A Word On Food

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“Before the celebrity chef craze… before the start of Food Network, Norman Van Aken was starting a revolution. He was doing something unheard of at the time, taking local ethnic flavors, merging them together at restaurants where he worked.” --- The Smithsonian

Among his many masteries as a chef, Norman Van Aken is best known for introducing "fusion" into the lexicon of modern cookery and considered to be the founding father of New World Cuisine - a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors.  He is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage” and was s a 2016 MenuMasters Hall of Fame inductee along with Jacques Pépin and Wolfgang Puck.

Van Aken is a James Beard semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America” and his namesake restaurant NORMAN’S, was nominated as a finalist for “Best Restaurant in America.”  He has represented the United States proud with international recognitions that include being honored alongside Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme and Mark Miller as one of the “Founders of New American Cuisine” at Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy ‘Madrid Fusión’ (2006) and represented the State of Florida at the USA Pavilion at EXPO Milano as part of the World’s Fair (2015).

Van Aken has shared his cooking and career, penning more than five cookbooks (Feast of Sunlight; The Exotic Fruit Book; Norman’s New World Cuisine; New World Kitchen; My Key West Kitchen) and a memoir (No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken).   His cookbooks have been hailed by Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck; while his memoir captured the attention of the prestigious IACP/Julia Child Award and received a ‘finalist nomination’ along with Michael Pollan, Anne Willan and Luke Barr.

Chef Van Aken opened “1921 by Norman Van Aken” a restaurant in Mount Dora, Florida in September, 2016. The restaurant has 160 seats with indoor and outdoor dining open for lunch and dinner featuring “Modern Florida Cuisine”. It is in alliance with the extraordinary Modernism Museum directly across the street. The restaurant’s design includes many elements from the Museum’s collection of art. Additionally he is partnered with Candace Walsh to open “In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken”, a cooking school in Miami in June of 2017. The two are joined by restaurateur Susan Buckley and debuting a new restaurant and roof-deck lounge adjacent to the school due this summer. The restaurant is named “Three”. Chef Norman is the Chef and founder of NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando which opened in 2003 and has many local and national accolades.

Chef Van Aken has appeared on various television shows from CNN’s “Parts Unknown” with Bourdain to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”  He is often cited as a culinary expert in publications such as The New York Times and Saveur.  Additionally, Van Aken is the hosts of “A Word on Food” a radio show that airs twice a week on NPR, in addition to being a staff writer for one of the leading culinary websites, The Daily Meal. There he is featured on his column, “Kitchen Conversations” which have featured chefs, authors, wine-makers, cocktail gurus and restaurant luminaries.

His next book, “Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen” will be out in Fall of 2017 and published by University of Florida Press.

When he is not in the kitchen working up new recipes he can be found spending time with his wife, Janet; son, Justin; daughter-in-law Lourdes; and his pride and joy, his granddaughter, Audrey Quinn Van Aken.

Ice Cream

Jul 16, 2016

 OYSTERS ‘REMICK’

Norman Van Aken, © 2013

S.O.S.

Jul 2, 2016

CREAMED CHIPPED BEEF ON TOAST a,k.a. S.O.S.

© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

Serves 4

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

kosher salt, to taste, but remember the meat has salt already

1 teaspoon paprika or Spanish pimentón

1 1/2 Cups milk, at room temperature

1/2 Cup heavy cream, at room temperature

8 ounces chipped beef such as ‘Buddig’ brand

4 slices of bread, toasted just before serving

Cake

Jun 25, 2016

SPANISH OLIVE OIL CAKE WITH KUMQUATS AND TOASTED ALMONDS

©1994 All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken

The healthy richness of olive oil is lightened by the citrus flavors of the kumquat in this almond cake. Almonds probably originated in Asia Minor and were introduced to Spain and Portugal by the Moors. I created this dish for the Spanish Olive Oil Council. They were delighted to find olive oil in a dessert. I think you’ll see why.

Yields: One (9 inch) Cake

6 kumquats, cut in half

A Word On Food: Lobster Rolls

Jun 18, 2016

    

Pho

Jun 11, 2016

PHO BROTH

Norman & Janet Van Aken, © 2016

Here we have a basic Pho Broth. From this point you can create a bunch of different ideas for your versions. Have phun….

3 quarts Chicken, Pork or Beef Stock

2 ea  3” long piece of ginger, peeled and split in half lengthwise (get weight)

1 # pork neck bones with meat

1 # beef neck bones with meat on them

1 # sweet onions, peeled and halved

3 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms

Queso Fundido

Jun 4, 2016

QUESO FUNDIDO

Norman & Janet Van Aken, © 2016

This dish is sometimes known as Queso Flameado also. But by any name it is a simple, satifying snack enjoyed by many ages. This recipe provides a fair amount of meat in it. If you like you can omit the meat or use less.

Yields: 3 Cups

Pre-Heat an oven to 350 degrees.

6 ounces raw crumbled chorizo (or other somewhat spicy sausage), casings discarded

1/2 cup sweet onion, diced small

1 1/2 Tablespoon jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Buss Up Shut

Jan 16, 2016

Noodle Slurping

Jan 2, 2016

THAI NOODLE DRESSING

Norman Van Aken, © 2006 Yield: 1 cup 3 Tablespoons lime juice3 Tablespoons soy sauce2 Tablespoons honey1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar1½ teaspoon mirin2 teaspoon ginger, peeled & minced1 Tablespoon sesame oil½ teaspoon chipotles en adobo½ Cup pure olive oil2 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped2 Tablespoon basil, choppedsalt & pepper Combine all ingredients except olive oil and herbs into blender.With blender running, gradually add olive oil.Add herbs, blend until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Reserve or dress on noodlesas desired.5.6.06

Breaking Bread

Dec 19, 2015

Knife Skills

Dec 5, 2015

    

Pork Belly

Nov 21, 2015

    BRAISED PORK BELLY

Norman Van Aken, © 2002

Yield: 4 servings

2 pounds fresh pork belly, skinned and trimmed of all except ¾” layer of fat

1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

Kosher salt, to taste

Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

1 Tablespoon canola oil

½ Cup onion, diced

½ Cup celery, diced

Croissants

Nov 7, 2015

Buttermilk

Oct 31, 2015

BUTTERMILK BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

Janet & Norman Van Aken, © 2013

Yield: 3 + Cups

1 Cup buttermilk

1 3/4 Cups Sour cream

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons Champagne wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 large garlic clove minced

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces good blue cheese, well crumbled

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl or blend briefly.

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