Post Roast and Yeast Rolls Rambling in October


AUTUMN OVENS AND A STYLE OF ROLLS
Rains in the early morning have a kind of gastronomic compass quick at work. It’s like a persuasion of sorts, this rain. I can practically see the colors change across the hardwood tree canopy in this last bastion of woods in Clarke County. Turning over and looking at a lone rose in my backyard, a rabidly budding rose hips bush gives it’s wild best to keep me in citrus-y tea all winter.
But that’s just the start of a great morning. The flavors of a classic Sunday beef pot roast and yeast rolls shakes me out of bed. You and I both know it builds a pretty strong case to get in the kitchen early.
The cut of beef is the rump roast which is above the round on the haunches of beef cattle. It is a tough cut of meat that tenderizes in the Dutch oven as it roasts with the vegetables, stock, seasonings and vinegar or wine. You can use an iron Dutch oven or clay. I like both but am using the cast iron version as it is closest to what my Mother used to make hers, and I am personally more comfortable with iron. Giving the secret to her recipe was part of my brother’s requirement for my sister in law when he married. He loves it that much, we all do, actually. Fresh pearl onions are key. This is not her exact recipe.
The yeast rolls were intoxicating. They would sit in front of heater vents with cheese cloth laid over the top like a blanket of mist. The timing for the rise perfectly matched our return from Church. Come home, change cloths, wait for Mamaw and any other guests to arrive, then it was time for pot roast, gravy, mashed potatoes, English peas, yeast rolls and sweet tea. This was Sunday in Autumn. This is a purely American meal with nods to the West African and French culinary sources that permeated the South during her formative years.

Depending on the corn, peas or beans in season we would shuck them all week off and on while sitting on the front porch, waving at neighbors, my buddies on their 3 speed bikes with banana seats and butterfly handlebars, watching my sister’s boyfriends drive by and give a honk of any number of Mustang Fastback, Camero, Firebird, Cutlass 396, Shelby Cobra, Ford Torino Cobra, Mercury Montego MX, Buick GSX, Dodge Super Bee, ‘66 Corvette, Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, Pontiac GTO, or Dodge Challenger, muscle car set of wheels that would make any kid drool with excitement over these gas guzzling wonders of the back roads, Plymouth Road Runners spinning out doing doughnuts at the ball park, her eventual husband driving up in a Oldsmobile 442 ragtop, my brother running off to pitching practice, me just running off, our crazy beagle/fox terrier dog Bob chasing every single car that turned onto our street, Mother talking about her sisters and the history of our town. “Just what is the other side of the tracks?” Yeah, this was sitting on the front porch as it was meant to be, shelling peas for supper and watching the coolest cars in Tucker stream on by through the warm autumn afternoons. Slow Food? We lived it then and we can live it today. The easiest place to start is with local produce, the flavors will send most memories into family meals and occasions free of discord or time. That was our home during the twilight of sleepy neighborhoods, scenes that we alone have the power to continue and evolve.

SOUTHERN POT ROAST (because I just cannot call it Yankee)
Use a 3 pound round, chuck or rump roast for this dish. Cooking time is approximately 2 ½ hours start to finish. Cook in 300 degree oven, allowing 12 minutes per pound. Start on stove top. You can use either iron or clay Dutch Oven, this recipe is for cast iron. If you cannot find pearl onions then use cipollini onions which are flatter than round. They are perfect for roasting and I like them both equally but have used the cipollini more professionally than the pearl variety.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, high quality here
5 strips Bacon or guanciale (smoked/cured jowl)
3 to 4 pound Boneless round
12 Black peppercorns
24 Pearl onions, peeled, whole
2 Bell peppers, seeded, diced
1 1/2 cups Butternut squash, peeled, 1 inch dice
1 1/2 cups Pumpkin, peeled, 1 inch dice
2 cups Red potatoes, 1 inch dice
4 large Tomatoes, chopped
1 pint Beef stock
1 cup Burgundy or balsamic/red vinegar blend
1/3 cup Dale’s Marinade
1 tablespoon Rosemary, fresh
1 ½ teaspoon Thyme, dried
5 Bay leaves
6 cloves Garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons Leaf parsley, chopped, washed
3 tablespoons Cane or Date molasses
3 ounces European Butter

Everything takes place in the Dutch oven.
Heat the olive oil and bacon together over medium high heat. When the bacon is rendered remove it from the pan and add the beef. Brown it on all sides.
Add the potatoes, pumpkin and bell peppers, cook two minutes. Add squash, onion and tomatoes, cook three minutes and then add rest of ingredients except the butter. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. This will be roughly 20 minutes on the stove top. Baste the roast before putting in oven. Put bacon on top of roast. Cover and cook for 60 minutes at 300 degrees. Remove. Keep covered for 10 minutes. Check tenderness and temperature. This will not be rare or even medium rare, it is a pot roast which means it will be cooked completely in the juices and vegetables held in by the design of the Dutch oven.
Remove meat and vegetables. Skim fat. Add butter and stir into the liquids. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour to thicken into consistency of a gravy. Serve in gravy boat at the table during supper.
YEAST ROLLS
Yeast rolls are exactly what they sound like, rolls made with yeast as the ingredient to give it rise and body. Biscuits use baking soda and baking powder for this effect but is not as light or flaky as can be found in yeast rolls. Yeast rolls take time, a bit of work and an accurate oven. There are dozens of recipes and techniques. I am using a recipe that best approximates that of my youth.
A few words on yeast: we have dry active, fast active, compressed fresh yeast cakes, and brewers yeast. Yeast dies over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Brewers yeast is used for the nutritive benefits as ingredient, gravy and for brewing beer. Dry yeast keeps a long time in the pantry and requires about 20 minutes to foam and rise in warm water. Fast acting dry yeast has very small grains, can be added to flour when warm water is later added to mix or will rise within minutes when mixed into warm water. Yeast is a living thing. Salt inhibits yeast. High heat kills yeast after it has risen and holds the flours in tight or big bubbles for rolls, pizza and various bread doughs. When making basic yeast breads you need to have your yeast mixed into 80 to 100 degree Fahrenheit water for 15 minutes or until it has doubled, even tripled in size but not much more than that as it will become too loose and will not have enough binding molecules.
Yeast is a single cell organism. A pound of yeast has 32, 000,000,000 cells of fermented sugar cells known as yeast. Yeast requires bread so it is not gluten free. Recall that the glutens given to intolerance in some individuals are wheat, barley and malt. Some people are sensitive to oats as well but in general oats are safe for those who are gluten intolerant.
Makes 20+/- rolls. Use a 9 x 13 pan. 375 degree oven, cook 15 minutes.
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar/baking stevia
2 eggs (large)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cup bread flour (finer and higher gluten content than all purpose style)
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
Warm the milk to between 90 and 110 degrees F.

