Insider Travel Tips To Boulder, Colorado

Spring break! No culinary class this week. We're in bustling Boulder, Colorado. The former scrappy gold miner's town is perched on the edge of the prairie--on the last flat space heading west--before the front range raises its snowy peaks to glower back towards the rolling hills of eastern Colorado,  Kansas, and Nebraska. Beginning in 1858, those eastern states disgorged straggly streams of covered wagons to mine the Rockies for ore. Boulder began as a supply town for miners; a place to stock up on provisions, visit a house of ill repute and throw back a few shots of whiskey in one of the saloons. When I grew up in Boulder, it was a cow town where my friends went home to feed chickens and chase heifers into barns. In the 60's, the town was hit broadside with an influx of hippies who brought love-ins, drugs, organic food, anti-war demonstrations, and civil rights marches. As a young child, I held hands in the demonstrations and marches with my parents and stared wide-eyed at the flower children tripping on acid and stripping naked in city parks. It was a tumultuous time, especially in Boulder due to the sudden clash of cultures. Gradually, the town assimilated the hippies, absorbed and changed them as they grew into adults, turned them into environmental activists and owners of natural food venues and sports equipment and apparel companies.
In the last twenty years, Boulder has been gentrified and latte-fied with immigrants from California and New York who brought their wealth and their cowboy aspirations. They didn't want to get their Ariats actually soiled by manure, instead they built mansions with neatly fenced pastures for their thoroughbreds to be managed by ranch hands, and decorated their ample square footage with Fountain Formation flagstone and distressed timber. Boulder is a fun place to visit, close enough to drive to world class skiing, hiking and backpacking, filled with good restaurants, laced with bike trails and abuzz with the cultural and artistic events and nightlife of a college town. It's a brainy city, one of the top aerospace centers in the country and judged "Most Educated City In America" by Forbes magazine. It's liberal (nickname: The People's Republic of Boulder), home to the Buddhist Naropa Institute and a thriving community of Tibetan refugees.
If you travel to Boulder, here are some insider travel tips:
-first, a map of downtown

-For lunch and for a close view of the Flatirons and a nice stroll after a good meal: Chautauqua
-For breakfast or dinner: delicious Creole cooking and fluffy buttermilk biscuits: Lucile's 
-Fine dining in Boulder's most historic hotel (at least go and take a look inside): Q's at the Boulderado
-Nice owners of Indian restaurant at the foot of Baseline: Taj Indian food
-Not fancy,  just the best homemade egg pasta noodles anywhere: the Gondolier
-An absolute must-see, an authentic teahouse shipped from Tajikistan with gourmet teas and nice meals: The Dushanbe Teahouse We had butternut squash and ricotta ravioli in sage sauce and roasted acorn squash stuffed with cous cous, garbanzo beans, carrots, walnuts, roasted eggplant, and golden raisins, served with a lemon mint vinaigrette--highly recommended!
-For a stroll, go to the City Library, have a latte and take the walking path along Boulder Creek--sometimes you see trout.
-If you have a day, drive to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, about 1 hour drive (40 miles up sinuous Big Thompson Canyon) to see herds of elk, beaver dams, maybe bears and breathe the thin, fresh mountain air.

Three small-lot, award-winning Napa Cabs, including the Corley "State Lane" which Wine Enthusiast rated 93 Points...read more!
And, Touring & Tasting has wine club sign-up incentives, like 1/2 off the first month's shipment and a free Italian-made wine tote...read about it here!


Eat your books!

The Edible Book contest was held today! From the SBCC website: "...the second annual “SBCC Edible Books Festival” competition on Wednesday, March 24 in the library. This international festival is held annually around April 1, the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book Physiologie du goût, a witty meditation on food. The event is a way to have fun celebrating our love of books and to reflect on our attachment to food and in our culture. All SBCC faculty, staff and students are eligible to enter. Just create something EDIBLE that 1) Looks like a book or 2) Acts like a book or 3) Is a pun on a book."
There were many, many wonderful entries. My favorites:

Best In Show Winner!
"The Jungle Book"
cake created by Pegeen Soutar

"Banana Karenina"
--Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

--novel, Peter Benchley

"War and Peeps" made from Easter chick Peeps
--"War and Peace", Leo Tolstoy

"Oh, The Places You'll Go"
--Dr. Seuss

There were so many more...an intricate cake for "Jungle Book", "Lord of the [Onion] Rings", "Out Of Africa" with an enormous cookie shaped like the continent with exit routes, a beautiful fondant "Mad Hatter" cake and a silver punchbowl with [blood] red punch surrounded by the mists of dry ice for "In Cold Blood". View the winning entries...See the 2009 entries..
Mine was a book of wonton sheets, covered with nori and bound with Chinese pea pod stems with the following tasty tidbits of "Edible Haiku":

*note: Dr. D. is our Food Safety class professor, teaching us to stay out of the kitchen when we're sick!

