Saturday, November 19, 2016

McCrady's Dinner!

I'm not going to expound on every dish, but instead I'm just going to upload some photos in no particular order.  I will say it was one of the best meals any of us have had...EVER.  All four of us went and we had 2 wine pairings and one non-alcoholic beverage pairing.  All the pairings were excellent, and some of the non alcoholics were amazing!

Foie Gras, Strawberry and Almond Popsicle with Marshmallow.  So good.

Aged Beef, Sweet Potato and Black Truffle.  I liked the double poured sauces.

This is Charleston Ice Cream, which we have made.  Ours was not even close to this good.

This bonsai tree was sitting on the table when we got there.  In the tree was eggplant jerky.

Caviar, Sunflower,Brown Butter and Apple.  What an amazing combination.

Oyster in a sea of sea bean and a nitrogen fog.

Cobia - 3 ways - 3 AMAZING ways.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll - Page 302

I think this is our first really successful desert out of the Heritage cookbook.  Ox and I loved it, the wives were more ambivalent.  Neither of them seemed to appreciate the nuts in the filling.  We used the specific Black Walnuts called for in the recipe, and they seemed really good to me.  I guess there's no accounting for taste.

We already had plenty of pumpkin puree because Kari is a pumpkin NUT!  We make it exactly like the recipe calls for, which was good.  The recipe calls for a 15 by 10 inch jelly roll pan, which seemed like a standard half sheet pan to us, and the dough spread out nicely in it and the roll portion came out perfect.  Everybody loved the cake without filling.

The filling was nice and easy to make, and tasted great in my opinion.  Rolling everything together was surprisingly easy, though a second pair of hands helped.  We didn't use all of the filling, but the leftover was lovely to make pumpkin belvita cookie sandwiches with.

Advice: Have a helper to assist in rolling things together.  If you are going through the trouble of making pumpkin puree, do at least three pumpkins.  The puree keeps well in the freezer, and the pumpkins aren't in the store very long.

Recipe List with Notes

Green Garlic Bisque - Page 32 - Fried Green Tomato Croutons...enough said.
Strawberry Gazpacho with Tomato Water Jelly - Page 34 - This was ambitious AND delicious!
Carrots Braised and Glazed in Carrot Juice - Page 46 - Liked, but want to retry to get right.
Creamed Corn - Page 48 - Make this assembly line style when corn is in season.
Squash Seed Risotto - Page 57 - An adventure worth the effort!
Cracklin' Cornbread - Page 71  - Easy and awesome!
Cornmeal Hoecakes - Page 72 - 10 minutes to Yum!
Cornbread and Buttermilk Soup - Page 76  - Love this stuff, plus a simple bonus recipe!
Hushpuppies with Green Goddess Dressing - Page 78 - Really liked this.
Farrotto with Acorn Squash and Red Russian Kale - Page 92 - Good, Easy but hard Work
Fried Chicken and Gravy - Page 101 - Nom Nom Nom
Crispy Fried Farm Eggs - Page 103 - The vinagrette was great, but eggs stole the show!
Grilled Chicken Wings with Burnt Scallion BBQ Sauce - Page 104 - Great!
Chicken Simply Roasted - Page 109 - Seriously Great!
Slow Cooked Rib Eye - Page 128 - Worth the effort!  Relatively easy.
Husk Cheeseburger - Page 131 - Even better than at Husk (don't tell Sean)
Charred Beef Short Ribs with Glazed Carrots - Page 132 - Great big chunk of meat recipe!
Herb Marinated Hanger Steak - Page 135 - Delicious.  Time consuming but easy.
Cornmeal Fried Porkchops and Smashed Potatoes - Page 137 - Easy and delicious.
Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Tomato Gravy - Page 138 - Probably would be awesome done right
How to Build a Pit and Cook a Whole Pig - Page 140 - Totally worth the incredible effort!
Lamb with Favas, Malted Barley, and Chanterelles - Page 153 - The lamb is easy and awesome!
How to Throw a Lowcountry Seafood Boil - Page 178 - DO IT!
Roasted Scallops with Pumpkin and more - Page 180 - This one's a project!
Grilled Tilefish - Page 197 - Surprisingly easy and unsurprisingly good
Pickled Eggs - Page 210 - Easy and delicious (you'll need a juicer)
Pickled Peaches - Page 213 - Fun and easy - really unique and good flavor
Spicy Pepper Jelly - Page 214 - takes longer than advertised - but delicious
Pickled Mushrooms - Page 214 - Follow the recipe!  Not our favorite
Heirloom Tomato Conserve - Page 223 - Interesting
Pickled Elderberries - Page 223 - Easy, but needs eucalyptus leaves
Bread and Butter Pickles - Page 228 - Will let you know how they taste
Tomato Jam - Page 229 - Very good, and relatively easy
Dilled Green Tomatoes - Page 230 - Easy if you aren't canning them.
Pickled Ramps - Page 233 - Easy and worth it if you can find ramps.
Pickled Okra - Page 234 - Prettiest of the pickles in the jar - best tasting so far!
Cured Egg Yolks - Page 234 - Easy and delicious!
Husk BBQ Sauce - Page 236 - Smoky, good and easy to make
Homemade Steak Sauce - Page 240 - Really good, and makes the house smell awesome!
Smoked Bacon for Beginners - Page 242 - Messed this one up BAD!
Fried Chicken Skins - Page 253 - Delicious, but a bit of effort.
Pork Rinds - Page 254 - These are great, but take a lot of time and effort
Southern Screwdriver - Page 264 - Easy and awesome.  Mix a batch like punch!
Charleston Light Dragoon Punch - Page 265 - refreshing and easy.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll - Page 302 - Quite easy and good.
Chewy Benton's Bacon Caramels - page 303 - Candy is hard.
Husk BBQ Rub - Page 311 - Paprika based, easy and good
Preserved Lemons - Page 313 - We'll let you know in a month
Vegetable Stock - Page 316  - This was a very aromatic stock.  Nailed it!
Rendered Fresh Lard - Page 316 - A meat grinder makes it better.
Chicken Stock - Page 318 - Good stock, plus you get to use chicken feet!
Pork Stock - Page 319 - It's porkstocktic!
Beef Stock - Page 320 - Great stock!
Basic Meat Sauce - Page 321 - Make lots, it takes a while.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dilled Green Tomatoes - Page 230

