Monday, November 14, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Here’s what we did with that little duck’s bones…
After most of the meat was pulled we put the duck bones, skin, fat, deliciousness into a stockpot. We topped off the duck with water. Since the skin was already seasoned we didn’t add anything else. The duck stock simmered for a couple of hours and before we went to bed, I placed the stock pot into the oven at 200 over night.
After this reduced overnight we ended up with close to a gallon of stock and a good inch of duck fat. Delicious, perfect duck fat. Heath pulled the meat and we had almost a pound of meat to go into the gumbo.
I used that luscious duck fat to create my roux for the gumbo. As the fat melted, I noticed an almond almost cherry smell that gave so much character to the roux. The nutty flavor was developed as the roux darkened.
I added duck meat, sausage, okra and fresh tomatoes along with onions, peppers and spices and then let the gumbo coast for hours.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
So it went down like this:
I get home from New York all hyped up to attempt to recreate duck from the Peking Duck House in Midtown. I’ve made the plan in my head. I’ve figured out how to southernize it, how to Ubonize it.
And then I went grocery shopping.
Uggh! After Fresh Market, Kroger, Walmart and all my local mom and pop grocery stores had no duck, I decided to beg my hunter friends. No dice, no sharing.
I wasn’t ready to give up. As I headed south on I55 I saw it….the Oriental Supermarket. Now I know I visited this location as a 4th grader…but then it was a Chuck E. Cheese. Now…next to Cowboy Malone’s (where a cowboy deal is a good deal) there is this fabulous market full of hope…and Duck!
I bought a Peking Roast Duck…I’m not a total moron. I’ve never given this vision of a duck recipe a try; I needed some back up. The roast duck was hanging by its neck and given to me in a brown paper bag. Sigh! Swoon! I also bought a fresh raw duck so I could try out my deep fried duck recipe.
(remove the head and the little feet, coat duck in dry rub and deep fry for 5 minutes per pound…you know, just like you would a turkey.)
The result was beautiful. We tried both the roast and the fried duck. My mom liked the roast duck best. The rest of us were partial to the fried duck. We sliced the meat and served it with cucumber, green onions and Ubon’s hoisin sauce. Now I won’t say that I perfected an ancient and cherished duck dish. But I definitely southernized it.
Here’s how you can Ubonize it:
In a blender:
2 cups Ubon’s BBQ Sauce
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp of regular soy sauce
4-5 drops of sesame oil
Blend well and heat. As the sauce simmers, it will thicken.
Next I’ll tell you what we did with those little duck bones!!!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
That is one of the most optimistic sights of all of summer. Look at that sautee pan with those pretty home grown tomatoes. You can see that picture and know that you just eliminated the idea of a bacon tomato sandwich, but that you're ok with that decision. Tomatoes in olive oil...homemade pasta with meatballs, spinach and tomato orzo, summer chili, succotash, summer tomato aspic, oh it goes on forever!
One of the best parts of being in a small town is that our friends, Heath's patients, my dad's friends bring us produce plucked straight from their gardens. Most nights at my house have some kind of tomato based side dish. Last night we had tomato, spinach and asparagus orzo for dinner. Very light, very fresh and just yum.
But looking at that picture now...I'm almost ashamed I ruled out the bacon tomato sandwich. there's always tonight.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I should point out that I'm stuck on mango right now after my recent trip to NYC. After a couple of long days filled with smoke and meat and smoke and meat we snuck into Eataly for treats. My new personal anti-BBQ food is proscuttio and mango. I can't even begin to tell you how ridiculously awesome that place is. I won't try in this post.
I've digressed, as usual. Mango.
I made this fruit salad for my daddy and I want to hang on to this recipe in case I ever decide to diet. ha.
2 mangos diced
1 pint strawberries quartered
1 pint of raspberries
1 pineapple, cored and diced
1 cup of green grapes
Dressing: 1 cup of Sprite Zero, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 5 chiffonade mint leaves. Pour dressing over fruit and allow to sit for at least an hour.
