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March, 2012

  1. Chicago Tribune

    March 31, 2012 by David Bridges

    Go to Sunday’s Chicago Tribune and check out the great article on Up and Coming Food Writers. Yes I am included!

    7 Food Writers You Should Know

    Then get your computer/phone ready for a Q&A with all the writers on Tweetchat.com Thursday the 5th at noon Central Time Zone. Go to tweetchat.com and type in #PRJchat.

     


  2. Home Is Where The Hooker Is: White Bean and Confit Gizzard Cassoulet

    March 27, 2012 by David Bridges

    One of the most significant things we do in life is travel. Absorbing the smells, sights, sounds, noises and tastes of a foreign land during a sojourn can only be rivaled by sex. It all translates into a hand that completely guides the subconscious into slicing the onion that is our palate, revealing more layers than we thought we possessed. Show me a man that does not leave his immediate vicinity and I’ll bet his cooking is garnished with chopped curly parsley, he drinks Beaujolais nouveau in June and has quite the collection of tube socks.  A joke has a head and a butt, which are you?

    For every positive, there is obviously a negative, for every action, an equal and opposite reaction. The Yin and Yang if you will. That’s what life is about, balance. I have been fortunate to travel extensively in my post adolescence. That ability to travel was exactly how professional cooking got me drunk, lured me into her arms and took advantage of me—and still does. I must admit when it comes to traveling, I am a complete whore. I’m talking the nasty, addicted and living under a bridge type, not the cute Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s Pretty Woman kind. This addiction has transformed me into a better man and cook by ten fold!

    But there is a dark side to it all. What connection do I have to any particular physical place? I am very connected to my wife and Rooter and Tooter. I love and feel connected to cuisine and all that it represents as well the ideals held forth by The Southern Foodways Alliance. If I am indeed anything it is Creole. My food, demeanor, hospitality and liver all denote Creole. Just like Creole, my personality is a gumbo of many different values all put together out of a necessity to survive in the most practical and yet pleasurable way possible.  It’s that whole Yin and Yang thing again.

    Would I feel a sense of place or home in Barcelona, Provence or Bali? Probably. But New Orleans is a well-traveled Madame herself. I, like her, have become the sum of all my experiences. When you sit at either of our tables, your palate and your heart will savor all of our exploits. Traveling has built a piano for us to play that just happens to have a few more keys. You don’t really want to be considered a man that cooks with flat musical tendencies. After all, isn’t it our goal to “play” the piano like Richard and Julia?

    Cassoulet of White Beans and Confit Gizzards

    This recipe is simple, prepare the gizzards from this link: http://www.therootertothetooter.com/?p=161

    Then Prepare the beans from this link: http://www.therootertothetooter.com/?p=298

    Place the cooked beans in a proper cassoulet vessel and top with the gizzards. Sprinkle with some bread crumbs, I use brioche, of course. Bake until brown from the warmth of your friends and your oven at 375 degrees.

     

    “Only after 20 years of devoted professional gluttony can I possibly have an actual opinion”  ME

     


  3. Me, Myself, I and Marco Pierre White: Roasted Bone Marrow and Escargot Bordelaise

    March 15, 2012 by David Bridges

    Cooking goes far beyond melding relationships with friends, family and Earth. I often use it to reinforce a relationship with myself. The level of mental peace that I attain from the simplest things such as cutting a piece of Tuna with a sharp knife or making biscuits can not be matched by laying on any Psychoanalyst’s coach. Maybe if said analyst had a better collection of vintage Madeira and cave aged unpasteurized cheese, then this ramble would be headed in a complete other direction. But such is life. You can never expect the ones around you to hold forth such high standards of living as you do yourself. In that reason alone you can take comfort and even find another bit of peace in knowing that you are indeed BETTER.
    My idea of thinking you are better than the individual standing next to you may come with some of your own personal resistance. As kind and upstanding individuals, we are brought up with the theory that we are all equal. That is it wrong to assume you are above anyone or anything else. If in fact you do wander from the confines of these sociably acceptable parimeters you will be sentenced with a heavy penalty of guilt and ridiculed by the shaking fingers of society. Well maybe instead of judging us, they should take those nasty unmanicured fingers and use them to trim some of those nose hairs they all have.
    Ask yourself a few questions. Do you not deserve better than the person next to you? Do you not know more about the joys of the table and the pleasures it presents than the person next to you? Would you really wear those shoes with that coat just like the guy standing next to you? Point Proven
    All that being said, I know for a fact that I am no better than a post 40 year old Marco Pierre White. But maybe one day………..
    Strife bangs at my door often and my wife, a midnight stroll with Rooter and Tooter and slathering a savory beignet with bone marrow and snails is how I rise above society to realize I really do have it good.
    Snails, Green Peppercorn Bordelaise, Roasted Bone Marrow, and Rosemary Beignet
    Disclaimer: If you stare at the picture, I’ve imbedded a subliminal message into it that states “You Are Better Than Everyone around You except DAVE”
    Escargot with Green Peppercorn Bordelaise, Bone Marrow and Rosemary Beignet

    Serves 4 people sitting down to enjoy a few bottles of Burgundy on a Tuesday

    For the Beignets:

    ¾ cup water

    1 Tablespoon yeast

    1 egg

    1 5oz can evaporated milk

    3 ½ cups flour

    1 Tablespoon shortening

    1 Tablespoon sugar

    pinch of salt

    1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped

    For the Bordelaise Sauce:

