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.

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

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

Elegant, yet Simple Blueberry Jam

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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

We are oh so sweet on this Blueberry Jam…here at Modern.

This simple but elegant spread is bursting with tiny little gems of goodness and has the perfect balance of sugar, juicy lemons and a touch of brightness from the zest.  We topped and stuffed it into rich and mouth watering french toast, dressed and layered it on lemon mascarpone pancakes for a lovely weekend brunch, and even used it as a component for a rich and fruit forward pan sauce with pork for a farm to table gathering.  Channel you inner canner,  and with a little help from a good season,  try this humble and unassuming little jar of jam.   It will be sure to liven up any summer time soiree.

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Simple Blueberry Jam

2  1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup sugar

1 1/4 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often.
  2. Smash berries (I use a potato masher)
  3. Simmer on medium high heat (as foam forms skim it from the top) for about 12 minutes, until thickened.
  4. Chill in an ice bath.  Once completely cooled you may store in fridge.

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Modern Day Forager

Lemon Zucchini Cookies

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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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Welcome to the week of zucchini!  If you are anything like us we have zucchini in abundance and are running out of ways to use them.  We start our week with this very versatile vegetable.  There is plenty of lemon in these to give it a bit of a zing and keep you coming back for more!  Also, these are kid approved, of all ages!

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Lemon Zucchini Cookies

Makes 30 medium size cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

1 cup shredded zucchini (1 medium sized zucchini)

1/3 cup pecans, chopped (0ptional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Combine butter and sugar in a mixer and cream together until light and fluffy. (about 3 minutes)
  4. Add egg and mix until incorporated.  Scrape down sides.  Add lemon zest and zucchini, mix until fully combined.
  5. With the mixer on low slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until completely mixed in. (Do not over mix.)
  6. Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon add measured  dough to a lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 14-16 minutes, until edges of cookies are golden.  Let cool on pan for 1 minute then transfer to wire racks to finishing cooling.

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These would be so lovely served with vanilla ice cream or a cup of tea.  We would love to hear if you try this recipe.  You can also connect with us on Facebook.  See you tomorrow for another zucchini recipe!

Modern Day Forager