Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen chronicles the history and deliciousness of Native American cuisine...

Chef Sean Sherman's Cookbook The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen is one of the most unique culinary works of recent years.  Chef Sherman, who is of  a member of the Ogala Lakota tribe, focuses on utilizing indigenous ingredients as the core of these recipes. European staples such as wheat flour, dairy and sugar  are avoided in favor of duck, quail, wild turkey  and wildflowers. Some of his ingredients are familiar (Mustard Greens) others less so or not thought of typically as food (Dandelion, Knotweed and Mallow). Despite the somewhat esoteric nature of the material the recipes are easy to follow and require the basics with regard to kitchen tools.  The recipes found here are distinct such as Bison Tartare, Smoked Turkey and Acorn Soup, Griddled Maple Squash, and Sage and Rose-Hip Roasted Duck as well as Wild Rice Pilaf With Wild Mushrooms. In a crowded cookbook field it sometimes difficult to find something genuinely new and innovative even as it is ancient.  Chef Sherman's work here (which won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Book Award) is both eye opening and educational as he is preserving a way of cooking and even a way of life that he has shared with the public.

Photo credit Mette Nielsen

Wild Rice Pilaf with Wild Mushrooms, Roasted Chestnuts, and Dried Cranberries
Psíŋ na Čȟaŋnákpa na Úma Cȟeúŋpapi na Watȟókeča T’áǧa
Serves 4 to 6

Wild rice is a flavorful and remarkably satisfying food. The mushrooms add a dark, meaty flavor and texture, while the chestnuts are creamy (and high in protein). This meatless dish will appeal to omnivore and vegetarian alike. Cooked wild rice will keep several weeks in the refrigerator and for at least a year when frozen in a plastic freezer bag.

2 tablespoons sunflower or walnut oil
1 pound assorted mushrooms, cleaned
1 tablespoon chopped sage
½ cup chopped wild onion or shallots
½ cup Corn Stock or vegetable stock
2 cups cooked wild rice
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, peeled, chopped chestnuts*
1 tablespoon maple syrup to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon smoked salt to taste

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms, sage, and onion. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are nicely browned and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, wild rice, and cranberries and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Stir in the roasted chestnuts. Season with maple syrup and smoked salt to taste.

*To roast and peel chestnuts, use the sharp point of a small knife to score an X on the flat side of the chestnut and place on a baking sheet. Roast in a 350°F oven until the skins begin to peel back. The length of roasting time will depend on the freshness and size of the chestnuts and range from about 10 to 25 minutes. Remove, and when cool enough to handle, peel.

From The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
Copyright 2017 Ghost Dancer, LLC. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the University of Minnesota Press.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Matchbox in Maryland impresses with its atmosphere and offerings...

Lynn and I were out and around Washington, DC this past weekend and as usual we were intrigued to try some new eateries.  One of them, Matchbox is part of a local chain in and around DC. We went to the one in Rockville, Maryland where we had the mini-burgers, fried calamari and an exceptional house red wine from the Steele Winery in Lake County, California.  The interiors and exteriors were sleek and the outdoor seating was particularly pleasant on an early Summer afternoon.  The menu offerings were mostly basic fare (Burgers, Chicken, Filet Mingon(, but nicely prepared and plentiful in their portions.  The Wood Fired Pizza is the star performer here, however, with several interesting combinations including pork belly, jumbo lump crab and lobster sauce.  A nice atmosphere, helpful wait staff and a relaxed vibe raise Matchbox well above the usual cookie cutter chain restaurant.

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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