So tonight we had a lot on our plates.  Ox and I had made the Pumpkin Roll, and it was in the refrigerator, and then we made Chicken Marsala using a brilliant crispy skinned chicken breast recipe we had been playing with for a while.  After dinner, there were a ton of dishes, and the Dilled Green Tomatoes to do.  Ox and I jokingly said that we would do the dishes if the womenfolk would do the tomatoes.  The ladies were game, so this recipe is all them!  (We got the last laugh because we did a shitty job on the dishes.)

We didn't do the canning version, just the refrigerator version, because our plans for these ensure they won't last two weeks.  All the tomatoes will either be relish, or fried in no time.

When you're not doing the canning, this is a relatively simple recipe.  As usual, we got our spices (dill seeds were the only thing we didn't have on hand) from the Charleston Spice Company.  With a couple days notice they will have what you want at the Charleston or Summerville Farmer's Market.

Kari did the prep and knife work, and Mary made the pickling mix.  The ladies did a beautiful job with jar presentation.  The recipe is basically boiling a pickling liquid, putting some aromatics into the jars, slicing the pickles, and putting it all together.
We'll let you know how they came out after this Sunday's Walking Dead/Ox and Brock Cookathon.

Advice: We ended up with just over 2 jars of tomatoes, but 3 jars of pickling liquid.  Either get extra tomatoes, or have some fun stuff to toss in the extra jar, just in case.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Crispy Fried Farm Eggs with Fresh Cheese, Watercress and Red-Eye Vinaigrette - Page 103

So you're working on this recipe, got your fry oil at 350F, greens, vinaigrette, cheese and mushrooms standing by...and you fry 6 eggs.  Six.  SIX!  JUST SIX?  Fry more!  These eggs were the PERFECT eggs.  Hell, I would consider throwing all the rest of the stuff away (even though the salad was delicious) and frying and eating eggs OVER and OVER!

Can you tell I liked the eggs?

The rest of the recipe was delicious too, and super easy (especially if you already have rendered ham fat).

The vinaigrette came together easy, and stayed emulsified a lot better than I expected it to based on the recipe description.  Was damn good too!  The recipe makes a lot of it, so either cut it back, or plan on having a few salads over the next couple days.  It really is the vinaigrette version of red-eye gravy.

