The Weekly Nibble: Afro Fusion Cuisine introduces new line of sauces
For the seventh straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2013."
Even if you're paying close attention, it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest in food news here in Milwaukee. So here's a taste of what's new and notable – including a new line of sauces from Afro-Fusion Cuisine, a wine dinner with local roots at c.1880, a meat raffle at Bavette La Boucherie, the Milwaukee Food for Thought Dinner at the Milwaukee Art Museum and a tasty new chef series sponsored by the Marcus restaurants.
In August 2012, we introduced Milwaukee to Afro Fusion Cuisine, a local company producing African and Caribbean inspired spice blends and reinvesting profits to support education for girls in West Africa.
Now the company, run by native Cameroonian Yollande Deacon, will release its first line of Africa & Jamaica inspired sauces and marinades.
"The sauces are a passionate expression of my love for holistic cooking," says Deacon. "I am excited to share the beautiful flavors of African cuisine with those in Milwaukee – and beyond – in an accessible way."
Deacon has teamed up with socially conscious groups and businesses in the Milwaukee area to create products made from ingredients produced in Milwaukee local gardens and farms. All sauces are cooked from scratch, hand-packed, and labeled in Milwaukee. In addition, they are all vegetarian friendly, gluten- and MSG-free, with no preservatives and minimal sodium.
The sauces are meant, not only to stretch the palate, but to provide healthy convenient food for busy cooks who care about the quality of the foods they're putting into their bodies.
"I advocate cooking from scratch most days," Deacon explains. "However when in a time crunch, I view Afro Fusion Simmer Sauces as your best alternative. They take away the chopping and cutting during the week while maintaining the integrity and freshness of ingredients that you get at Farmers markets."
The line of sauces will include both simmer sauces, dipping sauces and marinades including:
- Mafe – a West African peanut sauce which is savory, hearty and mildly spiced. The sauce originates from Gambia and Senegal and has been widely adopted all over Africa. This sauce includes herbs harvested from Alice's Garden.
- Yassa – a West African caramelized onion sauce. This sauce is a staple in Senegal and includes the flavors of onion and mustard seeds, with a hint of sweet pepper.
- Joloff/Thieboudienne – a tomato herb sauce which includes the complex flavors of fennel, celery, tomatoes and peppers. This sauce is based on a staple sauce used in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and all over West Africa.
- Sauce Verte – a savory, mildly spiced sauce, with caramelized onion, kale and herbs from Alice's garden. This sauce is often used to complement fish dishes in Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Central Africa.
- South African Piri Piri – a fiery, spicy, flavorful sauce highlighting the Portuguese influence in Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and immigration in South Africa.
- Reggae Girl Jerk Marinade – an intricate combination of Jamaican Flavors inspired by Deacon's in-laws from Portland, Jamaica. This sauce is musky, peppery and smoking with a moderate level of heat.
- Mama Deacon original Jerk BBQ Sauce – a sweet, spicy sauce combining Jerk flavors with Southern Jamaican BBQ sauce Includes hints of nutmeg and pimento berry, sugar cane and Jamaican rum.
Afro Fusion sauces are available at a variety of retail outlets in the Milwaukee area, including Outpost Natural Foods Coop, Metcalfe's Sentry, Riverwest Coop, Sendik's in New Berlin and Good Harvest Market in Pewaukee. They will also be available soon at Whole Foods Market, the Milwaukee County Winter Market, and the soon-to-open Harvest Market in Watertown. Sauces and spice blends are also available online at afrofusionbrands.com.
Over 100 recipes have already been developed using the sauces. For ideas, visit the Afro Fusion Cuisine Facebook page.
C.1880 and Buena Vista Winery to host wine dinner
In 1840 Agoston Haraszthy "The Count," set sail for America, where he chose to settle with his family in Wisconsin. He founded the town of "Szepataj," now Sauk City. He was the ﬁrst to plant hops in Wisconsin– which grew in abundance – thus planting roots for the American beer industry. He also tried growing his treasured grapes, with little success. The Count never stopped dreaming of "purple gold." He was absolutely certain that superb grapes could be grown in California, and in 1856 he set his sights on Sonoma. He acquired 800 acres. On what was already known as Buena Vista Ranch. The rest is pure history. Buena Vista is known as one of the California's ﬁrst premium wineries, producing a broad spectrum of wines from the best of Sonoma grapes.
Monday, Nov. 18 beginning at 7 p.m. c.1880 will partner with Johnson Brothers Wine & Buena Vista Winery for a one-night only experience exploring the depths of food and wine pairing. Chef/Owner Thomas Hauck with create a five-course menu of culinary delights to pair perfectly with the wines of Buena Vista Winery. "The Count of Buena Vista Winery" himself, will be present to discuss the BVW portfolio.
