Norman Van Aken http://blog.wlrn.org en Vaca Frita http://blog.wlrn.org/post/vaca-frita <p></p><p>Before I looked at him I heard his voice. He was ordering from the blackboard menu.</p><p style="margin-left:7.0pt;">''Vaca Frita please with moros" he added. American accent all the way. But he knew he was going to be&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left:7.0pt;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>getting rice and beans when he requested those items. Confidence all the way. He was told in Spanglish, "you get y una mas 'Side'."</p><p>He responded. "Do you have Maduro Plantains?"</p><p style="margin-left:7.0pt;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Si!"</span></p><p> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 35783 at http://blog.wlrn.org Vaca Frita Vaca Frita http://blog.wlrn.org/post/vaca-frita-0 <p></p><p>Before I looked at him I heard his voice. He was ordering from the blackboard menu.</p><p style="margin-left:7.0pt;">''Vaca Frita please with moros" he added. American accent all the way. But he knew he was going to be&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left:7.0pt;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>getting rice and beans when he requested those items. Confidence all the way. He was told in Spanglish, "you get y una mas 'Side'."</p><p>He responded. "Do you have Maduro Plantains?"</p><p style="margin-left:7.0pt;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Si!"</span></p><p> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 35784 at http://blog.wlrn.org Vaca Frita The Foods Of India http://blog.wlrn.org/post/foods-india <p></p><p>‘A Word on Food’ is done with words of course. Where would I be without them? Our blonde-haired, blue-eyed granddaughter Audrey is not yet two yet she is teaching me to try more communication...</p><p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 18:29:05 +0000 Norman Van Aken 34082 at http://blog.wlrn.org The Foods Of India Caviar http://blog.wlrn.org/post/caviar <p>You don’t eat caviar because you’re hungry. But the portion set before us at a dinner the other night was certainly capable of staving off a serious quantity of pang.</p><p>We all eye’d the curvaceous morsels of edible hedonism. They were caviar-stuffed, chive-tied crêpes perched upon the base of empty, over-turned, long stemmed Riedel wine glasses. This caviar presentation was done in the style of the legendary “beggars purses” as created by Chef Barry Wine the once-upon-a-gilded-time owner of the ‘Quilted Giraffe’ restaurant of New York City.</p><p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:00:39 +0000 Norman Van Aken 33413 at http://blog.wlrn.org Caviar Caramelization http://blog.wlrn.org/post/caramelization <p>Inevitably I have a conversation with nearly every chef that comes to work with&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">me as well as the students who attend my cooking classes. It has to do with a cooking term </span>“caramelization”<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:40:16 +0000 Norman Van Aken 33408 at http://blog.wlrn.org Caramelization Nachos http://blog.wlrn.org/post/nachos <p> Wed, 21 May 2014 14:57:56 +0000 Norman Van Aken 32699 at http://blog.wlrn.org Nachos Hamburgers http://blog.wlrn.org/post/hamburgers <p> Sat, 10 May 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 31947 at http://blog.wlrn.org Hamburgers Peppers http://blog.wlrn.org/post/peppers <p> Wed, 07 May 2014 14:17:53 +0000 Norman Van Aken 31946 at http://blog.wlrn.org Peppers Culinary Couples http://blog.wlrn.org/post/culinary-couples <p></p><p>You and Me Darlin’. Like Ham and Eggs. Like Cream and Sugar. You know what I mean Love?</p><p>Like Bogey and Bacall some things are meant to be unified a Oneness out of Two. It is the way of the world. When I think of the great food marriages I swirl in a dance of dualities. Salt and Pepper. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Chocolate and Vanilla. What causes some things to match so perfectly that we rarely think of them alone? That their still stunning singularity is magnified by more than a power of two when twined? Tue, 29 Apr 2014 14:14:38 +0000 Norman Van Aken 31529 at http://blog.wlrn.org Culinary Couples Sopa De Pollo http://blog.wlrn.org/post/sopa-de-pollo <p> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 30783 at http://blog.wlrn.org Sopa De Pollo A Word On Food: Tostadas http://blog.wlrn.org/post/word-food-tostadas <p></p> Sat, 22 Feb 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 28167 at http://blog.wlrn.org A Word On Food: Tostadas A Word On Food: Cinnamon http://blog.wlrn.org/post/word-food-cinnamon <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The way my mother taught me to make cinnamon toast was to start with raisin bread and toast it to perfection.