Mix all of the ingredients either with electric mixer dough hook or by hand.
If it is dry add a tablespoon of warm water or warm milk.

Knead until it is smooth and pliable, elastic and not sticking to your hands.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled metal bowl, cover with a damp towel and place in a warm area to rise for an hour or so.Butter the pan.
Split the dough in half, then into 4 equal parts. Divide again, then divide into 3 balls. Cut into 24 pieces. To form rolls, hold a small dough ball inside both hands, cup with opening between index finger and thumb, squeeze into a ball as it emerges from your hands. Sort of like playing but with great results. You are making little balls with just enough air introduced by the gentle squeeze so that they will rise into smooth rolls. Line them up in the greased casserole or baking pan so that they are barely touching, at best not at all. Cover with warm, damp towel. Dough will rise by half before they are ready to bake.
Remove cloth, bake 15 minutes. Very light tan. Brush with softened butter. Serve warm.
Morning rain on the gutters,
Poplars and elm, waterfall
Rattling attic fans and me.
Morning rain rumbles cloud-side down,
Each drop chasing the other,
Faster and faster into lawn and waterway,
Into deep aquifers and the starving Oconee,
A thunder clap snaps Polaroids
Of me awake into one dream in the 8 a.m.
World alive, there is more than this.
Red Mule grits swimming on the stove,
Pale white Vesuvius ready to blow.
The smell of turkey sausage
And French red hen eggs,
A touch of curry
And I’m ready to go….
Go where? Go here?
Already now the day is clearing,
Footfall in the pines so light and steady,
Rosehips, acorns, mushrooms
And sweet peas line the trail,
Trails down river where darters and perch
Fight for water time with catfish
And snapping turtles.
This is morning. My morning here.
A beautiful Georgia morning
In the land of the Creek and Cherokee.

Summertime in the South…or What’s In The Box?


WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
Travel food and box lunches work within a delicate boundary between tasty, safe and easy to eat. A road trip with soggy sandwiches? Fast food? Health safety fried foods and meats? Gummy starches and carbohydrates? There is a way to have the best of all worlds with proper preparation of key ingredients, observation of temperature and time sensitive holding. I am concentrating on starches and side dishes.
Always look to the hottest regions of the world when putting together a box lunch. Humidity has a huge effect on picnic foods. Keep in mind basic terms for your meal: Does it need to be kept cold? Will it hold well? Can it be assembled when you are ready to eat or will it be a completed dish? Can it withstand heat for long? Will you eat it with your fingers or are dishes, chopsticks, knives or forks necessary?
We are making barley with lemon, sumac and cilantro; cold sesame lo mein pasta; and Japanese sweet potato salad with spiced ham and roasted sweet peppers. These are easy to make, filling, full of good vitamins and amino acid. Barley is much more than a beer ingredient, soup or breakfast. Only the sweet potato salad is gluten free this month.
A good substitute for hulled and/or pearl barley is spelt. Though spelt does have gluten it has been found to be tolerated. I like using spelt, when I can find it. Spelt looks like giant barley and is based in Mediterranean and Near Eastern regions. They are both high in good cholesterol, magnesium and phosphorus. It is a popular grain today but is still scarce in some areas, hence, barley, pearl barley in particular, is our grain for this rich salad. Hulled barley is more nutritious than pearled or polished. Barley, malt and wheat gluten are the primary grains responsible for gluten intolerance.
It’s funny how pulses and grams that became animal and bird food in the last century have now made it back to the daily table as delicious and enriching starches. This change is a great thing. Imagine a life without quinoa, amaranth, barley, lentils, millet and spelt? Some may still live without these amazing grains. The loss was all mine, and many others, up until the mid 1990s when quinoa and amaranth, the super grains of the Americas came to prominence. They are perfect for our beautiful South.
Lo mein/Canton noodles are wheat, water, salt and egg. They are available flat for sauté/stir fry and round for soups. Shanghai noodles are the larger, round style, which is what many American diners are used to in American-Chinese restaurants as lo mein. You can also use ramen pasta for cold dishes. This is not the instant, which is a college staple and easy lunch dish. The Japanese ramen interpretation of lo mein that has less fat content than Chinese lo mein. My friend Karen at Fooks Grocery suggested using ramen and it was a great addition alternate recipes for cold sesame noodles. You can use dry or fresh for the cold pasta dish, Sesame noodles. This particular dish shows up as a late night take out dish in movies all the time. Sesame noodles can be addictive. If you are using up pasta in your pantry then spaghetti and linguine are both good substitutes for Canton/lo mein pasta.
Sweet potatoes are grown all over Asia. There are around 70 varieties from purple to tan. The one we are using, the Japanese sweet potato, has a thin skin and is pale yellow, not deep orange which is the more common variety here in the South and in China. It is less sweet but as high in nutrients as any other sweet potato variety. They hold well for tempura frying, chips and as a diced salad style. Japanese sweet potato starch is used along with lime starch in making gluten free shiriitake noodles. Because of their versatility and health benefits sweet potatoes are amazing in any and all preparations, and yes, it is also used for making spirits (booze!) in Africa and Asia. Imagine a friend saying they had a sweet potato hang over.
Barley With Sumac and Cilantro
There are 250 kinds of sumac. The one we use for cooking is an Arabic sumac that is red and has a lemony flavor perfect for fish, lamb and grain dishes. It is not “poison” sumac we find here in our easements and woods. You can find sumac in the Athens area at Taj Mahal on Baxter Street. There are limitless ingredients of the subcontinent here so ask questions in the store. I go there specifically to buy sumac, starches, spices, fenugreek leaves and curry leaves. Our barley today is pearl barley. Puffed and ready to eat hot in 20 minutes. For our purpose you will cook the barley the night before and then add seasonings the next day. I am using the puffed so that it is similar in appearance to spelt/farro.
You can add things like chevre and ground lamb/turkey in grape leaves, various sliced olives, almonds, kim chee, seaweed salad and just about anything that complements grains.
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups water
½ teaspoon kosher sea salt (sea salt has no ammonia or bleach)
Bring salted water to a boil. Stir in barley. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
24 leaves sliced fresh cilantro
1 ounce roasted red peppers, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4th teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sumac
Stir ingredients and cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Chill. Garnish with chopped almonds.

