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eG Foodblog: Dave the Cook - Beachcraft


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Are you going to drive to Destin and go to that Mecca of seafood goodness, Sexton's, and take photos for all of the landlocked types that might be reading this? Better yet, will you buy some exotic fish (lemon fish!) and prepare that for your krewe? You should, you know.

Dude! That's our church, too!

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Caitie and Zak woke up with a donut jones, so I sent them out while I caught up here. The Donut Hole is a long-time Destin establishment. About ten years ago, they set up a branch in Santa Rosa beach, which is 15 miles closer to us than their downtown (such as it is) headquaters. We didn't hold out much hope of getting any because it was late, but we crossed our fingers that the holy grail of baked goods in these parts -- the Key Lime Donut -- might still be available (they make one batch in the morning, and when they're gone, they're gone until the next day). When C and Z came through the door, there were still two in the rack, but they had vanished by the time the counter was attained. Here's what they came back with:

gallery_6393_1560_3418.jpg

I'm starting to feel a need for a fresh vegetable.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I usually can resist donuts; there are so many better ways to take on more calories than I burn. However, that chocolate donut in the center is calling my name. I can hear it, all the way up here in Minnesota, calling my name.... *drool* :wub::blink:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Well, if you know who Donna Summer was or know what Studio 54 was, you probably have one answer for this question.

But, I believe that rather than referring to little vials of Locker Room, that Dave was referring to a commercial version of these. I give him a 10 for inventiveness.

In fact, Zippy Mart Iron Chef might be a fun cookoff!

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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In fact, Zippy Mart Iron Chef might be a fun cookoff!

What a great idea! This could be the Cook-Off XIII :shock:

Looks like you are having fun Dave! When you mentioned the spatula I thought, YEP! I'd need to make sure to pack my silicone spatula for sure! I'm guessing you didn't but will next time! If its convenient, you may just purchase one quickly, eh?

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Emeril's are much closer to what we used than these, though both are appetizers, of a sort. Between this and the hemostat/roach clips, I'm really showing my age.

Let's get back to less flamboyant forms of intoxication. Here's tonight's cocktail, the Saicar:

gallery_6393_1560_5842.jpg

It's from Dave Wondrich's book Killer Cocktails. It's a cross between a sidecar and a margarita (hence the name, which Dave both claims and denies is Spanish for "sidecar"). Maybe it's a trick drink, but I like it in and of itself. For the cocktail neophyte, it's a great lesson in balance between the sour component and the base liquor(s), and the importance of quality ingredients.

The lemons and limes I've gotten here are incredibly juicy -- almost twice the juice from the same-sized fruit I get in Atlanta. (I'll see if I can determine the sourcing later in the week.) But, like a rookie, I just made the cocktails and poured them out without that (I now realize) essential pre-taste. The drink was wimpy. At first, I thought that I had mismeasured (usually, I make two at a time, and this time I was making four), but that didn't seem likely -- my older and much more meticulous brother was watching, and confirmed each step; this really doesn't bother me. In the least. At that moment, Zak came through on his way to the pool. He (and his older brother) have always had a penchant for straight lemon and lime juice. He saw the cut lime on the counter and asked for a taste. I squeezed him out an ounce. He took a test dip with his tongue, then tossed it back like a butterscotch shooter.

A follow-up taste of lemon confirmed it: clearly, I'm dealing with low-acid citrus. I used more juice on the second round, but they were watery. I'm not experienced enough to know how to handle this, and I'd appreciate tips. But I think there's another reason that the drinks seemed lackluster, and that's the tequila itself. So far, I've been sticking with 100% agave, but posts here have led me to understand that, in mixed drinks, it's not quite so important. (Yes, Wondrich specifies not only 100% agave, but also reposado, but I've made this drink before with silver tequila, and loved it.) As I sipped the second, better-balanced round, I realized that it was missing that sort of left-handed roundness that tequila adds to the drink.

So now I need not only a solution for low-acid citrus, but a use for less-than-optimal tequila.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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We took a trip to the grocery store. For many years, the only option was to drive almost all the way to Destin for staples, but last year, Publix finally opened a store next to the recently developed Watercolor. (For those familiar with the area, it's about a mile north of C-30A, on route 395, between Seaside and Seagrove.)

On the way back, we stopped at Goatfeathers in Blue Mountain Beach. We've been patronizing this place for at least 20 years. It started as a fish market, selling fresh sea catch to the wavering trade along C-30A. Eventually, it sprouted a restaurant, but the market has stayed, and it still sells a limited, but excellent, array of fresh (whatever is available at the docks) and frozen or fresh-chilled seafood (Maine lobster tails, Atlantic salmon). We hit the place just as they were about to close, so I didn't have a chance to collect the savory details about how it operates these days. All we could do was check out the offering, and ask what was good.

