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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bertu Ravioli with Fresh Tomatoes & Bacon

Ber-what?

Lately on Saturday mornings we have been visiting the local farmers market in the parking lot of a local church on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA. This particular farmers market was started by Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House in Atlanta (both HIGHLY recommended), a very well respected local chef with an emphasis on using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. This particular farmers market requires that everything sold there must be raised, grown or made by the seller from local farms within Georgia.

On a recent visit to the market we ran across Mike Patrick from Storico Fresco, who makes the most wonderful fresh pastas.  Many of his raviolis incorporate meats from local butchers (such as Pine Street Market in the booth next door). To complete the perfect loop of locally sourced ingredients, Storico Fresco provides many pastas for Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch!

So after chatting with Mike for a bit, we decided on a ravioli called Bertu (pork and cheese filled) that he recommended, and we brought it home with hopes of making something great.

Here is another example of taking some great product that we happened across and using it to make something simple and delightful.

Bertu Ravioli with Fresh Tomatoes & Bacon


Research:

Follow this link to learn a bit more about Bertu. It is essentially a pork and cheese filled ravioli. This pasta was really special, and we highly encourage you to try it out if you can find it fresh.

Our plan was to bring home this great pasta and make a red sauce to go with it. Pretty simple plan, huh? But wait, we can't just pour Ragu over it...

Plan:

Take some of the gourmet, thick-cut, organic bacon that we bought at the farmers market from Pine Street Market, saute' it with some onion, shallot, green beans and fresh tomatoes (fresh ingredients we already had in our pantry). Yes, we have some pork-on-pork crime here. Then add the pasta and serve.

While at it, we will throw in a salad with a homemade vinaigrette.

Execution:

Chop up some vegetables and a couple slices of bacon.







Then brown the bacon.






Did you notice how good that bacon looked?



Add in the onion, shallots and green beans.




Meanwhile, boil some water and put the pasta in for about 4 minutes. Fresh cooks fast!


Add in the fresh diced tomatoes and cook down for a few minutes.


Cooking the tomatoes down just a little. Don't go overboard. We want it to cook so long that it turned into a sauce.

Finally, pull the pasta out of the water and toss in the pan with the sauce for a few minutes just to meld the flavors together. Again, not so long that you overcook the pasta.

While the pasta and sauce were cooking, we prepped a salad to go with it. Again, stuff purchased at the farmers market coupled with a few homegrown vegetables.



Simple cherry tomatoes and a cucumber from our container garden, and romaine purchased at the farmers market. Now for a quick vinaigrette...


Vinaigrette is as follows:

2 oz- White wine vinegar, or any vinegar of your liking
2 oz- Olive oil
1 teaspoon Honey
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
a sprinkle of flat leaf parsley

Shake well and serve:


Then serve, and you have a wonderfully delicious but simple meal. The whole process was probably 20-30 minutes maximum.

Verdict:

Simple and delicious. This was more about us learning to do something original with a great product we happened across and rolling with the advice of the vendor, someone able to offer some great ideas. Thank you, Storico Fresco, we will be back soon -- very soon.

Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer





Sunday, August 11, 2013

Paella

Paella

This was an experiment that was borne out of a cooking demonstration that we attended at Barcelona Wine Bar in Atlanta, Ga. At the demonstration, Barcelona's chef, Shane Devereux, prepared a traditional Paella for us and taught us how to get that wonderful "crust" on the bottom.

This dish is delicious and a lot of fun to make. You should not hesitate.

Paella

Research:

We visited Martha Stewart's Seafood and Chicken Paella recipe located here and pretty much followed the recipe. This is another good example of us just picking out something we thought might be good to eat and fun to make and made it together for the very first time. It is so much fun to experiment.

We did not use the saffron in our preperation. We didn't have any, and it is expensive and optional, so we decided to make it without this one ingredient because we really didn't want to risk wasting an expensive ingredient on a failed dish.

The Plan:

Saute the chicken separately until lightly browned, and then cook the chorizo for several minutes. Add in onion and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.  Add tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to reduce down. Add the rice and broth, put the chicken back into the pan,  and bring to a boil. Add in the seafood and then put everything into oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Doesn't seem to bad?

