Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twice-Fried Plantains with Gingered Tuna Tartar and Guacamole Recipe

A great entertaining recipe featuring Virginia grown ginger.

I'm excited to share with everyone this easy and fun cocktail nibble recipe and video featuring Virginia grown ginger. It's a recipe for Twice-Fried Plantains with Gingered Tuna Tartar and Guacamole, and it's my latest for The Virginia Farm Bureau's "Heart of the Home" cooking segment, which I am happy to report has now doubled in production, which means more recipes and more shows featuring Virginia everything.

You can catch these shows in their entirety here as well as here on various statewide cable and satellite stations. However, for a play by play on how to make this creative nibble that's best described as being a little Cuban and a little Asian all wrapped into one tasty bite, check out the above video. Savory plantains are double fried until they're super crispy and then topped with a fresh tuna tartar blended with sesame oil, green onions, and of course, a healthy dose of freshly grated Virginia ginger before receiving a dollop of creamy guacamole. You'll have to trust me on this one, it is an amazingly addictive combination.


Twice-Fried Plantains topped with Gingered Tuna Tartar and Guacamole

Serves approximately 20 as a cocktail nibble
For the Tartar:

1 pound sushi-grade tuna, cut into ¼-inch cubes
3 tablespoons soy sauce or Japanese shoyu sauce
3 tablespoons green onions, minced
3 tablespoons sweet onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
Dash of garlic chili sauce or Sriracha sauce, optional
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (either white or black)

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

For the Guacamole:

2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
Juice of ½ a small lime
1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno, finely minced (or to taste)
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium-sized bowl , mash your avocados coarsely (leaving a few chunks here and there). Add the rest of your ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with additional fresh lime juice and cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Plantains:

3 to 4 large unripe (green) or barely ripe (slightly yellow) plantains
2 cups (approximately) peanut or canola oil, for frying

With a sharp, small knife, cut the ends from each plantain and cut a lengthwise slit through the skin. Peel away the skin and discard. Cut plantains crosswise into 1 ½-inch thick pieces.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat a ½ inch of oil over moderate heat. It should be just hot enough to sizzle when a plantain piece is added. Fry plantains in batches, without crowding, until tender and just golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. With tongs, transfer plantains to paper towels to drain. Repeat until you've cooked all of the plantains.

Remove skillet from heat and reserve the oil. With the bottom of a heavy saucepan or a wide solid metal spatula, flatten plantains to ¼ inch thick and about 3 inches in diameter. Heat the reserved oil over moderate heat until hot, but not smoking. Fry the flattened plantains again in batches, without crowding, until golden, about 2-3 minutes. With tongs, transfer plantains onto paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt, if desired.  Keep plantains warm in the oven until ready to top with the tuna and guacamole.

To serve: Top each plantain with a spoonful of the tuna tartar and then a dollop of guacamole. Repeat until you’ve used up all of your ingredients. Serve immediately on a platter garnished with cilantro and lime slices.

©2012 Fatback and Foie Gras. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Pin It Now!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Little Preview of Rappahannock Restaurant

Cured Scottish Salmon Trout with beets, soft boiled quail egg, creme fraiche and Grinnel caviar
So last night was the grand opening of Rappahannock Restaurant, the brand spanking new joint by those crafty Croxton cousins of Merroir, Rappahannock River Oysters and Rappahannock River Oyster Co. in DC. After finally nailing down that ever-elusive Richmond ABC license (just in time) and hoisting signage from artist Ed Trask, the Croxton's officially opened Rappahannock to a full and happily busy house.

As admitted Merroir junkies, where we often take our pup Hankdog along and sit riverfront to nosh oysters, crab cakes and clams, we weren't going to miss this one. With Prosecco on tap (yes, you heard that correctly), a stellar chef, Dylan Fultineer (of Hungry Cat and Hollister Brewing Co. in Santa Barbara) and Mixologist Katie Nelson (of The Columbia Room and Passenger in D.C.), we set out to stuff ourselves silly and that we did.