Sesame Noodles
You can use fresh or dried Chinese noodles for this dish. Always check the labels on Asian noodles/pasta and you will notice at least one key ingredient: wheat flour, rice flour, a bean flour or potato and tapioca flour. Western pasta is basically wheat flour. The different flours used in Asian pastas is what gives each one a distinctive flavor and texture.
Making cold or hot sesame noodles is easier and faster than most any other pasta. It took me 20 minutes to prepare this recipe. I cooked ramen and lo mein pastas to compare and found the lo mein to be better for the cold and ramen for hot/warm. Notice that the final sauce is not thick. If you make it too thick then it will become gummy upon refrigeration. Combine pasta and sauce while warm.
If you have trouble with peanut butter then use almond or cashew butter.
8 ounces lo mein
2 quarts boiling water
1/3 teaspoon kosher sea salt
Cook noodles. Drain and rinse under cold water.
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped into a paste
1/3rd teaspoon Indian red chili
½ teaspoon sambal oelek (Vietnamese Chili Garlic paste)
2 tablespoons brown sugar or date palm molasses
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons peanut oil or coconut oil or corn oil
1/3 cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
3 stalks green onion, chopped
Cook brown sugar and peanut butter in the oil until it is warm throughout, add garlic, ginger and chili. Heat on medium for five minutes. Stir so that it does not stick to bottom of the pan. Stir in vegetable stock, soy and vinegar and continue to cook and stir for ten minutes on medium low.
Add noodles to sauce and cook for two minutes so that the noodles are coated and there is a light sauce. Add toasted sesame seeds.
Other garnishes can be sliced pickle, cabbage, cucumbers, cilantro, green onions, chopped nuts or zucchini cut into thin strips to resemble pasta using a microplane vegetable slicer.
Sweet Potato Salad
Potato salads have been lunchbox, picnic and travel favorites for generations and there is no reason to stop now. What we can do is expand on the many kinds of potato. We are using Japanese yam for this particular recipe but sweet potatoes are just as perfect. Be careful on how long you cook the diced potatoes as they go from gently firm to very soft in seconds. Frequently check for firmness as they boil.
The addition of honey and molasses was a last minute idea when I was cooking a test batch. You can experiment with various honeys from local uncooked which is the healthiest to any number of honey from around the country and globe. The same holds for different kinds of molasses when you start comparing grape, date, sorghum and cane. Unsulphured Blackstrap molasses is truly healthy, in fact it is the only processed sugar that is considered to posses healthy nutrients iron, calcium, magnesium, trace minerals, B and E vitamins. It has more calcium than milk.
2 tablespoons corn oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces Sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
8 ounces Ham, cut into small cubes
1/4th ounce dried mango, minced
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, small dice
2 Parsnips, small dice
1/3 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1/3rd cup Cashews
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon Roasted Italian herbs: thyme, oregano, basil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons European butter like Kerrygold Irish, Plugra or local dairy
5 ounces Irish gouda or young swiss cheese, small cubes
Saute potato, ham, mango, onion, celery and parsnips in oil on medium high heat for five minutes. Add chicken stock and cooking wine, cook until liquid dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese, and cook on medium low for five minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese. Refrigerate. You can also add any other fresh or dried fruits such as cherries, pineapple, pears, apples or grapes.
Of course any bread, cheese and cured meat is excellent for picnic, lunchbox or travel. Whether you are at home, school, on the back porch, in the mountains, by a stream or on the sea there is always a place for the new and unique plays on old standards for the picnic basket. The most important thing is to look to those close or far away and offer your peace and friendship. Any good Food can be sustainable, local and universal.

Dried flowers, a dusty letter,
Japanese figurines, yellow light
on the brick mantel shines,
wipe your eyes, look again,
and still it shines a cracked
and dingy pastel,
the morning itself seems like a postcard,
a loved memento of the life you’ve had.
But waking always brings this pause,
this gaze into the past…
You wish it was easier
to shake away the dreams,
just set them on the shelf
beside the light,
turn around and go your way,
To find something that will last.
And today these wishes
Do come true,
Today I woke and saw you.

Shirred Eggs and Liquor recipes


EGGSEPTIONAL AND EGGSTRAVAGENT SUMMER BRUNCH

Brunch is an affair that always brings to mind extravagant egg dishes, Belgian waffles, out of the ordinary sandwiches and fun drinks, either alcohol or non alcohol. This is a relaxing time where it is either a moment for lovers or for large groups. Happiness is the theme, and anytime there is good food and close friends then joy is surely expressed. Some of my fondest brunch memories are of dim sum restaurants, Southern fare and of coveted long afternoons on the Mendocino Coast watching the whales and tourists flow along with the fog.
We will be making one egg dish and several liquors and drink bases. The brunch table is a place of flowers, fresh cut fruits, rich muffins and biscuits, it is where you want to shine your best, but to also give airs of relaxation. Setting the table with carafes of drink bases, sparkling water, chilled espresso and teas adds to the sense of celebration. Any day with your beloved friends is a day to celebrate, actually.
Georgia just gets too hot too soon now so our egg is a baked dish, also called shirred eggs. I have been making various baked/shirred eggs for over 20 years. There are as many variations are imaginable. Shirred eggs tend to be British Isles, French and Scandinavian inspired dishes. The one today is Scandinavian and uses the last of the root vegetables of the season along with sausage style ground turkey. It is parsnips, carrots, onions, turnip, sweet potato, turkey sausage and farm eggs baked in an iron skillet with chicken stock, truffles and rosemary.
Do not be daunted by the prospect of making your own liquors, ginger ale and chai. We are making Kahlua, Irish cream, Beautiful and Green tea liquors. The recipes are for a quart of each. They keep indefinitely and nothing is wasted.
BRUNCH COFFEE AND ICED LIQUORS
For many people brunch means Bloody Mary and mimosa style drinks. They are mainstays for very good reasons of being both delicious and recognizable the world over as drinks that define a weekend brunch. Everyone has their own best Bloody Mary recipe. How about if we build our own liquor recipes?
Ginger ale syrup is an excellent addition to the grand old Sazerac and various bourbon cocktails. Peach bitters should have a place next to classic Angostura bitters on your bar shelf.
GINGER ALE
1lb ginger, unpeeled, cut into dice
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 small fresh chilies, stems removed
1.5 cups sugar
1 quart water
Combine ginger, lemongrass, and chilies in processor and mince, stop and scrape down as necessary.
Place puree in saucepan with the sugar and one quart of water, bring to boil, reduce to medium and simmer about 15 minutes. turn off heat, cool, strain, chill. This can be kept for several weeks refrigerated.
To serve, place about 1/4 cup syrup in glass full of ice. Top with soda water. Makes about 8-10 glasses. This is good with the green tea or beautiful liquors as well as an amazing ingredient to Sazerac.
A Sazerac is basically rye whiskey, and bitters. Peach Bitters works best. Muddle a sugar cube and the bitters with crushed ice. Pour the whiskey over the bitters and ice. Pour a dash of anise flavored liquor and a dash of ginger ale base into an Old Fashioned glass and roll it around the glass so that the inside is coated. Pour out the excess liquor. Strain the muddled whiskey into the glass.
CHAI LATTE
The word ‘chai’ translates as black tea.
1 cup Milk
2 cups Black tea, strong
1 Cinnamon bark
¼ teaspoon Ginger
1/6 teaspoon Cardamom
1 tablespoon Sugar or brown sugar

