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Cooking with Marcus Samuelsson's "The Rise"


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I got my copy of The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) a week or so ago: it's an interesting book in some ways more for what it is not: it's not a "Soul Food" or "Southern" cookbook, in the vein of Edna Lewis. In The Rise, Samuelsson presents recipes from dozens of Black chefs across the country, with recipes ranging from Eric Gestel's Chicken Liver Mousse with Croissants (yes, the book has a recipe for croissants) to Kwame Onwauchi's Braised Goat Shoulder with Locust Bean and Chili Oil.

 

The recipes are intimidating. There is not a lot of "simple" food here -- everything is "cheffed up," and Samuelsson does not appear to have dumbed the recipes down for the home cook. Be prepared to scrounge for ingredients, and to spend some time putting together various stocks, sauces, marinades, rubs, etc. If a recipe looks straightforward, look closer: you probably missed the step that said "oh by the way, make homemade sambal" etc. So we are not talking about Modernist Cuisine-levels of crazy here: it's just not "30 Minute Meals," either.

 

The first thing I made from the book was Lagos Plantains with Yaji Dip, from Chef Edouardo Jordan. It was the simplest recipe in the book: I made a video for the library about that one:

 

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Chris Hennes
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Great video and the food sounds tasty. Seems to have gone over very well with the librarians. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Flaky Andouille and Callaloo Hand Pies with Red Pepper Sambal (p. 87)

 

This recipe was not what I was planning to make next, but the turnips at the farmer's market this morning had stunning greens, and I thought they'd make a great substitute for the callaloo (taro or amaranth leaves, which I don't have on hand, surprisingly 🙄). This recipe's complication is that it calls for a homemade roasted red pepper sambal as a dip for the pies. So although the core recipe has a dozen ingredients in it, you also need dozen more for the sambal, and you have to plan ahead to make it. Also, there is a sneaky line item of "roasted garlic" in the ingredients list. Not a huge deal, but something to watch out for. Of course, I figured this recipe actually wasn't complicated enough (truthfully, I was looking for a cooking project for the afternoon). I really enjoy making puff pastry, and have been meaning to try out Julia Child's Quick Puff Pastry recipe for years. So instead of using the store-bought pastry the recipe calls for, I broke out Mastering the Art and gave that recipe a shot.

 

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These are delicious. First, of course, there is a crap ton of butter in there---the pastry is great. The turnip greens worked well in the filling, and I really enjoyed the strong cumin flavor and the hint of coconut. The Sambal is also very good, though I wish hadn't seeded the habanero (the recipe doesn't call for it, but I'm a coward).

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Chris Hennes
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Thanks for the review bits. I think of it as reflective of the African Diaspora more than American Soul. I was discussing this with my trash pick up guy who is Ethiopian - he was tickled to learn of Marcus and Red Rooster. Sounds like the kind of book that opens a cook up to ideas and combinations rather than formula. Looking forward to more. 

 

Oh and Julia's puff pastry - I have done her tradituonal and the quicker - never had  fail!

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Thanks for talking about this book, I thought it was geared towards the home cooks so I was overlooking it.

Another similar book has been published recently: "Toques in Black" by Battman.

On one side it's nice to see black chefs and female chefs being noticed at last, but on the other hand they should appear together with all the other ones, not confined on their own.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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Rice and Peas (p. 53)

 

This dish is is from Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph of Emmer & Rye in Austin. It was designed to accompany his Oxtail Pepperpot with Dumplings. And it almost did! I'll post about the oxtail tomorrow, I totally forgot to make the accompanying dumplings tonight. Whoops. But anyway, for the rice and "peas" (really beans) I used Rancho Gordo Moro beans, rather than the "red beans" the recipe calls for: otherwise I followed the recipe. I should mention that it says it serves six to eight, but I can't imagine eating that much of it when served with the pepperpot. I'd say it serves more like 16-20 as a side. It has a little bit of heat from a single habanero (to 2 1/4 cups uncooked rice), and this time I did leave the seeds in, but frankly it could have used a little more heat. So next time maybe double up the pepper amount. Otherwise, this was a nicely flavored version of the dish, with a lot of subtle background flavors lurking behind the dominant coconut note.

