So you buy the puff pastry, roll it and bake it. Whip cream. Stir in icing sugar. Spread. Top with summer bounty. Kick dessert ass.
Really, that’s it.
(Loving Tad’s photo.)
This is the story of pork butt. It is also the story of friends (Jenn and Andy) who are moving to place of “the fountain”, Geneva actually. Certainly known for things other than “the fountain” but Google Geneva and the Jet d’Eau is all over the Image pages (followed closely by the flower clock). Don’t ever try to say the words “Jet d’Eau” out loud if you do not speak French, it’s just embarrassing, trust me…
The pork butt portion of the story is sweet and savoury, the friends moving part is more bitter and sweet— though we want to have pals to visit in Geneva (and to tour the fountain with) we also are very sad to have them so far away (they eased us in un-gently by moving to Vancouver first). We like to get together to eat with Andy and Jenn, a lot of meat, a lot of cheese and a lot of wine. (Andy could throw around wine terms like “flabby” and “grippy tannins” before Sideways had people hating Merlot.) Jenn makes mean guacamole. And cocktails. (Jenn’s cocktails are so good she should be an anesthesiologist.)
But this blog is sparked by Andy (not that we do not love Jenn-we do–and she brings chocolate from BC–which I am running short of and desperate for…) because when I last saw him he had his arm twisted into giving me the Momofuko cookbook for my birthday. He came over to visit and had the book in a bag and then I might have said something like “Is that for me?” and then suddenly it was. Which I feel bad about…but not a lot.
Especially now that I finally made the Bo Ssam that every blogger every has already posted about, the book is on my “featured” bookshelf (also because it is great reading). The Bo Ssam recipe came to me at the perfect time as we were having a BBQ (planned for a weekend of torrential downpour–so trying to feature meat but not on the grill) and aside from having delicious, easy food, I wanted to do something fun. I haven’t had a “cooking day” in a while, and hurriedly making dinner for the family does not count ever. (Almost ever.) So meat that would be in the oven for hours, making the house smell inviting with it’s with potentially fantastic results seemed like a great idea… Andy said it would be the best.
And so I called Cumbrae’s and ordered 14 pds of bone-in pork butt (which the woman helping me seemed to think was a lot for 12 people) but I feared would barely be enough (no need to trust the experts Sue!). To be fair to my own gluttonous judgement, I really was not sure how many people would show up and how can a person have a BBQ and bear the thought of running low on meat???
Essentially you’re just slow cooking the butt, so this recipe is incredibly simple. The night before you rub the meat with a mixture of salt and sugar and let it cure overnight in the fridge. Then you drain off any liquid and cook for 6 hours-ish at 300 F til tender and yielding. I think ours went 7 hours.
At that point, when you’re drooling and ready to eat you rub the exterior with a bit of salt and a lot of brown sugar, and fire the oven up to 500° F. Then in goes the meat for about 10 minutes until the exterior is sweet and crusty (David Chang calls it a “pig shoulder encrusted in Pig Candy” in the book).
Finally you bring it outside (under the tarp your husband spent 3 hours putting up for a storm that would pass before the guests arrived) and you hesitate…..where to start? All the guests, expected to eat at least 1 pd of eat each, hovered. We also had an emergency as the steamed rice I had picked up from the Chinese food place was actually discovered to be fried rice. Which was not going to work with my lettuce wrap plan. (luckily the problem, a bike ride away was resolved though I admit I may have panicked and slightly overreacted when I saw the fried rice–possibly freaked out just a little?)
Finally, crisis managed, I dug in (we had Boston lettuce for wraps, steamed rice, condiments and cucumber and strawberry salad and red cabbage salad to go with–(the recipe for the slaw is one I was seduced by in California (red cabbage is very sexy) made by my brother and sister-in-law’s friend Traci. Recipe at bottom. AWESOME.).
Condiment wise I made the ginger-scallion sauce reco’d in the Momofuko book, we had Kimchi, pickled onions and a beet horseradish spread I had made for burgers and was nice and earthy with some bite.
This is not Andy (Andy who sparked the whole idea was back in BC planning what to wear to his first fountain visit), it is my friend Terry (meat consultant), and yes my face melted when I realized we had the wrong rice. It was horrifying. Luckily Terry took it in stride and just kept pulling meat.
You must all try this. Here is a link to Sam Sifton’s piece in the New York Times Magazine that provides the recipe.
Andy and Jenn- wish you were here (but Geneva also good) xo Sue
Red Cabbage Salad (based on a the slaw recipe from a The Northwoods in southern California.)
