Friday, September 18, 2009

A nice place to hang out

We went for a late lunch to Guadalajara on Market Street in Charlottesville, and although it's not the best food I've ever had, it was passable - and sitting out in front, the music blasting and sipping on a margarita, it just felt right.

Better yet, I'm still full as I contemplate a happy night of sleep.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Animated food: "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"

Can't wait to see this food movie! Check out today's Huffington Post review by Zorianna Kit:
The forecast for the animated feature Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs could very well be sunny with a chance of a big hit.
Based on the children's book of the same name about a town where food falls like rain, writer-directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord took the basic premise and brilliantly crafted an origin-type story. The result is an intricate, colorful and delicious world that is strong on character, big on laughs and clever on plot.
Read more at:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rubber rubs some the wrong way

Latex allergies are not common, but we should be aware that some do suffer from them and adjust accordingly when preparing food for strangers. I got this letter after my recent tips column on using thin latex gloves to protect the hands when making meatloaf and using the heavy ones for dishwashing to open jars.

I caught your tips on using natural rubber latex gloves or plastic when preparing food, washing utensils, or opening a tough jar lid. It would be great for us with natural rubber latex allergy if you would promote the use of plastic, vinyl, or nitrile gloves when preparing food or handling dishes and utensils used to prepare foods. It really is unnecessary to use latex when there are so many alternatives available. There are latex free heavy duty nitrile dishwashing gloves made that serve the same purpose as the regular latex dishwashing gloves without the possibility of inducing a severe latex allergic reaction. Many with this allergy do not discover it until it has become life threatening. Often it mimics food poisoning, or a bad case of stomach flu after eating latex contaminated food.

Most people understand the severity of peanut allergies, and would not let a peanut allergic person eat a food prepared on a counter or off dishes that had been contaminated with peanuts. Likewise, those of us with natural rubber latex allergy react with life threatening anaphylaxis if we are served foods contaminated with latex proteins.

I wanted to let you know that NIOSH publications recommends that latex gloves not be used routinely when other options are available.

Six states have passed laws to ban the use of latex gloves in food service due to the allergens present that are transferred to food, utensils, and dishes that cause severe allergic reactions to latex. The gloves also sensitize individuals resulting in workers compensation claims due to developing an allergy to natural rubber latex.

Information at:
The American Latex Allergy Association: Provides resources for people allergic to natural rubber latex, including latex free alternative product lists, informational packets, support groups, and a newsletter.

Latex Allergy Links
Comprehensive current data base of resources, msg. board,
"What's New" is a good link to check

Many of us are devastated after developing natural rubber latex allergy, I wasn't a healthcare worker, or someone who thought they were at high risk of developing this allergy. I did have a few surgeries that exposed me to this allergen, now I am totally disabled due to the severity of this allergy. I can no longer even attempt to eat at a restaurant due to the many foods bought from suppliers that use latex gloves, or the use of latex gloves in restaurants that contaminate my food.

My mission is to keep others safe from developing this allergy, and to offer safe places to eat for others not as severely affected by this allergy as I am.
I own a web based support group for those allergic to natural rubber latex, sadly our membership continues to grow:

~ Ora Ruppel
Owner/moderator LAForum

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Korean BBQ in Charlottesville

I haven't ventured to Bamboo House or the other Korean restaurants in town yet, but I did pick up an astoundingly good batch of Korean barbecue at a most unlikely place: a booth selling grass-fed beef at the City Market Saturday before last. Not only were the thin slices of beef so tender that they practically melted in our mouths, but the seasonings were exquisite. We ate the meat so quickly that we forgot the little container of hot sauce (a sweet-hot kind of bean paste) that came with it.

