Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kitchen Playtime: Doin' it Southern style

I'm trying a new experiment this weekend. Rather than waiting until Sunday night to write this post, I'm doing it a little at a time as the weekend goes on. Hopefully that will make it easier to do them regularly. Or procrastinate on my fiction writing. Let's see..

My current fiction project, title TBD, is set in an alternate Tennessee in 1871, after the Civil War has been dragging on for ten years. Basically, Lee decided not to go into Pennsylvania after his major victories in Virginia, so Gettysburg never happened, and the war ended up in a stalemate. I'm writing Southern food into the story, of course, and it just so happens that our cooking this weekend has a Southern theme.

First stop - the low country. We did something unusual today, and that was cook lunch. Typically our midday Saturday meal is leftovers of some sort or sandwiches, but due to our other activities, we decided to play in the kitchen. That meant Hugh Acheson's Frogmore Stew from his New Turn in the South cookbook. I have to give Hubby credit for choosing the recipe and getting most of it started. I peeled and deveined the shrimp, though. Our vendors for the meal included:

Pine Street Market (andouille sausage)
Sawicki's Meat, Seafood, & More (shrimp)
Various farmstands from the Union County Farmers Market (Corn and potatoes - I have no idea which ones, will do better in the future), Decatur Farmers Market (tomatoes - Mountain Earth, arugula - not sure of the name, but he was at the back of the baseball field and gave me radishes, too), and Morningside Farmers Market (leek - Crystal Organics).

It tastes and smells even better than it looks!

Cooking wine! Great in and with the stew. And the cooks.
Oh, and regarding the wine, people sometimes ask me if we have "house wines," that is, wines we always keep on hand. We haven't recently because the wine clubs we belong to keep us well-supplied, but we always used to have a bottle of this one on hand. It's about $12, and it's a lovely sauvignon blanc, mostly citrus with a nice acid backbone that stands up well to food.

Yes, that is the recipe behind the bottle. No, we did not lay out our ingredients that prettily.

Saturday night was date night. We love our Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed a program of Debussy, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. My favorite - the Debussy. Yeah, I'm a romantic. Afterward, we went to South City Kitchen for dinner. You know what that means - more Southern food! I love their fried chicken, served with collard greens, mashed potatoes, and honey-thyme jus:

Southern girl at heart

We ordered this lovely white, the 2013 Montinore Borealis, which paired really well with the slight heat to the fried chicken and that in Hubby's halibut. Plus, at $36 on a midtown wine list, it's practically a steal.

Wants a back porch
The morning after date night requires a nice brunch. This was a case of me having something in mind I wanted to do, but needing a recipe to start with for guidance. I turned to, put in apple and sausage, and came up with a recipe for Sausage, Apple, and Cheddar Bread Pudding. Okay. Here are the modifications I made:

1) Hubby got cornmeal-molasses bread, which was heavier than the sourdough bread called for, so I used 8 slices, which ended up being about 12 ounces, rather than a whole loaf for 8 ounces. I also cut the slices in half and made two layers with the sausage and apple filling in between.

2) Only 3/4 cup of cheese, and cheddar at that? Puh-leaze. I used about a cup and a half of shredded Gruyere.

3) I used regular mild Italian sausage from the aforementioned Pine Street Market rather than turkey Italian sausage.

Here's a picture of the final product:

Perfect pre-yard work brunch.
Tabitha (left) and Timothy Mouse (lying down) wanted to know where theirs was.

Cats just wanna have brunch.
Finally, dinner. When I looked earlier, this recipe wasn't online yet, probably because it's in the latest issue of Cooking Light. It's beer-braised beef with bacon, onions, rosemary, and garlic. Hubby sauteed some greens to go with it, and I made some baked sweet potato fries. The wine is a tasty red blend from Hug.

I know I promised the recipe for my Quick n Easy Mac n Cheesy in my last post, but I want to test it out in a kitchen that's not mine first. Any volunteers?

Oh, and look what came on Friday! Author copies of Blood's Shadow, which will be out in paper on November 3.

It just got a four-star review from Romantic Times (hard to come by). Other reviewers have called Gabriel the werewolf Sherlock Holmes.

Those were my Southern cooking adventures for the weekend. Stay tuned for more wine and food!

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