November 18, 2012
In a recent post about this years Epcot Food & Wine Festival (Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2012: more food… more thoughts…), I showed you the offerings at the Vegan booth terra, one of which was a meatless chili topped with a faux cheese…
about the same time as I had tried this dish, I happened to stumble across a recipe for cashew cheese in the November 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine, and since I’m quite fond of cashews anyway, I decided to give it a try…
So be prepared to make a trip to the health food store or Whole Foods, etc for a couple of the ingredients, and then Let’s Cook!
Spicy Cashew Cheese
2 Cups Raw Cashews, soaked in water to cover for 12 to 24 hours
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbl Nutritional Yeast (not the regular stuff – you’ll likely have to hunt for this, like the raw cashews… or find online)
1 Tbl Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tsp White Balsamic Vinegar (or white wine vinegar – rice vinegar would work too)
1/4 Tsp Granulated Onion Powder
1/8 Tsp Granulated Garlic Powder (or a little more, to taste)
1/8 Tsp Ground White Pepper
2 Chopped Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, along with a Tsp of the sauce (of course you can up this as desired… as I usually do)
Drain the soaked cashews and put into the bowl of a food processor.
Process for about 1 minute until a coarse paste develops.
Add the rest of the ingredients, other than the chipotle peppers and sauce, and process for 4 or 5 minutes until the mixture is very smooth.
Add the chopped peppers and adobo…
and process for a couple more minutes until well incorporated.
Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight to firm up a bit.
And now what do you do with it?
Use as a dip, spread on a chip,
use it as a bread spread, and yes, you can dollop it on chili (veggie or not) or with some pasta…
So is it “cheese”? Of course not – the nutritional yeast gives it a little bit of that cheesy taste – but what it really is is a cashew-based hummus – and it’s really good (and probably, shhhh… sorta good for you).
Now if you want to season this differently, at the point after the second (long) processing (and before you add the peppers in this recipe), you have a fairly “blank slate”, as the “cheese” is a bit nutty, but still fairly bland. If you don’t want to make it spicy, omit the chipotles and try adding herbs of your choice (basil?), and/or roasted garlic, or whatever strikes your fancy… or even more or different peppers (habaneros anyone?) for the chile-head!
This is worth a try, and after you’ve found the ingredients it’s is easy as pie… or “cheese”…
Back to the kitchen – see you soon!
November 7, 2012
It’s seems just like yesterday that the 2012 version of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival opened – I gave you some first thoughts in (the appropriately named) posts Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part One and Epcot Food & Wine 2012: First Tastes, First Thoughts… Part Two…
and now that’s it’s nearly over it’s time to give you an update on some of the foods, events and other random stuff that Miss Bonnie and I, along with several friends and family members, have experienced during the past few weeks of the festival… so let’s take a look, shall we?
One of the most talked-about kiosks this year is the first all-vegan booth, Terra.
Now, Dedicated Readers know I do love me some animal protein, but at the same time I also think we should limit our meat consumption (for the good of our own health and the health of the planet) and I actually do my best to eat vegetarian at least two or three days out of the week… and considering I’ve had several friends and acquaintances who have adopted (or at least experimented with) a vegan lifestyle in recent years, I was quite interested in trying the offerings at Terra.
Hosted/sponsored by gardein, a company that produces vegan meat substitutes, the Terra booth has a couple of savory options, a non-meat dessert (shocking) and several beverage options.
One day I made my way there to try the meatless selections, and (we’ll end the suspense here…) was pretty impressed with the offerings.
The “Trick’n Chick’n” Curry was a piece of faux breaded chicken atop some basmati rice with an Indian-inspired curry sauce.
The texture of the gardein Chicke’n product was actually pretty good – better than most of the other veggie-fake-chicken I’ve tried, which can have a bit of a spongy feel to them… and I’m pretty much a sucker for anything with a curry over basmati…
The chili dish had a rich, complex flavor and the texture of the gardein Beefless Tips used in it would fool most people if they didn’t know they were eating a vegan product. The cashew “cheese” doesn’t exactly make you want to forget about topping a bowl of chili with some great shredded cheddar, but does add it’s own enhancement to the dish (I have made a recipe for cashew cheese and it really turned out well, so I’ll try and share that one soon). And the chips were pretty darn good… these could star at Miss Bonnie’s dream of an all-potato booth…
As I was finishing my meal, Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann came along and he asked how I liked the vegan options. I told him I was pleased with the dishes, but was a bit perplexed about how people (and yes, I do consider vegans and vegetarians as people…) who have decided to eschew animal products still want their protein options to resemble the look and feel of meat – if you’ve ever seen the bizarre fake MorningStar Farms bacon I’m sure you’ve wondered the same thing!
