How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New Potato Salad


I see so many good recipes on my Facebook feed that I sometimes lose sight of the original intent of the "Nueva Receta" project - to make good use of my cookbooks. So I went old school with the bag of red-skinned potatoes I bought last week at the Fairhaven Farmer's Market and found a recipe on my cookbook shelf from Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet. I followed the recipe almost as presented. I didn't have any carrots so I skipped that, and I left the sugar out of the dressing. It just seemed unnecessary. As the recipe indicates this was quick to make. The yogurt made it especially creamy and it had a lot more flavor than what one expects in a potato salad. The caraway seeds really seemed to be the key.

Scallion Chicken

The Fairhaven farmers' market features excellent produces, baked goods, and soap. It also features know-your-farmer local meats. Many of the grill items featured in this blog have come from J.H. Beaulieu Livestock, scarcely a mile from our home and from the market.

Instead of beef, this week we purchased a whole chicken, which is something we often roast in our upright pan. I was preparing to do just that when I came upon this video demonstrating splayed chicken at NYT Cooking.
Chef Melissa Clark is sold on the indispensible cast-iron skillet, arguing that it would be worthwhile to purchase on just for this dish. I agree, but careful readers of this blog will know that we already have several, and use them quite often. Fortunately, we have one exactly like the one shown in the video.

I essentially followed this recipe just as shown. The exceptions are that I quartered two small oranges and stuffed them in the cavity with some whole sage leaves, and that I used scallions instead of ramps. I think the difference is trivial, and we had purchased some nice scallions at the same farmers' market. Win-win. I did not use the garlic or capers.

One caveat: our chicken was apparently a bit bigger than the 3-4 pound range Clark mentions. So it took about 20 minutes longer than she allowed, and I had to turn the oven down to 400 as it started to smoke just a bit. Still, the result was DELICIOUS and the cooking time quite fast for a whole chicken this size.

BRINING

I hope you have not started cooking this yet, because you need to know about brining if you want to do this as I did. All of the Beaulieu products arrive frozen, so I used brining both to prepare the meat for juicier, more flavorful cooking, and simply to thaw it. Using a large pasta pot, I followed these directions for simple brining from AllRecipes, except that I used Worcester instead of soy sauce and I did not exactly measure any of the ingredients. I believe this contributed to the fantastic flavor f the meal.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Comportable Compote

Yes, I made up that first word for its alliterative value. Rhubarb is in season, which means rhubarb compote is in season. I purchased two big bundles at the Fairhaven farmers' market last weekend, and envisioned hours of stewing them. Looking at food blogger Aimée's Salute Spring! post on Simple Bites, however, I realized that I have been overdoing it.

She provides 10 ways to use rhubarb, all beginning with a compote, and our first use will be the most obvious one: over ice cream. I made enough to freeze some for use later in the year, perhaps revisiting the delicious dessert that Pam created in April of this year.

Aimée provides two basic recipes: I made the first in a Dutch oven. I rinsed then chopped all of the rhubarb we had purchased. I used a measuring cup to estimate (this is neither baking nor rocket science) that we had about 8 cups of the fruit, so I adjusted the orange juice and brown sugar accordingly.

No photos here: rhubarb stew is more tasty than photogenic. Small samples with the tasting spoons have us looking forward to dessert with a friend later today. Now to prepare brandy sauce for our salmon...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Key Lime Pops


I really love key lime pie. I also like to have homemade popsicles in the summer. Imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe in The Beach House Cookbook (which of course I prepared in my beach house). These were sweet and creamy. We skipped adding the food coloring as it wouldn't have made any difference to the taste, and also omitted the last step of dipping them in graham cracker crumbs before eating. I imagine that might have made them seem more like pie, but I don't think popsicles really need to have that texture.

