An ode to ketchup and mustard…

We all know that ketchup and mustard are the king and queen reigning the condiment world, while we know there is something nostalgic about commercial brands, don’t leave it in the hands of Heinz and French’s.  Embrace making your own handcrafted customized concoctions.
Ketchup by Modern Day Forager


Making ketchup is really quiet simple, and the flavor combinations are endless.  So why not?  If you have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden this summer, why not use these juicy orbs of goodness and build a better ketchup?

MDF FARM FRESH KETCHUP

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds fresh tomatoes (experiment with your favorites)
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar (3/4 cup if you don’t want ketchup tangy)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Place the first 12 ingredients in a large pot over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes stirring often.
  2. Add the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water.  Turn heat to medium-high stirring often, until liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Pour mixture into a food processor and process until smooth, then pour mixture through a mesh sieve into a clean pot.
  4. Over medium heat stir in red wine vinegar and brown sugar, and reduce to the thickness you desire.
  5. Cool and then store in refrigerator.

If you prefer a chunky style, just omit the sieve step.

Stout Mustard by Modern Day Forager

Don’t hold the mustard or cut the mustard, make mustard!  This top dog condiment is surprisingly a cinch to make.  However, there are a few basics you need to understand about the process for making really good quality mustard.  First, the seeds need a good crushing and grind, and the key here is to add cold liquid (cold stout in this recipe) to add moisture to the mustard seeds.  Mustard gets its bite when the cracked seeds release volatile oils, much like capsaicin, the “hot” in chile peppers and when mixed with the liquid, the result is pungent and spicy.

Second, heat will temper the chemical reaction (much like cutting a onion) so, hot mustard, cold liquid, warmer liquid a more mellow mustard.  Also, in addition of the cold liquid remember that adding an acid is crucial to the recipe.  If you don’t add the acid, the mustard will lose its bite over time.  Adding vinegar, for instance, will stop and set the chemical reaction in place.

Mustard is extremely versatile, with many variations, it livens up and pairs well with sandwiches, cold meats, cheese, greens, burgers and hotdogs.  Rj and I are from Chicago and the only way to eat a dog is with mustard, sorry ketchup.  It also is a great emulsifying agent/stablizer for salad dressings, marinades, dips, sauces and spreads.  By making your own, you avoid all the goop of artificial flavors, fillers, colors and homemade just tastes better. 

MDF Extra Stout Mustard

 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds, crushed
  • 1/3 cup Cold Guinness Extra Stout
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mason jar, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until the seeds are broken down and you reach your desired consistency, it will thicken the more you process. (You may also use an immersion blender right in jar)
  3. Store in your refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.
Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Modern Day Forager
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Pink Peppercorn and Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Pink Peppercorn and Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Pink Peppercorn Goat Cheese Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager


A sweet  indulgence!  Goat cheese and pink peppercorns are the perfect match for our MDF wheelhouse.  They fit the criteria of being out of the box, something we would want to make over and over again and something we would want to serve and share with everyone.

When thinking about this recipe we had a lot to consider, first, we needed a goat cheese that would not be overly  strong, but something light and delicate, a mild cheese that still could hold its own, yet, still had some zip and tang.  For us, it had to taste like a rich and creamy cheesecake.

Pink Peppercorn Goat Cheese Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Next, we added  pink peppercorns, which by the way, are not really peppercorns at all, they are dried pink berries from a rose shrub.  Who knew?  These lil pink pods are packed with spicy floral notes that add real depth to the ice cream, and a little bit of attitude and at the same time add some bite and chew.

To push it over the edge and make it MDF worthy, we went all out and added lil chunks of rich honey comb to really make this icy goodness stand out,  and with that, we just knew, we had to add the addition of  drizzled honey into the ice cream mix, for a sweet mouth feel and a sweet finish, and boy oh boy, this sweet freeze will surly keep you coming back for more.

Honey Comb by Modern Day Forager

 

 Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces good quality fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoons pink peppercorns, coarsely ground (we use mortar and pestle)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup honey comb, diced
  • 3 tablespoons honey drizzled in end product

Directions:

  1. Place goat cheese, honey and peppercorns in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk and sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
  4. Slowly pour some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, constantly whisking, to temper the eggs.
  5. Return the mixture to medium heat and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats your spatula well, pour it through a sieve onto the goat cheese, honey and peppercorns, stir until the cheese is melted and smooth.
  6. Stir until cool over an ice bath or chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  7. Freeze it according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions.