 

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Chris Hennes
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"dominant coconut note" wins me over with rice and peas (peas/beans seems interchanged in some cuisines). Looking forward to the oxtail dish and curious to see the dumplings..

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Oxtail Pepperpot with Dumplings (p. 51)

 

I sat down to post this last night, and was literally typing in the title of the recipe when I realized that I had forgotten to make the dumplings. You add them at the end of a long braise, and they totally slipped my mind. So, take two: the recipe in fact suggests making this a day ahead and letting it sit overnight, so let's just pretend I did this all on purpose. Tonight, I made the dumplings and served the other half of the pepperpot (along with some of the rice and peas from last night's post). The dumplings were quite firm: the dough was a bit difficult to work with, in the end I regret not adding a bit more water to make them a little softer. I don't know if this firmness was intentional, or if there was a mistake in the recipe, or if it was user error. Maybe some combination of all three :). At any rate, the braise is delicious, if a little on the sweet side for my tastes.

 

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Chris Hennes
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My limited experience is that firmness and chew are typical of Island cuisine, Taste though? - you liked? And probably hot sauce would be on the side to cut sweetness of braise? 

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On 11/22/2020 at 4:33 AM, teonzo said:

Thanks for talking about this book, I thought it was geared towards the home cooks so I was overlooking it.

Another similar book has been published recently: "Toques in Black" by Battman.

On one side it's nice to see black chefs and female chefs being noticed at last, but on the other hand they should appear together with all the other ones, not confined on their own.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

 

Marcus Samuelsson certainly has not been niche bound. I mean executive chef at Aquavit at 24?  Guest chef at the first State Dinner by the Obamas. Major recognitions like his James Beard awards, and numerous cookbooks including 2006 Soul of a New Cuisine. 

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23 hours ago, heidih said:

My limited experience is that firmness and chew are typical of Island cuisine, Taste though? - you liked? And probably hot sauce would be on the side to cut sweetness of braise? 

Yeah, the taste was good. I don't know that I'd really want to alter it with hot sauce, the flavors were well-balanced: it is just a relatively sweet dish (there's quite a bit of brown sugar in it).

Chris Hennes
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Teff and Brown Butter Biscuits with Shaved Country Ham (p. 266)

 

From Roblé Ali comes this unusual biscuit recipe. You begin by making brown butter, which then serves as half the butter in a biscuit that's 50% Teff and 50% cake flour. Like all biscuit recipes this one cautions against overworking the dough, but with so little gluten-forming ability in that flour combination I think actually a little kneading, or at least some folds, would have been beneficial. You serve them by slathering on sorghum butter (just a compound butter with sorghum), then top with country ham, and serve as a sort of sandwich. But they are so tender that they crumble apart when you bite into them: the biscuits don't stand a chance against the much firmer ham. I also think the recipe has an ingredient typo in it: it calls for 1.5 tablespoons of salt (to about four cups of flour) -- I'm betting that was supposed to be teaspoons, these were pretty salty, even before adding the ham! So, they were delicious, but I am going to make some changes next time I make them. (For the record, I served with a homemade coppa, rather than country ham).

 

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Chris Hennes
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Chris,

Was there any sort of “why” for this recipe?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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10 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

"Why" for which thing? There are a couple of paragraphs of intro, but no extensive profile of Ali.

I was just struck by the odd thought that there was something Inscrutable about taking such a classic as biscuits and country ham and attempting to make it with teff (a grain so essential to Ethiopian cuisine that at one time it was banned from being exported.) and so I wondered if there had been any explanation as to why a chef would be inspired to attempt this. Perhaps I just have too much time on my hands.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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2 hours ago, Anna N said:

I was just struck by the odd thought that there was something Inscrutable about taking such a classic as biscuits and country ham and attempting to make it with teff (a grain so essential to Ethiopian cuisine that at one time it was banned from being exported.) and so I wondered if there had been any explanation as to why a chef would be inspired to attempt this.

