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eG Foodblog: Dave the Cook - Beachcraft


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Florida harvests a lot of citrus, but not in July. The Florida citrus harvest occurs mostly from November through May. Some things come in as early as September or as late as June, but I know of nothing that gets harvested commercially in July or August. At least, that's the case for oranges and grapefruits. Presumably lemons and limes are on a similar schedule (though they are I think specialty crops in Florida, with the emphasis on Meyer lemons, key limes, etc.). Not that local, seasonal produce is even relevant to most supermarket chains. But even the organic food co-op (as if such a thing exists in that area) isn't likely to have a Florida orange in July.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Needless to say, but I will... I am loving this blog, too. And,

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.

Rachel, you just described one of the ways I'm living my dream, since moving to Florida.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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While I was making vegetable stock, because Caitie wants biscuits and gravy (no sausage, of course), Caitie wrote up last night's dinner:

Today, for dinner we had a main entree of ribs. The ribs were matched with fried green tomatoes and squash-onion-cheese casserole. And as an appetizer we all shared handfuls of crab fingers.

To start, Dad soaked the ribs in salt/sugar ice water. Then he took them out and followed the ice bath with a covering of spices, including ancho, smoked salt, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, and demerrara sugar. Then Dad cut 'em up and arranged them just so on a pan:

gallery_6393_1560_28639.jpg

Into the 275 degree oven they went. Later, Dad came to find that they weren't being warmed to par. He checked the oven temperature, and found that instead of the set temp. they were only 215 degrees. In the end, they stayed in the warped oven for five hours instead of four.

While all the commotion with the ribs was going on, we prepared a crab remoulade for our fried green tomatoes:

gallery_6393_1560_11017.jpg

This was based on a shrimp remoulade made by Chef Folse. Recipe as follows:

1/2 C mayo

3 T Creole mustard

1 t Worcestarshire

1/3 t Tabasco

3 T green onions, fine

2 t garlic, minced

4 t parsely, fine

1/2 t lemon juice

1/2 C chopped crab

4 t onion

Mix together and voila, you have yourself a tangy remoulade. We left the mustard and tabasco out of the prep shot, so we got them here:

gallery_6393_1560_11984.jpg

After putting the remoulade in the fridge, we continued with the casserole:

gallery_6393_1560_7386.jpg

Our recipe:

4 Summer (yellow crookneck) Squash

4 small onions

1-1/2 C heavy cream

3 eggs

3 oz sharp cheddar, shredded

1/2 t tabasco

2 t olive oil

2/3 C fresh bread crumbs

1 oz parmesan, grated

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 t dried rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Trim the squash and then slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and shock with cold water.

Meanwhile, peel and trim onions. Cut them in half, then into 1/3 in. semi-circles. Saute in olive oil until rings seperate. Combine with cold squash.

Stir eggs and cream together with tabasco.

Put onions and squash into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over.

Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour or until golden and puffy:

gallery_6393_1560_12639.jpg

While baking, combine bread crumbs, parmesan, and olive oil. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over concoction. Then return to oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees to brown toppings.

To finish off the dinner we needed to fry some tomatoes:

Make up a plate of flour, a bowl of milk and eggs, and some "Fish-Fri" mix.

Cut 3 green tomatoes into 1/2 in. circles, and heat a pan of peanut oil, not too deep.

First, dip your tomatoes in the flour, then the milk/eggs, then into the fish-fri. Place them into the hot peanut oil and flip them after about 2-3 minutes or when they are a dark tan color.

Soak up the extra oil on some paper towels. Top them off with the remoulade and serve in a pretty formation:

gallery_6393_1560_11494.jpg

In the end, everything turned out fantastic.

While I processed the photos, Caitie made a cake (her first):

gallery_6393_1560_6693.jpg

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Monica asked about the crab fingers. We've been making these for as long as I can remember. On those trips when we arrive in the afternoon, we make a quick run to Goatfeathers for crab fingers. Then part of the group will hit the pool, another contingent heads for the beach, and the one or two remaining open up the house, take in the view from the balcony, and make the first beach meal:

start with fresh crab fingers:

gallery_6393_1560_19798.jpg

This is the upper "jaw" of the blue crab claw, detached from the arm so that the meat inside the first joint stays on. These were trucked in from Louisiana, as they often are, but depending on the time of year, they might come from very local souces like Appalachicola, or from as far away as Savannah or Charleston.

Prep is simple. Heat oil to 350F:

gallery_6393_1560_14313.jpg

(The oil we start with isn't that dirty. Caitie didn't get the picture until after we'd a few handfuls.)

Roll in seasoned fine cornmeal:

gallery_6393_1560_21984.jpg

Drop in one or two at a time:

gallery_6393_1560_3755.jpg

Fry for just a couple of minutes. The crab has already been injected with steam, so all you're trying to do is crisp up the corn meal:

gallery_6393_1560_2587.jpg

(Erm. Do not leave paper towels next to the burner.)

Skim them into a bowl lined with paper towels. They will be gone before you can get a picture of them.

