K Coffee – Yamatokoriyama, Japan

K Coffee opened in February 2014. It grew originally out of “Art Festival Hanarart”, an art festival which was held in Yamatokoriyama in 2013 with the aim of using art to bring vitality to the region. During the festival, Mr. Kazuya Mori opened up a coffee shop at the old gas station where the current shop now stands.

The “goldfish phone box” was set up as one of the artworks displayed at the festival. After the art festival was over, there were plans to clear away both the coffee shop and the phone box; however, Mr. Mori had taken a liking to the place, and started direct negotiations to rent the spot. Most people living in the area apparently were of the opinion “a coffee shop will never work in this location”; however, Mr. Mori was determined to take up the challenge. He went ahead with the plan, and K Coffee was inaugurated as an official business.

What makes this literal hole-in-the-wall so well known is their peculiar fish tank out front. It’s an old school phone booth filled to the top with water and goldfish.

Hippie “Oregano” Brownies

1/2 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 ounce “oregano,” chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Melt butter and chocolate together in a large saucepan over low heat.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Let cool.
  • Cut into squares.
  • Serve and enjoy.

What are Pork Rinds? Cracklin?

Pork rinds are pork skin that have been dehydrated and deep-fried (or baked) until puffy and crisp. They have a deeply savory, pork flavor and eat like a bacon-flavored chip. Several cuisines feature pork rinds, though they go by different names and vary slightly.

In Central and South America, pork rinds are called chicharrons, and often have some meat attached to the skin as well, often pork belly. They’re eaten as a snack and can be served with dips, salsas and tortillas. In the Philippines, the food goes by the name of chicharron, and can be made by frying pork skins or pork belly strips to be consumed as a snack or main meal, respectively. In Thailand, deep-fried pork rinds are called kaeb moo; they can be made with just pork skin or pork skin with a bit of fat attached.

In the American South, pork rinds are called cracklings, or cracklins, and have a bit of fat and meat attached. Because they have some fat attached, it prevents the pork skin from curling when it puffs. You can find cracklings at gas stations and grocery stores in a variety of flavors, at barbecue joints or in contemporary American restaurants where they might accompany pimento cheese or smoked fish dip. In the U.K., pork rinds are called pork scratchings, where they are a popular snack served at pubs alongside pints of beer. Pork rinds have found their way onto restaurant menus here too, where they add savory crunch and bacon-esque flavor to dishes ranging from roasted vegetables to desserts.

Source: Food Network

The Louisiana Crawfish Boil Experience

1. When is crawfish season?
  • You’ll see them as early as December, and they hit their peak around March-April and disappear come July
  • New Orleans has four seasons: Mardi Gras (winter), crawfish (spring), snowballs (summer), football (fall)
  • When it’s festival season, it’s usually a great time for crawfish
2. In New Orleans they don’t call them crayfish, crawdads or mudbugs: they’re crawfish.
3. Breaux Bridge, La. is the “crawfish capital of the world.”
4. What to throw in the boil:
  • 4-5 pounds crawfish per person
  • Basic — garlic, boil seasoning, lemon halves, celery
  • Classic – add red potatoes, corn, sausage, artichokes
  • Classic redux – add sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pineapple, pork chops
  • Asian-Cajun – add orange wedges, lemongrass stalks 
  • You’ll also need…
  • Newspaper = makeshift table clothes
  • Plastic trays
  • Rolls of paper towels
  • Dipping sauce for potatoes
  • Traditionally lots of beer
5. Random tips/facts:
  • Don’t eat the straight ones
  • Look for the rare blue crawfish and less rare white crawfish
  • Make crawfish étouffée with leftover tails (if you have any), spicy potato salad with leftover potatoes, or a garlic mash to spread on bread with the leftover garlic
  • Don’t forget to get some meat from the claws!

Food Through Culture: Mulatto Rice

The dynamic duos of rice and beans and peas and rice have their roots in the Akan, Aja, Yoruba and Igbo kitchens in Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Gabon. When Africans arrived in the Americas, they continued cultivating these crops, so rice and beans dishes can be found throughout the African diaspora: red beans and rice; Hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas and rice); black beans and rice; and pigeon peas and rice. The popularity of these dishes as staples and special occasion foods continued after the abolition of slavery.

In the seventeenth century, West Africans from Cape Verde to the Gold Coast cultivated large amounts of rice. They grew so much rice, in fact, that they became known as the people of the Rice Coast. White rice planters in the South sought out West Africans for purchase as slaves because of their knowledge of rice cultivation. These West Africans brought their methods of cooking long-grain rice with them to the colonial South. The African cook made her greatest culinary mark on areas like Savannah, where blacks outnumbered Europeans. Mulatto rice is evidence of diasporic links between Africa and several regions of the Americas. Zora Neale Hurston begins and concludes her classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God with rice and bean dishes. While Janie tells her friend Phoebe about how her grandmother escaped from slavery in Savannah and migrated first to Atlanta and then to West Florida, Janie is enjoying a plate of mulatto rice. “Mah mulatto rice ain’t so good dis time. Not enough bacon grease, but Ah reckon it’ll kill hungry,” says Phoebe. “Ah’ll tell you in a minute,” Janie says, lifting the cover off the plate. “Gal, it’s too good. You switches a mean fanny round in a kitchen.”

