As much as I enjoy writing this weekly food column (nearly 700 of them under my belt during the past 12-plus years) I still get a rush every time I’m reminded that the words I write actually resonate with people.
And often with more than a few.
These affirmations come in the form of a full inbox the day an article runs, being stopped in the grocery store for recipe advice, being asked to judge or emcee local food events, or words like these after my recent endorsement of a local food product:
“Steven, thanks so much for including us in your recent article,” wrote Lewis Payne of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, makers of a mighty fine salt in Malden. “The response was very good because the Purple Onion called and asked to be restocked!”
So glad to hear that — and to help support such a worthy treasure.
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That luscious local salt would make a good accoutrement around the rim of the frosty margarita you may mix up to celebrate this Monday’s Cinco de Mayo.
Let’s just hope there are enough limes to make one.
According to the folks at Don Julio premium tequila, restaurants and bars across the U.S. are rapidly rationing lime supplies because of a never-before-seen shortage resulting from a combination of plant disease and bad weather.
Within the past year, the average retail price of a single lime has risen more than 133 percent and the price of a 40-pound box that once cost restaurants $20 is now going for nearly $120.
With Americans downing an average of 185,000 margaritas per hour (double wow!) with lime juice as their primary ingredient, is America’s most popular cocktail facing its last call?
Never, Don Julio says. Just look for alternative sources for that signature tang. Try lemon or grapefruit juice instead, keeping in mind you can cut both with a little orange juice (or orange liqueur) to tame the tart factor.
I also make a mean pitcher of key lime margaritas using bottled key lime juice to enhance traditional lime mix.
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And now it’s time to play a little Jeopardy, Food Guy style.
Answer: How NOT to get on my good side.
Question: What is, email me a press release with this archaic headline... “Mother’s Day Recipes Simple Enough Even Dad Can Prepare!”
As a kitchen-savvy father of three, I had no problem coming up with a simple one-word reply to shoot back at ‘em.
Much more appreciative was the tip I received about a new classic French cookbook offering simple recipes to help elevate a Mother’s Day brunch — not dumb it down for dad.
With recipes like roasted mushroom and goat cheese crepes, bacon and chives quiche, and apricot-pine nut cakelettes, “The Bonne Femme Cookbook” is a great resource in preparing an impressive, yet easily manageable, meal.
The dishes above all sound good, but I’m leaning toward this week’s recipe for simple broiled toasts topped with goat cheese, almonds, pancetta and honey.
Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Daily Mail. He can be reached at 304-348-1721 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as “DailyMail FoodGuy,” on Twitter as “DMFoodGuy” or read his blog at http://blogs.charlestondailymail/foodguy.
Goat Cheese, Almonds, Pancetta And Honey Toasts
2 oz. thin-sliced pancetta
4 oz. soft-ripened goat cheese, crumbled or diced
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
2 (3/4 inch-thick) slices of crusty country-style round bread, toasted
2 tsp. honey
1. Preheat broiler. Place pancetta in a skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once, until barely crisp, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to cool slightly.
2. Crumble pancetta into a bowl, and add goat cheese and almonds and stir to combine. Set aside.
3. Brush one side of each toasted bread slice with olive oil and arrange slices, oiled sides up, on a baking sheet. Pile the goat cheese and pancetta mixture atop the toasted bread, making sure to cover the entire bread surface, including the crusts, so the bread does not burn.
4. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until the cheese is melted and lightly browned in places, about 3 minutes (watching constantly to avoid burning). Transfer the toasts to individual plates, drizzle with honey and serve.