Exceptional Picnic Fare


Summertime is Westport Rivers Sunset Music time. Starting our summer weekends with wine, a picnic and an outdoor concert has been a tradition of ours for almost a decade. For the past two years we've especially enjoyed being able to head straight to our nearby beach house after the show, rather than making the almost-an-hour drive back to Bridgewater. This summer we celebrated our first outdoor concert by inaugurating a recent cookbook acquisition: Mary Kay Andrews The Beach house Cookbook . The ham and havarti sandwiches with peach-mustard spread took a bit of planning ahead due to the half-hour cooking time for the ham, but the sandwiches are not meant to be served warm so they were easily assembled once the ham prep was complete and packed for the picnic. They were quite delicious and perfect summer picnic food. I'm looking forward to making these again.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Chili-Blackberry Tenderloin

Sweet-hot is a combination we like, so when looking for something new to try in The Big Green Egg, I opted for the first recipe I found when opening the eponymous cookbook. It has one of those spoiler-alert titles we sometimes find in cookbooks, really outlining our shopping list: "Chili-Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Blackberry Sauce."

I started up the Egg so that it could reach 400F when I was ready. Then I went into the kitchen. I selected two pork tenderloins, brushing each with olive oil and sprinkling with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Honestly, I did not use a brush -- I just drizzled the oil on, and then rolled the tenderloins on a large plate, sprinkling as I turned them. Worked fine.

I set that aside and started working on the sauce. I had considered starting the sauce after I put the pork on the grill, but I decided not to, because the recipe is vague on grilling time, but implies (correctly) that it is fairly quick.

I started the sauce by melting 1/2 cup organic, granulated sugar in -- what else? -- a saucepan. As it started to caramelize, I whisked in 1/2 cup each of L.O.V.E. blackberry-ginger balsamic (the recipe simply calls for balsamic, but we knew how to make this even better) and chicken stock, along with an 8-ounce jar of Al's Blackberry Moonshine Jelly we had bought directly from the jellyman at the Coastal Wine Trail Festival just hours before. (Again, the recipe had simply called for blackberry preserves.) I brought all of this to a low simmer and left it on very low heat, covered, for 15 minutes while I cooked the pork.

With the Egg at 375, I put the tenderloins on the cast-iron grill-top for 5-minutes per "side." This was an occasion when I'm really glad that I follow my friend Rob's advice, using tongs for everything. The tenderloins would have been difficult to manage otherwise, but were very easy to turn this way. I mentioned the vagueness of the cooking time, which is something I am seeing more often in recipes, probably for food-safety reasons. It took 15-20 minutes, I'd say, to reach the desired 145F internal temperature. Having never cooked this kind of meat before, I was grateful to have an excellent thermometer (crazy-expensive but worth it for serious cooks), as I would have probably overcooked it otherwise.

Once the meat was ready to rest for a few minutes before slicing, I finished the sauce, which simply meant removing it from heat and stirring in 2T butter and a bit of salt and pepper. We ended up with a small pitcher of sauce -- way too much and way too thin for the purpose. The directions call for keeping it covered during the simmer and do not call for any kind of thickening ingredients. Next time, I think I'll try reducing it just a bit by cooking it ahead of time, uncovered.

Key words: next time. This was delicious, and I'll either try it again or will turn to one of the many tenderloin recipes on the Big Green Egg web site.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Waffle Hashbrowns

Genius, right? Those two words are probably enough to understand the breakfast miracle we experienced this morning, but I will elaborate just a bit. As I am wont to do.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we are quite fond of latkes, a recipe for which I posted back in 2012. This entry turns our blog into a vlog (web log --> video log), since a short video Pam shared with me a few days ago has all the key information. Just do what the delightful Justin Chapple does.

Source: Food & Wine

My elaboration:

We have a Waring Pro Belgian waffle maker, very similar to the one in the video. I sprayed it with Pam cooking spray, as I always do, because our instructions said we should, and in an earlier life we always had waffle problems. Rather than listening for the waffles, I just used the automatic dial. It runs 0 to 6, and I used 4.5 for the first hashwaffle. It turned out really well, but not as crispy as the video. So I went to 5 and then to 6. Potatoes have so much moisture that I could really have left them on a bit longer.

I used only the ingredients he suggested, though I might add a little minced onion and some herbs next time. I might also drain the potatoes just a bit.

When I make regular waffles, I put the batter in the middle, and it moves to the edges. Of course, that does not work in this case, so feel free to spread the potatoes around the whole iron surface before closing it. Experiment with quantities and doneness -- there are no wrong answers!