It seems to me that you've answered your own question! From the recipe description: "this recipe is where Ethiopia meets the South."

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And perhaps addresses some of the current interest in expanding our grain horizons. We owe the South so much for rice growing culture and alot of that was slave based grain and know how. Bringing them together is interesting.  Teff is also of huge interest as an alternate for wheat sensitive people. Ya know the new but really old sustainable foods like chickpeas, sorghum etc  https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/05/carolina-gold-heirloom-rice-anson-mills.html The agricultural world will not maintain on corn and soy.

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19 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

It seems to me that you've answered your own question! From the recipe description: "this recipe is where Ethiopia meets the South."

Perhaps it is that simple.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Brussels and Dry Shrimp (p. 62)

 

From the title I expected this recipe to resemble something from Fuchsia Dunlop's books (she's got a cabbage and dried shrimp stir fry, for example), but I should have known better: there is no resemblance. The "dry shrimp" in this case refers to fermented shrimp paste, not to the dried shrimp I was familiar with. The dish is sauteed brussels sprouts and broccolini with a sauce of fermented shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, fish sauce, and Urfa pepper flakes, tossed with peanuts and egusi seeds. The shrimp paste is definitely the dominant flavor here, though the egusi seeds have a pretty distinct flavor if you get a bite with a lot of them in there.

 

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11 hours ago, AAQuesada said:

This dish sounds like a high wire act -with the potential to be really good or bad depending on how its balanced! wow. What did you think?

You're right - balance was key in this one, I definitely measured all of the ingredients (though I find that to be true with anything involving fish sauce). The flavors worked well together, though as usual I'd probably prefer it a bit less sweet. I suspect I'd have liked it better without the honey, but that won't be universal. I did find that the broccolini got a little lost by the end.

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I'm in the midst of making a couple of the pork dishes from the book, and I just read the recipe intro for a recipe called something like "Roasted Pork with Pikliz." In the intro it is suggested that you should make the pikliz while the pork is roasting in the oven. Except the pikliz are a quick pickle that have a three day rest in the fridge. That would be a LONG roast! I think maybe whoever wrote the little intro blurb was unclear on what, exactly, the recipe was for.

 

Of course, if you were to sous vide the pork instead of roasting it... so that's actually what I'm doing. I think this will work out fine, since the pork actually gets deep fried right before serving anyway. Also, I'm not actually ready for this dish yet, I'm missing some ingredients. So I'm going to SV and chill the pork and make the final dish later this week. By which time the pikliz will be ready to go.

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Chris Hennes
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Interesting. All I thought was pikliz = pickles. The time issue though? Perhaps better editing was called for. On that prior dish I realize you did it as directed and then noted the broccolini kinda left the building. I see youngish gai lan as a better fit. Thanks for all your input. Someone was gonna get for me for Christmas.

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Pork and Beans with Piri Piri Sauce (p. 113)

 

This is a twist on BBQ pork and beans, using a piri piri sauce instead of a sweeter, molasses-based recipe. That sauce is onion, garlic, habanero, crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, and red palm oil. At the end you add a couple of cups of greens (I used arugula) and top it with garri, which is dried fermented cassava. This was very good, with a long, lingering heat from the habanero, and a nice texture from the garri. I think I'd have liked it better with a bolder green (the recipe suggests collards, kale, or mustard), and probably more of it, but overall a definite success.

 

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Bullock Fries (p. 182)

 

This sweet potato fry recipe is from Joe Stinchcomb, and named for St. Louis bartender Tom Bullock, who wrote the 1917 mixology book The Ideal Bartender. The spice mix is garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest. I got impatient and overcrowded my fryer, so these didn't end up as crispy as I would have liked, but the spice mixture is delicious: the lemon zest gives it an unusual pop that I really enjoyed.

 

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