Combine and keep warm. Strain. Pour the liquid into cups or reserve in a sealed container in your refrigerator. You can make as much as you will drink within a couple of days.
If you are drinking it right away then steep and strain. In a separate container froth 4 ounces of milk or cream. Milk frothers are cheap and well worth owning. Add coffee liquor or Irish liquor to chai, spoon froth on top and sprinkle with fresh grated cinnamon.
KAHLUA
Makes 1 quart
1 1/2 cups espresso, cold
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4th cup molasses
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 quart vodka
Combine espresso, sugars, molasses and vanilla in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. When it hits a boil turn heat down to a simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes. Refrigerate 12 hours. Add vodka. Cover and let stand again overnight in refrigerator. That’s it, easy kahlua and half the price. You can vary the flavors with different coffees and with alternate extracts such as a touch of almond extract. And we all know what we get when we start mixing vanilla and almond…. Irish Cream!

IRISH CREAM
This is one of the most delicious and rich liquors around. You can make it as thick as you like with the condensed milk and chocolate.
1 cup heavy cream
1 pint sweetened condensed milk
1 quart Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
1 1/2 cups espresso, cold
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon dark vanilla extract
Mix it all together and then mix again in bar blender at high speed for about a minute so that it is completely blended. This will keep forever and a day in the refrigerator.
And you know what happens when you have your own homemade Irish Cream in the house? Chocolate martinis. Blend with vodka and a touch of orange liquor and swirl chocolate sauce around the top of the drink. Irish cream liquor is extremely versatile so be adventurous and see what you do with it in cocktails, cooking and as a topping for ice cream and cake desserts.
BEAUTIFUL
This is called Beautiful for the reason that it seems to make people feel that way, beautiful. This a strong liquor so use sparingly until you are used to the intensity.
1/2 cup Cointreau
1 cup Grand Marnier or Napoleon Mandarin Liquor
1 pint Brandy
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup cran-raspberry juice
1 cup orange juice

Make a syrup by heating the orange and cranberry-raspberry juices and sugar together just below a boil for 20 minutes, simmer. Remove from heat and add alcohols. You can substitute pomegranate juice and it will still be delicious. This also a great place to use the berry-vinegar drink base we made here a few months ago. Cover and refrigerate for several days before serving. This is best in a cordial glass or over ice. For fun you can serve it warm and float a tablespoon of cognac on the top and light it, when the flame dies, drink. Beautiful has many variations.
GREEN TEA LIQUOR
24 ounces strong green tea, brewed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 pint sake, good grade
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1/2 cup chopped peaches

Make the tea and set aside. Combine sugar and water. Make simple syrup by bringing it to a boil and then simmering for 15 minutes. Pour into the tea and honey. Chill. After it is cold add peaches and sake, blend in drink blender. Strain into glass or plastic container and cover. Set aside in a glass or plastic sealed container in a dark, cool place for at least a week.
Green tea liquor is good with sparkling water over ice, as a martini base, with sushi, as a summer sipping liquor or with fruit juice and soda water for a brunch cocktail.
SHIRRED EGGS
For a rich European or Northern California style brunch egg there is nothing better than shirred eggs. Oven baked eggs also reduce the amount heat distributed in your kitchen during our hot months here in the South. Be careful not to over cook them, and believe me, this is easy to do. Check your dish five minutes into cooking to see if the eggs are cooking at a good pace.
You can use individual small iron skillets person or cook it all in one big iron skillet for this particular dish. Many shirred egg dishes are cooked in ramekins and even as a brunch pizza with spinach, fresh mozzarella and garlic.
3 ounces parsnips, peeled and diced
3 ounces carrots, peeled and diced
3 ounces turnips, peeled and diced
2 ounces onion, diced
3 ounces sweet potato, peeled and diced
3/4 cup chicken stock
¼ teaspoon ground thyme
¼ teaspoon basil leaves
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
1/3 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon Indian red pepper, ground
1 teaspoon ground sea salt (sea salt because it is not bleached)
6 ounces ground turkey
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce butter
1 shaving of truffle for each egg. If no truffles then use rehydrated dried Chinese mushrooms or cepes.
Sauté the turkey and spices in olive oil and butter on low heat. When it is cooked add the vegetables one group at a time, pour off excess oils and then put in 375 degree oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Add chicken stock. Gently crack 4 to 6 eggs, depending how hungry you are, at compass points in the skillet. Keep the yolk and white as close together as you can by forming a well in the vegetables when you add them.
Bake for 10 minutes. Put one truffle shaving on top of each egg. If you must have cheese just grate Swiss or mozzarella over the pan and let it melt from the heat of the vegetables. Serve your friends and beloved with happiness and open conversations. The best things begin around a lively table.

Everything flowering
Everything alive
Turn anywhere
In an afternoon drive
Here and there
Trees are blooming
Roses reach out
Towards every passer by
They seem to shout
“Look at me, won’t you please?”
And in the kitchens
The cooking smells cry
“It’s time to gather here”,
And so we do,
We gather and we love,
We see all things in Spring
Are in and of God,
So we turn and say Hello,
Shake hands and smile,
Knowing all the while
This life is as good
As we make it,
We do as we should
As we would wish
Were done for us,
Fresh flowers,
Fresh foods,
True friends,
What is common
Is uncommon
And never simply
Sentimental
When done with heart
With purity and peace.

