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eG Foodblog: Zeemanb (2011) - A sweetbread or so north of "Winter&

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#1 Zeemanb

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 11:13 PM

DowntownParkville.jpg

Well, it’s officially Sunday and we have a whole lot to cover this week, so...hello and welcome to Missouri. I’m a troll’s troll. And as much as I’d like to pretend that I actually DO live under a bridge waiting for goats to walk by, I am looking forward to putting my OCD to work and showing you a little bit of “MY Kansas City”. To begin my blog I’ll open it with an absolutely true story…in addition to changing the way I approach food, whether it’s dining in a new city or trying a new recipe, I owe the largest part of my happy life to eGullet. For it was HERE that my lurker wife (I’m sure she’ll pop in here at some point) first spotted my gleefully grammatically challenged wordsmithing and began to stalk me…and it went like THIS-

A few months after my gastric bypass surgery in 2007, I hosted a dinner party and talked about it on the Sopranos food thread:

The Sopranos Dinner Thread

So she saw that and was like “Oh man, this guy is going places!”, and she fell into the vortex that is my blog (which DOES contain adult themes and language…BIG time) after hopping over there to read the extended version of the dinner. My blog is kind of like a landfill and gets about ten accidental visits per day, one comment every three months…it is absolutely shill and self-promotion proof. So in the interest of including some important non-food info I’ll link to a specific post without feeling too bad about possibly boosting my traffic to twenty over the next few days. If you skip to the third comment, that is where this whole story took off after a random dinner party report. My wife-to-be happened to post to something I wrote about online dating...comments complete with John Cusack references. Anybody here have a heart?!?! Isn’t it PRECIOUS?!?!?

Thoughts about dating that reeled in a wife...

And so thanks to eGullet we were off and running! I was in Kansas City, she was in Richmond, Virginia...and after several months of phone calls and literally hundreds of pages of emails we arranged our first face time. Planning for a worst case scenario, she would drive to DC (which would give her a quick escape if needed), and I would fly in and have three days to eat and drink in that town…with our without her.

So where was our official “first date”? Is that a rhetorical question? We were going to be in DC, and you don’t remain a bachelor until almost forty without learning a thing or two about “classy” first dates. So no brainer…minibar. BOOM. You can’t make that stuff up. And my wife mentioned how much she likes it when the eG food bloggers include a picture, so here you go- this is us on that first date, at the bar at Café Atlantico, waiting to be summoned upstairs:

minibardate.JPG

We had a small destination wedding in Savannah, Georgia in Whitefield Square’s gazebo. On June 25th we celebrated our second anniversary during a roadtrip to Deadwood, South Dakota (Corn Palace, Wall Drug, the works). We live in Parkville, Missouri, which is about ten minutes northwest of downtown Kansas City (Missouri…there’s another one in Kansas :smile: ). No kids, but we do have three rescue animals...one cute but common decency-challenged cocker spaniel and two one-eyed cats. Overall, life right now is grand. And this is a FOOD blog, but I will add that what makes life so great is making it through a pretty crazy first couple of years...I mean, we did everything you’re NOT supposed to do. Long distance relationship where we both bounced back and forth between Richmond and KC, planning a wedding with the full knowledge that in a few months I would be laid off from my job, getting married and then having her leave home to move a thousand miles away...finally arriving here with no job prospects and me being out of work for what ended up being seven months. 2009 was crazy….five people in my family died that year, I got married, I quit drinking, my whole team got laid off, my bachelor pad was about to be retrofitted for estrogen-friendliness, wife looking for a job, a one-eyed cat thrown into the mix...you don’t realize how crazy it is when you’re in the middle of it. So now I am literally thankful every single day for what we’ve got; we’re both employed (I’m in IT, she’s in healthcare), we have a happy home, great family and friends...and we love our food. When the good times come you devour them, and you pass on as much good as you can to others. And life will always come back and happen to you at some point…and sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, the good times will return. And when they DO return, YOU CELEBRATE WITH A FANTASTIC MEAL!

So I just wanted to give that little backdrop to set up what I’m wanting to do with this week. I could have gone a million different directions or just try to make this what I think of as “eGullet-y”. But as my wife told me, there isn’t really any NEW ground to cover on this site, so best to just personalize it and see where it goes. I’m just going to blog how I blog, food-centric and minus the wildly excessive profanity... other than that pretty unedited and full of self-amusement. You’re going to see some good food, I promise you that. I’m going to test your limits with my rambling, horrible photography, and movie references...and I AM the king of the ellipses... but it’s going to revolve around food, who we are, and what makes us love eating in KC. I’ve lived in Arizona and Minneapolis, but Kansas City Kansas is where I was born (on the 4th of July!) and most of my life has happened in the major metropolitan area. I moved to the Missouri side after my broken-hearted return from Minneapolis in 1995, because it is just better than Kansas. Sorry, it’s just true :smile: .

