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April, 2011

  1. The Hand that Rocked the Table: Honey Glazed Turkey Tails and Biscuits

    April 30, 2011 by David Bridges

     

    In the Sweetbread and Crawfish Terrine recipe, I explained the significance our hands play in thoughtful cooking. To quote myself again, “Like cuisine, Hands are neither inherently good nor inherently bad. It is what we do with them that make them that way”. My hands make biscuits. I will be remembered by the generations that both precede and proceed me for the crisp flaky exterior ultra-tender buttery interior of the biscuit that has become the reflection of my soul. Glazed with black-pepper honey butter in the style of a fine sticky bun. These biscuits are the best you ever had!  They have assumed their rightful sovereignty among the baked goods being forever indebted to my hands for that accomplishment. It is because of these biscuits that my family, both young and old, will always remember the warmth and care of my hands.
    Some people believe “Less is More”. Well it’s not, “More is More”. Just for that stance alone I felt the need to guild the lily with some deep fried turkey tails. The Turkey Tails are completely luxurious with the ratio of fat to cartilage to meat. Take one assertive bite and as the juice dribbles to the tip of your chin, you will be wondering why in the hell did you have to travel to the other side of the tracks to find them. Make no mistake, the laborers of the street are no fools. They are keeping this treasure for themselves.

    Turkey Tails and Biscuits
    Serves 4 during an unsuccessful afternoon of cane pole fishing

    8 turkey tails cut into quarters—use a good knife and show no hesitation
    2c buttermilk
    15 dashes Tabasco
    2c flour
    1T granulated garlic
    1t cayenne
    2T Kosher salt
    Peanut oil to deep fry
    For the Honey Butter:
    1c local honey
    2T un-salted butter
    2t ground black pepper
    3 sprigs of fresh sage
    For the Biscuits:
    2c flour, plus a little extra for dusting
    2T baking powder
    2T sugar
    2t Kosher salt
    1/2lb un-salted butter
    1 1/2c milk
    1 egg

    Combine the turkey tails with the buttermilk and Tabasco in whichever bowl you may have clean. Place the marinating bird into the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.

    To make the Honey Butter: Combine the honey, butter, black pepper and sage into a small pot and bring the mixture to a simmer over a medium flame. Cook for 2 minutes and set aside to cool.

    For the Biscuits: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine 2 cups of the flour with the baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix it up with your hands. Cube the chilled butter and sprinkle it into the flour mixture. Break the cubes up with your hands until the butter resembles that of the size of a pea that you have flattened. Form a well into the center of the flour-butter mixture and pour 1 cup of the milk into the well. Mix with you fingers until the flour has absorbed the milk. Add any extra flour as needed to bring the mixture together until it resembles a dough that is submissive and will listen to the instructions that your hands give it. Sprinkle some flour out onto your counter with a few snapping flicks of your wrist and place the dough onto the floured surface. Press the dough down with your hands until a uniform thickness is achieved of about 2 inches. Cut the dough into 12 uniform biscuits. Shape them however you see fit. Place the biscuits with their sides touching one another on a parchment paper or foil lined baking tray. In a small bowl whisk together the egg with the 1/2 cup of milk and brush the egg wash over the top of the biscuits. Place the biscuits into the oven on the center rack and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and prepare for immortality.

    For the whole dish: Pre-heat you fryer or a cast iron skillet filled with peanut oil to 335 degrees. Remove the turkey tails from the cooler. In another bowl combine the flour, garlic, cayenne and salt. Mix together until harmonious. Take the turkey tails and coat them in the flour and gently lay into the hot oil to fry. Fry each batch for 6-8 minutes. The turkey should be golden and easily bobbing up to the surface from the bottom of the basket. Line a platter with the biscuits and place the tails on top. Liberally drizzle the whole platter with enough honey butter to satisfy any longings and prepare to suck on your fingers.