I watched my dad drink the juice from his paper plate when he thought no one was looking. This leads me to think that all this needed was the juice drained and a little vodka for a nice spritzer! This was really quick to throw together and really pretty to look at AND it was tasty to boot!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
This I believe…
I believe in wood smoke and charcoal fire. I believe in the light and the heat and the passion that come from a barbeque grill. Smoke should be gentle, subtle and sweet. Heat should be low and cook slow. Fires should be tended with care. I believe in the bonding that comes with shared fires. In my world, secrets are kept AND shared; recipes are handed down through the generations; and slow cooking is assumed.
I believe in the flavor of smoke, the sweet and the spicy, the marriage of flavors that inspire words, understandings and disagreements. I believe in tall tales told around the fire; the friendships that are forged in flames; the mingling of minds when ideas finally become feasts.
I believe in the power of food and drink. I have seen and felt old wounds heal, equality achieved, families created from sharing a table. I have associated tastes and smells with people I love and cherish. I have captured years in the span of a bite. I have found common ground with hundreds of people in a shared love of food and drink. The strongest conflicts arise from choosing a favorite, and those conflicts simply lead to delicious conversations
I believe that barbeque can spark conversations, grow relationships, and establish traditions. I believe that barbeque is an international language, breeching stereotypes, prejudices, and restrictions. I have felt walls fall when people begin to talk about their favorite barbeque region, their favorite flavors and their favorite joints for good barbeque. Pit fires spark passions and stories and smiles.
But. Sometimes when it’s raining outside, when I am tired from a long day, when my own family is hungry and cranky I believe in my stove top gas grill, some vegetables and meat and the quiet that descends when my family is sated.
I believe in barbeque.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Special thanks to our partners for the weekend, Vlasic. I'd call the #7 pork shoulder in the WORLD a successful partnership!
Please check out our interviewwith Rich as well as his review of our Ubon's Dipping Barbeque Sauce.
Thanks Rich and Michelle!
Monday, April 25, 2011
Last month while I was visiting Greenville, South Carolina, I had the luxury of dinner at Rick Erwins Nantucket. Truly some of the best oysters I've ever had. But even the best oysters I've ever had didn't come close to one of the greatest things I've ever eaten.
You see, in the south we pride ourselves on our Pimento Cheese. My friend Beeve calls it "Minna Chee" and he likes the simple cheddar variety. My mom likes hers with extra black pepper.
My dad and I like the kind my grandfather, Ubon, used to make...velveta pimento cheese with pickle relish. If I'm fancy I'll mix several kinds of sharp cheeses for my Uncle Steve to take to his in laws in Tupelo. (They like the velveta kind too.)
I once worked with a woman who told me that she made "the world's best pimento cheese." Meh, it wasn't bad but world's best? She did point out that if she proclaimed it the world's best, I wouldn't forget her, even if it was just normal. (Obviously she's right.)
I've made Pimento Cheese with chilies, with strawberry preserves and with pecans. Today I think I've found the magic recipe I've been looking for.
In case you're wondering why I started this post with .">The Nantucket, well it was there that I had the greatest pimento cheese ever. If you're there...get the Spicy Crab and Pimento Cheese Dip. Then call me and tell me thank you. If you're not headed to Greenville, SC...try this. It's pretty dang good.
2 bags of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese go into a bowl, 1 wedge of brie with the rind removed and smooshed into the cheddar. Add a large jar of pimentos, a teaspoon of whole grain mustard, a half cup of mayo (don't go with the whip...and DO NOT go with the low fat, promise me!), salt, lots of black pepper, a table spoon of your favorite all purpose seasoning (like seazn'tup) and a few tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce. (I used texas pete wing sauce tonight). Add 8oz of lump crab. Mix everything together with your hands. Taste and adjust your seasoning. Serve with crackers, bagel chips.
And again, you can call to thank me when you give this a try.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
On our way home we stopped at some little taco stand in the Charlotte airport and grabbed a couple of tacos. Honestly I've never eaten anything as good. I'm even a little embarrassed to admit that. I decided that it would be necessary for me to recreate these at home so here's what I did.
We'll start with the chicken. I placed a whole chicken in a big pot. around the chicken I stuffed a few lime and lemon wedges, a handful of cilantro, some salt and pepper and filled with water. This cooked for about 2 hours on med. When the chicken was done I put it aside and reserved liquid. Once the chicken could be pulled I heated a tablespoon of chili oil in a pan and added chicken, some of the reserved liquid, about a table spoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of paprika, a dash of cumin, some all purpose seasoning and salt. Close to the end, I added a pat of butter and let this simmer.