Pea pods crisp and green,
The bush bending from the weight.
Crunch, crunch, eat them up!

Mince, mash, julienne--
So many ways to cook food.
What a lot of pots!

Aspiring cooks wait,
Will the souffle fall?
Chefs' dreams float on air.

Sneezing and coughing,
A student still goes to class.
Doctor D. hates this.

Recipes and words,
Feed your hunger for knowledge:
The edible books.


Cheddar Cheese Crust:
*use the recipe from 2/11/10 post. To roll out the dough, put the dough ball on a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a circle larger than your pie pan. You can invert the crust with the paper to put into the pie pan, pushing the dough into place, then peeling back the paper. Trim the crust to fit and save the dough  to make empanadas. Cover and store the pie crust in the refrigerator until ready to fill.


Cut the pointed ends of the artichokes off and peel away any tough outer leaves. Quarter the artichokes. Slice the mushrooms. Spread the oil on the bottom of a frying pan, then add the artichokes, garlic, oregano and thyme and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes, the artichokes and mushrooms should be softened but not soft. Remove from heat to cool. Mix the eggs and half and half, then stir in the Gruyere, salt, pepper and artichoke mixture. Pour into the unbaked pie crust and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for around 45 minutes until the eggs are set and the crust is golden brown. Serve with a spinach salad and the 2004 Glass Mountain Syrah. Serves 8.
Not my best week, overall, either in class or in life! I baked the baklava too long--waiting for the phyllo to brown, the insides got too toasted. I covered them with a brandy sauce infused with mint and plated them with melon and whipped cream but they were NOT my best work. The rest of the class made beautiful food! And my roasted garlic and red pepper hummus turned out well--very easy, just pureed the roasted garlic and red pepper with chickpeas, lemon, salt and paprika, then stirred in some parsley. My favorite team table had bite sized mazza of shrimp with feta, tomato stuffed with couscous, excellent babba ghanoush on raw carrot slices (great contrast of textures) and baklava with carrot syrup. Sadly, to top off my low-performance week, none of the photos of their table turned out. Spring break--I need it!


The Sahel to Smash -- Africa!