     

     

     

     

     

    “Some people say less is more, It is not, More is More”
    Me


  2. Coming of Age in Cognac : The Sidecar

    April 28, 2011 by David Bridges

    This is my all time favorite transition drink. After wasting all too many of my youthful years on cheap rum and coke. Only to follow that up with screwdrivers which turned out to be an even larger corruption of my innocence. “Adult Dave” was born the moment my friend Lu Brow the Master Bar Chef of the Brennan’s Swizzle Stick Bar poured me the most perfect blend of maturity disguised as a Side Car. Classically, the libation is served in a martini glass. I personally may be not confident enough in my manhood to order a drink that comes in the same vessel that I have seen so many Cosmos and Appletinis. Although I do make an exception in the allowance of a sugared rim, go figure! But by all means, don’t let my mental defects distract you from what is surely a celebration of life in liquid.
    Social lubrication always requires a snack. Crispy, spicy and salty rule the bar counter and this recipe for fried hominy will keep the drinks flowing and the inhibitions low.

    Side Car
    Sugar
    1 orange sliced thinly
    1 bottle of Hennessy Cognac VSOP
    1 bottle of Cointreau
    1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

    Pour a 1/2 inch layer of sugar onto a small salad size plate. Take one of the slices of orange and rub the cut flesh across the rim of the glass. Invert the glass and mount the rim onto the layer of sugar. Give the glass a few twists into the sugar in the same way you nestle your foot into the sand at the beach. Remove the glass from the sugar and place the orange slice into the glass. Over fill the glass with large ice cubes. Pour one portly shot of both the Cognac and the Cointreau into the glass. Pour 3/4 of an ounce of lemon juice into the glass. Give it 3 gentle stirs and serve.

    Fried Hominy
    1 10 ounce can of Hominy
    1 Tablespoon chile powder
    1 Tablespoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon cayenne powder
    1 teaspoon powdered garlic
    Kosher or Sea Salt
    chopped cilantro

    Pre-heat a deep fryer to 350 degrees. Expose the hominy by removing the lid of the can. Drain the hominy thoroughly and submerge the it into the deep fryer. You may need to stir the hominy in the fryer to keep them segregated. Fry for 5 to 6 minutes or until the hominy is brown and not so insistent on spitting at you from inside the fryer any more. Remove the hominy from the fryer and place in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Liberally season the fried nuggets with the salt, spices and cilantro. Toss into the air 7 or 8 times and place into a dish for everyone to snack.

    “In good times people want to drink, In bad times they have to”

    Me


  3. Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You: Sweetbread and Crawfish Terrine

    April 24, 2011 by David Bridges

    Charcuterie encourages a direct access to everything we always dreamed our life would become. It is a technique that is only suddenly being rediscovered in today’s world of “here, fast, now”. It is the ancient skill of craftsmen all the world over to take the ordinary orphaned ingredients and make them the kings of the table. To not appreciate the art of charcuterie is to not appreciate the intimacy of the hands. Like cuisine, a hand is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. It is what we do with it that makes it that way. You can be assured that if a fine craftsman of cookery took time to present your table with charcuterie, it is only to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood with the best tool available—his hands. Be forewarned, one must develop their own deftness with the cutting board and what surrounds it. Or you may find yourself on the wrong end of an inherently immoral hand and the bewitching of your mate.

    Sweetbread and Crawfish Terrine Serves 12 after an 8 year vertical wine tasting
    2 lobes of veal sweetbreads
    2 qts water
    ½ yellow onion cut in quarters
    1 stalk of celery cut into quarters
    1 carrot peeled and cut into quarters
    4 cloves of garlic
    1c chardonnay
    2t ground white pepper
    1/4bu flat leaf parsley
    4 sprigs of tarragon
    1 bay leaf
    1T Kosher salt
    1lb of crawfish tail meat * (save the shells)
    11 ounces lean veal ground
    8 ounces of skinless salt pork fatback ground
    1/4t ground white pepper
    1/2t cayenne
    8 dashes of Tabasco
    2T fresh tarragon chopped
    1/4c flat leaf parsley chopped
    1lb skinless salted pork fatback sliced paper thin
    Bread, Creole mustard, okra pickles, boiled peanuts