On to the cheese sauce:
I melted 2 t. of butter and added 2 t of flour and cooked until my child hit her head and everything got put on hold. When I resumed, I added strained cooking liquid and then cheese. I used mexican quesadilla cheese and some other unidentified white cheese. This was allowed to simply simmer for about 20 minutes until everything melted.
1 can of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, jalapenos to taste. cook until tomatoes are shiny and delicious.
turns out that these are best if steamed over the last of the reserve liquid.
steamed tortillas, cheese mix, stewed chicken, shredded lettuce, sprigs of cilantro, squeeze of lime, spoon of sour cream, tease of chili sauce.
Seriously. The best ever. I'm going to substitute pulled pork next. I think it's going to be AWESOME!
Monday, April 18, 2011
When not asking for "The Chef" Jacob has been known for requesting a "Hand Meal." Of course he means that adorable glove that asks you to trust what he's got in that packet of yellow powder. Tonight I decided to beat him to the punch and make homemade "hamburger helper" and you know what? It's just as easy and utilizes all those random bags of shredded cheese you've got stuck in that drawer.
Brown 1 lb of ground turkey. (It doesn't really brown, I know.) Add about 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the turkey so that the texture will be pretty fine. To this mix add 1 tablespoon of flour and stir. once it's a gloppy mess, add 1.5 cups of chicken stock. I also added about 2 cups of velveeta water at this point. Add salt, pepper, seasoning of your choice. Once the liquid is starting to boil, add wagon wheel pasta. after about 6 minutes add your cheese board. We used cheddar, white cheddar, american melt mix (whatever that is!) and an errant chunk of. That's right. I have that in my house. What's it to you?
I poured this into a dish and cooked uncovered at 250 for about 30 minutes. It would have been great topped with cracker crust, or more cheese, but the starving kids wanted it just that way.
it was actually pretty swell.
Mama 1, Chef, 100....but my luck's changing!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I just needed breakfast for supper. I'm not out of ideas, but I am so tired of almost everything I cook. So I threw something together and it turned out pretty good.
I'm going to call this a griddle frittata. One of our local markets has some really great fresh ground sausage. I started out with browning about 1/2 lb of the sausage. Since I'm lazy I went the easy route and added a bag of frozen shredded hash-browns. I topped with butter and this was stirred up (think Japanese Steak House..Hot for you Baby!) and left to brown. I covered the top with fresh baby spinach and then put a pan over so everything could steam. After about 5 minutes I poured over 6 or 8 beaten eggs and topped with cheese. and covered for another 2-3 minutes. This sliced beautifully an will keep nicely in the fridge.
We loved it. Jacob ate waffles.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Want to see proud? Look at the lady behind that winner. Want to see super proud? Look at Jacob's Poppy, Garry Roark.
We've recently been talking about the standard Memphis BBQ Network team lineage. So many teams are a product of another team. Thank goodness for those teams. We wouldn't have a network without teams teaching other people and instilling in them the confidence to branch out. My dad has done his fair share of teaching. He's always been very open about what his process is, and how he achieves a winning product. As one of the longest running competition teams still cooking, we're still trying to evolve. What I've noted is that your best bet is to focus on your own flavors instead of chasing someone else's.
Early last week I helped Jacob make his sauce. My rule was...this is my kitchen, so what I say no to, means no. (Example: bbq sauce doesn't contain cheese.) But that's where it stopped. I didn't make suggestions, although I did buy ingredients that would complement each other. Jacob chose his flavors. He loves his mamaw's kumquat marmalade, and he will always include that.
I suppose my point is that BBQ...real BBQ...is sharing and learning and evolving. I want my son to love BBQ. I want him to have his own idea of what tastes great and I don't want it to just be what I cook. As a parent I'm proud of the win. As a competitive BBQ cooker, I'm proud of his spirit and his individuality and his working toward perfection. As a loser...I'm jealous!
