© David Malosh / Chicken Tinga
Aside from the media events, music and parties, one of the major highlights of the SXSW festival happening in Austin right now is the tacos. Today at 2 p.m. CST, regional chain Torchy’s Tacos is holding an eating contest with a notable man to beat, local competitive eater Hungry Todd Rungy. The winner must be the fastest to devour two massive Ace of Spades tacos—each one an eight-inch flour tortilla filled with jalapeño sausage, smoked brisket, a fried egg, cheese, green chili queso, cilantro, queso fresco, sour cream and hot sauce. In the spirit of the event, but much more manageable, these Chicken Tinga Tacos are braised in a smoky Mexican tomato sauce that requires only a few ingredients, including canned tomatoes and chipotles in adobo.
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In Well-Fed Vegetarian, chefs spotlight recipes that are worth forgoing meat.
Next month, Chicago-based chef Paul Virant (Perennial Virant, Vie) will release a unique first cookbook, a sophisticated canning guide called The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux. Preserving the season's haul comes naturally to this sixth-generation Missouri native who grew up on a farm. Some of his favorite childhood memories involve foraging for mushrooms with his siblings and the amazing taste of his grandmother’s creamed corn. He combined those flavors in one of our favorite fast crostini recipes—also using sliced baguette, a bit of tarragon, olive oil and ground pepper—and the appetizer takes well to seasonal variations.
Right now, Virant suggests using frozen corn and black trumpets, French horns or shiitake. He also loves winter squash—caramelized in the oven with a mixture of sherry vinegar and thyme—mixed with mushrooms roasted in a bit of honey. The vegetable pairings are also delicious tossed with a pound of whole grains instead of piled on bread for a filling main course. Virant likes to use wheat berries or couscous accented with a bit of fennel and tomato.
See Virant's Corn-and-Chanterelle Crostini Recipe
© Frances Janisch / Sesame Chicken Salad
Legendary chef and amateur blogger Jean-Georges Vongerichten slipped some big news into a recent post about staff changes. This spring, he plans to renovate both his grand New York flagship on Central Park, Jean Georges, and the more casual Nougatine. Perfectionist chefs often tweak things that already seem fantastic: In JGV's recipe for Sesame Chicken Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing, he substitutes juicy pan-roasted chicken breasts for the raw bluefin tuna that's served in a similar dish at the restaurant, resulting in a healthy, filling main course for the home cook.
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Jean-Georges Vongerichten Recipes
© Kana Okada / Ginger-Miso Chicken
If you could bring either Parmesan cheese or miso with you to a desert island, which would you choose? New York Times columnist Mark Bittman makes a case for miso. The umami-packed ingredient is incredibly versatile. “You can dry it and turn it into a condiment (which happens to be reminiscent of Parmesan); you can use it to create a fantastic compound butter (David Chang of Momofuku showed me this five years ago); or you can stir it into mayonnaise, which is consciousness-expanding,” marvels Bittman. You can also add it to chicken. F&W’s Marcia Kiesel mixes light miso paste with garlic, sesame oil and stock to make an addictively good sauce for her Miso-Ginger Chicken and Cabbage. The healthy, deeply flavorful stir-fry comes together in just 25 minutes.
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