The Execution:


We did break down and buy a paella dish so we could used the right equipment for this dish. We bought it at Target for $20 and then gathered the ingredients.

Let's get started...


Saute the chicken
We used six chicken thighs and sauteed in a little olive oil.

Add in the Chorizo



Then we added in two links of chopped chorizo, 1/2 of an onion and 1 clove of finely chopped garlic and cooked until brown.

Saute until browned

So far so good. It smells great.


Chopping fresh tomatoes


Fresh tomatoes, both yellow and red, from the container garden and farmer's market. What a great taste.

Before adding in the tomatoes, we set the chicken to the side.


Add in the tomatoes

Reduce down the tomatoes for about 10 minutes


Broth and paprika

Meanwhile, heat up 4.5 cups of chicken stock and 1 teaspoon of paprika on the stove so it will be hot when you add it. You would have added the saffron here if you had it.



Add in the 1.5 cups of Arborio rice poured evenly over the dish



Add in the stock as it appears to get a little dry.


Add the chicken back to the pan and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes until about three-fourths of liquid has been absorbed by rice.



Now, add in the seafood. We used scallops and shrimp because for some reason neither the Whole Foods or Kroger that we went to had mussels. There must have been a run on mussels earlier in the day.

Seafood


Into the oven we go!

Into the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes

Finished

Take a look at that!

The Verdict:





We loved it. It was tasty, smelled great and the kids LOVED it.


A couple notes for future preparations. The paella pan makes a lot of paella. We served 5 people and had enough left over for 2-3 more servings. Keep that in mind.

Also, mussels would have been nice. We will add that next time. We will also add the saffron.

Finally, we didn't get much of a crust. We think it was because the pan was large and the burner was small so we didn't get an even heat. Not sure how to fix that just yet...

Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Grandmother's Green Beans


This is my grandmother's recipe for making green beans and potatoes. Please don't take this post as the means to create the healthiest version of green beans, but this is a typical "ol' southern" version. It is the kind that those of us that grew up in the south were used to seeing on the table when someone said we were going to have green beans.

It is delicious, and I spent the better part of 20 years trying to figure out how to make it, all the while being mocked by my mother. Perseverance pays off, people. I have finally figured it out, and I must say that even halfway through the effort I was convinced it was a complete failure.

The Masterpiece
Research:

I spent 20 years trying to pry this process out of my mother. Turns out the trick isn't the ingredients -- it is the process that makes the beans take on the stewed and caramelized character that is so special.

My mom doesn't measure ingredients, so I would always get a "put some of this" and "some of that" and "swirl in this and that." The imprecise nature of the instructions made me think that it was the ingredients that I was getting wrong. But this time as I made it I talked to and sent pictures to my mom as I went through the process, and that made all the difference.

The Plan:

Snap some fresh green beans out of the garden. Add into a pressure cooker with the beans, a couple of store-bought white potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook for 20 minutes once it is to pressure, or until the water is gone. Then serve.

Seems simple...

Execution:

Prepped the ingredients while cooking other things

Filled the pressure cooker to about 1/2 to 3/4 full of green beans

Green beans

Added all the ingredients at once.



Also added a little bit of bacon fat that we held for this. Shhhhh. Don't tell Mom.

Adding in the ingredients
Up to pressure for 20 minutes
 With great anticipation I cracked the pressure cooker and this is what was revealed.

"Burned" looking beans on the bottom
Once again, I was flummoxed by the result. I sent the above photo to my Mom, and she responded by saying that it look great! Needs stirring.

Damn...

After stirring it up and serving
Verdict:

So, after mixing up the "burned" parts mixed in with the other beans, it created that great color and flavor that I was used to seeing! It was fantastic. I will say that I think we ended up with too much oil because we added the bacon fat but didn't delete any of the vegetable oil. So we did mess up a little. But I couldn't be more delighted as it was delicious.

Thank you to the women of my family for passing on this gift to all of mankind.


Yeah. It was good.

Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer