Food and Dining Magazine Spring 2010 : Page 12

starters short order K 12 Spring 2010 www.foodanddine.com BY STEVE KAUFMAN & DANA McMAHAN | PHOTOGRAPHS BY EDIS CELIK A Taste of Louisville “Keep Louisville Weird” has to be one of the best marketing slogans ever. With just enough irony to appeal to sophisticates and just enough funkiness to inspire sincere hipsters, it is a call to buy local, to keep our money circulating among our friends and neighbors, to support local businesses that offer products and services that national chains and big box stores don’t deign to touch. Louisvillians have long understood the special appeal of some local food products, jealously guarded their provenance, and been proud of their insider knowledge of things like Benedictine and Hot Browns. And Henry Bain’s sauce has long been a kind of Louisville insider secret, trotted out to impress Derby guests. But Louisville foodies know there are many other products to dazzle taste buds. Local restaurateurs have bottled their secret recipes so their fans can recreate their favorite tastes at home, and share them with distant friends.The appeal of Bourbon is well-known, but the culinary uses of Bourbon barrels is just being explored by Matt Jamie. Here is a round-up of culinary consumer products now marketed by local entrepreneurs, so your kitchen can be proudly weird, too. Bourbon Barrel Foods Paprika, Salt & Pepper One magical whiff of this line of Bourbon-smoked sea salt, black pepper and smoked paprika and you know you’re on to something good. Showered on melted goat cheese atop griddled bread, the paprika makes for a sophisticated snack. And you’ll find yourself adding the melting sea salt crystals and the pepper to everything from poached eggs to beef gravy. The smoked paprika in particular lends a mysterious je ne sais quoi to dishes, an exotic and deeply alluring flavor that is bound to become your secret ingredient of choice.Added to a simple black bean and winter squash stew, the smoked paprika, in harmony with the sea salt and pepper, delivers a fragrant bowl with the character of a long-simmered old family recipe. I’m a bit of a condiment tramp, unable to resist the call of a gourmet salt or seasoning. One entire cabinet in my tiny kitchen is devoted to specialty salts where these shiny happy tins from Bourbon Barrel are now bound to take up permanent residence — move over truffle salt and Fleur de Sel de Guérande! (Around $7-$8) DM Bourbon Barrel Foods Bluegrass Soy Sauce Food snob though some may call me, I don’t normally carry my own soy sauce into my local sushi joint. But after having tasted this smoky, sultry microbrewed soy sauce that’s aged in Bourbon barrels, I had to try it out on some salmon sashimi. And just when I thought the perfect food couldn’t improve, sashimi met sauce and I found nirvana. The complex flavor and feather-light sauce took the sushi to an entirely new level. The sauce also adds depth and flavor to gravies, but I’ll keep a bottle on hand just for sushi. (Around $5) www.bourbonbarrelfoods.com DM

Short Order

A Taste of Louisville<br /> <br /> “Keep Louisville Weird” has to be one of the best marketing slogans ever. With just enough irony to appeal to sophisticates and just enough funkiness to inspire sincere hipsters, it is a call to buy local, to keep our money circulating among our friends and neighbors, to support local businesses that offer products and services that national chains and big box stores don’t deign to touch.<br /> <br /> Louisvillians have long understood the special appeal of some local food products, jealously guarded their provenance, and been proud of their insider knowledge of things like Benedictine and Hot Browns. And Henry Bain’s sauce has long been a kind of Louisville insider secret, trotted out to impress Derby guests.<br /> <br /> But Louisville foodies know there are many other products to dazzle taste buds. Local restaurateurs have bottled their secret recipes so their fans can recreate their favorite tastes at home, and share them with distant friends.The appeal of Bourbon is well-known, but the culinary uses of Bourbon barrels is just being explored by Matt Jamie. Here is a round-up of culinary consumer products now marketed by local entrepreneurs, so your kitchen can be proudly weird, too.