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">She might have timed it by how long it took her to jump into her waitress work uniform before slathering it with rich and creamy Wisconsin sweet butter. Then she&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">sprinkled a combination of sugar and cinnamon out of our plastic, yellow &nbsp;‘baseball player’ figurine bottle that was covered with wax paper tucked under a&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">red metal lid tha t doubled as&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">the faux baseball boy’s ‘cap’.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">She usually </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">slathered</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> enough butter on the toast so that the cinnamon and sugar mix slide&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">over the top of it like grains of sand dancing in the ebb of an ocean wave.</span></p><p> Sat, 01 Feb 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 27137 at http://blog.wlrn.org A Word On Food: Cinnamon A Word On Food: Oxtails http://blog.wlrn.org/post/word-food-oxtails <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The majority of times I have enjoyed oxtails has been in the classic Cuban dish named, “Rabo </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Encendido.</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">” The translation is literally “Lit Tail.”</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This is supposedly&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">due to the spice level in the dish, but unless I make it myself or have it in the home of another chile-loving person, the spice is mild, while the flavor is great. I love the tomato-ey rich stew that I have eaten since venturing into places like “El Siboney” in Key West years ago. I had it there again recently.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Sat, 25 Jan 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 26908 at http://blog.wlrn.org A Word On Food: Oxtails A Word On Food: Blood http://blog.wlrn.org/post/word-food-blood <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I walked into our restaurant kitchen and I inhaled an aroma I’d known before&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I knew it’s name</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. It was blood</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. It spiraled me back in time to a grocery store where my mother shopped when I was young. She carried me in there before the age of three and slung me from hip to hip while she selected our food and put it in the cart. By the time I was five, I knew the owners names, Mr. and Mrs. Petersen.</span></p><p>Though small, the store was pretty amazing for the time. They had a full butcher case that Mr. Petersen personally manned. He had a box of sawdust that he used to toss like chicken feed onto the wooden floors to sop up the blood that fell off his knives. A vibrant produce section lined one whole wall of the store. It relied on the area’s farms and orchards. Though the fish choices were few, they were&nbsp;fresh Great Lakes&nbsp;fish. There was even a baked goods cabinet by the check out area. Mrs. Petersen added in her own home-baked Greek specialties that lent a sense of exotica&nbsp;to the rural store in our town.</p><p> Sat, 18 Jan 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Norman Van Aken 26504 at http://blog.wlrn.org A Word On Food: Blood A Word On Food: Turkey http://blog.wlrn.org/post/word-food-turkey <p>The first&nbsp;time we rolled down Highway 1 in the Florida Keys was 1971. Sometimes you would not see an oncoming car for 10 to 15 minutes. The darkness on those narrow bridges we crossed was nearly overwhelming.</p><p>But above us the constellations came through. The starlight was an explosion of skyward imagery that guided us forth. Now&nbsp;we drive across these islands on the same&nbsp;highway and struggle to find a gap where you hope&nbsp;to find the darkness once again and&nbsp;the attendant miracle of the stars. Returning here, I am reminded of the words of ancient Heraclitus, “<em>No man ever steps in the same river twice&nbsp;</em><em>for it</em><em>’</em><em>s not&nbsp;the same&nbsp;river&nbsp;</em><em>and he</em><em>’</em><em>s not&nbsp;the same man.</em>”</p><p> Sat, 11 Jan 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Daniel Hicks 26303 at http://blog.wlrn.org A Word On Food: Turkey