What in the actual hell is Rainbow Unicorn Bang?

Austrians have given the world Sacher Torte and SchnitzelSnow Globes and Swarovski; Glock and Porsche. And Red Bull. Naturally Americans had to take that last one a step further.

Fun Fact: There are 200 varieties of Lay’s potato chips being crunched around the globe. According to Dr. Google, this is the 24th most popular flavor in America. We missed so much while overseas. I can not comment on the taste; I wish (considerably) smaller bags of snacks were available, because these just might pair with the Happy Hour G&T, but alas, everything is bigger in the red, white and blue.

On the home front, behold. A South Carolina-sauced and spatchcocked bird. Mustardy, brown-sugary charred deliciousness.

Koshari, a feel good Egyptian dish we first became enamored with in Cairo. My version is quite good, but still lacks that street-food presentation. The key is in the vinegar-chili ratio being sloshed over the top.

Lentil Balls in Curry Sauce. Not bad, but overall this particular recipe does not warrant a repeat effort.

As was the case in Vienna, I can not always rely on my local grocers to have certain items. Grocer 1 continues to surprise me every time I drop in (Hello, Flanked Short Ribs!); Grocer 2 carries the same brand of ice cream that a certain Speaker of the House stocks her SubZero with (at half the price, but then again Tennessee is thankfully not California).

One chilly autumn morning I pored through my collections and found this recipe, a luscious cabbage roll topped with a Béchamel and Basil White Wine Sauce. But the cabbage employed is not the standard Green, but rather the tender Savoy.  An online search of all major grocers in the area (except my regular Grocer 2, for reasons unknown) produced a match at a chain 20 minutes north at which I have never shopped. I hopped in the wagon feeling optimistic!

Well. The online inventory was wrong. Down but not out I headed for Grocer 1, just in case. Fresh tomatillos being stocked for an Enchiladas Verde meal (a dish we could not make from scratch in Vienna), but no Savoy. A quick stop at the local version of Whole Foods (WF didn’t have the cabbage, either) produced a bag of chestnuts that we can roast over our fire pit, but no cabbage.

Down, and now seemingly out, I headed to Grocer 2 preparing to make up dinner on the fly. On a lark I walked over to produce. Lo! And Behold! Savoy Cabbage! An hour spent driving around West Knox when the solution was right around the corner.

What sets this apart from the Eastern European versions is the addition of a grated hard cheese in the beef and rice mixture, and of course the Béchamel. Additional hard cheese and a dash of Paprika on the top make this dish exceptional, though classic Gołąbki will always hold a top place in my culinary heart.

Are those not gorgeous Corn Meal Biscuits? I think I have the biscuit thing down, thanks to Tennessee-made Corn Meal and Lodge cookware, also Tennessee-made. A decadent Sunday breakfast, these beauties were topped with Chorizo Gravy and a sprinkle of queso blanco.

Burrata with Grilled Grapes and Basil. You know you’re intrigued. The grapes are marinated in sherry vinegar, brown sugar and fennel seeds. Then grilled. The extra marinade serves as the dressing, too. It’s as simply delicious as that. 

To conclude, a dish from the Nothing But Time collection. Real Khao Soi, not one of the easy-peasy versions rampant on the Internet. The dish hails from the region of Northern Thailand bookended by Myanmar and Laos, blending Muslim, Thai, Chinese and other regional culinary interests; the result is nothing short of spectacular, and possibly

The.Very.Best.Curry.I.Have.Ever.Prepared.

The homemade curry paste required its twelve ingredients to be crushed, blended and caramelized. As for the flankened short ribs, on a lark I dropped into the grocer with the regular surprise, fully expecting to have to sub in stew beef. Oh, no. There before me was a package of Flankened Short Ribs!

The spices pasted and the ribs seared, coconut milk was added and the dish baked for a couple of hours. With the first silky, and savory curry-laced bite that finished with the gentle heat of ground Sichuan peppers, we both declared this meal incredibly too decadent for a weeknight. So of course we uncorked a red to pair with it.