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.

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MDF’s Banh Mi Sandwich

Banh Mi Sandwich

Bahn Mi Sandwich by Modern Day Forager

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

Banh mi is humble, but it packs a real flavor punch and with all the traveling we do, we have found one thing is for sure, no two versions are the same.

Here is ours, we started with a golden crusty baguette with the right amount of chew, we hollowed out the interior of the bread just a bit, so we could add creamy Sriracha mayo, next we add the marinated pork (overnight) flavored with lemongrass and blended spices so the meat would be juicy, tender and succulent, then added it to the bread so that the bread could “sop up the juices”, packed it with a crunchy cucumbers, our twist with the addition of crispy Granny Smith apples, pickled carrot, daikon and added watermelon rind for our take on the traditional pickled veg and put it all together for a real show stopper.

Bahn Mi Sandwich by Modern Day Forager

Ingredients:

French baguette or French style hoagie roll (Traditional Banh Mi uses a Vietnamese style french baguette; usually made with a combination of rice and/or wheat flour, resulting in a very light, crackly crust and not overly dense bread.  We like just nice French baguette, don’t use sourdough.

Sriracha Mayonnaise (3 Tablespoons good mayo, 1 Tablespoon Sriracha, squeeze of lime)

Maggi sauce

Lemongrass pork shoulder (recipe below)

English cucumber, sliced very thin

Granny Smith apple, matchsticks

Cilantro, chopped

Jalapeno, sliced thin

Pickled Daikon, watermelon rind and carrot (recipe below)

Directions:

Slice the baguette into 6 inch pieces and then slice in half.

1. Slice the bread lengthwise, and then use your fingers to make a trough in both halves.

2. Generously spreading the inside with mayonnaise.

3. Drizzle in some Maggi Sauce.

4. Place pork steak on bottom of bread

5.  layer remaining ingredients on top of pork.

6.   Enjoy!

Lemongrass Pork Shoulder

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless pork shoulder steak, about 1/2 inch thick cut into 3 inch pieces

Marinade:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped shallot

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon black soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon oil

Directions:

In a food processor, process the sugar, garlic, shallot and lemongrass.

Add the pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oil and process to combine well.

Transfer to a zip lock bag add the pork, and turn to coat well.  Refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Let meat come to room temperature before grilling.

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Grill for 6 to 8 minutes, until cooked through.

Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pickled Daikon, watermelon rind and carrot 

Ingredients:

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks

1 pound of daikons (2), (we used green and sakurajima daikons) peeled and cut into thick matchsticks

1 cup watermelon rind, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cups distilled white vinegar

1 cup lukewarm water

Directions:

Place the carrot, watermelon rind and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar.  With your hands, knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, daikons should bend but not break.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, squeeze out all excess water.  Place veggies in a pickling jar. (we used Weck jars)

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, vinegar, and water.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Pour over the vegetables, making sure the brine covers the vegetables.  Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. 

Bahn Mi Sandwich 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

Simply Sensational Melon Sangria

 Simply Sensational Melon Sangria

Melon Sangria by Modern Day Forager

Savour the evenings or the summer sunshine while mastering the art of making this flavor-packed sangria.  This recipe is simple and will ramp up any outdoor fare, plus we’re sure you’ll be the talk of the town or your next bbq bash.

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed melons cubed (we used cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and Juan Canary)

4 ounces of brandy (if you wont drink it don’t cook with it)

1 granny smith apple sliced

1 bottle of Riesling (cold)

3-4 drops ginger extract

pineapple and white cranberry juice to taste (Ocean Spray makes a white cranberry and peach that works great)

Directions:

Place melon in an airtight container or zip lock bag, add brandy and refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours.

In a large serving container or pitcher stir melon, apples, wine, extract and juices together

Add ice to glasses pour in sangria and spoon extra fruit on top as garnish.

(Sangria gets better with time in the refrigerator )

Melon Sangria by Modern Day Forager

Variations

Sparkly: Club soda or ginger ale

Fruity: grapes, oranges or peaches

Savory: Basil, cardamom or saffron

Boozy: Midori, fruit schnapps, more brandy

Sugary: Moscato, 1/3 cup sugar, simple syrup

Have fun with this and please share your spin on this recipe with use here in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Melon Sangria 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

Selecting, Storing and Preparing

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Every Saturday during melon season, I was asked the same question over and over;  “Could you select a melon for me?”  “How can I tell if a melon is ripe?”  “How do I store this at home?”  So let me try to arm you with the information you need.  First of all, one of the great things about shopping at your local farmers market is that most, not all, of the farmer’s at the market grew what they are selling, that being said, the melon was picked ripe, there are degrees of ripeness to be sure, but the melon is certainly eatable.  The problem comes in when the farmer or a grocery store purchases melons that have to be trucked to their final destination.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

 Selecting Melons:

Cantaloupe – Good quality cantaloupes will have a lot of  webbing on the skin, it will have a yellow/orange color and be slightly soft on the stem end.  If the cantaloupe is not ripe enough to your liking, store at room temperature on your kitchen counter or in a loosely closed paper bag for one to two days.

