Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sausage Casserole

This is Gran Pearl's infamous sausage casserole. Heather made it by the book except for using aborio rice instead of long grain white. I could eat this 5 days a week....

Prime rib with asparagus and risotto

Heather had found a standing rib roast on sale at Fresh Market a few weeks ago. We had the opportunity so we thawed it and made a paste from horseradish, rosemary, and thyme. After rubbing it down, I let it rest for a few hours. I took 6 lbs of kosher salt and added enough water to make it snow like. I completely covered the roast in the salt. It sounds crazy, but it forms a crust around the roast. I slow roasted it in the oven until it hit 138 in the middle and let it rest another 20 minutes. Heather made risotto with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and a touch of truffle oil. The steamed asparagus was topped with hollandaise. Heather opened a Coppola Merlot we had been saving. Nice meal.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Torta con carnitas

OK, I can't say that this particular short, fat, white boy has been discriminated against too often. In fact, I have had it pretty easy thanks to great parents and family. However, I now have a minuscule taste of what it is like to be segregated. Those terms may be a bit harsh, but it had me going a few weeks ago. La Carretta's Taqueria in Tupelo is a delicious restaurant where I have enjoyed many meals. They are fast, friendly, and inexpensive. One day I was having lunch and I saw this incredible dish being served to some patrons at a different table. I asked our server where that dish was on the menu. She said it was on the Spanish menu. WHAT? A different menu for our Spanish speaking friends? Not just a translated menu, but a completely different menu. After calming down I found out that the dish is a Torta. I read up a bit on the origins of the Torta. This came about from the French influence in Mexico many years ago. The locals named their breads after the shape, not what they were made from. It is basically a "Mexican po'boy". The bread is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. La Carretta's made mine with refried beans, smashed avocado, jalapenos, carnitas, and lots of tomatoes. It was very messy, but FINE. They have chorizo, lengu, tripe, chicken, steak, or just about anything they have there.

Strawberry shortcake

My cool neighbor Scott brought us some fresh strawberries his mother had picked up in NOLA. After the shrimp and grits Chance was still hungry so I asked Heather to make some of her fluffy, tart buttermilk biscuits. A few minutes later they were in the oven and I diced the strawberries. I tossed them with some sugar, cream, and a touch of Grand Manier. I whipped some cream with a touch of vanilla paste and sugar. The biscuits were still warm and we all chowed down.

Shrimp with tasso cream gravy and grits

Again with the Susan Spicer specialty. We picked up some tasso while we were in Baton Rouge. 3 different kinds actually. We were almost out of grits. We had just enough. I used the shrimp stock I had made the last time I made this. This was a bit too salty, but you can't take salt out. Even Tanner ate all his.

Corned beef hash

What is the best thing about having corned beef? Leftovers for hash! I followed Almighty Alton's general directions for the most part.
I sauteed onion and bell pepper but I steamed some cubed idaho potatoes and tossed them in after the onion was soft. I cubed the beef and chopped some of the leftover cabbage. I didn't poach the eggs, but fried them instead. Not so traditional, but it was very good. Heather whipped up some buttermilk biscuits. It was nice.

Osso Bucco

Another round of Osso Bucco. I had to work for this one. The shanks we have been forced to are too large and I have to cut through them with a saw. It was a lot of effort, but worth it. These were fantastic!

Corned beef and cabbage

This St. Patty's day was topped off with the traditional corned beef and cabbage. I would like to tell you that I brined the brisket and slow roasted it, but I just took the Kroger prepackaged brisket and put it in the crockpot. I let it rest while I sauteed the cabbage with a little onion and some of the juice from the brisket. I used the electric knife to try to get even slices across the grain, but it kept falling apart. I served it over some smashed potatoes. Chance had 2 plates full. It was the best cabbage I have made. I won't boil it again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Now that's good Abita

We stopped at the Gazebo Cafe to dry off and take a rest. Our waiter brought us our beverages of choice. I asked him for his best Zane Lamprey imitation. If you don't know Zane, read about the show here:

St. Louis Cathedral

In a rare break from the rain, we got this picture.

Mike Anderson's Seafood Co.

After the karate tournament, we headed down to New Orleans and wound up in a torrential monsoon. We went into the Riverwalk to avoid the rain and ended up eating at Mike Anderson's Seafood. There were people everywhere. There was some sort of Cheerleader or dance competition near there. After a 40 minute wait, we got our food. I got an oyster poboy that was superb. C and Heather got shrimp poyboys and Harrison got popcorn shrimp. Considering how busy it was, the workers there really put out great food with a smile. That added to the experience.

Everyone for themselves night

That is what it was going to be. Heather heated up the leftover redbeans and fried up some artichoke fritters. She made Tanner a huge hogie with everything he loves and nothing he didn't. I don't even remember what C had.