ONLINE WINE WAREHOUSE SALE! Touring & Tasting is trying something new--a 4 hour online wine warehouse sale tomorrow, March 19th, from noon to 4 pm. Prices are unbelievably low--up to 70% off retail prices. You need to be an email subscriber (no obligation, get off the list any time) to be eligible--look at the details here.
This week's wine pairing recipe:
1 tuna steak 1 to 2 lb. (1/4 or 1/2 lb. per person depending on preference)
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cup fresh Chinese pea pods
Sesame dressing ingredients:
4 Tbsp. red miso
4 Tbsp. white sesame seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Mirin
Mix the sake, 1/2 cup Mirin, soy sauce, ginger and lemon in a glass mixing bowl and add the tuna, turning to coat on all sides with the marinade. Cover and put in the refrigerator for half an hour, turning once in the middle of the marinating time.
Pull the string off the back of the pea pods and steam for just a few minutes, until they are bright green, softened but al dente. If you have a pea pod tendril to cook and use as garnish, steam this also. Rinse with cold water, drain, cover and put in the freezer to chill for a few minutes.
Spread the sesame seeds in a thin layer on an ungreased baking sheet and toast under the broiler, stirring, until they are golden brown. Remove to a spice grinder and grind them into a paste. Add the miso, sugar and Mirin and mix well. You can refrigerate this, or alternatively, warm it just before serving for a contrast with the cooled pea pods.
Put the tuna steak on the baking sheet and broil the tuna until the outside is browning and bubbly, then turn and cook the other side. Plate the tuna and the pea pods, pour the sesame sauce over the pea pods. Serve with Japanese white rice and a glass of the crisp 2007 Edward Sellers Blanc Du Rhone. Serves 4.
We took on the cuisine of the entire continent of Africa this week. Africa's 11,668,545 square miles makes it over 3 times the size of the US! The world’s largest desert, the Sahara, bisects the continent from east to west, cutting a wide swath across the top of the continent. It is fringed with the Sahel, a semi-arid savannah with a largely nomadic population, moving their cattle and goats as the growing season determines the availability of fodder. Central African food usually consists as of a stew or soup, cooked on a pot over a fire since cooking implements need to be simple for easy transport. There is some cultivation of crops despite poor growing conditions and corn is a staple food, with peanuts and beans added when possible.
    Northern Africa’s proximity to the Middle East and the Mediterranean fills their cuisine with aromatic herbs such as cumin, caraway, coriander, cinnamon, saffron, ginger, garlic and hot red pepper. North Africans like flower water, couscous, sweet tea and sweet deserts. Since many north Africans are Muslim, pork is avoided. Meals are lavish affairs with much care taken to provide numerous dishes with contrasting tastes, textures and aromas.
    East Africa is home to the largest tectonic plate rift system in the world, giving birth to both the Great Rift Valley and Mount Kilimanjaro. Though the base of the great mountains are still hot and dry, elevation brings a temperate climate and abundant rainfall. The conditions are much improved for agriculture, but sadly the politics of Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania have brought starvation to much of the population. During the time of English imperialism, the British presence was strongly felt, resulting in blander food. Many lakes and rivers, including the world’s longest, the Nile, provide fresh fish. When my father was in Africa one summer, he was served Nile perch from lake Victoria at every meal since they can grow to be larger than a VW bus and are not difficult to catch for such a large source of protein (much easier than bagging a rhino or gazelle!).
    The Dutch East India Company established a station at Cape Town, South Africa in 1652 and Malayasian slaves were brought in as laborers. In the 1820 Boers (Dutch, Flemish, German and French settlers) expanded the settlement. The discovery of diamonds and gold in the 19th century brought immigrants from around the globe, looking for mineral wealth. The international influences in South Africa is reflected in its national cuisine--see my blog post of March 4 10 for a South African recipe. Smash is not a crash, but a recipe made from tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and mustard.
    Western Africa enjoys rain and humidity from moisture-laden clouds blowing in from the Atlantic, but unfortunately the soil is poor. Tropical fruits do thrive and the cuisine uses these amply, as well as chili pepper. Seafood is prevalent, both fresh and dried. Okra, yams and cassava are important ingredients in west African cuisine. The travesty of slavery brought many west Africans to the New World and the west African cuisine is reflected in the cuisines of former slave countries, including the US.
    My team won the gold medal this week! Jessica made scrumptious banana beignets beautifully plated with mounds of whipped cream and chips of brickle--yum. Kyle made a spicy fish stew and I made chicken and eggplant couscous with a crisp cucumber salad and dukka--a toasted nut, sesame seed and spice. I brought the remainder home and have been eating dukka with everything--on my eggs, with flatbread--just dip in olive oil, then in the dukka, and on a green salad--especially yummy on spinach and tomato with a Basalmic vinegrette. I didn't measure my ingredients, so the following dukka recipe is an approximation--but be creative! The local olive oil company il Fustino sells dukka made with roasted almonds, sesame seeds, sundried tomato, onion, garlic, salt and oregano.
1/2 cup white sesame seed
1/2 cup cashews
1 Tbsp. caraway seed
1 Tbsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. coriander seed
1/2 tsp. hot chili pepper
Chop the cashews roughly into 1/4" across pieces. In a dry pan, add all the ingredients and toast over high heat, stirring continuously until the sesame is a toasty brown color. Easy!