Hello on Friday! A sunny Friday even. Just a quick post if you needed some inspiration for the weekend or for a Father’s Day menu item.
Here’s my easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy recipe- (as Felix would say).
Makes about 1 cup.
1 cup finely diced mango (about 1 large mango)
½ cup finely chopped red onion
2-3 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro.
½ teaspoon chopped chili
1. In a small bowl, combine mango, red onion and cilantro. Now add the lime, rice vinegar, salt and mix together. Taste and add 1 tsp sugar if needed.
2. Add some chopped chili if you want to add zing.
I love ribs. You love ribs. We all love ribs. Last time I made them (last summer) we ate at 10:30 at night. I thanked the rib-Gods that the guests I had invited over for my homemade smoked ribs had cancelled last-minute. Whatever they ended up doing was probably more fun than politely pretending, “oh no, this bag of chips with salsa is totally filling us up until the moon comes out, a wolf howls and your Weber grill spits out its slow-cooked creation.”
But–I will say the ribs kicked ass.
Still, I was curious (as a rib craver) to try a new product from Mastro. They held a tasting at St. Lawrence market in June and I got to take home some of their prepackaged ribs. Ready in just 15 minutes!
I finally pulled them out a few nights ago when I came home to a starving family and not a minute to spare before we settled on a meal of Triscuits and some old mum-mums from Felix’s teething days.
My hesitance with the pre-cooked ribs is kind of a guilt/snobby/ foodie annoying thing. Ribs should be made with a secret sauce, over a smoky charcoal grill, basted at regular intervals, internal temperature monitored, sweat wiped from the brow, anticipation building…..yada yada yada.
But–when it came down to a meal of ribs or a meal of stale carbs, I chose ribs. I opened the package, popped them on a cookie sheet (on foil) and baked for 15-17 minutes, flipping them halfway. You can also heat them on the grill (which is where you put them 5 minutes before guests arrive and then fake some perspiration on the brow I imagine).
The ribs were great. I tried the balsamic and fig (my fave) and spicy fire-roasted tomato (had a good hit of spice) — there is also a roasted garlic and tomato flavour.
They are about $14.99 and I think could serve 4 people–or 2 super hungry people.
So, I’m passing on the info, you can decide for yourself if it’s possible to come terms with pre-packaged ribs. I think I would have to make my own on a weekend or if friends came over (dury calls and all that) but let me tell you, in a pinch? Hit the spot and timeline.
Enjoyed with a little of this. I must admit the bottle came in my gift bag from the tasting event, but I keep a couple of these bottles around for some weeknight sipping so I was pretty content with the match.
Here is a bit more info from the company about ingredients and make-process:
Mastro starts with lean, top-quality pork ribs, seasons them with Italian herbs and spices, individually oven-cooks them, and then smokes them over hardwood hickory.
The ribs are always shipped to your grocery store fresh, never frozen. You don’t have to thaw them – don’t have to pre-cook them – and don’t have to sauce them. They are available at Sobeys, Metro, Royal Canadian Super Centres, and No Frills.
Slushy wet snow, smokey, wood-burning smells in the air and a warm packed room accented with aromas of cooking, scattered beer cans and people unravelling themselves layer by layer from their outdoor gear. Could have been an afternoon anywhere in Canadian cottage (or cabin) country. Aside from the iPhones filling up with photos of just-foraged plants being sliced, fresh sausages being filled and local trout being smoked.
Plus the fact that the whole feast was being prepared by some of the most talented chefs in Canada (and some outside of Canada). It was a fantasy Thanksgiving-doppelganger afternoon at Mad Maple Inn in Bruce County this past Tuesday, April 24.
The event was part of The Terroir Symposium 2012. The day before had been a full house at the newly renovated Acadian Court, now run by Oliver and Bonacini (more on the symposium in another post). I was fortunate enough to be invited on the following day’s tour of Grey Bruce Simcoe county–complete with bus ride, April flurries and a more moments of awesome than even the Book of Awesome could come up with (lunch featured wood-fired pizzas and was hosted by Michael Stadtländer at his Haisai Bakery and Restaurant.)
Check out Renée Suen’s photos for Toronto Life where she gives a preview of The Singhampton Project, Michael Stadtländer’s upcoming visual and edible feast at Eigensinn Farm.
