Exploring cuisine at home, locally and abroad.

When you want to grill a chicken…but remember you’re out of propane! BONUS: Mac & Cheese Recipe

campfirechickenRecently, we had returned from vacation and after a week of heavy, fried food, wanted some light, non-beachy food and a grilled chicken sounded perfect. We were tired so made a quick run to the grocery store to get the ingredients for a Spatchcock Chicken under a brick, Grilled Okra, and Mac & Cheese (recipe below). Our chef friend, Brandon Frohne had posted a terrific Peach BBQ recipe so we used that has a topping for our chicken. So we get home and drop our bird into a salt brine and I walk to the patio only to realize that we are out of propane. ARGH! No worries, I have a fire pit and some nice dry hardwood. Now the downside to this plan is that A.) It’s 88° outside and a fire might be the last thing I want to be around B.) I have no way to support the chicken over the coals. No way to fix the first problem and by this point, my inner caveman had already spoken and I needed to make this work. And we had some large 4×4 boards that could be used to support our regular grill grates.

Assorted hardwoods

Assorted hardwoods

So I built the fire and about 40 minutes later, it was burned down to white-hot coals. 

Nice white coals

Nice white coals

I spatchcocked the chicken (just cut its back bone out so it can be flattened), coated it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Placed it on the hot grates, skin side up. Then placed two bricks wrapped in aluminum foil on top of it. 

Had to keep putting water on these supports to keep from burning them.

Had to keep putting water on these supports to keep from burning them.

15 minutes on that side, then flip it and finish for about 15 minutes on the other side or until it reaches 165° at its thickest point. A meat thermometer is your friend here. Don’t risk food poisoning. 

On the grates

On the grates

15 minutes later

15 minutes later

A few minutes before the chicken is finished, I threw on some whole okra which had been tossed in oil, salt and pepper, a peach cut in half and oiled with a touch of pepper, and a couple more things we cooked just to make more use of the fire while we had it going.

Grilling the sides

Grilling the sides

Finished bird

Finished bird

Off came the chicken and it was perfectly cooked. Chef Frohne’s BBQ recipe was done and worked perfectly with the smoky chicken. I felt, and probably smelled, like a caveman. Mission accomplished!

Dinner!

Dinner!

 

Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese for Two
Serves 2
Delicious, comforting year-round dish designed for two. Easily doubled or tripled for the family!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups Cooked Pasta
  2. 1 Cup Shredded Smoked Gouda
  3. 1/2 Cup Exta Sharp Cheddar
  4. 3/4 Cup Cream or Milk
  5. 2 Tbsp Butter
  6. 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  7. 1/4 Cup sliced Onion
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. On medium high heat in a sauce pan, melt butter and sweat onions until slightly transparent.
  3. Add flour and stir. Let cook 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Add cream/milk and whisk.
  5. Add cheeses and whisk more.
  6. Add pasta and mix well.
  7. Spoon into 2 buttered ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden and slightly crunchy.
Gather With ME http://gatherwithme.com/

The Hidden Gem of St. Pete, FL

And the gem isn’t the restaurant (but it’s excellent too!)

The La Cote Basque Menu

The La Cote Basque Menu

We recently spent a few days in and around St. Pete Beach, Florida. We enjoyed our fair share of typical beach fare. I lost track of how many of “The Beach’s Best Grouper Sandwiches” I had. The Brass Monkey was probably the best of these spots. And twice we hit up an excellent Mexican spot called Agave. Best breakfast was Beverly. But the real gem was located in the nearby town of Gulfport, Florida. La Cote Basque was the site of our best meal. 

Newspaper articles abound.

Newspaper articles abound.

And the gem was not the restaurant, but the proprietor, Grandma Frohne! We’d been told about La Cote by Brandon Frohne, up and coming rockstar Nashville chef of Mason. The quaint French and continental restaurant has been in the family since 1972, and is straight out of a Victorian novel. It seats only a few people at a time so it’s recommended that you make reservations. 

One section of the Dining Room

One section of the Dining Room

And do check their website for valuable coupons. Our server, Dalton, another grandson, was our server and was extremely pleasant and helpful (especially when we started talking about our upcoming fishing trip!). Grandma, or Oma as Brandon calls her, came out to greet us on at least three occasions. She is in her 80s and still comes in every day to cook, on her stool, and supervise the perfectly prepared dishes. SHE is the gem of the area! She was so sweet to us that we wanted to bring her home with us! 

Grandma Frohne

Grandma Frohne

We started with her homemade bread dotted with sesame seeds that was as light as air. We started by splitting a bowl of Swiss Cheese Soup and whenever I’m sick, I want to airlift a bowl of this back home. It was so rich and delicious. Then M had, as Brandon recommended, Schnitzel Holstein with rice, sauted vegetables, and an OUT OF THIS WORLD braised cabbage. The veal cutlet was breaded and served with sunny side egg and anchovies and capers.

Oh this bread!

Oh this bread!

Swiss Cheese Soup

Swiss Cheese Soup

Schnitzel Holstein

Schnitzel Holstein

I had the best piece of salmon in my life. Grilled and finished over Lobster Bisque. Everything was very hot… Like lava. And I have no idea how she was able to get a piece of salmon that hot and it remain so delicate and juicy. My sides were the same and when Grandma gave her midmeal checkin to us, because we loved the cabbage do much, she brought out another steaming bowl of it for us to share. Did I mention how sweet she was? 

Salmon

Salmon

There wasn’t any space left for dessert unfortunately, because the servings are not skimpy. We were miserably full the rest of the evening but there was no way to not clean the plates.

If you are in St. Pete/Tampa do visit La Cote Basque… But not only for the food, but to meet the real Gem, Oma Frohne!

Sorgum and Te You (Chinese Kale)

Trout with Sorghum and Te You.

Trout with Sorghum and Te You.

We are relatively new to ancient grains like sorghum and decided to give them a try. The finished product is a nutty, al dente grain that can be prepared in a number of ways. Many people suggest soaking overnight to shorten the cooking time, but in our case that wasn’t an option. The sorghum was soaked for about an hour then boiled in vegetable stock. Te You has been a favorite of ours since trying it at one of our favorite brunch spots in Knoxville, The Plaid Apron. It’s somewhere between a broccoli leaf and mustard green taste. The longer it cooks, the more like mustard it becomes. We topped ours with a pan-seared trout filet. Nothing but salt and pepper on it and into a hot hot pan, skin side down until almost cooked. Then flip it for a few seconds to finish it on the flesh side.

On top, we popped some sorghum by throwing a tablespoon in a very hot pot, removing the pot from the heat and shaking it a couple times. And since we had some fresh dill in the garden, we plopped a few sprigs on as garnish.