    Gather the sweetbreads, water, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, wine, white pepper, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf and salt into your favorite pot and place on the stove over medium high heat. When the liquid starts to laugh at your jokes when no one else will, you know the pot is smitten with you and is doing exactly as you wish. Lower the heat with a knock knock joke and cover your admirer. Let the sweetbreads poach in the pot for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and uncover the pot soothing your kitchen with the aromatherapy of succulent veal and tarragon. Remove the sweetbreads from the poaching liquid and place in an ice water bath. Strain the poaching liquid into another pot. Take the shells from your crawfish and place them into the poaching liquid. Bring the liquid to a solid simmer and reduce the liquid to ½ cups. Strain and cool the reduced poaching liquid in the cooler.
    When the veal is well chilled remove from the ice bath and separate the pieces of the lobe. Discard any membrane and veins from the poached veal’s throat. Place the sweetbreads, crawfish tail meat, ground veal, ground pork, white pepper, cayenne, Tabasco and herbs into a mixing bowl and use it just for that. Set the mixture aside, perhaps into your cooler since you are probably moving a little slower than I.
    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your terrine mold with the paper thin slices of fatback. Let the fatback climb up the sides of the mold and overhang by a few good inches. Encase the fatback with the sweetbread-crawfish filling and drape the over hanging fatback over the top of the raw charcuterie. Cover the commodity of your inherently good hands with foil and place in a hot water bath. Place the terrine in the bath into the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes OR until the internal temperature of the terrine is 165 degrees. Remove the terrine from the bath and uncover it. Let the terrine sit out and cool 10 90 degrees on your counter. Free the terrine from any excess liquid and place the foil back on top of the terrine. Put another tray on top of the terrine and weigh it down with some cans of vegetables that your mother-in-law left in the pantry since their not good for much else. Place the terrine with its burden of weight into the cooler to chill for at least 4 hours. Remove it from the cooler and free it from the mold. Serve it on a platter with all the proper accouterments. Let the attraction of the charcuterie lure back your good sense as you shun away any immoral advances.

    *I must apologize. The use of Chinese crawfish in this recipe is forbidden. I understand that Chinese crawfish may be the only option in Portland, Thomas. But I really don’t care. Send me a check and I’ll send you some Louisiana crawfish. Those who are caught using such an inferior ingredient shall have their tongues vexed by voodoo, never to taste the spice of love again.



  4. The Artists Appetite II

    April 22, 2011 by David Bridges

    ‘As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain, in the end, just a little bit!’   Fernand Point

    Do you ever remember any of your failures in life? They play in my head on a daily basis, especially the kitchen failures. I am fortunate in that I learn quickly from my mistakes and under similar circumstances I approach life, love and cooking with caution to avoid the rebroadcasting of any further heartbreak. Some of us are a bit short in the sense department and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Watch the video of Jeff Chaz below and hopefully his inspiring lyrics will keep you from making the same mistake twice. Whether it be cooking or love.

    “Goin back to you baby, Would be like cookin in old grease”

     

     


  5. The Battle of the Id and the Ego: Pork Skin “Chilaquiles”

    April 19, 2011 by David Bridges

    As I continue to preach the ways anyone can find luxury and couth in the most common of places. A runny egg served to a loved one is a certain indication of sincere intentions. To then present such a Godsend with crispy Pork Skins and you just may find yourself smitten with more admirers than the week and your ability to remember names with faces allow.

    My morning fantasies are always full of pastries bursting with sweet cream and air filled crispy waffles drowning in warm REAL maple syrup with that little pat of salted butter half melted like a young boy with his first crush. Then it comes time to eat and my hedonistic, or maybe even masochistic ego, pulls that sweet child that my mother still insists that I am aside and heaves him off of a cliff. I cook/order/eat whatever is the most savory spicy dish to be had at the moment. I would sit here right now and try to analyze what that speaks of my personality. But I really don’t want to know and I reject the thought of having to change in order to appease that little spoiled brat that I used to be. He has bathed in the guilt of triumph too many times for me to give up chiles, pork skin and the luxury of a runny egg at breakfast too.

