Food for Thought: Embark on a culinary trip around the world

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Exploring different cultures has become increasingly mainstream in today's culinary world. Fusion cuisine has claimed its stake on restaurant menus and can make an appearance in home kitchens for less effort than you might imagine. By utilizing popular and emerging ethnic flavors, home chefs can experiment with dishes to bring an international flare to their food.

South American cuisine is particularly hot right now, with its spicy combination of native and European influences in indigenous foods like corn, peanuts, avocados and all types of potatoes and peppers. Peruvian cuisine, which blends ancient traditions with aspects of European, African and Asian cultures, offers incredible diversity and is high on the radar of culinary professionals.

Experimentation into less-familiar ethnic cuisine, from Korean to Scandinavian, is partially why pickled and fermented foods are getting more attention, according to research firm Technomic. Fermented foods pack a flavor punch and health benefits, as they can aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.

Intimidated by unfamiliar foods? Experimenting with different ingredients can take practice to find the best combination for your taste. Start with an ethnic side dish or garnish to introduce new flavors, then work your way up to a multi-course meal.

— Brandpoint

Number to Know

77: The average South Korean eats about 77 pounds of kimchi a year, according to some estimates. The sour, spicy fermented dish usually utilizes cabbage as its main ingredient, though other variations with garlic, broccoli and radishes are also gaining popularity. Studies have found that kimchi promotes good digestion.

Easy Recipe: Italian Sausage Flatbread with Grapes

Ingredients: 2 hot Italian turkey sausage links, casing removed 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 whole grain flatbreads 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 cup chopped Swiss chard 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles 1 cup red and green seedless grapes, sliced

Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Cook the sausage over medium-low heat in a nonstick skillet until cooked through. Stir in the Italian seasonings and red pepper flakes. 3. Gently brush each flatbread with the oil. Layer the flatbread with the sausage, chard, feta and grapes. Bake for 15 minutes. 4. Slice each flatbread into eight even pieces. Serves four.

— Brandpoint

Food Quiz

Curtido, a relish made of fermented cabbage, comes from which Latin American country?

A. Peru B. Honduras C. El Salvador D. Paraguay

Answer at bottom of rail.

Wise to the Word

Dredge: To dredge means to coat food that's about to be fried or sautéed in a protective layer of bread crumbs, flour or cornmeal. Dredging food first creates a barrier that allows it to cook without sticking and to develop a crispy crust while keeping whatever is inside — like chicken, for example — nice and moist.

— Cookthink

The Dish on…

‘The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food’ by Tony Gemignani

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Charles Phan opened the Slanted Door in San Francisco in 1995, inspired by the food of his native Vietnam. Since then, the Slanted Door has grown into a world-class dining destination, and its accessible, modern take on classic Vietnamese dishes is beloved by diners, chefs, and critics alike. “The Slanted Door” is a love letter to the restaurant, its people, and its food. Featuring stories in addition to its most iconic recipes, “The Slanted Door” both celebrates a culinary institution and allows home cooks to recreate its excellence.

— Ten Speed Press

Food Quiz answer

C. Curtido comes from El Salvador, and it is typically served with pupusas, a thick, tortilla-like food stuffed with beans, cheese and other fillings.

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