May 14, 2017

Market haul. Lots of good stuff this early in the season!

Yes, I am still alive. I’ve just been…busy.

Between Friday, May 5, and this past Friday, May 12, I was home for exactly 12 hours, during which I neither cooked nor ate. Between those dates, I went to a conference, at which I contracted a stomach bug; I went shopping at an outlet mall, saw a bear (not at the outlet mall), and lost only $45 at a casino. Then I came home (after approximately 1,000 miles), slept, unpacked, repacked, and went to Little Rock for the announcement of an 800-job, $410-million project on which I’ve been working for a year and a half. Then I came back on Friday, after spending two days at the factory site with the architect.

Then I slept. A lot.

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A plain ol’ country dinner; beans and sweet potato.

There has not been much in the way of cooking going on at Chez Brockwell of late, in large part because I have been working. This is a Good Thing, as it means I get paid, and given that I had to drop $1,400 on my car last week, getting paid is a doubly Good Thing.

But cooking has just not been a big priority, it seems.

Above is one dinner I’ve cooked. Doesn’t get much more basic, much more country, or much easier than this. Beans and a baked sweet potato; I had leftover ham, which I could not be troubled to get out of the refrigerator.

The beans are Rancho Gordo mayacoba beans; I threw a half-pound of them into the Instant Pot, along with some sauteed onion and a little garlic and a bay leaf, hit the “bean” button (no presoaking), and walked away. Came back to beans that were cooked tender, some 40 minutes later; I took a potato masher to them, because I like a creamy bowl of beans, added salt and pepper, and let them simmer along on low for another two or three hours.

No fat at all in these beans. I intended to put a spoonful of bacon grease in them to start out with, and just forgot it. They didn’t miss it. I do love the intense “beany” taste of Rancho Gordo beans. You’ll pay more than what you will in the store. You’ll get it back in taste. I recommend ’em.

The sweet potato went in the CSO for an hour at 400 on the steam bake setting. Perfect.

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Your Intrepid Dining Correspondent takes in Mardi Gras.

Your Intrepid Dining Correspondent takes in Mardi Gras.

Those of you who are my Facebook friends will have to just bear with me, as you’ve seen these photos already. Believe me, they represent meals that were good enough they’re worth revisiting.

Flew to New Orleans on a Wednesday for a Thursday evening event, solely to give myself time to amble about the city and hit some of my favorite restaurants. Which I promptly did for a late lunch on Wednesday, hooking up with some friends to go to Dragos.

Now, there is nothing that will get folks riled up about New Orleans cuisine faster than espousing a specific restaurant as the home of the best oysters in town. I’ve had Felix’s and I’ve had Acme’s, I’ve had Deanie’s. I’ve not had Casamento’s, which I know gets lots of nods. But I am here to tell you, it would be real hard to find any oysters better than those at Drago’s. The big seafood restaurant on the ground floor of the Hilton in downtown NOLA has a massive array of seafood choices, and it’s real hard to go wrong with any of them, but my preference is the chargrilled oysters.

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Just one or two things…

October 18, 2016

Who, me? Too much condiment shopping? Nahhhhh....

Who, me? Too much condiment shopping? Nahhhhh….

That was all I was going to get at the international market in Memphis, on my way back from Jackson and delivering two monkey children, aka Amazing Grandchildren 1 and 3, back to their mama, who had been out of town.

Which is why, as a matter of fact, I haven’t been cooking, or, to tell the truth, eating any heckuva lot for the past few days. Since Thursday, I’ve spent 19 hours in the car and the rest of the time doing what I was told by two preschoolers. Well, except for two superb concerts in between. And not a lot of sleep.

But they’re such CUTE little critters!

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A most lovely steak. Potatoes and asparagus in the background.

A most lovely steak. Potatoes and asparagus in the background.

You note there has been little on the blog (that is to say, nothing to speak of) in the past several days. That would be because I have been (a) busy as the proverbial bee, and (b) gone for five days. So there hasn’t been much cooking; in fact, I think I’ve cooked once in the past two weeks.

Which does not negate the fact that I did take time while in Dallas to enjoy one of the best dinners one can enjoy in Dallas, to wit, an Al Biernat steak. With port wine and foie gras sauce.

Have mercy. It was about worth spending five days on the road for.

You can get good steak in Dallas. Real good steak. Or, you can get an Al Biernat steak, which is enough orders of magnitude above a real good steak so as to be almost an entirely different dish. I’m not real sure what they do to their steaks, other than cook them perfectly with a nicely seasoned crust seared onto the outside and a lovely red center.

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The Delta -- my adoptive home. I do love it.

The Delta — my adoptive home. I do love it.

Have y’all MISSED me?

Not that I’ve been gone all that long; just a weekend, and I even had a prepared post I put up for y’all (smartphones ROCK, I’m telling you) while I was gone. But I have had a fine, fine time, enjoyed good food and better music, and am proud to be home.

Spent the weekend with a bunch of friends in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where I ate copious amounts of soul food, some other food, and heard copious amounts of blues, and some other kinds of music. In other words, a weekend filled with two of the things I love most, after my family.

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And I forgot to bring a cookbook for an autograph!

And I forgot to bring a cookbook for an autograph!

Well. I’m back from NOLA, where a large time was had by all. Notably, I got to meet John Besh (Restaurant August, Luke, Best Steak, Domenica, Borgne, La Provence, Willa Jean, Johnny Sanchez, Shaya, and he plans to open eight more in the next two years!). More notably, dumbass that I am capable of being, it did not occur to me to get a copy of his newest cookbook and bring it for him to autograph. Fail.

Had a couple of good meals, but not exceptional. We ate one night at Desire Oyster Bar, because it was close and we were exhausted. I had a seafood Louis salad, which was full of shrimp and lump crabmeat in a nice remoulade, and it hit the spot after an eight-hour drive. The next night, we went to Antoine’s, but I wasn’t overly hungry, having eaten something at lunch that didn’t sit especially well, so I ate from the appetizer menu and had shrimp and crab au gratin. That’s so rich, in that gorgeous bechamel with lots of cheese, that the appetizer was plenty. Not to mention it was not so heavy but what I could eat about half of a creme caramel for dessert.

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