Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Joys of Food Writing

I love being a food writer. Not only do I get to put words together that focus on my favorite subject, but I also get to meet all of the creative and often lively people in the food world.

In the past, I’ve interviewed some famous people—Emeril Lagasse (three times), Mario Batali, Rachel Ray (in a telephone press conference), and Dan Aykroyd (he has his own line of wines). However, the interviews I remember most are the ones with chefs and restaurant owners who work outrageous hours each day to share the food they love with the public. I also enjoy interviewing everyday folks who want to share a special recipe.

Today a food article I wrote ran in the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper. It’s about a local church’s cookbook that features recipes from some well-known Kansans. When I went to interview Carol and Margaret, they each fixed a recipe they had contributed to the book so Thad the Photographer could take some photos for the article. After the images were captured in Thad’s fancy digital camera, we got to enjoy the food!

Carol’s Tabbouleh Salad was the perfect summer dish with fresh, bright flavors. It was a wonderful complement to Margaret’s Shrimp and Scallops with Linguine, both of which I devoured. I will be making both many times in the years to come. (Wish I could take photos like Thad!)

Carol Schmidt’s Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh Salad is a very versatile Middle Eastern dish that can be served as a side dish, a dip with crackers or corn chips, or as a salad on a bed of lettuce. It can be served either chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 12
For the salad:
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced
For the dressing
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
To prepare the salad, soak bulgur in hot water until water is absorbed, 15 to 30 minutes. Combine remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add bulgur and mix thoroughly.

To prepare the dressing, blend ingredients with a whisk. Pour over salad.

Note: if preparing to use for a dip, you might want to omit the garbanzo beans.

Margaret Carreno’s Shrimp and Scallops with Linguine

Carreno said this recipe is a family favorite served for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and birthdays.

1 pound cooked salad shrimp
1 1/2 pounds fresh sea scallops
1/2 to 1 cup chopped green onion
2 gloves minced garlic
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried red pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 cup fresh pea pods, stems removed
1 12-ounce package linguine
1/2 cup Romano or parmesan cheese

Cook linguine according to instructions on package. While linguine is boiling heat a large skillet on medium: add butter, olive oil, garlic and onions. Sauté on a low heat until tender. Add shrimp, scallops, dried red pepper, basil and parsley. Cook until scallops are done (opaque in color). Add pea pods and heat until tender crisp. When linguine is cooked, drain and toss with the seafood mixture. Add cheese, toss and serve.

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