I bring up Korean barbecue not because I have any expertise in judging a good batch from bad, but from noticing that Korean-influenced cuisine is on the rise in the United States. According to today's National Restaurant News, Charley's Grilled Subs, an Ohio-based chain of about 300 eateries that has mainly featured Philly-style cheese steaks, has added a Korean-inspired Spicy Asian BBQ sub to its lineup. That's pretty mainstream America, folks. (The closest Charley's to Charlottesville is in Fort Lee, by the way.)

And add these developments to the equation:
  • The Kogi BBQ to Go chain of taco trucks have become something of a sensation in Los Angeles.
  • New York-based Korean-American chef and restaurateur David Chang won last year’s James Beard Foundation Award for best chef in New York, and his fine-dining restaurant Momofuku Ko won this year’s Beard Award for the country’s best new restaurant.
  • Corey Lee, chef de cuisine of The French Laundry in Napa Valley, is stepping out (finally!) from the shadow of Thomas Keller. Lee, who also is Korean-American, plans to open a Korean-influenced fine-dining restaurant in San Francisco, according to NRN.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A salad from bread

I didn't include the bread salad with my Zuni chicken recipe the other day, because I made my bread salad with stale bread, crusts included, in a manner an Italian friend showed me years ago. It's the best for soaking up fresh tomatoes, which are extremely plentiful and excellent this time of year.

But for those of you who wondered what glorious bedding the Zuni chicken was meant to repose upon, here is the recipe for it, adapted somewhat (since the original was mingled with the chicken preparation) from "The Zuni Cafe Cookbook" by Judy Rodgers.


Generous 8 ounces slightly stale open-crumbed, chewy, peasant-style bread (not sourdough)
6 to 8 tablespoons mild-tasting olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried currants
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or as needed
1 tablespoon warm water
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 to 3 garlic cloves, slivered
1/4 cup slivered scallions (about 4 scallions), including a little of the green part
2 tablespoons lightly salted Chicken Stock {page 58} or lightly salted water
A few handfuls of arugula, frisée, or red mustard greens, carefully washed and dried

Preheat the broiler.
Cut the bread into a couple of large chunks. Carve off all of the bottom crust and most of the top and side crust. Reserve the top and side crusts to use as croutons in salads or soups. Brush the bread all over with olive oil. Broil very briefly, to crisp and lightly color the surface. Turn the bread chunks over and crisp the other side. Trim off any badly charred tips, then tear the chunks into a combination of irregular 2- to 3-inch wads, bite-sized bits, and fat crumbs. You should get about 4 cups.
Turn the oven to 475 degrees on bake.
Combine about 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the Champagne or white wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss about 1/4 cup of this tart vinaigrette with the torn bread in a wide salad bowl; the bread will be unevenly dressed. Taste one of the more saturated pieces. If it is bland, add a little salt and pepper and toss again.
Place the currants in a small bowl and moisten with the red wine vinegar and warm water. Set aside.
Place the pine nuts in a small baking dish and set in the hot oven for a minute or two, just to warm though. Add them to the bowl of bread.
Place a spoonful of the olive oil in a small skillet, add the garlic and scallions, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until softened. Don’t let them color. Scrape into the bread and fold to combine. Drain the plumped currants and fold in. Dribble the chicken stock or lightly salted water over the salad and fold again. Taste a few pieces of bread - a fairly saturated one and a dryish one. If it is bland, add salt, pepper, and/or a few drops of vinegar, then toss well. Since the basic character of the bread salad depends on the bread you use, these adjustments can be essential.
Pile the bread salad in a 1-quart baking dish and tent with foil; set the salad bowl aside. Place the salad in the oven after you flip the roast chicken the final time. Let it cook for 5 minutes after you remove the chicken.
Tip the bread salad into the salad bowl. It will be steamy-hot, a mixture of soft, moist wads, crispy-on-the-outside-but-moist-in-the-middle-wads, and a few downright crispy ones. Drizzle and toss with a spoonful of the pan juices from the chicken. Add the greens, a drizzle of vinaigrette, and fold well. Taste again.
Put the bread salad on a plate and top with cut-up roasted chicken.