La Cucina Italiana -- Cacciatore e Tiedla

This week's recipe is from our Culinary Arts class two weeks ago covering the cuisine of Italy.
1 fryer chicken, cut into pieces
flour, for dredging
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 oz. pancetta (or one strip bacon) minced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. button mushrooms
5 peeled and chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cooking sherry
Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Dredge with flour. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot with a tight fitting lied (like Dutch oven) over medium and cook the pancetta or bacon for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, then add the onion, and garlic, cook until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the herbs, then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and sherry. Bring to a boil, stir, then turn down to low, cover tightly and simmer for an hour, turning the chicken over halfway through the cooking time. You can leave the lid off for the last half hour for a thicker sauce. Serves 4. Serve with pasta or sop up with crusty French brea and pour the French Rhone: 2005 Domaine de Cristia Côtes du Rhône Villages Rasteau.
I frenched the chicken which gives a nicer presentation, here's a YouTube how-to:
Being on the subject of Italian cuisine, this is the perfect post for sharing a recipe from Mary in Omaha who learned how to make "Tiedla" from her Italian grandmother. This recipe will be great for anyone who wants to cook Italian food without garlic and onions; it has plenty of flavor from the fresh herbs. Mary prepared it with all fresh ingredients from her backyard garden; it's easy to make and goes with almost everything. It brings back happy memories of summer, and the sensations of harvesting vegetables from my garden: the aroma of fresh-cut basil, the heat of the sun warming my back and the tomatoes bursting with flavor, the cool undersides of zucchini plants and their prickly stalks, the buzz of bees and flashes of iridescence from hummingbirds and the bright reds, greens and yellows of glossy vegetables on my kitchen counter.
8 ripe Roma tomatoes
8 medium potatoes
1 large zucchini or 8 6" zucchinis
handful of parsley
2 sprigs of marjoram
2 sprigs of oregano
4 sprigs of basil
olive oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Boil a big pot of water and put in tomatoes, cook until the skin bursts (about 1 minute) then remove into a colander. Peel and slice the potatoes thin (1/8"), slice the zucchini into 1/4" slices. Remove the stems of the herbs and chop together. Remove skins from the cooled tomatoes. Put the tomatoes into a wide bowl and mash thoroughly with a potato masher, then add the chopped herbs (do not drain the tomatoes). Spread a layer of zucchini on the bottom of a large casserole, then a layer of sliced potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue this to fill the casserole, leaving an inch of space below the rim and ending the layering with a layer of zucchini rather than potato. Pour the tomato sauce over the vegetables, cover with tin foil and bake for the first hour. Remove tin foil and bake another hour. Check the casserole during the last hour--if it starts to look like it is getting too dry, replace the tin foil. When fully cooked, the potatoes should be soft. Top with grated Parmesan if desired. Pair this with a California Chardonnay or the creamy Edward Sellars Blanc du Rhone.
CULINARY CLASS WEEK #6: Russian food was on the menu, my team made a Stroganoff with hand-made herb noodles by Kyle, Kenny made blinis with sour cream and caviar and I made stuffed cabbage, molded like my post Dec. 9 09 but with a meat stuffing and served with traditional sweet/sour sauce. Here's the sauce recipe:
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 apple, peeled and minced fine
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients except salt and pepper in a saucepan and simmer for 1/2 hour. Taste and add salt and pepper only if desired. You can puree the sauce for an even consistency. Serves 4. Click here for vegetarian cabbage roll recipe or here for meat filled cabbage rolls.


Wake up, America, your food may kill you!

I rented "Food Inc." from Netflix and watched it last night. Every American should view this film! Or at least look at the trailer: www.foodincmovie.com/ and read the info on their website, in order to understand the travesty of industrial farming. The material covered by the film is supported by information from my Food Safety class and from our guest lecturer--a Santa Barbara Health Inspector. A brief list of some things I've learned between class and the film:
  1. feed lot cattle are fed corn because it is cheap, but their stomachs are designed for grass; corn feed causes ecoli to proliferate leading to 71,000 illness and around 60 deaths per year, mostly of children under 15
  2. feed lot cattle stand in fecal material and are coated with it when they go to the slaughterhouse where they are butchered without being cleansed, meaning the fecal matter is mixed with the meat
  3.  scrap pieces of flesh are ground up and soaked in ammonia to kill pathogens, then pressed into meat filler called "pink slime" which goes into 75% of ground beef (read the NY Times article, including how the USDA allows 15% of this sludge in school lunch meat)
  4. agricultural and chicken farmers have become serfs to the multinational corporations who can put out of business any farmers that don't want to use the inhumane livestock practices or use the pesticide and fertilizer dependent seed
  5. there is no such thing as a "24 hour flu" or "48 hour flu", influenza is a 7-10 day illness, the others are due to food borne illness--what we used to call food poisoning. The Center for Disease Control says 76 million illness a year are due to food contamination with 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths
  6. the FDA, which is supposed to safeguard our health, has been populated by former Monsanto executives and lobbyists--in both the Bush and Clinton administrations. Monsanto has created a monopoly in seed where the farmer cannot save seed from one year to the next without facing a lawsuit. Plus genetically modified crops are fertilizing nearby acreage, meaning we are all facing eating genetically modified food without knowing what the long term effects will be.
  7. We can change things! I think the answer is to eat organic, eat local, eat humanely raised meat (Fox News video on difference between corn fed and grass fed), poultry (website on chicken farming) and eggs--or even better--eat vegetarian food. But, make up your own mind--just be informed in your choice by taking a look at what's happening to our food supply. Ignorance might be bliss in some instances, but not when ignorance can kill you or your kids.
(View Anderson Cooper's interview on CNN with the director of Food Inc.)