PANKO: THE OTHER WHITE BREAD CRUMB


PANKO: THE OTHER WHITE BREAD CRUMB
Modern American and Japanese food, art and medicine have an ever widening audience in both cultures. This exchange is not one sided. Our relationship is one of progress and growth. For every bite of wonderful, salt water expression in sushi, buttery Kobe beef, crisp tempura and gluten free pastas that we experience here, there is an equal reaction to hamburgers, Southern fried chicken and American-Italian foods in Japan.
This month we are exploring the uses of the coarse, white panko breadcrumb. Panko has been present in restaurants for a few decades but is fairly recent as a common grocery store product.
We import healthy foods and we export the fast food side of our culture. It would be amazing if our modern Southern, Northern California, New York and New Orleans food culture were more energetically marketed. They do appear in hotel restaurants around the world so that is a good start. Panko is one of those ingredients that make this expansion possible. We will be cooking fried panko pickles and baby bok choi; sautéed daikon (large white radish) pancakes with chili garlic sauce; and oven roasted panko salmon with orange sweet soy sauce Yes, Pacific salmon season has started!

Japanese holistic approaches to health have entered American homes with a positive integration of food, décor, mind and body. Modern American poetry has had an interesting and personal impact in Japan. Two scholastic literary collections that include things I have written have shown a great deal of interest in Japan. “American Diaspora”, a text book on the sense of geographic and cultural place for American poets; and “Last Call: The Bukowski Legacy Continues” which is a text of poetry and prose following the styles of Poet/Novelist Charles Bukowski. For every tanka and haiku that we all wrote as undergraduates, there is a contemporary American poetic form taken on in Japan and Asia. This is what makes all things “world” so beautiful, the exchange of culture through health, Art and cuisine.

Other dishes that make world foods possible are fried foods, pickles, pancakes/crepes, rice and pastas. How we prepare them is what defines recipe origins. Something as old as breadcrumbs has taken on vastly diverse manufacture and use. Some of us grew up knowing only Italian seasoned and plain breadcrumbs. Progress changes things. Japan found a way to toast bread from the inside out using electric probes in the bread dough. This way of bread baking made it possible for a whole new kind of breadcrumb, the white panko breadcrumb. It is cooked crispy from the inside out so that there is no crust and the texture is uniform throughout the bread.
Panko is coarse, white and allows for fast and crispy cooking. Progressive Chefs have found hundreds of ways of using panko throughout American and World cuisines. You can find panko in almost any grocery store. Some still keep it only in the Asian section, but most will have it alongside Western style breadcrumbs.
Bok choi or bok choy is a member of a family of Chinese cabbages. I have heard the word choi used to describe leafy vegetables in general. Bok choi has no cholesterol or fat, and is high in vitamins C and A. Raw, it has a crisp and clean flavor. I think all chois taste great, think of a marriage between baby lettuces and cucumber and you have a sense of the flavor. They are highly adaptable from raw to fried. Sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce and fermented black bean (soy beans) and garlic each are compliments to bok choi. The bright flavor and crisp characteristics of bok choi is a perfect match for panko fried pickles.
The first time I saw fried pickles as a beer food was in Sausalito, CA. A table of Japanese men were eating fried pickles and drinking draft beer. I thought it was pretty cool because fried pickles are Southern and Japanese, with each culture thinking it is their own creation. That scene was in 1980. Thing is that open fires and boiling oil tend to encourage cooks to put anything to the test. Salty, sweet and sour, fried pickles take on a vibrant flavor that begs you to eat more. They are good as bar food or as an appetizer. Pilsner is the perfect beer for these crispy bar snacks. Salty and sour makes you thirsty, hence they are primary flavors in bar food.
FRIED PANKO PICKLES AND BOK CHOI
The dipping sauce is mayonnaise based. I recently bought two different kinds of Philippine vinegar bbq sauces at Fooks Grocery and in three days one is half full. They are that good. The brand is Kuratsoy from Isabel Village in the Philippines. It is a blend of coconut vinegar, “spices” and soy.
The world of vinegars is populated with white, apple cider, sorghum, cane, balsamic, pomegranate, red wine, sherry and champagne to the complex Japanese brown rice and deep, bitter Chinese black vinegar. Vinegars, alcohol, stocks, fruit and vegetable juices are all important for deglazing hot woks and sautéed dishes as well as important ingredients to our sauces and marinades. Never underestimate the quality of a vinegar, it’s all a happiness.
Isabel Village Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons Dukes mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Kuratsoy extra hot thin bbq vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/6 teaspoon thyme
1/6 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Combine well and refrigerate. Tightly covered, this will keep for several weeks.
Bok Choi
3 bok choi, washed, thick slice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Slice and toss with oil. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Pickles
10 dill pickles, 5 cut in spears and 5 cut in thick oblong slices
¼ cup milk
¼ cup Greek yogurt (plain)
Combine milk and yogurt, stir and add pickles. Refrigerate for two hours.
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground Indian chili or ground red chili pepper
1/3 cup unbleached white flour or brown rice flour
1 cup panko
Mix dry ingredients.
1 quart corn oil heated to 350 degrees

Remove pickles from marinade and drain. Put the dry ingredients in a plastic bag. Add the pickles to the bag. Shake. Take pickles out of bag, shake off excess starch and fry for 2 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon lift pickles out of oil and drain.
Scatter the bok choi over a serving platter, spoon Isabel Village Mayonnaise in the center of the plate and around the edges. Stack pickles on the bok choi. Garnish with chopped Chinese parsley/cilantro and very small amount of coarse sea salt and crushed dried pepper. Dried jalapeno is very good pepper choice for this dish. It can be found in the Latin section of the grocery store along with several other kinds of dried pepper. At one time or another, try them all, learn how each has an important flavor.
DAIKON PANCAKES WITH CHILI GARLIC SAUCE
This is comfort food at it’s finest. My favorite is Hong Kong style but there are Korean, Taiwanese, Beijing, Vietnamese and of course Japanese styles as well. Our chili garlic sauce is simply, Srirracha. Srirracha was made by a Vietnamese immigrant in Los Angeles back in the 1970s because he was trying to recall his grandmother’s home cooking. “Rooster sauce” became an international hit.
Daikon is a mild white radish. They look like huge white parsnips. They are good raw or cooked. Daikon is used a lot in sushi restaurants. It is great cold to mild weather food. One of my fondest food memories is that of eating radish cakes hot off the stove, it was snowing and we were in comfort food heaven inside looking out at late winter. Radish cakes are popular at dim sum restaurants.
1 ½ cups daikon, peeled and shredded
2 cups cold water
Soak in cold water 30 minutes. Drain.
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
½ onion, minced
1 egg, beaten
½ cup panko
1 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
1 teaspoon paprika
4 ounces corn oil for frying

