobster thermidor, and a variety of juicy stews. In French, the word from which fumet descends suggests the same thing that the Japanese word umami does: a flavor of meat, the fifth flavor after salt, sour, sweet, and bitter.

Food Namesakes
English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon died today in 1626. His death, of a very bad cold, was the indirect result attributed to an experiment he undertook involving freezing food. He stuffed a chicken with snow to see if it could be kept from going bad that way. John Updike's book Rabbit At Rest (the penultimate volume in the Rabbit series) won the Pulitzer Prize today in 1991. . Frank King, who created the comic strip "Gasoline Alley," was born today in 1883. Whenever the current artist depicts a hot dog stand in the strip, its name is "Frank King." . Movie actor Nathan Cook was born today in 1950. . Sharkey Bonano was born in New Orleans in 1904. He was a jazz trumpeter, and almost has a rare double food name.

Words To Eat By
"I have long believed that good food, good eating is all about risk. Whether we're talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime associates, food, for me, has always been an adventure." --Anthony Bourdain.

Words To Drink By
"Liqueurs were not lacking; but the coffee especially deserves mention. It was as clear as crystal, aromatic and wonderfully hot; but, above all, it was not handed around in those wretched vessels called cups on the left banks of the Seine, but in beautiful and capacious bowls, into which the thick lips of the reverend fathers plunged, engulfing the refreshing beverage with a noise that would have done honor to sperm-whales before a storm."--Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.


The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - Recipes

Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.

Uhm, I'm a little embarrassed. I've been keeping this little blog for over a year and I have not once posted a recipe about pierogies. For shame!!

If you are unfamiliar with what the heck a pierogie is, you've come to the right place. In this blog's context, The Pierogie is my daughter, Penelope. That was what we called her before learned that she is a girl. For the rest of the world, a pierogie is a Polish dumpling. Kind of like ravioli, as the dough is very similar to pasta dough (with the exception of salt and olive oil). It is by far my most favorite food in the world and brings so many memories to mind each time I make them.

I am Polish by heritage - both of my parents immigrated from Poland, I grew up speaking Polish and all of my family still lives there. Growing up, I gained "aunts" and "uncles" via my parents' Polish friends and those sort of became my extended family. One of which is the lovely mama behind The Perogy Project - where she concocts both traditional and pretty-freaking-amazing off the wall renditions of pierogie fillings. Although pierogies are definitely made year round, my mom and I go into a pierogie making frenzy each year for Christmas Eve, Wigilia in Poland, and make several hundred. all of which are eaten. During my last visit to Poland at the age of 16, I got to make pierogies alongside my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother.. A memory I will always cherish. Those ladies make pierogies the old fashioned way - completely by hand. For me, although I love the old-worldedness of crafting your food with your hands, I confess I am often too rushed to take the time to knead out the dough by hand. Instead, I ensure this important task to the workhorse of my kitchen - my beloved KitchenAid.

The recipe I'll be sharing with you today is one of the easiest ways to prepare pierogies. It is one of my favorite ways to eat pierogies - with sweet strawberry filling.

You will need:
Dough:
3 cups of flour + 1/2 a cup in case
1 egg
a tall glass of cold water
Filling:
3 cups of chopped strawberries
1/2 teaspoon of cream of wheat
1 teaspoon of sugar

You'll do:
1. You can use a KitchenAid or your hands for the dough, but truth be told even if you start out with the KitchenAid, you will eventually switch over to kneading with your hands so be prepared (take your rings off). Mix the 3 cups of flour, egg and about 1/2 cup of the cold water. The goal is to get the dough into play-dough consistency. So add more flour or water as you see necessary. Eventually you'll see the dough come mostly together, so remove it from the mixer and start kneading by hand until it is well incorporated. The dough should not be sticky or overly dry.

2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your strawberry filling by chopping the strawberries. I used frozen organic strawberries today because strawberries are not in season. Transfer the strawberries into a bowl, sprinkle with the cream of wheat and sugar. The cream of wheat is to help keep the filling together a little. If you don't have any on hand, it is not absolutely vital.

