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Corked & Forked
Four Seasons of Eats and Drinks
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Format:ebook $15.99 $20.99 CAD
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Eating and drinking came first. Before we became lawyers or journalists or architects, we were chefs and brewers and winemakers. Every animal eats and drinks, but we prepare meals, and we always have. Way back in some prehistoric cave, our ancestors were roasting meat, brewing grain, and fermenting fruits to nourish the clan.
Suppertime is literally in our DNA.
In our modern world, the magic of a perfect food and beverage pairing is one of the first lessons we learn. It arrives with the first bite of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie followed by a sip of milk. The flavors sparkle and flicker, then hit something gooey and primal in an ancient corner of the brain. Immediately we think: I want more of that. I MUST HAVE MORE!
The perfect pairing is an irresistible force that begins with little fingers and sippy cups and eventually graduates to forks and corks. While most meals demand beverages a bit more sophisticated than 2% milk, great pairings don’t have to be complex: often they are as simple as serving Champagne with potato chips.
Corked & Forked isn’t meant to be your typical entertainment guide. The goal is to create great meals in the simplest of ways. The recipes are designed to take advantage of everything a given season has to offer, and the menus work together seamlessly. The dishes are not hard to prepare; most are inspired by the stripped-down recipes I used as a professional chef. Even better, almost all the ingredients are easily found at a local grocery.
The book isn’t strictly about cooking either: it’s about experiencing gustatory epiphanies, preferably with the most important people in your life. That means popping open a bottle or two or twenty. For each dish in this book, I offer a selection of pairings that will throw open the door to the full potential of a meal. This allows you to understand the keys to pairing, and will lay the foundation for discovering lip-smacking synchronicities of your own. To paraphrase Alexis Lichine, if you want to learn about wine or beer or cocktails, grab a corkscrew and use it.
Above all, this book is about experimentation. It might be very pretty, but it was not made to sit politely on a coffee table. It will have a fit if you try to put it on a dusty shelf with other cookbooks. It wants to share an adventure with you. There should be stains on at least a dozen of its pages; illegible notes scrawled in the margins; and a scattering of torn corners.
After all, Corked & Forked is dedicated to a singular and primal act: breaking bread with your clan. Enjoy.
SUMMERTIME IS ALL ABOUT FLASH: The glittering flash of a white sail over blue water, the spicy flash of a jalapeño pepper in a crisp salad, the reflected flash of a smile in the rear-view mirror. The days are long and languid, promising glittering moments of white-hot laughter and half-remembered dalliances.
Of course, there will be unhappy moments of either scorching heat or torrential rains. But most days will be just sunshine and blue sky and dinner plans. IT’S TIME TO LIVE, EAT, AND DRINK FOR THE MOMENT. Could there be anything better?
Days on end of pure sunshine turn us all into little kids. It’s nearly impossible to be taken seriously when wearing flip flops and eating seafood from a bucket. And that’s okay, because one of the greatest gifts of summer is the playfulness of its food. Bright colors pop off the dinner plate. FLAVORS SIZZLE AND SING ON THE TONGUE. Farmstands overflow with bright reds and shiny greens. An instantaneous high is delivered just by sinking your teeth into fruits and vegetables that are dripping with ripeness.
With such bounty, cooking becomes quite simple. In my recipes I KEEP FLAVORS CLEAN, LIGHT, AND FULL OF ZEST. Hot peppers, dramatic spices, and brilliant citruses all make frequent appearances in these summer chapters. And we can do more with less during this season since locally grown produce lends so much more flavor than the typical supermarket fare.
Summer cooking should also minimize use of the kitchen stove. With that in mind, these recipes will involve a lot of pickling, curing, and outdoor grilling. Don’t sweat it if you are without one of those gleaming new barbeques. EVERY GRILLED RECIPE IN THIS BOOK WAS CREATED ON A $25 GRILL PURCHASED AT A FLEA MARKET.
