Month: October 2011

Madame et Monsieur …

“Est-ce un sandwich dans votre poche ? Ou vous êtes simplement heureux de nous voir…” The Sandwich Diaries: Episode 1 Everyone has that thing, or list of things that “does it” for them food-wise. If you’ve been reading along over these many months, you would have picked up on a general theme in the foods and recipes I call “comfort food”… and that’s Cheese.. well, and Fried… and things stacked together… like a sandwich… (I do love me a good sandwich!)    It’s funny, I don’t remember where I had a lot of my first of things… meals in general just float around the clock waiting their turn to be consumed. But a sandwich? I can quote you time, date and place. My 1st:   Fried Bologna Sandwich? I was 8 and home sick with the flu. Beef Tongue? Summer 1978 DB Kaplan’s Delicatessen in Atlanta. After an hour of pouring over their menu of 287 sandwiches..that’s what I settled on. (It was the end of my freshman year in college – and I was feeling particularly grown-up).  First …

A Whiter Shade of Pale…

First of all, I have a bit of side-stepping to do. Misdirection, actually… You see, I had this camera. It wasn’t a particularly good camera by any means – but it was my point and click  instrument of choice for the photos I use here on Plate Fodder. I stand very still, I squint my eyes (for no apparent reason), I would hold the little box at an artistically correct angle and voila! a reasonable facsimile of what I spent bent hunched over the counter for the last hour working on. And if the pictures didn’t turn out all that well I’d tell myself that it’s just because I am not a particularly good photographer.. (although in all actuality – I am), and not because I was using a crappy camera best designed for snapping candid shots of Zippy jumping for a Frisbee as opposed to capturing the fine crackle in the sugar crust of a creme brulee. At any rate, I didn’t give it much thought. Shoot, transfer, Photoshop to oblivion, publish. It had become old hat… comfortable – you might say. And …

Mmm… Sticky

When it come to things on a grill, how I like it depends on the “finger umami”. Yes, that’s right Finger Umami. Because so much of what we eat and enjoy isn’t just in the way it feels in the mouth… It’s the heft of a big ass burger … It’s the warm, billowy strands of a seriously good yeast roll as you pull each tender layer apart … The crunch of the fat cap and the ting against the point of your knife as it drags against and slices through the perfect quarter-turn marks on an expertly grilled steak … And, it’s the almost-lacquer, hand coating stickiness of  a great pork or chicken marinade and glaze. … and that’s what you get with sticky soy  glaze. Sticky Soy is my home attempt of a bottled Asian product – Thick Soy Sauce. While the  bottled version works in a pinch, like a lot of bottled soy products – they can end up tasting a little mechanical… if you know what I mean… that odd funk that really doesn’t belong to any known food group. Sticky Soy is …

Curb Market Crawl – Crookneck Squash

This past weekend in Dahlonega was Gold Rush Days. If you live here, that means barricade yourself in the house until all the tourist leave… or get out of town. We chose the latter. And since this is also the beginning of pumpkin season, apple season and the beginning of what is proving to be a very colorful fall leaves display – we had to get far away. We headed farther up north to Dillard and Mountain City, past the point where a day drive from the city makes sense. The Foxfire Museum is located in Mountain City, GA With the cool clear day, it was the perfect time to spend some time getting dusty in the bounty of antique and junque stores, have lunch at the Cupboard Cafe (they’re located on Hwy 441 in Mountain City, GA.) A great place to stop in when you want something other than  corporate franchises. A large menu, great sandwiches – one of the best Reuben Sandwiches I’ve ever eaten – and a mind numbing selection of fresh house made pies. We …

Fridge Raid

Some time ago, there used to be a recurring article in one of the bolt of industry periodicals that came across my desk. The Fridge Raid. The editors would pick some pseudo-celebrity or high profile chef… and poke around in their refrigerator. In voyeuristic terms alone, it was a opportunity to  peek inside the private lives of kinda public people and chance seeing a half eaten celo-pack of Ho-Ho’s nestled next to a carton of quail eggs… a myriad of take-out boxes, and a truffle… a half-eaten Costco chicken and a block of Maytag. Although, since  you can’t count on everyone playing fairly, there would be the occasional, obviously pre-informed raid and the expertly back-lit cooler would reveal 4 highly polished bottles of Perrier, a micro beer, 2 tubs of micro greens, a handful of high end condiments (all unopened) and a loaf of  artisan 15-grain bread… Who the hell eats like that. One of the food communities I belong to sent out a call for their publishers to come up with and blog about  an economical meal with only the things you …