Sorghum and Te You (with trout)
Serves 4
A delicious nutty ancient grain and asian green.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup Sorghum
  2. 3-4 Cups Te You (Or your favorite Green) chopped fine
  3. 1/2 small onion diced
  4. 4 Cups+ Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  5. 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  6. Salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse sorghum and soak in water for approximately an hour (alternatively, add about 30 minutes more to the cooking time). Place in a pot with 3 cups of stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for 45-60 minutes until al dente. Add more stock if needed. Drain.
  2. In a saute pan, on medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onions until transparent and add greens until wilted and very tinder. Add a bit of stock if it cooks dry. Add drained sorghum and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Notes
  1. You can use any green you choose with this dish. Te You just happened to be very plentiful in our garden. It would be equally good with mustard greens, collards, or even spinach.
Gather With ME http://gatherwithme.com/

Who Wants a Beertail??

UPDATE #2: WE WON THE LAST ROUND! Now it’s time to come out on June 19th and support the Black’n Brew in the Beer Cocktail finals at Knoxville Public House! Don’t miss it!

UPDATE: The Black & Brew was selected to go head-to-head with another beer cocktail on June 5th at the Knoxville Public House! Please join us and got for our cocktail!

As you know, E and I are no strangers to trying out new food recipes and even inventing a few of our own along the way. Cocktails, on the other hand, we usually leave to the pros. Sure we have a few liquor infusions and winemaking under our belts, but we have not really delved into the art of crafting a cocktail. This all changed last week when the Knox Public House posted a Beer Cocktail Thrown Down on their website. This competition is going to be part of Knoxville’s Craft Beer Week and the winner will get their cocktail featured at Knox Public House for the month of June!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good competition and this has been too interesting to pass up! I love beer and I love cocktails so how could I not try to come up with something delicious??


My first step in the process was deciding what type of beer to use as a base. Since it’s getting warm out wheats, IPAs and Mexican lagers were the ones I immediately gravitated toward. The wheat beers screamed “I would make a great cocktail!” the loudest to me because of their citrus notes and creamy body. Now, there are a lot of those guys out there and I decided to choose three different ones to see which one lended itself to the best concoction. Thanks to the new Casual Pint at Northshore Town Center I came home with Lucky Bucket, Weihenstephaner, and Shiner Red Ruby. With that accomplished, I was on to decide the rest of the components.

Beer-2379

Blackberries: they are a summer staple and oh so delicious. It was either that or rhubarb and chose the berries not only because of their beautiful color but their deliciously sweet brightness. Now, something to make the cocktail unique was most certainly in order. Is it a competition after all!

Have you ever had a shrub? No, not a plant that you put around your house to make it pretty, a fruit steeped vinegar that you use to make things yummy. This was exactly what the Black and Brew needed, a shrub. I took blackberries and poured superhot apple cider vinegar over them and let it sit for one week. A lot of people back sweeten the vinegar after steeping but after tasting I decided to omit this part.

I also wanted to add more blackberry punch to the drink so I cooked down some of the berries with water to make a compote.

Beer-2367 Beer-2378

Onto the booze!

I started this process with vodka but those cocktails left me feeling like something was missing. I started thinking about what flavor notes I wanted to draw out and discovered that gin was the right spirit to add to the mix. Not just any gin, though, Hendrick’s Gin.

So I now had the bones of my “beertail”, but what was going to pull it all together? I went out to my garden for inspiration and the thyme and rosemary both struck my fancy. After smelling and tasting I chose the less potent of the two, the thyme. It not only brought out the flavor of the gin but also afforded a pretty lovely garnish!

Beer-2392

The Test:

I started with the Wiehenstephaner. Made the cocktail (with some lemon at this point) and it was just ok. Seemed to be a little bitter, which I usually like but not for this.  I felt like the beer needed to be a little less overpowering due to the subtlety of the other ingredients.  

Next I chose the Lucky Bucket. Same process again, only this time we had a winner! The beer mellowed out the shrub but still left some acidity hanging around. The gin and thyme were both able to show through as well. The blackberry flavor is present but subtle. However, the lemon seemed to be overpowering things.

Round two with the Lucky Bucket (minus the lemon this time) was delicious! Thanks to the shrub this lil beertail didn’t need any citrus.  I hope that you guys have enjoyed this post and are drooling just a little bit at the thought of this tasty beverage. Here’s a photo to help!

Beer-2411
MandeMcNewEntry

This is how the Black and Brew was born. Now, tweet KnoxBeerWeek and Knox Public House and let them know you wanna taste it in the Throw Down!

M (a.k.a Ms. Knoxfoodie)


Biscuits, Brews, and More Biscuits!

We had a packed few days this past weekend. We gave E’s Sister and Brother-In-Law a weekend trip for their christmas gift and it was time to cash it in, so we had settled on a brief outing to Jonesboro, Tennessee’s oldest city…but it wasn’t about history, it was about booze! A favorite Tennessee brewery is Depot Street and we wanted to check out the scene so that was our main destination.

Friday – The Public House

Before the trip, we needed to drop off our recipe for the Tennessee Valley Homebrewers Association Beer Cocktail Competition (More on that in a future post). This week being the Southern Food Writers Conference and the International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, we were lucky enough to run into Chef Edward Lee and his lovely wife and daughter along with John T. Edge who heads up the Southern Foodways Alliance. We had a nice chat with all of them, letting John T know that we were definitely joining the SFA this year and were excited about what they are doing to spread the gospel of Southern culture. He was extremely courteous and asked for some breakfast recommendations. 

Chef Edward Lee

Chef Edward Lee

John T. Edge

John T. Edge

Afterwards, we joined our friends Frank and Karen along with Rockstar Chef Brandon Frohne (of Mason’s Nashville fame) and his very sweet wife Lessie at Shuck. We didn’t snap any food picts, but both the food and drinks were, as usual, very good, but not nearly as good as the company. We got an off-menu lobster taco that was quite tasty though a better quality tortilla would have helped. We then went to a favorite spot of ours, Sapphire for a couple drinks before calling it a night. 

Chef & Mrs. Frohne

Chef & Mrs. Frohne

Frank and Karen

Frank and Karen

Knoxfoodie

Knoxfoodie

Road Trip

Saturday we picked up our traveling companions and gassed up on food at the Plaid Apron (they will get a post of their own soon because they are terrific!). 

Plaid Apron - Best Brunch Burger in Town!

Plaid Apron – Best Brunch Burger in Town!

We then his the road. First Stop was in Kingsport at Reedy Creek Winery’s Tasting Room (again, no pics!). But we were treated to some very tasty selections and brought along a few bottles when we left. Anyone familiar with typical Tennessee wines knows that it is generally very sweet and often made of blackberries or muscadines. Not Reedy Creek.