In case you think that I'm being unduly harsh with US food production practices, I want to point out that in general the US is far safer than many other countries, including China. You have probably read the headlines about thousands of US pets dying from contamination in pet food imported from China, thousands of babies and children in China poisoned by melamine in milk products and dangerous antibiotics and pesticide in seafood and farmed fish imported from China. If you haven't read the headlines and haven't avoided Chinese food products, you might want to read what the Washington Post article by Rick Weiss has to say, including: "For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught -- many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry. Juices and fruits rejected as 'filthy.' Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption. Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer. Swordfish rejected as 'poisonous.'" or the summary of the FDA report from 2009 which includes:"[problems with Chinese imports] 'filth', unsafe additives, inadequate labeling, and lack of proper manufacturer registrations—are typically introduced during food processing and handling. Another of the most common problems—potentially harmful veterinary drug residues in farm-raised fish and shrimp—is introduced at the farm." or from the full version of the FDA report: "Chinese authorities seek to control the safety of food exports by certifying exporters and the farms that supply them. [but] Certified exporters constitute a small fraction of China’s food industry. Most of China’s 200 million farms and food companies are, in theory, excluded from export supply chains." (Full version and summary found at this FDA link) Another informative article is a report on the last 10 years of problems from CNN and from WorldWatch on environmental pollution in China. For the opposing viewpoint, read the rebuttal to the New York Time's article on ammonia-treated beef by the producer Beef Products Inc.


Bobotie and Mulderbosch -- South African adventures

Stolpman Vineyards' Italian-Style Crackling Pork Roast:
2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
4 fresh bay leaves, whole
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
Fresh ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, crushed
zest from 1 orange
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons Stolpman Olive Oil
1 boned and rolled pork shoulder or leg, skin scored
olive oil
Kosher salt
*The key to “crackling” is to start roasting the pork in a very hot oven and
sprinkling the skin with lots of salt. The extra salt can be brushed off
before carving.