The cheese was simple and straightforward, with the only remotely twitchy part being keeping the milk mixture at 170F for 2 minutes, which isn't that hard even on my piece of crap electric stove.  I found my thermapen to be just as easy as the fry thermometer for doing this, and more accurate.

We already had pickled mushrooms from the cookbook so used them even though they weren't chanterelles.

One piece of good advice from the recipe was dressing the salad before plating.  Pouring dressing over salad on the plate can look nice, and sometimes works, but dressing and tossing before plating usually works better, especially with a thicker dressing like this one.  We prepared everything for plating and had it staged so the eggs could go right onto the plate after frying, but we missed the dress the salad step.  This caused a slight delay from frying to eating, but it was still good.  Since there were only 5 of us, I ate the 6th egg right out of the fryer while Ox plated.  DELICIOUS!

Advice: Cut the vinaigrette recipe in half.  Have everything staged before frying the eggs, including dressing the greens.  I would fry more eggs, but, even if you just want 6, boil a couple extra.  Really fresh eggs can be troublesome to peel, so it's easy to mess one or two up.  We got lucky, but it was touch and go for a second.  Do everything except the eggs ahead of time to allow you to concentrate on the delicate part of the recipe.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cornmeal Fried Pork Chops and Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes - Page 137

I discovered something about myself...and I'm not proud of it.  I over mash my potatoes.  I never knew that you could just "smash" them, and make a much better quality rustic mashed potatoes.  Of course, sometimes you want the ultra smooth, creamy mashed potatoes, but that's another food entirely.  These potatoes were so much more Potatoey (made up word of the day) than my usual mashed potatoes.  Just crush each one with a spoon and then fold in the flavorful stuff - what could be simpler!  I'm a convert.

We used a locally bought green tomato relish, to which we added some homemade pickles, since green tomatoes aren't in season.  We'll make the Heritage version next spring or summer.  It's actually one of the harder parts of doing every recipe from a book.  Usually, we see what's available and fresh, and then make something based on that.  Here, we have to plan ahead, plotting out recipes based on what will be available, and then hoping it's good and fresh.  Initially, this was easy, because there were a lot of recipes with ingredients that were available and good year round.  As the recipes dwindle, it gets a bit harder.  But enough whining - this is super fun - I just feel like we need to make excuses for the long gaps between recipes sometimes.

We bought nice thin pork chops from the butcher so they required a minimum of flattening.  The dredge was simple and easy and the frying went well, though we almost missed that there were no temperature checkpoints, the cooking is done entirely by time, which was nice - and worked perfectly.  At least until my piece of shit electric stove stayed on when we turned it off.  I can't wait to convert to gas.

The entire meal tasted great together.  I loved the bits of cheese interspersed in the potatoes.

Advice: Don't have a piece of shit electric stove.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Charred Beef Short Ribs with Glazed Carrots - Page 132

I'm not exactly sure what to do as a result of this recipe.  There was some very extensive smoking while charring the beef, but we were prepared with a stool staged under the smoke detector and all windows open - you learn to do this when Sean Brock tells you to put a cast iron skillet over high heat.  16 minutes total of charring and my house was smoky enough that the detector should have gone off - but it didn't.  I'll have to get it fixed before we do another heavy heat recipe.

That said - it was worth it.  This is a long lead time recipe with a lot of ingredients, but relatively easy to execute.  Cooking down the braising liquid is an exercise in torture as the aroma gets more and more amazing.  This definitely serves more than 4 people, though in our case it just meant a lot of leftovers.

We didn't quite execute the truffle puree to the letter due to ingredient access and being cheap, but we produced a nice truffle flavored sauce that complimented well.

This was our third time making the glazed carrots and I think we nailed it this time.  Our juicer lets the carrot juice get a little cloudy, so we strained it through cheese cloth.

The meat was perfect and juicy, the crust amazeballs (spell check is amazingly okay with this word) and the braising sauce made you want to just grab a spoon and eat all that was left (we poured it over the leftovers before putting them in the refrigerator.)

 The worst part of doing these recipes is waiting for the presentation pictures to be done before eating.

Advice: If you don't want to spring for the truffle puree ingredients this recipe is delicious without it and the braising liquid makes a great sauce.  Be prepared for smoking!  I have some tall 12-ounce canning jars and I find spooning a liquid I want to defat into them (working in batches if necessary) allows me to get rid of the fat very efficiently.  We didn't have a roasting pan that had both a lid and a rack, so I used my dutch oven and made a base of canning jar rings to simulate a rack.