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June 18, 2012
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Chef brings taste of Eastern streets to Aspen Food & Wine

ASPEN - On Sunday, spectators learned how to prepare dishes inspired by Indian and Egyptian street vendors. They also learned how to cure the morning ills that accompany a long weekend of tasting and revelry."I think it should be called the alcohol, wine and maybe food event," Susan Feniger said of the Food & Wine Classic, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this weekend.Feniger, a veteran chef who has appeared in nearly 400 episodes of Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales" and "Tamales World Tour," headed the demo on Sunday morning."I swore I would never do demos if (the audience) hadn't had a drink first. But hopefully it's lasted from the night before," she told the tent full of spectators.Feniger presented dishes inspired by her travels throughout India, Vietnam, Turkey, Mongolia and Singapore, starting with a cucumber honeydew drink topped off with Belvedere vodka. She initially forgot to include the cucumber and then blamed the effects of Saturday's Belvedere party for the mishap. "Sunday morning! Aren't you guys glad you're not tasting?" she asked.In addition to the cucumber drink, Feniger showed the crowd how to prepare koshary, an Egyptian street food she first tried while hitchhiking in Israel, and bhel puri, a street food she ate while on a 14-day trek through seven cities in India. She also prepared a Burmese melon salad, which she described as "great for digestion." All recipes can be found in her book "Susan Feniger's Street Food," which goes on sale July 17.Feniger also shared tips on cutting cucumbers and sweet potatoes properly, how to savor the flavor in cilantro stems, how to squeeze limes using a fork and how to avoid common mistakes while sauting. A lot of home cooks add too much product to the pan, she said."You end up braising or stewing it instead of actually sauting, which means to cook quickly," she said. Feniger spends most of her time managing various restaurants she owns and co-owns with Mary Sue Milliken, her co-star on Food Network. After working in Chicago and Paris, Feniger paired up with Milliken to open City Caf in Los Angeles in 1981. Today, the pair oversees the Border Grill Restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., and downtown Los Angeles and the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The duo also has co-authored five cookbooks together, including "City Cuisine," "Mesa Mexicana" and "Cooking With Too Hot Tamales." Feniger's newest book is her first solo offering. She has frequently appeared at the Food & Wine Classic over the years and plans on returning next year. "I should come (to Aspen) more for play than I should work," she said. "The food culture's fabulous here."


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The Aspen Times Updated Jun 18, 2012 06:07AM Published Jun 18, 2012 01:16AM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.