    Serves yourself and 4 dates. Just have them all come at separate times or a quarrel over the spoils of the devotion of your deft hand may erupt in your kitchen.

    Pork Skin “Chilaquiles”

    1lb smoked pork skins cut into ½ inch strips

    1T olive oil

    ½ a medium yellow onion peeled and diced

    3 cloves of garlic smashed

    3 dried ancho chiles stemmed, seeded and roasted over a stove flame then chopped

    1 dried passilla chile treated the same way as the ancho

    1t ground coriander

    1t dried oregano

    1t dried cumin

    1/4t cinnamon

    1t Kosher salt

    a scant whisper of ground clove

    28 ounce can of peeled whole plum tomatoes

    1 cup of chicken stock

    more olive oil to fry the Huevos

    5 eggs

    Fresh cilantro, limes, queso fresco and sliced red onion to garnish

    Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Lay some foil down onto a couple baking trays and arrange the pork skins on the tray. Bake the skins until brown and crispy for 30 minutes. Remove the skins from the oven and hold them aside for their pending baptism.

    While the pork skins are being taught some manners by your oven, place a wide mouthed pot on the stove and ignite the flame to its fullest capability. Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into the pot and start browning the onion. After the onion is sufficiently browned, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the chiles, spices and oregano to the pot and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Use the back of a wooden spoon and smash the tomatoes for a little therapy. If you feel you already display a calm and inviting personality, then just leave them be. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook until half of the liquid has escaped and dissipated into the air. Blend the mixture and season with more salt as needed. If you desire to test your guests threshold of pain and pleasure add some cayenne as needed and hold the sauce aside and keep warm.

    To assemble: Drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a skillet that has been placed on a medium flame. When the oil smokes add a couple of eggs and season them with a little salt. Stir the pork skins into the chile sauce until they are well dressed. Continue to fry the eggs until the whites are cooked completely. Place some of the well dressed pork skin “chilaqiles” onto a plate and top with how ever many eggs that make you feel comfortable. Garnish with some cilantro, red onion, queso fresco and squeeze the lime like it fell from the sky. Serve and savor all the adoration.

     

     

     

     


  6. Confit: The Lustful Braise

    April 15, 2011 by David Bridges

    Confit de Gesiers Panzanella

     

    Confit is one of mankind’s most luxurious cooking techniques. It is technically a braise, but we take liberty in substituting fat where liquid would regularly be our medium. In most of your travels you will run across this method in regards to poultry. But to confit something, like all things, has provided many a chef a bit of poetic freedom. Not to be pointing the finger in the mirror, I have “seen” lobster tails confit in bacon fat, tomatoes in olive oil, and even a whole leg of a boar was once catapulted into the heavens by some fat that had been used to make cracklins. It is by all means the best of every world. You get to use a piece of meat that tends to be tough when heat is applied with no regard and make it tender. All the while, you are also adding a deeper sense richness and devotion that could only translate to love later on at the table or at the very minimum, lust.

    We are all just humble Domestiques du Plasir. We are simply in search of ingredients and cookery that disclose our soul and our actions will reflect as such. This recipe takes the often over-looked chicken gizzard with the aid of confit to make tender and bring a little lust to what would have been an ugly and untouchable rendezvous, regardless of your level of sobriety.

