Wednesday, October 28, 2009

pan roasted mahi mahi: soy braised hakurei turnips, turnip greens and potlikker jus

Hakurei turnips are those beautiful, ivory white, smooth skinned little turnips about the size of a golf ball or even smaller. They take about five to ten minutes to cook and are just about the best thing ever. It's another one of those things where people say to me, "I don't like turnips... yuck." I feed the naysayers these turnips and they have a quick change of heart. And don't you dare throw away those greens, mostly because you need them for the first part of this recipe.

Mahi mahi is a great home cooking fish because it lend itself well to many different styles of cooking, it's sustainable, it's local to many of us Southerners and it's some fine eating too.

Don't be afraid of pan roasting. Just turn on your hoodvent and have at it!

turnip greens and potlikker jus

1 tablespoon bacon fat or olive oil

2 tablespoons minced country ham

1 bunch turnip greens, washed & torn into two inch squares (about two quarts torn greens)

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

pinch of red chile flake

pinch of salt (remember that country ham is salty)

In a medium sized pot heat the bacon fat or olive oil over medium heat. When hot add the ham and the greens. Add the chicken stock, vinegar, chile flake and salt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the turnips are tender and cooked through. Remove from heat while you cook your turnips and mahi.

soy braised hakurei turnips

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 turnips, greens removed (and cooked above), cleaned and halved from north pole to south pole

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon chicken stock

tiny pinch of salt (the soy is salty as well so balance)

1 sprig fresh thyme

Warm a small saucepan (one that has a lid) over medium high heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted and foamed add the turnips, cut side down. Let them get a little color by cooking them for about three minutes without turning them.

Add the soy, stock, salt and thyme and cover the pot. Cook for five minutes and then remove lid. Reserve warm until mahi is done.

pan roasted mahi mahi

Preheat oven to 450.

four portions of mahi mahi, about 5 ounces each (about one inch thick)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat a large frypan to high heat. Add the olive oil. Season the fish and then add them carefully to the hot oil. Don't fiddle with the pan, rather let the fish brown nicely for about three minutes and then turn it over to the other side. Cook for three minutes and then place in the oven for three to five minutes, or until the fish is cooked through but not overdone. Mahi turns a beautiful ivory white when cooked.


Drain off about four tablespoons of the potlikker (the juice from your turnip greens) and place in a small pot. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, and while its still hot whisk in about a tablespoon of butter and some chopped parsley. That's your sauce.

Four plates. Equal sized piles of greens on each plate, then turnips, then the fish, Then a touch of sauce.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Brandini and Bastianich

If you could not make it to the Fisher Vineyards Wine Dinner that will be happening tonight, reserve your spot at our Brandini Farms Wine Dinner on November 3rd (that is next Tuesday). Brandini La Morra, a winery in the Barola region of Italy, was recently purchased by Joe Bastianich. Bastianich and award-winning Italian winemaker Beppe Caviola are two very talented guys who are producing inspiring and delicious wines. First, they have a great regions to work in, wine from Barola is considered to be Italy's best wine. Second, Bastianich (if you don't already know) is the partner of Mario Batali in the James-Beard Award winning restaurant Babbo, one of New York City's finest restaurant, and also co-owner of eleven other eating establishments in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It can be said that Joe Bastianich does nothing second-rate and knows his stuff. Beppe Caviola was chosen the best Oenologist of the year in 2002 by Gambero Rosso-Slow Food, and he is native of the Piedmont region of Italy. Caviola understands his region and cares for his wines with the passion and patience that it takes to create great wine. While I am sure that we would all love to take a trip to Italy, let us settle for a taste of the culture by enjoying these authentic Italian wines.

Click here to see the menu and wine pairings.

Here are some details on a few of the wines we will be tasting.

Brandini Barolo
A typical garnet red, that is graceful, spicy and fruity with floral notes of rose and current. This wine is smooth and full-bodied upfront and then followed by a prominent tannin, young and persistent with a clean finish.

Brandini Dolcetoo d'Alba
This wine is ruby red with a purple reflection. It is fragrant, strongly fruity with notes of cherry and raspberry. The Dolcetoo d'Alba feels rich and refreshing in the mouth with balanced tannin.

Langhe Rosse
The Langhe Rosse is a dark garnet red that is complex and diversified with sophisticated aromas of plums, blackberry, coffee and highly detailed natural spicy notes. This wine is fully-extracted, important, full-bodied and enveloping with a well-balanced acid-tannic ratio and long finish.

