FOOD ON FILM
Learn about world beyond apples and oranges in ‘Fruit Hunters’
Think the notoriously stinky durian is exotic? Just wait until you see the dozens of even more obscure but beloved fruit in the new-to-DVD documentary “The Fruit Hunters.”
The movie, directed by Yung Chang and inspired by the 2008 book of the same name by Adam Leith Gollner, explores the vast world of fruit that exists outside the apples, bananas, peaches and plums you’ll find in the grocery store: Varieties of mangoes so rare that they sell for hundreds of dollars a pound at a fruit auction, so-called miracle berries that temporarily alter the way your taste buds work, a tree legume whose white fluffy pulp tastes like ice cream.
In both the book and the film, you’ll learn just how far fruit epicures will go to taste an endangered specimen or even cultivate their buds to preserve in a carefully tended orchard. One such activist is none other than actor Bill Pullman, who is not in the book but whose attempt to create a community orchard in his Los Angeles neighborhood is featured prominently in the documentary.
The book, which came out in paperback in June (Scribner, $16) goes into far more detail about the science of why humans go to such lengths for a bite of something sweet and how some species of fruit have evolved to rely on humans for survival. The film, which came out on DVD a few weeks ago and is available for rent on iTunes and Amazon, is a shorter yet still fascinating look into a quadrant of our diet that many of us take for granted.
Local chefs, bloggers featured on national co-op website
Even though Wheatsville Food Co-op remains our lone cooperatively owned grocery store, Austin’s co-op business community is thriving.
So is its culinary community, which is one of the reasons the National Cooperative Grocers Association tapped a number of local chefs, bloggers and food professionals to create dozens of how-to cooking videos for its website StrongerTogether.coop.
If you go to the website or its YouTube channel, you’ll see lots of familiar faces, including Uchi’s Philip Speer, Hilah Johnson of HilahCooking.com, Shef’s Kitchen blogger Shefaly Ravula, Justine’s Brasserie chef Casey Wilcox, Johnny Livesay and Charlie Wilson of Black Star Co-op, Dana Tomlin of Wheatsville, Christy Morgan of TheBlissfulChef.com, and Fresh Off the Truck co-owner Tova Ng.
The videos are produced by Arts+Labor, a local production company that has worked on several food-related projects in recent years for clients such as the Cooking Channel.
Another feature of the grocer association website are hundreds of recipes, like this Miso-Glazed Salmon from Ng, which you can sort by season, ingredient, meal or even the cost of ingredients.
1 wild caught salmon fillet (about 6 ounces)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 green onion, sliced
2 tsp. white sesame seeds, toasted
1 cup cooked rice (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together ginger, garlic, white miso, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with oil and lay salmon in dish skin side down. Brush marinade evenly over salmon and let marinate in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes per inch (thickness) of fish, basting with remaining miso marinade if desired. Salmon is done when it can be easily flaked with a fork. Serve atop a bed of rice and garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds. May also be served with ginger beurre blanc sauce.
— Recipe from Tova Ng on StrongerTogether.coop
Hatch chiles are back! It’s time again for the annual festivals at Central Market and Whole Foods, grocers that go to great lengths every August to celebrate the famed New Mexico chile. Starting Wednesday through Aug. 20 at both Central Markets, you’ll find raw and freshly roasted chiles and dozens of Hatch chile products available for sale, as well as cooking demos and the annual recipe contest. The Central Market Cooking School on North Lamar Boulevard will host a handful of Hatch cooking classes starting this week. At local Whole Foods Market stores, employees will be roasting the peppers in front of the stores, and inside customers can sample some of the dozens of prepared foods made with the famous chile, including pesto, mac and cheese, chicken salad and a smoked salmon spread.
How to make chorizo con queso (just don’t forget to buy the chips)
It might only be August, but official football season is close enough to start whipping up batches of party food for your preseason watch parties.
Kiolbassa Provision Company, the San Antonio-based sausage company that the Kiolbassa family started in 1949 and that donates hundreds of pounds of product a year to Austin nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity and the University United Methodist Church, has recently expanded its online recipe database, which includes quick and easy recipes like this chorizo con queso. If chorizo is too spicy, you could replace with half a pound of ground beef or turkey.
1/2 lb. chorizo, casings removed
1 1/2 cups milk
6 cups shredded Monterrey Jack or mozzarella cheese
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
Fully cook chorizo in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Remove cooked chorizo and place on paper towel-lined plate to drain. Wipe saucepan clean with a paper towel, return pan to medium low heat. Add milk and slowly whisk in cheese until sauce is thick, about five minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and cooked chorizo. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro. If queso is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
— From Kiolbassa Provision Company, kiolbassa.com