Apple of my Eye – Baked Apples

“If one out of ten Americans planted 2 fruit trees, the world would be richer by nearly 6 billion pounds of fruit.” – Rosalind Creasy, Champion of edible landscaping Think about it… with that surplus of fruit, we could have a whole network of national fruit swapping going on… Backyard Georgia apple growers could swap with their Florida citrus neighbors – Tennessee figs swapped for Washington cherries – Oregon pears for California avocados. We would be flush with fruit. It’s now Apple Season here in the North Georgia Mountains. The orchards are hanging full, the houses are bursting at the seams, and the roads are packed with Georgians out for their Apple Fix. But, if you’re heading this way, be prepared to wait at some of the more popular houses. Lines will be long, but believe me, there are plenty of apples to go around. It’s been a very good year at the orchards. And, if you’ve never made the trip to the area, here are some of the better houses to stop… and what to expect when you get …

Once More into the fire…

Photo courtesy of Popular Mechanics – May 1968 When we were kids, my dad lived for the Popular Mechanics Weekend Project. Summer 1968 endeared us to the Wishing Well BBQ project …an attractive addition to any patio! Unfortunately, my father was a very cautious man, and felt the project as shown invited a few too many opportunities for disaster. The charcoal bin and coal hopper offered just a ream of chances for fire – so it was eliminated. The roof was just a bit too close to the fire – so the pitch was changed and raised The low grill deck invited tiny fingers – so it was raised and reinforced. The resulting finished BBQ didn’t really look very much like the project. It was a substantial fortress in which to provide charred meats to the family… and protect everyone for even the slightest chance of burn injury. And, it didn’t really work. The base redesign cut off most of the air supply needed to feed the coals, and the reworked roof funneled copious amounts of smoke directly …

Simple Dinner Sunday – Soup Throwback and a **Give-away**

Overheard at a small laboratory in Anaheim…  “Sherman, my boy…”   “Yes, creepy smarty dog with no pants?” “Hmm…” “Kick the Way Back Machine to 1967, I’m jonzin’ for some Cream of Mushroom Soup!”   “But Mr. Peabody… you’re lactose intolerant.”  “Right you are, Boy. We’ll just have to make it ourselves.  Go snag a couple of beakers from those idiot rats…” The truth is… I’ve been jonzin’ for some canned Cream of Mushroom soup. But, having a lactose intolerant family member in the house, I just don’t buy it. It’s too big of a temptation to toss it in something when you need that little extra mushroom-y creaminess. But – with the cooler weather starting, I was really starting to get that craving. Cream of Portabella Soup Makes 2 Bowls Ingredients 2 Medium Portabella Caps – Diced 3 Shallots – Minced 2 Cups Lactose Free Milk 1 Cup Chicken (or Vegetable) Stock 1 Tablespoon Cream Sherry 2 (to 3) Tablespoons Tapioca Starch 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt Black Pepper to taste 1 Teaspoon Parsley – Minced 2 Tablespoons Pecan (or Olive) Oil …

Fine as Frog Hair

There are a couple of inherent truths when it comes to the South. 1.   If I can make my livestock do something funny, I’ll show it to you. If I can make you pay to see it, even better Actually, at Goats on the Roof in Tiger, Georgia – it’s free to look at the goats living and traversing the network of ladders and bridges  overhead between the buildings. There are, however, several nifty country store shops and a deli in which to free you of your cash. And, I can’t tell you the number of instrument playing chickens and ducks I’ve seen at the various county fairs and festivals across the mountains. 2.  If it fits between 2 slices of bread, it’s a sandwich.   We all know of  ‘mater sammiches and that girth inducing delicacy of bananas and peanut butter championed by “The King”, but I have been privvy of a whole host of side dishes and condiments slapped between 2 slices of white bread and slathered with mayo. I eaten many a pineapple sandwich, green …

The Beach Wedding (or the) Party with a Pretty Dress

The days are numbered, the accepts and regrets have all been counted, and the complete packing of my kitchen for the 6 hour drive to the gulf coast has begun…. When I agreed to do the wedding, I knew it was going to be a challenge to design a menu that: A. Could be prepped days in advance B. Would have all entree items essentially grilled to order on the beach C. Would be something very different than standard fare D. Would take into consideration the laundry list of special dietary restrictions of a good many of the guests. (Many of the party are Gluten Intolerant – some are Lactose Intolerant, the groom is allergic to corn, there will be a handful of pescatarians, and more than a few vegetarians.) And between a crisis in my own family and brewing health concerns with my clients, a couple of false starts with some of the entrees, and an ever-growing guest list – getting everything locked and loaded (so to speak) with the menu has been a roller coaster ride …