I’ll have to leave a lot of stuff out that may tweak folks familiar with the area, but I’m always available for questions, requests, and whatever is of interest about food in my town. If it exists here, I’m probably at least aware of it, I am deeply familiar with the current scene, and we eat EVERYTHING, too bad we've only got the week. Like many eG bloggers it will be a big one-off as far as overall dining costs and calories in a seven day span. Oh, and here’s the big kicker...no BBQ. I create world class bbq, I love talking about it, and am happy to chit-chat, but that is one serious all-or-nothing topic. Plus, a Kansas City blog without bbq is just funny. I gotta be FREE! Some NEW stuff! For its size, Kansas City has an amazing food community, and I will give you just a tiny fraction….and please ignore any eye-rolling and fact checking from other KC eGulleters because MY KC is the coolest version...full of folklore and intrigue!!!

Oh, and “zeemanb” is a screen name I’ve used since around 1995 when I first got online. Sadly, some from KC think it has something to do with the Z-Man sandwich at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ…but cheese belongs on bbq about as much as mango chutney or pop rocks…or bbq sauce…so not hardly. I took the name from the character Z-Man Barzell in the Russ Meyer classic “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”, written by Roger Ebert. My holy trinity of movie directors would be Stanley Kubrick, John Waters, and Jim Jarmusch...so there is a big clue into my voice and worldview- with deepest apologies.

In the morning I’ll detail how we approach hard narcotics, er, I mean COFFEE in this house. We’ve got friends coming over in the afternoon for some Ad Hoc fried chicken, and I am DYING to post dinner from tonight. I know it happened a couple of hours earlier than the start of the blog, but I assure you it is not to be ignored. Gotta hit the hay, so until then here are a few random shots to tide you over:

Photo of my favorite spoonrest. And by favorite, I mean my only spoonrest:

SpoonRest.jpg

We find that the best use for the extra plastic grocery baggies we steal is- cheap cat toy:

StolenBag.jpg

Lastly, before I head to bed, here is some super cool food photography we bought while we were on our anniversary roadtrip:

Fiddlehead.jpg

More rambles once I get the caffeine in my veins.....

#2 rarerollingobject

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 11:33 PM

Wow..an eG lovestory! That slightly warmed the cockles of my black, black heart. Heh. GREAT beginning to a foodblog..love it.

Plus: I was very excited for this blog just seeing the Bones and Fat books alone..two of my bibles.

#3 Pierogi

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 12:04 AM

.....
So I just wanted to give that little backdrop to set up what I’m wanting to do with this week. I could have gone a million different directions or just try to make this what I think of as “eGullet-y”. But as my wife told me, there isn’t really any NEW ground to cover on this site, so best to just personalize it and see where it goes. I’m just going to blog how I blog, food-centric and minus the wildly excessive profanity... other than that pretty unedited and full of self-amusement. You’re going to see some good food, I promise you that. I’m going to test your limits with my rambling, horrible photography, and movie references...and I AM the king of the ellipses... but it’s going to revolve around food, who we are, and what makes us love eating in KC. I’ve lived in Arizona and Minneapolis, but Kansas City Kansas is where I was born (on the 4th of July!) and most of my life has happened in the major metropolitan area. I moved to the Missouri side after my broken-hearted return from Minneapolis in 1995, because it is just better than Kansas. Sorry, it’s just true :smile: .


JERRY !!!

I loved your intro, and this is going to be one very cool blog, I can tell already. I also *heart* your philosophy above ! So cool. Just what a blog should be. Loved the critters (you know they're close to *my* heart) and the story about how you & your wife met and made a life. I've always liked your perspective on topics, so I'm buckling in for a good week.

OH ! And belated Happy Birthday from one July baby to another. Mine's Monday ! :wink:

(Oh again...I love ellipses too. I think I need a 12-step program....) Blog on, then, and show us the Great Heartland.
--Roberta--
"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley
Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

#4 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 05:50 AM

Gonzo food blogging!

Looking forward to more. :)

#5 Kim Shook

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 06:33 AM

Yes, yes, YES! I am so excited about this blog! I love your writing, my friend - that careening, exciting, breathless plummet - will it end in a blaze of glory, or a train wreck??? I'm betting GLORY - it always does on Unsaved Loved Ones.

Mr. Kim and I have the honor of actually KNOWING this delightful couple and are crushed that Meredith moved to KC instead of Jerry moving HERE!

Can't wait for every moment!

#6 Darienne

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 06:45 AM

Love your stories, your writing style, your attitudes (except that I am very old and uncomfortable with excessive profanity [which you are going to eschew for eG]), and as for your being the king of the ellipsis...I have long been the queen of said. We also stop at Wall Drug each time through. And we met in a closet 54 years ago. And rescue Rotties.
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#7 LindaK

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 08:11 AM

This is going to be fun! I visited KC only a few times during my years in St. Louis, and I expect I'll regret that by the end of your week.


 


#8 Zeemanb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 08:30 AM

French Press is a steepin'...

NORMALLY I don't sleep in like a lazy slug, but the porkfest and staying up too late last night took its toll. I'm realizing just how bad of a hit Farmville is going to take this week.....my neighbors are not going to be happy about their lack of free gift deliveries.

rarerollingobject- Now you've gone and made me feel weird about the fact that I didn't have any cooking planned from "Fat" or "Bones" at any point this week.....will revisit, lol. They really ARE Bibles.

Pierogi- Happy Birthday! Only the finest among us were born in July. Glad you enjoyed the intro- I usually error on the side of "too much information", and in this particular case I wanted to soften you all up a little bit with the romantic stuff so I have more latitude later if I go off the reservation.