Reedy Creek Tasting

Reedy Creek Tasting

Their wines could (and do) compete and win along with the best of West Coast wines. They do have a couple sweeter wines, but all are made from grapes grown on the owner’s 250 acre farm that is composed of shale soil. Do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of Meritage! The lady that conducted our tasting was extremely friendly and happy to see some visitors. The room is a little hard to find as it’s tucked away not he back of the Marriott property and has no signage. But the hotel staff are happy to show you where it’s at.

 

No Joke, She walked up with 8 sauces @ Dixie BBQ!

No Joke, She walked up with 8 sauces @ Dixie BBQ!

Dixie BBQ

Dixie BBQ

After a quick bite to eat at, Dixie BBQ, a questionable BBQ spot (shouldn’t all BBQ spots be questionable though?) with abundant Confederate paraphernalia, we took out to-go teas (about a gallon per cup!) and headed to Mellow Moonshine. We opened the door to the sly grin of our host Gary saying “I’m just the accountant so I don’t count.”. Unfortunately, Tiny, the brand inspiration, wasn’t in. He was actually in Knoxville promoting a new moonshine flavor. So we missed the 6’8″ moonshiner. “Reality” TV fans may remember Tiny and crew on Appalachian Outlaws last season. Gary was full of jokes and more than happy to let us try as many flavors of this potent concoction as we wanted. He let us tour the facilities and see where the mostly sugar (rather than the traditional mostly-corn) mix is transformed into near gasoline spirits before being cut to legal ABV. 

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Mellow Moonshine

Mellow Moonshine

Depot Street HQ

Depot Street HQ

Next up was our main destination, Depot Street Brewing. It’s not much from the outside and I thought we’d been led astray. But after the first sip, I knew everything would be OK. Depot Street, as owner Mark Foster told us, was born of his combined passion for brewing and his frustrated-engineer-mindset. Much of the automation equipment in the brewery was designed and built by this former head of an ER. A guy following his passions! Love this story. There’s plenty of seating inside the brewery and just outside there’s a seating area with wood stoves to knock away the chill on the Spring day. Just to the back is a 40′ Bocce court where Mark and some of the regulars taught us the rules of the game. They are extremely welcoming at Depot Street and we couldn’t leave without a growler of Eurail. Many thanks to Mark for also spending some time showing us the brewing process. 

photo 3 photo 5 photo 1

Depot Street

Depot Street

Owner Mark showing us how this liquid gold is made.

Owner Mark showing us how this liquid gold is made.

Dinner was in Johnson City at one of the only finer dining spots we could locate called Cafe Lola. M and I had eaten here before and there were no complaints. Everything was perfectly prepared and our server was friendly and kept our drinks flowing.

Lasagna at Cafe Lola

Lasagna at Cafe Lola

The next morning, M located The Ole Barn… literally an old barn that was refurbished and turned into a country restaurant. We arrived at just the moment they called and end to breakfast and the kitchen couldn’t be ready for 30 minutes for lunch. So we were willing to wait and sip on some icy tea. Lunch was typical country fair and very good for the most part. I think they rushed it out to use and a couple of them were not hot, but everything was extremely flavorful and the fried chicken was perfectly cooked. After petting some of the onsite animals, we tried to rouse ourselves from the coma that all the food had put us in for our return trip. Jonesborough has a a very quaint downtown that we didn’t have a chance to explore, but it would be a great little spot to visit for a lazy weekend. It’s also the host of the National Storytelling Convention which draws many people every year.

Old Barn Restaurant

Old Barn Restaurant

photo 2

Ole Barn Restaurant

Ole Barn Restaurant

These were REALLY this yellow from the butter.

These were REALLY this yellow from the butter.

New fried at the Ole Barn ... pretty sure we didn't eat his brother.

New fried at the Ole Barn … pretty sure we didn’t eat his brother.

Since we were out of town for the main International Biscuit Festival events, we decided to take int he final event which was a gathering of some of the local food trucks just outside the Tennessee Theatre. “Celebri-chef” Tyler Florence was having an event inside the theatre. We dined from one of our favorite trucks, Savory and Sweet and had a delicious item that shows up only occasionally from them, the Go Big Orange Biscuit, “GBO” to us regulars. It’s a delicious buttery biscuit with homemade pimento cheese and Benton’s Bacon. We also had a meatball sub that was HUGE and fantastic. To finish things off, M had a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler that was outta sight. It was a great way to end a perfect weekend!

Mrs Knoxfoodie smuggling in homemade bacon...

Mrs Knoxfoodie smuggling in homemade bacon…

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Food Trucks at Tennessee Theatre

Food Trucks at Tennessee Theatre

The Derby Sanchez Party

IMG_2361

Every year, the Kentucky Derby and Cinco De Mayo occur very close together and since it’d been a few months since we had a group over and we needed our entertaining fix, we decided to invite about 12 people over for a little celebration and watch the Derby. Food, of course, would be a focus. I completely forgot to take a photos of our beverages, but will include those recipes as well. In addition to the game, we dropped the names of all the horses into a hat and for $1 each, we allowed people to pull out a name and that was their horse and they received the pot (of cash!) when their horse won. I will add more recipes in the coming days so it’s not so overwhelming. But first, here was the menu:

I will link the recipes from here as they go up. But here’s a preview:

Derby Sanchez 5-3-14-2341 Derby Sanchez 5-3-14-2344 Derby Sanchez 5-3-14-2308 Derby Sanchez 5-3-14-2356 Derby Sanchez 5-3-14-2352

And the Winner is...

And the Winner is…

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Grapefruit Deviled Eggs with Cowboy Caviar
Serves 12
A great alternative to traditional deviled eggs. It does take about a week of planning though.
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. Cowboy Caviar
  2. 1 Cup Fermented Corn (see below)
  3. 1 Cup Cooked (or canned) blackened peas (or cow peas)
  4. 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  5. 1/2 Cup finely diced bell pepper
  6. 1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste
  8. Combine ingredients and marinade overnight. Taste and adjust salt the next day.
  9. *For the fermented corn. With a knife, remove kernels from 1 to 2 ears of corn. Put in pint jar and cover with water that has a tablespoon of kosher salt added. Place a piece of plastic wrap over corn to form a seal. Leave on counter 1 week to 1 month. If mold forms, remove it with a spoon (it's not dangerous). Here's a bit more detail, or just google 'lactofermented corn' http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/corn-relish-ultimate-grassfed-burger-topping/
  10. Egg Filling
  11. 12 eggs
  12. Juice from 1/2 a grapefruit (you may not need all of this)
  13. 2-4 tablespoons sour cream
  14. 1 tsp white miso
  15. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Boil and peel eggs with your favorite technique. We find week or two old eggs work much better. Slice in half and remove yolks to a mixing bowl. Combine yolks with about 1/2 the grapefruit mixture, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, and miso. Adjust grapefruit and sour cream until you reach the desired creamy texture. Add salt to taste, about 1/2 tsp was right for us.
  2. Using a piping bag, ziplock, or spoon, put filling in egg whites and top with cowboy caviar.
Notes
  1. This was a party hit! It's an unusual surprise with the grapefruit taste, the miso adding a lot of body to the yolks, then the salty, crunchy top.
Gather With ME http://gatherwithme.com/

The first Market Square Farmers Market of the season!