Transfer to a freezer safe storage bowl, stir in honey comb pieces, and drizzle honey and combine, then cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Pink Peppercorn Goat Cheese Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Figgy Ice Cream

Figgy Ice Cream

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Figgy Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

One of the reasons we took on ice cream this week is that we have been noticing a trend in the ice cream world, that ice cream never seems to taste enough like what it claims to be, or fully embraces the characteristics of the ingredients being used.  We wanted to see if we could change that and focus on showcasing and highlighting the ingredients from beginning to end.

Figgy Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

So here is the scoop with our recipe, we have packed it full of fig flavor from fresh figs and figgy pudding bitters in the ice cream base and then finishing it off by garnishing the freshly churned ice cream with even more fresh figs, taking advantage of their wonderful texture, that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds.  We think this says summer loud and clear.

Ingredients:

  • 20 + 2 fresh organic black mission figs, diced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons fig bitters (we love AZ Bitters Lab Figgy Pudding Bitters)
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Place 20 diced figs in a medium saucepan with milk, cover and cook over medium heat, until tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the figs are jam like, another 10 minutes.
  3. Purée the mixture with bitters in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Stir until cool over an ice bath or chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  5. Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Sprinkle with diced figs and serve.

Figgy Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream + Float

 Chocolate Stout Ice Cream + Float
Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Chocolate Stout Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager


No matter what your age, we think there is something really satisfying, watching creamy rich vanilla ice cream being scooped into a tall chilled glass and then the anticipation of  ice cold root beer being poured over the scoops, to create a old fashioned soda fountain float.  It’s what comes next, that is one of the best parts of this old school treat, there is the foam, the spill over and if that wasn’t enough, the top off of root beer, plus the nifty straw you get to stir, swirl, slurp and sip your icy glass of goodness.  Does it get any better?

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

We think not!   We replaced the traditional vanilla flavor of the ice cream and churned out our own milk chocolate stout ice cream.  To build the float, we added some stout to our chilled glass giving us better control when we added the scoops of ice cream and the splash of beer, making a thick head of foam and overflow but not making a huge mess.  The result was a extremely rich, thick, malty (with hints of hoppy bitterness), that really complimented the intensely flavored ice cream, creating a truly decadent dessert.  Who says the kids have to have all the fun this summer…?!?

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces milk chocolate, grated
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chocolate stout
  • pretzel pieces, to taste, as garnish

Directions:

  1. Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the yolks.
  4. Then add the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat,  scraping the bottom as you stir, once the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, pour it through a sieve on to the milk chocolate, stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  6. Whisk in the cream and stout.
  7. Stir until cool, over an ice bath or chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator
  8. Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ingredients:

Ice cream
Stout

Directions:
Pour about half the stout in your chilled glass, (this will allow the ice cream to set up and you will have better control) followed by a large scoop of ice cream, then add a second scoop on top of that, add a splash of the stout to cover all of the ice cream to get a thick head of foam, add your favorite straw and serve immediately.

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream

Vintage Ice Cream Shoppe by Modern Day Forager

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Vintage Ice Cream Shoppe by Modern Day Forager

We all yearn for the days of the ice cream man, and our favorite quintessential summer time treat.  Well, we are here to tell you it is easier than you think, to churn out handcrafted artisan ice cream that tastes like an old fashioned summer.  We are pushing the flavor boundaries this week, while celebrating National Ice Cream Month with a few frosty and icy goodies we came up with.

Vintage Ice Cream Shoppe by Modern Day Forager

So here is our inside scoop, and  boy did we have fun.  We started with all-natural fresh ingredients and made our ice cream in small batches.  To ensure even more quality, we used our local sources and farmers, which gave us a better end result.  So no matter what your age, these recipes will make you as happy as when you were a kid,  running down the street with a big old grin on your face, your pocket change and crumpled up wad of dollar bills in hand, to be the first in line to get your favorite frozen novelties.

Enjoy!!!

Modern Day Forager
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Street Food Week: Wrap-up

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Street Food Week

We had a very busy and productive week.  We were very excited to bring street food to the pages of Modern Day Forager; it is a subject matter that is near and dear to our hearts for so many reasons, it is a culture we truly enjoy when we travel both here and abroad, it is a part of what we think will bring “community” back to our communities, it’s a connection to a simpler time and its just so darn tasty!  Monday we got even more excited when we learned that our Summery Watermelon Soup from last week’s post was being re-published on a national healthy living web site called Hella Wella… Healthy living for the real world.  Then, Tuesday we got an email from the Huffington Post asking us if they could use our photograph and recipe for the Simply Sensational Melon Sangria on their HUFFPOST TASTE .