3. Working with a little bit of dough at a time (and keeping the dough you're not using covered so it doesn't try out), roll it out on a floured surface. Keep both sides of the dough and your rolling pin lightly floured. Roll it out to be about as thick as you would see ravioli dough being. You can see that I can almost see my fingers through the dough, but you don't want it too thin (the pierogies will break) or too thick (the dough flavor will overpower your pierogies). It's sort of a learning process.

4. Using a raviloi/pierogie press (I bought mine at a kitchen store) or a large cup, press out circles in your dough.


5. If you are using the pierogie press, lay a circle onto the press and fill the center with filling. You don't want to overfill it, because that will cause the pierogie to break when you boil it. If you don't have a pierogie press, you can easily do this by hand. I go back and forth between how I like to make mine - I enjoy putting the time and effort into hand pressing these pierogies together, but using the press is faster and they tend to seal better. It's up to you.

6. As you press each pierogie together, lay them on a well floured baking pan. If you leave them on an unfloured surface for too long, the dough will stick and you will have a ruined pierogie. Sad!


7. You can freeze these immediately (see below for freezing instructions) or cook them up right away. Prepare a pot of boiling water, dunk 5-6 pierogies at a time and boil until they float.


8. To serve, lay them on a dish and slather in unsalted butter with a sprinkle of sugar! Sooo good. These remind me of summer afternoons visiting with my babcia in Poland.

9. To freeze: Arrange the pierogies on a floured baking sheet, as instructed above. Freeze in your freezer until they are solid. Transfer them to ziplock bags for up to 3 months - if you can practice enough self restraint not to eat these morning, noon and night!

Alternatives:
This dough recipe can be used for all flavors of pierogies. The Perogy Project features a recipe for Saskatoon berry filling (for you Canucks), or you can replace blueberries in my recipe above, meat fillings (such as beef, pork, chicken, turky), potato and cheese ("Ruske," my favorite!), sauerkraut and mushroom.. Oh yes, the possibilities go on.

Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - Recipes

Beignets Bourguignons . This recipe originates from the Burgundy region of France. Beignets are deep fried light fritters, served with a generous dusting of caster sugar. These little treats are best served hot and straight out of the fryer.

  • 175 gm. ( 6 oz. ) self-raising flour ( I used plain flour + 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder )
  • 50 gm. ( 2 oz. ) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. dark rum ( I used 1/4 tsp. vanilla essence )
  • 75 gm. ( 3 oz. ) unsalted butter
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Caster sugar, to sprinkle
  • Extra : Sweetened apple sauce, strawberry jam or chocolate sauce to serve
  • Mix the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Work in the eggs and add the rum ( or vanilla essence ).
  • Cream the butter and combine it with the batter to make a soft pastry.
  • Cover the bowl and leave the pastry to rest for about 2 hours.
  • Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface and cut it into diamond-shaped pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan to 190 C / 375 F or until a cube of bread turns brown in 30 seconds.
  • Fry the pieces a few at a time for 5 minutes until golden brown.
  • Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • Dust them with caster sugar and serve immediately, with a sweetened apple sauce, if desired. Serve hot.


Thank you for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the recipe.


All Things Provident

I got creative the other day and attempted biscuits without an oven. We were ready for something different for breakfast than what I had pre-baked and had in the freezer. I used my biscuit mix which I had all put together. You can find the recipe for this mix here.

I heated up the electric griddle to between 325-350 degrees. You don't want it too hot or the biscuits will burn. (I learned that with my first batch.) I spooned biscuit batter onto the griddle just like you do for drop biscuits on a baking sheet. (You could go to the work of rolling the dough out and using a biscuit cutter to give you perfectly round shapes, but I didn't want to deal with the added mess since I was baking in a makeshift kitchen in the basement.) Allow them to cook for 8-10 minutes before flipping to allow the bottoms to brown nicely. Flip over and mash slightly with the back of the spatula to make then all about an even thickness. Allow to cook anther 8-10 minutes to brown the other side and to allow the centers to be done.