Chef Jens had the first good explanation of this phenomenon I’ve ever heard – (and I’m paraphrasing him here…) – most people (especially Westerners) who are vegetarian or vegan weren’t raised that way, and ate meat for much or part of their life, and therefore the texture and flavor of meat products are something that one craves and desires from memory, and thus the faux meat products…
A couple of weeks later Miss Bonnie and I again ran into Chef Jens, and on this occasion Bonnie was wearing her D23 Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit tee-shirt that pays homage to the former Epcot attraction Kitchen Kabaret.
Chef Jens seemed quite excited to see Miss Bonnie’s garb and quickly excused himself to get a co-worker – he returned with Michael Jenner (who is essentially the Godfather of the Food & Wine Festival) – Michael noted that Jens had not been at Epcot nearly long enough to remember the long extinct attraction of Kitchen Kabaret, but they had actually considered “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit” as the name for the vegan booth before “terra” was chosen!
Germany had been high on Bonnie’s “want-to-try” list, so one day we (read mostly “she”) sampled all the food items there…
The brat had good flavor and the pretzel roll was good, but it still needed something else, maybe bring back the kraut… the Schinken Nudel was essentially a custardy mac & cheese with ham… Bonnie found it to be okay but not great – she thought it would be a decent breakfast item – I found it a bit bland… the real winner here was the strudel – flaky pastry filled with apples and topped with a caramel and vanilla sauce – the was a “big yum” all the way around!
As noted on earlier visits, the beer flights from the Brewer’s Collection next to Germany continued to be a very popular choice.
On one visit several young ladies were hanging out in front of the Watermelon Patch handing out recipe cards….
turns out the were the Watermelon Queens… I’ll refrain from making any inappropriate melon comments…
In the good-old US of A the Fife & Drum booth is featuring some Jim Beam bourbon-based beverages…
The frozen Red Stag Lemonade has been added to the regular menu here after being introduced during Food & Wine, but the Red Stag Honey Tea Lemonade is here just for the festival…
and it’s good… damn good…
In Belgium, the mussel dish has been altered this year…
the version with a cream-based sauce from recent years has been replaced with a beer-steamed version using Hoegaarden beer. Served with a baguette to sop up the broth, this is a treat for bivalve lovers.
On the merchandise front, a Food & Wine Festival engraved cocktail shaker has debuted this year…
and apparently taking a cue from the Swan & Dolphin Classic,
Disney is selling small plastic plates (with a place to check off the booths you’ve visited printed on them) with a built-in wine glass holder.
Now back to some food…
New Zealand continues to shine at the Festival – the scallop dish was similar to the one last year with a slightly spicy puree holding the freshly cooked scallop… of course a second scallop would make this a much better dish, but I guess you can’t have everything…
The lamb sliders have been replaced with a lamb meatball in a pastry case topped with a spicy tomato sauce. The meatball itself has lots of flavor and the chutney adds just the right amount of heat – I really think this is a nice new option. I know there are some usually normal carnivores out there that seem to be lambphobic, so if you may not be quite ready to dig into the tasty chop at Australia, this is a good gateway lamb dish.
One of the new items at the Morocco booth this year is the Merguez Sausage.
The beef and lamb sausage is served in a split pita with grilled peppers and onions – I liked the taste of the sausage and overall it was a good item, but it was not anything spectacular.
There are a couple of new items in China this year: Mongolian Beef and Chicken Satay.
I was quite pleased with both items, and they were both decent portions. The chicken was especially good – a large amount of tender grilled chicken served with a spicy peanut sauce and a small amount of nice pickled veggies (Miss Bonnie was very critical of the small portion of pickles).
Let’s take a walk and try to work off some of the calories before hitting a couple more new food items….
As we pass by the Cheese booth, we see that the self-ordering machines from last year have returned (they weren’t there the first couple of weeks of the festival), but on this occasion no one was taking advantage of them.
In the Festival Center there was a display of some of the wines from the Florida Orange Groves that are featured this year at the Florida Local Booth.
In addition to the traditional glass bottles, the wines are also offered in a handy-dandy pouch…
and if you have to drink them right now, they are also available on ice!
