It’s Coq Au Vin…Just Smoked

Photo Credit: Old Fat Guy Facebook Page

How cool is this? Food blogger, David Farrell of Oldfatguy.ca, recently posted a different take on the French classic recipe for coq au vin. The usually braised chicken dish, flavored with wine, garlic, and herbs, is smoked in this variation of the recipe. The wine sauce is also omitted since it’s being smoked.

Smoke au Vin, as the blogger names the recipe, includes taking chicken parts and setting it in a marinade of red wine, dried thyme, dried rosemary overnight. Then the chicken parts are put in a dry rub for 30 minutes before going into the smoker. According to Farrell, the resulting skin is flavorful and the chicken’s flesh is moist. See the recipe ingredients below.

Ingredients
  • 1 to 1.5 kg (2 to 3 pounds) chicken pieces
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dry red wine
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) dried thyme
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) dried rosemary
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) dried rosemary
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) dried thyme
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) coarse pepper
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) Kosher salt

Read food blogger David Farrell’s recipe for Smoke Au Vin on OldFatGuy.ca.

Still Making Old-Fashioned Candy

Inside H.E. Williams Candy Company with MCCN Editor in Chief, Crystal Johnson.

America’s small business are really at the heart of communities, and when you have one that’s been around for over 100 years, you see the commitment of the people who, generation by generation, decide to keep the business there. Just because a business starts somewhere doesn’t mean it has to finish there. But it appears that H.E. Willams Candy Company plans to finish where they started way back in 1919.

Not as far back…it was in 2012 (before H.E. Williams Candy Company’s centennial occurred) when Multi Cultural Cooking Network Editor in Chief, Crystal Johnson, stopped by their location in the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake, VA. On that day she scored royally with an interview and tour with Gene Williams, the grandson of the founder of this third-generation family enterprise.

Williams generously walked her through the facility and explained the heritage of their candy factory. A great deal of the equipment they use, including the rollers, tables, and copper kettles, are the same equipment his grandfather used. It’s a lesson in quality products and craftsmanship if nothing else. But when you watch the video (above), you see such a pride in the way they’ve chosen not to automate much and keep the old candy-making ways going. Heritage and legacy have their importance.

H. E. Williams Candy Company is located in the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake, VA. Photo credit: Facebook Page.

For a bit of context, the editor, took our mother with her on this interview. My mother loves old-fashioned hard candy plus she is a coconut fanatic. So, if you know a little something about candy, you’ve probably figured out the equation. If not, here goes: hard candy + coconut – any other option = peach buds.

My mother had been buying her peach buds from this establishment for years and not just her…her mother too. Grandma Josephine lived just a few short walking blocks from the operation and with eight kids and then a booming bastion of grandkids, I’m sure my grandparents thought it best that they always have a few treats around the house.

Long story short, our family was personally touched by this confectioner’s candy company. it was a small cog in the backdrop of my life. As minor as it may seem, I could rest assured, at some point near Christmas, either a red box or one of their white boxes decoratively printed with Christmas wreaths, would show up under the tree. No doubt after a hundred plus years, the company continues to provide these kinds of memories for their customers especially those in the surrounding community.

As the holidays approach, candy still makes one of the sweetest gifts—pun intended. Try the H.E. Williams Candy Company’s much lauded Christmas Fancy Mix for your holiday party hosts; give the peach buds to your neighbor, or pull out the pineapple lumps for your coworkers. And whatever, you do, don’t forget yourself…get your favorite old-fashioned hard candy and give yourself the gift of nostalgia.

Find out more about H.E. Williams Candy Company, just check out their Facebook Page or contact them at 757-545-9311.

The Strong Legacy of the Moka Pot

In the mood for an espresso? You don’t have to run out to your nearest java joint, you can get the taste of an espresso at home with a Moka pot. A staple of Italian culture, the moka pot is a stovetop or electrical coffee pot, which brews coffee by passing boiling water—pressurized by steam—over ground coffee.

The moka pot is another culinary feat for the Italians. Italian engineer, Alfonso Bialetti, invented the Moka Express Coffeemaker in 1933. The popularity of the coffeemaker later spread throughout Europe and Latin America. In fact, the same model is produced today through Bialetti Industries. The moka pot is named after the city of Mocha in Yemen, which is home to the mocha coffee bean that is commonly used for espresso. 

Now let’s be clear; although it might taste like it, moka pot coffee is not actually considered espresso for a few reasons—most importantly because the pot’s boiling water is pressurized at 1-2 bars. The coffee which is brewed from this process is about 2-3 times stronger than regular drip coffee; however, when the coffee is brewed in an espresso machine, it’s 5-6 times stronger because the pressurization of the water is between 7-10 bars.

Believe it or not, there’s a whole wonky scale that’s super technical and includes factors like the amount of coffee used vs. brewing time. It really is a science unto itself but since we’re not in chemistry class and I’m not a teacher—or a coffee sommelier for that matter—we’ll just leave it there.. 

