[Because of] the Vietcong’s unsporting habit of cutting the roads, only a pathetic trickle of first-class produce reached the capital, Saigon. Somehow, though, there was always plenty of pho, the restorative anise-scented beef or chicken noodle soup, delivered to your door for breakfast by frail-looking vendors, and that was ample compensation.
— R.W. Apple Jr., The Dining Room Wars
A pea mashup on lime bruschetta flavors an Inman Square kick-off celebration
Many cooks fantasize about building their “dream kitchen.” (I’m not one of them – I love mine.)
Lynne Viera, a self-described kitchen gadget addict and marketer for a wide array of food enterprises, built herself one heck of a kitchen in the middle of Inman Square in Cambridge. One imagines her energetic marketing staff wandering down from their swank offices several floors above to rustle up something fresh, colorful and tasty for lunch (or dinner, when deadlines demand late hours).
But Lynne has bigger plans for the space, which she kicked off last night by inviting over several food friends to provide cooking demos. Among them were Jody Adams of Rialto, who brightened up an already well-lit room with her sparkling personality and a delicious appetizer. So delicious, I’d urge you to try it yourself as soon as you can rustle up the required ingredients. (Details and recipe link below.)
Lynne’s Rival marketing agency will employ the in-house kitchen studio to produce content for clients (and perhaps sponsor community events).
I expect to write more about Lynne’s experience in helping companies to market their food products, as well as her impressive instructional video site, how2heroes, which contains hundreds of recipes from many, many chefs.
If you want to see what goes into building a dream kitchen, Rival’s amusing 2-minute “video” (actually, a timelapse film they created using 3,000 photos shot from start to finish) is entertaining and worth a look.
The bruschetta, which they describe as “anti-poobah food” (y’know, nothin’ fancy), is brushed with lime juice and olive oil, a dollop of creme fraiche or mascarpone, and then topped with a mash made from peas, chervil and mint, and leeks.
Food Notes: You can substitute frozen peas for fresh pods. [Before you poo-poo or poobah them, consider that Christopher Kimball (Cook's Illustrated) actually prefers frozen to supermarket shell peas. They can be sweeter and better tasting if you ignore the cooking instructions printed on the package.]**
If you can’t find fresh chervil, don’t substitute dried herbs. Instead, try parsley or fresh basil.
Trader Joe’s and Russo’s have the best price on Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery creme fraiche.
*Garum, since you asked, was a very popular, but expensive and pungent Roman fish sauce – not unlike the popular Vietnamese fish sauce of today. Don’t feel bad; nobody in the crowd last night knew its meaning, either.
** If you want to prepare frozen peas as a separate side dish, try sautéing them (still frozen) in a large nonstick skillet along with some aromatics and a little sugar. If you add butter to the pan, you might want to pour off the water first as the peas thaw.