Also in the Festival Center was a table of goodies that were calling my name…
can you just deliver that whole table to my resort???
Let’s head back to the World Showcase for a couple more things to eat before calling it a day…
The Hops & Barley Market in the US pavilion features plenty of Sam Adams brews along with food items from Maine.
At $7.50, I’m pretty sure the Lobster Roll is the most expensive food item at the kiosks…but it does come pretty close to the “perfect” moniker! Big, honking pieces of lobster meat just lightly enrobed in a seasoned mayo on a nice bun… yumm, yummm, yummmm….
Now for a sweet ending to the visit… we’d previously tried the Chocolate Mousse at the Desserts and Champagne booth and loved it – the bite from the chili perfectly complimented by the caramel and salt…
but we forced ourselves to try the trio of desserts – Yogurt Panna Cotta with Orange Cake, Raspberries and Pomegranate; Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote; and the previously sampled Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chili and Salted Caramel. All were really good (the mousse still being the best), and at $3.75 for the trio, quite a deal. And dessert will end our look right now at the Food & Wine Festival. There is sadly only one more week to go in this year’s event, and of course Miss Bonnie and I will be there for the final weekend, and (sometime) afterwards I’ll have a wrap-up and final thoughts on the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival… but for now it’s time to head back to the kitchen! See you soon!
October 15, 2012
This past weekend was the third (and I’ll go ahead and say now, most successful) incarnation of the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic.
I’ll give you, Dear Dedicated Readers, a more in-depth look at our weekend there in a future post, but I thought I’d tempt/tease/allow your taste buds to live vicariously through some pictures of the foods served this past Friday and Saturday…
So let’s take a look at the eats!
Okay… so there you have some food pics… but I can’t resist a couple more non-food shots…
as usual, the stalking of Celebrity Chefs continues (there will be more later)…
and this weekend I got to meet the “Retro Rad” (and all-around-fabulous-babe) Emily Ellyn from the Next Food Network Star! I was a bit star-struck, but tried to hold it together… more on the celeb-chefs at this weekend’s Food & Wine Classic later… along with everything else…
Back to the kitchen…
October 12, 2012
at the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic….
you might get rained on; or you might get to have your picture made with a handsome, tequila-infused celebrity chef (and if you have the right “equipment”, you may see him checking out your rack in the photo…); you might get an unexpected kiss; but for sure you’ll get to eat a lot of great food and consume mass quantities of adult beverages!
The third annual event will be held this coming weekend, and you can check out all the details at the Swan/Dolphin site.
Most of the Harem will be in attendance (Mama Ginny and Pappa Harry, Lil Sister Lindsay, Miss Bonnie and yours truly, BFF Laura and her Significant Other), so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and be on the lookout for us!
You never know what might happen….
October 11, 2012
A few days ago I gave you the highlights of our first day at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, so now let’s look at the rest of the first weekend and some thoughts on this year’s festival.
We began our Saturday AM by checking out the Festival Center.
At the rear of the building an area has been hollowed out and is hosting Ghirardelli’s “The Chocolate Experience”.
Informational displays, chocolate goodies for sale, and best of all, they give you a square of one of the Ghirardelli chocolates when you go in!
Along the back wall are several displays of candy art by chefs from around Disney property.
And a bit further back, was the Chase Lounge for Chase cardholders.
There were (non-adult) beverages provided (even though the soft drink machine was on the fritz when we were there)…
a place to charge your devices, some comfy seating…
and a very cool large touch-screen “Interactive Kiosk” chock-full of festival info.
Castmember Abe was handing out wristbands that allowed Chase cardholders admittance to reserved seating areas for the Eat to the Beat concert as well as a reserved viewing area for that night’s Illuminations.
As the room isn’t huge, there always seemed to be a line to get in, but all-in-all this was a very nice perk for Chase customers. It was a nice space, but since Miss Bonnie and I had seen the way this room had been previous decorated, at the same time we were both a little sad that the old theming of the space had been lost… but that’s another post for another day…
And of course, there was a ton of merchandise…
I really like the “Brews Around the World” logo and merchandise.
Glasses, hats, key chains (with church key)… it’s all good stuff and I think will be a big seller.
Bonnie fell in love with a new series of Italian-inspired merch…
bags, mugs, trivets, aprons and more are adorned with several great logos featuring favorite Disney characters.
This is some really good stuff, and it’s not specifically “Food & Wine” labeled merchandise, so I imagine we might see this line available for a while in the Italy pavilion.