The 0:900 from Mister Canteen: grits, gravy, fried egg, and fresh sausage and salad with vinaigrette. Excellent!

The 0:900 from Mister Canteen: grits, gravy, fried egg, and fresh sausage and salad with vinaigrette. Excellent!

Farmers Market 5-3-14-2274 Farmers Market 5-3-14-2275 The weather couldn’t have been better for the first Farmers Market of the season! We had to go early as we were hosting a Derby Sanchez party Saturday evening. Here’s a brief recap! What I remember from last year is that the weather was so nasty, there wasn’t a lot of people and the veggies were hard to come by. Not so this year. The farmers have had an excellent spring so there was plenty to choose from. All the best food trucks were in attendance as usual and we sampled from our favorite, the Savory And Sweet Truck as well as one that has been around but we hadn’t tried, Mister Canteen. We weren’t disappointed!

Chicken and waffles from Savory And Sweet. These guys always impress! Battered with cornmeal (I had to add a bit of salt, but I'm a saltaholic). Outstanding!!

Chicken and waffles from Savory And Sweet. These guys always impress! Battered with cornmeal (I had to add a bit of salt, but I’m a saltaholic). Outstanding!!

           

Sean Brock is publishing a book! (and has a new restaurant on the way!)

Couldn’t wait to post the news that broke on social media this weekend. Sean Brock (of Husk, Husk Nashville, and McCrady’s) is publishing his book that has been hinted about for years. It’s called Heritage and as he tells Southern Living:

I dumped my brain into this book. It’s not a technique book, not a Husk book, not a cooking-at-home book. I didn’t want it to be any of those single things. There’s lots of writing: profiles on my favorite farmers and producers, stories behind recipes.

My sister’s chocolate éclair cake, my Grandma’s stack cakes, the way I roast a chicken at home, verbatim Husk recipes, verbatim McCrady’s recipes. There’s a great cocktail chapter. All the desserts are family recipes—they were good at those. The Husk cheeseburger’s in there. My deviled eggs, pimento cheese, fried chicken…. all the standards. No secrets were held back.

It sounds amazing and we can’t wait to get a copy! You can Pre-Order it now! I’m SO hoping that we are able to get a copy signed at some point.

Also of note, Brock today revealed that he is opening an affordable new Charleston Restaurant on East Bay Street that will have a casual, fun Mexican flair. 

heritage

Dogwood Arts Festival 2014 – What a weekend

As most of you know, this was the prime Dogwood Arts Weekend and I can’t remember a year when the weather was any better. We met friends for a delicious brunch at Cafe 4 (we made plans before we realized all the wonderful food trucks were there) and then sampled an spoke with a number of the food truck vendors. It was nice to see some new additions to the local food truck scene as well as a couple out of towners. As usual, there were lots of local crafters, a few plant vendors and lots of farmers market regulars. Speaking of, remember that the Market Square Farmers Market starts next weekend!

Great day for patio people-watching at Cafe 4

Great day for patio people-watching at Cafe 4

We were pretty early and it was already busy.

We were pretty early and it was already busy.

Our favorite food truck in town.

Our favorite food truck in town.

Nice to see lines at all the local trucks!

Nice to see lines at all the local trucks!

A new local truck.

A new local truck.

Some out of town guests and new local folks.

Some out of town guests and new local folks.

Some out of town guests and new local folks.

Some out of town guests and new local folks.

Samples and demos everywhere.

Samples and demos everywhere.

 

Spring is here and the farmers’ markets are about to open!

One of our favorite things to do on Saturday mornings is to visit the Market Square Farmers Market on Saturday morning, have some local coffee and a breakfast selection from a local food truck and browse the market for the freshest local ingredients. You never know what to expect and for sure there will be some unusual offerings that catch your eye. Last year, we were hooked on lambs quarters for several weeks. The farmers markets are about to start so we thought we’d give you links to some of the best local ones:

West Knoxville

Dixie Lee Farmers Market
Starts Saturday May 3rd through November 1st from 9-12.

Lenoir City Farmers Market

Loudon Farmers Market
Thursday nights June-September 5-7

Downtown Area

Market Square Farmers Market
This is the mother of all local farmers markets. Begins May 3rd through November 22nd from 11-2.

UT Farmers Market
Wednesdays beginning May 14th through October 22 from 4-7

East Knoxville Area

New Harvest Farmers Market
Thursdays from 3-6 from April 10th to November 20th

Dandridge Farmers Market
Begins May 24th and runs through November Saturdays from 9-12

There are other markets in the area, but these are the ones that we think are the best bets for quality veggies, fruit, and meats. Enjoy Spring!

A Nashville Weekend in April

Nashville is such a great city. Within a 30 minutes, you can have so many experiences: Elegant old South high-end, farmland, lakes, big city, hipster, honky-tonk, you name it. Our trip was a late birthday celebration for M. And our main destination were Mason’s at the Loews, Flyte, and Husk… with a lot in-between. It was packed pretty full and so were we by the time we left. 

We stayed at the Hotel Preston. We’d received mixed reviews about the hotel so we were a little apprehensive, but we liked it a lot. It was recently redone and has a kitschy, vegas meets 50s country feel throughout. The smallish lobby and sitting area have comfortable seating and very colorful artwork. The elevators are a bit wonky to operate and don’t demagnetize your room key with electronics or billfolds with magnets or you will end up stuck on your floor waiting to be rescued (just sayin’). The room was well appointed, and decorated nicely if a bit noisy at night due to thin walls. No complaints at all and we’d definitely stay here again as it’s very convenient to downtown. I do wish the shuttle ran downtown. Our last stay at the Millennium was very handy as the shuttle would take you anywhere downtown, then take you from one location to another, and ran until 11. This saves a lot on cab fair. 

I left my camera at home and opted for iPhone only on this trip. so the photos aren’t top-notch.

First up was dinner at Mason’s. We have been in communication with Chef Brandon Frohne for almost a year since first hearing about his amazing food, more here, here, and here. There is no doubt this guy is headed for James Beard Award status quite soon, after all, he did cook the James Beard Thanksgiving Dinner in 2013. On top of it, Brandon’s life story is one that is very inspiring. And he’s just a genuinely nice person.

We arrived a little early and  had a cocktail at Mason’s Bar (just across the hall from the restaurant). There’s free parking for dinner guests at the hotel. Lot’s of detail is put into the branding of the Mason’s concept. The bar menu is an elegant leather hand-crafted menu and Edison light fixtures (and of course Mason jars handled in a very modern, but comfortable way) abound along with some funky modern fixtures. It all seems to be done effortlessly and with restraint. M had the Sweet Lucy to drink … which isn’t sweet at all (that’s a good thing). Maker’s and soda for me, thanks!

