Monday, September 4, 2017

Around the Kitchen Table - Unusual Food Pairings







Welcome to Around the Kitchen Table, our monthly chinwag!  We look forward to the conversation with you today (and always).  Be sure to leave a comment today and you may win this terrific Mystery Lovers Kitchen tote bag.  Be lucky and have fun!

Recently I was doing some research into unusual food pairings. Amazingly, many of the articles on the subject list foods that make perfect sense to me. Who hasn't had peanut butter and jam on a bagel? After all, bagels are bread. A lot of the pairings seemed to be the silly things we eat when someone forgot to go to the store, like cream cheese on Oreos, and marshmallows in popcorn.

But I found some oddball combinations, too. Apparently, there really is such a thing as dill pickle ice cream. Has anyone tried it? Or how about Elvis's favorite peanut butter sandwich with banana and bacon? So many of the unusual combinations matched a sweet with something salty. Peanut butter and tomato sandwiches? French fries dipped in milkshakes? Potato chips in your sandwich? Pancakes instead of bread to make a sandwich?



My mom used to make German pancakes for dinner. She served a big salad first, and then I was allowed to eat my pancake (slightly thicker than a crepe) with sugar sprinkled on it and rolled up like a crepe. I still remember that lovely crunch of the sugar. My parents ate a fruit compote with theirs but sugar was all I wanted. The combination wasn't nearly as weird as my parents allowing me to do it!

What strange food combinations have you tried?


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LUCY BURDETTE: You've reminded me that my best friend and I used to eat sandwiches with gherkins and potato chips layered right in. They were delicious! Right now I'm on a serious kick with candied pickled jalapenos. I originally bought them to dress up July 4 hot dogs (no sodium in them at all!) After seeing my son-in-law chop them up and toast on cream cheese and bagels, I've been obsessed. Today I had them sprinkled over avocado toast with sliced radishes. Makes my mouth water...These are made by the Backyard Food Company in Rhode Island...


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Sheila: While I was a very cautious eater as a child (heck, the categories of food on my plate couldn't even touch each other, and I had to eat the protein first, then the starch, and finally the veggies), I've lost all my food inhibitions now. Sometimes it's easier when you travel in foreign countries, because you don't know what it is you're about to chew on, only that it smells good. In the Yucatan I sampled turtle, conch, and corn ice cream. In Australia I discovered that they put sliced beets in all take-out sandwiches, which gets kind of messy and turns the bread pink. In Washington DC I discovered sliced octopus with smoked paprika--first time I'd eaten either, but I've kept a large container of smoked paprika in my pantry ever since.


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Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane Maffini The top of my head is blowing off with this topic!  I do have to say though, according to some, Canada's alleged national dish is POUTINE.  And what you ask is poutine?  It's a French Canadian creation that pair fresh French fries with cheese curds (lots available locally) and gravy.  It looks like road kill (I'll spare you a photo) but the taste it's unbelievably yummy.  Running a close second is a new to me product: chocolate coated potato chips.  Should this be legal?  I don't know, but I think it would give heroin a run for its money.  Just sayin'.  Think before you take that first bite! 


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Linda Wiken I used to love, as my Sunday morning breakfast treat, waffles with butter, real maple syrup, and a fried egg on top. Of course, there had to be a runny yolk involved! What a tasty mouthful that was. I'm glad you've asked this, Krista because I had forgotten all about my concoction. I'll have to give it a try this Sunday and see if it's still as yummy as I remember. And you know, because it's real maple syrup, thanks to my friend who does the entire tapping and distilling process at his lot, there are no calories!