There was a lot more stuff for sale (no shock there!), and overall I think this is a great year for Food & Wine merch – maybe we’ll do a post just on that later…
If you can’t wait until the booths open, yes you can get a beverage or two at the Festival Center.
We decided to start the days feedings with the Fruit and Cheese Plate here (and yes, I did sample the beer…).
Not that it was anything horrible, but compared to the offerings elsewhere, this was a bit disappointing… cubes of basic Cheddar, Swiss and Pepper Jack along with some strawberries and grapes… didn’t they have a more upscale cheese offering here in years past? And if no, why the hell not now?
It was getting to be that time (11 AM, when the World Showcase opens up)…
so we made our way around the lagoon to the back and started our days real dining in Japan.
On the way to Japan we had the good fortune to run into Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann. Chef Jens was, as always, very personable and generous with his time. We had a nice talk with him, but didn’t want to occupy too much of his time on an obviously very busy day for him and his staff.
In addition to the beef sandwich I had sampled the night before, they are offering a couple of new sushi hand rolls this year in Japan.
The Spicy Hand Roll has (raw) Tuna & Salmon with Chili Pepper, Soy Sauce & Sesame Oil Topped with Kazan Volcano Sauce… and it’s Dang Tasty…
while for the more sushi-squeamish the is the Karaage Hand Roll – Crispy Fried Chicken enrobed in Sushi Rice and drizzled with Spicy Mayonnaise – also pretty Darn Good…
Despite the flavors being great, these weren’t “Hand Rolls” in the traditional sense – if you go to a sushi restaurant usually a hand roll will be a larger sheet of nori (seaweed) with sushi rice inside and wrapped around the filling – these were basically a compressed sushi roll with a bit of nori wrapped around one end to serve as a handle… not really what they purport to be, but still good…
Outside the Enoteca in Italy a temporary wine dispensary has been set up.
As the lines inside the small wine shop tend to get long during the festival, especially on the weekends, this makes a lot of sense.
Our next stop was at the always popular Brewer’s Collection.
Very popular were the beer flights…
Lot’s of guests were opting for these flights…
and it’s a pretty good deal…
of course you could put your own selection together of four 6 oz drinks (which would run you a total of $2.00 more) and I’d bet you they’d still let you have the handy carrying case.
But today we were on a mission to try just one brew… Schofferhofer Grapefruit… yes, grapefruit brew…
Miss Bonnie, who does not like or drink beer (remember this), was fascinated by the idea of grapefruit beer, so we had to give it a try. Not so sure about it myself, I got us one of the half-sized glasses to sip on (just in case it was horrible…).
Wow – this stuff was great! Light, refreshing, very low in alcohol (okay, so it ain’t perfect..) and dang tasty! Miss Bonnie, who, I repeat, doesn’t drink beer, fought me for the glass! There will be more of this sampled in the future!
Our next food sampling was at South Africa…
we were both intrigued by the Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pocket.
This was an Indian-inspired dish (there is a large population of people of Indian-descent in South Africa) – essentially the dish Saag Paneer wrapped in a pastry crust…
Bonnie didn’t care for this at all, but I ate my share and most of her’s – I loved it… even though she’s had dishes with the bland Paneer Cheese before, I think she was looking for something more “cheesy”.
Next we had a combo meal… Bonnie had a salad craving, and stood in the line at Greece while I queued up across the way in Canada for some meat…
The salad was good as always, but nothing spectacular. The beef dish was good, especially the sauce, but not anything I’d say is a “must try”. Haven’t have the Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta yet this year, but if it’s nearly as good as in past years, I’d say it’s a much better choice than the beef when dining in Canada.
From there we made our way nearly half-way around the lagoon to try the goods at the Florida Local booth.
We had both the savory items, as well as the Florida wines…
The shrimp dish was nicely spicy and really flavorful, it might even be a bit too hot for some…
The pork-filled arepa (a savory pancake-like bread usually made from corn) was, well, Porkalicious… unless you’re a vegetarian or Kosher (or for some other reason eschew the World’s Tastiest Meat), this is a dish to try for sure!