Mason's Nashville

When we walked across to the restaurant, we were greeted by an eager host who quickly showed us to a corner table and handed us menus on wooden boards that were just as elegant as the bar menus. After a minute or so, our server for the night, Brian, and Chef Frohne came out to greet us. As chef was talking and said he hoped we were hungry, Brian covertly took our menus from us. We weren’t really sure what to make of this…but we had a good idea that something special was forthcoming. Chef Frohne then said to sit back and enjoy a 9 course tasting menu. WHAT!? Oh, were were in for a ride! We made an early mistake of not pacing ourselves properly but it was just SO good. Brandon personally brought out a number of the dishes and Brian was a top-notch server throughout the night. Along with our meals, we enjoyed a host of wines and champagnes. OK, here it is in all it’s glory. Make sure you read the descriptions:

Cincopa WordPress plugin

The evening couldn’t have been any better! Chef Frohne was incredibly gracious and I can tell you as long as he is cooking, no matter the city, if we’re there, we will eat there. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with in the future. He has single-handedly transformed what Nashville thinks of as ‘Hotel Food’. No longer will you stay at the Loews because of the hotel (which is very nice), you will want to stay there so you can run downstairs and eat at Mason’s!

Mason-Group

 Admittedly, it took us some time to recover from that meal. So on Saturday morning we ventured out for coffee and a couple biscuits at a cool hipster coffeeshop called the Barista Parlor. We really lucked up on the weather as it was perfect and the wait outside in the sun helped us recover. The biscuits with sausage and jam and refreshing coffee got us going. 

Afterwards we needed to walk off some of the last 24 hours to we headed to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. We didn’t realize it was ‘Easter Egg Hunt Day’. But it wasn’t TOO painful and the property is really beautiful and a nice walk that helped motivate us to go to our next stop.

There was no way we were leaving Nashville without some hot chicken! We settled on Hattie B’s and it was all we’d heard about and more! It’s a heat that hits you in the back of your throat and the white bread that was underneath catches the hellishly hot grease that comes from the tender GIANT (but hormone-free) breasts. We had pimento cheese mac & cheese, greens and pea salad as our sides and it was all great. 

hatties

Prior to dinner we stopped in for a cocktail at Pinewood Social. These guys know how to craft a cocktail! There’s no hurrying. Each cocktail is made with precision, tasted, and adjusted to make them perfect. I had a Smoky Manhattan with Corsair Triple Smoke, 1776 Rye, Carpano Antica, Regan’s Orange bitters. It was perfect for me, but a little overpowering for M who ended up with a Bitter Wife (Corsair Gin, Batavia Arrach, Lemon, Lyles Golden Syrup, and Sparkling Wine) and then a War of the Pacific (Pisco 100, Cappelletti Vino Appertivo, Grapefruit, Lime, Angostura, and Egg White). I love the vintage vibe of the place and great branding. And next time, we plan to bowl in the reclaimed wood bowling alleys! And not to be missed is the delicious smell of Crema Coffee as soon as you walk in.

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Dinner (how can we even think about dinner!?) on Saturday was at Flyte. Now, a little backstory, I (E) was a little apprehensive about going to Flyte after seeing a recent episode of Chopped that featured both Brandon Frohne and Flyte’s Matt Lackey. Chef Lackey was… um, less than gracious. At least it was edited that way and I commented about it on Twitter. Scott from Flyte was nice enough to reach out to me and ask that we visit when we were in town to help dispute what the Food Network had presented audiences. Unfortunately the night we visited, Matt wasn’t able to be there, but nevertheless, it was a splendid meal. Our server was very good and the manager on duty, Will introduced himself (Scott was out on a medical issue) and both the service and food were excellent. The meal started with a savory amuse bouche. The menu is rather small, but I think there’s something for everyone and Chef Lackey sources everything within 50 miles and much of it comes from his own farm.

Cured/Pickled Beets

Cured/Pickled Beets

We started with cured and pickled beet with blackberry, pistachio, and fresh cheese. Very very good… even if the blackberry seeds seemed to be a bit distracting. Dinner took a while to arrive and our server was kind enough to bring us complementary glasses of wine that would work with our individual dishes. (it was quite dark so it was hard to photograph)

I promise this was much better than it looks! We were in a badly lit area.

I promise this was much better than it looks! We were in a badly lit area.

Next, M had the Rainbow Trout. Served with the head on, but our friendly server, an 8 year Nashville native, kindly offered to guillotine it for her if she preferred. She didn’t. It was served with spaghetti squash in sherry, turmeric, and pepitas. 

photo 4

Rabbit, polenta, and fiddleheads

 With it being the weekend of Easter, I had the Rabbit with slow roasted cornmeal porridge, fiddleheads, morels, and black pepper. Probably the best rabbit dish I’ve ever had. To truly appreciate the complexity, you needed a little bit of every component as the porridge was very rich, but the vinegary base of the morels balanced it out just right. 

Oolong Panna Cotta

Oolong Panna Cotta

Will again came by our table and told us our dessert, a Milk Oolong Panna Cotta was on the house. This dish, as the server that delivered it said, was a little hard to wrap your head around. But after the second bite, I was sold (I didn’t take the second bit for M to be sold. It was a winner right off) The dish was a small piece of Oolong Panna Cotta with quince sauce, caramelized white chocolate, dried cranberries and honey pecans. Not for every one, but we liked it.

Will and our server (I’m so sorry we forgot his name), told us taxis were hard to come by that night and to our surprise offered to take us over to Broadway for our obligatory Honky Tonk Night (as well as pointers on the best non-tourist-trap bars). Very very kind of them!

Top billing on Sunday was Husk, but we woke up super early and had coffee and split a small Pimento Sandwich at The Frothy Monkey

HUSK-4

In the afternoon, we were headed to Husk. Now, I want to get the negative over first. Husk Charleston is our FAVORITE PLACE. And the only downside for brunch was that our server just didn’t represent the values and excitement  of the company. When we’ve visited Charleston, the servers are eager to tell you about what is at the heart of Husk. Husk supports heirloom farming, local sources of provisions. Our server could literally have been an Applebee’s server. Just the basics (albeit courteous): Hello, what can I get you?, etc. And when I asked for a small side of gravy just to taste, she turned me down (she later redeemed herself with a sampling after I tweeted). 

photo 1

Now onto the better part! Husk Nashville has a different, less formal feel than Charleston and I like it a lot. We sat in a very sunny side of the lower level that also houses Husk Bar. We were greeted with the famous benne rolls and pork butter. Worth the visit for just those and a cocktail! The menu changes pretty regularly. Here was this morning’s:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

M started off with the Wedge Salad that was excellent. The fresh lettuce itself had a tasty vinaigrette and underneath is hidden an even tastier herbed buttermilk ranch. I don’t normally like blue cheese, but this cheese was wonderful as was the fried Hamery Ham and vibrant roasted tomato. At the Charleston location you will see more use of Benton’s Country Ham than here. This is a much more delicate taste and overall, I found that to be the case with the whole menu. It’s a little more subtle (at least for brunch). And we both could appreciate that. Once M was finished with her salad, our server delivered my gravy sampling. Now, I’m a gravy snob. Big time. Nothing has ever matched my mom’s gravy and I figured it never would. She may roll over in her grave now: This was the best gravy I’ve ever had! The flour, obviously cooked brown and then the house-made SMOKY country sausage were perfect. I’m so glad I got to taste it! It’ll be what I order next time for sure!

