What IS that?!

By Chefadoo‘s Eva Dixon

It’s a Bleeding Tooth Mushroom! Also known as the Strawberries and Cream Mushroom, this fungus is found in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.  With a common cap-shaped top, this mushroom stands out from other fungi because of the red liquid it oozes (giving it that gooey, jam-like look).    Despite the fruity look this mushroom has, it is really never included in dishes.  The mushroom is non-toxic and edible but has an extremely bitter taste that is not super helpful in the cooking world.  Plus, imagine getting that red juice all over your chef hat– it would never come out!

Thoughts for Food

A warm bowl of chili

By Chefadoo’s Eva Dixon

When Minneapolis was suddenly buried in over a foot of snow just a few days ago, I was unexpectedly trapped in my apartment by a distinct lack of motivation to pick up a shovel.  I also hadn’t had the motivation to go to the grocery store in sometime and was stuck eating whatever was left in my cupboard.  While enjoying my thoroughly mediocre feast of toast and canned soup, I began thinking of all the other delicious winter flavors that I could be enjoying during my snowy incarceration.

During the holiday season in France, one of the most popular drinks is what they call “vin chaud”, or literally “hot wine”, which is a mixture of heated wine (big surprise there!) and spices.  The tradition started as a way for wine makers to use the parts of their stock that was really not good enough to sell by itself.  By adding spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, the unpalatable alcohol suddenly becomes undeniable!

A more hearty food that flitted into my head is more familiar to the American audience and comes from the slightly colder county of Sweden.  The meatball first came to the United States when the Swedish immigrant population brought “köttbullar” with them when settling into the Midwest. These small balls of ground meat quickly gained popularity, peaking in consumptions around the mid-20th century.  Since then, households and restaurants across the country have put unique twists on the traditional recipe, forming hundreds of variations of this common Swedish dish.

Of course, there is the full-on American classic: Chili.  A staple at any tailgate party and the focus of cook-offs everywhere, Chili is a heart-warming and heart-burning addition to my wintery food list.  Chili, or in its full form, “Chilli con Carne”, literally translates into chili pepper and meat.  Although the use of the spicy chili pepper stems far back into the depths of history, this dish was not mentioned by name until 1519 and not introduced to the American market until 1893.

The snow has since melted enough for me to emerge into the world again.  I even shoveled out my car and made my way to the grocery store.  I didn’t make ANY of these dishes mind you- like I’ve said, I am no chef– but hopefully my desperate canned soup experience has reminded you of some tasty flavors that appear around this time of year!