Food Flirt

Food, recipes, cooking, travel,

My Photo
Location: Petaluma, California, United States

Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Calamari Linguini With Ink Sauce

I recently visited the newly opened California Academy of Natural Science in Golden Gate Park with my granddaughters. It's an amazing place, filled with spectacular displays and creatures. The aquarium is gigantic and is home to a huge variety of fish. Penguins frolic nearby and a beautiful all white alligator lives in a swamp. The planetarium show was thrilling and walking through an artificial rain forest with colorful butterflies and twittering birds was a real treat.

At lunchtime we went into the food court where a huge variety of foods from all over the world were available: Spanish, Asian, Mexican, Italian, American, French, African, etc. On the menu board at the Italian counter I spotted a listing for Calamari Linguini with Calamari ink sauce. Well, that's a very uncommon dish and I was surprised to find it in a museum café of all places. Of course I had to have some and was pleasantly surprised that the dish was prepared fresh and served piping hot. Of course my granddaughters turned up their little noses when I offered them a taste but I was delighted with my choice.

A friend of mine in Venice, Italy prepares a similar sauce using Seppie, which is a cuttlefish very near to squid, and serves it over golden yellow polenta. That is a favorite of mine and she makes it for me whenever I am visiting her in Venice. You can imagine how beautiful the dish looks with the bright yellow polenta and the inky black sauce on top.

Here is a recipe for you to try.

Calamari (squid) linguini with Ink Sauce

1 lb fresh Calamari
1/2 lb linguini
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
hot water
salt and pepper
1 packet of Calamari ink*

Have your fishmonger clean the calamari for you. If the ink sack is available, be sure to have it packaged along with the calamari.

Cut tentacles from the body and wash calamari under cold water. Dice the body into rings, and chop the tentacles in half lengthwise.

Heat garlic in oil until just golden.

Add parsley and ground pepper, cover and let it simmer for 45min.
Check from time to time; if it's sticking, add some hot water. Once it has simmered, mix the tomato sauce with the white wine and add it to the pot.

Simmer for 20 minutes more, uncovered, then dilute the sauce with a little hot water and simmer for a half hour more, covered (sauce's consistency can be adjusted to your liking).

30 minutes before meal, cook pasta al dente.

Add the ink to the sauce, as much or as little as you like.

Serve sauce over pasta with the rest of the white wine.

*If Calamari ink is not available at your fishmonger, it's possible to order online. Try buying it through:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hush Puppies

I'm just back from Louisiana, which is considered a “red” state, and was surprised at the number of people I met who are Obama fans. I was in Shreveport and Monroe for a food and heritage tour. Naturally I sampled many of the local dishes including delicious hot pickled peppers and hush puppies fresh out of the fryer, smothered in creamy butter. Oh my! It was love at first bite.

History of Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies are dumplings of cornmeal that are deep-fried and traditionally served with fried catfish. There are many stories about the origins of Hush Puppies.

The oldest story is that Hush Puppies originated in the settlement of Nouvell Orleans (later called New Orleans, Louisiana), shortly after 1727. They were created by a group of Ursuline nuns (the Ursuline nuns also introduced lace making in Ireland during the potato famine) who had come from France. The nuns converted cornmeal into a delicious food that they named croquettes de maise. The making of these croquettes spread rapidly through the southern states.

Then there is a story that an African cook in Atlanta gave the name hushpuppy to this food. When frying a batch of catfish and croquettes, a nearby puppy began to howl. To keep the puppy quiet, she tossed it a few croquettes and said, "Hush, puppy."

Another story states that after a long day of work, hunters and trappers would gather around the campfire for a fish fry. They would take the cornmeal leftover from preparing catfish, fry it up in little balls and toss them to the dogs to silence their whining saying "hush, puppies."

Made simply from corn meal, eggs, etc., these tasty and traditional treats are a part of life in the southern states where ever seafood and fish are served. Below are several recipes for these delicious morsels of southern food heaven. I especially like the ones with the Jalapeno peppers. Take them hot from the fryer, slather with sweet butter all over and enjoy!

Hush Puppies

2 Eggs

1/3 cup Buttermilk

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 cups cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt
2 Garlic cloves minced

1 cup Corn, canned or frozen niblets drained

3 Jalapeno peppers seeded and minced

1 quart corn oil for deep frying

Heat the oil in deep saucepan to frying temp of 350 degrees F. 
 if you don't have a thermometer, you can test the oil by dropping in a small amount of batter. If batter sizzles and then rises to top, the oil is ready.

Place eggs, buttermilk into large bowl and mix
Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly
Using a tablespoon get a large dollop of batter and drop into the hot oil
Cook until golden
Remove and drain on paper towels

Hush Puppy Recipe

4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1 cup water

In a cast-iron skillet or a large heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil to 350° F or until a small
amount of batter dropped into the hot oil sizzles and floats. Do not let the oil get too hot or the center of the hushpuppies will not cook thoroughly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, egg, salt, baking soda, milk, and water. Mix until batter is smooth and free of any lumps. Batter should be stiff (if batter is too dry, add milk; if batter is too thin, add cornmeal).

Using two spoons, push a small amount of batter into hot oil (370° to 380° F). After about 10 seconds, Hush Puppies will float to the top and begin to brown. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown all sides. Remove from oil and place Hush Puppies on paper towels; continue cooking the remaining batter (fry in small batches, adding 4 to 6 Hush Puppies to the oil at a time).

NOTE: They can be held in a 200° F oven until serving time (approximately 30 minutes). Serve hot.
Makes 2 dozen Hush Puppies.