EARLY SUMMER SALAD WITH FLOWERS
ROASTED SHALLOT RELISH
CANTALOUPE & GIN POPSICLE
Where do you begin a book on cooking, eating, and drinking? I’m taking a chance that the burger—one of the most versatile and classic of summer dishes—is as good as it gets. Who doesn’t love a burger? Americans eat ten billion of ’em every year. And I am not talking about the hamburger, because just-hamburgers went out of fashion a long time ago. Buffalo, rabbit, salmon, mushroom, and even fava beans have taken the humble patty to new heights.
The truth is that anyone can make a great burger. There are only a few essentials that you will need. The first is a spot of ground outside big enough to drop a grill, preferably a charcoal-fired one. The second is time: give yourself a twenty-four hour head start since we will be making almost everything from scratch.
Let’s talk about the beef burger first. No matter how done you like your meat, the end result should be moist but not greasy, meaty but not steaky. It also should be easy to eat with one hand, allowing you to hold your beverage in the other. But the burger should never be an antiseptic undertaking. Each bite should leave the fingers respectfully messy—enough to indulge your inner child in some summer fun without looking like you just changed the oil on a Chevy Impala.
The veggie burger should have the same characteristics, replacing the meaty flavor with other earthy and vaguely sinful tastes. Deeply intense mushrooms like portabella or porcini infused with smoke and oil is the key to great flavor for this burger. In this chapter I invite you to devote some time to making the veggie burger its meaty-best. Trust me, the world just might be a better place.
While there is a trend to use English muffins, challah bread, or glazed donuts for the bun, the best match for any patty is the good old white bread bun from the supermarket. It provides the perfect blank slate on which to drop sharp and exotic bursts of flavor.
The condiments must be well thought out, too. The richness of the burger needs to be balanced with the sweetness of pickle, the spiciness of mustard, and the sharpness of relish. Here’s the really beautiful and crazy thing about these all-American condiments: they are a millennium older than our country and hail from various points along the Asian continent. My modern update of these ancient recipes will create our secret sauce for the ultimate burger.
Early Summer Salad with Flowers
A simple salad is the best accompaniment for this meal. The edible flowers add visual appeal and a bit of peppery spice. Both nasturtiums and orchids are in season right now, but if you can’t find any, just double up on the tomatoes. The one essential ingredient is high-quality vinegar; this recipe calls for 6-year balsamic.
SERVES 4 TO 6
2 CUPS EDIBLE FLOWERS, DIVIDED
2 CUPS CHERRY TOMATOES, QUARTERED
2 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 TABLESPOONS ROASTED WALNUT OIL
2 TEASPOONS KOSHER SALT
4 TEASPOONS 6-YEAR BALSAMIC VINEGAR
Toss one cup of the flowers together with the tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, walnut oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar, coating the salad thoroughly. Divide and serve, using the remaining flowers as garnish.
When prepared properly, a simple portabella mushroom cap can make a fantastic burger. This one boasts a toothsome firmness, rich smoky flavors, and just the right amount of grease.
4 LARGE PORTABELLA MUSHROOM CAPS
4 TEASPOONS ROASTED WALNUT OIL
4 TEASPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 TEASPOONS KOSHER SALT
2 TEASPOONS FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
4 HAMBURGER BUNS
¼ CUP HOMEMADE KETCHUP (PAGE 20), MORE OR LESS TO TASTE
¼ CUP ROASTED SHALLOT RELISH (PAGE 21), MORE OR LESS TO TASTE
Preheat the grill to a high heat.
Place the mushrooms on a sheet tray, gills-side up. Drizzle each mushroom with 1 teaspoon of the walnut oil. Flip them over and drizzle the tops with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.
Grill the mushrooms, gill-side down, for 5 minutes. Flip and continue to grill for another 5 minutes, or until the caps have dark grill marks. Sprinkle each mushroom with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Place in a bun and dress with the Homemade Ketchup (page 20) and the Roasted Shallot Relish (page 21). Serve immediately.
Rendered fat is the key to this recipe; we will use it to mimic the flavor of wagyū beef, also known as Kobe, which has a very high fat content. Make sure to start cooking the bacon about two hours before dinner (or even the night before) to ensure that you will have enough on hand.
