“Where shall we eat?” “What should we have?” “I think I’ll have my usual.” Does that sound familiar? It should because those very words are spoken countless times at countless mealtimes across the land. We have our favorites. We know what we like and, maybe, more importantly, we know what we don’t like. That’s fine, as far as it goes. However, Gildshire Magazines’ Food and Nutrition entity has a few cogent questions to ask. Where is your sense of adventure? When is the last time you discovered something new to eat? Don’t you remember how great that was? As we approach the dawning of a new year, allow us a suggestion. Sample foods you haven’t tried before. You might find something new and pleasing to your palate.
“What if I don’t like it?” So a meal is blown. Don’t worry, because there’s another one coming up in a few hours. What do you have to lose? These are the foods Gildshire suggests as you embark on the great adventure known as 2018.
Chislic: We’re going to start with an easy one. You may have already tried this, but without knowing it’s actual name. A regional favorite of the upper Midwest (particularly South Dakota) it’s just deep-fried chunks of sirloin sprinkled with seasoning salt. See, that wasn’t so bad. Let’s try another new food.
Uni Toast: “Uni” is the Japanese name for sea urchin. It has a firm texture and is normally served raw. Bite into it and discover that it’s smooth and creamy with a sweet, slightly briny flavor. Fans of uni like to mix a little into butter and have it on warm sourdough toast. On a somewhat related note…
Shrimp Compound Butter: This is one you can make at home, though some steakhouses serve it as a beef rub. Soften butter with the paddle attachment to a stand mixer. Add pureed shrimp and the juice of one lemon. (Garlic lovers are welcome to exchange some of their favorite for the lemon juice.) Continue combining until fully mixed. Spread out a large (12-inch or bigger) square of plastic wrap across your work surface, then scoop the mixed butter onto the plastic. Roll the butter into a cylinder inside the plastic wrap. Freeze or chill, depending on when you intend to use it.
Beef Cheeks: These are exactly what you would expect them to be. They are delicious if prepared properly. You see, the facial muscles of the bovine species are, from birth, almost constantly in motion. The resulting connective tissue is tough. However, when cooked low and slow (like all good meat should be cooked) the result is yummy and tender goodness. Amazingly versatile, beef cheeks are good in ravioli, served up braised, or offered up with the next of our foods you should try.
Creamed Swedes: You may have tried this one by a different name. Known in Scotland as “neeps,” and elsewhere as yellow turnips, most Americans know them as rutabaga. Paired with beef cheeks they make up a hearty meal on a cold winter’s night. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until tender (25-30 minutes). Drain well and pulse in a food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan, add heavy cream and stir over medium heat until thick. They should come out with approximately the same consistency as slightly thin mashed potatoes.
Tempura Fried Bacon: Yeah, we thought you would like this one. Brown 12 strips of bacon, but make sure they are still pliable. Pour canola oil into a heavy medium pot to a depth of 2″ and warm over medium heat until temperature registers 375° on a candy thermometer. While the oil is heating, whisk two egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of 1.5 cups flour, then one-quarter of the club soda, into the whites, folding thoroughly after each addition until batter is smooth. Working in batches, dip bacon into the batter, then deep-fry, turning once, until bacon is golden brown and crisp, about 6 minutes per batch. Drain on a wire rack. Serve immediately. This is a staple of John Howie Steak, in Seattle.
Do these sound like foods you should try? Are they foods you would try if someone else tried them, as well? Make 2018 the year you branch out when it comes to food. You will enjoy the experience and add to your favorites’ list. We guarantee it. Bon appetit’, friends.