There are some Florida produced beers here (and there is quite a number of top-notch local/regional breweries in Florida right now) as well as a couple of wines from Florida Orange Grove Wineries. There are actually a few interesting wineries around the state, many featuring native southern grapes like scuppernog and muscadine, as well as several wineries that specialize in wine based on other fruit/citrus juices. Here we have a Key Lime based (the Key Limen) and the Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria. Both were much better than you might expect – the Key Limen especially had a bright, citrus-forward taste. You have to forget about what you think a “traditional” grape-based wine should be, and enjoy these other-fruit-based-beverages for what they are. The winery that produces the ones served at the festival is actually not that far from the Eating (and Drinking) Around the World kitchens, so maybe we’ll take you on a road trip there sometime… as well as some of the other beverage producers around the state, but now let’s get back to the eats at hand…
We wound up our day’s consumption with a trip to the Desserts and Champagne booth (a logical way to end the day, no?).
We’d already heard great things about the Chocolate Mousse, and since some spice (for me) and caramel (for Miss Bonnie) was involved, we had to give it a try. Wow – this is a winner for sure! As Dedicated Readers know I profess not to be a big desserts/sweets kinda guy, but I will search this out again… rich chocolate flavor highlighted by some chile heat and a bit of salt… just wonderful… and it’s only $1.50! A perfect ending to a great day of eating.
So what are my overall first thoughts on this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival? Pretty darn good… the food we had at the booths was uniformly good, even though we didn’t sample all the new items on the first weekend (which will be rectified this coming weekend), the ones we had were great (and we’ve heard very good things about most of the items we’re yet to sample).
Things seems to move smoothly overall, even though there were pretty good crowds, everything seemly to be pretty well organized.
The merchandise this year is uniformly good – some of the best stuff we’ve seen for sale her in years.
What may seem to be a minor thing, but if you look at the food pics, you’ll see that the the plastic plates that most of the food had been served on in recent years has been replaced (at many, if not most, booths) with heavy paper (I’m assuming recycled) food receptacles.
The shape/size of the containers I think is better for diners in most cases, and if it’s more of a “Green” product, all the better.
So overall, darn good job Epcot… Food and Wine is the best time of year…
I’m sure there will be plenty more to report and opine upon in the coming weeks… and I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you made it to Food & Wine? What did you think? Please share your comments!
Back to the kitchen… see you soon!
October 6, 2012
This past weekend marked the opening of the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and Dedicated Readers won’t be shocked that Miss Bonnie & I were there for the festivities…
and as usual, I want to give you a quick overview and my first thoughts on this year’s festival… there was a ton going on, so let’s get started!
The Tower of Terror 10 Mile Race was being held this weekend (and no, we did not participate in this one… it started way too late for a couple of early-risers), so we began the weekend by checking out the race expo.
Despite this race not being food and wine themed (the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon has been moved to the last weekend of the festival this year), you could still get your drink on while shopping for socks and gels!
From there we headed to enter Epcot at the International Gateway…
the lines to get in here on Friday evening were already long, but moved quickly, and we chatted with some other guests and met a nice guy whose shirt I coveted…
I warned hm not to drink too much that evening, for if I found him a bit overly inebriated, I’d find some way to get that shirt off his back…
As we made our way around the lagoon to sample our first items, we were greeted by a gorgeous sky.
A watermelon patch graces the area at the end of the walkway between Future World and World Showcase.
Sponsored (not surprisingly) by the National Watermelon Promotion Board, the patch features some fun-melon-facts…
it will be fun to see how the watermelons might grow and develop over the course of the festival.
We decided to head to the Australia booth to start our dining. As the sun continued to lower in the sky we saw another beautiful view across the water.
The lamb dish in Australia is always a favorite – each year they mix up the sauce and/or side a bit, but it’s always among the best items served, and this year was no exception…
the tender lamb was served atop a bit of mint pesto sauce and topped with “Potato Crunchies” (which are simply crushed salt & vinegar potato chips) – as Miss Bonnie put it: “sheer genius”! The flavor of the chips helps cut the fattiness from the meat, and adds a bit of textural fun. This was the only item we had twice during the weekend, delaying sampling some other new dishes until another visit to get to have another nosh of meaty lamby goodness!
With a a little bit of food now on our bellies, we headed to check out the “Discover the Cranberry” Bog, which (to me at least) was a surprisingly bit hit at the festival last year.
We had heard that a few select media types (yours truly not being that select) would be allowing to roam in the bog and try some cranberry-inspired foods and beverages.
We were admittedly quite jealous of seeing so many of our friends and acquaintances tromping around in waders among the little floating fruits!
Orlando-based food blogger (and all-around-cool-guy) Julius Mayo Jr. recounts his time in the bog at droolius.com.
