All posts filed under: Dinner

Baleful Bounty ~ Sauce Rustica

With Summer in full swing, the garden should be producing to beat the drum. However, after the issues I had earlier in the season, I’ve played it safe on the tomatoes; I only planted one plant of a single variety ( Mountain Pride). And, since it’s a late season tomato… there isn’t anything resembling a ripe fruit on the vines yet.  Thankfully, friends are seeing to it that I have more than enough extra ripe tomatoes to go around. Here’s the thing with being gifted with a dozen tomatoes that are ready to eat NOW – like it or not, some are going to go bad. And the only way to combat all that spoilage is to either cook it down to sauce, or can them (which I don’t do), or zipper bag them up whole – and freeze them (as it happens, I’m all over that action.) Freezing and thawing fully ripe tomatoes allow you to keep that fresh picked flavor that you don’t get with a processed product. Granted, they can’t be used for …

Taste of Summer ~ Saffron Steamed Mussels

There are memories of sea things that will always remind me what a magical time & place summer is at the ocean… Being pulled away from Lost in Space on the TV and braving the torrential rain at the Desoto Beach Hotel restaurant to dine on Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks; Chowing down with the family after getting suitably roasted on the beach at Captain Anderson’s in Panama City as a kid (complete with my very own captain’s hat); Sweltering night at open pit Oyster roasts on the banks of Wilmington Island;  gorging myself on steamed clams under the Thunderbolt bridge at Desposito’s; buying (and single-handedly devouring) an entire brown paper grocery sack of seasoned blue crabs from Keith’s (or “Keet’s”.. as the locals pronounced it) Crab Shack in the somewhat shady area of Savannah…. and any one of the 200 times that I had a big pot of steamed mussels with a cold brew, plucking them out of the shells and watching the sun ripple and drift slowly below the horizon. Summer… Sand… Seafood – …

All Stuck Up – Chicken Paella, on a Stick

I know at times, it seems that I’m all in for making simple food look impossibly difficult – 76.4% of my recipes should attest to that. But, let’s clear the air here. Contrary to what you may think, it’s not that I want to frighten the bejeezus out of you so you’ll Never want to try them. It’s that:  * I believe in being thorough. There’s nothing… Nothing.. I hate more than a recipe that leaves things off the list… it really cranks my rice krispies. * I believe you should have everything you could possibly need spelled out. Because, let’s face it. Left to your own devices, some of you wont read the entire recipe, or will make  * your own substitutions, or just get the general gist of the instructions and “Damn the torpedoes – Full speed ahead!” – – -and then complain because it didn’t turn out right. * I believe, that given exhaustive instructions, anyone can cook what I give you. And really, that’s the beginning of trying anything new. Read …

Egg Smash, and Linguine Carbonara

  Since we’re still coping with the effects of the egg accident, we still have 3 or so eggs worth of liquid in the container… and I was jonzing for some pasta… and cheese… and porky goodness –   So tonight it’s Linguine Carbonara. Yeah, yeah… I know “raw eggs in pasta just doesn’t rattle your Rhubarb”, but it does mine. So if you have aversions to… or want to rant about the unsanitariness of eating raw eggs… or just want to sell your own particular brand of crazy here…. go away. I can’t be bothered. Here’s the thing – the eggs aren’t raw. Adding the egg mixture to freshly drained pasta cooks it very gently – creating an almost creamy, custard coating for the linguine. It should completely coat the strands and not puddle in the bottom of the bowl. If, for some freakish reason, it has… then you did it wrong. Traditional carbonara consists of: Some Cured Pork Product – I’ve used a combination of super fatty bacon and Capicola because I prefer …

Steakhouse ~ Brussels Sprouts

In a perfect world – I’d own a steakhouse. Well… that’s a load of crap. In a perfect world – I’d be perpetually 35, insanely physically fit, and never have to work another day in my life… not to mention riding through town on my lion while eating Walnut Turkish Delight out of a constantly refilling knapsack. So, it’s probably better that I just say in a different world… And this would be my steakhouse. I know.. it doesn’t look like much, yet. About a mile or so towards Dahlonega is this building. Not that it’s any great thing…. but I want it. It is a long abandoned service (slash) grocery (slash) convenience store located approximately on the spot of the original Buckhorn Tavern in the 1800’s. Back when HWY 52 used to be the old “Federal Highway”, and this was the main route to and from the west side of the state and up to Chattanooga. As far as I’ve been able to research, there aren’t any photos or sketches of how it appeared back then, …

