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‘Head’ Category

  1. Licking Your Elbow–Tongue Po Boy

    February 13, 2014 by David Bridges

    It sure has been a long time since I did a post! In my pursuit of getting this book published I accumulated many recipes and essays. As I sit here and they sit here we both need to do something. Forgive me for having no pictures. BUT, I can always add those later. I will have some free time for a while or more likely forever. The Voice still drives this site. That will never change. As a reminder, you’d be a fool to not read the recipe methods.

    Growing up in New Orleans has more advantages than disadvantages. Your taught an appreciation for fine foodways at a very early age. I remember going to City Park and eating Roast Beef Po Boys. The warm gravy and beef would mix with the chill of the mayo, tomato and lettuce to form a lush nectar that would literally run down your arm as it succumbed from the weight of your bite into the crackling and chewy French bread. It was instilled in me at the age of 8, that if the gravy didn’t run down your arm, it wasn’t a properly dressed Po Boy. Thanks to the Po Boy, I haven’t been properly dressed since.

     

    Tongue and Gravy Deep Fried Po Boy

    Serves 4 People for a Lunch Date

     

    1 Beef Tongue about 2.5 pounds

    1 Yellow Onion peeled and roughly chopped

    2 stalks of Celery roughly chopped

    8 cloves of Garlic

    1 medium Carrot roughly chopped

    2 Bay Leaves

    2 teaspoons of freshly ground Black Pepper

    8 sprigs of fresh Thyme

    1 quart of Beef Broth

    1/3 cup Butter

    1/3 cup Flour

    1 loaf New Orleans French Bread

    Mayonnaise

    shredded Iceberg lettuce

    slices of Tomato

    slices of pickle

    Sea or Kosher Salt

    For the Frying Batter:

    2 cups Flour

    2 teaspoons Baking Powder

    1 teaspoon Sea or Kosher Salt

    1 Egg

    2 cups Milk

     

    Get a medium sized braising pot with a nice fitting lid out of one of your cabinets. Put the tongue, onion, celery, garlic, carrot, bay leaves, pepper, thyme and beef broth into your pot. Bring the pot to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover your tongue with the lid and lower the heat to very low. Let the tongue bathe in the broth for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn off the heat and let the tongue ponder life in the pot for 20 minutes. Remove the tongue and set aside. Strain the stock into a container and place the pot back onto the stove. Melt the butter over low heat and stir in the flour until they are unified and agreeable to the task at hand. Pour the strained broth into the roux and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Turn off the heat, taste the gravy and season it with salt and pepper to your delight. Trim, peel and discard the outer tough layer of the tongue. Slice the tongue thinly and place it into the gravy. Hold aside and keep warm with love and attention.

    For the Frying Batter:

    Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and hold aside until someone screams “Show Time”.

    To Assemble the Po Boys:

    Pre-heat your fryer to 375 degrees. Cut the French bread into quarters. Then cut each quarter horizontally 3/4 of the way through, so that it will open like a clam shell. Spread an enjoyable amount of mayonnaise on the inside of the 4 sandwiches. Divide the sliced Tongue amongst the sandwiches equally or unequally, it is up to you how you want to treat your friends. Place the lettuce, tomato and pickle into the Po Boys. Close the “clam shell” up and insert 2 toothpicks into the lips of each Po Boy to keep their mouth closed while in the fryer. Have someone loudly proclaim “SHOW TIME”. Then dip each Po Boy into the batter and dip the Po Boy so slowly into the fryer that it is literally starting to fry while still in your hand. This will help the Po Boy not to stick to your fryer basket. Just watch what you are doing and try not to be too inebriated to the point of burning yourself like an idiot. Fry God’s favorite sandwich on both sides until golden in your fryer.

    Take it out and repeat for everyone else. Cut each one into two and smother it in what you call Gravy but I prefer to say Amber Justice.