Rappahannock's menu boasts a solid raw bar with RR Oysters' signature bivalves as well as various caviars and cured seafood. The "From the Kitchen" section of the menu has an array of small and larger plates (good for sharing) and there are a few desserts along with a Virginia cheese plate for snacking. To drink, there's a solid draft beer list, plenty of tasty cocktails from Ms. Nelson and a wine list (priced by the glass as well as the bottle) that's built for seafood.

So, here's a taste of what you're in for if you plan to hit up Rappahannock and I highly suggest you do.
Rockfish and Barcat oyster Bourride with garlic, fennel, potatoes topped with grilled bread and a poached egg
Oysters and Pearls: 6 Rappahannock oysters topped with nori granita and trout caviar
Appalachian Heritage Farm's grilled pork belly with braised shell beans, apples and salsa verde
Grilled Virginia sea scallops over braised oxtail with roasted curried cauliflower
Northern Lights caviar with creme fraich egg salad and house-made cracker....
...which we shared with a certain Modern Gentleman and his beautiful fam to celebrate his birthday.

The open-air kitchen with chefs at work and a cameo (bottom left) of Merroir's Chef Peter!

©2012 Fatback and Foie Gras. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission,
Pin It Now!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Judging a Book by Its Cover: The Southern Slow Cooker Cookbook

Due out August 2013. Hang tight kids!
UPDATE: I just found out that The Southern Slow Cooker is officially available for pre-order as of today!  So excited! Pre-order on Amazon.

They say never to judge a book by its cover, but the fact is we all do. Just walk into any Barnes and Noble (or hit and visit the cookbook section and you'll see all those books with smiling celebrity faces and food porny photos with grab-you-by-the-shirt catchy titles and subtitles which, more often than not, bear words like "simple", "fresh" and "foolproof". This is the nature of our highly competitive game, to rope you in with luscious photos, peppy titles and sleek artwork that gets you to click, pick-up, open and flip pages, or simply remember come Christmas gift time.

Only a few days ago, we (me and the folks at Ten Speed Press) decided on the cover (shot by Erin Kunkel) for "The Southern Slow Cooker" cookbook and it wasn't easy. We narrowed the choices down to three based on recipes in the book-- a lovely shot of black-eyed peas and stewed tomatoes, a soul satisfying photo of a bowl of beef stew and the picture above featuring a bowl of Chesapeake Bay crab and corn chowder topped with fresh corn relish. All three of these recipes are built for slow cooking, so theoretically any of them could grace the book's cover. However, we wanted this cover to truly stand out, not only from the hundreds of other cookbooks out there, but also from other slow cooker cookbooks (which tend to feature lots and lots of stew, chili and the like), so crab chowder it is. It's Southern, fresh and flavorful, perfect for the slow cooker and a little different from the rest.

And I'm going to come right out and say, I like it. A lot. Naturally, I hope you do, too, so much so that you'll just have to get a copy when the times comes (behold the shameless plug). In the meantime, I am down to the final copy edits and crazy as it sounds, the book will soon be available for pre-order. How the heck did that happen so fast?

Stay tuned here, here and here for updates, sample recipes and all other kinds of slow cooking goodness, and I'd love to hear what you think of the cover so feel free to chime on in!

Best to everyone this holiday season....
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Around the Southern Table: Peppered Pork Roast with Blue Cheese Grits Recipe

Photo credit: Jennifer Davick
I got into the business of writing cookbooks because I truly love them. As a young girl, I would sit for hours flipping through and dog earring my mother's collection of Southern spiral bound church and community cookbooks. I would literally read them word for word, starting with the table of contents all the way through to the index, stopping every now and then to oogle at some overly staged, styled photo of a lime congealed salad or a coconut cream pie with whipped meringue that seemed to touch the top of the page. While most pre-pubescent girls were curled up in bed with Judy Blume, I was trying (unsuccessfully, I might add) to work my way through Larousse Gastronomique.

