Friday, February 27, 2009

The Voodoo that You Do: Happy Mardi Gras!

In leu of it being Mardi Gras we decided to give a try at an authentic Gumbo. Shrimp, sausage, okra and a bevy of vegetables made up this delectable soup(?)
Just the right amount of heat and meat southerners sure have their rib-sticking foods down to a science.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whitetrash Bar-B-Que

Sometimes at a good BBQ you can't always choose what to eat as easily as you would think, especially when the all the food looks delicious. To avoid being a heathen you have to sacrifice one or the other to your palate and sometimes that results in feelings of reget and self-lothing. Or perhaps I just take food too seriously.Well thanks to the good people at they have solved this culinary conundrum. The meal consists of a hotdog wrapped in cheese, then wrapped in rolled out ground beef, then wrapped in bacon, breaded, then baked. Hey at least its not fried. Try this at your next family BBQ (note: the more South you live the more this will be accepted by the majority of your gathering)
Enjoy the pictures!

One last thing: This is not tonight's meal. In the spirit of Marti Gras we will be cooking gumbo and blackened string beans. Pictures to be posted as soon as we get to it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back up to Date: Far from Suffering Succotash

It is always the most simple dishes that really resonate in your mind and trump some of the most complicated of concoctions. Every Tuesday it is usually Daniel who proclaims, "Oh this is my favorite recipe yet!", but now it is my turn. I defrosted a package of small venison steaks earlier that day. They were perfectly proportionally cut for myself, Daniel, Caitlin, and Jonathan. I whipped up a rub of cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, cumin, and red pepper flakes. I patted the steaks dry and rubbed the seasoning on. We heated up our cast iron skillet and seared them for two minutes on one side then another minute on the opposing side.
To complement these wondrous cuts of meat, Caitlin composed a succotash of lima beans, yams, corn, and shallot.
We placed the steak atop the succotash and took a hearty slab of sage butter we had made earlier that evening. To make the herb butter was simple: soften some butter, toss in some sage and roll it up in some seram wrap.
The meal was so complete we even forwent the construction of a salad.
It was the most simplistic, non-time consuming, least preparatory meal in weeks and I have to say it was my favorite so far.

Old clothes have never tasted so good

So, with all that venison I had laying around we decided to do a pot roast. But this isn't your mom's pot roast (unless she happens to be Cuban, Spanish or Caribbean, then I guess it would be) this roast was simmered for three hours in a tomato and pepper based stew. Called Ropa Vieja, meaning old clothes, this meal is traditionally made with flank steak, but we are not your typical chefs. We hybridized your typical pot roast technique with the ingredients of ropa vieja and came with one of our best creations thus far. Combining tomatoes, peppers, and onions, we let this baby sit for close to three hours turning a half turn every 15 minutes. To accompany our roast we boiled up some black beans, plain Jane style, with some salt and lovin'. On to the starch: we peeled, cubed, and boiled some Yukon golds then coated them with some salt, pepper, and duck fat then roasted them in the oven until golden brown. So as to shed a little green on this meal as well as to protect our eyes from macular degeneration we steamed up some kale.
Typically the meat is fully pulled apart in ropa vieja, but we wanted to keep the pieces larger so as to resemble a typical pot roast, so we compromised with some minor tearing of the meat.
Excellent meal with excellent company.

DS Likes the Butt

Pork butt pic, recipe, and method TK


I am not the biggest football fan (whatsoever), but the potentiality for slow cooked meats, thick and hearty dips, and crunchy fried skins keep me coming each year.
Guacamole can be a very impersonal dish. Just mash some avocados, red onions, some spicy seasonings and you're all set. But I went all out this year. While seeing some random commercial promoting a certain brand of avocados, I spied something that resembled a football field made of guacamole! I paused and rewound my DVR and emulated it on a smaller scale for this years Superbowl.
I did my usual mix of avocados, tomato, cumin pepper, dried chilies powdered in a blender, red onion, salt and pepper. Diced it up leaving some chunks but allowing it to be smooth enough to still be considered a dip. I then cut out little X's and O's from bell peppers using my handy dandy paring knife, as well as constructing the field goal posts from peppers and tooth picks. To top it all off I pipped on the field lines with sour cream and a zip-lock with a corner cut off. It was almost too cute to eat. The I filled the bleachers with tortilla chips. TOO CUTE!
Bring it to your in-laws next year to impress that brother of hers who thinks you're not good enough for his baby sis.

The pulled pork was out of this world and will hopefully be posted soon by the chef (Daniel)himself. Fourteen hours simmering resulting in 30 minutes of pulled pork goodness and almost instantaneous sleepiness.

My apologies to the few that actually read this.

I have been a bit behind in my blogging these past few weeks, but here I am catching up. Sorry no real step by step recipes, though most of the time there isn't much to it. If you really care I can hunt them down just shoot me an email.
On January 27th we made a ragout of pork an prunes extrapolated from a recipe found here . It turned out excellent (as per usual). We served it on top of creamy polenta which is an Italian dish made from cornmeal similar to southern grits. We finished it off with a hazelnut-cranberry-goat cheese spinach salad with a basic lemon vinaigrette. The ragout was so rich; the sweetness from the prunes really pulled in the cranberries residing in the salad, while the buttery-starchy neutrality of the polenta provided a sturdy pedestal for it to all sit upon. All together a fantastic meal.

Here is a picture of my aforementioned venison stew.