August 28, 2012

Recent Home Cooking

Some recent pics and words on the home cooking I've done recently. Above is a picture of the brisket and pork butt cooked for 10 hours on my Big Green Egg. The brisket was awesome, a nice crust and smoke ring with great flavor and texture throughout.
With the brisket and pulled pork sandwiches I made an old Julia Child recipe for Zucchini Tian which is a fancy name for zucchini casserole. Shredded zucchini cooked in cream and the rendered zucchini water topped with Parmesan cheese and baked until golden. What's not to like here?

I also tried my hand at replicating the Chik-Fil-A chicken sandwich following Kenji at Serious Eats' riff on the CFA original. There's nothing too tricky about this recipe, though Kenji did tweak the concoction of spices and the flour coating enough to create a sandwich that tastes a good bit like the CFA classic. I didn't get a great pic (hey now, pickles), but trust me, the taste was close to the original.
And more from Kenji, as I tried his take on Peruvian-style grilled whole chicken. No kidding, this was some of the tastiest chicken preparations I've had recently. The Peruvian marinade is really just loads of garlic, cumin, paprika, vinegar, and olive oil. The flavor penetration is impressive. Removing the back bone and flattening the whole bird helps with even cooking and allows for the crisping of the skin on the grill during the last bit of cooking. I cooked the chickens on the BGE over indirect heat for about 45 minutes before finishing on direct 500 degree for the last 15 minutes. Tasty.

August 23, 2012

The Atlanta Chicken Experiment

Are you an amateur chef with a kick ass chicken recipe that you think can wow foodies and professional chefs alike? If so, you may want to consider entering the Atlanta Chicken Experiement on Sunday September 23rd. Even if you aren't a home cook with master chops, you still will want to come out for some revelry, beer drinking, and chicken eating when Brooklyn Brewery's Food Experiment Tour comes to Atlanta on September 23. As part of The Food Experiments national tour, the Atlanta chicken throw down will feature amateur chefs, and home cooks from around the ATL competing to wow the crowd and judges with their chicken dishes. The judges for the event include Atlanta chefs and food personalities such as Kevin Gillespie, Asha Gomez, Jennifer Zyman, and Bob Townsend.

Tickets are only $10, which includes tastes of the competitor's chicken dishes and one complimentary beer from Brooklyn Brewery. Part of the proceeds also go to charities that support sustainability and local culinary education for disadvantaged children. This looks to be a good time for all. Come out and show some local amateur chefs your support while also supporting Atlanta's growing foodie scene.

August 20, 2012

Recent Eats and Drinks

Bone marrow with tuna tartare and quail egg at The Spence. The bone marrow was decent, albeit slightly unseasoned, and the tuna really gets lost here. Pictured below is the beets with soft-boiled eggs, blue cheese, and wasabi. I thought the meal was good overall, but short of spectacular, and there are a handful of other restaurants that I'd choose over this one. There are some hits, like the macaroni and head cheese side dish, which is hedonistic, rich and comforting. But the Korean-influenced lamb ribs, porcini pasta, and halibut dishes were just not memorable.
The Spence does have zero corkage on the first bottle carried in which is nice (it's $15 per after the first bottle). We carried in this 2005 Vilmart Grand Cellier D'Or brut champagne that was in great form and a really tasty, young champagne.

Also made a return visit to No. 246 in Decatur where we had some tasty dishes. The pork rillettes with pickled egg below is a favorite, and the tuna conserve with orange segment was interesting. Bright acidity of the orange played against the oily richness of the fish. 
Among other dishes we also had the Margarita pie, which was as good as I remember from No. 246. It is probably Decatur's best pizza.
I also made the above dish this past weekend. It's a cider-brined pork chop from Pine Street Market,
over cheesy grits studded with roasted poblano and corn, along with Hugh Acheson's collard greens. I did the chops on the Big Green Egg at 500 degrees which brought some nice caramelization to the exterior while maintaining a juicy and flavorful interior. This dish was a winner all around for me.
In keeping with the tradition of drinking wines I really can't afford, with the pork chops we drank a 2006 J.F. Mugnier Nuits St Georges Clos de la Marechale. A very good wine, albeit a sinfully young Burgundy that needs 10 more years to really shine.

August 14, 2012

Jura Master: 2010 Jacques Puffeney Trousseau

Earlier this summer I posted about my revelation with wines from the Jura region in France. These wines are almost interesting enough to make me forget about Burgundy. If only...They are, however, damn good wines that are unique enough to impress your wine geek friends; yet, they are easy drinking, fruit-driven wines that match well with many foods.

Jacques Puffeney is one of the masters of the Jura region, where the wines, both reds and whites, are edgy, lively wines that are usually unfined and unfiltered and taste like the earth from which they came. The Puffeney wines are worth searching out. Lucky for you, if you live in the ATL, you can find them at Le Caveau Wines. The Trousseau (a grape also known as Bastardo) pictured here is not cheap at $35, but it's worth it.

August 8, 2012

2011 Marcel Lapierre Morgon

I recently dipped into the newly released 2011 Morgon from Marcel Lapierre, one of my favorite natural winemakers from Beaujolais in France. Cru Boos have been on a bit of a roll with heralded, but controversial, recent vintages. The 2011 shows some light game notes and floral (violets?) scents. There is clear black cherry notes on the palate, but it's not overtly ripe like the 2009. More minerality here, and some iron/tar notes; yet, it's also light on its feet. It's an easy drinking Cru Boo that matches well with just about any food. Around town for about $20.

August 3, 2012

The Wine Drought

I haven't opened a lot of wine lately. Actually, I've opened only one bottle of wine in the past two weeks. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, it's been hot as hell lately and I've been drinking my share of cold beer. Plus, I also find myself increasingly interested in cocktails, so I've done some further experimenting with tequila, bourbon, and rum.
I also recently spent a couple nights at Bern's Steak House in Tampa with some friends who are equally pedantic wine and food geeks. Bern's is unlike any restaurant I've ever experienced. It's a steak house and wine mecca that feels like part museum and part bordello inside. As we did last year, we spent two nights drinking some good food and drinking brilliant wines older than our grandparents. As with Fight Club, the first rule of Bern's is you don't really talk about Bern's. So...all you get is a picture of their unassuming sign out front. EatItAtlanta has a recent shout-out to Bern's and their brilliant sommelier, Eric Renaud.
This brings us to the other cause of my wine drought, the fact that it's hard to follow up a trip to Bern's with excitement over a $15 Chardonnay from the Loire Valley. However, a couple of nights ago I did open a very nice Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay blend from Herve Villamade's Domaine du Moulin in the Loire Valley. It's a crisp and lively white wine full of acid and minerals; it's a perfect white served on the cold side on a hot summer night. I got this one at Le Caveau in Chamblee for about $20.