Saturday, November 20, 2004

Swine on you crazy diamond

Oh, the Plant City Pig Jam...

I'm really at a loss for words. Still climbing out of the pork induced stupor I guess. All told I think I put away a brisket sandwich--really just a half pound of beef atop a hamburger bun--a few ribs, a baked sweet potato the size of my shoe, various other bites of pulled pork, pork butt, and several glasses of sweet iced tea.

The fair wasn't really too big in size. The thing that impressed me was that, aside from the obligatory bouncy castle and funnel cake stand, there really wasn't anything else besides people selling bbq. I think that says something for the seriousness of the people that participate in this sort of thing. Serious cue...

We didn't stick around for the judging, but from what one of the ladies serving up the sweet tea told us, to be a bbq judge one has to be certified by the KCBS--Kansas City BBQ Society--in an eight day course. Hopefully the winners will be publicized somewhere.

All in all, going out there was a great idea. I'm beginning to feel normal again. My clothes still smell like oak and hickory, I still feel a vague sort of high, and I'm pretty sure I'll forgo dinner.

Here are a few more pictures:

Do you really want blood from these event-goers? You might want to skim that first.

Like I said...

Powerful 'cue.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


With the weather turning a little bit colder, I've developed the urge to spend more time in the kitchen. I don't think it's really cold enough for me to start baking yet, but, with the kitchen window open, it was cool enough to make some risotto. Taking a few guidelines from Essentials of Italian Cooking, I made saffron risotto, mostly out of what was around. I'm not sure whose rice I used, but it sure wasn't mine. I did buy saffron and chicken broth specifically for that purpose though. The Badia brand saffron is much cheaper than other brands. I don't notice too much of a difference in taste. Maybe it's not as potent. All in all it was a decent risotto: just onion, broth, saffron, butter and a little locatelli. I think this was the first time I used the le creuset to make it. The cast iron seemed to work pretty well at keeping an even heat.

I had plenty of risotto left over, and that's where the title of this post comes in:

fried risotto. You can even see one of the little saffron threads.
I made golfball sized pieces of cold risotto, dipped them in beaten egg and breadcrumbs and then fried them in vegetable oil. With a little lemon juice, it was wonderful. Maybe even better than the risotto the first night. The lemon makes me think that maybe incorporating lemon into the initial recipe would be a good idea. Maybe risotto with peas and lemon? Next time. There's still a big bowl of risotto in the fridge, so maybe more tomorrow.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Road-side bbq

On the way to the red barn yesterday, I noticed a guy selling Texas-style bbq on 41. Not really ready for bbq that early in the a.m., I decided to pass. Thats not to say I wasn't ready for the plate of chicken tostadas I took down at the barn, but that's beside the point. I went back to the bbq later on that day, saddened to find that there was no brisket left. What I did come home with was a rack of babybacks and a tub of pulled pork. Big John, the Texan behind this place, also informed me that next weekend is Pig Jam, a state-wide bbq competiton in Plant City. Yeah competitive bbq.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Wrap up

So, I've been a little lax on the blogging for the past few weeks. I've been cooking and eating, yes, just not writing about it. Here's a little wrap up.

Last Saturday, Renee and I went to Jessica's Stand on 47th Street. I'd known about the place for several years but somehow never made it out there. Essentially a farm wedged in between a golf course and some cookie-cutter houses, Jessica's grows lots of organic produce and imports a fair variety of other organic goods. Can I afford to buy produce there every week? Probably not. But man, everything I bought was wonderful. I now have a jar of pickles going, thanks to the organic kirbies, dill and garlic. The butter lettuce made a great salad with just some coarse salt and olive oil. I also bought some Jerusalem artichokes--or sunchokes--which I'd never prepared before. I browned them in butter and olive oil, then steamed them in a little rice vinegar and water, then mashed them with sage and bacon, all as per the recipe in the new Jamie Oliver book.
I've made a few recipes from that book in the past week, each of which came out pretty well. I sort of regret making the sunchokes with so many other flavors since I'd never tried them before. Still, they were quite tasty.
Also, I made an indian fish soup from the Oliver book. I found an Indian grocery in Bradenton--India Bazaar, 26th St., near MCC--that sells fresh curry leaves, bulk spices and a variety of vegetables that I don't know what to do with. A very simple soup, it entails frying spices--mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin seeds, and chili powder with curry leaves, ginger, garlic, chilis and onion, then adding basmati rice, water, coconut milk and snapper.
Oh, and there have been cookies. Lots of chewy, chocolate chip cookies--recipe courtesy of Good Eats.