Combine. Add daikon to mix and mash it all together. Shape eight pancakes. Heat oil in large iron skillet and pan fry until crisp outside, hot inside. Serve with Srirracha and chopped cherries for a complete set of flavors. Srirracha is also good mixed with mayonnaise.
PANKO SALMON
Panko is the star today but with salmon season beginning it is a tough call as to what is our feature today. Pacific salmon are: Chinook, chum/keta, sockeye, coho/silver and pink. Stick to this set of salmon and you will never go wrong.. What does this mean? Buy Alaskan to Washington Pacific salmon in season, your body, taste buds and the fisheries will thank you. Do this, pretend that Atlantic Salmon has never been farmed in the Pacific Ocean. See how plentiful and untarnished the waters can be?
SALMON
2, 7 ounce salmon fillets, skin on (crispy skin is tasty!)
1 teaspoon pink sea salt
1 tablespoon sweet rice vinegar
Mix vinegar and salt. Rub on flesh and skin.
1 cup panko
Dredge flesh side of salmon in panko. Press it into the meat so it holds.
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat iron skillet with butter and oil. Put salmon in flesh side down. Cook three minutes. Use a fish spatula and turn. Cook two minutes and then finish in 450 degree oven for five minutes.
4 ounces Pearl River dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons date palm sugar or date molasses, or brown sugar/molasses
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Combine and heat over low heat until thickened. Stir as it cooks.

Set salmon on plate, drizzle sauce over salmon. Shredded carrots and zucchini, Indo-Asian pesto, and Japanese pasta is very good with salmon, and of course a side of wasabi is always welcome.
April is a big, breezy, blossoming, farmers market ready, food crazy, happy, pollinating month of rebirth and hope. Spread the love. There’s always love to spare.

For every passion
There is compassion,
With a prayer to peace,
To faith and hope,
This is our life alive
At the start of each day.
In each sunrise, sunset,
A thousand possibilities
Are cast into the world.
From the farmers we see
Heirloom seeds,
Heritage crops,
Climbing vines
Of wild sweet peas,
Peppers, peppers, peppers,
All fill the carts
Of our local markets.
And then,
Winds crash down
From the Nantahala range,
Carrying rain clouds
And the thrill
Of June tomatoes,
Silver Queen corn,
Buckets of squashes
And piles of potatoes,
This is Georgia
At the beginning of Spring,
When our hearts
Reach as high
As Jack’s beanstalk
And our spirit
Dares to touch
The heavens above.

Condiments


WHERE SWEET TURNS TO SOUR AND THE HOT REMAINS THE SAME

(The where and how of condiments)

            Wherever you are in the world it is easy to see that condiments become you. Every plate has a garnish, an extra, a special something that elevates and creates a wholly new flavor. This “something” is where condiments make a play on the plate, and in turn influence the way you experience the dish itself. Think of these examples: ketchup, mustard, chow-chow, pickles, relish, kim chee, hot sauces, soy, horseradish, Worcestershire. The scene is set for the plate by how we see fit to accompany the entrée (centerpiece). The recipes this month are sautéed chicken breast with black mustard seed-agave sweetened mustard; and iron skillet grilled firm tofu with blackberry-peach tamarind sauce.

In dining around the world there is always something that offers a sense of home. The way to understand these foods is to remember your history and experience the way in which food has relations around the globe. In turn, the way to find greatest pleasure in world cuisines is to forget your history and enjoy the food for what it is in and of itself. I particularly enjoy tasting something for the first time, something that is so indigenous and locked into a place that it is impossible to ever have this same experience any other scene in the world. The same theory applies to any set of experiences in travel, the Arts, relationships and dining.

Variations in world cuisines that were once scoffed at by stuffed shirts and xenophobes become avenues of exploration once prejudice is removed. The examples are legion. Condiments often pave the way for such culinary discovery. Chow-chow relish is a great example of confusion and discovery. It may historically be French, German, Hungarian, British, India, and Chinese. “Chou” is French for cabbage, and  “kouchumber” is a Chinese condiment. Hindi, Korean and Chinese cuisines have many hot condiments made with cabbage. A Hungarian Chef, Charles Thoth, that I trained under swore it was Polish-Hungarian in origin. This is a relish whose home may be the entire globe and not the property of any one culture. Lets look at sour cream, cucumber and onion which indicates Central Europe. Yogurt (unsweetened/plain/Greek/Indian), cucumber and onion indicates Punjab Province of India and of Greece. They taste almost the same. All “own” the dish as a signature of their cuisines. There is a lot of freedom in understanding our culinary history.

All of my food columns contain a condiment recipe, this is  how important condiments are to any dish. I try to make the unfamiliar, familiar. By doing so you are able to find ingredients and utensils that are close to home. The reason I developed a blackberry-peach Worcestershire was that I wanted to give the sauce flavors of Georgia. The mustard and Worcestershire is made so that it is friendly to all tastes and dietary requirements from gluten free to sugar free. Mustard is known the world over. Mustard is a member of the cabbage family.

In January I had a balsamic-lime mustard recipe. The reason I am reprising a mustard is to further explore just how easy it is build beyond classic yellow, brown and coarse mustards. Coarse mustards are the ones where the mustard seeds are dominant and often includes a wine or whiskey. Our black and blue mustard is all new just for you. If you start using the balsamic mustard and the black & blue mustard you will taste how versatile mustards really are in the modern kitchen. And yes, even on hot dogs and corn beef sandwiches these mustards will still have that sinus opening flavor that situates mustard in the pantheon of condiments.

Tamarind is essential to Worcestershire, as in no tamarind then no Worcestershire. Tamarind is a tree, we use the flavor from pulp of the tamarind seed. It has a slightly sour flavor and is also the source for many candies in Southeast Asia. Tamarind is one of the most versatile ingredients in world cuisines with uses from sauces to primary ingredient, to candy and hot weather drinks. Once you have tamarind extract in your kitchen start using it by the quarter teaspoon in dishes where lemon or lime are required. Using it in small amounts in Asian, South American and American recipes will get you used to how it interacts and creates new flavors. The sauce originated in Thailand and Burma.

Black & Blue Mustard

            This is a sugar free, gluten free and corn free all purpose mustard. It is good with stir fry, pork, duck, turkey, chicken and of course hot dogs, dips, hamburgers and corned beef sandwiches. You will notice that I always specify sea salt. The reason for this is because it is not bleached with any kind of chemicals to maintain white color. Salt is historically our primary method of preserving foods prior to pre 20th century refrigeration. It was not chemically enhanced. Chemical enhancing has repercussions upon the body. Remember the old commercials about how “It’s not good to fool Mother Nature”? Well, it’s not, so avoid foods that do.