Now needing some more consumables to assuage our jealousy, we headed towards always-reliable Mexico.
This year in addition to the usual taco/cervesa/margarita options Mexico is also offering a tequila shot flight.
The savory choices are similar to the past couple of years: a beef taco with a nicely spicy sauce and a crispy shrimp taco with a seasoned mayo topping. Both are served on a flour tortilla and were quite good, even if a bit pricey ($5.50 and $5.25 respectively) for the portion size. The beef could have been a bit more tender, but the flavor was good and more spicy that I would have expected (which I like). The Lime-Strawberry Margarita was much better than either of us expected. We both agreed we’d order it again and at $7.75 it is at a pretty reasonable price and size compared to other adult drink options around the park.
We continued to wander and came to South Korea where I had to sample the new food addition there for this year, the Mung Bean Pancake.
I really liked this new addition, it was flavorful and moderately spicy from the kimchi-flavored sauce and different from the norm in being a savory pancake. Even Miss Bonnie enjoyed the one bite that I allowed her to sample.
After Korea, Miss Bonnie was on a mission…
a mission for Cheese!
Top-flight selections of cheeses have been served at most of the better sit-down restaurants around property in the past few years and (quite deservedly) have become very popular among diners. Likewise we’ve been offered great plates of cultured goodness at the Cheese booth at Food and Wine in the recent years.
This year’s offering includes (from left to right in the pic above): Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar, Rogue River Creamery Echo Mountain Blue and La Bonne Vie Goat Brie. I’m a big fan of the Beecher’s products, and this Reserve Flagship is fantastic. The Blue from Rogue (justifiably well known for their blues) is intense and powerful – this is not your mamas blue… The Goat Brie we actually found a bit lacking, perhaps it’s more subtle flavor was overshadowed by it’s stronger platemates – I’d definitely suggest you try this one first. The cheeses come with suggested accompaniments – be sure to try them – if you’ve never paired a strong blue with a bit of sweet honey or fruit you really don’t know what you’re missing…
As we headed towards Poland, we made a quick stop in Germany to visit my favorite miniature European village…
where their own version of the Food and Wine Festival was well under way, including their own cranberry bog!
Miss Bonnie wanted to try the Zapiekanki – the adorned cheese bread in Poland (are you seeing a Miss Bonnie cheese theme here?).
The thick bread is topped with mushrooms, caramelized onions and cheese and then adorned with a drizzling of seasoned ketchup.
Overall this was quite nice, but Bonnie wasn’t fond of the ketchup topping – we’ll try this again sometime and have them omit it to see how it fares.
It was getting late, and Miss Bonnie was pretty full, but I still needed just one more thing…
so we made our way to my favorite pavilion in World Showcase, Japan, to sample one of the new items there.
Before queuing up at the kiosk, I made my way over to the Kabuki Cafe to check the menu (as has become a habit of mine in the past year) on the off chance that there had been any recent changes… and look at what I found…
a laminated temporary menu featuring four savory items! Dedicated Readers may recall the history of this venue (along with the opening of the Katsura Grill and Gardens area) – the original menu posted before the actual opening featured several hot and savory items (including Wafu pork ribs and Karaage, the Japanese version of fried chicken) only to have the menu change and those items disappear just days later when they actually started serving (for details go and read, or re-read, Land of the Rising Construction Walls…). I was told these items were being served only on weekends, and only during the Food and Wine Festival.
I was later to learn that apparently Sunday isn’t included in “the weekend” as we tried to sample the bento box on that day… so it will be interesting to see if any savory items wind up making their way onto the permanent menu here… and yes, I’ll make a point of trying to get to sample these on the proper “weekend” days…
After this minor menu revelation, I made my way to get in line at Japan, and came away with the Sukiyaki Beef Pan.
The thinly sliced rib eye is tender and yummy and topped with a sweet teriyaki sauce. The flavors are good, but the bun gets soggy quickly… so if it had been toasted this item might have fared a bit better, or if it had just been served atop a bit of rice I’d probably had been happier… didn’t dislike it by any means (and I’ll likely try it again), but it just wasn’t my favorite thing of the day…
This was our end of the eating at the first day of the 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, so let’s pause here and we’ll pick up again (very) soon with the rest of the weekend and some initial overall thoughts on this year’s festival…
Now back to the kitchen… see you back here soon!