Chicken Little ~ or, Cornish Game Hens

    Every once in a while little chickens made an appearance at the dinner table. We (the kids) felt fancy – primarily because we were eating chicken with a long, complicated name… and we got a whole bird… and we could pretend we were giants… That is, until dad saw us playing with our food and would pinch the bejeezus out of our sides… and make us eat our dinner sitting on the toilet…. good times… But when you get right down to it – there really isn’t anything fancy about a Rock Cornish Game Hen; the name is somewhat  of a misnomer. It’s just a tiny one pound hen. Grown in about 20 to 25 days, the “game hen” is a hybrid mix of a Cornish Game (just a name of a chicken) and a White Rock Chicken – both smaller chicken breeds. They’re bred for larger breasts and a better fat-to-meat ratio, giving you that full blown roasted hen feel, in a single serving package. I used to buy them a lot, …

French Gibbons, The Number 5, and some peas

  April marks the start of our fifth year at the reins of the madly careening ride that is Plate Fodder. I feel like my somewhat inebriated Uncle Posey heading to town hitched to his blind mule… “I may have connected the wagon correctly”, “He may or may not know the way to town even if I pass out”, “I might not even care if we get lost”. Like my colorful uncle – it’s never about the destination – it’s the journey that’s the gas. and… it has been. You know, I have fellow writer friends that say “I’m taking a break…I can’t seem to find my voice…or my angle… or point of view for my site”. And, I get that. It’s tough to stay within the lines of a prescribed notion of what we want our online persona to be. Maybe that’s why I have three unfinished novels still sitting in boxes and scribbled on moldy index cards (yes, it’s been that long) – I can’t stay focused on a story line. But some time ago I knew …

Baleful Bounty ~ Melanzane al Funghetto

With the garden production winding down, there’s been very little in my little hay-bale heaven to harvest. Except for eggplants. Typically, I get 2 to 3 decent sized aubergines out of my one plant… and that makes me happy. This year, I decided to plant 4 plants: 2 Gretel White Pencil Eggplants – similar to Asian style aubergines, only less sweet and a firmer bite 1 Black Beauty – the green grocer standard you find in the market 1 Juliette – a striped, amethyst  jewel-toned, egg shaped aubergine The Juliette fell early victim to the overly wet spring and cut worms devastated the remaining 3 plants off and on throughout the summer, so I really wasn’t expecting much of a harvest at all. However come August, I was awash in eggplant. I ate Eggplant Parmesan until my ears bled. I  made casseroles and terrines. I named them and drew Sharpie faces on them… I gave them away by the dozen… and still my plants produced. Even now (in late October) there are another 2 Black …

Shank’d Again – Braised Lamb Shanks

I’d love everyone to think I buy from only the best local suppliers, the most humane breeders, the zero-hormone purveyors. But that’s just not the way life is for most people that budget for their groceries. Buying an $18 natural feed, pasture-raised roasting hen is out right stupid when you have anywhere from 8 to 14 meals to prepare every week, 5 to 15 school bagged lunches to shove out the door, paper products, toothpaste, soap, new socks, Q-Tips… and the plethora of other unexciting additions that make it to the shopping list every week. I make no apologies for it – I bargain shop for meat. The twice-marked down chuck roast? … toss it in the cart Chicken coop accident and you have to cull down a 100 smothered chickens? … put me down for 12 You thought Dahlonega was hip & happening, and would lap up the 80 lbs of bison you brought in?  … sure, I’ll take it off your hands for 10 cents on the dolla’. you get the picture…  In …

Copper River Salmon – King and Roasted Corn Omelette

 Having a plethora of fresh salmon to do my bidding makes me feel a little invincible, and yes..like something off Mount Olympus… BE A PIZZA – and  Voila! there he is – A Fresh Pea Pesto with Salmon Medallions and Caramelized Red Onions BE A ROAST – and… it’s a roast – An Open-Face  Aubergine / Porcini Coulibiac (We’ll get to both of those this next week) … or maybe that’s just the Omega -3s talking… I dunno… But I feel pretty damned special. My latest incantation was for an Asian inspired Omelette. “Salmon,” I says, ” Make me something with sesame oil, scallions and fermented black beans.” Fish in the Bag says, “I can do you one better, O’ tikkity-typey man, I’ll throw in some of that corn you roasted the other night and some fish sauce.” “Who’s owning who now?” Well played, mighty ruby-red king… “Let’s see you do your stuff.” What… you don’t talk to your ingredients? First, the corn. The roasted corn is the Nero Wolfe method. Yes, that Nero Wolfe, the crime …