Food

Michael and Lauren Cirafesi are the owners of OMBRA Cucina Rustica in The Village at Wexford. They are pictured here in their restaurant with their sons (from left to right): Paul, Kurdt, Tim, David, Laer and Salvatore.

VIVA LA FAMIGLIA!

For Lauren and Michael Cirafesi, running their award-winning restaurant OMBRA is all about family. And for them, family includes not only their six sons, but also their staff and guests.

An interview with host and chief executive foodie Jesse Blanco

QUESTION. What’s your take on the food scene on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton?
ANSWER. The food scene in Hilton Head Island has always been a few steps ahead of anything else in this area. It is a large part of what made the island so popular. It's nice to have a big beautiful house on the beach or a place to play golf, but unless there are great restaurants, then it’s just not the same. What is going on in Bluffton, meanwhile, is nothing short of amazing. So much good food popping up there. No surprise really with the number of people moving there. I'm even hearing about restaurants in Savannah expanding to Bluffton. That will tell you how they feel about the area.

salmon2ADD FRESH PRODUCE TO YOUR DIET AND COMMUNITY

Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”

“Most of my adult clients who are not veggie lovers usually had little exposure to them growing up, or they just weren’t cooked properly,” Forberg said. “It’s important for parents to get their children involved in cooking, shopping and even gardening so kids can understand the journey from seed to plate.”

Marinades are like flavor elves, working behind the scenes at boosting flavors and tenderizing while the cook is off doing other things. Typically, a marinade consists of oil, vinegar, acidic ingredients such as lemon or lime, and herbs and/or spices. Another type of marinade consists of tropical fruits such as papaya and pineapple and which have enzymes to break down tissues and add flavor. Ceviche (also spelled ‘seviche’) “cooks” the seafood without any heat – only the acidity of the juices used does the trick. The best way to marinate is by using either a glass, plastic or enamel bowl, covering it tightly with plastic wrap, and storing it in the refrigerator. Our parents used to let things sit out at room temperature but we know better now – dangerous bacteria can thrive in a warm environment. Also, avoid using metal bowls which may have a chemical reaction with the marinade and affect the taste.

Going out for ice cream in the Lowcountry? You’re in for a treat. At last count, Beaufort County had more than 20 places where those who love ice cream, gelato, sorbet, soft-serve or fro-yo could get their fix of creamy goodness. While frozen yogurt sold by the ounce is the newest addition to Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, other options abound to satisfy cravings for something cold and sweet on a hot summer day.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO HARNESS YOUR INNER CAVEMAN AND COMBINE MEAT AND FLAME TO CREATE SOMETHING AMAZING.

Ever since the first primitive grillmaster rotisseried a wooly mammoth flank over an open flame, the concept of cooking outdoors has carried a certain mystique that you don’t find in, say, your average microwave.

Asian Flank SteakBY CARRIE HIRSCH / SERVES 4-6 
2 pounds flank or skirt steak

This is a quick and yummy Asian marinade, served with an orzo pasta salad – East meets West flavors meld together beautifully! Allow enough time to marinate the flank steak in advance of preparation.

It’s summer, and not only is it bathing suit season, it’s that time of year when we’ve moved from warm soups and heavier meals to light and healthy eating. According to WebMD, enjoying a salad every day is one of the healthiest habits you can adopt. And there are so many ways to make it exciting! Different proteins. Different greens. Different textures. So many choices in veggies and fruits. The choices are truly endless! So take some tips from these next few pages and get your green on! And if time is short, run by and grab one, because all of these are available in our area right now! So no excuses. Living healthier is just a short drive away.

WHEN WHAT YOU HAVE AROUND THE HOUSE HAS TO BE ENOUGH

Torrential rain is coming down, it’s late, and the gas gauge is on empty. Not great incentives to go food shopping (in a future article, we’ll review “Planning Ahead”). Cooking with what’s on hand does not come naturally to most because we’ve been conditioned to follow somebody else’s recipe. And nine times out of ten, we’ll be missing a key ingredient which requires a trip to the store – exactly what we’re trying to avoid in the first place.

What wife wouldn’t be thrilled to come home to a home-cooked meal she didn’t have to prepare? No planning, no stopping by the grocery store, no worrying about the same daily question, “what are we going to have tonight?” Husbands - You Got This! You can whip up a great dinner – one even the kids will love – and give your wife the night off.