Community seating will be provided to ensure that guest can mingle and discuss the layers of ﬂavor throughout the evening. Price is $110 per person, including wine pairings. Wines will also be available for purchase. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at (414) 431-9271 or emailing email@example.com.
Uplands cheese tasting and meat raffle
Bavette La Boucherie, 330 E. Menomonee St., will host an Uplands cheese tasting and meat raffle on Wednesday, Nov. 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Uplands Cheese Company in Dodgeville is the producer of award winning artisan cheeses Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Rush Creek Reserve. These cheeses truly are seasonal and reflect the unique flavors of the farm's milk and the season. Attendees will experience a tasting of the Uplands award winning artisan cheeses, presented by cheesemaker Andy Hatch.
In addition to cheese, each year on the farm Uplands fattens up a few dozen Berkshire with the whey left over from making cheese. These hogs are left out to pasture and are finished on acorns the final two months. Following the cheese tasting, there will be a meat raffle featuring meat from a whole Uplands Berkshire hog. For $3 a ticket, attendees can purchase the opportunity to head home with a pork roast, chops or a shank for pennies on the dollar. Tickets, which are $12, can be purchased online.
Food for Thought dinner menu announced
If you haven't yet purchased your tickets for the Food for Thought Milwaukee dinner on Monday, Nov. 11, you might be interested in taking a peek at the menu, which was just released this weekend. Courses based on an "Art Americana" theme include:
- Course 1 (Thi Cao) – Roasted mushrooms, smoked goat cream, seaweed pesto, grilled salsify and potatoes.
- Course 2 (Nell Benton) – Salad Americana.
- Course 3 (Micah Kaufman) – Smoked turkey pot pie.
- Course 4 (Gil Petrovic and Jen Grundy) – The white plate: squid, turnip, lardo.
- Course 5 (Paul Zerkel and Lisa Kirkpatrick) – Venison loin, venison ragu, johnny cake, chocolate, pimenton.
- Course 6 (Justin Aprahamian) – Lacquered cacon, roast apple with cider cream, and cranberry broth.
Fall Chef Series promises tasty fare in a relaxed environment
Marcus Restaurants has announced programming for its fall Chef Series scheduled to begin Saturday, Nov. 2.
Fall programs will run the first four Saturdays in November from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Mason Street Grill Chef's Counter, located adjacent to The Pfister Hotel. Each 90-minute session will include a tasting and interactive dialogue with the chef about the ingredients and techniques used.
"All of the upcoming classes will focus on helping to really educate our guests," said Mark Weber, executive chef at Mason Street Grill. "We want to give people the tools to utilize new techniques at home. For example, one session will teach guests how to transform regular, everyday dishes into works of art using just a few chef secrets."
Guests will get to know some of the city's culinary leaders, enjoy perfectly paired beverages and sample each chef's preparations, while learning great tips. The atmosphere is light, friendly, and fun, with an emphasis on learning. With classes limited to 20 guests, attendees will enjoy a close-up look at cooking techniques in an intimate setting.
Tickets are $29 per person or $49 a couple, per weekly session. Guests can choose to extend their stay with a special overnight offer for Friday or Saturday evening that includes accommodations in a deluxe king or deluxe double guest room at The Pfister, starting at $149.
Fall classes include:
- Nov. 2: Full of Flavor, Free of Gluten with Mark Weber, Executive Chef, Mason Street Grill
While gluten-free cooking has become a cornerstone of healthy eating, it has also garnered a reputation for being rather bland. Now, thanks to a little culinary ingenuity, the gluten-free lifestyle is getting a makeover. Join Chef Weber as he shows you how to prepare flavorful, gluten-free dishes made with a variety of fresh foods.
- Nov. 9: The Art of Presentation with Brian Frakes, Executive Chef, The Pfister Hotel
Learn the art of turning every day standard dishes you make at home into culinary masterpieces. Chef Frakes will first plate each dish in a traditional manner, then plate a second one using some simple chef's tricks showing guests how to transform those same ingredients into works of art.
- Nov.: Art of the Dessert with Jennifer Carlson, Executive Pastry Chef, The Pfister Hotel
Chef Carlson will be preparing her unique take on a selection of festive holiday desserts. Featured items include bourbon pecan pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin swirl cheesecake with a ginger crust, and eggnog crème brûlée.
- November 23: The Savory Side of Chocolate with Shaun Abbott, Sous Chef, Mason Street GrillChoco
late has been used in cooking for thousands of years, and Chef Abbott will present some dishes that highlight its unique culinary side. You'll explore traditional uses, such as a dark chocolate mole, as well as more contemporary recipes, like white chocolate and chicken chile.
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