Charles Siskin: Food Fight

Monday, December 17, 2012 - by Charles Siskin

Our local paper has a section devoted to news around the state of Florida. What caught my eye this morning was a story out of central Florida about two recent incidents involving pizza and pork chops.

Of the former it appears a husband who was not enjoying his pizza threw it against the front door whereupon his wife threw hers down on the floor. What followed, as noted in the police blotter, was the husband holding his wife’s head down in the dog’s water bowl until she almost drowned.

First off my little white dog, Madame, has a less than elaborate clear plastic cup for water that once held maybe cole slaw? so there would be no chance of anyone drowning in it unless they were a munchkin or a misguided escapee from Disney World.

Furthermore, I’ve never met a slice of pizza I’d throw against my front door. Instead I’d just chuck it in the garbage. However, every piece of pizza has some redeeming feature like the artichoke slices or the black olives or the top cheese layer or the…well, you get the picture.

The next part of the story had terrible consequences as two men were sharing dinner when one complained about his pork chop and the other shot and killed him. There is a lesson to be learned here about sending back your food at a restaurant.

I have actually seen a temperamental chef come out of the kitchen when a customer complained about their dinner. The confrontation, while entertaining, made one realize that there were some serious lunatics out back thinking they were the closest thing to Escoffier since the invention of cooking schools.

Also telling your wife her grilled chicken breast could use a little perking up with seasoning, any seasoning, even a touch of salt-free substitute would be helpful for someone on a low sodium, for the rest of their life regime.

Okay, my ever-watchful bride, aka food policeman extraordinaire, will agree to a squeeze of lemon thereby avoiding the use of firearms and saving lives once more to live another day without salt.

Murder and mayhem aside we are currently in the middle of the “Holiday Season” having just completed Chanukah with its time-consuming grating potatoes for the traditional “latkes”, or better known as the Waffle House smothered and covered version, whereby we do the apple sauce and sour cream version.

Now its on Dancer and Prancer and, of course, Rudolph to the pork or lamb part of the holiday. We do partake of both at our house, without the use of firearms, I might add. For the pork we do a South by Southwest version on tenderloin using Molasses or Honey plus a Mexican spice rub and plenty of garlic as well. Let it sit overnight and lucky us we can use our outdoor gas grill to cook giving it a bit of smoke as well.

As to the lamb, we get the butcher to butterfly and then save the bone for stock and do a simple garlic rub plus fresh rosemary from the prolific indestructible bush growing outside my door and some EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). You can also hit it with some Thyme or whatever spice sounds good to you.

I should note that up in Destin the neatest new store has opened in time for the holidays that is simply called Olive. Inside there is a multitude of awesome olive oil combinations plus aged balsamic vinegars that make for perfect holiday gift giving. What could be sexier-sounding and more welcome than Truffle Oil? Very little else for the gourmand on your list.

Whatever you choose in the way of meat, pork or lamb, I like to do my Cranberry Chutney as a great go-with. It adds color to your table for the season and is not just a Thanksgiving condiment. Actually I’ve even put a spoonful over vanilla ice cream or served it with a dollop of Greek Yogurt and side of lemon cookies as an unexpected dessert or consider it on top of the cracker and cream cheese you sometimes top with pepper jelly as a hors d’oeuvre before dinner.

While there is sadness in mine and everyone else’s heart today for the unspeakable tragedy in Connecticut, we really do have more than we ever imagined this season to be surrounded by family and friends and in our case know out children and grandchildren are safe this holiday.

Have a Joyous, Healthy and Happy New Year.



1 pound package fresh cranberries

1 cup brown sugar or more depending on how sweet or tart you prefer the finish product

½ cup diced sweet white onion

2 teaspoon Cinnamon or one Cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper

1 cup Craisins (golden or dark raisins are ok as well)

Enough water to partially cover the berries for cooking

½ cup White Balsamic vinegar


Cook berries in the water over low heat with a lid or they will pop like crazy all over your stove and you

Once they have finished popping add the next five ingredients and continue simmering for another 15 minutes (add water if needed but do not let the mixture burn) stirring often

Add the vinegar and continue simmering another 5 or so minutes.

You will want to taste to know if you need to correct the seasoning but be carefully as the mixture will be quite hot

Off the stove let it cool properly before refrigerating. It will keep several weeks.




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