I was a weird kid, yet one thing has remained a constant all of these years (in addition to still being a bit on the strange side) and that's the childlike giddiness I feel when I crack open a brand spanking new cookbook, one that truly excites me. Enter author, food writer and resident Georgia gal Rebecca Lang's new book, "Southern Living Around the Southern Table: Coming home to comforting meals and treasured memories" (Oxmoor House, 2012).
Photo credit: Jennifer Davick
It goes without saying that the recipes in this book are of your swoonworthy Southern variety-- think Cat-Head Biscuits with Tomato Gravy, All Things Sweet Potato Casserole (made with gingersnap cookies), Country Ham and Cheese Biscuit Bread, Pecan Bourbon and Cane Syrup Ham (yup) and a Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie that Lang describes as consisting of, "pecans suspended in a fudgy, bourbon-kissed filling". Um, yes please!

Yet, this is not your average recipes-only cookbook. There's a lot more going on here than simply tasty food since, as any good Southern cook knows, great recipes are meant to be shared with others. Herein is where the book offers so much more. In addition to first person tributes on Southern cooking and entertaining along with the joys of family and fellowship from a few of Lang's friends and fellow Southerners including model and actress Ali Landry, HGTV's Vern Yip, Olympic gymnast and Oklahoman Shannon Miller, and a lovely forward by Southern cookbook author and respected culinary expert, Nathalie Dupree, the book is also chock full of precious entertaining tidbits.

From a short lesson on the giving side of Southern hospitality and "how we do" where Lang shares, "It's not just about the food; it's in all we do. It's writing a sweet thank-you note on real paper to taking supper to a neighbor in need" to the right of passage of handing down table linens, china and glassware that so many of us display with pride (I have grandmother's collection that I treasure to this day), this is a cookbook that will ring true with you whether you're a Southerner by birth or simply one at heart.

Moreover, now that home cooks have officially entered the holiday party phase of the year, I can think of no better reference for recipes designed for entertaining the Southern way than Lang's Roasted Cornish Hens with Lemons and Creamy Grits, Peach-Glazed Duck Breasts or perhaps a Coffee-Crusted Standing Rib Roast. Maybe some Hummingbird Cake? Lang was generous enough to share her Peppered Pork Roast with Blue Cheese Grits recipe with me, which simply screams cool weather and would make an excellent addition to an elegant Christmas Eve dinner. Bone-in, center-cut pork gets a punch from a good amount of garlic, herbs and mustard before hitting the oven and meeting up with creamy, blue-cheesy stone-ground grits. What's not to like about this combo?

In the meantime, bust out those underused linens, polish the silver, grab yourself a big, fat glass of sweet tea and crack open Lang's cookbook for inspiration since there's plenty of Southern goodness to be found within its pages especially for us cookbook collectors who can't get enough of the good stuff.

Peppered Pork Roast with Blue Cheese Grits

From Southern Living "Around the Southern Table" by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, 2012).

When it’s not cut into chops, the center-cut pork loin makes a mighty bone-in
roast and serves a crowd. Make it for company and save some for sandwiches
the next day.

5 large garlic cloves
1 (4.5-lb.) bone-in, center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
11⁄2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
3⁄4 tsp. dried thyme
1⁄2 tsp. salt
Blue Cheese Grits
Garnish: arugula

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Cut garlic into slivers. Cut 1⁄2-inch-deep slits in pork using a paring knife; insert garlic into slits. Place roast, fat side up, on a lightly greased rack in a roasting pan. Pat dry. Sprinkle top of roast with flour; pat lightly to adhere. Spread mustard over roast.

2. Combine parsley and next 3 ingredients. Generously coat roast with parsley mixture, patting to adhere.

3. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 2 hours and 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145°. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with Blue Cheese Grits. Garnish, if desired.

Makes: 10 to 12 servings Hands-on Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 3 hr., 20 min., including grits

Blue Cheese Grits

8 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
2 cups uncooked stone-ground grits
5 oz. soft-ripened blue cheese, rind removed (such as Saga Classic
Soft-Ripened Blue-Veined Cheese)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1. Bring broth and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in grits. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring very often, 45 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

2. Reserve about one-fifth of the cheese. Slice the rest, and add, with butter, to the grits. Stir until both are melted. Just before serving, garnish with crumbles of the reserved cheese.

Makes: 12 servings Hands-on Time: 50 min. Total Time: 50 min.
Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...