Sylvia- I generally try running something past my wife if I have any question about where it is on the gonzo-meter before I post...so far, no silent blank stares from her, but we'll see. Mainly I want to do the food blog justice....loved Peter the Eater's blog, we've had some great ones recently.

Kim- Eh,you I know already, so good morning, lol. I will try to keep our shared "country mouse" enthusiasm in full effect.

Darienne- Thanks so much! I will definitely, definitely be eG-friendly this week without losing too much of the punch.

LindaK- The food community here is outstanding, and my HOPE is that after I get time to blog last night's dinner properly you will be filled with regret by the end of TODAY, lol.

(Edited to add a response...)

Edited by Zeemanb, 17 July 2011 - 08:34 AM.


#9 meredith h.

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 08:53 AM

"For it was HERE that my lurker wife (I’m sure she’ll pop in here at some point) first spotted my gleefully grammatically challenged wordsmithing and began to stalk me..."

Ahem. :rolleyes:

#10 Zeemanb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 09:05 AM

Starting to wake up a little. No idea about breakfast. That question doesn't generally enter my mind before I can get some of this coffee in me. We have a couple of friends coming over at 2:30 for fried chicken, so we may just gut it out. And if so, I promise you boring shots of a handful of peanuts or a hard boiled egg at some point this week.

COFFEE TALK, and then I'm off to vacuum seal some brined birdy and get it in the Sous Vide Supreme....

Okay, the way I do coffee is going to drive real coffee people nuts. I love the coffee threads, people blow my mind with their knowledge and dedication to the art. BUT people who drink Folgers look at ME like I'm one of YOU...so I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

coffee.jpg

This is where it all begins, I've been home roasting for about ten years or so and have zero plans to upgrade my methods- Here we see my Poppery II hot air popcorn popper (when one starts to take longer roasting, I buy another) and a wide array of green beans from Sweetmarias. As a junky, I have to make sure we will never....EVER...be without beans, and right now I probably have about 40ish pounds out in the garage.

My current stockpile includes Ethiopian Nigusie Lemma, Yemen Mokha Ismaili, Bali Natural Monsooned, and Sweetmarias Liquid Amber Espresso Blend.

Once I find something I like, I stick with it. My workhorse is usually Ethiopian Harar when a good batch is available. My FAVORITES are the Yemen Mokha Ismaili and Aged Sumatra. My methodology for trying a new bean is very scientific- whenever they post something from Africa or Asia that is listed as "Intensity- Bold", I order some.

As far as hardware in the kitchen, I use a good old Bodum French Press, a big Chemex and a 10-cup Bialetti Moka Pot. My grinder is a Capresso Infinity. On the weekend when we're not necessarily wanting to see through walls, I'll break out the Chemex. During the WEEK, well, I make it strong....I get up and get the Moka pot and the French Press going. Our drive-to-work cups come from the Moka Pot, and the pressed batch goes into a thermos and comes to work with me.

There you go. After ten years of practice, that is what it comes down to. And while it's about three hundred degrees too warm to sit on the deck with a cup and occasional cigar, here's a testament to my "dudeness"...because nothing goes with coffee like a serious stick from an island south of Miami....

Humidor.jpg

I only enjoy about two per month, always on the golf course, and always with a travel cup of my homeroast in hand. A pocketful of bacon and the scenario would be perfect.

I'll be checking in between getting the chicken prepped and starting dinner...thanks everyone for reading! I will do my best to interrupt your work days this week.

#11 kayb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 09:56 AM

Wait a minute -- a hot air popcorn popper to roast coffee beans? You can DO that? Where have I been?

I need details. And I think my coffee life is about to kick up into another gear.

Loved the intro. Gonzo food blogging is a wonderful thing. Anxious to follow you this week!
Don't ask. Eat it.

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#12 Genkinaonna

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:07 AM

"a pocketful of bacon and the scenario would be perfect" :laugh:

ANY scenario would be improved by a pocketful of bacon, silly!

Can't wait to follow all your adventures this week. Love your other blog, too, so this should be fun!
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#13 Zeemanb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:19 AM

Chicken is resting comfortably at 60C, and about twenty more photos have been loaded onto my desktop....

Sundaysousvide.jpg


Wait a minute -- a hot air popcorn popper to roast coffee beans? You can DO that? Where have I been?

I need details. And I think my coffee life is about to kick up into another gear.



Now THIS I can actually answer with SOME authority...... You have to use the Poppery II hot air popcorn popper, which you can find on any number of auction sites, but I've gotten great results with one for ten years. That being said, I'm not super picky about evenness of roasts or any of that, so I don't have much interest in investing in a "real" roaster. Sites like sweetmarias.com will have more info than I could ever give you, but essentially you just put some green coffee beans in the popper, turn it on, wait until you hear "first crack", and then there is also a "second crack"....which is where I usually take the beans. There are many levels of roast, and depending upon the bean and your particular preferences, experimentation will be your guid. This is literally one of the easiest and most cost effective food-nerd hobbies you can get into. And once you roast your own, that's it for you. So be warned.



Genkinoanna- Point taken....point taken....I wasn't awake yet...a surplus of bacon is always the goal, :laugh: .


**Edited for the fact that this desktop is ancient and spontaneously posts for me before I can type anything, but the chair is comfy....and I wanted to add a picture

Edited by Zeemanb, 17 July 2011 - 10:51 AM.


#14 Jaymes

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:24 AM

Wait a minute -- a hot air popcorn popper to roast coffee beans? You can DO that? Where have I been?

I need details. And I think my coffee life is about to kick up into another gear.

Loved the intro. Gonzo food blogging is a wonderful thing. Anxious to follow you this week!


I'm looking forward to the blog, too!

But, for kayb, many folks start roasting coffee in their hot air popper. The only thing to be aware of is that not all hot air poppers work equally well for coffee beans, so do a little research. There are several books you can buy that talk about that method.

But here's an old eGullet thread on this subject:

Roasting my own coffee

Edited by Jaymes, 17 July 2011 - 10:25 AM.

"KNOWLEDGE TENDS TO ELEVATE THE HORSES" - cdh


#15 gfweb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 11:00 AM

I've lost interest in cuban cigars. I've had so many that were mediocre. Honduran for me.

#16 Zeemanb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 11:34 AM

Countless peccadilloes aside, I have to say I AM the model of efficiency in the kitchen, so with the time I bought myself by doing as much for today's meal ahead of time as I could.....I'll give you some more photos:

deck.jpg

We just had our deck redone and decided that we'd plant fewer herbs this year. Due to the slope, drainage, etc. in our backyard we just do all of our herbs in pots....and the last couple of years we planted so many it was ridiculous. Stuck to the basics this time around....

kitchen01.jpg

I'll add another one of these with less of the kitchen in it, in case this one gets squishy when it's compressed....but here's where I keep most of the hardware. I had no idea I had a small kitchen until a friend of mine told me! The wall behind the rack is coming out, probably later this year. We're wanting to open up that space and get some more storage in the process. We live in a split-entry home circa 1973, and it would be nice to have one big kitchen/dining room/living room space upstairs.


kitchen02.jpg


Kitchen05.jpg

There it is from the other angle. Small but we pack a lot in there. And man is it nice to have a new fridge and a GAS STOVE! How did I use electric for so long....



KNIVES!

knives1.jpg

knives2.jpg

I don't know what the best cutlery is, but I know what I like. For precision I love Shun and for butchery or hacking away I love all that German steel. And yes, I do find Rachael Ray's Furi to be a pretty handy and well-weighted little sucker. The huge Bowie knife in the upper left is something I included to be funny....kind of. I'm going to use it as a BBQ slicing/ripping knife once I get a razor edge on it, but my father-in-law actually made that knife for me as a bday gift 2 years ago. Yeah, he's basically the coolest dude in the world....crafts period knives and for a long time did firearms as well. The one he made me is purty, but it's also incredibly balanced and made with this very nice piece of Damascus...

knives3.jpg


As far as our library goes, here's the main stash of books. I love READING cookbooks, but when it's time to cook I just go and print a copy of the recipe off of internet and toss it later. I know, tree killer. We do keep several of those giant three ring binders we have filled with recipes too. They're all in sheet protectors and come from either Bon Appetit or printed off of the web. That is definitely the majority of our go-to recipes we tend to make regularly. Grad school ruined me for ever reading another real book for the rest of my life, but I LOVE buying and reading cookbooks. Right now I'm working on Michel Richard's "Happy in the Kitchen", and "Under Pressure" is on its way....

books1.jpg

books2.jpg

books3.jpg


Okay, I guess I should get started on preparing for today's big meal-

- Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc Fried Chicken
- Local grits with fresh corn and Idiazabal cheese
- Homemade herb and cheese biscuits with bacon jam
- Candied jalapeno cole slaw
- Fresh tomatoes
- Homemade Key Lime Pie

This week will be kind of feast or famine timewise, but my plan for today is to eat a lot of this food, and then after our guest are gone I'll post our dinner from LAST night.

Monday at the fed is pretty slow, so I should have time tomorrow to post all of today's meal and photos.

And of course will enter into the discussion fray whenever possible.

Back to life on the surface of the sun...

#17 judiu

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 11:53 AM

This is gonna be FUN! Thanks, Jerry!
"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

#18 kalypso

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 01:07 PM

Wow, very cool stuff so far. I've been eyeing that Ad Hoc fried chicken recipe for some time. I'll be interested to see your posting on it.

#19 moosnsqrl

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 01:46 PM

Okay, I guess I should get started on preparing for today's big meal-

- Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc Fried Chicken
- Local grits with fresh corn and Idiazabal cheese
- Homemade herb and cheese biscuits with bacon jam
- Candied jalapeno cole slaw
- Fresh tomatoes
- Homemade Key Lime Pie

This week will be kind of feast or famine timewise, but my plan for today is to eat a lot of this food, and then after our guest are gone I'll post our dinner from LAST night.

Monday at the fed is pretty slow, so I should have time tomorrow to post all of today's meal and photos.

And of course will enter into the discussion fray whenever possible.

Back to life on the surface of the sun...

I think you could just fill the ol' cajun turkey fryer up with Crisco and set it out on the deck today. No need to heat up the kitchen with the immersion circulator!
Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

#20 Zeemanb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 04:19 PM

Quick note- I will start a full write-up in the mornng, but right now I'll just say that the Ad Hoc fried chicken with the pre-cooked sous vide bird is the way to GO! I have a hard time tasting/enjoying my own cooking, but that was some flavorful and juicy chicken. But to Judy's point, even though the AC was cranked and I only had to fry long enough to brown the crust, I am wiped...hot, hot, hot day. We're all hiding out in my basement watching a movie....stuffed full of chicken, grits and key lime pie.

Wonderful Sunday evening programming be damned, later I'll get my Port Fonda dinner from last night written up. Saying that Chef Patrick Ryan runs a taco truck, in MY opinion, is kind of like saying David Chang runs a Panda Express, lol...

#21 heidih

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 05:26 PM

I am entranced and eager for more. Love your food enthusiasm and I take it your wife is a partner in the food area. Cool beans......(elippses over emoticons - though I slip into both constantly)

#22 Zeemanb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 05:54 PM

heidih- Thanks, and YES, absolutely...one of the greatest things about my wife is the "Bonnie and Clyde" aspect we share when it comes to food. And I will also say, she's the REAL cook in the house....I'm a total fraud. I'll come up with some big menu that takes me 2 weeks to plan and gets ooohs and aahhhs, but if were not for her I'd be eating cold soup out of a can on any given evening. She does the actual work and I run my mouth alot....isn't that basically just a concise definition of being a male???

#23 Zeemanb

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 07:29 PM

Dinner in Port Fonda's "El Comedor" on Saturday night...

One of the greatest things about my hometown is that our food community is a food "community". As our evening was winding down last night, I was kind of blown away by the fact that not only did my wife and I get to enjoy what is absolutely one of the best meals happening in KC right now, we got to have that meal right in the midst of some of our greatest chefs and suppliers. At one point in the Airstream, in addition to Chef Patrick Ryan, Dave Crum and Howard Hanna who were hanging out...the other four people in our party were the Fantasma's of Paradise Locker Meat fame. I'm just some dude who likes to eat, so for me it was a big deal...and if you're from here you know what I mean. All fanboy BS aside, the reason some of my personal heroes were all casually assembled is simple....they support each other and love to share their enthusiasm and their success. Again, I'm just some diner, but when you're friendly, emotionally invested in what you are doing, proud of your food and your food is great- I keep coming back, I tip really well, and make sure the people I have personally vetted visit you as well. If you end up moving across town, I start driving across town.

PortFonda03.jpg


ANYWAY- as I mentioned before, Chef Patrick Ryan has created a hell of a lot more than just another taco truck. He spent a lot of time cooking with a lot of great people, and this year he completely rebuilt and customized an Airstream trailer to fit his vision. On paper it's just tacos, tortas, chilaquiles, horchata, nothing really new in this latest food truck craze...in REALITY what he has done is create the kind of spot where local chefs and service folks flock after hours, and where you will find what is arguably one of the hardest tables to book outside of Rao's....

PortFonda01.jpg

(First of all, apologies to Patrick and I guess all other chefs I'll talk about this week...I can either take pictures or write stuff down, I can't do both. It would make me want to die. This week I'm taking pictures, so I'm totally going to blow it as far as ingedient details and such.....BUT I promise to make up for it in enthusiasm.)

PortFonda02.jpg

Port Fonda is a taco trailer. It's open for lunch a few days per week, and late on weekends. Walkup service and they serve great food with as much attention paid to local products as possible. The length they go to in order to support our local producers is admirable. An example what you may purchase on any given evening is a lengua taco like the one I had last night....slow cooked and grilled beef tongue served over Boulevard beer braised Rancho Gordo hominy "creamed corn", topped with salsa verde.

Inside the trailer is a six-person table, "El Comedor", and Patrick books a month in advance...8:30 and 11:30 seatings on Friday and Saturday only. It's not really a reservation "system", it's not really a lottery...I know Patrick puts a lot of thought into the best way to approach it. The fact I've been lucky enough to eat there a couple of times proves he's not catering to hipsters or the wealthy...I know he values those of us who love good food and good times...who take their food, but not themselves, too seriously. Last night was a simple matter of my email hitting his mailbox within the right five seconds. A newsteam had cancelled or something, but I grabbed it with absolutely no idea who would join me. Long story short, after a little panic, and a not so little miscommunication to some friends, my wife and I ended up dining with the aforementioned rockstars of the KC food community. Paradise Locker Meats....you'll be seeing and hearing more about that place later....

The dining format is a four course meal. It is dinner AND a show. Old school hip hop, Grand Ole Opry....good stuff pumping on the stereo. And during the heat of summer, it is warm in there, but they did just upgrade their AC. Heat is ambience, the weak can go eat at Jose Pepper's or On The Border. I hear the spinach queso dip is to die for.

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Last night the first course was a refreshing little mix of seasonal vegetables, crumbly queso, and my unforgivable lack of memory.

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Next we got into more advanced alchemy with this spin on chilaquiles. Tortillas, tomatillo based chile sauce, and some of that insanely tender and rich beef tongue. It was so well received Patrick just went ahead and brought us a little dish of it. On top he put a perfectly fried Campo Lindo egg. This was the stuff. It would be my ultimate "wake up late on Sunday" breakfast dish.