4 tablespoons            Coleman’s Dry Mustard

1/2 teaspoon              black mustard seeds

1/3rd cup                    cold water

1/3rd cup                    sorghum vinegar (or cane vinegar)

2 tablespoons            lemon juice or tamarind extract

3 tablespoons            Blue agave syrup (amber)

½ teaspoon                paprika

½ teaspoon                cumin

1 teaspoon                   sea salt

Combine ingredients. Transfer to sauce pan and cook over low heat for five minutes. Gently stir for the entire time it cooks.

CHICKEN WITH THAI RED RICE

2, 7 ounce                    chicken breasts

1/4th teaspoon           ground white pepper

1/3rd teaspoon           kosher sea salt

1/3rd cup                     flour or tapioca starch

1 ounce                         corn oil

½ ounce                      olive oil

Season, flour and sauté the chicken on medium high heat for 3 minutes per side. Turn twice. Finish in 400 degree oven for 16 minutes. Set aside.

Cook Thai red rice the same way you would cook any brown rice. Red rice contains the same nutrients with a more intense flavor. It has become my favorite rice over the past few months. Just use a little salt, a star anise pod and two bay leaves when you cook this rice.

BLACKBERRY PEACH TAMARIND

You will need to buy tamarind extract at any Asian or Latin grocer. A little goes a long way. The flavor is classic British occupation Worcestershire with the best of Georgia peaches and blackberries. In the winter it is fine to use frozen fruit. I cannot recommend canned. This is good on any foods where you would use Worcestershire.

5 tablespoons            tamarind extract

4 ounces                     blackberries

2 ounces                     peaches

2 cloves                       garlic

1/4th cup                    onion, minced

1 teaspoon                   sea salt

1/2 teaspoon               fine black pepper

1/4th teaspoon            ground allspice

1/4th teaspoon            ground cloves

1                                      bay leaf

1/3rd cup                       soda water

1/3rd cup                       brown rice vinegar

Combine. Cook on stove to boil for three minutes. Puree in food processor. Strain. Set aside. This will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. If you want a different flavor you can substitute Dr. Pepper or Coke for the liquids.

We are using extra firm tofu. To prepare tofu for cooking remove from water pack and drain. Place on plate between paper towels and gently press to remove all water from the tofu. Put in small container. Pour one cup of green salsa (salsa verde) over the tofu. Refrigerate over night.

Remove and cook either on the grill or in an iron skillet with raised grates for stove top grilling. Cook 2 minutes per side, turn twice, and finish in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

This is good with any greens or as a classic entrée with steamed vegetables and Red Mule grits.

Knowing these two sauces is a way of welcoming the world into your Southern kitchen. My peace be with you, spread the love and open your hearths to the fires and spices of the lands outside.

Mustard seeds and you to feed

With chicken tops and tofu bottoms

Hold the ketchup toss the bottle

I’ve things to say and yous to do

With a side of this and glop like a hat

We’ll find fine trees of tamarind

Set a corn oil boil in black iron vat

Battered birds, foody words, I’m not a nerd,

Soy blocks raging and fashion designer

Everything is finer with condiment beside her

Let loose the hounds of chow town

Pluck sweet cucumbers put the bottle down

Will you eat pickles on a train in the plain?

Will you fill a bowl of tickles on a moving car

That’s here before you’ve gone too far?

Powders and chowders and marshmallow stars?

So tell the man behind a bad plan

That tradition is one thing but stale is another.

DIFFERENT HENS IN FAMILIAR PLACES


DIFFERENT HENS IN FAMILIAR PLACES

Chilly weather and the beautiful change of colors of North Georgia in November, the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, and of course, Thanksgiving. Just thinking about the season makes me hungry. It is a favorite for us all, and normally we gather with our extended families around the traditional 15-pound turkey and a dozen side dishes. But what if there is just the two of you, or a turkey isn’t what you want this time around, and you want to save the big bird for Christmas. Well, you have a few choices for your poultry needs and they are poulet rouge (from Plow Point Farms), duck, goose, chicken, turkey, pigeoneaux, dove, quail, pheasant, and Rock Cornish game hens. We will be preparing the game hen. The recipe will work just as well with any of the other birds, but there is something of a guilty pleasure in having a whole bird of your own on the plate. Choose your sides from whatever is looking the best in the produce section.
(If your mood is towards one whole bird to split for two then use a poulet rouge hen from Plow Point Farms in Oconee County. The BEST chickens I have ever eaten. )

Tyson Farms created the Rock Cornish game hens we normally see in the grocery store in the middle 1960’s. The original Cornish game hen is from the land of King Lear, Cornwall, England. They are quite affordable and just the thing if you want treat yourself to something special for dinner without the high cost, hours of basting, or endless leftovers hanging out in your refrigerator.
Poulet rouge, aka red hen of the piedmont and in our case, of Oconee county, Georgia. This breed of chicken is longer, meatier without being fatty but remaining juicy at any stage, be it fresh and roasted to 165 degrees internal temperature on the thigh bone, or as leftovers. The flavor is very smooth, texture is meaty yet juicy. I am amazed by this perfect chicken in any preparation. I have mostly approached it with the cuisine of my past, Haute Cuisine, French Continental and whether stuffed under the skin with herb butter or chevre and roasted; boned and folded around shiitake mushrooms, garlic and feta cheese; buttermilk marinade and Southern fried; cut into six pieces and roasted with a light golden stock; Thanksgiving style roasted whole with carrots, turnips, small onions, garlic and red potatoes, it does not matter because any way it is prepared it is the best chicken you will ever eat. Cornish game hens and poulet rouge are definitely my two go-to birds when I have a need for chicken…and that’s a lot!
You will find adobo seasoning in the Mexican section at your grocery store. Cardamom is usually used in sweet pastries, but in this case it is a great compliment in bringing together the spice of the adobo and the deep flavors of black strap molasses. If you can find it, black cardamom adds a very unique Indian flavor to your dish. What you end up with is a combination of bright and deep flavors, with each taste complimenting the other.
(Please try out all of the choices that we have for sweet flavors, from granulated white sugar to the different honeys, molasses, palm sugar, turbinado, maple syrups, and grades of sugar, including slices of raw sugar cane. Although most sugars are not considered healthy, black strap molasses is truly good for you as it is converted into energy and is not stored as fat in your body. Take a cup of wild flower honey and add orange, lemon and lime skins (no white), 1 stick of cinnamon and one piece star anise. Mix and cover. Store in cabinet for three days. Honey syrup to live for!)