Singapore by Modern Day Forager

Our week was filled with the hunt and we were in of search of ingredients and inspiration, our first stop was at the Super L Ranch Market at The Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix, where we found several ingredients on the MDF shopping list, a whole bunch of provisions that just looked fun and of course props, we are always in search of that perfect little treasure and this is the place.  Next, we were off to Pro’sRanch Market in search of the perfect tortilla, specialty produce and props, of coarse. props.  Our last stop was to Saffron Market which is located in north Scottsdale, were we found our dried chickpeas and ingredients to make our tahini sauce.

Singapore by Modern Day Forager

One of the best parts of our field trip was that Heather’s daughter Bailey, who is nine, was along for the ride and adventure and how many cool food products we got to experience with her, she is not a stranger to these kinds of trips, however, we were thrilled we got to see it through her eyes as well as share and show her some things we have learned about these foods and cultures.  The hunt, the find and the get is something we talk about a lot here at Modern.  Doing the R&D is a blast and is so satisfying.  We reap the rewards by going to these markets and learning new things.

If you missed any of the posts this week page down and take a look.  Tuesday featured an introduction written by Traci explaining why we are so fascinated with street food, the street food culture and why we think it is so important that we embrace it. Wednesday we gave you our first impressions of the new Scottsdale Food Truck Caravan, what a treat, you should stop by some Saturday evening and check it out and please let us know your thoughts in the comments area or on our facebook page.  We jumped right into recipes on Thursday with our take on one of the most popular United States street foods, the Korean short rib taco, popularized by the LA food truck scene.  If you have never experienced a First Friday in Venice CA. you are truly missing out.   Next, we jumped across the pond to the United Kingdom (and Australia) for one of my favorite dishes Fish and Chips featuring a double or triple cooked chip and simple beer battered haddock or cod. For those of you that jump all over me for using lard in my recipes I fought the urge this time and went with peanut oil just for you, and its high smoke point.  Yesterday we featured what I think is the most under appreciated sandwich here in the States, the  Banh Mi.  We did our MDF version with a lemongrass and spice infused pork, but you can use any meat you have on hand, the crunchy, sweet, savory and spicy elements in this sandwich are what pushes it over the top and Traci added an MDF twist to ours with Granny Smith apples and pickled watermelon rinds.

Let us know your thoughts on the anything and everything we are doing here at MDF.  Thanks.

Scottsdale Food Truck Caravan

Scottsdale Food Truck Caravan


Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Looking for something to do with family or friends this weekend?  Check out Scottsdale’s Food Truck Caravan on the northwest corner of 5th and Goldwater every Saturday 7:30pm to 11:30 pm.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

MDF stopped by a couple weeks ago (week 6 of the caravan) and enjoyed every minute of our visit.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

The first thing you notice is there is ample parking (for car or bike) and the event is set-up with your comfort in mind, from the large candle lit communal tables, concierge tent and a mister system, (heaters in the winter) not to mention weekly entertainment.  The week we attended acoustic guitar player Michael Signorelli played and the next week a local blues act.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

As you stroll through the trucks reading the menus and making your decisions, or while you are dining at the long comfortable tables you glance around and notice neighbors and friends, young families and senior citizens what an awesome hodge podge of community.  We were struck by the notion that this is the reason for the incredible growth of the food truck movement around the country over the last several years, this is what has been missing in our faster and faster paced lives, a chance to take a stroll and have a meal with others, sharing a brief respite of time in the company of like-minded people.   All roads (worth taking) lead to food.

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

The week we visited there was a nice diverse selection of trucks on hand and they change weekly:

Riteway Cateringhttp://www.ritewaycatering.com/truck.html

Satay Hut: http://www.satayhutaz.com

Sweet Magnolia Smoke House: https://www.facebook.com/sweetmagnoliasmokehouse

Sandra Dee’s Catering: (always our favorite, “we love you Sandra!) http://www.sandradeescatering.com

Grilled Cheese Truck: https://www.facebook.com/TheGrilledCheeseTruckPhoenix

Smitty’s Kitchen: https://www.facebook.com/SmittysKitchen/app_190322544333196

Super Farm Super Truck: https://www.facebook.com/SuperFarmSuperTruck

Torched Goodness: http://www.torchedgoodness.com/schedule.htmlLiberty Biscuits: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Libertys-Biscuits/299579633491167

Udder Delights: http://www.udderdelightsaz.com

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Every week is going to be a different themed event all based around “Ate on 5th” a special dish prepared by each truck.  The theme while we were there was a competition for best dish, week 7 was BBQ.

