Weird Regional Foods
|Courtesy of Nicole Yates
Nicole Yates, whose Polish Goodness pierogi we've written about here on Meal Ticket, passes along word that Ida Mae's Bruncherie (2302 E. Norris St.) is serving French toast using babka baked by her mother, Rita Zebrowski. Ida Mae's chef and owner, Mary Kate Ralston McCaughey, whips up the dish using thick slices of the Polish dessert bread handmade with folded-in cream cheese, golden raisins and a crumb topping dipped in the batter she uses for challah French toast. It's available as a special regularly for $8.50. Polish Goodness has also added cheese babka to its product list.
More than just its throat-soothing, influenza-defeating properties, what my mother likes best about Boilo is the danger. "I found an article that said making Boilo was the number one cause of house fires in the anthracite-coal regions of Pennsylvania in the '30s," she practically bubbles. A simple mixture of oranges, lemons, ginger ale, honey, cinnamon and caraway hit with eye-watering amounts of moonshine (we used Everclear grain alcohol, lacking a still of our own), Boilo is akin to a hot toddy on steroids.
Boilo, known as the anthracite coal miner's cure for anything that ails you, was not a part of my mom's Drexel Hill childhood. She learned about it from her mother's sister, Joan, who recalled her own mother Felicia Ciokajlo (nÃ©e Swatski) making it with her own homemade ginger ale in Mt. Carmel, around two hours northwest of Philly, the early 1930s. "I've seen several different recipes," my mother related as she juiced orange and lemons for our Boilo project. "Some call for anise, mace or allspice, but I knew my family was poor they didn't have a car and they couldn't have afforded spices like that. Moonshine, however, they definitely had."
Intuitive cook that she was, my great-grandmother made her Boilo without a recipe. It was up to my great-aunt Joan to write to her second cousin Joseph Ciokajlo for more information. Joseph passed along a recipe he'd gleaned from a New Philadelphia grandmother that does use lemons an exotic item in Depression-era Mt. Carmel but none of the fancy spices my mother finds so unlikely. Despite the name, no boiling happens, as that would evaporate away the microbe-killing booze. As for the danger element, I heartily recommend keeping this project far from open flames, as Everclear or any high-proof alcohol is extremely flammable. Pouring the booze carefully into the pot, my mother looks positively giddy. "Just a lovely mother-daughter afternoon making hooch!" she exclaims, then adds her second-favorite quote from her stash of Boilo lore. "At this point in the recipe, the Boilo may explode."
Nazdrowie to that.
(from "a New Philadelphia grandmother," as written by Joseph Ciokajlo in a 2003 letter to Joan Wright, nÃ©e Ciokajlo, adapted by Felicia D'Ambrosio and Catherine Giacobbe)
1 Liter bottle good-quality ginger ale
1 heaping tsp. caraway seeds
6 sticks cinnamon
1.5 quarts honey (local preferred)
1 gallon Everclear or 100-proof whiskey (Four Queens suggested in original recipe)
Equipment: 2 big pots, one with tight-fitting lid; cheesecloth, juicer/reamer, colander, funnel, clean dishwashing gloves
Halve and juice all of the oranges and lemons into the stockpot that has a lid. Throw the rhines (sic) into the pot, along with all of the juice, pulp and seeds. Solids will be strained out later in the process.
Place the stockpot over medium heat and add the liter of ginger ale, caraway seeds and cinnamon sticks. Pour in all of the honey.
Allow the mixture to come to a simmer when it foams, give it a good stir. Cover pot with lid and turn the heat down to medium-low; allow mixture to cook at a bare simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
Place a colander in the second large pot. Pour the hot juice-honey mixture through the colander to strain out the big pieces.
Wearing the dishwashing gloves and working carefully (the rinds are very hot), squeeze all of the pulp and liquid out of the rinds through the colander. Discard eviscerated rinds and rinse the colander.
Move the colander over the original pot and line it with cheesecloth. Pour the mixture through the cheesecloth to catch any remaining solid bits or seeds. You may need to scrape the cheesecloth with a wooden spoon to press the liquid through. Gather the cheesecloth around the remaining solids and squeeze hard. Discard solids in cheesecloth, and return the strained mixture to low heat.
Here is the dangerous bit: Working carefully so as not to splash (Everclear is extremely flammable and cannot come into contact with open flames), pour the gallon of grain alcohol into the pot. Despite the name, DO NOT BOIL.
Warm the mixture through gently for just a few minutes and then remove from heat. Using a ladle and funnel, decant the Boilo back into the gallon Everclear jug.
Stopper the jug and store in the pantry, or use it to fill smaller glass bottles or jars for gift giving.
Serve Boilo warm by placing the jar in a gently simmering pan of water with the lid off; the water should come three-quarters of the way up the jar. Remove from the pan with tongs and serve straight up in shot glasses.
|Click to enlarge
For this awesome and geographically relevant idea!
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Preeeeetzeeeeeeeeeels! Get your pretzels he-ah!