ADOBO AND PLUM GAME HENS
2 1 1/4 pound each, Cornish game hens
Thaw them out in your refrigerator. This will take a day or two, but don’t rush it. Remove neck and giblets from cavity. Rinse in cold water. Pat dry with paper towel.
COMBINE
2 tablespoons Adobo seasoning
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup Molasses
1/4 cup Light soy sauce
Rub the season mix half of it over the skin and inside the cavity of the hens. Refrigerate overnight. Save the rest of the seasoning for when you cook them.
STUFFING
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
8 purple plums, peel and remove the stones
2 teabags Darjeeling tea, remove tea from bags
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup warm water to bind the stuffing
(If you cannot find fresh plums, don’t be ashamed to use canned or dried. It’s ok to substitute with nectarines, apricots, lychee, rambutan, jackfruit, peaches or even apples and pears.)

Mix the stuffing in a small bowl. Now fill the cavity of each hen with the stuffing mix. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Rub the rest of the seasoning on the hens. Roast in small roasting pan for one hour.
There are two ways to check for doneness. The first is with your trusty thermometer, which will register 180 degrees, the second is to insert the tip of a boning knife into the section between the thigh and breast, the juices of the bird will run clear. If the liquid is cloudy then it is not done. Do both and you will see how it works. The skin is going to be dark, so don’t think that you have burned your dinner, remember, we seasoned with molasses and soy. Let the birds rest for 10 minutes after you take them out of the oven before you have your dinner. This allows the juices to settle and the meat to tighten back up after the cooking. They will slice easier, and will taste better if you allow this resting time.
CORNISH HEN MOLE (pronounced MO-Lay)
A mole is a very popular central Mexico and Central American dish and style of cooking. It involves a clay pot. That’s easy. Then it uses chocolate, chilies, aromatic spices, tomato, herbs, nuts, garlic and dried apricots or other dried fruits to balance the heat. Mole is one of the more complicated sauces/dishes to prepare and requires a bold hand with the seasonings and a gentle method of cooking. Think of it in terms of Thai curries, Vietnamese soups, French cassoulet, or Spanish paella and you’ll get an idea of how serious this dish is to the Oaxacan cooks of central Mexican. As you may have noticed, chocolate is not just a dessert or drink; chocolate can be used throughout a meal as a garnish and central ingredient to every course. Chocolate is bitter, sweet, dry, moist, bittersweet and even hot, but never white, as white chocolate has no chocolate and is made with coconut and palm sugars.
We are using Cornish hen because it is small, tasty, and tender, doesn’t take forever to cook, will fill up with the mole flavors and not fill you up. And because I think that Cornish game hens taste great and are an easy small entrée for two to share in a meal of several courses.
Toast the nuts/seeds with the spices before adding to the mix. Do this in a pan in a 475~ oven for ten minutes. Do not be afraid of the list of ingredients. You can use garam masala as your base and go from there if you like, or buy a premade mole as your base and season from that as a starting point.
MOLE
¼ cup duck fat or olive oil
1-tablespoon chipotle, chopped
2 tablespoons poblano, diced
2 tablespoons onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup tomato, chopped, seeded
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3-cup mixed peanuts and cashews, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon cloves, toasted
½ teaspoon cinnamon, toasted
½ teaspoon ginger, toasted
1-teaspoon allspice, toasted
2 tablespoons dried Oregano
1/3 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh Parsley, chopped
1 cup unsweetened Chocolate
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sea salt

The mole takes one hour of cooking on the stove for the sauce to reach the correct flavor and consistency.
I prefer a large iron skillet to cook this part of the dish. If you do not have one then use a stainless steel thick, large high sided pan, not a soup pot. Use a large wooden spoon for the stirring. Heat the duck fat, lard or oil on medium high heat in the pan, and add the peppers and onions. Cook until they are soft. Add the garlic and tomato and cook on medium low heat for fifteen minutes. Add the toasted nuts and herbs and stir. Add the fresh herbs, stir. Cook for fifteen minutes. Add the chocolate and stir, turn up the heat to medium and keep stirring for five minutes. Add chicken stock and Worcestershire, stir and turn heat to low. Let simmer uncovered on low for about fifteen more minutes. You will need to stir it from time to time to keep it from splattering or sticking to the pan. It will be thick but still liquid. If it is too thick then add more chicken stock.
Remove from heat and let cool. Overnight is fine or you can mix it with the hen and immediately cook in the oven.
HENS
The mole is enough for two hens. Thoroughly wash the hens in cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Did you remove the giblet bag from inside the cavity? Cut the bird into six pieces.
Put the pieces into a large bowl and mix with the mole. Put in heavy duty roasting pan or clay pot. Preheat oven to 375~ and cook for one hour.
You can also add the cut up hens to the mole sauce as it cooks and simmer it this way for thirty minutes right in the sauce and it will be very tender and spicy. It’s just that the way in the pan requires constant attention and in the oven you can just let the oven do the work while you enjoy the other courses of your fine Valentine’s dinner.
Divide between two plates. Squeeze a half lime over the dishes to add an extra lift to the flavors. A good side would be quinoa or wild rice. Divide an apple, Asian pear or a bunch of grapes to share with this as well. Fruit and Chocolate
POULET ROUGE TRADITIONAL
If you are feeling more traditionally inclined and want to make your hens taste like the bird of the last 25 years then but better:
SPICE RUB
2 ounces butter
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning (ground sage and bay leaves)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Crush ingredients in your spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Rub under the skin.

STUFFING
1 stalk celery, fine dice
½ medium white onion, fine dice
2 cups coarse Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1//4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 egg yolks
Combine and divide, stuff into the cavity of the bird.
ROASTING
6 small red potatoes
1 large turnip, rough chopped
2 cups acorn squash, peeled, seeded and rough chopped
1 leek, washed and diced up to the light green stalk
4 cippolinni onions, peeled and stems removed
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup very rich chicken stock

Roast 45 minutes at 425 degrees. Baste every 15 minutes. Turn the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 30 minutes. It really is that easy.
Collards and field peas go great with this way of cooking the poulet rouge.

THANKSGIVING
Early evening opening into a November sky

Of fog brightened stars and shadowed trees,

Wicker chairs creaking as we lean back and yawn,

Sharing sweet warm tea and Anjou pears.

Coltrane’s Meditation on the stereo,

It flows and rises.

Dark eyes, brown and gold, sea deep,

Mahogany-black hair, thin strands

Moving along with the autumn song

Of the wind and the birds in our garden.

It’s so peaceful here, after dinner,

Relaxed and easy, where this is the wish:

The working world slips away and it’s just us,

Here on the back porch, feeling the night,

Feeling it all wrap around us

So vibrant and crisp,

Alive with thanksgiving,

With each other.

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

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