Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Roasted Scallops with Pumpkin - Page 180

We wanted the Squash Risotto as a side to this (pumpkins and squash let you pretend it's fall and will get cool soon), and that made things complicated.  You can see the graph paper timeline on instagram (OxandBrock).  Things didn't go quite as planned (the pumpkins required a hacksaw to open - good thing I have a food grade hacksaw blade* - doesn't everybody?) and that slowed things down.  The timeline work did help us adjust and recover.  There are 5 components to this dish, and the risotto isn't exactly simple either.  That said, properly organised, this recipe is relatively straightforward and the recipe guides you pretty well.

We couldn't get dry packed scallops in time, and also didn't get U-10's.  This meant we had to sear in 2 batches.  I don't recommend this as the second batch didn't sear as well and ended up a little grey.  They also don't taste as amazing as really good scallops, but they were still good.

Everything else is straightforward, but this recipe is the poster child for planning, mise en place, and knowing what burner you will be using when.  Know where you are going to put the various pans as they finish.  Warmed plates and bowls can be helpful, or a large cutting board or towel that is out of the way, but easy to get to.  Have the tools you'll need out and easy to get to.  Extra hands help, as long as they know what to do when.

The Brussels sprout leaves were awesome, and this is from someone who hates those nasty things.

*Seriously...pliers, drill bits and other things as well.  The saw blade requires finding an unpainted one, or removing the paint from one.  After that it's just a matter of separating it from your regular tools, keeping it clean and not letting it rust.

Advice: Get the dry-packed scallops.  If you don't get dry-packed, leaving them open on a cooling rack in the freezer for a couple hours will help them sear without adversely affecting their moisture when cooked.  Get a food grade hacksaw blade.  Making more sauce will make it easier to froth, and a tall thin pan helps, but the sauce tastes fine unfrothed.  Roast a second pumpkin for pie.

What to do if you don't have an immersion circulator or vacuum sealer:  Get a well insulated beer cooler, smaller the better.  Warm it with tap water at the hottest setting and then fill halfway with your hottest tapwater.  Using a probe thermometer (ideally one with a wire so you can leave it in with the cooler shut) adjust the temperature by adding boiling water until you hit 125F.  If cooler is not 2/3 full, add hot or boiling water as needed to raise the level while maintaining the temperature.  Have boiling water available to add to the cooler to maintain temperature.  Put the scallops with the butter (melt it first) in a gallon ziploc bag and close the bag almost all the way by closing it on your finger.  Submerge the bag slowly into the water, letting the air out through the finger hole while being careful not to let any water in.  When the bag is almost fully submerged, quickly zip it shut the rest of the way and drop it in the water.  Close the lid, cover with a towel and wait 10 minutes.  The water temp should drift to 122F when you add the scallops, and you can adjust with boiling water if it cools too fast.  Remove the bag and proceed with searing per the recipe.

Squash Seed Risotto - Page 57

It's been a while since we cooked, mainly because of me spending my summers North in Vermont.  Also because the remaining recipes are getting a bit complicated and the ingredients a bit more fun.  Kari and I are going to Denver for a week and when we get back, Ox and I are going to do a bit of preparation for the future, rather than deciding on a recipe the day we plan on cooking it.

The good thing about going North, however, is that we get to bring back some Hill Farmstead Arthur - a great Farmhouse Saison, with a perfect tartness to compliment the risotto and the Roasted Scallops we made to accompany them.

Coordinating these recipes required a bit of graph paper, a series of timelines, and some mental gyrations - most of which failed.  The result was awesome, but our timing did not go as planned.

The Farro Risotto we made from Heritage was amazing, so we had high hopes for this recipe, though the idea of using rice grits seemed a bit strange - In Brock We Trust.  The squash seed addition at the end was also unexpected, but kinda made sense texturally.  We couldn't figure out why we were rubbing the squash with oil and salt, since you wouldn't be using the peels - turned out you DO use the outsides, and this means you need to salt them liberally.  The sofrito step of heating thinly sliced garlic and shallots in butter and oil until they practically dissolve is going to become a staple technique in our kitchen.