We were hosted by Miriam Streiman who is opening Mad Maple Country Inn in this summer. Above is the side table which served as the appetizer hang-out (if you weren’t stealing nibbles from the main kitchen.) The yellow wax encased cheese is from Best Baa Dairy and the two cream cheeses came from newish producers Steacy and Scott den Haan of Primeridge Pure Dairy Products.
But let me get to the heart of it–the meal. The formidable menu was posted on the wall after dinner was served and I had to take it in three pictures to get it all, as it reached down to the floor. For more of the chefs and the food, check out Jessica Allen’s piece for Maclean’s.
THE CHEFS, THE FOOD AND THE LOCAL PRODUCERS
BRENT LEITCH, Two Kinds of Beer Bread, Creemore Springs and K2 Milling
CARL HEINRICH, RYAN DONOVAN, JULIA AYEARST, Trout on Kale with Mustard Vinaigrette, Kolapore Springs and The New Farm
CARL HEINRICH, RYAN DONOVAN, JULIA AYEARST, BBQ Pork belly and trotters on baked beans, Blue Haven and The New Farm
CONNIE DESOUSA, Lamb organ Kielbasa with Brassica mustard, Twin Creeks Organic Farm and Forbes Wild Food
CRAIG FLINN, Black chicken soup with Jerusalem artichokes and wild mushrooms, Blue Haven, Creemore Springs and Wylie Mycologicals
JEREMY CHARLES, Wild Newfoundland Rabbit with Red Tail Flour pappardelle, wild mushrooms, speck, wild mustard and fresh herbs, K2 Milling, Forbes Wild Foods, Michael Stadtlander
JEFF CRUMP, Spit-Roasted Lamb with sauce gribiche, Twin Peaks Organic farm
BEN SHEWRY, Grated Potatoes , The New Farm, Tama Mutsuoka Wong
JAMES ROBERTS, Potatoes gratin with wild garlic and shallot confit, The New Farm, Frobes Wild Food, Harmony Organic
PETER BURT, Fire-roasted beers and carrots and (and I can’t read the rest of the list, damn), The New Farm
CONNIE DESOUSA, Fresh Cheese Cheesecake with Rhubarb and almond Crumb, Harmony Organic
And finally my Cinderella…I never find out who she was, but man, was she a beauty!
And if you’re thinking–where was the bar? It was there, in a cozy back room, the wine provided by Georgian Hills Vineyards.
And if you’ve been waiting to see a picture of Ivy Knight, woman-of-all-trades (and a back of the bus fun person–I am a front of the bus read a book person, it makes me sad sometimes) here she is. Check out her awesome new website all about foodstuffs at swallowfood.com and ask for an I SWALLOW sticker for your iPhone.
See the glee, the fun that was had? She’s laughing because she just swore at me. But then, I did cut off most of her face in this picture. Even?
Fun was had, food was had, Tuesday’s will never be the same. Though I might start eating off birch plates (even sturdier than paper and disposable in the wood pile).
Nothing grilled, nothing gained as they say. Five years after Pete Watson and his wife Lara gave us a Weber kettle grill for a wedding gift we finally made ribs on it. What idiots we were to deny ourselves the pleasures of grilling ribs on charcoal for sheer procrastination.
But we have gained, oh yes, we have gained. Sticky fingers, kind of sexy, smoky smelling hair and the most envious aroma of deliciousness coming from any backyard in the neighborhood. If only I had begun the process in the early afternoon as I declared I would, we could have actually had the ribs for dinner rather than the cold pizza we half-heartedly choked down waiting until the ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender at 11pm.
Here is our talented little grill pre-show.
And then I bought myself some apple wood chips and though I could not get a coal chimney (sold out) I got some quick burning coal starter things which were quite effective as long I did not let my thought wander to the substances that made them so quick-burning.
I have the coals on one side and a drip-pan filled with water on the right. I put a stainless steel box of soaked applewood chips on the coals just before I added the top grate and the the lid.
Two racks of baby back ribs, about 2 lbs each. I put a dry rub on them and left them for an hour at room temperature. The rub had sweet paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, celery seed, fresh back pepper and chili powder. The recipe (BBQ Back ribs with Sweet and Sticky Sauce) came from the Saveur BBQ Issue (I know, what else, right? I will branch out one day but once again not only were the magazine’s recipes lipsmacking but the stories of BBQ, coleslaw, baked beans, coals, tradition and rivalry were addicitive too!)
And while the ribs cooked between 225 F-250 F over 3 hrs ( I actually found it hard to keep the heat below 300 F even adjusting the vents as much as I could) I made the sauce. Honey, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, worcestershire, hot sauce, cloves……MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMessy.