Before I deliver the real goods I want to say that I'm a pork guy. Specifically a pork shoulder guy. And I pride myself on acquiring good breeds like Berkshire and properly cooking it on my smoker or roasting it my oven.....rubs, glazes, salt and herb crusts...I love me my pork. Then Patrick Ryan went and did THIS-

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And he built a halo around it like THIS-

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Berkshire pork that is dry cured in salt, sugar and chiles for a day, then slow roasted, taken out and caked with brown sugar and chile, and finished at a high temp in order to create what is the pork equivalent of a candy apple. He hands you tongs, fresh tortillas, and you just tear the thing to shreds....fighting each other for the candied skin and trying to decide on condiment combinations.....avocado, pickled red onion, pickled jalapenos, habanero and carrot salsa, a kicked up chile mayo, puree of chipotle and garlic, various salsas and sauces....sucking down horchata, various Mexican and Central American sodas, or BYOB. It is a feast that combines a Bayless-level attention to quality and execution with sense memories of any time you've spent down Mexico way combined with Grandma's house. I think that is about the best I can do to describe it. It is not the worst main course I've ever had.

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And Patrick knows pastry, so the death blow is ricotta fritters that are infused with the flavors of tres leches and horchata and then they are covered with a tres leches and raspberry sauce.

Not the easiest table to get, but there's nothing pretentious about it. Just great food for people who love to eat and want to enjoy the experience. Like I stated before, I'm not in the industry, I'm in no way connected to any business that gives me pull or popularity. And that works to my advantage in one very distinct way....when I have these types of evenings where I'm chatting with very loveable industry people about why THEY live for food, I get to enjoy it more.

So there you go....more about some of the supporting characters in the days to come....

Edited by Zeemanb, 17 July 2011 - 07:57 PM.


#24 heidih

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 07:43 PM

"It is not the worst main course I have ever had".......right! That is gorgeous and something I would love to replicate. Also like the "halo" of condiments. Action photos are great. Keep it coming.

#25 moosnsqrl

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 02:22 AM

Any leftovers from either Port Fonda or the Ad Hoc chicken? Ain't too proud to beg.
Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

#26 Zeemanb

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:24 AM

Any leftovers from either Port Fonda or the Ad Hoc chicken? Ain't too proud to beg.


Well, the PLAN was to have enough leftovers for all day today....but we barely saved enough just to have a dinner tonight, supplemented with a little bit of leftover pork from Port Fonda. Sorry kid, but I WILL say that the Keller chicken is easy enough to make at this point that I'll happily feed you soon...admission fee is tomato water.

#27 Zeemanb

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:44 AM

Good Morning! Thanks everyone for your kindness, I truly am enjoying myself and I hope to do my town and the eG Food Blog tradition justice.

As I have time today I'll do a couple of things- share the Zeeman home tradition of making stuff ahead and freezing, and post all about the chicken dinner from yesterday.

If that doesn't thrill you, I will put things in perspective with this morning's breakfast- OATMEAL!!

MondayBfast.jpg

Yep, I just made myself "legit" by showing you a real Monday morning....my wife is pretty awesome when it comes to packing us some food, but the anticipation of Monday morning is bad enough that I don't expect any work out of either of us. Fortunately we have a solid cafeteria downstairs here at the office. Totally unhealthy lunchwise, but tasty....fried catfish, oxtails, greens, banana pudding with 'Nilla wafers...that type of stuff makes frequent appearances on the menu. It's no Aramark!

Anyway, good to be here, talk to you soon.....

#28 Shelby

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:19 AM

LOVING your life, Jerry!

I read your blog regarding your surgery a couple of years ago with great interest.

I now have the sniffles and red eyes after tearing up over your Egullet romance. Your wife is beautiful!!! (although, I'm not so sure that she stalked you....ehem lol)

I'm now going back to read more in-depth. I had to stop at the popcorn popper/coffee roaster so that I could comment.

I'm over here on the Kansas side of the sun. I've never seen so many over 100 degree days in a row. Is it ever going to rain????

#29 Zeemanb

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:30 AM

Shelby- Thank You! Glad to know our cute little story could pull some heartstrings! Yeah, you are right in the frying pan. Over here we at least have tiny bits of terrain that will shield us from the heat from time to time...y'all over in Kansas are COOKED!

Okey dokey....eating lunch and typing time....

I was the first male child born into a large family with a mom who is the oldest of five daughters. I am The Chosen One. Aaannnd it has taken me 42 years to begin to realize what a lucky and spoiled schmoe I am...because in many ways I am often paid tribute above and beyond what any son, grandson, or nephew deserves.

When The Chosen One finally takes a wife, that rite of passage is celebrated with pomp, ceremony, and wonderful gifts from one and all. And man, greatest wedding gift EVER- a chest freezer! For the first year or so my wife and I had to contend with this tiny, TINY old fridge that belonged to my ex-girlfriend. You had to defrost it, it didn’t stay cold, horrible. So once we had a REAL fridge and that freezer...let the stockpiling begin!

