Monday, September 26, 2011

Figgy Piggy Cornish Hens

Still had some figs left.


And some bacon and garlic. Add one Cornish Hen and a recipe from Epicurious....

bacon garlic pan

...and you've got Figgy Piggy Cornish Hens. Even better, Virginia Willis' Rice Pilaf to sop up the juice from the hen and figs. Be my good dog Jackson.

figs andcornish hens1

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Figs

Fall has landed in the Midwest with a pumpkinny thump. Halloween is still over a month away but every sort of pumpkin, squash and gourd has arrived at the grocery stores and farmer's markets like some sort of freakish, lumpy orange flood. Plenty of time to play with pumpkins, this week was meant to enjoy another fall favorite, the fig. Now if you're like me, the only memory you have of figs was this:

Fig Newton cookies. You know, the depressing cookie you got instead of the fun cookies like Oreos or Chips Ahoy. Some sort of weird cake thing with supposedly fruit filling except it had little crunchy bits that had a mouth feel like beetle carcasses. So no generational fig dish recipes for me to dig through. Luckily the internet and Epicurious had a lot of great choices for what to do with figs.

figs 1

First, of course, was to caress them with my camera. They are incredibly beautiful. There were three types of fig available at least in my neck of the woods. The black Mission figs were the most abundant. Why called Mission figs? They were cultivated by Franciscan monks in San Diego back in 1768. There are also the brown turkey figs and white figs (actually more green than white) but for the recipe today the Mission figs will do.

The recipe I chose was very much in the theme of the traditional salty/sweet treatment of figs. Fresh Figs with Bacon and Goat Cheese. Really very simple, fry some bacon, cut your figs, brush with a good quality balsamic vinegar, put little chunks of bacon on top of the fig and then add a nugget of goat cheese and pop them in the oven so the figs roast just a bit and the cheese gets toasty. This recipe suggests the herb infused goat cheese but I got the plain and mixed up a little clover honey to add a little more sweetness to the layering of this recipe.

figs 2

Sweet ripe fig with savory smoky bacon and sweet goat cheese make a great quick appetizer for a crisp fall evening.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Presidential Brew Pub

Did you know they are small batch brewing their own beer in the White House? I didn't. What's more surprising? That this is the first time that beer has been actually brewed in the White House.

wh honey ale_SB
*Photo by Pete Souza/White House

Think about it. I would have thought for sure Thomas Jefferson would have had a little ale going somewhere in the early White House.

Dude was a culinary dynamo. While in Italy in 1787 he's introduced to pasta and comes back to America and designs his own pasta machine.

But alas, no hint of beer brewing. What about this president, Chester Arthur?

History tells us that our twenty first President enjoyed a wide variety of food and drink. Two of his favorites? Turtle Steak and Macaroni Pie with Oysters. But no brewery in the basement.

Actually the only other president that seems to have actually made his own ale or in this case, Porter, was George Washington. He even wrote down the recipe.
But good old George never lived in the building we know as the White House. He did all his brewing at Mount Vernon in Virginia. So here's to you Barack Obama, the first White House Brew Master.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I have to admit, I have been in a major food funk. I didn't want to make food, I didn't want to shoot food and I really didn't want to put too much thought into what food I did want to eat. I needed a kick in the culinary pants. So I decided to do something basic. Really basic. I wanted to make butter.

butter churn

Butter is really easy to make. I've made butter kindergarten. I thought it was the most awesome thing, making butter and putting it on saltine crackers. I don't remember if we used an actual churn but the devices used to churn butter range from incredibly simple to modern day mixers and food processors. But it all begins with the cream.

shatto cream

My heavy whipping cream came from the wonderful local dairy, Shatto Farms. Now put that cream in a stand mixer or food processor (or anything that blends the cream) and turn it on.

soured cream

The cream is going to go through various stages of whipping. In the stand mixer it took about 5 minutes to get to the point where the liquid started separating from the solids. You want to drain that liquid through a strainer, thus making buttermilk. Once you've strained the liquid you need to wash your butter in cold water until the wash water runs clear.


Once it reached that stage, I put it back in the mixer and added a little salt and whipped to a nice smooth consistency.

mixer butter

Now it's ready to fry a farm fresh egg or slathered onto a freshly baked loaf of bread.

butter bowl

But really, it's destined to go on my favorite salty snack because nothing kicks my butt out of the food doldrums more than a bowl of hot, buttered popcorn.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes you just need a little reminder.

If you too need a reminder Best Made CO can help you out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

JMG 9/11

For Julie Geis


For all the victims of 9/11/01

May we all find peace from the events of that horrible day

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day Job

You know, as much as I would love to cook and shoot food all day, it's only a hobby. My skills as a photographer usually involve construction sites. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes just a pile a dirt. Every once in a while you get to see something grand rise up out of a mere pile of dirt. This weekend the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will open to the public. This iconic building is steps away from where I work and let me tell you folks, it's a beautiful thing.


Of course I'm torn between wanting a backstage, crawl around the flyspace and loading rails tour or checking out the kitchen space. I've already been inside for a general tour and as a performance space it's absolutely gorgeous. I know many folks are lucky enough to have opening night tickets but in my soul, my fingers itch to working behind the wings. That would be fun. Of course it would also bring back the nightmares of arriving at the theater late and only having minutes to set up my prop table. Yes, I know, total techie geek.

Enjoy the gift Kansas City, it's better than barbecue.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Making Bread

My good friend Craig, otherwise known as my big gay in-town boyfriend, sent me a link to a blog that got his tastebuds chattering. It was for a recipe for cinnamon sugar pull apart bread. It did look pretty tasty and easy. So I got out the big pastry board.

cinnamon pull apart bread7

Forgetting that it was still a bread, which meant rising and proofing and all the stuff that goes along with making bread.

cinnamon pull apart bread8

Still who can resist hot cinnamon bread straight out of the oven? Actually I backtracked on the links and the original recipe wasn't even a cinnamon bread but a lemon pull apart bread with icing that if I'd had lemons in the house would have also made. That recipe will have to wait for another weekend.

cinnamon pull apart bread9

cinnimon pull apart bread3

cinnimon pull apart bread5

Now the thing I love about the internet and recipes is that you get the benefit of someone else making the recipe and posting comments about their successes, failures and hints. One of the hints on all these pull apart blog postings is that just because the top of the bread might be golden brown, the interior might not be done enough. Hence my well done top.

cinnimon pull apart bread

Damn, that looks very much like a Shar Pei's ass.

I'm thinking I could have pulled it out ten minutes sooner to give it a prettier top but it's still a lovely, warm, cinnamony thing of decadence.

cinnimon pull apart bread6