Monday, April 9, 2012

Project No. 1.

all photos by Michelle Rigg.
We held our first collaborative effort in late March of the most Summer-like Spring either of us can remember, and a Southern-inspired menu just felt RIGHT. We (along with our friend - and photographer - Michelle Rigg) met in Morgan's kitchen to collaborate on the meal (and ogle Carolyn's way around a ham hock); our respective significant others joined us at the dinner table for slow-cooked pork, comfort-food sides, and an evening spent celebrating full plates and good company.
Morgan and Carolyn
ONION DIP (and Vegetable Tray)
(from Alton Brown/Food Network)
2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 cups diced onion, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 1/2 cups sour cream, 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper.
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add onions and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook onions until caramelized, remove from heat and cool. Mix remaining ingredients, then add cooled onion. Refrigerate and stir before serving.

8 eggs, 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, large pinch dill (chopped), 1 large teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard, sea salt and black pepper to taste, black sea salt and dill to garnish.
Hardboil eggs and cool completely. Halve them and set aside yolks. In a small bowl combine all remaining ingredients, add yolks and stir until smooth. Fill; sprinkle with dill and black sea salt; refrigerate until serving.

Tenderloin (amount dependent on number of people serving (CONVENTIONAL WISDOM says 8oz per person, but I tend to SIZE UP), variable amounts leftover wine, orange juice, red onion, whole grain dijon mustard, mint, basil, rice vinegar, leftover black coffee, sea salt and black pepper.
In a Crock Pot, combine tenderloin and any/all variation of the above (or whatever else you have on hand, really. You can do no wrong [but I'd keep the coffee to 1/2 cup max; I once used too much while making brisket and it tasted like an old guy). Liquid should cover pork. Cook covered, on high, for 6 hours minimum. When the tenderloin is falling apart, remove from liquid and shred. Top with fresh mint and basil (or whatever herbs you threw in there).

(from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Martha Stewart Living).
1 stick unsalted butter, with more for casserole; 6 slices white bread; 5 1/2 cups milk; 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; 2 teaspoons coarse salt, with more for water; 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg; 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese; 2 cups grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese; 1 pound elbow macaroni.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside. Tear bread into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces and place in a medium bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Pour melted butter over bread and toss. Set aside.
Warm milk in medium pan, over medium heat. Melt remaining butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat - when the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook while stirring for 1 minute.
While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk into the butter, a little at a time. Continue cooking -  whisking constantly, until it bubbles and thickens (8 to 12 minutes).
Remove pan from heat, and stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the sauce aside.
Cover a large pot of salted water, and cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse through a colander, under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
Pour into the buttered dish. Top with remaining cheddar, Gruyère or Pecorino, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve after cooling.

5 bunches of collards, 4-5 ham hocks, a splash apple cider vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes. 
Bring a large pot of water and ham hocks to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about an hour.
While simmering, wash the bunches of collards in the sink - it's best to let them soak and rinse at least 3 times. Add a bit of baking soda to the first soak to help get the grit loose. Pat the greens dry with a dish towel after the third rinse. Roll the bunches of leaves into tubes and slice into small pieces - no need to save the stemmed ends. Remove the ham hocks, and add in the greens, a splash of apple cider vinegar (maybe a tablespoon or 2) and red pepper flakes to taste. The greens will take a minute to cook down and fit into the pot, be patient. Add the ham hocks back in if you like your greens nice and salty. Cover and cook for another 2 hours.

2 large bulbs fennel, 1 head radicchio, 2 Fuji apples; orange juice, rice vinegar, agave nectar, and salt to taste.
Shred fennel in food processor, press out excess liquid between paper towels. Core and chop apples; slice radicchio into matchsticks. Combine in medium bowl, then, in small bowl, combine remaining ingredients (amounts to taste - start with 2 tbsp orange juice, several shakes rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp agave, and a pinch salt). Pour over fennel, apple, and radicchio mixture, toss and serve immediately.

(via Smitten Kitchen, from Dorrie Greenspan's Baking)
1 cup flour, 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch nutmeg (optional), 1 cup buttermilk, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled), 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place paper muffin cups in a regular-size muffin pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, if you’re using it. In another, smaller bowl, whisk buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk until well blended. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and, with a whisk, blend quickly and gently (batter should be lumpy). Stir in the corn kernels, then divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake 15-18 minutes, or until tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins.
Recipe makes 12.

1/2 pint heavy cream, a few mint leaves, small squeeze agave nectar.
Throw all ingredients into the food processor and whip until THICK.