    Serves 6 comfortably before another 2 courses

    1 ¼# chicken gizzards (1 pack from the market)

    1 1/2T Kosher salt

    10 sprigs of fresh thyme

    1T black peppercorn

    3 bay leaves

    2 cloves of garlic sliced thinly

    1 quart rendered chicken, duck or pork fat

    For the Spiced Pecans:

    2c pecan halves

    1T olive or canola oil

    3T sugar

    2t Kosher salt

    1/2t cayenne pepper

    1/4t cinnamon

    For the Salad:

    3c Brussels sprouts stemmed and cut in half lengthwise

    1 large sweet potato peeled and diced about ½ x ½ inch

    ½ loaf of stale artisan country bread

    2T extra virgin olive oil

    1 shallot peeled and sliced thinly

    2t Creole or whole grain mustard

    5T red wine vinegar

    2T Steens cane syrup

    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    All proper confit should start with a cure. Take the gizzards and rinse them with a little water. Gently pat them dry as you would your forehead while wagering on horses and place into a small bowl. Add the salt, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves and garlic to the bowl. Toss all the ingredients together and cover the bowl. Place the bowl into the cooler and let the gizzards embrace the cure for 8-12 hours.

    Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Remove the properly cured gizzards from the cooler and place all the ingredients into a colander and rinse with a slight bit of vigor. Pat the gizzards dry. Place a pot of medium size onto the stove with your fat of choice. Add the gizzards to the pot and turn your stove top’s flame to a medium-low. When the gizzards start to be nudged around a little by the increasing warmth of the fat, place the pot into the oven and let the mixture slowly roll around for 3 hours. Remove the gizzards from the stove and let cool in the fat.

    For the Spiced Pecans: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring another medium pot of water to the top of your stove and let the highest flame you have bring the water to a boil.  Line a baking tray with some aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil. Slide the pecans into the boiling water and cook for 30-45 seconds. Strain the pecans from the water and place in a mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Let the pecans and spices fraternize together with several tosses in the air. Lay the pecans on the baking sheet and place into the oven. Roast the spiced nuts for 16-18 minutes or until they are golden and aromatic. Retrieve the pecans from your oven and let them cool just slightly before removing them from the pan.

    For the Salad: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a large skillet over high heat and add 2 Tablespoons of the liquid fat from your confit. When your pan starts to display its displeasure with some smoke, add a layer of Brussels sprouts to the skillet. Season the Brussels with a scant bit of salt and let the vegetable slightly char and brown by flaunting your amazing patience for not moving and fussing with the pan. Like a spoiled child that is crying, it’s best to just leave them be to get their respect. Repeat this process for all the Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and any adolescents that you feel need an attitude adjustment.  After each batch of vegetable gets browned, spread them out onto one baking tray. Place your tray full of all the Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and parental advice into the oven and roast the vegetables for 15 minutes. While the vegetables are roasting, add another 2 Tablespoons of confit fat to the skillet on high heat and place a layer of bread cubes into the skillet. These children need a little interactive encouragement. So every 30 seconds or so toss the bread around the skillet to brown and crisp as many sides of the cubes as possible. Place the cubes into a large salad bowl and repeat your actions until all the bread is toasted.

    Remove the vegetables from the oven and place into the bowl with the bread. One last time, introduce your skillet to the high flame and add 2 Tablespoons of confit fat along with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Lay the gizzards into the skillet with the shallot. As the gizzards take on a new personality with a touch of crispiness, add the mustard, vinegar, cane syrup and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the skillet to a simmer and pour into your salad bowl with no hesitation. Grab the pecan from the counter and toss those in also. With a bit of revelry, juggle the salad by tossing it into the air to the delights and high-wire gasps of your friends. Place the salad into a large serving bowl or on separate plates if one of your guest’s hygiene is less than desirable.

     


  7. 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

     


  8. To Sin is Human, To Dine is Divine

    April 10, 2011 by David Bridges

    Gumbo Z’Herbs with Smoked Pig Tail

    “Everything I’ve ever done, Everything I’ll ever do, Every place I’ve ever been, Every where I’m going to, Is A Sin”—-Pet Shop Boys.

    I have many a friend where these words could not ring more true. I feel it is my obligation to sway their moral compasses at least one day a year. The Friday that precedes Easter Sunday, Good Friday, is a day of fasting as it pertains to the hoof and the fin. On the Thursday before Easter, Holy Thursday, the Creole homes are filled with the smells of the garden’s greens as they succumb to the heat and the temptation that can only be whispered by smoked pork. Gumbo Z’herbs is the traditional dish responsible for the pious aroma that blankets the city of New Orleans on Holy Thursday. It is comprised of as many different greens that can possibly be foraged and simmered together with a bit of moral leniency in the form of pork.