"Everything's good," the woman replied. "I know it sounds dull, but really. Everything is good."

"It's not dull," I said, "But it's not very helplful."

"Well, if you really want to know, ask Gary," she proposes. (I have to admit that we don't know if his name was really Gary. All we remember is a hard "G." He might have been Gertrude, for all our collective faulty memories can tell.)

Gary (Gertrude) flicks a finger downward, to his right. "Scamp," he intones.

I ask to give it a sniff, and he complies. It smells like nothing except a mild ocean. I ask when it was caught. "This mornin'," he says. "By me." We take 2-1/2 pounds:

gallery_6393_1560_5466.jpg

I floured it lightly and fried it in peanut oil, about five minutes per side. If you like fish, this is really as good as it gets. Although it really wasn't necessary, I made a lemon-scallion beurre blanc (which turned out pink because I forgot to get white wine at the grocery store; hence, the presentation beneath the fish, rather than a top napping). The sauce was good -- one of those that isn't great by itself, because it seems overly acidic and a little too salty. When applied to the target protein, however, it comes into perfect balance. I also baked some parsleyed rice, and steamed a gaggle of artichokes, which have been beautiful this year:

gallery_6393_1560_21300.jpg

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Looks like you are having fun Dave!  When you mentioned the spatula I thought, YEP!  I'd need to make sure to pack my silicone spatula for sure!  I'm guessing you didn't but will next time!  If its convenient, you may just purchase one quickly, eh?

I did pack a pair of nylon-encrusted tongs, and we found some non-stick implements in the back of a low drawer. But the fact of the matter is, most of the cookware is so far gone that using appropriate untensils is more a matter of respect than of really trying to protect the pans. I'll post some pots-and-pans pictures tomorrow, when I go through the all-important vacation kitchen review.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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So now I need not only a solution for low-acid citrus, but a use for less-than-optimal tequila.

as far as the tequila goes I'd be very tempted (and if I had an ice cream maker certainly would) to make nigella's margarita ice cream, condensed milk and tequila could be a very happy combination!

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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"Everything's good," the woman replied. "I know it sounds dull, but really. Everything is good."

"It's not dull," I said, "But it's not very helplful."

"Well, if you really want to know, ask Gary," she proposes. (I have to admit that we don't know if his name was really Gary. All we remember is a hard "G." He might have been Gertrude, for all our collective faulty memories can tell.)

Gary (Gertrude) flicks a finger downward, to his right. "Scamp," he intones.

I ask to give it a sniff, and he complies. It smells like nothing except a mild ocean. I ask when it was caught. "This mornin'," he says. "By me."

Thank you, Mr. the Cook. May we please have some more?

Maybe it was Gunter?

The lemons and limes I've gotten here are incredibly juicy -- almost twice the juice from the same-sized fruit I get in Atlanta. (I'll see if I can determine the sourcing later in the week.)

Are those fruits being grown locally in Walton County, you think, or are they being shipped in from elsewhere in Florida (or possibly even Texas)? I'd tend to think that Atlanta, in comparison, would definitely be getting mostly non-local citrus--stuff from Florida, of course. The question really is does Walton County have access to locally grown goods--the assumption being that local stores frequently get the pick of any crop and the lesser stuff is shipped off to some central processing facility to be split up between everyone else in the country, including of course Atlanta.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Beautiful blog, Dave! Reminds me of a line I heard somewhere that "one must always maintain one's standards" ... no compromise, no matter where one finds oneself, Destin or Atlanta ... the best of the best! Bravo, Dave, for showing us how even a simple family beach trip can become *a full-scale gourmet adventure!

Does your family appreciate how your incredible expertise makes * this sort of thing possible?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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So now I need not only a solution for low-acid citrus, but a use for less-than-optimal tequila.

If you can find a bottle of citric acid ("sour salt"), you can add a grain or two per drink to increase the acid level. I don't know what kind of luck you'll have finding it, though. Absent citric acid, all I can suggest is cutting back on the sweet ingredients to compensate (which I'm sure is what you did for the second batch).

For the tequila: you can make a pretty good marinade for chicken or fish with tequila, orange and lime juice, garlic, cumin and ancho.

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The lemons and limes I've gotten here are incredibly juicy -- almost twice the juice from the same-sized fruit I get in Atlanta. (I'll see if I can determine the sourcing later in the week.)

Are those fruits being grown locally in Walton County, you think, or are they being shipped in from elsewhere in Florida (or possibly even Texas)? I'd tend to think that Atlanta, in comparison, would definitely be getting mostly non-local citrus--stuff from Florida, of course. The question really is does Walton County have access to locally grown goods--the assumption being that local stores frequently get the pick of any crop and the lesser stuff is shipped off to some central processing facility to be split up between everyone else in the country, including of course Atlanta.