Good job Buddy!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This particular contest has a kid's cookoff and this weekend will be my son's first stab at competition BBQ. Now, he's going to be getting up in my grill, but I suppose I will have to agree to it. Earlier this week I got to look on as Jacob made his 1st BBQ Sauce. He used Ubon's as a base but added his "secret ingredient"...his Mamaw's kumquat jelly. To this mixture he added his own flair...honey, brown sugar, salt, red pepper, cherry preserves and peach preserves.
This mama's heart was swole plum up!!!
We'll be cooking in the dessert category and I think I'm going to make my new amaretto balsamic strawberry shortcake with candied balsamic strawberries. Here you go:
Macerate strawberries with sugar, a little water, some amaretto, and a dash of GOOD balsamic vinegar. while that chills mix together 2 containers of marscapone, a little cream, a touch of amaretto, some powdered sugar. chill. dip store bought lady fingers into the strawberry liquid and layer lady fingers, marscapone, strawberries, and repeat. when i get the candied strawberries down, i'll update. for now....who knows how i did them before.
If you're in Pelahatchie, come by! We'll have a beer, or a sippin' drink, for sure some awesome BBQ.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Vlasic was a sponsor for the National BBBQ Assn. Conference and I got to attend as their rep. There's a couple of things you need to know: 1. a jar of Vlasic pickles kept in your beer cooler could save the day if the day happens to have been one full of bbq smoke. 2...and this may come as a surprise but there are people who don't like mayonnaise in anything especially in their slaw!
Here's the Pickle Slaw recipe I made to sample this past weekend. Keep in mind that you can always find other recipes at www.vlasic.com including the much more accurate version of this slaw. As always, I've personalized the recipe to have a Ubon's touch.
Vlasic Pickle Slaw
Open 2 packages of thinly shredded cabbage and pour into a bowl. Season liberally. As always I used Season't up, but you could use some kosher salt, some black pepper, and some seasoned salt. Let this work it's magic while you chop 3 stalks of celery, 3 or 4 green onions and a LOT (I used a jar) of chopped Vlasic Baby Kosher Dills. Pour about a cup of light balsamic vinaigrette (just off the shelf salad dressing.) (and of course I splashed in some Ubon's sauce. Mix together and cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
This particular salad is low carb (according to your salad dressing choice), very crunchy and most important to my Jubon's friends, free from evil mayo.
Now as I mentioned, I also found time to have a few cocktails and "network" (that's what we're going to call it) with friends. I always like to rub elbows with famous folks and this one is top notch! (As if you needed more proof that I'm awesome.) I really enjoyed spending some time hanging out with Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson's.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Babalu in Jackson is such a great place. My only wish is that our table had been bigger. Doc and I had fish tacos, fried oysters on roumalade slaw, tuna tartar on fried avocado, tables side guacamole, and scallop ceviche. Doc had a couple of Indian Summers and I fell into my new favorite cocktail of all time. Babalu's Pepe O'Malley.
Here's the recipe I'm going to use for my version of Pepe O'Malley's cocktail.
simple syrup (sugar and water boiled to a syrup)
juice of one whole lemon
I'm going to muddle cucumber, mint, lemon and simple syrup and add equal parts gin and sparkling water.
I'll keep you posted.
UPDATE: I used a jigger of gin, sparkling water, added lemon juice to my simple syrup. holy smokes it was good.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Ok. So winter doesn't have many super duper vegetables so they flaunt the ones that they have. I've been watching trends, and it would seem that that the lowly brussels sprout is very popular at this time of year.
Most of you know that I don't sleep well or much, so I'm required to talk a lil something to get me to sleep. that lil something also makes me HONGRY. I think this nighttime eating has led me to brussels sprout perfection:
Begin with a bag of frozen sprouts in a steam fresh bag. microwave for 2 minutes. in a pan heat a teaspoon of basil olive oil. (or just olive oil has worked). pour in par cooked sprouts and add salt and Worcestershire black pepper. don't stir...be a chef! flip those things!!! when they are starting to have some golden brown spots add about a tablespoon of honey and a table spoon of balsamic vinegar. I've been known to add a tablespoon of Ubon's...but how could I not.
Wow...next time I find people who like these little sprouts i'm going to try them out. for now, it's my new favorite food.