The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - Recipes

This was the easiest birthday cake I think I've ever made. Really. only 5 ingredients! Couldn't get much easier than that! And everyone in my Oreo lovin' family raved about it!

AND, if you or your family or friends have a place in your heart for Oreos like we do, you can check out some of our other great Oreo recipes. Our most popular Oreo recipe is our Death by Oreo Cupcakes. OH BOY! The name says it all! But not to be outdone is the very wonderful Oreo Cake. This is a perfect traditional birthday cake (that incidentally the same kid #3 requested for a past birthday. I think he's our biggest Oreo fan!) Or. you can try your hand at our Homemade Oreos! They're delicious!!

Okay. my mouth is now watering!

Mix the reserved oreo crumbs with the whipped topping and spread over the top of the ice cream. Place in the freezer for at least an hour.

When ready to serve drizzle with leftover hot fudge sauce and coarsley chopped leftover oreos.


The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - Recipes

The next and last "kitchen drawers" post will be the sink side. Told you- there are lots of drawers for Jenny to look inside!

For more drawer organization and storage:
To see the drawers on the sink side click HERE
To see the drawers on the island click HERE

109 comments:

Love your house and I love seeing what's in your drawers.

Would love to see a posting on your countertop storage and decor. It is beautiful.
Kim

Love, Love, Love!! We've been kicking around the idea of a remodel for years, and I told Scott that drawers are the way to go. So much easier than digging around looking for something in the back of some cabinet, too deep, and too tall! So, now it's just figuring out what makes sense to spend, what will best fit the house, and realistically how long we're going to live with it. Is it a forever kitchen? A flip kitchen? A let's do what we need to do to sell it kitchen? Oh the joys of renovation, I know you know them oh too well! Love your kitchen Joan, and thanks for being brave enough to show us what's in your drawers! )

Artie, Exactly! It was during the move from the last house when I found all these things that had gotten shoved to the back of the cabinets that I became convinced that drawers were the way to go!

I LOVE you kitchen! There is not one thing I would change. The draw concept is an idea long over due.

Your posts are SO helpful as we are renovating our kitchen. I am curious about how you like working with the sink on one side of the kitchen and the stove on the other with the island in between. Thoughts? Thanks so much for sharing your brilliant ideas with us. Sandra

Sandra, the kitchen work triangle was important to me when designing the kitchen. While the island is between the range and the sink I shortened the island by several inches- it could have been at least a foot longer and would have been to scale to the space, but to make sure that it was indeed a triangle and the island was not an obstacle I had to constantly walk around to get from one to the other I shortened it. It's a difficult angle to show in photos, but the "triangle" is there and works very well with only a slight stepping around the end of the island. Hope that makes sense!

Perfect! I thought that must have been what you did but couldn't tell from the photo's. FYI - I have your pictures in my decorating file under "Perfect Kitchen". You did a wonderful job and I am so grateful that you have shared your journey with all of us.

I am impressed, as always, with your restraint in not cramming the drawers with numerous articles. Also, your stainless steel pots are so shiny--I always end up burning mine, giving them a "toned" look.

Oh Boy, that was fun! Thanks for sharing!

I know! Who woulda thought? Drawers!

I absolutely LOVED this post. Now I know I need to get my kitchen more organized. I am emailing you a shrimp and grits recipe that I think you will like. It's different and very good. I had a shrimp and grits dish at a seafood restaurant that had smoked gouda cheese which was delicious.

Got it Carolyn! Thank you, it looks wonderful. I think Ina has a recipe too, have you seen that one?

I love that you have all drawers. I have many so many good reviews of going that route and am planning that for our renovation. Your organization is amazing Joan! And your collection of All-Clad!

Ella must be a very neat drinker for you to use that wicker mat on those gorgeous hardwood floors. My Buddy isn't so neat so we have to use something with a rubber backing to protect our floors.

Too funny Rachel! She is, and I take that for granted) She has had some puppy friends over to viisi who did require wiping up after! She's really quite neat and tidy on all accounts, like on our walk today she walked 'around' a large patch of wet pavement- not a puddle just wet pavement (melting snow) instead of walking through it! She's funny that way.