The Pot’s Design

Let’s talk about the iconic design of the moka pot. It is widely appreciated as a technological modern-day work of art. Most commonly constructed with aluminum or stainless steel, you have to admit, there’s a rustic sleekness to the design and a simple sultry quality to the drip. The result of the brew is a strong, able-bodied flavor that’s handsome and powerful to the taste. It’s an Idris Elba-Bond, a Godfather-Al Pacino in elegance and strength, yet more times than not it finishes with a bitter edge.

The Moka Express Coffeemaker was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933.

Moka pot coffee has an acquired taste but those who love it seem to really love it And it’s not a given that the coffee should be bitter. Check the quality of the bean—it should not be over-roasted. After all, your moka pot coffee should be an experience. It’s a shot in the arm, a jolt to human heartbeat. And although It may not put hair on your chest, occasionally check your chin ladies and gents. Check your chin.

Easy Peasy Tartufo Recipe

Italy has given us so much inspiration in life. Michelangelo, the Tower of Pisa, Italian ice…and if that wasn’t compelling enough. It has also given us a great little dessert called Tartufo.

The truffle shaped ice cream dessert originated in Pizzo, Calabria located in the southern region of Italy. Usually composed of two or more flavors of ice cream, the dessert encases a strawberry, raspberry or cherry. It can also be filled with fruit syrup or chocolate sauce.

The dessert was born out of the ingenuity of its creator, Giuiseppi De Maria, more commonly known as Don Pippo, When running low on molds to shape the ice cream being served to guests, Don Pippo formed the well-known truffle-sized ice cream in the middle of his hand. Once the fruit (or syrup/chocolate sauce) is inserted in the middle of the ice cream, it’s rolled in crumbled chocolate wafers then wrapped up in sugar paper then frozen.

Tartufos are great to make for an after-dinner dessert because it’s easy peasy! Just a few ingredient, a trifle of time spent in the kitchen and Ba-da-boom, you’re in business. See the ingredients and recipe instructions below.

Ingredients
  • 5-6 chocolate waffle cones (In the traditional Italian recipe, chocolate wafers are used instead)
  • 8 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 8 amaretto-soaked cherries (If you don’t want to use alcohol, there are non-alcoholic versions of amaretto)
  • 12 ounces prepared caramel sauce
  • 1/3 cup (40g) chopped walnuts

See the recipe instructions here.

Spice it Up: Five Spice Powder 五香粉

Do you ever look at a spice in the supermarket and wonder what it’s all about? In a day where information is at your fingertips and the biggest search engine is now a verb, you can just look it up in the middle of the grocery aisle. Well, five spice powder is one such spice that could probably use a little more context.

Five spice powder (also called Chinese five spice powder) is a combination of five or more spices predominately used in many forms of Chinese, Vietnamese and Taiwanese cuisine. As you might expect, a combination of spices adds more depth of flavor. The powder is typically used as a dry rub or marinade when roasting or braising meat or fish.

But never you mind vegans, five spice powder is also good for providing flavor to veggies and rice. Want a good reason to use your wok? Make a veggie stir-fry using the five spice powder. Carnivores can also get in on the stir-fry action with a beef or chicken and veggie stir-fry.

Last but not least, the portion of your meal that’s most likely to be voted “Let’s eat it first!” You guessed it…dessert. Sweet-tooths are not forgotten. Five spice powder can also assist in providing a little savory something to cakes and your other five star desserts.

Five Spice Powder Ingredients

So what spices are included in this mysterious blend? Well, there is no real mystery, the traditional spices include the following:

  • Star Anise is used in enhancing meat and is commonly used in the production of liquor.
  • Cloves are give aromatic flavor to hot beverages like Indian Spiced Milk. It also makes great marinades and it’s a standard garnish for that Easter/Christmas ham.
  • Chinese Cinnamon is also called Chinese Casala and is commonly used in pickling recipes, marinades and teas.
  • Sichuan Pepper has a citrus-like flavor employed for, both, culinary and medicinal purposes. The peppercorn is known to induce a tingling numbness in the mouth. It’s also available in Sichuan pepper infused oil for dipping sauces and salad dressing.
  • Fennel Seeds, which are contained in the fennel fruit, is very aromatic. It is utilized in many natural toothpastes and in many cultures, it’s used for its breath freshening properties. Fun fact: When candied, fennel fruit is often used as a comfit, which is a traditional baptism gift in many countries in Europe and the Middle East.

Five Spices ingredients: (l to r) Star Anise, Chinese Cinnamon, Cloves, Sichuan Pepper, Fennel Fruit (The fennel seed is contained in the fruit).

If you would like to make your own Five Spice Powder, get the measurements for the spices above at Epicurious.com.

Trellis House Seafood Stuffing

The Trellis House is located is Ogunquit, Maine. The bed and breakfast has been recognized multiple times as one of the best bed and breakfast in the United States.

Ingredients

4 sleeves Ritz crackers
1 stick butter
1 small onion finely chopped
2 celery stalks finely chopped
3/4 to 1 pound peeled and deveined Maine shrimp, whole or roughly chopped
3/4 to 1 pound sea scallops, whole or roughly chopped depending on size
3/4 to 1 pound haddock filet
alt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons Hellman’s Mayonnaise
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
lemon slices and paprika

For recipe instructions, click here.