Wiener Schnitzel

I was going to make some wiener schnitzel with some venison I had and was going to follow the recipe in "Cook's Illustrated". They took 7 slices of white bread and put it in the microwave for 4 minutes, then put it in the food processor. Well, after 2 minutes, my bread was black and stinky. I improvised with some panko so it wasn't exactly like the recipe. I did add the oil to the egg wash and I let it rest on a wire rack after the dredging. It made a huge difference in the adherence of the coating. I cooked some blackeyed peas in chicken stock, bacon fat, and onion. The potatoes were out of a box. Shhh!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peppercorn pork with lemon spinach

Don't be turned off by the title. I was really surprised out how good this dish really was. Cheap, somewhat healthy and delicious. Trifecta baby! This is the basic recipe:

I had some pork so I used it instead of chicken. I took dijon, balsamic vinegar, garlic, pepper, and some fresh rosemary (courtesy of the Smith's) and marinated it all day. I grilled the chops while Heather did the rest. The spinach is pretty much straight with the recipe. The sauce was pretty much too, but she used Chianti instead of brandy and red onion instead of shallots. It really added to the dish. We had 4 clean plates. When does that EVER happen? Oh, I didn't give Tanner any spinach. Or I didn't make Tanner eat spinach. Whichever version you want to go with.....

Red beans and rice Monday

I found some andouille at Kroger. It was technically Johnsonville "andouille flavored" sausage, but I was ready for some read beans so I went with it. Why is it so inconceivable that in a city of this size that we can't support one meat market or specialty shop? Am I asking for too much? URGH! I digress. I chopped some celery, onion, and bell pepper. I added some thyme, Tony Cacheres, garlic, salt, and pepper. I chunked all that in the crockpot with a pound of red beans. Errr.... Red kidney beans. I didn't pay attention when I got them. I added some chicken stock and some water and let them cook all day. I grilled the sausage and made some garlic toast. The rice was sticky because Kroger in their infinite wisdom decided not to carry Zatarain's rice anymore. URGH! Even with all the capitulation, this hit the spot. The leftovers were good too. No one spent too long in my office on Tuesday either. BONUS!

Monday, March 9, 2009

"cook's illustrated" chewy chocolate cookies

Cook's Illustrated is by far the greatest magazine ever. Period. This is their chewy chocalate cookie recipe. Try here: or get your own subscription. If you love good food, it is a must. Our neighbor bit into one of these jewels and was mid sentence and changed the subject. They are killer.

Huevos Rancheros

This is a lesson learned. Poaching an egg in salsa is an art. I over did these a bit. Cooking the whites while leaving the yolks a bit runny takes experience. I baked the corn tortillas brushed with oil until they were puffy and crispy. Then I took a can of petite diced tomatoes, some tomato sauce, chipotle, cumin, salt and cooked it down some. I poached the eggs in the ranchero sauce. I topped it with cheddar, shredded lettuce, and a dollop of sour cream.

Osso Bucco

This is Heather's ration of veal this week. It was a bugger to cut into while it was frozen, but the meal was worth it.

Tilapia with chili lime butter

Heather pan fried a tilapia fillet and topped it with crab meat and a chili lime butter. She served the whole thing over farfelle with a buttery cream sauce. Not very healthy, but quite tasty. The lime was quite strong and it was not a flavor Heather loved. I did though. Here is the source of her motivation:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

This is a Sara Moulton recipe. Again, kind of. This is a Heather dish that we have had a couple of times. She always puts her personal touch to it, but here is the basic recipe:


Heather was in bed and an odd shade of green. I took advantage of her illness to indulge in some boy grub. I grilled some burgers doused with Huey's seasoning and put it on pepperjack and cheddar. A big pickle slice and some crispy onion rings topped it off. The boys ate without arguing tonight for some reason.....

Beef Bourgogne kind of..... Steamed artichokes

Heather went by Fresh Market in Collierville and found these HUGE artichokes. She steamed them forever to cook them and made her infamous dipping sauce. These were by far the best steamed artichokes we have had in well.... ever. She took beef chunks and made her mystery stew. It was good. However, this was one of those nights where work seems to interfere with a good meal. I had a server down and was walking back and forth from the computer to the table. I am not complaining though. I have a job....

Pasta Primavera

What do you do with a lot of veggies in the fridge and no idea what to make for dinner? Well, I made pasta primavera. Kinda of anyway. I steamed carrots, broccoli, and asparagus until it was almost tender. I sauteed some onion and red bell pepper until it was soft and added the steamed vegetables. I put about 1/2 cup of cream in and let it reduce while the vegetables finished. I had some whole wheat penne reggate and tossed it when I was ready to plate. I topped it with shaved parmesean. It wasn't a Huge hit with the fam, but it was eaten.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

St. Patrick's snowman

OK, this is not food related, but the face is zucchini and carrots. It snows very rarely in this part of the world so we tried to take full advantage of it.

Potstickers, sausage casserole, and edemame succotash spinach salad

This is what happens when you go to fresh market in Collierville on the way home from Houston's birthday party. Heather made incredible potstickers and I made a sausage casserole. Mimi used packaged edemame succotash to make a very unique spinach salad. Scott Seale visited to sample some of the food.

Pot Pie night

This simple dish is what got Heather and I through our first few years of marriage. It has been that long since we have revisted it. Banquet pot pie over rice. We were in a hurry because Chance was being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.