This is the best!! You really live the mantra "If something is not useful or beautiful, it is clutter". Great post! Tina

I love the idea of all drawers, my least favorite cabinet in my house is the pots and pans cupboard, I have to get on my hands and knees to get to the back of the cupboard, trust me, it is not a pretty site!! Your kitchen is so well planned and thought out, love it.
Kathysue

I am so impressed! A well organized kitchen makes for such an efficient one and you are totally inspirational! Drawers definitely are a great way to not only "hide" things but serve as great storage. I love my big deep pot drawers. your kitchen is gorgeous!

This is great, Joan. This is right where I am in my kitchen design and I was planning to do all drawers. Can you tell me the dimensions of the large drawers? I would guess somewhere about 33 wide by 22 front to back. And then you have two drawers minus the kick plate, making the drawer fronts about 16 inches high is that about right?

Steve, the "interior" measurement of the large drawers are 26.5"w x 20" deep and the face is 15" ht.

I loved this post!! I always enjoy "peeking" into other people's drawers. umm. that didn't sound right. :) You know what I mean. Ha! I really do get so many great ideas from your blog. Thanks for sharing!

Here's THE best Shripm and Grits recipe from a Georgia Peach that's exiled to California. I make this recipe to remind me of home.

For the Grits:
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups heavy cream or half & half
¼ cup ( ½ stick) butter
1 cup stone ground grits (I can’t find them so I use polenta!)
½ cup grated parmesan
½ onion, chopped fine
2 ½ teaspoons salt
Several grinds of black pepper
For the Shrimp
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon regular mustard powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
A few grinds of black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
6 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
¾ cups chopped green onion, white, light green and a little dark green (I use the other half onion plus a couple of green onions)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (I use a can of Rotel for some zing!)
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 quarter of a large lemon
Finely chopped parsley for garnish
For the Grits:
In a deep-sided large pan (grits tend to spatter), stir the broth, cream and butter together over medium high heat until the butter is melted and it all comes to a low boil. Stir in the grits, onion, salt, and pepper and reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. The grits should be tender and the liquid absorbed. Stir in the cheese. You may add a bit more broth if needed. When cooked, the grits can be kept covered for an hour or so, then slowly reheated over low, stirring in a little broth.
For the Shrimp:
Mix together the paprika, mustard, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne. Pat the shrimp dry if necessary and place on plate. Sprinkle the spice mix liberally over both sides of the shrimp, turning over to get a good coating. Leave the shrimp in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
When the shrimp are ready, sauté the bacon pieces in a wide skillet over medium high until crispy. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels using a slotted spoon. Pour the bacon grease into a small bowl. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of grease back into the pan and heat over medium high. Sear the shrimp briefly – just a few seconds per side – to seal in the spice mixture. You do not want to cook the shrimp. Remove the shrimp to a plate (you can scoot the bacon to one side and use the same plate). Reduce the heat to medium and add more bacon grease to the pan so that you have about 4 Tablespoons, then drop in the green pepper and the green onion. Sauté until the pepper and green onion are soft. As they release some liquid, you can scrape the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
While the vegetables are cooking, drain most of the juice from the tomatoes into a measuring cup. You can just hold the top of the can askew and drain out what you can – no need to dirty a strainer. Add enough chicken broth to make one cup of liquid and set aside.
When the green vegetables are soft, add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are heated through and start to soften. Break up any large pieces. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat. There should not be any white flour visible. Pour in the broth and tomato liquid and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat a little and let the mixture bubble away until it is nice and thick, stirring to avoid scorching. Squeeze over a quarter of a lemon (making sure you’ve removed seeds) and stir. Add the shrimp to the sauce in the pan, cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. You can add a bit more broth if you like a saucier version.
Spoon the grits into shallow bowls and spoon over the shrimp and sauce. Sprinkle over the crispy bacon pieces and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Serves

Sarah, you sweet Georgia peach! Yum!! This sounds amazing! Smoked paprika, cayenne, a can of Rotel and bacon. Perfection in my book! Thank you SO much for sending, I really appreciate it,

Joan you are a fount of information and inspiration - as usual! I continually toy with the idea of an all drawer kitchen in my next home but I get stuck when it comes to things like baking sheets/pans, trays and other shallow dishes being stacked. I want them standing on edge (long or short doesn't matter to me) and separated with some vertical dowels. Do you find it inconvenient to pull out the piece on the bottom or half way down the stack? Our Cajun is a neat-nik dog, too. He walks around puddles and tiptoes through wet grass! Fresh snow is another story - he loves to romp in it, but only fresh snow!