See more recipes like this in our Recipe section!

You Should be Watching: Nadiya’s Time to Eat

Nadia Hussain’s Time to Eat is worth the watch.

Nadiya Hussain is a bright personality who popped on the scene in 2015 when she won The Great British Bake-Off. Since then, the British-born Bangladesh cook has been making the most of her fame with shows like The Chronicles of Nadiya, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, Nadiya”s Family Favourites and more. But if you are in the mood to Netflix and cook, you may find that her show, Nadiya’sTime to Eat, really is the one for you.

Nadiya’s Time to Eat is an easy watch and gives you loads of ideas how to save time in your kitchen. The show is a bit formulaic but not in an unwatchable way. It’s broken down into cooking segments then Hussain usually aids a kitchen-challenged someone to win their time back with simple recipe ideas and time hack methods they can sustain.

A huge plus is that the recipes are made so accessible. You’ll walk away with the “Yes I can!” mantra in your mind. After watching the first few episodes with Nadiya, I upped my kitchen cabinet game with a few extras I saw on the program. I even tried making the breakfast egg roll, which was AWESOME! I’ve made it several times since then.

Nadiya Hussain’s baking cookbook may be perfect for your collection or as a gift for someone else.

When it’s all said and done, Nadiya’s Time to Eat is just another Nadiya Hussain branded show. However, her brand…from personality, to diversity of image, to fun and accessible recipes…is such a breath of fresh air, it’s likely you’ll want to buy stock in it.

Don’t Sleep on the Fruitcake!

Photo by Monica Johnson

You know it’s the most wonderful time of the year when one of the most hated desserts hits the grocery stores and cake platters around the world. Fruitcake is just one of those desserts that is bound to show up during the holiday season. And on the bright side, for you fruitcake lovers, you don’t have to wait for the Christmas holiday to sample your savory treat. All you have to do is score an invite to a wedding in England and you’ll be sure to have a slice because fruitcake is England’s National wedding cake.

Now back to the U.S. and a rewind to my pigtail and acne days. I had a real familiarity with fruitcake because my grandfather used to make it and sell it to his faithful annual customers, which were largely members of his church. He had loads of fruitcake orders and they came in early and often. And when I say “they came in, “ I really mean they came into his house and requested the fruitcake. That southern hospitality and drop-in spirit is real…doors were open back then.

I still remember the pride he took in preparing his mother’s recipe. And as old as the recipe was, he followed it every single time finishing the presentation by putting the fruitcake in beautiful Christmas tins. Even though I didn’t love fruitcake, I really liked his. This gave me the understanding that all fruitcake is not created equal. So maybe don’t judge the cake by its dried or candied fruit. Try it; you may like it.

Here’s an easy cake recipe that promises to be moist and flavorful. See the ingredients and click on the recipe below.

Easy Cake Recipe (Fruitcake)

Easy Cake photo from Dessert Recipes Facebook page

INGREDIENTS
2 (8 ounce) containers candied cherries
1 (8 ounce) container candied mixed citrus peel
2 cups raisins
1 cup dried currants

See recipe on RecipesOnline,

Restaurant Delivery…Our Faithful Friend

Cafe Spice: Cockeysville MD

Since the great pandemic started, restaurant food delivery (and takeout) really has been a friend to those who are slightly, or maybe even unabashedly, kitchen-challenged. But don’t sleep because it also became a new found habit for those eager to make at least one of the family’s three squares into somebody else’s responsibility.

I have to admit that GrubHub took my order a few more times than I care to admit. After all, we wait on our restaurant delivery like we wait on the Amazon truck…full of hope that we’ve made the right choice and that it’s been handled correctly.

So to this end, it’s only right that we say, “Job well done!” Yes, the restaurant delivery industry did us a solid, so “Thank you and job well done” to those in the industrial kitchens around the nation making our meals and to those behind the wheel bringing those meals to us. Not since Meals on Wheels has delivery been this appreciated. In some cases, the service has been essential and in other cases it’s a luxury, which had the added bonus of keeping our country running in a time when life was slowed to a grinding halt.

Food Truck: Gypsy Queen

Baltimore, MD

Aren’t you glad you live in an era where food trucks are not just serving your everyday hotdogs and hamburgers but gourmet versions of anything under the sun? The Gypsy Queen Food Truck is one such example of excellence on wheels. In fact, the Gypsy Queen Truckstaurant was recently named Best Food Truck” in Baltimore Magazine’s Best of Readers Poll 2020.

We caught up with them a while ago at a food festival and since they were open to share, we asked about their menu offerings. By the way, I got the Korean BBQ wrap, that you’ll see in the video above. My tongue still remembers how amazing it was. When in Baltimore, seek them out…you wont regret it.

The crab cone is a patron favorite. (Photos are from Gypsy Queen Facebook page.)

Want to know more about Gypsy Queen Truckstaurant and Gypsy Queen Cafe? See their website for more info.