Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb
mamadeb

Musings

The challenge on Top Chef this past week was different national cuisines as represented NYC. I've been having some thoughts.



The cuisines were Italian, Indian, Chinese, Jamaican, Latin, Middle Eastern, Greek and Russian. The idea was to do a take on the cuisine (yes, I know. Most of these are too varied to be under one name. It's not my idea.) but knock the judges socks off. I think they used that very phrase.

I don't know enough about Jamaican cuisine to even start doing a respectful take on it. I don't cook much Greek or Latin. My Chinese cookery is basically highly inauthentic stirfries and my Indian is equally inauthentic curries. I can get the flavor profiles right for Chinese, but curry is a tad one note for the complexity that any Indian food should have.

This leaves Italian, Russian and Middle Eastern.

If I were to do an Italian dish that took off from standard dishes - I'm thinking chicken (or veal) cutlet, with herbed and garlicked bread crumbs and friend, a rustic pumpkin sauce (roughly puree'd with onions and garlic and a touch of nutmeg) on top, and a tangle of pasta with parsley and lemon on the side, and parsley on top of the sauce.

If I were to do Middle Eastern: I'd grill lamb chops, sliced sweet potatoes, turnips, onions and zucchini with a rub of pepper, cumin, cloves and a touch of cinnamon, and serve them on a bed of couscous with soaked raisins and toasted almonds, drizzled with a reduced sauce of lamb stock (made from grilled bones) and red wine, also flavored with a touch of cinnamon, cloves and cumin, and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. On the side would be an Israeli salad of diced tomatoes and cucumbers in a lemon-olive oil dressing, but I'd use cilantro instead of parsley.

As for Russian :) -

Vegetarian cabbage borsht (cabbage, onions, potatoes, a bit of beet juice) left a bit chunky (it's the end of winter, this is the food left to cook and you want something to chew) with a dollop of sour cream topped with caviar (from poverty to luxury.) On the side, pickled beets and red onions (winter - food put by) topped with a quartered hard boiled egg (it's spring and the hens are laying.)
Tags: thoughts, top chef
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