Deb- click on "here" in the first sentence of this post and it will take you to the first post where you'll see my baking sheet/pans, trays cabinet. Even in all-drawers kitchen you can still have a cabinet or two) Sounds like Ella and Cajun (love the name) would be best buds- she loves the snow too!


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The Food Almanac: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - Recipes

Truly healthy! Very appetizing dish dear. )

I always admire your pictures.so yummy picture.

Healthy soup and lovely color.

very appealing clicks n i too not fan for the soups.. but its make me tempting aks.

Healthy and delicious soup.

really nice and comforting soup

Cute clicks and a lovely soup :)

Looks tempting and inviting !

looks tempting and healthy

soup looks creamy and delicious..

Healthy n comforting soup.

Love this kind of smooth and filling soup, can have it even everyday.

Delicious and colorful carrot soup.

looks creamy and delicious. love the color and looks healthy.

creamy and healthy soup.. like its color..

healthy soup and nice color

Vanakkam (Greetings) and Welcome to Divya's Culinary Journey. Thank you for visiting my space. I appreciate the time you spent browsing my recipes. I would love to receive your comments, feedbacks, inputs and any suggestion to improve the blog.
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Hope you found what you are looking for and please visit again for more recipes and latest updates.
Thank you once again !!


From Bangladesh to a food truck in Stonington, culinary journey continues with Mystic Royal Restaurant

Published April 20. 2021 7:30PM

By Erica Moser Day staff writer

As a business reporter, I write about small businesses opening and closing, manufacturing, food and drink, labor issues and economic data. I particularly love writing about the impact of state and federal policy on local businesses. I also do some education reporting, covering colleges in southeastern Connecticut and regional K-12 issues.

As a business reporter, I write about small businesses opening and closing, manufacturing, food and drink, labor issues and economic data. I particularly love writing about the impact of state and federal policy on local businesses. I also do some education reporting, covering colleges in southeastern Connecticut and regional K-12 issues.

Mystic — The story of Mystic Royal Restaurant opening earlier this month is one that involves winning the visa lottery, a family history of cooking, a food truck, inspiration from Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay, and a lot of herbs.

Stonington couple Sheuli and Abir Solaiman, who immigrated from Bangladesh to the United States more than a decade ago, opened their international Halal fusion restaurant at 35 Williams Ave., across the street from Sea Swirl.

Sheuli Solaiman, who has been operating the SPICY Fusion food truck, said her goal with Mystic Royal is to introduce people to more herbs and spices. She defined fusion cuisine by saying they "take authentic recipes, then we change it our way."

The signature dishes on the menu are Wedding Chicken Roast, Wedding Beef Rejala, Mint Lamb Curry and Native Style Bangkok Shrimp. She said her mother also works at Mystic Royal and is particularly good at making the Wedding Beef Rejala, which is beef marinated with 16 types of herbs and spices, yogurt and pepper, and then cooked for three to five hours.

Another popular dish is the Chicken Korma, which, like the Wedding Chicken Roast, features saffron milk, garam masala and ghee, which is clarified butter. Other options include kabobs, curries, fried rice, wraps and bibimbap, a Korean rice bowl.

Customers can call Mystic Royal to place an order for takeout, or get delivery through Doordash, Grubhub or Uber Eats. Mystic Royal is primarily takeout, with just eight seats inside, but Sheuli is still decorating and would like to add outdoor seating.

Drawing inspiration from Bangladesh and the Food Network

For the Solaimans, both in their 30s, immigrating to the U.S. in 2009 was literally winning the lottery.

