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. He is also known as the “founding father of New World Cuisine” - a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, American and African flavors.  He is the only Floridian Chef inducted into the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage”. He was a 2016 MenuMasters Hall of Fame inductee along with previous winners Wolfgang Puck and Jacques Pépin.  

Van Aken is a James Beard semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America” and his namesake restaurant NORMAN’S, in Coral Gables, was nominated as a finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant in America.” The only one thus far in the entire state of Florida.  He founded NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando in 2003, also a semi-finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant in America”, only the second restaurant in the history of Florida to reach the semi-finalist stage (The first was NORMAN’s in Coral Gables). He has received numerous local and national accolades over the years, and has represented the United States 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/World’s Fair (2015).  

Van Aken has shared his cooking and career, penning six cookbooks (Feast of Sunlight; The Exotic Fruit Book; Norman’s New World Cuisine; New World Kitchen; My Key West Kitchen; Norman Van Aken's Florida Kitchen) and a memoir (No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken).  His cookbooks have been hailed by Anthony Bourdain, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Eric Ripert, and 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. His latest published book, Norman Van Aken's My Florida Kitchen, was selected to represent the USA in the local category of the Gourmand International World Cookbook Awards and has been awarded the Florida Book Award’s Gold Medal for Cooking. 

Another project is, ‘Time Out Market Miami’ Food Hall where he has two concepts. One is based on his beloved Key West and the other is his take on artisanal pizzas. The original Time Out Market is in Lisbon, Portugal with more markets to follow in New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Dubai and Montreal. The food hall is about 20,000 square feet and is already becoming a Miami standout for tourists and locals alike.

Chef Van Aken has appeared on various television shows from CNN’s “Parts Unknown” with Anthony 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 host of “A Word on Food” a radio show that airs weekly on NPR station 91.3 WLRN in Miami.

When he is not in the kitchen, 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. 

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The Meat Pickers

May 16, 2020

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Slow Foods

May 9, 2020

PORK HAVANA, KEY WEST STYLE

Source: “MY KEY WEST KITCHEN”, Norman & Justin Van Aken ©, 2012

Yield: Serves 4

2 sour oranges, cut in half

2 oranges, cut in half

4 limes, cut in half

1/2 cup pure olive oil, plus more for searing

8 whole black peppercorns, bruised

2 bay leaves, broken

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 3 cloves, peeled and cut into studs

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

One 4-bone rack of pork (about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds)

Cafeteria Foods

May 2, 2020

Last Suppers

Apr 25, 2020

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Comfort Foods

Apr 18, 2020

TURRÓN STUDDED CHILLED CHOCOLATE BROWNIES                                                                         

© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

Yield: 1 9” x 9” baking dish/About 12 Brownies cut 2 1/2 inches by 3 inches

For the Brownies:

4 ounces unsalted butter

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (65%), chopped fine

2 ounces virgin coconut oil

1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar

3 ea. eggs, large

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces all-purpose flour

Home, Cooking

Apr 11, 2020

CORNMEAL-RYE WAFFLES

© 2010, All Rights Reserved Norman Van Aken & Justin Van Aken, “My Key West Kitchen”

Yield: 5 ½ Cups Batter

2 Cups cornmeal

¾ Cups whole rye flour

¼ Cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon mace, optional

3 Cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Put the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stir well to combine.

Spice Rubs

Mar 28, 2020

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ESCABECHE SPICE RUB

Norman Van Aken, © 2019

Horseradish

Mar 21, 2020

JAVA’S SHRIMP COCKTAIL SAUCE

Janet Van Aken © 2005

Yield: 1 2/3 – 1 ¾ Cups

1 ½ Cups Heinz Ketchup

5 Tablespoons of prepared horseradish, (or more as desired)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or more as desired)

1 ½ teaspoons Pick-a-Peppa sauce

Mix all together and refrigerate.

8.1.07

Shrimp

Mar 14, 2020

Fondue

Mar 7, 2020

SPANISH CAVA FONDUE

Norman Van Aken ©2012

Yields: 4 Cups

1 1/2 Spanish onions, peeled and cut into medium slices

4 ounces of butter

2 jalapenos, stems and seeds discarded, thinly sliced

1/4 Cup Roasted Garlic

1/4 Cup flour

375 ml. of Spanish Cava Sparkling wine

1 Cup light chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

3 ounces Manchego, grated

1 1/2 ounces Cabrales cheese, crumbled very small (or other blue cheese)

Kosher salt and cracked white pepper, to taste

Writing Cookbooks

Feb 29, 2020

JUSTIN’S BEST-EVER PEANUT BUTTER ICE CREAM

“MY KEY WEST KITCHEN”, Norman & Justin Van Aken, © 2019

All the Van Aken’s love peanut butter. But it was Justin to turn that love into this passionate confection of goodness!

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1 pint heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

One 12-ounce container skin-on Spanish peanuts

1 Tablespoon corn syrup

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon honey

6 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Salt and Pepper

Feb 22, 2020

The “salt” in this dish comes from the intriguing flavor of preserved lemons which you can easily make or buy.  You will need to have these prepared and in your larder for a period of time before making this recipe.  The “pepper” is finely julienned poblano chile peppers.

SALT & PEPPER CHICKEN

“FEAST OF SUNLIGHT”, Norman Van Aken, © 2019

Yield: Serves 4

For the Sauce:

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

6 whole black peppercorns

1 bay leaf, broken

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Yoshoku Cuisine

Feb 15, 2020

Family Meal

Feb 8, 2020
Maria Robledo

FAMILY MEAL MEATLOAF

Norman Van Aken, © All Rights Reserved 2019

The ‘family meals’ we had a the Pier House were raucous affairs. If we failed to make a good one the servers turned testy! This one had a calming effect on the team thank goodness.

Yield: 1 loaf

Meat mixture:

1#   ground chuck

1#   ground pork

1 large onion, diced small

1 large carrot, diced small

½ # mushrooms

2 T roasted garlic

¼ Cup tomato paste

2 T Pick-a-peppa sauce

2 eggs

½  C  breadcrumbs

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