The Husk Wedge

The Husk Wedge

Sausage Gravy

Sausage Gravy

 Next up was our mains. M ordered the Quail Biscuit with gravy and an egg. The quail is fried ‘Nashville Hot Chicken Style’. And was tender, succulent and no worrying with the bones. And their biscuit was like what I grew up on. My kind of biscuit is a little chewy just like these. You work the dough just a little more than you think you should. And the hash which accompanied both our dishes was out of this world with a couple varieties of house-made, heavily smoked sausages. My dish was an open-face Monte Cristo and was indescribable. I’ll post a picture of how it looked after about 10 minutes! I also came away with a Husk Hat. 

Quail Biscuit

Quail Biscuit

Open-Faced Monte Cristo

Open-Faced Monte Cristo

We closed the visit with a Buttermilk pie and lemon sherbet from the talented Lisa Donavon.

Buttermilk Pie Perfection

Buttermilk Pie Perfection

I don’t want to discourage people from visiting Husk as the food and the chance to eat here are not to be missed if you’re in Nashville, I just think the staff aren’t as prideful as the Charleston staff. 

Not gonna lie, a few of these Hereford Cow Peas came home and went in our garden!

Not gonna lie, a few of these Hereford Cow Peas came home and went in our garden!

There were no LOSERS on this trip. Every taste was excellent and we can’t wait to go back and hit some of the many other places our our to-do list! By far, though, you MUST go to Mason’s on your next trip! Happy birthday M!

Recent KnoxFoodie Dishes

We’ve been cooking at home a LOT lately. Mostly because we have upcoming travel that will surely test our waste bands. Here’s a few iPhone shots of our recent dishes that we haven’t had a chance to put recipes up on… 

Smoked Trout Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Smoked Trout Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Homemade Pastrami with Veggie Spaghetti

Homemade Pastrami with Veggie Spaghetti

Dutch Baby with Home Cured Bacon

Dutch Baby with Home Cured Bacon

Country Ham Pho

Country Ham Pho

Home Cured Bacon

Home Cured Bacon

Smoked Trout

Smoked Trout

Meat and cheese board

Meat and cheese board

Tea Smoked Seatrout

Tea Smoked Seatrout

New Orleans

We had a few days of work/play in New Orleans and wanted to share some of our favorite dishes. We were with work folks much of the time and hated to go all-out nerd and take proper photos, so these iPhone photos will have to do. Highlights we visited were Peche, Root, Couchon, and Drago… oh and Cane and Table for beverages. Really, it’s kinda hard to go wrong, but I strongly recommend that you take time to get to know the most highly recommended places before you visit and at least try to have one or two stand-out places. We didn’t make it to Dookie Chase, and the fine Vietmanese places (milkfish, pho orchid), HerbSaint, Troups’ Meatery, Maurepas, Sylvain, GW Fins, or Boucherie… but we wanted to save some for next time. 

Couchon

Couchon

Everything at Couchon was perfect! Shown here is the Pork Jowl/Arugula Salad, Louisiana Couchon, Pork Rinds, Cabbage, and Turnips, And Meyer Lemon Tart

Root

Root

Root was our kinda place. We waited at the bar for our table and saw some very creative dishes going by and on the wall were their latest pickles and vinegars. Shown is the Backyard Bonfire (click for ingredients), the daily Amuse, a mixed charcuterie, sausage, and pickle platter… all house-cured and amazing, I’d forget everything that was on it but let me just say it was blow-your-head-off good! and we ate on leftovers the rest of the trip, we had no idea it was going to be such a large platter. Then crispy pigs ears, which, if I’m honest, were a little under-seasoned for my taste and Miso Buttermilk Biscuits with unreal Tea Brined Wings. GO HERE IF YOU GO TO NOLA!!

Drago

Drago

Drago made the list just because it was our first stop and first taste of NOLA with a Pasta-laya and Shrimp Po-Boy.

There was lots more, and here’s some random photos. You will definitely come back full, tired, and hung-over if you go!

 

Ruby Slipper was a stand-out breakfast... yep, that's a fried green tomato!

Ruby Slipper was a stand-out breakfast… yep, that’s a fried green tomato!

Doctor Who's TARDIS was even spotted!

Doctor Who’s TARDIS was even spotted!

Great Local Brew

Great Local Brew

Who needs lunch?

Who needs lunch?

Monsterous 'Morning After' Burger

Monsterous ‘Morning After’ Burger

Obligatory Shot Although We Didn't Go There

Obligatory Shot Although We Didn’t Go There

Chimichurri

Tenderloin Steak with Chimichurri

Tenderloin Steak with Chimichurri

Today is a quick one. We kinda whipped this up on a whim and didn’t expect to even share it (one reason why we didn’t take more photos). But it turned out delicious. It was great with a seared steak tenderloin and charred broccoli, but would be equally good on pork, tuna, or lamb (maybe adding a bit of mint).

 

Chimichurri
Bright refreshing chimichurri perfect for a hardy meat dish.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 small jalapeño
  2. 4 cloves garlic minced
  3. 2 tsp fresh oregano leave chopped
  4. 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  5. 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  6. 3/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  7. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Under a broiler, in a cast-iron skillet, or a gas burner on high, char the exterior of the jalapeño and place in a covered bowl to cool. Once cool, skin should remove easily. Cut in half, de-seed, and finely mince. Combine with other ingredients in a bowl and set aside a few minutes to allow flavors to marry.
Notes
  1. Chimichurri is best used the day it is prepared. You could leave the seeds in the jalapeño if you and your guests like very spicy food.
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Bruschetta

A few recent appetizers we served at a dinner party.

Manchego and Blackberry with Thyme and honey

Manchego and Blackberry with Thyme and honey

Homemade Lonzino, Onion Jam, and Pickled Collard Stems

Homemade Lonzino, Onion Jam, and Pickled Collard Stems

 

Lonzino (sort of)

Pork Tenderloin Lonzino

Pork Tenderloin Lonzino

Lonzino is actually a cured Pork Loin, ours was a tenderloin (which requires more time and a casing which we didn’t want to attempt). Jacques Pepin calls this a Saucisson of Pork Tenderloin. But we’ll stick with Lonzino. This was our first curing project and I hope there will be lots more. We started here because it’s fairly easy, straightforward ingredients and doesn’t take too long. Go ahead and get on Amazon and order a package of Pink Cure #2 (While you’re at it, you could order some Cure #1 for things like bacon or panchetta). It’s fairly cheap and is a must especially for the beginner. I know there’s lot to read about nitrates and people feel differently, but in our opinion, a little nitrate is better than botulism! We started with a basic recipe:

1lb Pork Tenderloin
1/2 C Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Pink Curing Salt #2
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon herbs de Provence (or herbs of your choice; juniper, thyme, cinnamon are often mentioned. We just wanted basic)

Lonzino 02-08-14-1749

We trimmed out the cut so the tenderloin was evenly thick. This brought it to almost exactly 1lb (it started out at 1.09 lb). Once it was trimmed, it, we combined the salts and brown sugar and coated the loin really well. Really well! Then put it in a plastic bag and into the fridge. Our instructions said to leave it 12 hours. We were nervous, ok? So we left it more like 18. That was too long. (more on that later). 

Lonzino 02-08-14-1747Lonzino 02-08-14-1750

Eighteen hours later, a lot of moisture had released from the pork. Now, you need to weigh this guy. Our weighed in at 440g (grams are easier to deal with, but it makes no difference). Write down this weight. This is essentially your starting weight. Your pork need to lose 30-35% of it’s weight while hanging. This will indicate that is is ready. 

Lonzino 02-08-14-1752 Lonzino 02-08-14-1753

Remove your pork from the fridge and wash the salt off under the faucet and finally dowse with bourbon. Now, season the pork with black pepper and herbs of your choosing. Our hanging location was our garage. This isn’t ideal. The humidity is too low. A dark basement is perfect. You are looking for a temp to stay around 50°-60° and a 60-70% humidity. We just didn’t have a perfect location. To slow the drying, we wrapped the tenderloin in a double layer of cheese cloth. This prevents the outside hardening before the center is dry, which will ruin your meat.

Once wrapped, we tied it securely with cheese cloth with cotton butcher’s string. and hung it in the garage. I’m not gonna lie, our temperature fluctuated a LOT in the time it was hanging. We dipped into single digits and got up to almost 60° one day. Per instruction, we weighed the tenderloin after 10 days and we weren’t quite there. It took 14 (actually 13 would have been perfect as it lost a little more weight than it should have). 

Lonzino 02-08-14-1831 Lonzino 02-08-14-1829

When we took it down, it weighted 294. We were shooting for 308, so it went just a bit too long, but that’s OK. It felt a little hard on the outside so we placed it in a clean, dry ziplock and put it in the fridge a few days. What this does is allow the moisture remaining to redistribute and soften the over-dry parts a little.

Shrinkage!

Shrinkage!

TIME TO SAMPLE! We warned everyone if the didn’t hear from us the next day to call 911 (Only half-joking!). We sliced our lonzino as thinly as we could and tried it. The smell was deliciously porky. No ‘off’ scent at all. Beautiful merlot color. The texture is a bit (and this shouldn’t be a turnoff) like a stale gummy bear. The overall taste was excellent but the extra time in the salt cure made it overly salty. With some bruschetta, it will be fine, but on its own, it’s a bit much. 

Lonzino 02-08-14-1960

THINGS WE LEARNED:
On a small tenderloin like this, only cure it for 12 hours. Control your temperature and humidity. This is out of our control for the time-being so we will just have to deal with it. But more constant temp and higher humidity would yield a more evenly dried lonzino. And lastly, we learned to not be scared! 

We also found a percentage guide that helps your figure out how much salt is needed:

SaucissonTenderloinChart

So, on a 500g (about 1.10 lbs) loin, you would use 16.5g salt, 5g pepper, 1.25g pink salt, 38.5g herbs.

Next up will be another lonzino and panchetta or bacon. Can’t wait!

Hopefully you notice some improvements in our photography skills. This project was taken 1/2 before and 1/2 after we received some training and some semi-pro lights. We’re still learning!

Pork Tenderloin with Carrots and Pea Puree

Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin

Although our studio lights aren’t in yet, we were anxious to try some of our new tips we picked up last week. So we setup the best tungsten lights we had in the house and took a few snaps of this dish. Pretty straightforward dish. We sautéed some really nice kale with onions and threw in a little balsamic at the end and let it cool. Then we butterflied the tenderloin and Mrs Knoxfoodie (being in the medical field) tied it up and added some salt and pepper. We cooked the loin on a hickory plank, but you could just as easily do it in the oven but you won’t get the deep smokiness. 

Hickory Plank

Mr. KnoxFoodie's Plating Style

Mr. KnoxFoodie’s Plating Style with Popped Amaranth

Pork Tenderloin with Carrots and Pea Puree
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For the Pork
  1. 1 Pork Tenderloin (our was 1.14lb)
  2. 1 Bunch Kale
  3. 1 Small Onion, diced large
  4. 1/2 tsp Balsamic
  5. Salt + Pepper
  6. For the Carrots
  7. 4 Large Carrots, diced
  8. 1/2 Large Bell Pepper, diced
  9. 2-4 Sprigs of Thyme Leaves
  10. Salt + Pepper
  11. For Pea Puree
  12. 1 Bag Frozen Peas
  13. 1.5 Cups Chicken Stock (we used Knorr Stock Pot)
  14. 1 Small Onion, roughly diced
  15. 1 Stalk Celery, diced
  16. 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream
  17. Salt+Pepper
For Pork
  1. Soak a hickory board (or ships if that's what you choose) for at least 1/2 and hour. Butterfly tenderloin by slicing while you 'unroll' it. Let come to room temp. While that is happening, de-stem and massage the leaves of 1 bunch of kale. Massaging will bring a much better final texture to the kale. Chop kale into large pieces. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan on medium-high. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds. Add Kale and cook until wilted and relatively tender. Remove from heat and add balsamic. Allow to cool.
  2. With your tenderloin laying flat coat the surface with the cooked kale. and roll back up, Tie in your favorite fashion (google is your friend here.).
  3. Preheat grill to 400° and place your soaked board on the grill. Char one side and flip over. Lay your tenderloin on the charred side and reduce heat to 350°. Cook until internal temp is 160°. This took about 35 minutes on our grill. The board started to burn so we turned the burner off that was directly underneath the hickory.
  4. While the pork is cooking, prepare carrots. Coat carrots & bell peppers in olive oil and mix in thyme leaves. Season with salty and pepper and place on a small baking sheet. About 10 minutes into cooking the pork, add the carrots to the grill.
  5. Next, for the pea puree. Saute onions until translucent on medium-high. Add celery and sauté 3 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Toss in frozen peas (or fresh if you have them) and return to a boil. Remove from heat...you only need to heat the peas through. If you cook longer, they will turn a very unappetizing color! Transfer along with sour cream to a bowl and blend with immersion blender (you could use a regular blender here just be careful of the expanding steam when you turn it on). Blend until very smooth (you are also wanting to cool this down and stop the cooking so it might be a good idea to place your bowl over some ice). Season with s+p. Pass the puree through a fine sieve if you want to make sure all the lumps are out. And you're done. Your pork should be just about finished.
  6. Let pork rest 10 minutes after removing from the grill. It's hard to do, especially with the hickory smell! Assemble your plate with pea puree then a slice of pork, then roasted carrots/bellpeppers. We also topped with some homemade mustard.
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The Shooter’s Sandwich

Shooter's Sandwich

Shooter’s Sandwich

We are so lucky to know so many talented people. Since all the wedding planning is behind us, we’ve committed to upping our game on the blog a bit. One thing that we really needed a push on is our photography. We generally have to shoot at night, after work because that’s our only free time. So the luxury of wonderful daylight lighting isn’t generally available to us. So we’re going to jumping and buy some lights. Our good friend Don Dudenbostel was kind enough to give us a crash course, and more than anything take the fear out of it. Don is a bit of a legend in the photography business. Make sure to check out his Facebook as well. Together we shared with he and his wife Cynthia a Shooter’s Sandwich. Traditionally, this was an all-in-one meal that hunters (stalkers), or fishermen could take on the day trip with them and it was ready to eat, easily managed, and most of all convenient. 

breadWe chose to make our loaf of bread at home, but you could start with any crusty loaf. This particular recipe for the bread was from King Arthur. It turned out just about perfect although we could have formed it a bit taller and less round. The rest is pretty simple, I won’t go into how we braised the collards (Garlic, Beer, and Apple Cider Vinegar, Benton’s Bacon Grease), just use your favorite method. It would be great with added onions or your favorite cheese as well. Hindsight, we would have used a ribeye with a little more fat, and cooked it more medium than well-done. But it turned out to be great with an enjoyable evening with friends accompanied by wine and home fries. 

Since you can mix and match ingredients, here’s some basic steps. Add your favorite veggies, sausages, cured meats, cheeses, etc.

We braised our collards ahead of time and drained well.

Braise collards for a couple hours. You could use kale, spinach or any other favorite green.

Braise collards for a couple hours. You could use kale, spinach or any other favorite green.

Next, in a medium saute pan on medium high, sauté mushrooms, onions, garlic (or whatever your choose), in some olive oil until cooked down and soft. Season with salt and pepper. You can do this a day ahead if it helps.

Carefully cut the top of the loaf off.

Carefully cut the top of the loaf off.

Next step is to select a nice loaf of crusty bread (or make it!). Cut the top off and hollow out the center. Use the center for croutons or soup… don’t throw it out!

Get the cast iron pan HOT!

Get the cast iron pan HOT!

Next, you’ll need your steaks…4 of them! (in this case it was strip steak, next time it will be ribeye or something a little fattier). Season your steak with salty and pepper. Bring a cast iron skillet to a very high temperature. Smoking hot folks! No oil needed. Drop in your steaks and sear on each side until internal temp is about 140°. You still want some pink but you also want a nice crust. Now all your ingredients are cooked!

To assemble: Tuck two steaks into the bottom of the loaf. Then a layer of 1/2 the mushrooms. Then squeeze out as much juice as you can from a 1/2 of the braised collards and spread that out. Repeat with the remaining steaks, mushrooms, collards.

Top the lid with your favorite condiment. Here we used a mix of mayo, mustard, and some Woshtershire sauce. And pop the hat on your sandwich. 

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Wrap securely in parchment and tie up with butcher’s twine (or any string really as it’s not touching your food). If you want to be extra careful that it doesn’t leak, also wrap in aluminum foil. 

Wrap and weight

Wrap and weight

Wrap and Weight

Wrap and Weight

Place on a flat surface in your fridge and top with a baking sheet. One top of it put something heavy (cast iron skillets, a mortar, cane of veggies, a cannonball, whatever) and leave in fridge 6 hours or overnight.

The next day, you’re all set to go! 

Dig in!

Dig in! Many thanks again for Don for helping with this image!

The Curing Log

Curing Log

Curing Log

Nope – we aren’t making a sick piece of wood well again. We have kinda made 2014 a year when we dive into curing…meats but maybe cheese later on. Our first experiment, Lonzino is hanging and we’ll check the weight tomorrow. If all goes well, we will post a recipe and instructions soon (or die a slow death from botulism!). In the meantime, we needed a log to keep track of when we make stuff, how we make it, dates, and weights, etc. We thought we would make this available to you as well. Just click to download the PDF. Hope it’s helpful for you.

Goodbye to Our Friend Laura

Laura and Mike

Laura and Mike

We generally try to keep things positive here, but this week we said goodbye to one of our dear friends. Laura was tragically taken by some medical events that, almost overnight went from minor to terminal. In fact, M talked to her via text the night before it all happened and Laura said she was feeling better. And our holiday party was her last social outing. So unreal.

Laura was one of the richest people we have ever known. Not necessarily financially, but in spirit. We talk about ‘wealth’ every day. And it’s usually financial. I know plenty of people who brag about their hoity-toity lives that successful business endeavors have given them… but at the end of the journey, none of them will be as rich as this woman. That’s the kind of wealth money can’t buy.  

The outpouring of love that has been witnessed on Facebook and sure will be at today’s Celebration of Life is unbelievable. We didn’t know Laura as long as many. Only about 3 years. We worked with her when she ran the local office of a national non-profit foundation. Her enthusiasm for (fill in the blank) was contagious. It didn’t matter what she was doing, non-profit work, planning Mike’s birthday, job-hunting, talking about favorite cocktails, visiting for dinner, theater, whatever, she was always positive and it’s been a huge loss. Someone on Facebook put it perfectly:

It’s like on the coldest, darkest, night in winter, a group of homeless people are huddled around a fire to keep warm, and someone comes and stomps the fire out. The reaction would be “Hey! What are you doing?! We need that!”

Laura (Center)

Laura (Center)

We shared many nights out enjoying her and Mike’s friendship and the loss is just immeasurable. Laura could make anyone feel like they were the most important person in the world. Whether it was an elderly lady who raised money for that non-profit who showed up at an event and demanded Laura sign her in (and Laura did, despite being too busy), or whether it was the CEO of a hospital. In her eyes, everyone was important and deserved the attention. 

We can’t fill the hole that has been left by this tragedy, all we can do is give our love and support to Mike and Will and try to live our lives as much like Laura as we can. We need that!

 

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