Sheuli said she had applied to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which issues 50,000 visas a year to immigrants from what the U.S. Department of State defines as "countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States."

"I was the lucky girl," she said. And she didn't believe it at first: Until she got a second letter, she thought it might be fraud.

Bangladesh became ineligible to participate in the program in 2012, because it sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the previous five years. The U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh warns, "Beware of Diversity Immigrant Visa Scammers!"

Sheuli was unmarried when she applied but married to Abir by the time she was selected, and they were both able to immigrate. Her joke is that this is their honeymoon and it just never ended. They now have two kids, ages 8 and 5.

Sheuli said they first moved to New York City, where she worked in her uncle's restaurant. Faced with a high cost of living, the Solaimans left for Connecticut after a few months, and they began working at a Shell gas station in Stonington.

Sheuli started watching Food Network at night and was inspired by Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and Gordon Ramsey — and The Great Food Truck Race. She got her ServSafe certification and took some classes.

She started the SPICY Fusion food truck in 2013 and said the first two years were rough, but she got help from Ebbie and Adam Young. Ebbie Young had been the tasting room manager and events coordinator at Stonington Vineyards before leaving about a year ago to focus on the burgeoning family business, which now includes Sift Bake Shop, Mix Rooftop & Bar and Young Buns Doughnuts.

Young said that when she started doing events in 2014, she saw the desire for food trucks at the vineyard, and Sheuli was a hard worker who was "always on time, serving up great food."

"It was a great amenity to have for us, because she delivers some really unique, delicious food that you really can't find a lot of places, so it was something special you could find at the vineyard," Young said. She also commented, "She's the kind of person you just want to see be a success."

In the past few years, Sheuli also started taking SPICY Fusion to Preston Ridge Vineyard and then Saltwater Farm Vineyard.

Sheuli would like to open the food truck for the season in addition to the restaurant but said she has already canceled an event because she has been unable to find employees, a problem that is widespread in the food industry. Further in the future, her goal is to expand Mystic Royal into Groton and Westerly.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tomatillo Ranch Burritos from the Food Nanny!


Chicken Burritos With Salsa Verde and Lime
(from thefoodnannyblog.com)

BURRITOS:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained
Santa Fe Lime Rice (recipe to follow)
6 burrito sizes flour tortillas
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese or Monterey Jack

SAUCE:
1 cup bottled salsa verde
1 (0.4 oz) packet buttermilk dressing mix (ranch)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp coarse salt
1 TBLS fresh limejuice
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ cup sugar
Dash Tabasco (optional)

1. Prepare the rice and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, grill (or broil) the chicken breasts over medium heat, until tender and no longer pink. Shred the chicken with two forks and season with salt and pepper.
3. To make the sauce, put all the sauce ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Heat the sauce in a saucepan or the microwave.
4. Heat the black beans in a saucepan or the microwave
5. To assemble burritos: Divide the chicken among the tortillas. Add a scoop of rice and a scoop of beans to each one. Fold up the bottom third of one tortilla over the filling, fold in the sides, and then fold down the top. Repeat for the remaining tortilla’s
6. Preheat the broiler to low and adjust the oven rack to about 6 inches from the heat. Place the filled burritos seam side down in a broiler pan, or oblong metal pan, and pour the sauce over all. Sprinkle with cheese.
7. Place the pan under the broiler, watch closely and broil until the sauce is bubbly, just a few minutes.

Variations: As an alternative to broiling, bake the burritos, topped with sauce and cheese, in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly. Or simply serve the filled burritos on a platter and pass the heated sauce and the cheese in separate bowls.

1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
¼ tsp salt
Juice of ½ lime
2 TBLS butter
2 TBLS chopped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp ground cumin

Combine the rice, broth, and slat in a large saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to simmer and add the lime juice, butter, cilantro, and cumin. Stir, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender.

These are delectable! I love how easy the dressing is to make, how it tastes just like the famous Cafe Rio Cilantro Creamy Dressing, but uses bottled green sauce. I like how it's on top of the burritos too, instead of just plain enchilada sauce.