The competition was judged by Chef Becky Wendells of The Herb Box at SouthBridge, Jeff Caswell of EVO Scottsdale and Joanie Simon of Restaurant Live AZ.  The prize was a guest spot on Restaurant Live AZ with Joanie Simon.  The online show airs from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at http://www.doublewidenetwork.com.  The winner was Smitty’s Kitchen with their  Goat and Curry Stew.  Congratulations!

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Hope to see you there next time!

Scottsdale Food Trucks by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

MDF’s Icy Melon Granita

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

ICY MELON GRANITA

Our version of a childhood summer revival with a twist, a little bit more sophisticated and all grown up.  Chill out, cool down and make the most of your long hot days.  Using white and orange cantaloupe makes for a very fragrant and well-balanced combination.   The addition of basil and the spicy, salty, sweet sugars really liven up this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups white cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • curry sugar, didi’s sugars for the spicy component and for the salty and sweet component we used “martini” from go lb. salt rim-licks.
  • chiffonade of basil

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, stir the water and sugar over low heat just until the sugar melts.  Let cool completely.
  2. In a blender, puree the cantaloupe with the syrup and lime juice.
  3. Strain puree into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, pressing through with a wooden spoon.
  4. Transfer the puree to a shallow container and place in freezer until frozen around the edges and slushy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Using a fork, stir the granita every 20 until it is completely frozen, about 1 1/2 hours.  Just before serving, fluff granita with fork.
  6. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with curry sugar and garnish with chiffonade of basil.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Our good friends Liz and Aaron Eckburg own a great company, go lb salt which is a local salt bar here in Arizona and boy, do they know their stuff.  We highly recommend their website, there is a wealth of information, along with a user friendly online store,  filled with everything you could possibly need, and if that wasn’t enough they offer classes as well.   Check them out at golbsalt.  We also used another favorite resource of ours for this recipe, Didi Davis’s Food Sugar Blends.  This is a great source for all things spicy, salty and sugary, and they focus on small-batch handmade productions.  Check them out at salttraders.  So many new ways to play with your food.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

Summertime Melon, Salchichon Salame, Local Greens with Saffron Honeydew Splash

Summertime Melon, Salchichon Salame, Local Greens with Saffron Honeydew Splash

Summertime Melon, Serrano Ham with Local Greens topped with Saffron Honeydew Drizzle by Modern Day Forager

When your local greens and produce are at the height of the season capture all their essence and get some color.  Make this super-simple fast, fresh and easy recipe.  You are sure to shine!

Summertime Melon, Serrano Ham with Local Greens topped with Saffron Honeydew Drizzle by Modern Day Forager

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Tuscan cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1/2 cup white honeydew, cubed
  • 1/2 cup yellow honeydew, cubed
  • 1 cup Asian melon, cubed
  • 2 cups Tuscano kale, chopped
  • 1 cup chard, chopped
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 head frisee lettuce, chopped (any well textured lettuce will work)
  • 1 bulb fennel, julienned
  • 1/4 pound Salchichon salame, julienned (any cured meat will work)

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Season with salt and pepper then toss.

Dressing:

  • 2 cups honeydew melon, seeded and cubed
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (neutral)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4-6 threads of Saffron
  • salt and pepper to taste

Puree honeydew in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing with a wooden spoon.

Add oil, lime juice and zest, honey, saffron, salt and pepper; whisk to combine. (my preferred method is to shake in a mason jar)
Honeydew Drizzle by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Summery Watermelon Soup

Summery Watermelon Sips

We are just head over heels about our stylishly rustic soup.  It strikes the perfect balance of tart to sweet.  Who says we can’t summerize and make it our main dish instead of relegating it to a side.  Gather up your family and friends and go out with a bang.

 Slurps up!!!

Summery Watermelon Soup


Ingredients:

.   1/2 cup sugar

.   1/2 cup filtered water

.   12 basil leaves, bruised

.   5 cups watermelon chunks (experiment with yellow and orange)

.   3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

.   1 teaspoon lime zest

.   1/4 cup sparkling wine (as always we use Prosecco)

Directions: Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once sugar has dissolved add the basil leaves and bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and let it sit for at least 15 min.  Then discard basil and let continue to cool to room temperature. Working in batches, blend 4 1/2 cups of watermelon with basil simple syrup and lime juice. Push juice through a fine mesh sieve, over a bowl or pitcher with a wooden spoon.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight. To serve, add sparkling wine, pour soup into 4 bowls and garnish with remaining cubed watermelon (important for a textural element) and lime zest.

Summery Watermelon Soup

Experiment with this recipe, try adding canned tomatoes, english cucumbers, beets or granny smith apples we have done all 4 with great success.

Summery Watermelon Soup

Modern Day Forager