Thursday, July 22, 2010
Antoine's Restaurant is one of New Orleans' most famous restaurants. It opened its doors in 1840, and is credited with originating Oysters Rockefeller. Last weekend, Mr. Rockefeller and everything else in the building was consumed in celebration of our friends, Lizzie Schott and Craig Webb.
Mollie and I thought two weddings in one day would kill us. After enjoying the first wedding and reception (which was fantastic), we headed to the church for our second ceremony of the day. The ceremony was wonderful, but I was quickly losing steam before we made it to Antoine's. In a moment of weakness, I actually questioned my reception stamina....then I walked in...
Let me say this....Antoine's is not a tiny building (it takes up the majority of a city block), and the entire downstairs was closed for the reception. We walked into the front doors and Mollie gave me the order to fetch her one of the 3 million glasses of champagne that were welcoming guests. I was very careful as I proceeded with my mission, as the entrance room also served as the cake room. I have a phobia of being the fat guy that trips and takes out the wedding cake, and this particular cake had a gravitational pull.
Catastrophe avoided, we moved into the main dining room where one of the most awesome bands (complete with change of costume between sets) greeted everyone. The scene was overwhelming, but immediately conveyed a clear message...I was not leaving early. We made our way to a drink station on a side hallway. There we found the Eagle (last post), Paula de Laurentiis (first post) and a group of other friends...all were testing the cocktail prowess of the Antoine's staff.
After hitting another food station and taking a break with our friends (Jeff and Bebe), we decided to hit the dance floor. The main room of the restaurant was, to say the least, rockin! I saw uptown New Orleanians waving their hands in the air like blue blood don't care. It was spectacular!
Jeremy Davenport and his band usually crank out jazz music on Saturday nights at the Ritz, but the sound of the band was dwarfed by clinking, dancing and the wedding crowd's general commotion. At one point, our friend Jessie Haynes (sister of the bride) was approached by her long lost child (below). Her husband, Beau, did not let the reunion shake him up, and continued to play it cool.
- Two dozen fresh oysters on the half shell, oyster liquor reserved
- 4 springs flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 4 green onions (including the green part)
- A handful of fresh celery leaves
- At least 6 fresh tarragon leaves
- At least 6 fresh chervil leaves
- 1/2 cup dried FRESH French bread crumbs
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Herbsaint or Pernod (optional)
- Rock salt or kosher salt
Mince together the parsley, green onions, celery leaves, tarragon and chervil as finely as you possibly can (more than you ever have...almost to the point of mush).
Mix minced mixture together with the bread crumbs and the softened butter into a mortar and mix the whole thing together into a smooth paste, but leave a little texture (a blender or food processor can be used, but much gets stuck behind). Season to taste with salt and pepper, hot sauce and Herbsaint (if desired).
Preheat broiler. Lower the top rack to the middle of the oven. Spread the rock salt (preferable) or kosher salt over a large baking sheet to keep the oysters at the same height (and stable) under the broiler. Moisten the salt very slightly by sprinkling a very small amount of water. Plant the shells in the salt, making sure they are level. Place one oyster in each shell, plus a little bit of oyster liquor. Spoon an equal amount of the prepared herb/butter mixture over each oyster. Broil on middle rack until the edges of the oysters have curled and the herb butter is bubbling, about five minutes. Serve immediately.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
The Eagle lands for big events (Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, etc), all of which usually involve partaking of the grape or the grain at some point. Of course, if overindulgence occurs, the cure is to treat yourself to heavy food. For me, the heavy food choice is muffuletta.
This weekend, the big event is the wedding of Lizzie Schott and Craig Webb, a fantastic couple with a great (and large) group of loyal friends. The wedding tonight is likely to be an over the top event. I know this not because of any sort of intuition, but because of another indicator. The Eagle has landed.
Last night proved to be a great start to the weekend. Friends joined Lizzie and Craig at the Ritz for a post-rehearsal dinner drink. A good time was had by all, and I was definitely in need of a muffeletta this morning (thanks to Liz and Jeff for the ride home).
If you find yourself in need of a muffuletta, the best place to get this delicious medicinal nectar of the gods is Central Grocery in the French Quarter. Mollie and I ventured there and are currently preparing for a brief coma before tonight's festivities.
If your current location is unfortunate, I have included a muffuletta recipe to tide you over until your next visit.
Making a Muffuletta
- 1 round loaf italian bread
- 1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
- 1/4 pound ham, thinly sliced
- 1/4 pound hard Genoa salami, thinly sliced
- 1/4 pound Mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1/4 pound Provolone cheese,sliced
- 1 cup olive salad (recipe below)
Split a muffuletta loaf or a loaf of Italian bread horizontally. Spread each half with equal parts of olive salad and oil. Place meats and cheeses evenly on bottom half and cover with top half of bread. Cut into quarters.
