Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Bourdain view

I’m sure I’m not the first to wish they didn’t have to bleep so much of Anthony Bourdain’s language on his Travel Channel shows. I’ve never actually caught an entire episode of “No Reservations,” but I succumbed to his irreverent charm while watching him eat and dole out sarcastic observations around the globe. I saw the middle part of countless episodes from the YMCA’s treadmill and bike monitors. I always miss the beginning and end. I’ve caught just a few of his newer show, “The Layover,” but now I’ve secured a DVD of the first season, billed this way: “He is high octane, gritty, caffeinated and traveling with a sense of urgency. Why? Because he has only 24-48 hours to unleash an unpredictable story about a place, a people and their food. Tony will travel through the US, Asia and Europe, and reveal insider tips that only the most seasoned traveler would know.”

I skipped over the Singapore and New York episodes and headed with him to Rome where I learned the Italians go for a foamy cappuccino for breakfast, and save the calories for the good stuff later in the day. He folded his tall self into a little red sports car for a whirlwind dining and architectural tour and I got to come along without having to go through security. Disc 2 holds more treasures: Montreal, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Los Angles and London.

Sunday treats

Sunday grillers take note of 2012 spice blends from Teeny Tiny Spice Co. of Vermont. I think they got Cajun Spice right, judging from the sprinkling I added to popcorn. This company’s blends smell fresh and amazing. It could make you sneeze. It’s not like opening a jar from your pantry that could have been sitting there for years. Go fresh with Harissa, a rub with Tunisian flavors that you can use as a paste lie mustard. Add some to boiling water and let it stand. You don’t have to wait for something to rub, sprinkle it on something like eggs. I did, and did the same with Jamaican Jerk. West African Curry could have been my favorite. Makers suggest tossing with shrimp or scallops, meats or baking into a curry with coconut milk and tomato. It’s a winner either way. Any one of these will spice up your steak.

And for that steak. . .

For years my aunt complained that she needed new knives until relatives got her a great set in a block. She’s cutting up a storm.

I also got my first block full of reliable knives at a reasonable price, made by Ronco, of As Seen on TV fame. They’re handy and they work and they’re numbered with cool names, so there’s no excuse for not keeping them in order. The company reports that “Ronco Showtime Rocker knife will cut cleanly through vegetables, meat and poultry. Use it like a chef's knife to dice, slice or chop. The “Ronco Rocker” knife comes with a set of 4 steak knives.” They referred me to:

The summer entertainment season calls for cutting everything from watermelon and steaks to little fruits to garnish those umbrella drinks. Get some and get cutting.

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