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chocolate cheddar ice cream
Daryl Wood Gerber:  Krista, I adore french fries dipped into my milkshake. I have also eaten a chocolate omelet with sour cream on top. That was a specialty at the Egg and Eye restaurant (since closed). I never thought I'd like cheese with jam, but after writing the Cheese Shop Mysteries, that has become a go-to match for me and for my family. It makes for such a pretty cheese platter, as well. I've always liked cheese with apples and grapes, but jam? It hadn't occurred to me. I have tried bacon fudge, and bacon ice cream. I haven't tried (nor will I) pickle ice cream. I've heard of garlic ice cream but haven't tried that yet. I love salted caramel ice cream, so the sweet and savory do work for me. Oooh, maybe salted caramel ice cream with bacon?? Oh, yeah, I've got to try this! I made chocolate cheddar ice cream and shared that recipe here on MLK. It was delicious!


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Cleo Coyle: Great topic, Krista. Marc and I are always intrigued by oddball pairings—our own included!
Fudge and Fried Chicken for Christmas?
See our oddball holiday blog post here.
On the foodie front, the subject reminds us of one of the strangest food pairing posts we ever did. Fudge and Fried Chicken, as it turns out, is a tasty combination! You can see the post here, which came about after we learned that KFC fried chicken has become a wildly popular Christmas dinner in Japan. (No kidding, it’s so popular they place orders far in advance. The post explains how this foodie phenomenon came about.) The chocolate fudge, on the other hand, was a yuletide tradition in Marc’s family, so we combined the two for our holiday post. Of course, Fried Chicken and Waffles has been a beloved combo for years. As a soul food dish, it’s served at two famous Harlem restaurants: Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth's. We even paid tribute to the Amy Ruth's in one of our Coffeehouse Mysteries (Once Upon a Grind). The head chef there once said her secret to a great batter is praying before she cooks. The Amish would agree with that! They also have a version of Fried Chicken and Waffles, which they serve covered in gravy. The soul food leans toward maple syrup. That sweet and salty combo with the drizzle of syrup all over the crunchy waffles and fried chicken batter makes for truly amazing eating!

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PEG COCHRAN: My mother and grandmother also made us German pancakes, Krista! Only we had ours filled with cottage cheese that they added sugar, cinnamon and a raw egg yolk (can you imagine??) to. Then of course, sugar on top. I've eaten a lot of strange foods--like durian in Asia--but not so many odd combinations. I guess chili chocolate might be one of them. The combo of spicy/hot with the sweet and creamy really floats my boat! One time I also made chocolate chip cookies with bacon--they were good but then bacon anything... I also put 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder in my chili. And this weekend my granddaughter Camille created her own interesting combination--two waffles with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff between them. We've christened it "The Cami."
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Leslie Budewitz: Ha! Looks like I'm the first of the Kitchen Crew to flunk our Table Talk! I honestly can't think of any odd food pairings I enjoy -- and Mr. Right tells me putting salt on chocolate no longer qualifies, and dipping my fries in mustard never did qualify. In fact, he compliments my ability to pair salads, main courses, and wine in good flavor combinations. (He, on the other hand, will happily combine leftovers I think have no business getting any closer to each other than sharing a shelf in the fridge -- chili and turkey, topped with salsa, or gravy, in a tortilla? Mmm, no thanks!) Like several of my blog sisters, I love discovering new foods when I travel -- we'll talk about that next month -- but combos? Oh, yay -- I finally came up with one. At Bistro Paul Bert in Paris, we ate a chocolate torte with creme anglaise and a basil sauce. A bit odd, yes? And simply divine! Hmm, we have basil. How will it go with Tillamook's Oregon Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Ice Cream, served with my very own Chocolate-Cabernet Sauce? Come on over and we'll try it!


What strange food combinations have you tried?

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88 comments:

  1. I had Belgium pancakes, similar to the German ones you describe, at a friends house 50 years ago. They were served with sugar and lemon juice. I still remember how good they were.

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    1. Oh, i should try them with lemon juice!