I can still hear that guy bellowing from the middle of Mountain Street and I wish it weren't just in my head. No such tactics exists in the suburbs. There are also no corner stores vending Tastykakes. For me, these are only fond memories. If I wanted to be less dramatic and more pragmatic, I could do more than reminisce. I could stop by Bridget Foy's (200 South St.) to sample their new Philly Foods, Philly Beers menu.
From Fri., Feb. 26 through Sun., March 7, diners can revel in three courses of hometown-inspired delectables (scrapple-stuffed pork loin with lager glaze; Herr's-crusted fish and chips), each served with a locally produced beer (choices from Flying Fish, Dogfish Head, Stoudt's, etc.). Ten days gives you plenty of opportunities to try all nine options on the $35 prix-fixe, plus an extra day to go back for your fave combo.
Check out the full Philly-ed up menu (a deconstructed hoagie salad, you say?) after the jump.
Paired with Flying Fish ESB
Roasted pork & broccoli rabe spring rolls
Paired with Stout's Scarlet Lady
Deconstructed Hoagie Salad
Dogfish Head 60 Min. IPA
Sausage & Peppers over creamy provolone polenta
Paired with Sly Fox Seamus Red Ale
Herr's Crusted Fish & Chips made with Kenzinger beer batter
Paired with Philadelphia Brewing Co. Kenzinger
Scrapple Stuffed Pork Loin with lager glaze
Paired with Victory
Butterscotch krimpet Tiramisu made with Dock Street Sexual Chocolate
Paired with Dock Street Sexual Chocolate
O'Reillys Stout Float with Basset's Vanilla Ice Cream and cookies
Chocolate Pretzel Cheesecake
Paired with O'Reily's Stout
In the latest food section, we told you a bit about Pho King, the UPenn foursome that's been gaining a bit of notoreity for its underground beef noodle soup operation.
"The Four Amigos," as they like to be called, wish to remain anonymous, but I was able to get a bit of information out of them regarding the origins of their underground soup-slanging business. At least two of the Amigos are Vietnamese by heritage. They got together to perfect a pho recipe â always a painstakingly crafted clear beef broth, gently flavored with stuff like the aforementioned aromatics, then hit with rice noodles and meat â after deciding that a solid bowl of the universally loved Viet specialty was hard to find close to campus.
Well, Monday is the night that the team distributes its $5 soups from a dorm somewhere on Penn's campus â the catch is you gotta ask around to discover where. We don't even know! If you find them, though, pick us up and quart and we'll pack you back, promise.
|Google translation of original article|
|CJ Corporations saw sales of snack sausages soar|
Finally, definitive proof Google Buzz is not utterly superfluous: my totally wired friend Janina Larenas turned her Buzz comrades onto this Clusterflock story about how sales of CJ Corporations snack sausages are on the rise in South Korea. Apparently the slim, meaty tubes, electrostatically speaking, are an excellent mimic of the human finger and useful as a "meat stylus" for gloved iPhone-users.
Google's sort-of translation of the original article noted the increase in sales during the glove-wearing winter months:
Max Peak 9 days CJ Corporation's main selling convenience store sales result of Sir Roy, had a special little despite two months from December to January last year, 11 billion revenue last year increased by 39% over the same period was.
A tasty treat and technological breakthrough in one neat package. Well done, CJ Corporation.
Fatty foods, masks, dancing and beads mark the beginning of Mardi Gras celebrations across the nation. If you can't make it down to the French Quarter, let the good times roll on over to Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch streets) on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for food and Dixieland music hosted by Beck's Cajun CafÃ©. Get on the party train early for your jambalya, muffalettas and other NOLA favorites, and warm up for a good cause by purchasing a cup of gumbo to benefit the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. Take an extended lunch break and stick around for a piece of King Cake â whoever finds the baby in their slice is crowned King for the day. Don't worry, it's just a figurine. People go nuts on Mardi Gras, but not that nuts.
During last year's crawdad season, which runs from Mardi Gras time till June-ish, Chris' Jazz CafÃ© (1421 Sansom St.) served 1,000 pounds of Louisiana crawdads to satisified crustacean-cracking customers. This year, Chris' owner Mark DiNinno plans on doubling that to 2,000 â yes, a ton of pinchy little critters for all y'all Fat Tuesday revelers.
Chef James Palmer, who'll be receiving live shipments of Red Swamp crawdads from a private Louisiana farm, cooks 'em up in a secret-recipe house boil (it includes potatoes and corn on the cob) and serves them by the 1.5- to 2-pound bucket for $10. They offer buckets of Coronitas to go along with the crawdads for the same price. Grab a bucket of your own weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and on Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Chef Palmer also has plans for dishes like crawdad mac 'n' cheese and crawdad mashed potatoes.
On Fat Tuesday this year (Feb. 16), Chris' will be doing a bottomless bucket deal for 20 bucks, as well as gumbo, Cajun beignets, King Cake and other NOLA specialties. Musical stylings by the Hoppin' John Orchestra, Philly's only "postmodern New Orleans-style brass band." Laissez les bon temps rouler, as they say.
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