Dinner begins at 6 pm
Five & Ten
$100 per person not including tax and gratuity

Friday, October 23, 2009

Food and Wine: The FourCoursemen

Mahi Mahi recipe is still in the works..Sorry. However, if you have been thinking about this fish the past few days (as I have) you can get your fix tonight at Five and Ten. Try the Roasted Mt. Pleasant Mahi Vermouth Emulsion, Sea Island red peas and rice, carrots, radish, & micro greens 27. Or if you are in the mood to cook at home and were hoping for a good recipe posted today, then pick up a copy of the November issue of Food and Wine. for some great recipes from The FourCoursemen. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Brandini Farms Wine Dinner

November 3rd, 2009

Brandini Farms, is located in a small village in La Morra called Brandini, on top of a hill overlooking a wonderful view. Vines are exclusively local and from them important wines are obtained: Dolcetto D’Alba, Barbera D’Alba, Langhe Rosso, Langhe Nebbiolo and Barolo.
Please join me for a tasting of these fantastic Italian wines partnered with a six-course dinner from Five and Ten.



shaved brussel sprout salad

Quinterelli Bianco 2005


lobster and braised bacon risotto

Brandini Dolcetto d’Alba 2007


chicken thighs & chanterelles with leek polenta

Brandini Langhe Rosso 2004

Brandini Langhe Rosso 2007


grilled Piedmontese beef strip steak with grilled endive, peperonata and olive oil

Brandini Nebbiolo 2005

Brandini Barolo 2005


Roccolo cheese with toasted hazelnuts and green tomato chutney


Semifreddo al torrone

Dinner begins at 6:30 PM at Five and Ten

$100 per person, tax and gratuity not included

Mahi Mahi tomorrow...Dolphins today....

Well I am not going to post the mahi mahi recipe today, definitely tomorrow though. It is a new recipe of mine and I want to make a few more additions. However, to keep you interested in dolphins, here is a picture of me supporting them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hakurei Turnips

Tomorrow, I will be posting a recipe using hakurei turnips. First, I wanted to give you a little bit of info about this cute little root. Hakurei (three syllables) turnips are a Japanese white turnip that I am sure many of you have been seeing in your CSA box or at the market. Do not fear these turnips, this tasty root vegetable has mellow, fresh flavor and are very good raw. Give them a good wash, trim them up a bit and take a bite!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

roasted butternut squash bisque

If you didn't get a butternut squash in your CSA box this week, go pick one up at the Athens Farmers Market, open 'til noon on Saturday. Or if you don't live in Athens, I am sure there is a farmers market nearby. Check out this site to find local foods in your city.

Once you get your squash, make this tasty soup to warm yourself up on this chilly Saturday.

roasted butternut squash bisque

2 pounds butternut squash

2 T brown sugar

2 T unsalted butter

2 T water

2 T unsalted butter

½ cup yellow onion, diced

½ cup leek, cleaned and minced

1 piece celery, minced

1 T fresh sage, chopped

pinch of allspice

1 small apple, cored and diced

1 quart chicken stock

bouquet of thyme, bay and parsley

zest of one lemon

salt to taste

oven to 400

Cut and scoop the squashes. Place in roasting pan and rub with the butter and the sugar.

Pour water in pan, cover with foil and roast for one hour. Remove foil and roast for 15 minutes more to lightly brown squash.

Remove squash and let cool.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, leek and celery and sweat until translucent. Add apple, sage, allspice, chicken stock and bouquet. Cook until apple is tender, about 15 minutes.

Scoop cooked squash, discarding the shells. Place cooked flesh in soup base. Remove bouquet. Season, puree. serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Generation of Self-Owning Trees

If you live in Athens, you have probably heard about The Tree That Owns Itself, located at the intersection of Finley and Dearing Street. A new idea has emerged: populate the world with seeds from the Tree That Owns Itself in order to create a generation of trees that cannot be cut down or destroyed because of their self-ownership. Click here to learn more about this project.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fisher Vineyards Dinner

October 27th

Fisher Vineyards Wine Dinner

Five & Ten, 6 PM

The dinner will be delicious, wines phenomenal, and evening memorable. Not only will we be enjoying wines from Fisher Vineyards, but Juelle Fisher, the matriarch of this family-owned and operated California winery will be in attendance. Juelle and her husband Fred founded Fisher Vineyards in 1973 on 100 acres in the Mayacama Mountains on the western slopes of Spring Mountain.

The winery began with this mission....

"To grow and produce wines of consistent, world-class quality that express their unique mountain or valley heritage in the truest sense of terroir; the resulting wines should pay tribute to the land we are fortunate to care for, as well as each member of our team, which together will yield classic balance and style that transcends time."

Today, Fisher Vineyard's wines are given some of the highest ratings and best reviews....

Whitney's Chardonnay 2005

90-92 Points Parker's Wine Advocate

"From an older (33 years) Chardonnay vineyard, the 2005 Chardonnay Whitney's Vineyard possesses attractive notes of honeyed lemons, poached pears, white peaches, and spices. Medium-bodied and elegant with expressive aromas as well as flavors, it should drink well for 2-3 years."

Unity Cabernet 2006

92 Points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

"Bright red. Sharply focused redcurrant and cherry scents are complemented by tobacco and brown spices. Deeper cassis and bitter cherry on the palate, along with spicecake and succulent herb qualities. Combines power and depth smoothly, finishing with slow-building sweetness and excellent clarity."