Muffuletta Olive Mix
- 1 1/2 Cups Green Olives, Pitted
- 1/2 Cup Calamatta Olives (or Black), Pitted
- 1 Cup Gardiniera (Pickled Cauliflower, carrots, celery, Pepperoncini)
- 1 Tbsp Capers
- 3 each Fresh Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/8 Cup Celery, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried
- 1 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Pimientos (Roasted red peppers)
- 1 Tbsp. Green Onions, thinly sliced
- Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground pepper, to taste (salt may not be necessary)
- Approximately 1 1/2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil (high quality...more expensive)
Crush each olive on a cutting board with your hand. Combine all ingredients. Cover with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Put into a bowl or jar, cover and let the flavors marry for at least a day. It is really better after about a week.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Take Away - Redonkulous Eggs Benedict
Sarah's Redonkulous Eggs Benedict
English muffins halved, buttered and toasted
Andouille sausage sliced and browned
Tomatoes sliced and blackened on a skillet (use a little butter or oil)
Wilted fresh spinach (sauteed in a tiny bit of butter)
Poached egg (if done without a gadget, use a little bit of white vinegar in the boiling water and a slotted spoon.)
4 egg yolks
Lemon Juice (to taste)
Butter softened to room temperature (up to two sticks, depending on desired thickness)
Creole Mustard (to taste)
A very small amount of Cayenne (or to taste)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Kenny allowed me to assist in the creation, which basically consisted of prepping large burgers with quality beef (a little fat should be allowed...it's a holiday). The ingredients consisted of some garlic powder, Worchestershire sauce and the beef (mixed and made into thick patties). Thereafter, he tops them with some "Southern Flavor" brand seasoning. I believe he uses the Original Charbroil Seasoning offered by Southern Flavor. Kenny says that the use of a ceramic-type pit is also a key to success (for those of us without...these would still be delicious).
Some like the hash brown casserole that I prepared, but that is pretty basic. I have included the recipe on the off chance that you are in the mood for high caloric intake. All in all, we had a great time in Byrne Country.
Preheat oven to 375. In a large casserole dish, combine all ingredient thoroughly. Cover with aluminum foil (sealing tightly). Cook covered for 1 hour. Remove cover until golden brown on top. Eat then go jogging.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Nothing says Independence Day weekend like in-laws. Thankfully, I snagged some good ones. So, Mollie and I brought thekingfishmenu to Alabama. Today's entry will cover July 3. Tomorrow will cover the 4th with some friends in Fairhope, AL.
The in-laws live in a neighborhood in Mobile that consists of 20 townhouses. Each townhouse comes equipped with an elevator, which is only significant because it comes in extremely handy due to the theme of each visit. The theme rarely changes and consists of eat, drink, cook (with her mom) and talk politics (with her dad)....repeat. I claim to take the elevator because it is neat that her parents have one. Mollie says maybe it's because I overserve (a very valid point).
We actually have a new addition to the family (Mollie's second nephew) so there was even more reason for our usual celebratory theme.
Saturday's menu consisted of brown sugared apple cider pork chops, Cuban black beans and rice, fiesta salad and German blueberry pie (I am not sure what makes this pie German).
I'll throw in two recipes since the pork chops and blueberry pie both went over well (by well, I mean that I went back for seconds on the pie...around 1 am).
German Blueberry Pie
2/3 cup sugar
1 (8ounce) package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint blue berries (fresh
Preheat oven to 350. Crumble enough pecan sandies for pie crust. Blend with just enough butter to hold crumbs together. Press into an 8 inch pie pan and set aside. Cream sugar with softened cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time to cream cheese mixture, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Pour mixture into pie shell. Sprinkle blueberries over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. When cool, chill several hours or over night.
Brown Sugared Apple Cider Pork Chops
1 container real apple cider
1 box (1lb) dark brown sugar
8-10 thin to medium cut pork chops
Seasoning (to taste)
Mix apple cider and brown sugar until combined. Pour into one or two large Ziploc bags. Add the pork chops and let all air out of bags before sealing. Marinate overnight in refrigerator. Remove pork chops and season to taste before grilling (I use any sort of Cajun seasoning mix and Greek Seasoning).
Thursday, July 1, 2010
In light of this extra 10 or so pounds bestowed upon me by virtue of my participation in session, Mollie and I are buying a bunch of healthy food these days (some of which I aspire to eat at some point).
The latest salad that she likes is great. I don't mean "great" in the way that most people sound when they say "great" when referring to salad.
Most of the time "great" salad means, "I'd rather be eating potatoes, an entire lasagna, pork rind flavored dog food or anything that has some carbs and actual talking points...and I hope you cannot hear my inner monologue."
This salad recipe (if salads can be acknowledged with such a word) is also easy.
Spinach Walnut Salad with Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
2 cups fresh raw spinach or baby spinach (to taste)
Fresh walnuts roughly chopped or roasted pecans
Blue cheese crumbles or Feta crumbles (whichever you prefer)
Zea's Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette (chilled)
¼ c pepper jelly
Whisk all ingredients well with a fork or whisk before pouring over salad. You may also want to let these chill as well.