SERVES 4 TO 6
8 OUNCES BACON
½ CUP ROASTED WALNUT OIL, IF NEEDED
1 POUND GROUND ANGUS BEEF, 80% LEAN
¼ POUND SHARP PROVOLONE, THINLY SLICED
6 HAMBURGER BUNS
¼ CUP HOMEMADE KETCHUP (PAGE 20), MORE OR LESS TO TASTE
¼ CUP ROASTED SHALLOT RELISH (PAGE 21), MORE OR LESS TO TASTE
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lay out the slices of bacon on a sheet tray, ¼-inch apart, and roast for 25 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy. Drain the fat from the bacon into a glass measuring cup. If you have less than ½ cup of fat after roasting, then add the roasted walnut oil to supplement, resulting in ½ cup of fat. If you have more than ½ cup of rendered fat, discard the extra. Allow the bacon and the fat to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat.
In a large metal bowl, pour out the fat and add the ground beef. Mix together until the oil has been completely absorbed. Form the ground beef into six patties, about 1¼-inches thick.
Grill the beef for 5 minutes, or until the meat pulls away from the grill grate. Flip the burgers, top with the sliced provolone, and grill for about 4 more minutes for a rare burger, and 7 minutes for a medium burger. Place in a bun and dress with one tablespoon each of the Homemade Ketchup (page 20) and the Roasted Shallot Relish (page 21). Serve immediately.
Ketchup is one of those foods with a longer history than most countries. The sauce actually dates back to ancient China where one of the ingredients was fermented fish. While that may sound really unappetizing, the combonation did what modern ketchup still does: adds an umami richness to any dish. This sauce will store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
MAKES 2½ CUPS
1 TABLESPOON EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 SPANISH ONION (ABOUT 1 CUP), DICED
4 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED
1½ TEASPOONS KOSHER SALT
2 WHOLE CLOVES
1 BAY LEAF
¼ TEASPOON GROUND CINNAMON
1 TABLESPOON SWEET PAPRIKA
¼ TEASPOON CELERY SEEDS
¼ TEASPOON RED CHILE FLAKES
2 TEASPOONS CAYENNE PEPPER
¼ TEASPOON GROUND ALLSPICE
¼ TEASPOON GROUND CORIANDER
1 TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
½ CUP WHITE VINEGAR
½ CUP DARK BROWN SUGAR
1 (32-OUNCE) CAN WHOLE TOMATOES, IN JUICE
2 TABLESPOONS SOY SAUCE
Place a 4-quart sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, and salt. Once the onions caramelize, after about 3 minutes, add the herbs and spices. Cook for 3 minutes, until the spices start to darken. Add the vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, and soy sauce. Continue to cook for 45 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring every 5 minutes, until the tomatoes break down completely and the ketchup is reduced by one-third. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir. The result should be thick as pudding.
Remove the bay leaves, then purée the sauce in a food processor or a blender until smooth. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat, remove the sauce from the burner, and let cool for 1 hour. Transfer to a plastic squeeze bottle or other serving container. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Roasted Shallot Relish
Pickles, relish, and mustard are essential condiments, too. I adapted this Indo-Pakistani chutney to be a bridge to all those flavors. It’s a pickled relish with mustard, and spicy! Slathered onto a grilled burger, this relish adds a remarkable depth and balance to every bite. The intense flavors come from the unique trick of poaching whole shallots in a shallot purée.
MAKES 2 CUPS
1 POUND SHALLOTS, PEELED AND DIVIDED
¼ CUP ROASTED SESAME SEED OIL
1½ TEASPOONS MUSTARD SEEDS
1 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT
2 TEASPOONS LEMON JUICE, FRESHLY SQUEEZED
2 BAY LEAVES
4 TEASPOONS CAYENNE
¼ TEASPOON ONION POWDER
¼ TEASPOON CURRY POWDER
2 TEASPOONS DARK BROWN SUGAR
Take 4 ounces of the shallots, chop them roughly, and purée in a food processor or blender to make a paste. In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the sesame oil, then add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sputter in the oil, add the remaining whole shallots, the shallot paste, and the salt. Stir every 3 to 4 minutes. When not stirring, keep the pan covered, cooking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the shallots are slightly browned.