Cocktail sauce is the traditional accompaniment, but lemon juice, remoulade, tartar sauce or nothing are all acceptable. If you use cocktail sauce, please respect the cultural imperative to modify it in some way: add more horseradish, pepper sauce, lemon juice, black pepper. It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you recognize that sauce straight out of the bottle must be altered. (The same goes for bottled barbecue sauces. Now that I think about this, only men seem compelled to do it. Hmm.)

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.

El Diablo.

Now I have to get cassis? Do you cocktail peeps have any idea what you've done to me?

Here's an accurate approximation of my liquor cabinet, circa May 2005:

gallery_6393_1560_4100.jpg

Today's bar:

gallery_6393_1560_12530.jpg

(By the way, I spent a few minutes with the owner of the liquor store in Watercolor, a nearby planned community. Maraschino is not available in the panhandle.)

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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We're off to check out the fishing docks in Destin. It's Sunday, it's a little late in the day, and it rained all morning, but we should be able to check out the catch from the afternoon deep-sea fishing trips, and we'll peek inside Sexton's, where a huge proportion of the area's commercial and recreational fishing and shrimping catch gets processed and sold. As Brooks said, it's a Mecca.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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I think we can use the oil for any number of other things once the pups are done cooking. Or we could use the chicken oil. We'll find a way to get a vat of oil hot and ready if you bring dem crab fingers. They look gooooooood.

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Get some more crabfingers and marinate them ovenight (hiding the bowl in the back of the ice box, as there won't be many leftover the next day for serving, if you don't hide them).

You can do a ton of them at once and only crazy people don't like them. After all, you are starting with the best part of the crab and only making it better. What's not to like?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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I always liked my mother's casseroles, and looking at this photo reminded me of them.

I don't think I've ever had fried green tomatoes. Is it possible to describe the difference in taste between green and ripe tomatoes?

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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

El Diablo.

Now I have to get cassis? Do you cocktail peeps have any idea what you've done to me?

:laugh: You should be able to pick up a little bottle of it, and you can just get rid of it when you go back home.

And if you think the booze collection is getting out of hand, you should take a look in my apartment. I've got liquor bottles literally filling two cabinets and one full closet. . . and I still have a few cases salted away in the walk-in closet. The scary thing is that my collection is miniscule compared to Dave Wondrich's. I swear, if you pried up the floorboards in his house you'd find bottles under the floors. The even scarier thing is that Dave's collection is probably dwarfed by Ted Haigh's.

--

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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:

Okay, I just scared myself by imagining a Big Bite Hot Dog Frittata and a Slurpee Margarita. :wacko::laugh:

I did pack a pair of nylon-encrusted tongs,

I suppose these are cousins to the world famous Zircon-encrusted tweezers?

I'm glad to see someone else picked up this reference while I was out of town yesterday. :biggrin:

Another highly enjoyable blog. And Dave, your wrassling with sub-par kitchen gear is actually making me feel a little bolder about volunteering to do a blog myself sometime, as I'd say that the majority of my regular everyday cooking gear can best be described as sub-par (and that's putting it kindly).

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I don't think I've ever had fried green tomatoes. Is it possible to describe the difference in taste between green and ripe tomatoes?

Fried green tomatoes taste more like squash than they do ripe tomatoes.

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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Could your charming amenuensis be cajoled into sharing the recipe for her very first cake? What a professional-looking job! Because of the garnish I'm guessing bananas figured in the filling.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I don't think I've ever had fried green tomatoes. Is it possible to describe the difference in taste between green and ripe tomatoes?

Fried green tomatoes taste more like squash than they do ripe tomatoes.

Squash isn't too far off. Green tomatoes are acidic and have a granular texture that's reminiscent of apples (the sound when you cut into them is the same). I'd say that they most closely approximate tomatillos in taste and color.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Now, stop this trying to compare fried green tomatoes to another taste. Every southerner worth her cornmeal knows fried green tomatoes are their own food group! :-)

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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And if you think the booze collection is getting out of hand, you should take a look in my apartment.  I've got liquor bottles literally filling two cabinets and one full closet. . . and I still have a few cases salted away in the walk-in closet.  The scary thing is that my collection is miniscule compared to Dave Wondrich's.  I swear, if you pried up the floorboards in his house you'd find bottles under the floors.  The even scarier thing is that Dave's collection is probably dwarfed by Ted Haigh's.

It never fails. Whenever I begin to think that I'm starting to get my chops and can be on a par with most eG-ers, someone comes along and places me right back in reality...

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I'm seeing a lot of great recipes here (hint). Those crab things would be great at the pickin.

Are there any farmer's markets where you are to check out?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I'm seeing a lot of great recipes here (hint).  Those crab things would be great at the pickin.

I hate it when people don't put in their recipes.

There should be some kind of law.

I always do what Marlene tells me to. Dave, well, he's got alot to learn.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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LMF, if the onions are going to be cooked, I think you'll find that a standard yellow (or red for presentation) will fare much better. Cooked Walla Wallas are really hard to tell apart from cooked generics.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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