This came together as a classic risotto, with stock additions and stirring, though it is quite a bit thicker, so you couldn't stop stirring or you would get a risottoplosion.  My microwave can attest to this, as it is covered in risotto splashes.  We played around with this and made a few discoveries.  Discussed in the advice.  One was that if you don't salt the squash generously enough, you will have an under-salted risotto, but this was an easy fix.

Advice:  Season the squash liberally.  If you don't have classic rice grits, you can briefly pulse good rice in a food processor to break it up a bit - go for the consistency of steel cut oats, and sift most of the dust away.  Start the risotto off on Medium Low and raise or lower as necessary to avoid risottoplosion.  Don't be afraid to use the skins and seeds of the squash - they are what makes the dish.  You can add salt to taste at the end if there's not enough.

On a separate note, we made it to McCrady's Tavern this Saturday and they hit it out of the park!  The new design is beautiful and works great.  The menu is delicious and accessible, and the beer list well thought out.  Thanks to the chef for sending out the OXtail and BROCKolli - it was delicious!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

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
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)
Herb Marinated Hanger Steak - Page 135 - Delicious.  Time consuming but easy.
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
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.
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.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pickled Ramps - Page 233

Not much to say about making these, they are a pretty basic pickle recipe.
We went with refrigerator rather than the full canning.
They were outstanding to eat, once we waited the week.

Advice: When you find ramps, make a ton of this.  If you're really clever with your jar photo staging, you can get the bay leaf nicely placed for the picture.

You might even consider taking the picture with a better background than your stove ;)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cured Egg Yolks - Page 234

I struggled with these.  I had some great, really fresh eggs, and didn't want to mess it up.  The recipe seemed like it might be troublesome, and curing has never been my strong suit.

Separating the yolks and setting them in the salt/sugar mixture was obviously the easy part, but I worried about whether they would stay covered, get smushed by too much salt, or get jostled in the fridge.

Then it was brushing the salt/sugar off, which was a little sticky, and made me think I wasn't getting enough off.  Tying and hanging was okay, though I stressed about tying to tightly, too loosely, or having them drip or something in my pantry.

Turns out I'm just a paranoid pansy.  In hindsight, I was sweating too much and should have just rolled with it.  These are easy, take no time at all and are awesome.  They're like egg yolk flavored cheese.  Once they're done curing I just trimmed the rough exterior and had these amazing slivers of eggy pleasure.

And yes, that's Chef Brock's smoked bacon cure in the jar behind the eggs.

Advice: Don't sweat this, just follow the recipe.  Use good, fresh, preferably backyard, bug eating eggs for the best color.

Rendered Fresh Lard - Page 316

Ox and I have both made lard several times, and the recipe from the book is pretty straight forward and easy to use.  The results are excellent both times we've done it.

I don't even have any pictures from making it, but we did stumble upon a really neat trick for making lard quickly, easily and with some pretty cool side benefits.

We were making the Rabbit Andouille Sausage, which called for 1/4 pound of fatback, run through the large die of a meat grinder.  We looked for fatback from the usual sources at the Summerville Farmer's Market, but everyone was out - no big deal, we had lots of options.  Luckily, Russell at Sunny Cedars Farm suggested using leaf fat, which he had at a good price.  We grabbed two pounds and froze the chunks for easy grinding.  We only needed 1/4 pound, so we decided to make lard out of the rest.  Ox had been wanting to try a crock pot instead of the stove top, and then genius hit us!

We were grinding the fat anyway, so why not grind it all!  We figured this might speed things up and increase the yield. It worked!  Less than 45 minutes and we had perfect, easily strain-able lard.  Not only that, the bits of meat that had been in the beautiful fat were not over crisped.  After straining we threw them in a skillet and cooked them for 5 minutes and ended up with AMAZING pork bits.

I don't know if I'll break the grinder out every time I make lard, but if I'm grinding pork anyway...