Add the lemon juice, bay leaves, cayenne, onion powder, curry powder, and sugar, along with ½ cup of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring every 2 minutes for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to a paste. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Once cool, remove the whole shallots and slice them into small rounds, then add them back to the sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The relish will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Cantaloupe & Gin Popsicle
The combination of cantaloupe, cucumber, and gin offers up surprisingly sophisticated flavors that will delight and amuse your guests. For the mold, you can use a traditional 4-ounce popsicle mold or even small paper cups.
½ MEDIUM CANTALOUPE (ABOUT 3 CUPS), RIND REMOVED, SEEDED AND ROUGHLY CHOPPED
½ SEEDLESS CUCUMBER, PEELED AND ROUGHLY CHOPPED (CAN SUBSTITUTE ½ ENGLISH CUCUMBER, HALVED LENGTHWISE, SEEDS SCRAPED OUT)
2 TABLESPOONS PREMIUM-QUALITY GIN
½ CUP SUGAR (OPTIONAL)
Purée the cantaloupe, cucumber, and gin in a blender until smooth. Taste, and add sugar if desired. Fill the popsicle molds with the mixture. Place in the freezer and wait patiently for six hours for the popsicles to freeze. Remove from the mold, running water over the outside if necessary, and serve.
The first and most obvious pairing for a burger is beer. If you can find it, grab a six-pack of California common, also known as steam beer. This is a uniquely California-style lager dating back to the nineteenth century when brewers couldn’t rely on modern inventions like refrigeration. This beer is heavier than most lagers and stands up to burgers like it was going into battle. Plus, its malty flavors and wild slap of hops balance out the sweetness of the ketchup.
For red wines, the uber-American choice is an old vine red Zinfandel from the Mendocino Ridge wine region of Northern California. Wines in this area are still made from vines planted during the California Gold Rush. And they are as macho as their history: These full-throttle fruit bombs will get you buzzed first and ask questions later.
For the cocktail, we have to go with the Sazerac, which is arguably both the first and greatest American cocktail. The recipe has evolved over the centuries, but this is the closest you’ll come to the original. Do yourself a favor and use rye whiskey and not bourbon, which is a bit too smooth for this drink.
¼ TEASPOON GRANULATED SUGAR
1½ OUNCES RYE WHISKEY
2 DASHES (¼ TEASPOON) PEYCHAUD BITTERS
SPLASH (½ TEASPOON) ABSINTHE
TWIST OF LEMON PEEL
Fill an old fashioned glass or short tumbler with ice. Put the sugar in a second glass of the same type. Add the rye, the bitters, and a few cubes of ice, and stir. Discard the ice from the first glass, and pour in the absinthe. Turn the glass around in your hands to coat the sides with the absinthe, then pour out the excess. Strain the rye mixture into the absinthe-coated glass. Twist and squeeze a lemon peel over the drink. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel, discarding it when finished, and serve.
SMOKE-DUSTED DEVILED EGGS
SPANISH CHICKEN SALAD
POTATO & PROSCIUTTO SALAD
INNOCENT CUPCAKES WITH EVIL FROSTING
For centuries, the combination of blankets, baskets, and blue sky has meant only one thing: it’s time to collect your friends and head to your favorite patch of countryside. We think of the picnic as a carefree day of uncomplicated pleasures, but until the roaring twenties, everything was a bit more complicated.
Just a few years earlier, the English-speaking world was stuck in the Victorian era. Picnics were still about hunting parties, kidney pie, and possibly a game of blind man’s bluff. There were entire books on proper picnic etiquette. Then, poof! it was the modern world of Maxfield Parrish, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the nineteenth amendment—and jarred mayonnaise.
- On Sale
- Aug 23, 2011
- Page Count
- 200 pages
- Running Press