And finally at 11pm, with the grill lit from the soft glow coming through the back door of the kitchen, I was able to pull off shreds of the crispy rib-ends that were slowly caramelizing from their recent basting in sticky sauce. And I ate them greedily, slightly out of site of my husband before he next opened the door to ask, “are they done yet?”. And they were good. Sigh with pleasure good.
Like Angelina Jolie, I am now a Pitt master.
And that’s why I want to thank you Pete Watson.
Day 1 started with three meals plus cocktails, Day 2 we worked up to four meals plus cocktails/wine. Day 3 we were only able to fit in 2 meals, no cocktails. I guess we peaked early. I need to talk to that guy who won all those hot dog eating contests.
Day 1, Friday
The Purple Pig. Crispy pig’s ears. Crispy Kale (ok, so now I know that when kale is deep-fried it is the most delicious food on earth.) Same with pig’s ears. Or old gym socks. If you fry it, I guess I’ll eat it.
Still partaking in the deep-fried portion of the menu we move on to chorizo-stuffed olives.
Razor clams. These were actually a little rubbery when they arrived. But in case you’ve never seen a razor clam, here they are. In other amazing stories, we were told by our waitress at the Girl and Goat (coming up) that a customer once claimed she had accidentally eaten the shell of a razor clam. Yet, she wasn’t bleeding from the throat. Or a professional sword swallower –as far as anyone knew.
BBQ dinner at “Q“. Both of the pictures are terrible, I know. But the lighting was bad and all our hands were covered in rib sauce. I forgot to care enough. I do feel bad now with some perspective. But, forgive me and check out the menu. And drool.
This is my plate of the Award-winning “competition, full-slab St. Louis ribs”. The ribs continue beyond the water glass and onto the floor. It was crazy. The bread and butter pickles are house-made and the four sauces are house BBQ, spicy BBQ, mustard sauce (for the Kobe brisket–we had that too–see, how could I be expected to concentrate on picture taking) and a thinner, savory sauce for the pulled pork sandwich.
And of course we started with House Bacon Cheddar Hush Puppies. Knowing it was a bad bad good idea.
Day 2, Saturday
Lunch Part A:
I know this kind of looks “whatever” but it was delicious! Spicy chicken tortilla soup at the Neimann Marcus cafe (Thanks Martha!). It was like a super-deluxe Campbell soup. I asked for the recipe and the waiter laughed. Which I took for a “no”. (update, look what a Google search revealed! RECIPE. Will try ASAP. Ingredients include cheddar cheese spread–see-I knew there was comfy canned soup feel)
Lunch Part B:
Pastoral. A local cheese store. Our cheese monger is slicing off a soft piece of buttery Stichelton. Which is Stilton made with raw milk. AOC Stilton, is only allowed to be made with pasteurized milk. Did you know that? Just below the cheese board is a very yellow washed-rind cheese made with Guernsey milk. It was incredible. And the label is somewhere in the garbage. I guess its just sweet memories for me.
Might have been the Sweet Corn Crème Brûlée. All the dishes were good but this was “let me lick the plate” delicious. Sweet corn in a baked custard that is caramelized and sprinkled with sea salt.
OR might have been the cocktail menu:
Here are three we enjoyed with loud slurps:
Board of Directors
Noilly Prat Dry, honey, Green Chartreuse, lemon
The Girl and the Goat, 11:45 pm, The only reservation I could get calling a month in advance
The March issue of Saveur called The Girl and the Goat, “America’s Best New Restaurant”. If you want a proper review, then go HERE to read the piece by Dana Bowen. The food was amazing. Lick the plate delicious. Worth-eating-a-fourth-meal-at-midnight good. Consider moving to Chicago inspiring.
kohlrabi salad . fennel . evalon . toasted almonds . blueberry . ginger dressing
grilled baby octopus . guanciale . wax beans . radish . favas. pistachio-lemon vinaigrette (IN PHOTO)
smoked goat rilette empanadas . masala . ramp yogurt
AND one scoop Shiitake gelato and streusel. Dangerous.
Day 3, Sunday
We visited the Chicago Art Institute. Toulouse-Lautrec inspired me to eat more sardines.
It was a beautiful hot day and on my way back to the hotel I saw a 7-11. How could I resist?
And to pair with my Slurpee I stopped in at Pastoral again for a sandwich, The Quack Attack.
The Slurpee/obnoxiously artisinal sandwich combo was kind of perfect. Good Bye Chicago! I’ll never eat again. (Til dinner.)