The Menu...


butternut squash bisque with raisins, bottarga and yogurt

Whitney Chardonnay 2005


country ham wrapped Maine cod with , romesco,‘not your mama’s’ brussel sprouts and sweet onion soubise

Unity Cabernet 2006


corned beef with buttered cabbage, roasted shallots, pomegranate and chopped arugula

Coach Insignia 2005


Peppered and grilled venison with celery root-pancetta gratin, grilled scallions, cranberry compote and port glace

Mountain Cuvee Cab 2006


sticky date pudding with rum ice cream

Join us.

$100 per person not including tax or gratuity

Five & Ten

6 pm

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tablas Creek Dinner

October 13th
Tablas Creek Vineyards Wine Dinner!
These wines are off the chain!

"Tablas Creek is the realization of the combined efforts of two of the international wine community's leading families, the
Perrin family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands. They had since the 1970s believed the California climate to be ideal for planting Rhône varietal grapes. In 1987, they began the lengthy process of creating a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in the New World. The Tablas Creek Vineyard Partnership was born, with the Perrin and Haas families as majority partners, and French and American wine loving friends as minority partners."

That's them talking. To me Tablas is a quintessential American winery paying homage to the Rhone in all the right ways. The place is an incubator for what's great in US winemaking!
The wines are all rated crazy high by Mr. Parker.

green tomatoes, red tomatoes, buttermilk dressing
Tablas Creek Vineyard, Cotes de Tablas blanc, 2007

white bean and lobster soup with buttery bread crumbs
Esprit de Beaucastel blanc, 2007

duck choucroute garni
Cotes de Tablas rouge, 2006

American lamb with caponata and polenta
Esprit de Beaucastel rouge, 2006


vin de paille blanc, Quintessence, 2005

$100 per person
tax and gratuity not included

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Skirt Steak v. Flank Steak

Skirt Steak v. Flank steak
the power steaks of affordability

These two gifts of lower priced steaks are very good examples of things I do not want you to overcook! So if you really cannot live with your steak being rare to mid rare than go and cook something else. And though they are inexpensive compared to a tenderloin or a ribeye, I still think you should invest in the best meat your butcher has to offer, within reason. If you feel comfortable buying Kobe skirt than I ain't the guy to stop you.

Skirt is a plate steak from the belly of a cow, and have become a staple of the American palate through the popularity of sizzling fajitas. Fajitas are about as Mexican as Taco Bell. I developed a love of them early in my cooking career when I worked for a spell at Mexicali Rosa's in Montreal and the fajitas there were really good. Piping hot off the grill onto the peppers and onions, steaming and smoking away right to the table. These days skirt is a great Sunday dinner treat to marinate the night before and cook over a blistering hot charcoal grill. Then we slice it really thinly against the grain and serve it with just wilted spinach and a simple tomato and vinegar salad. Or if you want to get creative you can try this recipe below with roasted red peppers agrodolce and gorgonzola grits.

Flank is similiar but less marbled, less assertive in flavor, yet more tender overall if cooked correctly. Flank in French is the bavette, long prized as a quintessential bistro cut. The classic dish is a quickly seared steak finished with caramelized shallots and red wine jus. We love to do a Southern interpretation with caramelized Vidalias, boiled peanuts and a simple red wine jus.

grilled skirt steak with roasted peppers agrodolce and gorgonzola grits

serves 6

get your grill going to medium high heat.


2 Tablespoons raisins

½ cup port wine

2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 T balsamic

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 red pepper roasted, peeled and seeded, diced

1 yellow pepper roasted, peeled and seeded, diced

1 T minced garlic

pinch of salt

touch of freshly ground black pepper

  1. Soak raisins in port at room temperature for one hour.
  2. Drain raisins. Discard port.
  3. Mix raisins with remaining ingredients.


4 cups water

1 cup milk

1 cup Quaker Old Fashioned grits

¼ tsp salt

3 Tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola

  1. Mix water and milk in saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly stir in grits and salt. Cook for 20 minutes until thickened.
  2. When plating, garnish each serving with ½ Tablespoon of gorgonzola.

skirt steak

six portions of skirt steak, 5 oz each

¼ t salt

freshly ground pepper

1 T olive oil

  1. drizzle oil over steaks, season with salt and pepper. Grill to medium rare or your preferred temperature.
  2. Let steaks rest for two minutes before slicing.

Assembling final dish

Arrange six plates on your counter. Grits first and then the gorgonzola. Next slice the steak and arrange it next to the grits. Top the steak slices with the agrodolce peppers and serve immediately.

.....Stay tuned for a flank steak recipe coming tomorrow.

The Demise of Gourmet Magazine....Bummer

Sadly, Condé Nast has announced that after 68 years in publication the time has come to end Gourmet Magazine. Let it be stated that this was not due to the printing of the radish tattoo, but rather a lack of advertising revenue. Read more from The New York Times.
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