Advertisements

myMEGusta

Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Two Andouillettes in Four Days!

Andouillette at La Mascotte

Andouillette at La Mascotte

Andouillette at Brasserie Balzar

Andouillette at Brasserie Balzar

Yes, this is why MyMEGusta travels to places like Paris, to have treats that are virtually impossible to find in the United States, and to enjoy them in more than one restaurant.

(They have museums, too! Something to do between meals!)

This dish is not for everyone, but for those who love these rustic French sausages, they are worth the journey. An unusual twist this time, never previously encountered, was when one waiter asked how I wanted it done. Because they are precooked, it really doesn’t matter if the andouillette is served ‘rare’, but thoroughly heated is myMEGusta’s choice. One time it came with mashed potatoes, the current rage in Paris, and the other with the more traditional pommes frites.  They were different, and they both were delicious.

Now, we’re not talking about andouille – either the French kind (a large sausage served cold, thinly sliced) or the classic Cajun spicy/smoked sausage that originated in New Orleans and has nothing to with the andouillettes other than the French heritage of its name. More later about these tasty sausages. And, we’re not talking about Chitterlings (chit-lins), pig intestines, well known and loved in the South, and also found on the occasional (very authentic) Chinese menu, usually as an appetizer.

French Andouille, the Cold Cut

French Andouille, the Cold Cut

An andouillette is, quite simply, a sausage stuffed with seasoned chitterlings. They are tender but toothsome, gently gamey in flavor, and with seasonings that vary regionally and by chef.

AAAAA is for Andouillette!

AAAAA is for Andouillette!

We love the French affinity for highly organized quality control, sometimes tongue in cheek. In 1970, a group of journalists formed a society (The Friendly Club of Lovers of Authentic Andouillette) to salute this delicacy and recognize the best producers, so look for the AAAAA on the menu when sausage seeking.

To get andouillettes, you either have to get on a plane or produce them yourself, and myMEGusta used to make them, a huge production, but worth it when the next trip to France was years off: clean and poach the pork intestines a very long time until completely tender, cool, chop coarsely, mix with sautéed onions/mustard, whatever, stuff into casings, poach again. Because it’s precooked, it just needs to be heated through, usually grilled, broiled or pan fried, and this adds flavor to the exterior.

For my MEGusta, the first encounter with anything at all like an andouillette was many years ago when she was being hosted for dinner by someone who insisted that the menu be “what real French people eat”, and the  main course was a blob of poached pig intestine in a pool of (delicious) sauce. The flavor took a few bites to get used to, but by the end of the meal, she was hooked.  This dish has never surfaced again, anywhere, back then or in the decades since, even on the internet. So much for “what real French people eat.”

Until the next trip to France, MyMEGusta will have to be satisfied with other things.

Cajun Andouille

Cajun Andouille

She may have to make a research trip to check out authentic Cajun andouilles on site, and have “A Smokin’ Good Time” at the 41st Annual Andouille Festival  at the St. John Community Center in La Place, Louisiana!

http://www.andouillefestival.com/food

Advertisements

Lime$

It’s the perfect storm for lime lovers:  An unprecedented shortage is hitting just as we approach the biggest margarita holiday of the year, Cinco de Mayo.

Margarita on the Rocks

Margarita on the Rocks

Margarita

Margarita

The news media is abuzz about the price of these little greenies. Frequent fliers are moaning about the demise of wedges of lime for their airborne gin and tonics.  Consumers at the grocery store are in green sticker shock. According to United States Department of Agriculture data, the retail price of a lime has nearly doubled versus one year ago, the highest point of every year due to the holiday demand.

Why?   It’s a new case of Montezuma’s revenge.

Mexico supplies about 95 – 97% of the limes used in the United States, and their groves were hit with rains and disease, so the growers agreed to take prices up. Florida and California, the other two major sources, have had weather issues.

So, what’s a lime lover to do? Or a top quality Mexican restaurant?

Barbara Sibley, chef owner of Manhattan’s La Palapa (www.lapalapa.com) is addressing the problem by being extra creative:

“La Palapa is known for our fresh lime margaritas, so I really can’t change the recipe.

“What I am doing is not using limes to garnish — if guests would like an extra lime to squeeze into their drink we are happy to provide it.  We have reduced the limes we cut for garnish from three cases a week to one. Amazing how much must be wasted on a regular basis! Essentially limes have gone from being a garnish that is inconsequential to the food cost of the dish to an integral part of the food cost.

No Lime Hibiscus Margarita

No Lime Hibiscus Margarita

“Other ways I am dealing with it is the opposite of “when life gives your lemons make lemonade.” Instead of using limes, I am using alternate ways to provide tartness in cocktails.”

La Palapa has a range of non-traditional margaritas made tart with hibiscus, passion fruit, tamarind or nopal cactus juice, and the recipes are unsweetened, in perfect balance. Wild Hibiscus Heart Tea is pure hibiscus if trying this at home.

So stick with restaurants like La Palapa, who are not going to compromise with an ersatz sour mix for their beverages.

For G & T, use a wedge of lemon instead of the lime, like the Brits do. Jolly good, by the way. (The nickname “limeys” for the English whose olden day sailors consumed limes to prevent scurvy is quite ironic here).

Key Lime

Key Lime

Substitute Key limes in your recipes.  What we simply call “limes” are also known as “Persian limes”, as opposed to the smaller, more acidic “Key limes,” best loved for the delicious pale yellow confection, Key lime pie.

Although normally higher in price than regular limes, their prices have not escalated in recent days. You may need to up the quantity of Triple Sec in the margarita to balance the higher acidity. Or you can forget the cocktail and just make a nice pie.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Key-Lime-Pie-I/

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Making Key Lime Pie

Making Key Lime Pie

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: