Food (37)

Stories Through Food: An LB Kitchen Love Story

I’m a sucker for a good love story. I get all weepy when I’m alone with a novel and love wins out over evil. I watch young couples embrace at the cinema and imagine a lifetime love affair that has only just begun. When I see an elderly man tenderly kissing his wife of 60 years, my faith in humankind is restored. And when I stumble upon a love affair unexpectedly, I can’t help but…

Unexpected lessons from Japan at Izakaya Minato

Can we still learn new things from Japan? Time could be running out – what with a White House eagerly awaiting the Event-that-will-change-political-narratives and justify a defense-heavy budget. An escalation of tensions with North Korea could do the trick, with Tokyo (and Seoul) bearing most of the risk if missiles fly and armies move.   But we have already squeezed Japan for so much knowledge: The once-challenging bright and clean flavors of sushi are now…

Keeping Mainers in Maine at the Fyood Kitchen

Fortunately for us, more and more food entrepreneurs are choosing Maine to start up their companies.   Maddie Purcell is the owner of Fyood Kitchen, an "Iron Chef-meets-Paint Nite for foodies" in Portland, Maine.   Although some would hesitate to involve themselves in this type of competition, one of biggest surprises for Maddie has been the level of competence she is seeing in the kitchen.   “Most people are better cooks than they think they…

Newly opened Mini Mogadishu offers authentic Somali cuisine

Somalis in the greater Portland area can get a taste of home at Mini Mogadishu, the new Forest Avenue restaurant that opened Saturday. It’s owned and operated by Nimo and Halimo Mohamud, spiritual sisters and pioneers in an ethnic fare usually served up by men. Al Huda, Fez Mediterranean, and Asmara offer Somali and the somewhat similar Eritrean food, as do several other markets dotted in between, but the tendency is that some can turn…

Melty, earthy, crunchy: Portland's Mexican cuisine is getting weird

By now we have learned that climate change (soon to accelerate) announces itself not with a steady warming but rather with a spate of weird weather events. As President Trump turns up the heat on Mexican immigrants and culture, we can expect analogously spasmodic developments. The signs are already emerging right here in Portland in the Mexican food scene. Just the last few months has seen El Rayo change locations, temporary closings for Ocho Burrito…

Classic fall rituals abound, including Pumpkinhead

As an early adopter of fall in North America, Maine has been busy with longstanding change-of-season rituals as varied as digging out stored ski gear, going to that same apple-picking orchard or closing camps and cottages; saying goodbyes to the Florida-bound neighbors without noting that 20-below keeps the riffraff out, and we shift not only fashion but food (bring on the root veggies!) and drink – those summer suds must finally give way to the…

Fall window for a favorite Mexican dish

On a recent Thursday I was delighted to find gorgeous poblano peppers at Andrew’s Farm stand at the Yarmouth Farmers’ Market. Shining with earthly energy, they reminded me something that a Mexican chef once taught me: September through November is the best time of year to cook chiles en nogada. It’s a Mexican classic: deep fried poblano chili peppers stuffed with pork, thyme, apple, and plantains, and topped with walnut cream sauce, fresh parsley, and…

Sampling pastel de choclo: Grinning ear to ear

Three Chileans taught me how to make their favorite dish from Santiago, Chile, called pastel de choclo.   Benjamin Sepulveda, a Chilean high school student on exchange at Casco Bay High School, admitted that this was the first time he was cooking the dish by himself. “I have watched my mother and grandmother do this a million times. It’s not something we cook alone, only with family.” Javiera Alvarez, a student on exchange at Freeport…

Freedom chicken

Parivash Rohani heard about Immigrant Kitchens from a friend and reached out to see if she could be involved. In her Portland home, she taught me how to make her favorite Iranian dish, called fesenjoon, which is chicken breast in a sweet and sour sauce. It’s like Persian bar-b-q sauce without the tomato base. Ground walnuts give the sauce body, richness, and a touch of bitterness. Pomegranate molasses adds dark red color and pungency. Fesenjoon…

The future looks like olden days at Tempo Dulu

After President Trump’s inauguration it is going to get tougher to find an authentic “ethnic” meal – especially Mexican, obviously, but cuisine from Muslim nations might also be hard to come by. Perhaps that is the price to pay for national greatness. If you love burritos so much, why don’t you marry one? Then it can be a citizen, like Melania. If we don’t love Indonesian food quite so much, that’s because we rarely try…
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