<br /> <br /> Bourbon Barrel Foods Paprika, Salt & Pepper<br /> <br /> One magical whiff of this line of Bourbon-smoked sea salt, black pepper and smoked paprika and you know you’re on to something good. Showered on melted goat cheese atop griddled bread, the paprika makes for a sophisticated snack. And you’ll find yourself adding the melting sea salt crystals and the pepper to everything from poached eggs to beef gravy.<br /> <br /> The smoked paprika in particular lends a mysterious je ne sais quoi to dishes, an exotic and deeply alluring flavor that is bound to become your secret ingredient of choice. Added to a simple black bean and winter squash stew, the smoked paprika, in harmony with the sea salt and pepper, delivers a fragrant bowl with the character of a long-simmered old family recipe.<br /> <br /> I’m a bit of a condiment tramp, unable to resist the call of a gourmet salt or seasoning. One entire cabinet in my tiny kitchen is devoted to specialty salts where these shiny happy tins from Bourbon Barrel are now bound to take up permanent residence — move over truffle salt and Fleur de Sel de Guérande! (Around $7-$8)<br /> <br /> Bourbon Barrel Foods Bluegrass Soy Sauce<br /> <br /> Food snob though some may call me, I don’t normally carry my own soy sauce into my local sushi joint. But after having tasted this smoky, sultry microbrewed soy sauce that’s aged in Bourbon barrels, I had to try it out on some salmon sashimi. And just when I thought the perfect food couldn’t improve, sashimi met sauce and I found nirvana. The complex flavor and feather-light sauce took the sushi to an entirely new level. The sauce also adds depth and flavor to gravies, but I’ll keep a bottle on hand just for sushi. (Around $5) www.bourbonbarrelfoods.com<br /> <br /> Lotsa Pasta Olive Oils<br /> <br /> The alchemists at Lotsa Pasta are nothing short of miraculous. Overlook those labels that will never win a design award, and sample one of their infused olive oils and you’ll agree. The fresh, grassy olive oils are bursting with flavor.<br /> <br /> If you dream of attending the Gilroy garlic festival, you must start with the roasted garlic infused oil. It’s pure essence of garlic, heady and pungent, captured in liquid form. Forget dipping bread in it — you’ll want to drench your baguette in this lifesustaining stuff. The basilinfused oil is summer in a bottle — enough to make you weep for those blue-sky days when you smell basil a block before you reach the farmer’s market. And the rosemary-oregano oil will make you swear off butter forever — just slick all your bread with this aromatic suspension of oil and herbs. And don’t stop at bread with these oils — sauté vegetables, drizzle into soups, or if nobody is looking, drink by the spoonful. (Around $7) www.lotsapasta.com<br /> <br /> Pendennis Club’s Henry Bain’s Sauce<br /> <br /> Henry Bain was the headwaiter at Louisville’s exclusive Pendennis Cub in the 1920s, where he developed that special steak sauce. Until recently, though, the real Henry Bain’s sauce was available only to Pendennis Club members. Apparently, all the others, available in grocery stores and specialty markets, were mere knock-offs.<br /> <br /> But now the real thing is being publicly distributed, for use on your steaks, chops and hamburgers. But don’t stop there. Put it on your eggs, too. That elusive taste of chutney, vinegar, tomatoes, molasses, crushed orange puree, red pepper and whatever grabbed Henry’s fancy at the time, will do no harm at all to your Bloody Mary, either. (Around $6.50) www.henrybains.com<br /> <br /> Come Back Inn Italian Red Sauce<br /> <br /> When expat friends living in Italy choose to eat at the Come Back Inn when they’re in town, you know something’s gotta be good. They say it reminds them of the neighborhood bars in Italy, an important part of daily life there. This homegrown, local feel comes across in the Come Back Inn’s homemade red sauce as well. An almost meaty (though it’s actually vegetarian) heft to the savory sauce coats pasta perfectly. It doesn’t leave behind a pink puddle like an inferior sauce would, and chunks of onion and tomato tell you this comes from real food. (Around $XX) www.comebackinn.biz<br /> <br /> David & Adam’s Jalapeño Tartar Sauce<br /> <br /> I don’t always understand Americans’ preoccupation with jalapeño. Personally, it generally makes me hiccup for an hour. But there are certainly those who thrive on that burn in their gullet. And they’ll love this new tartar sauce, made famous by The Fish House, one of the best of Louisville’s several hundred-thousand fried fish sandwich shops.