     


  2. Let The Good Times Roll: Crispy Pig Ear, Jalapeno and Watermelon Salad

    May 26, 2011 by David Bridges

     

    We all have good days and we all have bad days. One could only hope that through the course of life the good out number the bad. If you listen to your heart and act accordingly, I assure you that the good times will out number the less than desirable moments. The heart tells far more than we tend to want to heed. Adversity will knock on your door. It is not Adversity itself that makes us who we are, but it is in how we handle Adversity that will leave us naked to the eyes of the world. The tougher the decision, the greater the reward.
    What does this have to do with pig ears, jalapeno and watermelon? I have no idea. My heart was screaming all week and I couldn’t gather my thoughts above my chest. I did indeed listen and act accordingly and this is what I ended up with. I wish every decision were as easy as composing a plate. But then every reward wouldn’t be as great.
    This recipe could actually be concluded fairly fast with a little common sense and some advance preparation.

    Crispy Pig Ear, Jalapeno and Watermelon Salad
    Serves 7 supportive people and the 1 in need of support

    4 Pig ears
    Pork Stock
    1 20oz bag of raw peanuts in the shell
    1/4c sambal
    1/2c soy sauce
    1/4c siracha
    3T Kosher salt
    ½ red onion cut into strips
    2t ginger minced
    2t garlic minced
    1 lime zested and juiced
    1/2c rice vinegar
    1t Kosher salt
    1t Sichuan pepper ground
    1/2t Chinese chili paste packed in oil
    2qts watermelon seeded and diced
    10 leaves of mint torn with your hands
    10 leaves of basil torn with your hands
    4 jalapenos sliced into thin rings
    1/2c cornstarch
    1/2c flour
    1t Kosher salt
    1t Sichuan pepper ground

    Prepare your oven for the ears by pre-heating it to 325 degrees. Place the ears of the pig into a pot and cover with some rich pork stock. Bring the pot to a simmer, cover it with the appropriate lid and place into the oven. Let the ears listen to the stock bubble gently for 2 hours. Remove the ears from the stock and place into the refrigerator to cool. Save the stock of course.
    While the ears are at the attention of your oven OR perhaps a little foresight and do this the day before: Place the peanuts into a pot and cover the peanuts with some water. Add the sambal, soy, siracha and salt. Bring the pot to a simmer and let the peanuts cook covered in that same pot for 4 hours. Drain the peanuts and set aside in the refrigerator until the day comes that you need them.
    In a large salad bowl, place the red onion, ginger, garlic, lime zest and juice, rice vinegar, salt, Sichuan pepper and chili paste in a bowl. Let the flavors mingle as the red onion loses its attitude for 30 minutes.
    To Serve: Pre-heat a fryer to 360 degrees. Toss the cornstarch, flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Retrieve the pig ears and slice them in about ¼ inch strips. Go ahead and toss the watermelon, basil and mint with the tamed red onion mixture. Compile the watermelon salad onto a plate. Coat the strips of pig ears with the cornstarch and begin to fry. While the ears are frying coat the jalapeno in the cornstarch. After the ears have splattered about for 30 seconds add the jalapeno and continue to fry until the ears are as brown as fine Italian leather shoes. Remove from the fryer onto a paper towel and season with a touch of salt. Arrange the toothsome bites of pork and spice over the watermelon then garnish with the southern classic boiled peanuts-albeit via Chinatown.

    “One day you may be picking the grapes, but the next you may be drinking the wine.”


  3. A Face Only A Mother Could Love: Boudin de Tete for Mother’s Day

    May 4, 2011 by David Bridges

    I started to write a sophisticated essay about the disconnection that our society has in regards to not knowing that our food actually came from a living animal. The biggest culprit of this disconnection is the fact that we never see the face of our food. But that started to sound like a point that had already been beaten into the head too many times,,,,,,,,,,,,,no pun intended! Besides, there are far more intellectual people than I in this world to expound on that thought. The justification of my birth rests solely on enlightening you to the Joie de Vivre of the table and the journey that leads us there. Approaching this year’s Mother’s Day, I can think of no journey better than this elaborate presentation of a stuffed pig’s face. It would be wise for most of you to just live vicariously through me on this one or live near me and just come over when your hungry. As much as looking your own dinner in the eye is not for the faint of heart, so is this recipe. But if you feel you are the master of your domain and confident of your place at the hearth, at least do as I did. Use it as an excuse to buy a sweet new Japanese boning knife. After all, we are all mothers in one form or another.

    Boudin De Tete
    Serves 20 open-minded friends or 20 acquaintances, 15 of which will make the mistake of not eating that evening. That’s why they are only acquaintances.