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    2. I've had them with lemon juice and powdered sugar. Quite nice. ~ Daryl

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  2. Normally I stay away from odd food pairings. However, I love pairing almost anything with peanut butter, and one of my favorite sandwiches as a child was peanut butter with Velveeta cheese (with plenty of milk to wash it down). One combination I do NOT recommend is a tahini and grapefruit marmalade sandwich - long story involving a road trip and limited funds, but trust me when I say that this pairing does not work well!

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    1. I think I'll take your word for it on the tahini/grapefruit marmalade!

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    2. LOL! You were ahead of the sweet and salty trend!

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  3. My boyfriend likes to take all the different Chinese leftovers and mix them all together. I've finally gotten him to understand that I'll eat a couple of different leftovers but I want them in separate piles on my plate.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    1. I'm with you! I remember having friends who, when they were young, wouldn't even allow the food on their plate to touch let alone combining everything into one big dish!

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    2. OMG! My mother does that with soup and Chinese leftovers. I can't take it. Ugh.

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  4. I have a couple of foods that are probably not very common that I have tried are: lobster ice cream in Maine. It was delicious!!!

    Recently my huband and I went to a pairing of wine, olive oil and vinegars. Most of us have at least heard of pairing balsamic vinegar with strawberries, but what we had never had was premium vanilla ice cream served with a topping of some specialty flavors of balsamic. Our favorite was a delicious fig balsamic over the ice cream with a peach balsamic as a close runner up topping. I purchased a bottle of each of these balsamic flavors and this week after making my homemade peach ice cream, the peach balsamic has been a fantastic way to enhance something already delicious due to this pairing of fruit balsamic vinegar.
    This was such a fun post today. Thank you.

    Cynthia B

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    1. Headed to the grocery this afternoon. I'm going to see if they have any other flavors of balsamic! That sounds delicious.

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    2. I do like balsamic vinegar! But I've never even considered it on ice cream.

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    3. If you wish, you can check out the company (husband and wife small business) that participated in our pairings event and where I bought these delicious fruited balsamic vinegars. CapizzanoCo.com in Pawcatuck, Ct. and Watch Hill, RI. We plan on doing a day trip to purchase olive oils and more vinegars very soon.

      Cynthia

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  5. When I was a kid I liked to put fritos on top of the peanut butter in my sandwiches. Or sprinkle white sugar on the peanut butter. I must have liked the extra crunch. Nowadays I rarely eat peanut butter. Mom liked peanut butter and banana sandwiches. And when she was a kid they dropped peanuts into their bottles of Coke.

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    1. I can see Fritos on peanut butter, sort of like potatoe chips on peanut butter. Not sure about peanuts in Coke!

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    2. My parents put peanuts in Coke a lot.

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  6. I have to say that we used to eat curry at my foster home and they would throw all the leftovers in that and it was horrible! I love crepes if i go somewhere and they offer crepes that is it for me sounds so good. ptclayton2@aol.com

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    1. I really like good curry, but not when it's a mishmash like that. I like crepes, too!

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  7. I always eat Fritos and peanut butter. I also like Chick-Fil-A sauce on my French fries. My favorite movie treat--popcorn and junior mints.

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    1. I think it's so interesting that a lot of people were already into the sweet and salty combination—like your movie treat.

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    2. Gosh, it's been a lot of years since I've had popcorn and junior mints. It was so tasty.

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  8. Paula Jacobson
    Yes I have dipped my fries in my milkshake. There's just something yummy about it. Potato chips and ice cream is good too. I just made myself hungry.
    jsjacobson(at)prtel(dot)com

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    1. LOL! I'll have to try French fries in a milkshake!

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  9. Has anyone eaten watermelon with ranch dressing? I like it.

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    1. Sounds good. I like watermelon with salt, so I would imagine this would be tasty. :) ~ Daryl

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  10. Growing up, our cafeteria would serve chili and cinnamon rolls, meant to be eaten together. My parents still eat it! We do chili on top of spaghetti, which is delicious! And I personally love dipping French fries in mashed potatoes. So. Tasty!

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