November, 2014 | Chef Michael Rotondo

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The Craveable Life Volume IX

November, 2014 | Michael Rotondo

I’ve always had a tenacity to be a self-starter. Having started my culinary journey at the young age of 15, working at a local restaurant in Boston, my appreciation for those willing to take the plunge and create their own direction knows no bounds. It’s one of the things that led me to The FareTrade and their dedication in profiling little known artisans across the country. As my career has progressed and allowed me to work throughout Europe, as Executive Chef at Charlie Trotter, and today as Chef de Cuisine at Parallel 37 at the Ritz Carlton San Francisco I’ve witnessed first-hand what amazing ingredients can be cooked up with passion and hardwork.

My basket with The FareTrade is at it’s core an homage to the makers whose products are featured and the recipes you’ll cook will showcase them in the purest sense. It was also important to showcase the epicurean nature of my new home, San Francisco - selecting seasonal ingredients and items synonymous with the region - as well as highlighting my past homes. I hope you’ll enjoy cooking alongside me and creating meals that are simple, robust, and interactive for family and friends - perfect for this celebratory time of year.

Stay Hungry,

Chef Michael Rotondo

 A New Culinary Adventure Each Month

Chef Michael Rotondo credit Kristen Loken

Chef Rotondo's November Basket Menu

New England Style Crab Roll Brooklyn Brine Remoulade

Autumn Wild Rice Soup Pickled Apples | Curry Oil

Salmon TarTar Seafarer Spiced Potato Chips

Mediterranean Salad Harissa Yogurt Dressing

Pork Belly Steamed Bun Pickled Ginger | Blueberry Conserva

 

November's Featured Small-Batch Ingredients

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Brooklyn Brine | Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles

Brooklyn, NY

Artisan: Shamus Jones

The only thing better than a great pickle, is a great pickle made with bourbon whiskey and genuine maple syrup! Brooklyn Brine's Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles are truly the cream of the crop. Sweet and tart, they're crafted with fresh organic cucumbers harvested in small seasonal batches, caramelized onions, organic NY State Grade B maple syrup, and Finger Lakes Distilling Bourbon Whiskey resulting in a crunchy, crispy treat ideal with red chilis adding a serious kick for backyard snacks and grown-up dishes.

Add them to a burger or pulled pork sandwich for a kick, fold them into an aioli perfect for a shrimp boil, use the brining liquid in ceviches or escabeche, or just pour up a classic pickle back whiskey shot - you can't go wrong!

 

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Mina Harissa | Spicy Harissa

New York, NY

Artisan: Mina Kallamni

This carefully blended pepper sauce is made using only 6 simple, all-natural ingredients: Red Bell Pepper, Red Chili Pepper, Garlic, Olive Oil, Vinegar, and Salt. The key to the brand's success is their ability to procure only the finest of each of these components, resulting in a Harissa spread that is flavorful, piquant, and ideal for nearly all savory dishes.

Delicious folded into couscous or tangines the sauce adds depth and spice that pairs well with lamb, goat, and poultry. Added to humus, dips, or dressings the Mina Harissa will add a richness synonymous with Moroccan cuisine. And during breakfast, coat bacon before cooking in the oven, or dollop atop eggs for a fiery wake up call.

 

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Red Lake Nation's | Brown + Wild Rice

Red Lake, MN

Artisan: The Chipewa Indian Tribe

Wild Rice differs from common rice, growing in shallow lakes and streams and ripening in late summer, which makes it ideal for our November basket. With higher nutrition than regular rice, the Wild Rice blend has more protein, minerals, and B vitamins per serving. It is also low in fat and gluten free.

The Brown & Wild Rice mixture from Red Lake Nation Foods is a robust complement to any protein, melding especially well with game birds such as Pheasant. With it's North American origins it's perfectly suited for the holidays - an ideal texture when added to Thanksgiving stuffing, in a creamy baked chicken casserole, or in a southern-inspired shrimp with wild rice waffles.

 

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Savor This Kitchen | Seafarer Spice Blend

Los Angeles, CA

Artisan: Marlene + Michael Bernstein

With roots originating from the Mediterranean, Seafarer offers the opportunity to spice up any sea-based dishes. Inspired by the flavors found along the shores of Spain, or the coast of Greece it is crafted with the rich, floral notes that pair perfectly with seafood.

Crafted with a blend of Ginger, Sumac, Garlic, Fennel Seed, Parsley, Tarragon, and Basil, Savour This Kitchen Seafarer is an ideal flavor booster to aioli, rubbed on grilled yellowtail collar or ahi burgers, and brightens seafood paellas and pasta dishes.

 

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Wallace Comestilbe's | Blueberry Conserva

Malibu, CA

Artisan: Carolyn Wallace

Wallace Comestibles mission is to create thought-provoking and flavor inspiring jams, jellies, and preserves. Their Blueberry Conserva is a testament to their ability to do just that. With the initial taste of tangy blueberries giving way to flavors that include ginger, Meyer lemon, and black pepper this spread goes beyond toast with the ability to be utilized in both sweet and savory preparations.

The Blueberry Conserva from Wallace Comestibles lends itself well to Asian flavors, melding well with soy and mirin or in lieu of plum sauce with Peking Duck. It's robust nature stands up to red meats in a balsamic reduction or added to a marinade. In sweet dishes we love it folded into creamy vanilla ice cream, in pie mixtures, or integrated into cookie dough.

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