Mix together the chopped herbs, pepper, garlic, orange zest, crushed fennel seeds and
Stolpman Olive Oil. Rub mixture into the pink flesh of the pork, not on the skin.
Marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 450º F. Remove pork from refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.
Rub the skin with the extra olive oil and sprinkle very generously with
kosher salt*. Rub the salt into the skin, place in a roasting dish and put in oven to cook for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º F. and continue to cook for 1 hour (or 30 minutes per pound). Pork is done when the internal temperature reaches 165º F. and
juices run clear.
To serve: Allow pork to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with rice pilaf, mixed green salad or fresh Spring peas with water chestnuts. This dish pairs nicely with the 2005 Stolpman Sangiovese for the perfect spring dinner.
I was MIA this week, missing the food of Germany and Scandanavia, to help pour wine for Touring & Tasting at the Lobero supper club. T&T is a sponsor for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and it's a sweet deal for me--pour wine for the pre-concert dinner guests, then enjoy an evening of fine music. Santa Barbara is blessed with generous art patrons like the Towbes who bring world class music to our small burg of less than 90,000. Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama seemed genuinely touched by being called back three times to a standing ovation to take his bows and, in typically Japanese fashion, tried to give his orchestra full credit. But, deserving as they are, our applause was for his masterful conducting of Beethoven's Symphony #7. The intensity and precision of the lively allegro con brio movement was breath-taking! Supper was good, too: pasta and salad from the good chef Renato at Via Maestra 42.
The best meal this week was at my neighbors Catherine and Jean Francois' house. They are part of a wine and dinner club that meets once a month to wine and dine around a theme. This meal was South African and Catherine and JF prepared a feast of interesting dishes for us. Snoeck Pate (a smoked fish spread with a base of tomato paste and cream cheese), Curried Cashews and Sultanas (white grapes), Bobotie (national dish of South Africa dish, spiced minced beef with egg topping), Baked Chicken and Stampkoring (chicken with wheat berries, onion, tomato, mushroom, paprika, mustard powder and Worcestershire sauce) , Denninguleis (lamb stewed with garlic, allspice, cloves, tamarind, nutmeg, chili, rosemary) served with Fruit Chutney, Carrot Bredie (mashed carrots and potatoes), Yellow Rice (turmeric, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon, a staple of the South African diet), Green Bean Salad (with onions, vinegar and stuffed olives), and Soetkoedies (spiced wine cookies) served with Rooibus Tea  (which is Afrikaans for "red bush"). Wow. A lot of cooking for them and a taste treat for us!
Everyone brought a South African wine: Ken Forrester 2008 Petit Pinotage, Klein Constantia Vin de Constance and Chenin Blanc, 2008 Goats Do Roam (clever play on "Cotes du Rhone"), Graham Beck Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Kanoncop Kadette 2008, Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose', Southern Right 2007 Pinotage and Ataraxia 2006 Serenity.
My impression was that South African food is nuanced, not heavily spiced, but delicately so. The South African red wines are more in the French tradition--softer, less alcoholic and less fruit-forward than California wines. The South African whites were sweet without being cloying with nice aromatics. I normally don't like rose' but the Mulderbosch was very nice. The reds had more of a herbaceous flavor to them than fruit-forward--I envisioned the veld as the terroir.
Here's one of the recipes, courtesy of Catherine Almo, contact me if you would like any of the others. In 1954 Bobotie was declared the National Dish of South Africa by the United Nations Women’s Organization and today still is one of the most popular South African food recipes.
BOBOTIE (hoenderpastei):
•    2 Lbs lean ground beef
•    2 -3 Medium onions – peeled and chopped finely or sliced
•    1 Tablespoon oil (preferably olive oil)
•    1 Teaspoon crushed garlic
•    1 Teaspoon fresh ginger (grated)
•    ½ Tablespoon curry powder (try a medium-strength curry to start off with)
•    1 Teaspoon turmeric
•    Pinch garam masala (optional)
•    2-3 slices bread with the crust removed; and soak in a ½ cup of milk. Remove from milk, squeeze out excess, mash with a fork to separate, and set aside
•    ½ Cup milk
•    2 Tablespoons lemon juice or 2 T vinegar
•    2 Tablespoons sugar
•    1 Tablespoon Chutney  (optional)
•    ½ Cup seedless raisins
•    1 apple peeled and finely chopped
•    25 grams blanched almonds, chopped
•    30 grams apricots, finely chopped
•    2 T apricot jam (optional)
•    Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Bobotie Ingredients – Topping
•    2 Eggs (medium) beaten
•    ½ Cup milk
•    Bay leaves (to garnish)
1.    Preheat the oven to 325°F
2.    Grease an oven-proof dish
3.    Heat the oil in deep frying pan; add the onions and sauté until clear
4.    Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric and mix quickly – don’t leave this on the heat for too long, as the garlic can burn. Remove from the pan and set aside.
5.    Saute the ground beef. keep stirring on med heat until brown. Drain fat, add back in the onion mixture.
6.    Add sugar, mashed bread (squeeze out excess milk), chutney, lemon juice and raisins to the mixture
7.    Season to taste with salt and pepper
8.    Spoon the mixture into the greased dish, and place into the oven for 35 minutes.
9.    Mix the eggs with ½ a cup of milk, and any milk that may remain from the bread
10.    Remove the dish from the oven, and spread the egg mixture evenly over the top
11.    Add the bay leaves as decoration, and put back into the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the topping has set
Serving Bobotie: Although South African winters are fairly mild, Bobotie is generally served with rice as comfort food in winter. The rice is generally cooked to be yellow in color (by adding a small amount of turmeric to it); and chutney and sliced bananas are often served as accompaniments. Alternatively, the Bobotie and rice can be served with a small side salad of tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce with a vinaigrette dressing.
COMING UP MARCH 20TH: A wine warehouse sale at Touring & Tasting! I've bought some great wine at these events at unbeatable prices. If you're in Southern California--make the drive to 125 Quarantina Street--there will also be complimentary Il Fustino olive oil and vinegar tastings.