First of all, what do we mean by comfort food? The dictionary defines comfort food as a meal or snack that is satisfying because it is prepared in a simple or traditional manner, and it provides a reminder of home, family, or friends.
That definition certainly begins to explain the concept of comfort food, but we think there is more to it than that.
Comfort foods are often traditional in some way, hearkening back to the past in a nostalgic or sentimental way. Frequently, they are easy to digest, and rich in calories, nutrients, and, usually, flavor.
And, of course, all, just one, or none of these elements may apply to comfort food. Comfort food describes more of a feeling certain dishes bestow, and specific examples will vary from culture to culture.
A few themes tie comfort food together across many cultures. They are often starchy, carbohydrate-filled meals or sweet desserts. Examples of comfort foods include: apple pie, chicken soup, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits. Due to how easy they are to make—and the fact they can include pretty much any ingredient—most soups qualify as comfort food.
All of those are rich and easy to make, and with deep traditions. Each will likely provide the warm glow that is what comfort food is all about. Because, when it comes down to it, comfort food is a state of mind.
While Mexico and Spain may share a language, their comfort foods can be quite different. In Mexico, you have the classic breakfast offering of huevos rancheros, but in Spain, they feature paella to warm the hearts of their citizens. At least they both have posole soup to recognize their common heritage.
All cultures find comfort in dessert—and many of the desserts have been around so long that they have an extensive history of comfort. For instance, in France, citizens turn to bread pudding and chocolate pot de creme for comfort, while in the United Kingdom their dessert comfort food of choice is often scones, like apricot lemon scones.
Comfort foods have been a part of the human diet since there was such thing as a human diet. It’s a tradition that partially defines the word tradition—and that may be the most succinct way of describing comfort food. It reaches into the deepest parts of who we are and helps us feel at ease.
Lime juice, soy sauce and garlic flavor this appetizing meat!
2 pounds flank steak
2 tablespoons dark Muscovado sugar
3 shallots, quartered
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Hot Sweet Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons ground red pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño pepper
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons roasted sea weed
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
Slice the beef into 1/2-inch slices against the grain. Place them in a nonreactive bowl.
Sprinkle the sugar over the beef and toss to coat evenly. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the shallots, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, oil, and garlic. Blend to form a smooth mixture. Pour over the beef. Let it marinate, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.
Soak 24 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Drain.
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
Drain the beef and discard the marinade. Thread the beef onto the skewers. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes, until browned, turning once. Do not overcook. Serve with the dipping sauce.
To make sauce: Blend all ingredients together in the bowl of a food processor. Serve with beef satay. Serves 8 to 10.
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 slices bacon, fried crisp and coarsely chopped
In small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and maple syrup. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add bacon into flour mixture and toss to coat bacon in flour. Add buttermilk mixture and stir to combine. Let batter stand 5 minutes before cooking.
Preheat waffle maker. Spray waffle plates with nonstick spray or light coat of oil.
Ladle batter into waffle maker, according to manufacturer’s directions, and close plates. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Continue the same with remaining batter. Serve with butter and syrup.
2 whole pork tenderloins, trimmed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ripe plantains, peeled and cut lengthwise
salt and pepper to taste
Start by trimming any sliver skin off the tenderloins and if the loin has a thinner tail, tie for even cooking.
To a small bowl add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Brush on the tenderloins.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Place tenderloins on grill for about 18-20 minutes.
Brush plantains with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then grill for about 7-8 minutes.
Transfer tenderloins and plantains to a platter and serve.
6 cups chicken stock
28 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and diced
4 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 small can chipotle pepper in adobo with sauce, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
15-1/2 ounces can hominy, drained
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a large oven-proof stock pot or Dutch oven combine pork and stock and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, chipotle in adobo sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and place in the oven. Braise for 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven, add hominy. Place pot over medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in kale and lime juice and simmer for 2 minutes. Top soup with chopped scallions and serve.
Light scones served with a berry jam are just right for afternoon tea.
3/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon peel, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
This Scottish quick bread derives its name from the Stone of Destiny or Scone, the place where Scottish kings were once crowned.
In a small bowl, toss the apricots with 2 tablespoons of the sugar; reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the lemon peel and apricots. Add the cream. Using a fork, stir to form large, moist clumps of dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press until it comes together. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Pat each piece into a 4 inch square. Cut each square diagonally into 4 equal wedges. Fit each wedge into a well of the prepared scone pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, if desired.
Bake until the scones are golden, about 15 minutes. Makes 16 scones.
Categories: Food & Recipes