Honeydew – High-quality honeydew melons should be a creamy color and the skin will almost feel waxy when ripe.  They will be somewhat firm with a bit of softness at the stem.

Watermelon – Great tasting watermelons will be firm, even-shaped and heavy for its size.  The easiest method to judge ripeness is to look at the spot where it laid on the ground, that should be a darker yellow, and the rind overall should have a healthy sheen.  Watermelons do not ripen any further once they are cut from the vine.  Most popular watermelons are round dark green or dark green striped.  The light green oval shaped are usually not as sweet and red on the inside.

Seedless Watermelon– Like seeded watermelons, seedless watermelons will be firm, evenly shaped and heavy for their size.  Remember seedless watermelons are not seedless, instead of the large black seeds; they have the small white seeds that some people consider edible.  (I do not)

Storing Your Melons:

Uncut melons can be kept at room temperature for two to four days.  Ripe melons can be refrigerated for an additional 5 days.  Cut melons should be placed in a covered container and refrigerated for no more than three to four days.

Preparing Melon:

Melons taste wonderful just as they are.  Although, we are going to play around with them this week (that’s what we do.)  We like cantaloupe sprinkled with salt and a little black pepper, the combination is amazing, wrap them in prosciutto or any cured meats, blend the flesh and add the juice to anything, perfect addition to any fruit salad. Watermelon is wonderful with salt as well, we also like honey and lime or balsamic vinegar.  Let us know your favorite way to enjoy melons and we will pass them on to our readers.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

I hope that I was able to shed some light on the picking a melon question, please comment here or on facebook if you have any other questions on choosing a melon or any other farm fresh fair for that matter.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Melon Week (oh by the way, this is week # 9 for us)

Melon Week

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

Celebrating the simple pleasures of summer, we are giving melons top billing this week here at Modern.  Summer melons are vibrant, fragrant, extremely versatile and bursting with fresh flavor.  Just one taste and you will sure to be hooked and stay cool all summer long with the season’s “hot” essentials.

 We have come up with a few questions we would love for you to answer

What is your favorite thing about summer?

What is your favorite summertime meal?

What are you reading this summer?

How do you stay cool and make the most out of these long hot days?

Relaxing by the pool, beach or are you having a big summer adventure?

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

We love hearing from you, it is one of the best parts of our day.

Modern Day Forager

Watermelon Cucumber Cocktail

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Makes two drinks.

2 1/2 cups watermelon, seeds removed, cut into chunks

1/2 large English cucumber, peeled & cut into chunks

1 oz honey lime ginger simple syrup (recipe below)

3 oz vodka

cucumber slices for garnish (we used cocktail cucumbers but any cucumber will do)

  1. Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl or pitcher.
  2. In a blender, puree the watermelon and cucumber chunks.
  3. Pour mixture through the sieve into the bowl.  Use the back of a big spoon or rubber spatula to squeeze all the juice into the bowl.  Transfer to a lidded jar for storage.
  4. To serve, fill two glasses with ice and add 1 1/2 oz of vodka, 4 oz of watermelon cucumber juice, 1/2 to 1 oz simple syrup (to taste) to each glass, garnish with a cucumber slice.

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Honey Lime Ginger Simple Syrup

2 cups cold water (use filtered)

2 cups granulated sugar

juice & zest from 6-8 limes

4 tablespoons honey (we used a local orange blossom)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

  1. In a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cold water and sugar to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat to low and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is clear, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remember, the longer you boil it, the thicker the syrup will be when cooled.  To test if the sugar is completely dissolved: using a spoon, scoop up a small amount of the syrup.  You shouldn’t be able able to see any sugar crystals in the in the liquid.  If you do, boil a bit longer.
  3. Once the water and sugar are done boiling and removed from the heat source add the honey, lime juice, lime zest and grated ginger.  Let sit approximately 20-30 minutes to infuse the simple syrup.  Using a wire mesh strainer, strain out the flavoring then pour into a tightly sealed, clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator.  The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.

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This drink could be made into a mocktail by leaving the vodka out and adding club soda or sprite if its for the kids.  If you have a juicer you can skip the blender and just use the juice you get from the watermelon and cucumber.  Such a refreshing summer drink as the temperatures rise.  Please connect with us on Facebook or in the comments section.

Modern Day Forager