Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dia de Los Muertos

Here is a tray of beautiful bakery goods from Cherokee Street. There is quite a collection of
Mexican restaurants, bakeries, and Hispanic shops along Cherokee Street. This morning I was surprised with this gift box of breakfast goodies. I think the skulls look especially tasty-Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 25, 2010

99 Cent Fried Green Tomatoes all Week

I know I already posted about our fried green tomatoes a couple of years ago, but this year the restaurant has been gifted with so many green tomatoes from several gardeners-just dropped off at the back door. GM James Gallagher came up wih the idea of this promotion, and I just love the idea, I think it's alot of fun. And a basket of fried green tomatoes are just perfect with a dry martini, a pilsner of Ale, or its Southern cousin iced "sweet tea".

I don't like the traditional fried green tomatoes, which are usually breaded with corn meal, I'm the heretic that uses beer batter. I know all of you green tomato purists are calling me names, but..... actually as I write this I'm missing that gritty-crunchy cornmeal batter, served with a homemade southern-style chili sauce like my aunt Viola used to make-maybe next year back to mah roots of cornmeal dusted green tomatoes with Aunt Vi's chili sauce.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Waterloo 1ST Annual Pumpkin Fest

Last week I was asked to be one of the judges in a pumpkin cook-off at the first annual Waterloo Pumpkin Fest. There were two ctergories-pie and other. We were all unaminous in the first place winners;a beautiful dark and spicy pie with flower cut-outs on top, and for other a delicious and moist pumpkin bundt cake with chocolate ganache.

In addition to the cook-off there were many other booths, crafts, live music, etc. It was a beautiful day and a perfect showcase for small town charm. The other judges were chefs Jennifer, Jeremy, and Dave-all from wonderful local restaurants and the country club.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spicy Dill Green Tomato Pickles

The summer tomatoes are all gone, but the tomato plants are still producing. These hard little green gems are perfect for pickling. You need smaller firm tomatoes.

25 small green firm tomatoes, washed, cored, and quartered
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1 3/4 cups water
1/8 cup pickling salt
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 hot peppers, I used Habanero for extra spiciness
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
6 large sprigs of fresh dill
Sterilize 6 glass pint jars, prepare lids and rings.
Bring the vinegar, salt, and water to the boil.
Pack the tomato wedges into the sterilized jars, add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, two cloves of garlic, one large sprig of fresh dill, and one Habanero pepper to each jar.

Ladle the boiling vinegar mixture over the tomatoes into the jars, wipe the rims, top with the lids, and screw on the rings-let cool and refrigerate. These pickles are not processed in a hot water bath, so they must remain refrigerated.

Let the pickles rest and mature at least 1 week for optimum flavor, but they keep well refregerated for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dancing Mushroom Sauce

I bought these Hen of The Woods mushrooms at farmer's market last week. They grow locally here and can reach 40 to 50 pounds each-They are found in the forest around Oak trees. They don't seem to have the following that our Spring mushroom the Morel has. They are much revered in Japanese cooking where they are known as Maitake-Maitake translated to dancing mushroom, because the way they grow resembles a dance chorus. They are slightly nutty and earthy in flavor, and they also hold their shape after being sauteed or simmered in a sauce. They retain a firm bite after being cooked, which adds a nice texture to the sauce. I served the sauce with a roast chicken and stuffing.
Since I had a big juicy roasting hen, I made a chicken stock with the neck and giblets. I included the neck meat and diced giblets in the sauce.
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound fresh Hen of the Woods mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
Reserved cooked neck meat and diced giblets.
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh minced parsley
In a sauce pan, saute the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in the butter for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the stock and wine, reduce by half
Add the cream and continue to reduce until you reach sauce consistency.
Fold in the reserved neck meat and giblets.
Tastte for salt and pepper and add fresh minced parsley.