September 23, 2012
As Dedicated Readers know, I have quite a fondness for Korean cuisine, and have shared a few Korean (or Korean-inspired) recipes here over the years…
and with the South Korea booth making a return appearance at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this year (yeah!), I thought I’d share another… and it gives me an excuse to cook and eat some Korean food!
The Korean food has been a big hit since this location was introduced to the Festival in 2010. This was actually a bit of a surprise to me, as I was afraid so many guests would be reluctant to try a cuisine that I think is mostly unknown to the majority of Americans. But I think the food items were so good that word of mouth soon had long lines at the kiosk almost constantly. I’m glad that Disney guest have taken to this introduction to a type of food I really enjoy… but I hate that I now have to wait in those large lines to get my taste!
The two savory items featured the first couple of years were Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw (which has been the most popular recipe I’ve shared on the blog) and Barbecue Short Rib (aka Kalbi) with Rice and Kimchi.
The 2012 version of the booth still has the pork dish, but the beef ribs are being replaced with a Mung Bean Pancake with Shrimp and Kimchi Sauce. Koreans seem to be quite fond of savory pancakes (called Pajeon or Pa Jon), and it’s something I’ve been wanting to try out a recipe for for quite a while, so inspired by the upcoming addition to the Food & Wine kiosk, I pulled out my Korean cookbooks and settled on a dish from the Kimchi Chronicles book.
The Kimchi Chronicles is a PBS series starring Marja and Jean-Georges Vongerichten (with Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness also along for the ride while actress Heather Graham also makes a few apperances). The series chronicles Marja discovering her culinary roots in Korea (she is the daughter of a US serviceman and a Korean woman who was adopted and raised by a family in the United States). Her husband Jean-Georges is one of the most famous chefs and restauranteurs around, and adds his knowledge and his own spin the the traditional recipes. I can recommend both the show and the cookbook to those interested in the foods of Korea. You can check out the Kimchi Chronicles at their website.
After that long preamble I’m getting hungry, so Let’s Cook!
Korean Seafood and Scallion Pancakes
For the Pancakes:
2 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Rice Flour (available in Asian markets, or check the “health food” area of you local market)
2 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
2 1/4 Cups Cold Water
8 oz Containers of Oysters, drained
1/3 Lb (give or take) Medium or Large Raw Shrimp
1/2 Cup Scallion (aka Green Onion) Pieces (cut into about 1.5″ long pieces)
Vegetable Oil for frying
For the Scallion Dipping Sauce:
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Sesame Oil
2 Tbl Rice Vinegar
2 Tbl Gochugaru (Korean Red Pepper Powder, available at Asian markets. This is good stuff – I use it a lot in all types of cooking, it’s worth finding.)
6 Scallions, thinly sliced
Start by making the dipping sauce – simply whisk all the ingredients together and set aside. You can make this a day or two ahead and stick in the ‘fridge if you’d like (it probably even gets better…).
For the pancakes start by shelling and deveining the shrimp and cutting them up: if medium size just halve, if large split lengthwise and then cut in half.
Whisk the AP and rice flours along with the salt together in a medium to large bowl (the rice flour adds a bit of extra crispiness to the pancake when cooked).
Whisk in the water until the batter is smooth.
Add the seafood and scallion pieces…
and stir to mix well.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add about a cup of the batter (try to get an even amount of the goodies in each pancake) to the hot skillet.
Cook until browned and crispy on one side, about 2 to 4 minutes depending on the heat, the thickness of the pancake, etc. Carefully flip over to cook the second side.
After the second side is done (another 2 – 3 minutes), remove to a paper towel lined plate and start on the next pancake, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Serve hot with the dipping sauce.
I found the large (1 cup of batter) size pancake a bit hard to turn (of course if you have to break it into pieces to turn it’s not a big deal). Try it for the first one, and if you have the same issue, just make smaller ones. Like “regular” pancakes it may take one or two to get it right… the first ones are for the chef…
You can certainly vary the seafood used, if you’re not fond of oysters you can sub more shrimp, or add scallop pieces (but I really like the oceany, almost meaty, flavor the oysters add to this – mussels would be nice too). All scallions can be used for a strictly veggie-version (and the all-scallion pancake seems to be a popular and very traditional dish in Korea).
The scallion dipping sauce is a nice thing to add to your repertoire – it can be used with pot-stickers and even just simple cooked/roasted chicken.
The original version of the recipe is, of course, available in the cookbook, but is also on the Kimchi Chronicles website.
