Merguez Sausage with Black Olive Mayo, Harrisa Carrot Slaw and Feta, Lemony Swiss Chard with Fried Olives, Capers and Garlic

I received a gift certificate from Pastaworks for Christmas. While I was there, I picked up some Merguez Sausage and decided to do the Merguez Sausage with Black Olive Mayo, Harrisa Carrot Slaw and Feta again. I thought the Lemony Swiss Chard with Fried Olives, Capers and Garlic would be a good side.

But, as they say on Mythbusters – “Failure is always an option”. And this week, I failed spectacularly. I put the sausage on the grill, and then went back in house to finish up the chard. I was only inside for about 4 minutes when I heard a loud “BOOM”. I looked outside, and the grill was a raging fire. Luckily, my fire extinguisher was handy (thanks Alton Brown). So, the sandwiches you see there in that photo are vegetarian.

If you ever have to use a fire extinguisher on your grill, this link tells you how to clean up the mess.

I’m taking next week off from my culinary pursuits…

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I decided to go with a bottle of Oude Desay from De Garde Brewing.

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Wine Braised Beef Cheeks, Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes and Creamed Spinach

These were three different recipes that I’ve been meaning to try that I thought would work well together. The beef cheek recipe – which I have actually tried before – is from Gabriel Rucker’s Le Pigeon cookbook. The cheeks are braised in beef stock, mirepoix and an entire bottle of wine for 12 hours at 200°F. The potatoes recipe is from Serious Eats. The spinach recipe is my mother’s – which she cribbed from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Unfortunately, the beef cheeks were inedible. Not sure why, but it may have to do with how they were cut when I got them at the carniceria down the street. They were the only place I could find them – but they were frozen in a giant block of ice. So the butcher just cut me on a cube using a bandsaw.

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This seemed like the perfect meal for a bottle of Oregon Native – a collaboration between Upright Brewing and Patton Valley Vineyard.

Tandoori Fried Chicken, Saag Paneer Mac and Indian Slaw

This was pretty much a total disaster…

On a recent trip to Atlanta, I discovered Tandoori Fried Chicken at a restaurant called Botiwalla. I knew I was going to have to try to figure out how to make it.

I marinated the chicken using the same marinade that I use for my Tandoori Lobster (which was originally a chicken recipe in the first place). I then followed Alton Brown’s Fried Chicken recipe for the cooking process.

As to what to serve with the chicken… I did a bit of research to find two more recipes where Southern cuisine had been re-routed thru South India: Saag Paneer Mac and Indian Slaw.

But things didn’t go as planned… The Saag Paneer Mac recipe is very poorly written. Things like, you know, measurements or the size of pan to use are pretty much non-existent. The Indian Slaw recipe was pretty straight forward, but I had forgotten one key ingredient: the Serrano chili. These two came out edible – although not very exciting. The chicken, on the other hand, did not.

I’m guessing it was the yogurt marinade. First, I did not have time to marinate the chicken the minimum 8 hours. But, since I did not completely remove the marinade off of the chicken before dredging in the flour – it started to burn almost immediately upon hitting the grease. I then put the chicken in a roasting pan and moved to the oven. Well, at this point the Saag Paneer Mac was getting cold and the chicken was not getting above an internal temperature of 180° – so I turned the oven to broil… The chicken, which was already burned on one side, now was completely black. It went straight in the trash.

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I decided to go with a bottle of The Conversion from Logsdon Farmhouse Ales – which exploded and went all over the already destroyed kitchen… Not a good night.

Collard Greens Soup

This is one on my mother’s recipes… And growing up, my sister and I hated it. But for some reason I’ve been craving it something fierce.

The last time I remember eating this, was in junior high. The power was out due to a snow storm and we were gathered around the fireplace playing Monopoly (which I have not played again since that time). I don’t recall how my mother heated it up, but it’s just one of those memories filed way back in the memory banks – eating soup, wrapped up in a blanked next to the fire.

Fast forward thirty-some-odd years later… The forecast said that we were going to have a snow storm this weekend – and I knew what I had to make.

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I picked up the latest iteration of Bourbon Little Brother from The Commons while I was shopping.

Corned Pork, Hoppin’ John, Bourbon Glazed Cabbage

This year, I decided to try something new – as well as try to stay to true to the tradition of black and peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day. Instead of the usual corned beef, I picked up a corned pork brisket from Tails & Trotters. For the black-eyed peas, I decided to try the Hoppin’ John recipe from Couchon. And for the cabbage, I went with Alton Brown’s Whiskey Glazed Cabbage – but used Bourbon instead.

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I had been saving a bottle of the Bourbon Barrel-aged Gulden Draak Brewmaster’s Edition from Brouwerij Van Steenberge that my sister gave me specifically for this meal.