I went online and bought a few hundred of those plastic quart containers like the ones they use for carryout egg drop soup, etc. We are big, big fans of just heatin’ and eatin’ in the evenings, and we have many go-to recipes where we’ll make an extra four or five quarts. This would be the perfect topic for my wife to chime in, because she has done a lot of different recipes that take very well to the freezer. Some of our workhorses are things like pozole, chili, KC steak soup, vegetable soup, pretty standard fare. If it wasn’t so hot this week I’d put my pozole on display, because I like to think I could take the Pepsi challenge against almost anyone with that stuff. She did one with our CSA kale recently that really rocked. Oh, and throw in the majesty of another wedding gift...our big Foodsaver, and the freezer gets stocked with my homemade braised oxtail ravioli, bbq, peaches, corn, you guys all know the drill.

I always do as much ahead as possible when planning a meal. And I work clean folks...cleaning as I go, driving my wife insane in the process. When I’m cooking, I like it to look like the only thing that exists on the counters and in the sink is whatever I’m doing at that moment in time...I know, I know, having a heart attack when you see caked-on ANYTHING piled up in the sink is BAD...medication MAY be able to help.

Anyway, for yesterday’s meal I had already made up a big batch of two tried and true crowd pleasers...herb and cheese poppers from a Bon Appetit recipe, and BACON JAM! When it comes to listing out or linking to actual recipes, you guys just let me know what is standard, preferred or guideline-friendly. I’m easy. Nothing I make is usually that involved, and recipes are just a jumping off point for me most of the time, but I am HAPPY to detail something whenever you need it.

Some say bacon has jumped the shark these days, but I don’t know what in the hell their problem is...has oxygen jumped the shark too? Have opposable thumbs jumped the shark? I’m sure bacon jam has been detailed on this site, but if you are not familiar with it, it’s just so delicious and versatile. AND it freezes just great!

When you are basically creating a “bacon reduction”, it is very important to work with good ingredients. Our go-to bacon is from Burger’s Smokehouse here in Missouri. Their bacon is solid stuff, good country ham, and some of the meatiest smoked hocks I’ve ever used.

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My preference is to chop the bacon up first, and then cook it to this level of doneness. You don’t want it crispy, but you also want to get as much fat rendered as possible. The reason is that when you are cooking down the jam, the bacon continues to render and the fat pools up on the top for you to spoon out. I’m not saying bacon jam is healthy, but you really do get more fat rendered in the process than any other bacon vehicle I can think of…and it is so flavorful that a little goes a LONG way.

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Basically, in my modified recipe you just cook down a pound of bacon (what you’re seeing is double this recipe), sauté one large onion and 6 cloves of garlic in as little of the fat as possible, and then add in a mix of: 1 ¼ cup coffee, ¼ cup maple sugar, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 3tbsp brown sugar, hot sauce and black pepper to taste. I use my home roasted French press coffee and dark Grade B maple syrup from Whole Foods. You simmer it nice and slow for 3 hours or so, adding a little water as needed.

Looks ugly when you start…


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After about 2 hours…


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At 3 ½ hours I could have cooked it down even more but wanted to pull it early for comparison purposes.


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Whiz it in the food processor to a texture you like (does not look beautiful)…


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Here is what double the recipe above yielded…


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The herb and cheese poppers are easy, but annoying if you hate to bake like I do. I hate dealing with flour unless it’s for a roux….just hate it. I first saw the recipe in Bon Appetit, but long story short any basic buttermilk biscuit recipe would work. The “official” one includes:

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/2 cups chilled buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients, grate the frozen butter in there and distribute it, mix in the buttermilk, work it a little and you’re ready to go. And then you just get a mixture of grated cheddar cheese and fresh herbs that you like…..I used parsley, rosemary, basil and thyme. Roll it out to an 8x8ish squareish shape and cover 2/3 of it with the herb and cheese mix-

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Tri-fold it like a letter-

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Then you flatten it back out to the original size, cover 2/3 with the cheese mixture, fold it, roll it…repeat that three more times and once you have it rolled out you’re ready to cut-

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Here’s a cross-section-

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These things freeze just GREAT…single layer in parchment, then wrapped in foil, let them defrost and bake them at 500F until they are a color you like…ten or fifteen minutes. Got some finished product to show when I post the dinner.


Oh yeah, here was my exciting lunch I was eating this whole time....

Mondaylunch.jpg


Will be back later with some finished products......

#30 Zeemanb

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 04:51 PM

As we all know, the real reason anyone ever has people over for dinner is because it forces them to finally clean the house. We are no different. We live by it. Since my gastric bypass almost 4 years ago, my attitudes and emotions connected to food consumption have changed dramatically. I can only eat so much in one sitting, so the bites count for more. ALSO, the darker, food-addiction side of the coin is kept somewhat at bay because the main focus of cooking is no longer “how much can I possibly eat?”. In short, it chilled me out and gave me some breathing room that allowed me to really start cooking good food. The Sopranos Cookbook dinner was my first big event, and since then I’ve had LOTS...I don’t really count bbq’s, but I’ve used cookbooks like Nose to Tail, French Laundry, Ad Hoc, Momofuku, and many other “faincy” books as themes for various dinners. A lot of it has been just to see if I could do it...I think Momofuku stretched me the most. Once “Under Pressure” arrives, we will see how THAT goes. And the mailman just delivered "Sous Vide for the Home Cook", sweeeet!

