Ask Chef Rachael - September 2013
Q. I noticed some of the recipes in your last magazine called for fish sauce. What is it?
A. Fish sauce is an Asian condiment and flavoring that I think of as the Asian version of Worcestershire sauce. It’s made from fermented fish, hence the name, and it tastes faintly "fishy" (in a good way) and pretty salty. In recipes I write, I tend to be fairly conservative with the amount I recommend because a few drops too much can ruin an otherwise fabulous stirfry, so use caution if you find it in other recipes. You can always add more, but you can’t get it out once it’s in! Look for fish sauce in the International Foods Aisle.
Q. I’m looking for a new recipe featuring the great sweet corn in your stores right now. What’s one of your favorites?
A. I can’t take all of the credit for it because I also don’t know exactly where my favorite summery corn recipe came from, but there are tons of similar recipes for it on the internet. This one features sweet corn with sharp red onion, mango, crunchy jicama and fresh cilantro in a lime dressing. It’s delicious and great with grilled fish, chicken or pork – I’ll even eat it on its own.
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
In a small bowl, whisk together juice, sugar and oil; season to taste. Set dressing aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine corn, jicama, mango, onion and cilantro. Add dressing; toss. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 4.
Q. I love the State Fair for just one reason: the food! But I don’t always want to go. Is there a way to re-create the fair food experience at home?
A. This question has inspired me to surprise my family with a State Fair dinner of our own! What a great idea! You can get the basics right here:
- Corn Dogs (in the Hot Foods Case)
- Untiedt Farms Sweet Corn (we are the only place you can get Jerry Untiedt’s sweet corn outside the fair!)
- Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Cheese Curds (in the Dairy Department)
- Angie’s Kettle Corn
- Kowalski’s Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
- Kowalski’s Signature Caramel Apples (Produce Department)
- and of course…Sweet Martha’s Cookies (in the Frozen Food Department). Don’t forget some cold Autumnwood Farms milk to go with them!
Q. I’m seeing a lot of summer slow cooker recipes, but they all seem kind of fall to winterish. Do you have any "fresher" ideas?
A. I wasn’t a big fan of this trend when it started last summer, but I’ve slowly warmed to it! Sometimes it really is too hot even to grill and you really don’t want to heat up your oven. In this respect, the slow cooker is genius. But like you, I don’t think this solves the problem of ending up with steaming hot brown stew on a hot day – no good in my book. But with the right finishing touches or sides, you can turn your slow cooker mainstays into “fresh” meals. With foods like pulled pork or pulled turkey, shredded beef and even pot roast, pile them onto a bun with lots of crispy, cold fresh garnishes and condiments (like sprouts, radishes, avocado, heirloom tomato, cucumber, fresh herbs, Bibb lettuce and the like). Soups – maybe something like a corn and salmon chowder or even a spicy chili – can be topped with cubed avocado, diced cucumber, radishes, raw corn and tomatoes, fresh herbs, yogurt and more.
2-3 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
Season turkey with salt and pepper; place in a slow cooker. Add chicken stock. Cook on high 5-6 hrs. or low 7-8 hrs. Remove turkey from the cooker; discard skin and bones. Strain cooking liquid to remove small fragments of bone; return liquid to pot. Shred turkey and return to the pot; adjust salt and pepper to taste. Spread cut sides of each bun with a small amount of butter; cook, cut side down, on a nonstick griddle heated to medium until golden and lightly toasted. Serve turkey on buns with desired fresh toppings. Serves 8.
Q. Is "julienned" the same as "matchstick-cut"?
A. Yes! The terms are used interchangeably. Both refer to pieces of food cut in the shape of a matchstick, about 1/8" thick, in whatever length is desired.