Mulatto Rice Recipe

6 strips bacon
½ cup onions, minced
2 cups water
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 cup rice

Fry bacon in a pan then remove the bacon and brown a minced onion in the bacon grease. Next, add diced tomatoes. After it is hot, add a pint of rice to the mixture, and cook slowly until the rice is done.

Source: Zora Neale Hurston on Florida Food: Recipes, Remedies and Simple Pleasures

Food Through Culture: Ambrosia Salad

The dish features a daring combination of jet-puffed marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple and mandarin oranges. It’s most commonly finished with a smattering of cool whip (originally sour cream) and chilled in the fridge overnight, encouraging the ingredients to congeal into a dense, syrupy mass. More gourmet renditions have been known to include homemade marshmallows, crushed pecans, maraschino cherries and other fresh fruit. But beyond the various recipes, each ambrosia salad offers the same feeling: The quiet thrill of knowing you’re about to do something you shouldn’t, followed by pure, sticky bliss as you place that first goopy spoonful into your mouth.

A fruit salad without morals, nothing about ambrosia indicates that it should be served as a main course. Nevertheless, this is where it’s most likely to appear. I have never seen ambrosia on a dessert table. But have bared witness to it resting amongst mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and stuffing at countless potlucks and celebrations.

The mixture of refrigerated coconut and sour cream is rumoured to have begun in the southern U.S. in the 1800s, with the earliest written reference of the salad published in a cookbook from 1867, Dixie Cookery by Maria Massey Barringer. Thanks to newly built railroads that linked the west coast with the east, imported ingredients like coconut became easier to access. By the 1870s, the proliferation of imported ingredients meant ambrosia recipes were common.

Food Through Culture: Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster is a dessert on which a restaurant empire was built. The story begins with three New Orleans siblings in the early 1950s. John Brennan, a produce supplier facing down an excess of bananas in his warehouse, gave the bananas to his brother, Owen, who was making the family name synonymous with fine Creole cuisine at Brennan’s Vieux Carré Restaurant. Owen passed the bananas along to their sister, Ella, with instructions to create a dessert to honor a New Orleans civic grandee named Richard Foster. 

Working with the restaurant’s chef, Ella devised the classic tableside preparation, which involves brown sugar, butter, a good splash of rum, a flick of the wrist, a tip of the pan, and a gleeful whoosh of fire. But the brilliance of bananas Foster is how it recasts cherries jubilee—a recipe invented fifty years prior by Auguste Escoffier in honor of Queen Victoria—with New World ingredients. And it left its imprint on a generation of American dinner-party hosts looking to dress up overripe bananas.

Hominy

Hominy is corn, but not straight off the cob. Hominy is whole kernels of dried field corn (aka maize) that have been nixtamalized, a process that cooks have been doing since ancient times, starting with those living in what we now call Mesoamerica. The corn kernels are soaked in lye or lime solutions and then rinsed several times, which removes the hulls and turns the inner kernels tender and plump. This process improves the corn’s nutritional content, and also keeps the corn from sprouting during long storage, which were big deals when cooks needed as many ways as possible to make the corn harvest last through the winter. Puffy, slightly chewy kernels of hominy have complex flavor and aroma, more like stoneground grits or freshly made tortillas than fresh corn.

Making hominy from scratch is a rather tedious multistep process, which is why most of us simply go to the grocery store and buy it. Ready-to-eat canned hominy includes a little liquid, like other canned vegetables. Dried hominy comes in bags like dried beans or whole grains, and needs to be soaked before it’s used. Wet or dry, hominy makes a reliable pantry staple

Benne Seeds

A benne seed is to a run of the mill sesame seed as a juicy heirloom tomato is to the anemic supermarket variety. They may look the same, but there’s a world of difference in taste. Benne came to the South from West Africa by way of the slave trade, the plant often grown in secret by the enslaved, who used the leaves, stems, and seeds as both a nutritional supplement and a flavor enhancer. 

Over the years, as benne became commoditized and was grown mostly for oil, those flavorful seeds became the more muted sesame seeds we know today. With a renewed interest among history-minded chefs and farmers, heirloom varieties of the seed have made something of a comeback in the South, though short of a trip to a Charleston-area farmers’ market, your best bet is ordering a bag from culinary revivalist Anson Mills. So, no, the benne seed is not the sesame seed, exactly; the benne seed is living history.

Source: S Is for Southern by Editors of Garden and Gun