Category Archives: Uncategorized

Husk…. Sean Brock’s Southern Food

Standard

Bon Appetit hailed it as the Best New Restaurant in the US…. accolades have been streaming ever since. It is not all hype, the food is amazing, creative and interesting. Husk is the love child of James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s and the Neighborhood Dining Group. Since opening Husk in Charleston he opened another outpost of Southern ingredients in Nashville. He recently opened Minero, a taqueria in the high rent district of downtown Charleston. There is word that he is also taking that concept to Atlanta where the Neighborhood Dining Group is headquartered. He transforms the essence of Southern food over and over again. Solid… delicious… promising. Sean is dedicated to bringing back old Southern grains, beans, greens and other treasures that were all but lost. He is the champion of the old non-gmo crops that were grown 200 years ago in the south. His food reflects that without being obvious. It is just delicious food, and then you learn its history and all of the work that went into bringing it to the table.

Led by Brock and Chef de Cuisine Travis Grimes, a Lowcountry native, the kitchen reinterprets the bounty of the surrounding area, exploring an ingredient-driven cuisine that begins in the rediscovery of heirloom products and redefines what it means to cook and eat in Charleston.

Starting with a larder of ingredients indigenous to the South, and set within a building complex dating to the late 19th century, Brock crafts menus throughout the day, responding to what local purveyors are supplying the kitchen at any given moment. The entrance beckons with a rustic wall of firewood to fuel the wood-fired oven and a large chalkboard listing artisanal products currently provisioning the kitchen, but like the décor that inhabits the historic building, the food is modern in style and interpretation.

At Husk there are some rules about what can go on the plate. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door,” says Brock, who has even stricken olive oil from the kitchen. As he explains, the resulting cuisine “is not about rediscovering Southern cooking, but exploring the reality of Southern food.” This modern approach results in playful dishes such as Deviled Eggs with Pickled Okra and Trout Roe, and new classics like South Carolina Shrimp and Choppee Okra Stew with Carolina Gold Rice and Flowering Basil.

Seed-saving, heirloom husbandry, and in-house pickling and charcuterie efforts by the culinary team are the basis of the cuisine at Husk. The restaurant is as casual as it is chic, evoking a way of life centered on seasonality and the grand traditions of Charleston life—one lived at a slower pace, preferably with a cocktail and a wide porch in the late afternoon. It is a neighborhood gathering place for friends, and a destination dining spot for travelers, with a little bite of the South for everyone’s palates.

These photos are from my lunch there with Nathalie Dupree and Holly Herrick, two Charleston based friends of mine than rank in the upper echelons of Food Writers.  And so we were treated to many things that we did not order. On of the most amazing things that day was totally unexpected, the fried chicken skin with honey and hot sauce. It is a dish I have reconstructed at home a few times. I also reconstructed Husk’s Sweet Tea Brined Kentuckyaki Chicken Wings and you can get the recipe here.

Advertisements

Taste of a decade: 1840s restaurants

Standard

From my friend Jan Whitaker… great food history!

Restaurant-ing through history

1849Marden'sEating places began to show a French influence as places called “restaurants” and “cafes” replaced “eating houses.” Many hotels adopted the European plan which allowed guests to choose where they would eat instead of including meals in the hotel in the room charge, a change that encouraged the growth of independent eating places. A “restaurant culture” had begun to develop, yet with stiff resistance from many who associated restaurants with vice and immorality.

Menus, particularly those of cheaper eating places, contained mostly meat, pastry, and ever-popular oysters. Meat production was still local; NYC had 200 slaughterhouses in operation. Out-of-season fresh produce was beginning to come North by steamboat from the South, but still not in large quantities. Harvey Parker’s well-known eating house in Boston was celebrated for acquiring peas from Virginia in 1841, but strawberries remained a seasonal delicacy in the Northeast later in the decade.

U.S. territory grew substantially…

View original post 600 more words

Cook it Raw Charleston ~ Part One

Standard

Yesterday was a culinary memory I will never forget. I was invited to be a volunteer for Cook It Raw’s finale food fest, BBQ Perspectives at Bowen’s Island representing Les Dames d’ Escoffier and The Spice and Tea Exchange.. For those of you who do not know about Cook it Raw, it is a Chef’s Only week of discovery and learning about a region and its food that involves most of the truly important culinary luminaries in the world. The word “Raw” implies on the edge, not uncooked. So, from all corners of the world, the chefs came, they learned, they tasted and then they cooked. They cooked for each other and for the first time in the history of the event, they cooked for the public. It is difficult to put the experience completely into words, but in general I would say that it was one of the supreme dining experiences of my life, and I have eaten all over the world and in much fancier places than outdoors on the river with the briny smells of the marsh and happy music playing. At every turn there was amazing interesting food created with local ingredients and using creative wood fired methods.