    1 Pig Head
    Rendered pork lard
    Rich and gelatinous pork stock
    2c white wine
    cheesecloth and butcher’s twine
    Arugula
    1c flour
    1 egg
    1c milk
    2c panko breadcrumbs
    Olive oil
    Kosher salt and ground black pepper
    For the stuffing:
    1c long grain white rice
    3/4c red onion
    2T minced garlic
    T black pepper
    T white pepper
    2t cayenne
    2t worcestershire
    3/4c green onion chopped
    1/2c flat leaf parsley chopped
    1/2lb pork liver diced
    1/2c white wine vinegar
    For the Okra Pepperonata:
    1 red onion peeled and sliced
    1 red bell pepper cored and sliced
    1 yellow bell pepper cored and sliced
    1 poblano chile cored and sliced
    2T garlic sliced
    2T tarragon
    1/4c rice vinegar
    1c pickled okra cut into halves
    For the Creole Mustard Vinaigrette:
    2T creole mustard
    1/4c rice vinegar
    1/2c extra virgin olive oil

    For the Stuffing: In a small pot bring 2 tablespoons of pork lard to a smoking heat. Add the rice to the pot and stir the grains for about 30 seconds. Add 1 ¾ cup of water to the pot along with a teaspoon of salt. Bring the liquid in the pot to a simmer and cover the pot. Reduce your stoves flame to low and cook for 17 minutes. Place the cooked albeit firm rice into a mixing bowl on the counter. Plop another tablespoon of pork lard into the same pot and cook the onion in that pot over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until your kitchen smells good again. Of coarse don’t be an idiot, season every time you cook with a pinch of salt into the pot. Place the translucent onion over the cooked rice. Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients and mix them well. Set the stuffing aside in your cooler until your ready.
    For the Pig Face: Where do I even begin to explain how to butcher the face off of a pig’s head? It doesn’t pose as much difficulty as you may believe. Just run your knife along the bone simultaneously pulling the meat until you have the face removed. That’s really it. Amputate the tongue from the head and slice it in half lengthwise.
    Lay the boned face skin side down on your cutting board. Vigorously season the inside of the face with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing over the inside of the face and roll up like a pinwheel. Open up the cheesecloth and wrap your pig face pinwheel up like a piece of candy with a twisting of the sides. Take the butcher’s twine and tie up the sides of your candy. Then secure your pinwheel by tying a few more pieces of string along the center. Set your oven on 325 degrees. Gently lay the swaddled pork into the biggest roasting pan you possess. Pour the stock and wine over the pork until it is covered. Bring the stock to a simmer on top of your stove, then cover the pan and place in the oven for 4 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and uncover it. Let the pork rest in the stock for an additional hour. Wrap the bundle up in plastic wrap and place in your cooler to set overnight.
    For the Pepperonata: Place a large skillet onto your stove and turn the heat up as high as the fire department will allow. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and place the onion into the pan. Brown the onion that you so intelligently seasoned in the skillet. Take the cooked onion and place it in a mixing bowl. Then repeat this step with the red and yellow bell pepper. Once again bring some olive oil to smoke in your hot pan and add the poblano. Cook for a few minutes and then add the garlic and the tarragon and continue to shake the pan over the heat for another 30 seconds. Take the cooking vessel off of the heat and pour in the rice vinegar. Swirl around the pan and empty the contents into the bowl with the onion and sweet peppers. Toss to marry all the flavors and add any salt as needed. Set the pepperonata aside.
    For the Vinaigrette: You just deboned the head of a pig. Do I really need to explain the mundane process of making a vinaigrette?
    To finish the dish, place 3 bowls out on your counter. In one bowl put the four and season it with some salt and pepper. Place the egg and milk in the second bowl and whisk together. Put the panko in the third bowl and season it as well. Remove the rolled pig face from the refrigerator and free it from its straight jacket of plastic wrap. Slice the Boudin de Tete into a 2 inch slice. Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Dredge the slice of pig head into the flour, then the egg and finally the panko before placing in the sauté pan and cooking for a few minutes on each side, making sure each side is brown and crispy. Toss some arugula in the vinaigrette and mound on a plate with the pepperonata. Put the crispy boudin with your most skillful artist’s eye onto the plate and drizzle on a touch more of the vinaigrette. Present with some champagne and a kiss to your mother. Repeat as needed for all those other “mothers” that are gracing your table today.