For yesterday’s meal, I wanted to put together something pretty casual (it’s the hottest week of the summer so far), but eGullet-y enough to write about. Solution: something that used my new Sous Vide Supreme. All of the talk about do it yourself immersion circulator kits with all the tubes and wires and whatnot, while incredibly impressive, is just clicks and whistles by the time it reaches my brain. I need simple. I need self-contained. OR I’m never going to use it like I should. The SVS is perfect for my needs. And who doesn’t love fried chicken? Specifically, who doesn’t love Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc fried chicken recipe (BTW, if anyone has favorite additions or tweaking they’ve done to the recipe I would LOVE to hear about it. I want to make this a LOT and would like to personalize it a bit more). I followed it pretty much to the tee, BUT after the chicken came out of the brine it went into the SVS for a couple of hours at 60C.

The herb and cheese poppers and bacon jam both made an appearance...and boy are they handy to have on the table when you are running late like I was. I think this combo is absolutely fantastic. Splitting open the layers of that little biscuit and adding a dollop of the jam...hard stuff not to love. I think I spontaneously broke out into "the robot" the first time I tried it.

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My wife made my favorite cole slaw….I think it’s just a basic creamy slaw recipe but once she started adding chopped candied jalapenos it has been the only slaw allowed in the fridge. Important Note- any of the sweet and hot jalapeno slices we’ve found in the store are not good…for this job you need a jar from some farmer’s market or fair, or one of those little country knick knack shops where they have corn relish and all that. If someone has an easy recipe, let me know. I’d love to can some of my own. I remember my grandmother making sweet pickles by just dumping a ton of sugar into a jar of dill pickles and letting them sit. So that experiment is calling my name.

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Bowl of mixed cherry tomatoes fresh from our CSA farmers, Crum’s Heirlooms. A little salt, pepper and drizzle of good olive oil.

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Okay now, the GRITS…these days I just use some locally produced grits from Meinke farms, and I get them through my CSA farmers. I purchase the coarsest grind available. Not sure how well the picture shows it, but you’ve got big chunks of corn all the way down to dust.

SundayGrits.jpg

They take a little longer, you want to cook them a little lower and slower due to the non-uniform structure. Huge flavor. I’ve been cooking them in whole milk, which is what I did yesterday. I’ve always used Shatto Farms milk, but the latest controversy here in town is the way Shatto has been closing some of their smaller accounts and refusing to pick up new customers who can’t put in megamart sized orders. I’m not looking to start trouble with Shatto, but this is something I’ve heard now from several independent sources in the industry who would never say it if it weren’t true, and it is a little disturbing. They are a local company and they create an excellent product…and when I saw that my local Price Chopper started to carry ALL of their products, including the highly sought after cheese curds, I just assumed that it was because local mom and pop stores and restaurants already had what they needed. Not the case. At all. I’m a big believer in dancing with the one that brung ya, and dumping the people who have supported them all along for the convenience of fewer, larger orders is just not good business. END OF SOAPBOX...yesterday when I cooked my grits I grated a ton of good Idiazabal cheese in there. I like the nuttier, slightly more pungent flavor over manchego, and the salt flavor isn’t as pronounced as some good parm. Right at the end I added some farm fresh, picked the day before, corn kernels. Not bad grits, but of course as soon as I started eating them I thought...I bet throwing in some fried okra right at the last second would be good...bacon is always a winner...this train never stops.

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As I mentioned above, Thomas Keller’s chicken that is served at Ad Hoc is something that is very, very well documented on the web. I made it once before and it turned out great. For those unfamiliar, the short story is the chicken is brined overnight, and it is double dipped in buttermilk and heavily seasoned flour before frying. The addition of sous vide made this damn near foolproof. All you’re really doing is getting the crust as brown as you like it since the chicken is already cooked. If I had to be nitpicky, I’d say that perhaps the texture of the skin closest to the meat comes out a little flabby since you aren’t rendering as much when you fry it for the shorter amount of time. But that is just a non-issue. This chicken KILLS what they serve at places like Stroud’s here in KC. And my wife and I both agree that while it is good right out of the fryer, if you let it sit for a while until it gets to room temperature it’s even better. Feel free to ask if you want any specific details about anything. I figure it’s always easier to add commentary later than ramble until you hit all possible angles.

As far as pictures go, normally I'd show more of the prep work because after the first breading you let the chicken sit on a rack for 20 minutes, etc. HOWEVER, I was running behind. Something about misunderestimating the time it took me to ramble on eGullet yesterday morning....

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For dessert my wife did a homemade key lime pie. She says it’s super easy…I’ll stick to savory cooking. It’s one of my favorite pies, and she did a great job. There is something about the way the pie filling soaks down into and kind of “candies” the homemade graham cracker crust that makes it a delicious entity unto itself.

Sundaypie.jpg


I THINK that is it for dinner yesterday, we’re pretty proud of the way it turned out and we had no complaints from the guests. That chicken is going to stay in my regular rotation. It's a little bit of tedium, but well worth it. Tonight we’re having Ad Hoc chicken and Port Fonda pork leftovers. It’s early in the evening, if I can think of anything I forgot I’ll add it later.





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