Sunday, January 8, 2012

FRESH From The Gulf Of Florida

Grouper caught only hours earlier.

I like mine fried.


She likes hers blackened.


That side is mashed cauliflower.

(...shudder ....)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Southern Caviar: Eat Your Colors!

Somehow, I had never heard of "Southern Caviar" until recently.
Not sure how that happened, but I am officially a fan.

Way better than the fishy alternative and good golly, it has to be so good for you.
(Okay, maybe the chip is not super good for you, but really, do you eat them 24/7 ?

Here's one of many recipes for Southern Caviar that exist on the internet:


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Beef Back Ribs

Rubbed and ready.
We tend to do pork spare ribs around here much more than beef, but you do need a change every once in awhile.

I like a little crispy char, so my ribs get some direct heat time, but not too much when they first go on the grill. Just a little browning and searing before spending most of their grill time completely off the coals and over to the side, with the lid down.

During this time I will check on them occasionally and give them a spritz of vinegar from my BBQ spray bottle.

Near the end of their experience, I tent them with a little foil, sauce them, and let them finish up.

They usually turn out okay.
At least that's what I hear from the lucky munchers.

You could wrap them tighter for a fall off the bone rib, but I like a little chewiness, so I only tent mine and don't let them over cook.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jerk Chicken Chili ... Go Buy Pam Anderson's Book

This stuff was excellent and so darn easy to make.
But, I digress, ... let us begin at the beginning.
A week or two ago, I was heading in to the SWAMP for my motorcycle class early in the morning.
NPR was on in the JEEP and the NPR gal was interviewing a chef about her new book, Perfect One Dish Dinners.
What caught my attention was the name of the author ... Pam Anderson.
The Bay Watch babe was a chef?
Hmmm, silicone is popular in the kitchen these days, perhaps she had found her niche.
But no, the author was not bouncy Pamela,
... it was P-A-M Anderson.
I listened as the miles rolled by, expecting NPR froufrouness, but I found myself agreeing with Ms. Anderson as she talked about cooking meals that tasted great, fed a crowd, and used minimal dishes.
When she got to the chorizo stuffed pork roast that cooks ABOVE black beans and rice in one roasting pan ..., well, she had me.
I popped in to Books-A-Million and grabbed a copy.
After motorcycle class, I hit Publix for the ingredients to "Jerk Chicken Chili" from the book. I made the chili that night.
It was so easy (uses a rotisserie chicken!) and the flavor ... Oh My Goodness, Oh My Goodness. Cinnamon, allspice, jalapenos, thyme, ... dark chocolate!
I hate to tell you how good this stuff was, and then not post the recipe, but I really do believe in copyright protection for authors, and this lady is trying to sell a book, so well, that wouldn't be right.
Let me just say the book is full of great recipe's and the pork roast with black beans will be the next one to fall here at PFHQ.
Here's a lesson about buying the book ... since I've teased you and not given you the recipe.
A few days later, my teacher pal Stacy and I were in a bookstore on our lunch hour. We had some training in Gainesville, so we had an actual HOUR to eat and since we are used to about 20 minutes, we had time to kill.
I had told her about the chili and the book, so we hit Barnes and Noble. She wanted to check it out.
Barnes had it for about the same price I paid, ...$32.
Stacy pulled it from the shelf, whipped out her Droid phone, and scanned the barcode ... WITH HER PHONE!
Up popped an Amazon page with the book at $17!
I felt like a caveman with my flip phone and my almost twice as expensive copy of this excellent book.
But you know what?
I don't care.
This is one great treasure trove of recipes.
I plan to try every one ... well, okay, not the lamb one, but the rest of them.
I don't do baby sheep.
I do love this book though.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bison Battle Sandwich Smackdown Entry

Doggybloggy over at ChezWhat is hosting the current Culinary Smackdown, with the noble sandwich as the theme.

It was tight for me with school starting and a computer issue at home, but I did manage to create a simple, tasty sandwich with a native species tucked in between some French bread and garnished with a dose of Argentinian sauce.