  4. The Gateway Sandwich

    April 13, 2011 by David Bridges

    Fried Green Tomato “GLT”

    Serves 4 people for a nice lunch perhaps in the backyard

    The BLT is the classic American sandwich. I haven’t run across one recipe that wasn’t screaming for a little slap and tickle of Southern refinement. Hence the fried green tomatoes and the guanciale. Guanciale is a pork jowl that has been cured but not smoked. It is a great substitution for bacon in the sandwich. It is as equally delightful, if you crisp a few cubes to keep in your pocket and pop in your mouth to keep your spirits high and your breath desirable.

    Fried Green Tomato GLT

    8 slices of Rye sandwich bread

    16 slices of Guanciale

    8 slices of Green Tomato

    2 cups Flour

    1 Egg

    1 cup Milk

    2 cups Breadcrumbs

    1 tablespoon dried Thyme

    1 head of Butter Lettuce

    Sea or Kosher Salt

    freshly ground Black Pepper

    For the Horseradish Dressing:

    2 cups Mayonnaise

    3/4 cup Milk

    1/2 cup Red Onion minced

    1/2 cup Green Onion chopped

    2 cloves of Garlic minced

    1 cup Horseradish

    1 tablespoon dried Oregano

    1 tablespoon dried Thyme

    1 tablespoon dried Basil

     

    Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Lay the strips of guanciale on a baking tray and cook in the oven until crisp. Take the crispy jowls off of the pan and pat dry with a paper towel. Hold aside the guanciale and try not to eat any unless you don’t mind shorting one or two or three of your guests.

    Pre-heat your deep fryer to 360 degrees. Put the flour with one tablespoon of salt into a bowl and mix it. Whisk together the egg and milk in a separate bowl. Finally, into the last available bowl you have clean, place the breadcrumbs in it with the thyme and one tablespoon of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Dredge each slice of tomato into the flour then dip into the egg wash and then flop the into the breadcrumbs making sure it is coated quite well. Place the breaded tomatoes on a plate or leave them in the breadcrumbs until they are queued for the finale.

    For the Horseradish Dressing:

    Mix all the ingredients together. You can make this well in advance. Be careful to save some for the sandwich. It all might disappear the next time you grill some ox heart.

    Assemble the Sandwich:

    Insert the bread into the toaster and cook. Start frying the green tomatoes. Cook them until they are crispy and brown. Take them out of the fryer and pat dry on a paper towel. Lather the toast with horseradish dressing. Lay 2 slices of fried tomato on 4 pieces of the toast. Drape a few leaves of lettuce over the top of the tomatoes.

    Then lay 4 slices of guanciale on top of that. Place the 4 lonely pieces of toast on top of the sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches in halves and serve them to your lunch friends.

     

    “With the Genius Comes the Madness”

    Me

     


  5. Don’t Suck The Heads, Tickle Them

    April 5, 2011 by David Bridges

    Cajun “Uni” Butter

    Luscious Fat; smear it on bread, toss it with pasta or bathe it on meats. Nothing can transcend the mundane like a proper basting of fat. One of my favorite dishes is simple pasta tossed with Uni and maybe a few toasted breadcrumbs. The luscious fat of the sea coats your tongue while the pasta dangles from your lips and tickles your chin as you slurp it up. Then you take your glutinous sponge of baguette and press it firmly into the bottom of the bowl capturing every drop of that spiny creature’s gonads. Now that is reason alone to know that God wants us to be happy.

    In Louisiana we celebrate weddings, births, deaths, promotions, we even celebrate celebrations with a crawfish boil. Everyone has heard of “pinching the tail and sucking the head”. But the true soul of the crawfish is the “fat” that lies in the head. Within the back of the head resides a yellow creamy sack that you will see any local free from it’s cranium abode with a tickle from the pinky finger-that is the “fat”. It’s luxurious briny nature can only be rivaled by uni. It leads me to believe that they must at least be cousins if not lovers. Like any good relationship, what tends to be good for one is good for both. This is how I make use of the discarded heads of a crawfish boil to extract the balladry of the swamp. I must admit, just tickling out all of the fat one head at a time with my pinky would have probably been a bit easier, but not nearly as masculine.

