03/21/13

National French Bread Day!

Pain de campagne (“country bread” in French), is typically a large round loaf (“miche”) made from either natural leavening or bakers yeast. Most traditional versions of this bread are made with a combination of white flour with whole wheat flour and/or rye flour, water, leavening and salt.

For centuries, French villages had communal ovens where the townsfolk would bring their dough to be baked, and the miches weighed from four to as much as twelve pounds. Such large loaves would feed a family for days or weeks, until the next baking day.

Communal Oven

A centuries-old communal oven in France

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12/19/12

Happy Sangria Day! Here’s our favorite…

Heyya hauties!

Happy National Sangria Day!

Here’s a little something from Chef Terry’s archives! A couple years back, we threw a Greek Easter feast with a dozen or so friends, and Terry made of a batch of his Sangue Rosso Sangria to compliment the grilled lamb, dolmadakia, and all the other Greek goodies.

Ir was, to say the least, very well recieved. By far the best sangria I’ve ever had!

Terry’s Sangue Rosso Sangria

1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 Cup Kirshe Wasser (cherry brandy)
1/4 Cup Limoncello (lemon liqueur)
2 Oranges, sliced
1 Green apple, sliced
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Club soda

Combine (stir to dissolve the sugar) wine, liquors, fruit and sugar in a container and chill for at least 2 hours up to 24.

Add club soda just before serving. Serve over ice.

11/2/12

National Deviled Egg Day! – My Mama’s Deviled Eggs

Perfect deviled eggs

As I’ve mentioned before, Mama wasn’t a big fan of cooking, but the few dishes she made, she did very well. One of these was her Deviled Eggs, usually reserved for church pot-licks, and “covered dish” parties.

Oh, how I loved them.

Now, I’m not gonna lie to you, Mama’s recipe was straight out of her old BH&G Cookbook (which is now MY old BH&G cookbook) but I’ve made a couple of very minor tweaks that I think improve the recipe and, hopefully, will keep me from being sued.

Also, BHG starts out the recipe saying, “Halve hard-cooked eggs lengthwise”…without ever giving any instruction on actually boiling the eggs to begin with.

Can’t anyone hardboil an egg? Of course. Can anyone hardboil a GOOD egg…not in my experience.

So, here we go…

Mama’s Deviled Eggs

12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved, yolks mashed in a bowl
5 Tbs. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. French’s yellow mustard
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Smoked Spanish paprika for garnish

Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, cover with cold water (2 inches over the tops of the eggs), add a Tbs of vinegar and ½ tsp of salt. Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for one minute.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes

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Strain out the water from the pan, fill the pan with cold water, strain again, fill again, until the eggs cool down a bit. Allow to sit in cold water until eggs have cooled completely.

NOW… Halve hard-cooked eggs lengthwise and carefully scoop yolks into a bowl and mash, setting the whites aside.

Combine the thoroughly mashed yolks and mayonnaise, then stir in the mustard and vinegar. Stir in the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust if necessary. Stir well with a spoon to achieve a creamy texture.*

Fill the egg whites evenly with the mixture and garnish each egg half with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

*NOTE: Mama never had a stand mixer, but I do. When doing a dozen or more eggs, I like to combine the ingredients in my Kitchen-Aide and give them a good whip, for a lighter, fluffier filling. If making less than a dozen (which is seldom) I use a hand mixer.

Also, sometimes I’ll replace the salt with a teaspoon of my favorite bbq dry rub, just to kick it up a notch!

Any secret ingredients in your favorite Deviled Egg recipe?

Chef Perry