Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chef Larry: This weekend I’m going to pull my pork and jerk my chicken. Those are barbecue terms, Miss vina.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fried green tomato & shrimp sliders. Time to throw in the towel because this is as good as it gets.

Seriously, this may be the best thing I've ever cooked, as in I might as well pack up and never cook again because it's not going to get better than this slider. Hot fried green tomatoes, spicy seared shrimp, sweet bread & butter pickles, tangy remoulade, and vinegar-y Crystal hot sauce on buttery mini Kaiser rolls. 

Y'all. Don't. Even. Know. 

I'm in a slight slider haze, but I'll try to pull it together and share some highlights of my day: 

The Dale City Farmers Market was a complete cluster this morning. I've never seen it that busy in all my years in the area. Apparently eleven in the morning is the golden hour of the farmers market. 

There was a Celtic violinist playing classical and contemporary music next to the big peach stand. She started playing “Let It Go” from Frozen and a lady with two young children rushed past me saying, “Oh dear lord, I need to get out of here before these two start singing.” I laughed so hard I knocked over a pile of peaches. 

Fried green tomatoes

The older gentleman from whom I bought the green/heirloom tomatoes asked what I was going to do with them. I told him I was going to fry them up. He said he missed fried green tomatoes, that his mother used to make them, and that he hadn't had any in such a long time because his wife didn't like fried green tomatoes. 

“My grandmother, she lived in southern Virginia, she had eleven children. Eleven children! Times was tough back then, especially when you had to feed eleven children. She baked a mess of biscuits three times a day. Four of them never moved away, probably because of those biscuits.” 

I could have stayed there and talked to him for ages—he probably would have been just fine with that—but the lady standing behind me looked harried and grumpy. What kind of crazy lady gets grumpy at eleven in the morning holding a pint of baby eggplant, I'll never know. 

Green tea with mint and seared Carolina shrimp

me: I'm at the farmers market. I'm going to make fried green tomato and shrimp sliders. 
Justin: That sounds very southern. 
me: I love me some southern food, y'all. 
Justin: Ok, Paula Deen. 
me: AND I'm wearing my big sun hat. 
Justin: Ok, JLo Paula. 

Damn. Just, damn. I'm going to marry myself and cook this on my wedding night.

Fried Green Tomatoes and Carolina Shrimp Sliders

for the tomatoes:
3-4 green tomatoes, sliced in half-inch slices
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 cup of all-purpose flour, or Korean frying mix
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
S & P
vegetable oil for frying

1. Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. 
2. Blot tomato slices with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, or Korean frying mix (which is basically flour + cornstarch) and shake off excess flour. Dip in egg mixture and then roll in panko bread crumbs with paprika. 
3. Fry in batches, about two-three minutes each side, until brown and crispy. 
4. Let drain/dry on wire rack until all tomatoes are fried. 

for the remoulade:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise. I use Duke's, it's the best. 
1/4 cup of spicy whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. pickle juice - I used bread & butter pickle juice, but I imagine a spicy dill pickle juice would also be tasty. 
1 clove of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp hot sauce. I used Crystal hot sauce. Tabasco would be good. 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for flavors to come together, like a Beatles' song. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge until needed. 

for the shrimp: 
1/2 lb of large shrimp. Mine were South Carolina shrimp. I don't really have a preference of shrimp origin, that's just where they were from. 
1 Tbsp olive oil
S & P 
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1. Peel & devein shrimp and place in bowl. Add other ingredients and use hands to mix until shrimp are well seasoned. 
2. Heat a stove-top grill pan over medium heat. Grease with oil or butter. Once hot, sear shrimp on each side until just cooked. Try not to overcook the shrimp. They're like eggs, they'll cook a little bit more once you remove them from the heat, so it's ok if they're slightly translucent when you take them off the heat. Set aside until slider time. 

for the sliders: 
mini Kaiser rolls, buttered and toasted in oven
bread & butter pickle slices
lettuce (which I forgot to get, but would be good shredded on slider)
all above components

To assemble, starting from bottom: Bun. Remoulade sauce. Fried green tomato. Shrimp. Pickle. Lettuce. More remoulade. Finish with hot sauce and top bun. 

Enjoy with mint tea, cider, or a cold beer. Weep a little bit because it's so delicious. Text everyone in the inner circle proclaiming that you'll never cook again because it's never going to be as good as this. 