    2 Tablespoons of olive oil

    2 shallots minced

    3 cloves of garlic minced

    1 cup of mushrooms minced

    1 cup burgundy wine

    2 Tablespoons of green peppercorns

    1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped

    1 bay leaf

    1 cup veal demi glace

    Butter

    2 dozen snails

    4 marrow bones

    To make those wonderful pillows of fried dough, mix the luke warm water with the yeast and let the yeast wake up for 5 minutes in the warm throws of the waters hugs. In a separate bowl introduce the egg and evaporated milk to each other with a firm whisking. In yet a third bowl, mix together the rest of the dry ingredients. Add the milk to the yeast by mixing. Then add the whole liquid mixture into a nice well formed in the flour. Stir the liquid around the well collapsing the walls of flour until a dough starts to form. Add a touch more flour if needed to keep the dough cohesive onto itself and not the sides of everything it touches. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands never opening your fist. The dough at this point is a young and impetuous thief and will snatch any ring right off your finger the moment you let it seduce you into opening your hand. Show your steadfast rules of discipline until you poke it and the dough springs immediately back at you. Cover the dough letting it rest, mature and double in size while you turn your attention to the sauce pot.

    For the sauce, place the olive oil into a small pot over a medium flame. Sweat the shallots for a few minutes while seasoning them with a pinch of salt the way any decent cook would. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for another minute. Place the mushrooms in the pot and cook while stirring every few moments for as long as it takes you to open the bottle of burgundy and taste a little. Be confident in your choice and confirm it with another taste. After satisfying your thirst for better things, add the wine to the pot along with the green peppercorns, rosemary and bay leaf. Let the sauce reduce moderately by 2/3rds. Stir the veal demi-glace into the pot and season with salt to taste. I have omitted the Tablespoon of Balsamic syrup from the above ingredient list. But I do indeed add it for many reasons. Just curious to see who is paying attention?

    To validate your friend’s adoration of your skills as a cook, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and turn the fryer on to 350 degrees at the same time. Season the marrow with some salt and pepper. Place the bones into a baking dish and roast for 10-12 minutes. The marrow should be brown and starting to slightly bubble. While the marrow is roasting, roll some of the beignet dough out to a ¼ inch thickness and cut into whatever shape fits your mood. If you have had enough Burgundy, that mood should yield whimsical and slightly abstract shapes. Fry the dough until golden and puffy delicious and set aside to stay warm with a sprinkling of salt. Place a pan over high heat and add a nice pat of butter. Swirl the bubbling butter around and add the snails. Saute for a minute and add the bordelaise sauce. Bring your pan to a simmer while you take the Bones out of the oven. Place the bones onto 4 plates and smother with the sauce. Creatively toss around some beignets with their wonderful aroma of rosemary. Present to your loved ones and toast the survival of yet another Tuesday. I pray that we all have enough couth to one day own marrow spoons.


  4. We don’t call it SUNday for nothin!: Bloody Mary “Bubble Tea”

    March 13, 2012 by David Bridges

    In my 6 or so month stupor from the blog, some of it being voluntary and some involuntary, there have been many fine creations to come out of my kitchen, bar and mouth. I have been reluctant to share with everyone due to involuntary reasons. But today, I have decided to volunteer my time back into the redevelopment of mankind to his former glory.
    We don’t call it Sunday for nothin! If you gaze towards the sun peeking from the crest of the horizon onto our souls, I will be standing with a beverage for all to spike a sense of invigoration back into your lives that have been drunken with a plastic liquor bottle full of insincere smiles, gender neutralizing clothing and cookbooks with yet another meatloaf recipe from a famous chef who “cooks at home”. Our sense of intelligence has just been slapped. Here’s a little secret: CHEFS DONT COOK AT HOME. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year. But for the most part, we are going out to eat. After serving 100s and even 1000s of people a week, we want and deserve for some one to attend to us for once.
    The quintessential Sunday late morning hang over breakfast. The Bloody Mary has legions of fans and just as many variations. The devotees swear by the medicinal and almost black magic properties that the beverage possesses in exercising the demons from your head. It instills a vigor back into one’s step and gets you ready for yet another day of reveling right when you thought another day’s worth of sin was too much. Feel free to substitute into the garnishes any number of vegetables and pickles or even a boiled shrimp, a crab claw and a raw oyster for that extra potency that one might require in the latter era of HIS life.

    Bloody Mary “Bubble Tea”
    Serves 4 people not ready for another day of Mardi Gras Parades

    1 bottle Fine Vodka
    1 bottle Tomato juice
    1 bottle Tabasco
    1 bottle Worcestershire
    1 jar prepared Horseradish
    2 Lemons cut into halves
    Sea or Kosher Salt
    Fresh cracked Black Pepper
    Firm Veal Demi-Glace cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    1 jar of each Pickled Okra, Pickled Green Beans, Pickled Quail Eggs, Boiled Shrimp, Crab Claw, a raw oyster
    4 stalks of Celery

    Pour 2 ounces of vodka into a highball glass that is over flowing with ice. Add 3 ounces of tomato juice to the glass with 4 dashes of Tabasco, 2 dashes of Worcestershire, 1 teaspoon horseradish, the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Use a long spoon and stir very well. Stir in 1/3 cup of your veal demi jewels. Impale an okra, a few green beans and a quail egg with a cocktail pic. Place the highly decorated pic into your beverage and plant the celery stalk down into the ice. Place a large mouthed straw into the libation so that the luxury of the demi-glace and tickle your tongue. Serve and repeat as needed to help your guests revive their sense of good taste and exercise the demons of bad food media.