    Take the heads of 3# of cooked crawfish and dicipline them with all of your masculinity in a food mill. Then puree 1/2# of unsalted softened butter with the crawfish “fat”, 1t Kosher salt and 2t fine Cognac.

    Feel free to toss the Cajun “Uni” butter over some egg noodles with this spring’s chanterelles or slather a cob of freshly roasted corn with it.

     

    “Louisiana does not simply have indigenous dishes. It trumpets them. It applauds you on your arrival, at having fled from the slop troughs of the other 49 states.”     Me

     


  6. Head Cheese

    April 3, 2011 by David Bridges


    One day I was having the most wonderful lunch of raw oysters and pork belly in San Francisco. After a bottle of proper Alsatian wine, I always seem to turn into the world’s best friend. Having completely been enraptured by my lunch, I decided to inform the chef of our newly formed brotherhood. I proceeded back into the kitchen with a glass of wine for my lost brother. After the initial shock and subsequent cursing from my brother (he must be from the temperamental French side of the family), we hashed out our lost imaginary childhood together over some more wine and bivalves. He apologized for cursing at me, as any real brother would, and told me it was just a case of mistaken identity. He had mistaken me for a man that just last week, snuck into the back alley of the kitchen and stole his Hog Head. I dreamed, what a spectacular city to live in, when one has to worry about their Hog Head being lifted!

    Hog Head Cheese             Serves 10
    1 Hog’s Head
    5 pig feet
    1 Yellow Onion cut into quarters
    5 stalks of Celery cut into large pieces
    2 medium Carrots cut into large pieces
    10 cloves Garlic
    1 Tablespoon Red Pepper flakes
    1 bunch of about 20 sprigs of fresh Thyme
    1 bunch of about 10 sprigs of fresh Oregano
    1 bunch of about 5 sprigs of fresh Sage
    6 bay leaves
    1/4 cup whole Black Peppercorns
    1 bottle crisp White Wine
    Sea or Kosher Salt
    Favorite Creole Seasoning
    1 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
    1 bunch chopped green onion

    Place your hog head in a very large pot. Tie the herbs together with a string and nestle into the mouth of the pig. Add all of the rest of the ingredients with 2 Tablespoons of both the salt and Creole seasoning. Fill the pot with water until it reaches a few inches above the head of the swine. Place the heavy pot on the stove over medium high heat and bring to a slow simmer. When you see the clouds of grey pollution float to the top. Carefully take a spoon and remove it from your presence. Gently coax the goodness out of your ingredients for 4 hours. If the water level dissipates to the point of reaching the top of your hog’s head just add a bit more.
    Turn off the heat and let the head cool in the stock. Remove the head and the feet from the pot and strain the liquid through a chinois or cheesecloth or even some sexy panty hose. Chill the stock over night.
    Pick all of the meat from the head and the feet while they are warm and still in a giving mood. Place all of the meat into a mixing bowl being certain not to neglect the ears by omitting them. Throw some of the skin from the feet and the head in with the meat for good measure. Taste the gelatinous mixture and season as you wish with the creole seasoning and salt. Make sure the mixture is slightly saltier and spicy than you wish. The eventual chilling of the headcheese will mute the flavors. Set the meat aside.
    Take your chilled stock and remove the solidified fat from the top of the stock. Save the fat for something fun on a later day with a loved one. Place the stock into a pot and reduce it by 2/3 over medium heat. Taste the stock for seasoning. Adjust your seasoning just as you did with the meat mixture.
    Line the inside of a terrine mold with some plastic wrap. Making sure that the wrap over hangs the side of the terrine by at least a few inches. Add the Italian parsley and the scallion to the meat mixture. Pour just enough warm stock into the meat mixture for it to be as thick and moist as the people in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day. Fill the terrine mold with the meat mixture and lay the over hanging plastic wrap over the top of the warm headcheese. Chill the terrine over night.
    Serve your Hog’s Head Cheese by presenting thin slices to your friends with some freshly torn French bread. Place a slice on your tongue and close your eyes as the nature’s gelatin dissolves across your palate.

    God Sends the Meat. The Devil Sends the Cooks”
    T Deloney 1607