Sean Brock laughing

Chef Sean Brock at Cook it Raw’s BBQ Perspectives

The man at the helm of Cook it Raw Charleston was Chef Sean Brock, a true visionary when it comes to the food of the South. The local chef community who have been committed to the renaissance of Lowcountry cuisine for almost 20 years; Frank Lee – Slightly North of Broad; Mike Lata – FIG & The Ordinary; Chris Stewart and Sarah O’Kelley – The Glass Onion; Michelle Weaver – The Charleston Grill; Craig Deihl – Cypress Restaurant; Ken Vedrinski – Coda del Pesce and Trattoria Lucca; Robert Stehling – The Hominy Grill; Jeremiah Bacon – The Macintosh & The Oak Steakhouse; Jacques Larson – Wild Olive Restaurant; Bob Carter – Carter’s Kitchen and Rutledge Cab Company; Josh Keeler – Two Boroughs Larder.

DSC_0060

It was a smoke filled event with over 12 open wood pits and about 15 smoker “rigs” set up. The larger of the rigs belonged to South Carolina’s premiere BBQ team, Rodney Scott’s Whole Pig BBQ, which had just returned from a stint in New York City. People waited for the pig to be lifted and pulled from the bone, mixed with the sauce and served up with chitlins and white bread in traditional South Carolina style.

DSC_0251

“Tradition” stopped right there. Every other team created a whole new perspective.  on BBQ. While there was a lot of truly innovative and delicious food using our Low Country ingredients.

The team that totally blew my mind came from Toronto of all places. Team Canada made plates from slices of birch and from salt and hay. They made a beef tongue BBQ with sea horn berries, pecans puff grains, beans all mixed with a killer sauce. They also baked salmon in clay and made packets of grape leaves with Carolina sticky rice, quinoa, bison sausage, peanuts, maple syrup and quince. Good eh?

team canada collageTeam Canada: 

And then there was Brandon Baltzley (from Chicago) who lead the Irish Team’s concept of Low Country Boil with grilled pig heads, corn, fingerlings and head on local shrimp.

DSC_0143

DSC_0178

The International Chefs came from all over the world:

More to come in part 2, like the event, there is just too much to consume at once!

 

Standard

Flour Child

Homemade Oreos

Fact #1: I made Oreos. I didn’t think it was possible, either.

Homemade Oreos

Fact #2: They tasted just like the real ones.. on crack. So much better. So. Much.

Homemade Oreos

Fact #3: They are extraordinarily better for your body than those blue plastic wrapped gems. (Goodbye gross high-fructose-I-don’t-even-know-this-looks-like-my-chemistry-homework ingredients.) Score. Double score.

Homemade Oreos

Fact #4: You will become 700 times more popular if you bring a batch of these to school/work/anywhere else where humans congregate. I’m talking It Girl popular. Might as well just change your name to Kate Middleton. These are the #1 most crowd-pleasing cookie I have ever made. I mean, homemade Oreos…who does that? You. You do that. You’re awesome.

Sorry about all the paparazzi.

Homemade Oreos

Falling short in the friends department? Whip out a batch of Oreos. Too much surplus milk in the fridge? Oreos. Little kid’s birthday party? Oreos. Grown up’s birthday party? Fruit tart.

Just kidding.. obviously Oreos.

View original post 347 more words

Standard

From my friends at Frugal Feeding… Almond Biscotti!

FrugalFeeding

Almond Biscotti Recipe

There are certain things in life that one considers to be truly delightful – they are different for us all. For me, a strong coffee coupled with a crunchy biscuit or flaky pastry, preferably of Italian extraction, is one such delight. However, since moving away from my favourite coffee shop in Aberystwyth, obtaining such a treat has proved a little trickier. Happily, almond biscotti, the traditional Italian biscuit, are jolly simple to make – so there are no excuses not to follow this frugal recipe!

View original post 565 more words

Spanakopita

Standard

Spanakopita! Fun little hand pies filled with nutritious spinach and feta.

Ingredients

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained, I squeeze out the excess juice using a potato ricer.
  • 1 cup Greek or Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo pastry, thawed1/2 cup butter melted

Method

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients, stir well and allow to rest
  2. Unfold phyllo, and cut into 4″ strips width wise, cover with damp cloth towels to prevent drying out
  3. Using a pastry bush apply a thin coating of butter to a strip and repeat with 3 more strips. Add a dollop of the filling in one corner and fold over and over in triangle shape.
  4. Place on a Silpat sheet and brush with a tiny bit more butter
  5. Repeat this process until you run out of filling or phyllo.

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

*note: These are best served fresh while the phyllo is still crispy. If you have leftovers, heat them in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes to crisp up before serving. These go great with my Greek Lemon, Egg and Rice Soup 

Beef Stroganoff

Standard

This is an extremely easy recipe and so great as comfort food! Elena Molokhovets‘ classic Russian cookbook (1861) gives the first known recipe for Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard” which involves lightly floured beef cubes (not strips) sautéed, sauced with prepared mustard and bouillon, and finished with a small amount of sour cream: no onions, no mushrooms. An 1890 competition is sometimes mentioned in the dish’s history, but both the recipe and the name existed before then. A 1912 recipe adds onions and tomato paste, and serves it with crisp potato straws, which are considered the traditional side dish in Russia. The version given in the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique includes beef strips, and onions, with either mustard or tomato paste optional.

