Cooking With Kyle
RESTAURANT WEEK kicked off by sandwich invitational
Simple, easy, delicious by james kyle snyder Sometimes the best part of cooking is making ingredients for the future. Summer provides tons of opportunities to get into the garden or to the farmer’s market and save the seasons delicious treats. Food preservation techniques have existed almost as long as we have been growing our own food. The goal is to kill, remove, or make the food unavailable to: molds, bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and other microorganisms. Salt packing, drying, freezing, and canning or pickling have been time-tested ways to make
today’s food available in the future. For this article we are going to focus on canning and pickling. Canning is a process, which involves preparing the food and placing it into small containers. These are then filled with a boiling brine solution. Depending on how long the food is going to be preserved determines whether or not it can be closed up at this point or if it needs to be processed further by either a hot water bath for five minutes or a pressure cooker. Canning is a world of cooking all to its own. We are not going to dive deep into the subject. We are just going to pick some fresh jalapenos and get them into the jar. For the basic pickling brine mix: 1 cup white distilled vinegar (5% acidity), 1 couple water, and 1 TBS of kosher salt (simple right?). There are 1 million recipes out there for people’s favorite pickles and tricks to change the flavor of the vegetables they are canning. For jalapenos that are going to overwinter: I tightly pack the jars with ¼ inch jalapenos rings, within 3/8 inches of the top, pressing the fruit firmly into the jar with a wooden dowel, fill the jar with simmering pickling brine, loosely place the sterilized lid and
ring on the jar, and place the semi-sealed jar in a larger pot of boiling water covering the jar. Once the water comes back to a boil, start a five-minute timer. At the buzzer, remove the jars carefully and tighten the rings completely. Over the next few minutes you will hear the very familiar popping sound of the lids sealing. It is essential to make sure that all the lids are sealed tightly on the jars that you put away for the future. If one has not sealed, eat it for dinner. I have personally enjoyed jalapenos three seasons old. Please do your own research for storage times.
This process can be done for spicy green beans, curried vegetables, dill and garlic pickles, there are no rules! A Basic Pickling Spice might contain 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp celery seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, and1/2 tsp whole allspice. A Dilly Garlicky Pickling Spice could be made up of 2 tsp dill seeds, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, and 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced. Hot ‘n Spicy Pickling Spice might contain1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, 1 tsp brown mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. To Curry Pickles mix 1 tsp curry powder, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp whole allspice, 3 inches of lemon grass minced, and 3/4 inch fresh ginger root minced. For any of these, simply blend the spices together well and add ¼ to ½ tsp to the bottom of the jar before you introduce the vegetables. If you wanted sweet, add sugar to the basic brine. It is a blast eating your own pickles and sharing them with your friends! You will seem like an alchemist of old. Simple easy and delicious! Be well!
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Donut sandwiches, anyone? How about peanut butter and jelly popcorn? The heat was on in this year’s Sandwich Invitational. The event took place downtown in Hurkamp Park on Thursday, July 30, 2015, and tickets were a hot item during the final weeks of July. This was to be expected with only 300 available to the public. Proceeds benefited the Fredericksburg VA Mainstreet Initiative. Lucky ticket holders were treated to sandwiches, snacks, and beverages from seventeen local restaurants, including: Cork and Table, Deutschland Downtown, Eileen’s Bakery and Café, FoodE, Happy Clam, J. Brian’s Tap Room, Kenmore Inn, Mason Dixon Café, Sunken Well Tavern, 25 30 Espresso, Agora Downtown, Capital Ale House, Jus Pop’n, Kickshaw’s Downtown Market, Paul’s Bakery, Sprelly, and Spencer Devon Brewing, who also Justin Cunningham of Spencer Devon, Steve offered beer for an additional fee. Cameli of Sunken Well, Jim Fallon of Cork and Karen Jonas entertained the crowd as Table, and Caroline Gipson of Jus' Poppin' (L-R R) they voted for their favorite sandwich. This year's contestants exuded a much exposure as possible and be a part of this community event.” playful competitiveness. Steve Cameli of Spencer Devon Brewery was also Sunken Well Tavern said they were in it to win it. The folks at Sunken Well got a new to the competition, and Chef Justin Cunningham gazed with pride on his taste of victory in last year’s Food Fight in braised beef sandwich topped with pickled support of the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, and Cameli red cabbage and barbecue sauce made of says their aim was to to claim the title of IPA, sriracha, and honey. Spencer Devon Brewery uses locally sourced foods and Sandwich King on July 30th. He and business partner Paul Stoddard credit has come up with some creative ways to limit waste from their vats, like drying chefs Alan Marsh and Stoney Pickett for designing some of the most innovative and grains after brewing and providing it to fresh dishes in Fredericksburg. Before the the farms where they buy their pork. event, Cameli admired the camaraderie Before the competition, Cunningham born of healthy competition between local grinned and said it was all