14. January 2011 06:24
This is yet something else that can be prepared ahead of time. You are roasting the shallots to caramelize the sugars inside without actually browning them. The hardest thing about working with shallots is that when you purchase them, very often there are two or three bulbs inside the paper shell. So when counting them, you need to count not how many you bought, but how many are actually there. Except for this dish where you want the entire bulb to be counted as one.
13. January 2011 08:35
The definition of a coulis is a form of thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables and fruits. This is exactly what we are going to make here and it is something that will be part of the base of the finished dish. It is also something that can be made several days ahead of time and warmed up right before serving.
* I won’t have room to type out the entire title of the dish every time I add something to it so I’ve decided to shorten it to this somewhat unexciting acronym.
5. January 2011 05:14
Since we’ve been married, Ms Cocktail and I have engaged in a fun little southern tradition on New Year’s Day. The tradition is that on New Year’s Day you are supposed to eat black eyed peas and collard greens. The black eyed peas symbolize coins and the collards symbolize paper money and together they are supposed to help ensure financial success in the coming year.
For most of this time, we’ve made Hoppin’ John with Collard Greens on the side. This year, we decided to change things up a bit, we made my Brunswick Stew with deep fried collard green on the side. This is a very whimsical and fun way to prepare collards, it is not meant to be a traditional side, more of a garnish. However, you get this wonderful explosion of collard green flavor without a large amount of greens in your mouth, making this something that you should have as part of your repertoire.
4. January 2011 03:02
I hope everybody had a fantastic New Year, I know I did. A wonderful meal was prepared by our good friends and the evening was completed by a vertical wine tasting, movies, bubbly and a pajama party. What more could someone ask for?
As far as the blog goes, I’m going to start the year with something a little out of the ordinary. It is called Mojo de Ajo and it a very traditional Mexican way of preparing oil for future use. It is a wonderfully versatile oil and can be used as a topper on bread, as a base for scampi or anything else your fertile imagination can come up with.
21. December 2010 03:53
When you’re preparing your holiday menu, don’t you want to have one or two dishes that don’t take a lot of energy to fix but are basically something thrown together quickly so that you can get on to other things? Here’s a very simple vegetable dish that is great for the holidays. It is a take on a very traditional French style green bean casserole. It goes together very quickly and just takes a bit of time in the oven. What you do after that is up to you.
29. November 2010 07:27
When I hear someone mention Brussels sprouts, my mind immediately spring to a little tiny cabbage like head of material that at one point in time was a nice, vibrant green color but has had all of the color and nutrients leached out of it by being immersed in boiling water for enough time to adequately strip flesh from bone. What remains is this somewhat soggy pile of mush more ready for last rites than it is for the dinner table.
Today I offer a somewhat more tasty alternative, yet one that is just as simple to prepare. I offer the roasted Brussels sprout.
24. November 2010 05:56
I know this is late but it is my last post concerning Thanksgiving dishes (although this will certainly carry through to Christmas). Both Ms Cocktail and I have grown weary of the “let’s take the sweet potato and make them sweeter” theory. Brown sugar and marshmallows can only do so much and quite frankly, I’m not the biggest sugar fan on the planet. So one of my goals for this holiday season was to make a savory sweet potato.
19. November 2010 03:42
The traditional manner of cooking a turkey for the holidays is to shove it into the oven and slowly suck every last drop of moisture out of the breast while minimizing the amount of consumable meat available on the dinner table. Let’s not forget that the inner cavity has been shoved full of stuffing that makes certain that one of the family members will find the remaining salmonella for that not so fresh holiday feeling.
Well, I’m here to tell you that while you can still cook the turkey in the oven, there is a better way.
20. September 2010 07:53
I have been working on this sauce for some time, trying to dial it in and I wasn’t certain that this time was going to be the best version so I didn’t plan on taking photos. This was obviously a mistake. Ms Cocktail told me at least three times yesterday that these were the best wings she ever had and praise like that doesn’t come lightly.
I try not to pimp the fact that I work at a winery on my blog here but last night I served these wings with the 2006 Tannat from that winery, Chrysalis Vineyards. At first blush it doesn’t seem like a very good pairing, a big, huge red wine with chicken wings. However, the spiciness and flavors in the sauce are bold enough to wonderfully compliment this excellent wine. It really brought out the fruit from a wine that is noted for its flavors of smoke and leather.
27. August 2010 05:48
One of the things that Ms Cocktail and I like to do is to watch Top Chef. Having just recently joined the 21st century in acquiring a DVR, we were able to catch up on missed episodes while we were out of town. Now for those of you that don’t know, Top Chef is a television show on the Bravo Network where chefs compete each wee until only one is left. They are presented with different cooking challenges that they need to overcome in order to prove who is the top chef.
This year the setting for the program is in Washington, D.C. and the episodes are set in and amongst some of the more famous landmarks here in the area. One of the more recent episodes had the contestants cooking for the head of the CIA, Leon Panetta. Their challenge was to take a well known classic dish and give it a a disguise. This challenge is also known in the culinary world as deconstructing a dish.