Monday, April 6, 2009

Culinary SOS!!!!

Perhaps it is time a divorce is considered – therapy at a minimum. It does not seem that the FDA is a well functioning relationship. Chilies, scallions, spinach, peanuts and the latest, pistachios have all fallen under direr warnings. For the last hundred plus years we have accepted a federal agency that divides its attention between food safety and drug regulation under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services. Dare I suggest that the food part moves back in with its parent – the Department of Agriculture. I must say, I do not think the relationship is really working out. Our food supply has gotten too complex – how can we safely manage imported foods; consistently inspect domestic food production facilities or offer a greater focus on small, family-run farms when a major pharmaceutical company has a drug on the market with a full page of potential side-effects. I don’t mean to advocate the demise of any relationship but maybe we really need a food administration that is fully capable to fully focus on the source, safety and future of our foods.

In a whiplash snap I support these terrors in our food supply for it makes knowing your local growers even more vital. I can ask Ted how he raises his hogs and what is in his Andouille sausage; engage Betsy on the potential of the tomato season, or Lou whose pheasant eggs come to market when the pheasants are in the mood. Until I can be assured by our federal agency’s commitment and ability to know what is happening with our foods I will do my own investigation and monitoring.

Serrano Ham Pressed Sandwich with Spiced Guava Paste – serving 4 to 6
1-cup guava paste
1 jalapeno pepper – finely minced
1/8-teaspoon ground cloves
1/4-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 baguette – cut in half lengthwise
1/4-pound thinly sliced Manchego cheese
1/2-pound thinly sliced Serrano ham
1/4-pound arugula

In a 1-quart saucepan add the guava paste, jalapeno, clove, black pepper, cinnamon and half cup of water. Melt the guava down stirring in the spices. Cook the mixture for 10 minutes over a low flame.

Hollow out the baguette, and on both trenched out halves spread the guava mixture. Then place down on one half some the cheese then the ham, arugula and then remaining cheese. Place the other half on top, and place the sandwich on a baking tray. Place another baking on top, and a weight (such as a heavy lid, cast-iron skillet).

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the sandwich for 10 minutes.
Slice and serve.

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