    The Creoles consider the dish “vegetarian” and within the Church’s eye of good faith because the pork is used only as seasoning and then is taken out. But I consider dispensing a perfectly good piece of pork a much greater blasphemy. For I am as pure as Gin with a slice of cucumber on a Sunday afternoon, so this recipe is my attempt to straighten the lives of all you other sinners out there. At least for just one day of the year.

    Gumbo Z’Herbs Serves 10 people desperately seeking salvation

    4 Tablespoons unsalted Butter

    1 yellow onion diced medium

    2 stalks of celery diced medium

    1 green bell pepper diced medium

    5 cloves of garlic sliced thinly

    2 bay leaves

    10 sprigs of fresh thyme tied in a bundle

    1 teaspoon of dried oregano

    1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

    1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

    1/4c flour

    2 quarts of water

    2lbs of smoked pork tails

    1 bunch of collard greens washed, stemmed and chopped

    1 bunch of turnip greens washed, stemmed and chopped

    1 bunch of mustard greens washed, stemmed and chopped

    1 bunch green kale washed, stemmed and chopped

    1 bunch of spinach washed and chopped

    1 bunch of Italian parsley stemmed and chopped

    1 bunch of radish tops washed and chopped

    1 head of green cabbage chopped

    1 bunch of scallions chopped

    2 ounces of red wine vinegar

    1 bottle pepper vinegar

    For the Peanut “Gremoulada”:

    1c salted toasted peanuts

    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

    1 teaspoon file powder

    2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes

    2 Tablespoons dried garlic flakes

    1 cup diced radishes left over from using the tops from above

    Take a very large pot and procure a place for it on your stovetop. Place the pot over a medium flame and melt the butter in it. Add the onion, celery and green bell pepper to the pot. Season the vegetables with a sprinkling of kosher salt as any confident cook would. Stir and cook the vegetables until the onion has become slightly transparent. This should happen much quicker than your last relationship. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Place the bay leaves, thyme, oregano, black pepper, red pepper and flour into your large vessel. Stir to be sure the flour has soaked up all fat. Turn up the heat to your stove’s strongest will and pour in the water. Mix the liquid with your grandmother’s wooden spoon. This is a dish of high reverence and our passage to heaven can use all the help it can get. Lay the smoked tails into the water along with all the rest of the ingredients except the vinegar. Bring the mixture to a low simmer before reducing the stovetop to a medium low flame and covering your pot. Coax the good desire out of your greens and pork for 90 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the  red wine vinegar. Taste the Gumbo and season with more salt if your good sense tells you to. If you have no good sense, than don’t ask your mate because they probably don’t have any either. Too many cooks spoil the pot.

    To make the Gremoulada, mix all 6 ingredients together and set aside. Yes, sometimes life presented to you is actually that easy.

    To serve the Gumbo, ladle an appropriate amount into a bowl and sprinkle a bit of the gremoulada over the top and a solid dousing of pepper vinegar. Feel free to blatantly place a pig tail in your bowl. If you can’t hide anything from God than who in the hell cares if your friends see?

     

     


  9. Feeding the Artists Appetite

    April 8, 2011 by David Bridges

     

    Whether you find yourself on the side of the craftsmen or the side of the artists, a little prose will undoubtably make you a better cook. Everything in life is inspiration that readily translates itself into your cooking.

    Ode To The Pig: The Tail

    My tail is not impressive

    But it’s elegant and neat.

    In length it’s not excessive —

    I can’t curl it round my feet —

    But it’s awfully expressive,

    And its weight is not excessive,

    And I don’t think it’s conceit,

    Or foolishly possessive

    If I state with some agressiveness

    that it’s the final master touch

    That makes a pig complete.

     

    Walter R. Brooks

     


  10. 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