about the ego: dining establishments, saying, “We have “I get to show off my skills and win this some great restaurants out there that thing.” There were a few unconventional cause us to push ourselves to be better.” participants in this year’s Invitational, Capital Ale House’s plans for Jus’ Poppin’, downtown competition were almost derailed when including their roof collapsed in late June, but the Fredericksburg’s latest flavored popcorn staff rallied and local restaurants came to store located in the Shops at 810 on Caroline Street. With a grand opening their aid, allowing them to proceed. Linzy Browne handles marketing for the only two weeks prior to the event, owner Caroline Gipson jumped right into the restaurant and says chefs Sean Duffy and Aaron Horner gave back to the community community by creating popcorn flavors to by using locally produced goods: “Meat fit with the theme of the day – think ham will come from Olde Towne Butcher, bread and cheese, buffalo ranch chicken, and the from Paul’s Bakery, and vegetables from aforementioned peanut butter and jelly. The Summer Invitational kicked local farms." Their sandwich was called off Summer Restaurant Week wherein ‘No Roof, No Problem.' many additional area restaurants Jim Fallon of Cork and Table was A a newcomer to this year’s rivalry. With a participate with 2 for $20 deals. menu focused on wine and meal pairings, complete listing of this year's menues and are provided at he says that dining at Cork and Table is winners www.VisitFred.com . often an educational experience for customers. Fallon hopes that Fredericksburg continues to develop its artisan food movement and believes the town offers a unique atmosphere. Prior to the Invitational he said, “I hope to get as
A.E. Bayne is a writer, visual artist, and an editor of the Fredericksburg Literary Review.
WELCOME TO OUR GREAT OUTDOORS It’s Beautiful ~ Night and Day!
The Soup & Taco, Etc.
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We’ve all done it. Every year, we solemnly vow to be more health conscious, to feel better, to get more exercise, and to pay attention to what we’re putting into our bodies. We know it’s the right thing to do, and we glow with pride as we extol our resolve to our friends. Then the work of doing it sets in – the daily tracking of food, slogging to the gym at zero-darkwhatever, and the limits! The limits to our easy-going, carefree, eat-whatever-the-hell-we-want lives. Being healthy can feel like a real buzz-kill; however, there are those among us who have discovered a way to have it all. People like Stefanie Root, a guru of gastronomy, who has found that healthy living not only enhances one’s life experiences, but can be easier and less costly than the life we thought we relished. Root says she and her fiancé, Matthew Sullivan, are health conscious, and their meal choices reflect it. She has always enjoyed cooking and baking, but as an educator and assistant principal in Stafford County her schedule made daily meal preparation a chore. It was not until she began researching and talking with her sister, Stacie Root, about preparing bulk meals that the idea became reality. The process has only improved with time. As an initial suggestion, Root says it’s important to determine the meals you will enjoy, while keeping in mind a healthy balance of nutrients. She plans her meals with Stacie during the week prior to preparation. Then she chooses a day on the weekend to prep the three or four meals she will make. Root explains, “I start with a lean protein like flank steak, a white fish called swai, salmon, rock fish, chicken breast, and sometimes a treat like pork tenderloin or meatloaf. Then we’ll do a complex carbohydrate like brown rice or sweet potato, and then a vegetable. Anything that’s water based doesn’t freeze well, such as summer squash and white potatoes. Vegetables that we have found to freeze well are broccoli, green beans, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, peas, corn, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash, which we pair with brown rice. Black beans and rice is also a favorite side.” While initial costs vary with the type of freezer storage containers one uses, Root says the weekly meal budget on such a plan is significantly lower than what you would pay to purchase lunch from a vendor. She buys enough for five
to six servings from each meal, and often ends up with 20 – 30 freezer meals that carry them through one to two weeks. Root estimates the prices for a typical rotation of meals as follows: Meal #1: salmon, black beans and rice, and green beans – $3.42 per meal Meal #2: flank steak, brown rice with butternut squash, and roasted asparagus $2.85 per meal Meal #3: swai, roasted sweet potatoes, and broccoli - $2.17 per meal Root says the other meals that she and Matthew eat are much smaller, but she has a few tips where these are concerned as well: “We meal prep breakfasts, too. I’ll make breakfast sandwiches with English muffins with a protein, or we’ll eat breakfast burritos or egg scrambles. I enjoy baking, so we will eat our sweets, like muffins or cakes, in the morning to burn them off during the day. We try to keep dinners lighter, maybe a salad and some grilled protein. Lunches are our heaviest meals.” So, now you are probably thinking that meal preparation might not be so bad, but where should you start? Root keeps a blog of some of her meal plans, https://neateatsandsweettreats.wor dpress.com/, and she posts her meals to Instagram @ rootsm. Follow her for more ideas, and start planning your favorite meals today.
A.E. Bayne is a writer, visual artist, and an editor of the Fredericksburg Literary Review. She has been writing about local good news for Front Porch for the past four years.
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