Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Home Cookin'!...Greens so good my wife will eat them.

The T House
Somewhere on the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania
In a cabin.

The cabin is more than what you expect when you hear the word "cabin". Going to the cabin is a real treat.  The facilities are rustic, the setting is rural, and the good times roll.  I usually get to cook dinner for the campers when I go.  This time was not an exception.  I brought some of the butt I'd vacuum packed and frozen a few weeks ago.  As accompaniments I chose cole slaw, baked beans, and my mildly famous greens.  Start by soaking the greens in cold water.  I let them soak for 1/2 an hour or so then shake them off vigorously.  Let them sit and dry for a while. 

While they're drying, take about 1/2 lb of good, thick-cut bacon and slice it up.

If you peel the leaves right alongside the main rib in the middle you'll avoid the tough part of the leaf.  Then you can set a bunch of them on top of each other and slice into 1/4" strips.

Dice 1/2 an onion and some garlic and your prep is done.  Saute the bacon until it's just getting crisp, then pour off most of the fat.  Toss in your onion and garlic.

When you're ready to put the greens in, it should look about like so.  Deglaze the pot with about a 1/4 cup of cider vinegar and let that boil down, then put your greens in the pot in batches until they wilt, stirring it fairly frequently, until all the greens are in.  Add 2 cups of beef stock, put it on simmer, then go sit by the fireplace with a glass of bourbon.  In about 1-1/2 hour you've got some of the tastiest greens you'll ever have. No need to add any sugar or anything.  These are good just as nature intended them: smokey-bacony-garlicky.

Plate up with the sides and pulled pork.  You're good to go.  The beans I served were the fancy Bush's kind (but I cheat and add some of the same bbq sauce I use on the pork to give it a little kick and bring the flavors together.)
If you're lucky, your kids will like it so much they'll make dessert.

Thanks for reading.  As always, if you have comments or questions feel free.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Boqueria - Tapas with New York Flair...

1837 M St. N.W.
Washington, DC

We were invited to the opening of Boqueria to check out their NYC-style interpretation of Spanish Tapas.  It was quite the event.  The picture above is what you see right as you walk in the door.  They were putting out some good stuff for us.  Apparently they've done well in NYC and are going to complement some of the other small-plates restaurants aleady established in the district nicely.  We're becoming the small-plates capital of the east.

The drinks were flowing.  They passed some bubbly, as well as red and white sangrias.  The staff was very friendly.

Here is a picture of me with the exec chef, Marc Vidal.  Nice guy putting out some tasty food,.

The place was crawling with bloggers!  This is the (in)famous Nevin Martell.  He recently attended every guest-chef experience during the takeover of Rogue24.  I'm jealous.

This was one of my favorites.  I believe it was quail eggs, sunny-side up, over chorizo on crispy bread.  Breakfast tapas!

Left to right photographer extraordinare Mike Palmer, Lisa Shapiro of Dining In DC fame, and Nevin Martell of NevinMartell.com

Left to right Lynne Breaux, president of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, Chef Jayson Lewellyn of Social Ltd., and Julie Sproesser, Membership and Events Director for RAMW.

The evening progressed past this venue to Vidalia, which I'll post about shortly, but we had a great time while we were here.  Gracias for the hospitality folks.  Best of luck in DC.  Catch you soon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pizzeria Orso - Will Artley getting artzy!

Pizzeria Orso
400 South Maple Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046
Tel: (703) 226-3460

Will Artley is a man with a plan.  Right now that plan is turning the restaurant opened for someone else into his place.  He's got skills honed with The Neighborhood Restaurant Group at Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria, where he was the head chef for several years. 
There's something about veggies getting ready for prep that excites me.  Not sure why, but it does.
Tyson and Will

This is Will working on the morning prep.  Mike Palmer and I showed up just before lunch to do some shooting and eating.

They do a lot of roasting of things other than pizza in the awesome oven.  This puppy can get to over 1000 degrees.  It's made from special imported clay.  The pizza is Neapolitan style.  Will trained with VPN people to learn the tricks of the trade.  He doesn't use the Neapolitan starter for his dough as he feels it doesn't do well in the Mid-Atlantic area.  His is a sourdough-based pizza.
Chef Jayson Lewellyn and me after I'd just had a bite of the Orso pizza.  It was great to have Jayson with us as well on this shoot.  I never get tired of chefs telling me what they think about the same things I'm trying. 

Mike was having a good time shooting.  This place has a lot of good light and is very casual.

This is Will and his sous, Tyson.

This was a straight mozz & basil pizza.  Clean and herby tasting.  The tomato flavor was explosive and hit me right in the palate.  Very neat.
Tyson Tossin'

Mike and Will checking the progress.

This is the Mufaletta Sandwich.  Nice fresh greens tasted like they were just yanked from the garden. The pepper spread had just enough heat to make it interesting.

Will and Tyson conferring about the finer points of little pepperoni and showing a little taco meat (the triangle of chest-hair that shows when you don't have a t-shirt on under your chef shirt.)  I've stolen this colloquialism and will now use it as my own.  Thanks Will!
The result was a tasty creation.

Mike caught me goofing around..

Lunch is served!  We got to try a few different pies and the Mufaletta. 

Mike "Two-shot" Palmer

The other pies were good, but this was the Ferrari of white pizzas.  I haven't had one even close to this good since Janis Maclean left RedDog in Silver Spring.  I usually get my white pizza with prosciutto, but this one came that way straight off the menu, so I didn't have to insult Will by asking for it.  This pie has mozzarella, pecorino, grana, ricotta, garlic, and prosciutto. Definite food wood. The flavors were in perfect balance. 
Another shot of me and Jayson.  Keep your ears open about this duo.  We've got big things coming.
Will looking tough.  Don't mess with my mozz!
All-in-all, a great lunchtime shoot with a very personable chef.  I wish him all the success he can handle.  He's one of the genuinely nice guys in the biz.
If you go, I believe they've just rolled out a new menu, so there should be a whole bunch of Will's creations to sample.  Let them know you heard about it on Pleasures of the Table.
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