After the fall of Imperial Russia, the recipe was popularly served in the hotels and restaurants of China before the start of the Second World War. Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as U.S. servicemen stationed in pre-Communist China, brought several variants of the dish to the United States, which may account for its popularity during the 1950s. It came to Hong Kong in the late fifties, with Russian restaurants and hotels serving the dish with rice, but not sour cream. In the version often prepared in the USA today in restaurants and hotels, it consists of strips of beef filet with a mushroom, onion, and sour cream sauce, and is served over rice, potatoes or pasta.

In the UK and Australia, a recipe very similar to that commonly found in the USA has become popular, generally served with rice. British pubs usually serve the dish to a creamy white wine style recipe, whereas more ‘authentic’ versions are often red stews with a scoop of sour cream separately served on top.

Beef Stroganoff is also very popular in China and Portugal, under the name estrogonofe or “Strogonoff”. The Brazilian variant includes diced beef or strips of beef (usually filet mignon) with tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms and heavy whipping cream. Stroganoff is also often made with strips of chicken breast rather than beef (also called fricassee in some restaurants in Brazil). Brazilians also prepare stroganoff with chicken or even shrimp instead of beef. It is commonly served with crisp potato straws, as in Russia, but with the addition of white rice. Sometimes one can also see creative servings of estrogonofe, such as a crepe filling, a topping for baked potatoes, or on pizzas. Many recipes and variations exist: with or without wine, with canned sweet corn, with ketchup instead of tomato sauce, etc.

Stroganoff is also popular in the Nordic countries. In Sweden, a common variant is korv-stroganoff (sausage stroganoff), which uses the local falukorv sausage as a substitute for the beef. In Finland, the dish is called makkarastroganoff, makkara meaning any kind of sausage. Beef stroganoff is, however, also a common dish.

Stroganoff’s popularity extends to Japan, where it is most commonly served with white rice, or white rice seasoned with parsley and butter. Its popularity increased dramatically with the introduction of “instant sauce cubes” from S&B corporation. These are cubes with dried seasoning and thickening agents that can be added to water, onion, beef, and mushrooms to make a stroganoff-style sauce. Additionally, Japanese home recipes for Stroganoff frequently call for “non-traditional” Japanese ingredients, such as small amounts of soy sauce.

Beef Stroganoff is popular in Iran, where it is made with strips of lean beef fried with onion and mushroom, then further cooked in whipped cream and topped with crisp potato straws.

After doing some research I decided I did want mushrooms and onions and I found some recipes from the old country which included nutmeg… so why not add that? I have a nutmeg tree. I also elected to use red wine instead of the white wine that some recipes called for. I would like to make it with the traditional potato strips, but this time I went back to my Great Grandmother’s Egg Noodles instead. She would make them on Sundays and hang them over a broom stick to dry. I love them with anything saucy. I served this with red cabbage salad and broiled tomatoes. Everything went perfectly with some Burgundy wine. Here are the recipes:

Broiled Tomatoes:

Preheat the oven to 350°

Cut the tops of ripe tomatoes. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, salt and pepper (lots of pepper).

Place in the preheated over for 15 minutes. Remove and top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Turn on the broiler and place tomatoes under the broiler until the cheese melts and browns slightly.

Beef Stroganoff (Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard” )

“This recipe is from the “old” Russian Tea Room Restaurant in NYC (before the original owner’s daughter took it over.) Authentic in flavor and preparation (no short cuts) and was always served over RICE (not noodles) at the restaurant.”

Ingredients

    • 2 lbs lean boneless sirloin (trimmed of fat and gristle) or 2 lbs bottom round steaks, in one piece ( trimmed of fat and gristle)
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium onion, minced
    • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
    • ½ cup red wine
    • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
    • ½ lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon of paprika
    • 1/2 of a nutmeg seed grated (or if you are using pre-grated, 1/2 teaspoon)
    • A splash of brandy
    • 1 cup sour cream at room temperature

Method

  1. Cut meat into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle meat with salt, flour and pepper, let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat butter in a frying pan or wok. Add the onion, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms, saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add meat to pan and cook for 3 minutes, turning meat to brown evenly.
  4. Stir in mustard, and cook 1 minute more. Add 1/2 cup wine and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the splash of brandy, paprika and grate the nutmeg into the mix. Simmer for another 2 minutes on low.
  6. Add sour cream.
  7. Over lowest possible heat, simmer for 5 minutes to heat through. Do NOT let it boil.
  8. Serve over hot noodles, rice or potatoes.