Contemplate afternoon nap. 

fried green tomato sliders playlist

Brenda Lee | Sweet Nothings
Julian Lennon | Too Late for Goodbyes
Sylvan Esso | H.S.K.T.
Eagles | Witchy Woman
Ray Charles | Unchain My Heart
Phantogram | Fall in Love
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles | The Tears of a Clown (Hotsnax remix)

buttermilk pie and pimento for all!

Justin and Gap brought back a little Charleston for me! They're the sweetest. Thanks, boys! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

things I can't say on the internet

Todd Thrasher: I have a new cocktail at Restaurant Eve tomorrow. It has figs.
me: What are we calling it?
Todd Thrasher: I don't know, “What Up, My Figga”?


That time Steph and I went to RVA and had amazing pimento cheese, cocktails, and good ol' Appalachian-southern fare at Comfort in Jackson Ward. The struggle was real walking back to the hotel, I can tell you that much. I also think that was the day I was running on two-three hours of sleep so combined with all the comfort food—yeah I went there—I basically passed out before eleven pm. It was the best. Much thanks to Chef Travis Milton, especially for them pickles and that vinegar pie the next day. Trip was back in June. I'm incredibly behind on my photo editing/uploading. 

Baby steps. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

...holy hell, he DOES.

me: [random text about whatever was happening at the time]
Nick: Daniel Craig looks like a mad baby.

but right now I like it this way, kind of quiet.

Charles Bukowski. Uncensored. from Quoted on Vimeo.
In 1993, candid conversations between Charles Bukowski, his wife, and his producer took place in Bukowski’s home during the recording session for his classic Run With the Hunted.

We brought the outtakes to life for HarperCollins.

Animation by Drew Christie

Thursday, August 14, 2014

me: It's been three weeks since we had breakfast at the Fair? Gaddd, time flies.
Joy: I know. I can tell you I've considered coming into the fair at least three times since but it's always been at like 8:30 so I knew you weren't in. Gah the heart breaks!
me: I mean, don't let me not being here stop you from croissants and cakes.
Joy: But you are my joy and half of my excuse for living.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

whistlin' (Mason) Dixie

So happy to support the biscuit cause - bring Mason Dixie Biscuit Shoppe to DC! 
I'm trying wild out on biscuits, fried chicken, and yo - is that honey? 

sananikone sounds like ice cream cone so BAM I think I've just developed my personal logo.

It's still rough of course, but yes, these are the things you discover at one in the morning.

monday evening, technically tuesday morning

sounds like: having No Rest for the Wicked with Lykke Li, bang bang - being shot down by Nico Vega, Witchy Woman, and finding the modern Wolf with Sylvan Esso. After a few months' hiatus, I've jumpstarted via vina again. I've missed it and have fallen out of habit of remembering my dreams. 

tastes like: Fried green tomatoes straight from the garden. The tomatoes, not the frying, though game over if someone invents a fried tomato plant. Do you remember the hot dog tree in Big Top Pee-Wee? Shoot, that just might be my favorite part of that movie, second to when Winnie threw the egg salad sandwiches into the creek when she caught Pee Wee macking on Gina. Figures my favorite scenes would involve food. 

feels like: I need to move (oh, that might be a thing, hopefully no more of this hour commute nonsense - we'll see what happens), I need to start a website (remember when I was talking about that last year? Me too.), and I just need to get shit done. 

smells like: summer rain. 

photo via somewhere in the tumblrsphere. I want a flatfile in my studio!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

restaurant life, two years in

I recently passed the two year mark of being with Eat Good Food Group. It's been a crazy couple of years, let me tell you. On second thought, let me not tell you. We've gone through the making of Chef's cookbook, to losing a restaurant and what about that time I carried a salmon around the streets of Alexandria for a photo shoot? It's been a total blast, even when the chefs are angry, and I've said the same phrase for three hours - Good evening! Tonight you're having a sashimi of tuna with a soy-yuzu vinaigrette and pickled daikon! - and my phone is a veritable motherboard, constantly lighting up with tweets and notifications. 

Things I've said repeatedly: Can I borrow you for a photograph? Can you make me that cocktail? Chef, where do the quince come from? What's in that dish? Is that from Path Valley Farms? How do you spell that farmer's name? What do you want on the flyer - when do you need that flyer? Did you change your password? DID YOU GOOGLE IT? Oh man, that one.

Big thanks to my restaurant family, past and present, I love and appreciate you all. Thanks for tolerating me and allowing me to show the world your work. 

Here's to a few more years at EGFG, before I take over the world, Pinky.