This is sure worth giving a try! I liked it a lot and will be making it again! If you whip it up be sure to let everyone know what you think in the comments!
The Food & Wine Festival at Epcot is now less than a week away! We’ll soon see how the pancake at the South Korea kiosk is!
Now, as always, back to the kitchen!
September 17, 2012
the first time I walk into Epcot and see the Food & Wine Festival booths popping up around the World Showcase!
As you enter the World Showcase from Future World the Craft Beer location is, as in the past few years, the first booth you will come across (gotta have something to fortify you for that long walk to the next kiosk, right?).
To the left is one of the two new kiosks this year: TERRA, the vegan booth. There has been much clamor for more vegetarian and vegan options at restaurants around property, and during the festival as well… I’m looking forward to trying the offerings here to see how well they can pull off the meatless dishes for the first time.
The other new location for this year is highlighting local Florida products…
located between Japan and the funnel cake booth at one side the American Adventure pavilion, the Florida kiosk is designed to look like a roadside produce stand.
One side of the structure is emblazoned with the words “Fresh from Florida”.
“Fresh from Florida” is the advertising slogan that has been used by the Florida Department of Agriculture for the past several years. The items being served here (a White Corn Arepa with Pork and a Shrimp Ceviche) both sound wonderful, and I’m also quite looking forward to sampling the food (and locally produced adult beverages!) here. But as a long-time Florida resident (and one whose Real Job associates him with the Department of Agriculture) I wish that there had been a larger, more diverse, location devoted to Florida and it’s food products and history (like the Oklahoma and Louisiana/New Orleans sites in recent years).
About two-thirds of the booths are in place at the time of this writing.
A couple of the larger locations are still hiding behind foliage…
the Beer Garden section in Germany with the food booth on one side and the Brewers Collection on the other has been very popular the past couple of years.
Likewise, Belgium has been among the more popular kiosks in recent years. Waffles and mussels and Stella, oh my!
And thanks to a genial horticultural Cast Member, we got an unencumbered peek behind the scenes.
Many of the buildings are in familiar locations, although as is usual, a few have been moved around…
Some booths get picked up and dropped in totally different locations from the prior year, while it looks like a few are going to be slightly relocated to help the crowd flow – the Morocco kiosk has sat further out in the walkway in past years, while (at least for now) it’s sitting back closer to the water.
The busy Hops and Barley Market, which features many varieties of Sam Adams brews along with Northeastern US eats, will move from the main drag across from the American Gardens Theatre to the relatively quiet open space further from the lagoon.
We’re now less than two weeks away! I’m getting excited!
How about you? Will you be able to get to Epcot this year for the Food & Wine Festival? If so, what are you looking forward to most? And if you’re going to be here, I hope to see you!
if you can’t make it, I’ll try to give you at least a little bit of the flavor of the event here on the blog!
Back to the kitchen – see you soon!
September 7, 2012
Yes Dear Dedicated Readers, we’re once again counting down…
At the time of this writing it’s just over three weeks until the official opening date (September 28) of the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (aka the Best Time of the Year)!
Over the past few years I’ve shared several recipes directly from, or inspired by, dishes served (or demoed) at the Festival.
So I thought I’d give you a quick review/links to those posts so that you can try a dish or two (or more…) in the days leading up to the fun at Epcot!
Below are links to the recipes (I think I’ve gotten them all, if you catch one I’ve missed, please comment!). Take a look!
Recipe prepared by Andrew Zimmern at the 2010 Festival.
This is one of the most popular posts/recipes ever on the blog!
Another very popular post…
Trust me… make this one!
There you have it – a quick wrap-up of the Food & Wine Festival recipes from the blog. Hope you will give some of them a try!
Now back to the kitchen… and we’ll keep counting down to the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival! See you soon!
August 14, 2012
This Wednesday, August 15, 2012, would have been the 100th birthday of Julia Child.
Julia was more than just a “TV Chef”, more than a personality… long before there was Giada, Alton, Rachael and even Emeril there was Julia – “The French Chef”.
Julia was a force of nature, a big person in more than stature… she very much taught America how to cook, and by extension exposed us to much of the rest of the world.
If you cook, if you eat, Julia has has an influence on your life.
I’m not eloquent enough to pay proper homage to this great woman, this great American… I’ll just say thank you Julia. Like so many I wish I could have shared a table with you, and even more so wish I could have shared a kitchen with you…
Happy Birthday Julia! We love you… Bon Appetit!