Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rosie Makes A Figgin' Great Sauce.


The Hawthornes have a fig tree 
which is producing mightily right now.

My first offering of figs is
a savory sauce.

a bowl full of figs (2 dozen or so)
2 cups red wine
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 TB honey
2 cinnamon sticks
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan
and cook over medium low, simmering,
for about 40 minutes, or until mixture is reduced by half.

Two cups wine into the pan.
Whenever you cook with a wine,
use a good wine.
Never, ever buy "cooking wine."
You don't drink a "cooking wine,"
so don't cook with it.
Buy a wine for cooking that you would actually drink.
Remember, you're reducing and intensifying the flavors of the wine,
so don't use a wine you wouldn't drink.

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

Toss in the figs.

Bear with me.

You know how I like my action shots.

I'm done.

Add in rosemary and cinnamon sticks.

Add in honey.

Cook over medium low.

Whenever I reduce a liquid,
I use a chopstick and mark the level.

Simmer until reduced by half.
You won't believe what my kitchen smells like.

Remove cinnamon sticks and rosemary
and let mixture cool a bit,
then pour mixture  into processor.
Don't worry if a few rosemary leaves are left in.

Process away until smooth.

Add in three TB unsalted butter.

Velvety, warm, rich savory fig sauce.
The cinnamon and rosemary elements are excellent.

Now that we have a fig sauce,
what do we do with it?

Rosie's going with pork chops.
Pork loins were on sale at Food Lion.
The only seasoning you need
is freshly ground salt and pepper.

I cooked these in a little peanut oil and unsalted butter.
Butter is for flavor.
Peanut oil is to raise the smoke point,
so you can cook over high heat.
These were just shy of an inch thick.
Cook over medium high heat 2 1/2 minutes each side.
Do not overcook pork.
You want it slightly pink in the middle.
Don't worry.
You will not get trichinosis.
You do not want it grayish-white and cooked to hell.

This fig sauce pairs perfectly with pork.

I loved these flavors together.

You want something different?
Try this.

You will not be disappointed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rosie And Maxine Go To The Danville Farmers' Market.

During the summertime whenever I'm in Danville,
Maxine and I always check out the Farmer's Market
down in the old tobacco district and train station.

I asked the gentleman 
for permission to shoot his picture.

Miss Piggy is five weeks old.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Maxine's Backyard.

Rosie was in Danville this weekend,
visiting with Maxine.

This is what I woke up to Saturday morning.

I love Maxine's backyard.

The Hawthornes are safely back home today on the Outer Banks.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rosie Makes A Crab Meat Boule Appetizer.

 Good neighbor Zippy showed up the other night
with a bucket full of blue crabs for the Hawthornes.
Don't you just love neighbors like that?

Youngest Hawthorne requested my special crab meat boule.
Coming right up!
Youngest Hawthorne has had a lot of requests lately.
I made my basic boule,
but won't bother to give you the recipe here,
since I was making it at the same time as 
I was doing the doughnuts
and I got over-rise on my boule.
Rosie is easily distracted.
Especially by shiny things.

 Slice off the top of your homemade boule.
Or save yourself the trouble
and buy one at the supermarket.
Scoop out the boule in chunks.

This is not my usual boule.
What I was trying to do was incorporate things I'd learned
from my Saveur magazine article about artisan breads.
I did the autolysis rest and the double fermentation thing.

However, I let it rise past the point of perfection.
I was distracted by the doughnuts I was making.
And the boule started sinking.
Just slightly.

It was still good bread.
Slightly tart from the double fermentation
and it had a nice rough texture.
Good for toasting.

For my boule filling, I started out with equal amounts
of unsalted butter, cream cheese, and Brie.

 Add to saucepan and melt over low heat.

I added in the juice of a lemon.

I added in the crab meat 
Mr. Hawthorne and Youngest Hawthorne picked.
At least a pound of meat.

Heat crab meat mixture through.

Pour crab meat mixture into boule.

Add a tablespoon or so of sherry.
Give it a few stirs.
Not too much.
Remember:  You want pockets of flavors.

Bake at 350 degrees until bread pieces are toasted
and crab meat is heated through, 20-30 minutes.

Normally, I take the boule out of the baking dish to serve it
and take attractive photographs of it.
 Not tonight.
We just dug in.

Scoop out crab meat with toast pieces.

My photographs don't do this appetizer justice
since I'm shooting under indoor lighting around 9 PM.

Just know that each yummy scoop 
of homemade toasty bread
is chock full of crab meat and deliciosity.

Let it be known:
This is one of my favorite things to eat.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Junior Chills.

Junior's too cute.

Rosie Makes Spaghetti Pie.

Youngest Hawthorne occasionally cooks for himself,
which can be good or bad, depending.
Because of this, I ended up with over a pound of cooked spaghetti.

Now the question is:
How does one make Spaghetti Moreovers?*

And the answer is:
One makes a Spaghetti Pie.

I added a big plop of butter to the noodles
and nuked until until the butter melted.
Toss spaghetti to coat in butter.

I grated Parmesan cheese.

Add as much as you like.
I'm of "The More Cheese The Merrier" camp.

This was 3/4 cup - 1 cup grated Parm.

I added in 2 beaten eggs.
Toss to coat.

Next, I coated the pie with cottage cheese and ricotta cheese,
ridding my refrigerator of 2 cartons and ...

...  poured my tomato sauce over top.
Third container gone.
Those two lumps in the pie are my last two meatballs.
I guess Youngest Hawthorne knew his limit.

Top with grated cheese.

I used Mozzarella.

 Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes,
or until pie is heated through and cheese is a nice golden in places.

Nothing goes to waste in the Hawthorne Household.
And I don't refer to the remnants as leftovers.
Immediately after writing the word "leftovers,"
I knew I needed another word
that was more real, more definitive, and positive.
First I thought of the word re-do's.
But that implies it wasn't done right
the first time around
when it certainly was.
Then I considered do-overs.
But, of course,
that, too, has a negative connotation.
I've put a lot of thought into this
trying to come up with just the right word which describes
the process of what I do
in the life chain of the produce and viande
I prepare and serve and consume.

And my word is moreovers.

Think about it:
You've already produced and served
a wonderful, satisfying, convivial repast.
So, what's next?
MORE is next.
When you say, "Moreover,"
you're likely going to top what you previously said,
put an exclamation point there,
and/or put it in bold or italics.
So, I have no leftovers.