My main ingredients were:
  1. A small bison steak.
  2. Fresh spinach
  3. French bread
  4. Portobello mushrooms
  5. Chimichurra sauce

I grilled the steak in butter and olive oil in a hot cast iron skillet. The steak was only seasoned with black pepper and kosher salt prior to cooking.

While the steak was grilling, I sliced a loaf of fresh French bread, buttered each slice, and then toasted them on a hot griddle.

When the bison steak was almost ready, I added sliced mushrooms to the pan to saute in the bisony, buttery drippings.

The sandwich was assembled by setting a bed of fresh spinach and mushrooms on top of one slice of toasted French bread.

The bison steak was then sliced thinly, piled atop of the spinach, and drizzled with chimichurra sauce.

After assembly, it looked something like this!

Both taste testers pronounced it very good ... although two sandwiches were needed for verification purposes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cuban Pork Saute

Here's an easy and really delicious dish from You can find the recipe here.

So, what follows is not the detailed recipe, but a few shots and comments on the procedure.

You'll start with pork tenderloin. This was a 4 pound roast, so I cut it in two and put the unused portion in the freezer.
The recipe calls for a pound and a half, but a little extra is always good with my crew.

The pork gets cubed into bite-size pieces and then marinates for a day. I only marinated mine for about 6 hours, because I never think of things far enough ahead of time to do the full marinade.

The recipe calls for Italian dressing in the marinade, and since we don't do bottled dressings at PFHQ, I mixed up a batch our heirloom family Italian dressing and shared it between the marinade and the accompanying salad.

All the marinade ingredients get dumped in with the pork and then gooshed around prior to a long trip in the fridge while the meat soaks up all those flavors.

It looked like this and smelled wonderful when I took it out of the fridge to saute it.

Cooking this dish is ridiculously easy.
The marinated pork goes in to a good pan with a little hot oil and in no time it's done.

The recipe called for serving it on white rice, but we have left white rice behind for brown, so that's what it is resting on above.
Add some salad and some of my KILLER Cuban black beans with datil peppers infused throughout ... and you are talking Cuban food lover heaven.

I think even the captain of the Pilar would approve.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jerk Chicken ... Minorcan Style

The ingredient list is visually represented above.
There's a lot of stuff in this marinade!
I followed a recipe for jerk that I found in my favorite grilling cookbook, "HOW TO GRILL" by Steven Raichlen.
Great Book!

The ingredient list is so long, I'm not going to include it all in this post, but HERE is a very similar and very authentic recipe with photos ... direct from Jamaica.

It's almost the same as the one in my cookbook.

I could not find scotch bonnet peppers in our little town, so I substituted my own datil peppers from the backyard.
THAT is what makes my version, "Minorcan Style".

I seeded them as per the recipe, but having now made this dish, I would have left the seeds in.
I wanted this chicken to be fiery hot and it was only warm-hot.

So, the next time, I'll either use more whole datils or find the real scotch bonnets and use them.
My recipe said to use 6-12 scotch bonnet peppers ... 6-12 ?
That is a WIDE range ... it's not like saying 2 -3, five or six ... doubling something is a pretty dramatic change.
I just thought that was funny.

Here is the jerk marinade almost complete. This photo was taken before I remembered the brown sugar and cinnamon.

The chicken is supposed to marinate in it overnight, but I rushed this step since I was busy painting the house while I cooked,
Mine only got a few hours ... next time it's overnight baby!

I direct grilled them for a while to get a good seared grill flavored skin.
After a while, the birds went off to the side to slow cook and finish off. The recipe called for tossing Allspice berries on to the coals for flavored smoke and I did that step.

At the last minute, we tossed some ears of corn on the grill to cook a little. The picture above shows the finished chickens and the just barely cooked corn.
Really now ... good sweet corn needs no cooking or butter, salt, etc.
Break that habit and just eat it you fools!
Why take something healthy and delicously sweet and glob it up with heart clogging butter?
Save the butter for a pound cake or something where it's actually needed!
I'm off my corn crate soap box now.