Walton County is pretty far north for anything other than recreational citrus production. If you look at this map and draw a mental line across the state east from Citrus County, you've more or less identifed the citrus production area -- south of that line; other crops grow in pockets all over the state. From the Florida Agricultural Statisical Service:

In 2003 Florida’s cash receipts ranked:

9th in the nation with total cash receipts from farm marketings of over $6.4 billion 

1st in citrus, snap beans, fresh market tomatoes,  cucumbers,  squash, and sugarcane

2nd in sales of greenhouse and nursery products, sweet corn, peppers and strawberries

3rd in watermelon

4th in honey sales

In 2003, Florida accounted for:

70 percent of the total U.S. cash receipts for oranges ($990 million)

66 percent of the grapefruit ($167 million)

60 percent of the tangerines ($57 million)

56 percent of the cane for sugar ($560 million)

34 percent of the peppers ($174 million)

28 percent of the tomatoes ($516 million)

23 percent of the cucumbers ($86 million)

Like you, I thought the lemons and limes might have come from Arizona, Texas, or maybe California, but in fact, they didn't even come from this country:

gallery_6393_1560_3155.jpg

We're planning a trip to the Bay County (aka Panama City) Farmers' Market on Monday. We should get a better idea of the local situation then.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Oh those sweeeet Mexican limes...I can almost eat them like that. I can certainly go through a couple while sipping on large quantities of reposado. I can see that that might not have the bite you were looking for though.

How about adding a little bottled lemon juice to your mix? it might be sour enough to compensate.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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as far as the tequila goes I'd be very tempted (and if I had an ice cream maker certainly would) to make nigella's margarita ice cream, condensed milk and tequila could be a very happy combination!

This sounds wonderfu. No ice cream maker, though. If the tequila survives the trip, I'll try it.

So now I need not only a solution for low-acid citrus, but a use for less-than-optimal tequila.

If you can find a bottle of citric acid ("sour salt"), you can add a grain or two per drink to increase the acid level. I don't know what kind of luck you'll have finding it, though. Absent citric acid, all I can suggest is cutting back on the sweet ingredients to compensate (which I'm sure is what you did for the second batch).

For the tequila: you can make a pretty good marinade for chicken or fish with tequila, orange and lime juice, garlic, cumin and ancho.

I thought about the citric acid, and I've put it on the shopping list, for whatever good it might do me. Failing that, and the rebalancing (which I tried, with somewhat disappointing results), I might give *Deborah*'s idea a shot.

The marinade is a great idea. I'm not generally a believer in marinades, but I do have a substantial amount of chicken to deal with, and marinating can't hurt.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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For breakfast, we finished off the donuts, and broke into the Peet's Major Dickason Blend that I brought from home. I tried "grilling" a glazed donut, but without a panini press or grill pan, the sugar just sort of floated away. What was left was tasty, but my dining partners weren't interested in being patient about perfecting the procedure. (Does that answer your question, Melissa?)

Everyone's out at the pool now, so I'm not sure what's up for lunch, if anything. Depending on when they show back up, I might ply them with deep-fried crab fingers and thin slices of watermelon.

For dinner, I've got two racks of pork back ribs brining in sugar and salt. The semi-vegetarian won't touch these, of course -- she didn't even want to put the packages in the refrigerator when we got home from the grocery -- so I need some substantial sides. Luckily, the southern table includes some great vegetable dishes, and I'll do two tonight: a summer squash/onion/cheese casserole and fried green tomatoes (can someone point me to a good remoulade?)

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Hey, I'm drinking Peets coffee right now! (french roast) It's the best (I grew up in Berkeley and used to stand in line with one parent or the other- while they patiently waited for their beans).

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What are poppers?  :unsure:

Poppers are <s>butyl nitrate capsules</s> deep fried cheese-stuffed jalapeños . I didn't know you could get them frozen - figures that you can, considering that the food service industry must churn them out by the million.

That frittata sounds yummy.

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I LOVE this. You traveled with enough equipment to do brain surgery, and STILL have to make do now and then. Makin' do and doin' great.

I also love all the generations and ages and tastes and mindsets and thoughts. We've been part of a multi-generational family for always, and it's a hoot and a blessing and a pain...wonderful to be together, neverless.

Now, right this minute, in the quiet of the evening, go sit on that deserted beach for me. Just pick a dune or a soft spot, look out at that neon-waved ocean, listen to the SOOTHE of it, and let it wash over you. We used to go after supper and sit listening for hours and letting the wind clear all things. It's a wonderful place, wonderful atmosphere, wonderful therapy, take your pick.

I need that envy-green ink again.

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