Turns out that making tamales is easy and delicious, prepared with just butter, beans, and vegetable stock. This video was my second attempt, but it certainly won't be my last.
'perennial plate' on Serious Eats
The fourth film in our Mexico series takes us to Oaxaca. The city is a culinary Mecca and there's no ingredient more important to the region—or the country, for that matter—than corn. We met with Amado Ramirez Leyva, the guru of Mexican corn, to find out more.
When we set off to film a story about Cacao in Mexico, we thought it might follow the usual how-to progression of growing cacao, fermenting the beans, toasting and grinding them, and finally making them into chocolate. What we found instead was a chocolate producer (Casa Tropical) and a cacao farmer (Doña Demetria of CASFA) with a shared passion, for not just the flavor and product, but the spirit behind the fruit and the trees. They opened up to us about this ancient food and the role it holds in Mexico's future.
Our journey to this story began with a phone call to Steve Sando, of Rancho Gordo. A few minutes into our chat, he told us about a rural community in Hidalgo, Mexico that was growing beautiful oregano in an effort maintain the life and vibrancy of the surrounding community. We were sold.
When it comes to eating, Mexico may be the best place on earth—at least in our humble opinion. We traveled to Chiapas, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, and the Capital Federal for two weeks, where we spent time with Oregano farmers, mushroom hunters, cacao growers, and corn farmers. And all along the way, we ate. This video is a compilation of our favorite bites, packed into one food porn-heavy minute. Enjoy!
Morocco is so much more than mint tea and tagines (not that we'd readily pass up either one). We spent two weeks traveling through the country, visiting oyster farms, milking goats in the mountains, and making couscous in family homes. We took our two terabytes of footage and condensed it down to just three minutes, to the tunes of an amazing Berber musician.
Kars, Turkey is known for its honey and cheese...not the post-apocalyptic-looking villages dotting its countryside, nor the beekeeper residents who are trying desperately to keep their community's apiary tradition alive. We visited three such men who are fighting invasive bee species and the over-commercialization of honey to keep their way of life afloat.
We knew when we embarked on our trip through Turkey that we had to do a story about yogurt. Our search led us to a family on the Black Sea that graze organic goats along the coastline. They has been living in the city for the majority of their lives and the son wanted to get back to the land. So they returned to their family home and raised goats as their parents had.
Go to many traditional Turkish restaurants in Istanbul, and your meal will begin when a waiter parks his double decker cart next to your table, full of delicious mezze dishes for you to choose from: Feta, braised beans, hummus, grilled octopus salad, grain salads, hummus...we can't think of a better way to start a meal.
In our previous montage videos from around the world, we've tried to capture the food that is so essential to each country. In Vietnam we filmed the pho, in Italy there was pizza and pasta (and prosciutto, and truffles, and so on), but in Turkey we decided to do something different. Instead of focusing on the food, this video takes a look at the people behind the food.
Probably the most famous dish in Spain after paella is patatas bravas. The boiled and fried potatoes are served with a spicy (by Spanish standards, which means relatively mild) tomato sauce or aioli. While there's nothing not to like about fried potatoes, we changed it up slightly for this recipe by using sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, instead. The recipe is simple, but watch the video for some behind the scenes cooking action and mid-day wine drinking.
Italy is full of passion and generosity. Whether it's Parmesan, balsalmic vinegar, or even an espresso, Italians are eager to share both their goods and their stories. We weren't planning on making a film while dining at Osteria Francescana, in Modena. But when the restaurant's chef sat down with us and began to share his passion for food and his unqiue journey...we simply couldn't resist. Join us for a lunch unlike any other.
Parma, Italy is known for many things: Prosciutto de Parma, Parmesan cheese, classic Italian fashion...and Carlo Pavesi, of La Corte dei Neri. Carlo may not be a farmer or a designer, but from his high fashion handbag store in the heart of the city to his nearby farm where he raises the "Original Parma black pig," he is the man that makes it all happen...in true Italian style.
Truffles are, weight for weight, one of the most expensive foods available. And for good reason: It's not just the tuber's rarity, taste, or smell...the speciality of this earthy treasure also has a lot to do with the chase. On a trip to Marche, Italy, we were lucky enough to meet a team of locals and hunt down two of our own (and eat many, many more).
Franco Pedrini started growing biodynamic heirloom wheat back when 'heirloom' wasn't cool and 'biodynamic' was laughed at. For twenty years, he defied his neighbors and labored on his farm and pasta business with his wife and three sons. The resulting pastas are hearty and flavorful, not to mention easy on the gluten intolerant. You can't yet buy his San Cristoforo pasta in the US, but we hope this family's rich story will satiate your appetite.
We just got back from Italy where simplicity and seasonality are king and queen. Inspired, we filmed this little video about making beef carpaccio—the five-minute meal requires little more than good ingredients and good seasoning.
We traveled across Italy to make this short film, seeking out our favorite foods (we know, mozzarella is missing). From Rome to Marche, and Tuscany to Veneto, we tasted some of the best of what Italy has to offer. The result is a four minute film that will make you hungry for Parmesan and prosciutto, pizza and pasta.
We shared some our favorite moments from our culinary tour of China here on Serious Eats a couple months back. One of the biggest takeaways was how good fresh tofu can be; inspired by the grassy flavors and silken texture, we embarked on making our own.