<br /> <br /> But here’s the surprise: Even those who hiccup (like me) will be delighted by the sweet-and-bite combination of this green mayonnaise-y product. The bite goes away quickly and the combined tastes of the jalapeño, dill, vinegar, onions and lemon juice make the fish — or even a hamburger or a chip dip — taste a lot better. (Around $4) www.kfoodsinc.com<br /> <br /> Houston’s Louisiana Mayo<br /> <br /> While the Cajun cooking craze has cooled off a bit since Paul Prudhomme first made blackened redfish in a brown paper bag in New Orleans in the early 1980s, the flavor that inspired the craze hasn’t cooled off much at all.<br /> <br /> Houston’s Louisiana Mayo isn’t red hot, though, despite the red chili pepper on the label. Rather, it’s a pleasing combination of spicy and sweet.<br /> <br /> Use it wherever you would normally use mayonnaise — on a turkey sandwich, in egg salad, or mix it into your scrambled eggs. It won’t overwhelm the other foods but it will kick the back of your throat — just a little bit. (Around $5) www.houstonsdressings.com<br /> <br /> Asiatique Sauces<br /> <br /> The stir-fry seems to be the last great frontier to challenge home cooks (yours truly, at least). How much oil? How much soy sauce? How much ginger and garlic? The ability to conjure up the exact combination of flavors for a perfect stir-fry has eluded me. Thankfully, Asiatique has come to the rescue with their stir-fr y sauce.<br /> <br /> Firstly, the sleekly-designed bottle will add instant cred to your refrigerator. Secondly, all you need to do is pour a generous swig into your stir-fry. The days of measuring, weighing and calculating are over. And if you are going all out with spring rolls or dumplings to accompany your stir-fry, Asiatique’s sweet chili basil sauce brings perfectly balanced fire and flavor to the table. You’ll want to make extra — of anything — to dip, just in order to deliver that sweet and pungent bit of searing heat over and over. (Around $5) www.asiatiquerestaurant.com<br /> <br /> Mark’s Feed Store Barbecue Sauce<br /> <br /> There isn’t a barbecue purist who doesn’t feel his or her formula has the perfect balance of sweet and hot, honey and garlic, paprika and onion, sugar and smoke. Buy a bottle in a grocery store? You probably like Velveeta cheese, too. But Mark’s Feed Store, annual winner of just about every “best ’cue in Lou” award, has three versions of its excellent sauce, and they’re available in bottles — in the supermarket. Take one home and slather it on your ribs, mix it in with pulled brisket or pork loin or stir one into your chili. I think it would satisfy most purists. (Around $3) www.marksfeedstore.com<br /> <br /> Kilimanjaro Jerk Sauce<br /> <br /> Café Kilimanjaro may be gone, but the kick in its African jerk sauce lives on.The sauce, made by Kilimanjaro Foods Inc., appropriately sneaks up on you, like jerk should: sweet on your tongue, fiery on your throat, comforting in your tummy. So now you can make your own, authentic jerk chicken or pork or shrimp or even tofu. Or you can use it as a base for a kicking cocktail or barbecue sauce, or a marinade. The possibilities are endless, mon. (Around $6) www.kfoodsinc.com<br /> <br /> Nano’s Marinara Sauce<br /> <br /> Eating at Corbett’s American Place (winner of AAA’s four diamonds of excellence) is a dress-up, big-ticket experience. Eating chef Chris Howerton’s spaghetti sauce is something you can do at home in your bluejeans. Howerton’s “Simply Spectacular” Nano’s Marinara is redolent of the garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and anchovies mentioned on the label. Better than that, it’s redolent of all those corner red-checked-tablecloth Italian restaurants I frequented in my years in New Jersey.<br /> <br /> Howerton’s chunky, fresher-than-fresh-tasting marinara — his grandmother’s recipe — is great on pasta, right out of the jar, or as a base for your own sauce. Or pour it right over a meatball hero. You wouldn’t get a chance to do that at Corbett’s Place. (Around $7)

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