I was too tired from a painting marathon day and cooking to make a salad, so uncharacteristically so ... there is no green on my plate.
I made my killer black beans, brown rice, corn, jerk chicken, and great progress painting the house ... so I figured that was enough for one day.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Post New Years

New Year's Day was a BBQ bash here at PFHQ, and many friends and relatives were fed.
They came, they saw, they ate.
It was good, with really, too much variety in my opinion. As hosts, we often seem to overdo the menu, ignoring the tried and true KISS principle.

I'm going to remember that and lobby for that position the next time we host anything.
We could have scaled the offerings down by a third, and still had plenty of variety.

The next day, when even the overnight guests had gone home, there was an abundance of leftovers to choose from.
I narrowed my selection down to a very southern, very New Yearsy plate.

Turnip greens, black-eyed peas, rice, green beans, and a wee bit of BBQ chicken.

This week, Mrs. FC took a chunk of roast and made an amazing roast beef. I didn't make this, so sorry, no recipe here.
I did eat it though. It was tender with a rich dark brown, winey sauce, and a wonderful fresh basil-garlic coating across the top.

Oh my goodness, it was delicious ... and the whole house smelled amazing too.

There's my plate steaming and about to disappear.
... I think two plates actually disappeared with my help.

This was an experiment of hers. That filling is blackberry.

It was good, we thought it needed a little something ... maybe a higher fruit to dough ratio.
I enjoyed it with coffee ... it was reminescent of a scone ... only different.

That's a sampling of recent foodological events from the PFHQ kitchen.

What's your latest experiment?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Skillet Apple Pie

Somewhere around Thanksgiving, I was listening to a story on NPR about unusual Thanksgiving foods when the subject of apple pie came up.

I am an applepieophile, so I listened with rapt attention. What made this apple pie unusual was how it was made, in a skillet. Not only did they discuss the recipe, they actually made it and had a taste.
From the post tasting commentary, it sounded like a good recipe to try ... so I did.
The recipe is at America's Test Kitchen, so I'm not posting it in detail here.

The general procedure starts with peeling and coring some tart apples. These get browned and carmelized in butter.

A mix of cider, maple syrup, cornstarch, cinnamon (optional according to the recipe ... AS IF!), and a little vanilla extract (not in recipe) goes into the skillet after the apples look like hashbrowns.

You stir that around to coat everything well and then take it off the heat.

The recipe for a pie crust was available, but I am male, so that was out of the question. A store bought ready to bake pie crust did just fine. I unwrapped it, unrolled it, and set it atop the deliciously smelling apple filling.
It then received a egg white paintjob and a sprinkle of sugar before scoring.

After that it went into a really hot (in my opinion) 500 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Applas Shrugged. (too obscure?)

The slices really did stand up when cut, but as you can see, this slice could not handle the weight of my massive ala mode.

Who eats apple pie without real vanilla ice cream?
Heathens ...

So how did it taste?

I loved it.

The tartness of the granny smith apples came through the sweet of the maple syrup for a great blend of flavors.
There is no bottom crust of course, but I didn't miss it at all.

You could tell yourself this is a lower calorie pie since the bottom crust ain't there.

That's up to you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Some Pure Florida Thanksgiving Pictures

No idle hands at this table.

Katie made the mac and cheese this year and stressed appropriately over it, but it came out just fine. The dish in the back ground is a buttery, appley, cheesey, crumbly sorta thing.

Funny, I didn't remember deviled eggs on the table at all until I saw this picture.
I suppose that is because I don't do deviled eggs ... or egg yolks at all.

One of the turkey platters, all divided according to taste.

The CEO of Thanksgiving in our clan is passing the apron on after this year. We have finally convinced her to take it easy and let us do the preparing. Next year it's at our house and she can bring something or not, because we will be the cooking team.
It's up to her whether she lifts a finger or only her fork!
... I am NOT wearing that apron though.