“Here’s a toast to the roast that good fellowship lends,With the sparkle of beer and wine; May its sentiment always be deeper, my friends, Than the foam at the top of the stein” ~ Anonymous
Take a chef who loves pork, make him a die hard fan of the TV show Iron Chef, then give him a BBQ team with off-beat humour and an unmatched flare for the grill. What could you possibly name that BBQ team? …“Pork Ninjas!”
Jason Rees is loved by his fans for his extraordinary panache for all things culinary. His BBQ team “Pork Ninjas” competes all over the country and wows every crowd with their smokin’ grillin’ expertise. When Jason turned 30 he commemorated it with a very fine flying pig tattoo.
1/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled1 cup blue cheese, crumbled 1/2 raw red onion, sliced thin1/2 cup cream ale 2 tablespoons mayonnaise1 teaspoon granulated garlic 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder pinch salt ground white pepper to taste 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard splash of hot sauce
1. Loosely toss the bacon, blue cheese and onions.
2. In a separate bowl make the beer dressing by combining the rest of the ingredients, and whisk briskly until the beers flattens out.
3. Crumble the cheese-bacon-onion mixture over your favorite potato salad or cobb salad, then drizzle the beer dressing over top of the entire thing.
4. This dressing is truly rocking when served super fresh, so you don’t want to store it to use later.
*G-F Tip! Make this dressing with gluten-free beer and voila!
Idgie: He won’t even sit in the same room and have a meal today.
Sipsey: Oh, it don’t make no kind of sense. A big old ox like Grady won’t sit next to a coloured child, but he eats eggs which shoot right out of a chicken’s ass.
Script excerpt from the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”
We are such funny creatures, us human beings. We seem to be on a perpetual quest to find, point out and magnify our differences. We are especially superficial about this quest since the tone of our skin continues to be a really big deal.
Last night I watched the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Towanda! I hadn’t seen it since it first came out – back in the day – in 1991 and I loved it even more! While the issues in the south were intense and brutal they are universal struggles that time has not erased anywhere on our globe. It covered a good gamut of emancipations: racism, sexism, agism, the single mom, religions, creeds all blended into one “sauce.”
The brilliant scene with George BBQing the ribs
Watching the movie followed on the heels of finishing the book “The Help.” Last Sunday I woke up and told myself I wasn’t doing anything until I finished it. Even though I was raised here in the Great White North, the attitudes of the south were paralleled up here.
I grew up in a very pale community. The “n” word was used freely, but I had no idea what it meant. Not a clue. Every time I heard that word I’d scratch my head and wonder. I also remember hearing people talking about “chewing” someone down in price. It made sense. I was in my 20′s when it hit me like a brick what they had actually been saying all along!!
I was a pre-teen when I met Georgia. She was the first “coloured” person to come into my life. She arrived new to my class one year and she was just fun and sweet. A really nice friend. My dad, knowing how much I liked her, thought he was being nice by calling her my “blackie friend.” (Sigh)
To categorize and create hierarchies based on skin tone requires no sense, no logic and no intelligence. It just requires stupidity and that creates fear.
It also means you don’t know your colours. Here is the selection of foundations tones from the Smashbox line of cosmetics designed for people all over the world. Look at it. No white, no black. We are all tones of the SAME colour.
We’re all brown. From very pale to very dark, we’re all brown! We always have been. Yes!
Our species is so determined to find differences though, I am certain we could even if we all had the same tone of skin. We would pick out eyebrow arches or attached earlobes or nail biting or whatever! My friend is of Dutch descent – a pale people – and he was born and raised in a pale community, but he remembers receiving slurs from some community members as a child walking to school emphasizing his Dutchness. Why? Because we seem to be on a perpetual quest to find, point out and magnify our differences.
Yes, we are funny creatures, us human beings.
So where is the booze in all of this?
Don’t worry I’ve got something for ya. I couldn’t find a recipe for fried green tomatoes with alcohol, but I found an interesting drink. Based on the Bloody Mary, it’s a Green Mary and best sipped with some “Proud Mary.” Allow me to digress. This is how my right brained mind likes to work.
Tina Turner and Cher both know more than a little something about emancipation. Oh ya!
Here it is! The recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes from the original novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg.
“Heat your bacon grease in a heavy frying pan. Dip tomatoes in eggs, then in bread crumbs. Slowly fry them in the bacon grease until golden brown on both sides. Put your tomatoes on a plate.
For each tablespoon of grease left in the pan, stir in one tablespoon of flour and blend well; then stir in one cup warm milk and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper till you like it.
Pour over the tomatoes and serve hot. The best there is.”
4 green tomatoes, chopped
5 green tomatillos, chopped
1 celery stalk
3 mint leaves
1 jalapeno, seeded
5 jarred olives
1/2 cup olive juice, from a jar of olives
1 cup orange juice
2 oz lemon juice fresh horseradish, grated, to taste
12 oz vodka
1. Puree all the ingredients, except the vodka, in a blender.
2. Add the vodka to the mixture. Stir and serve in highball glasses.
3. You can garnish with celery or mint, something else green if you like.
Credit for this recipe goes to http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/healthy-drinks-0.
If you are interested, I received a copy of an “Open statement for the Fans of The Help” from the Association of Black Women Historians. I posted it on my personal blog and would be very interested in your opinion.
“What was silent in the father speaks in the son, and often I found in the son the unveiled secret of the father.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
When John De Monte thinks of his dad he remembers the gourmet meals, the killer steaks he did year-round on the barbeque and the neighbourhood specialty, his legendary burgers. His dad was his inspiration.
As a child, John remembers his parents, Dante and Elvira, hosting great feasts where they welcomed a large cast of guests. He credits his Italian heritage for his parent’s love of food and gatherings. They would invite the aunts and uncles and cousins along with friends and neighbours. There was always lots of people and lots of food.
In the summer the his dad, Dante, would fire up the barbeque and do up a large stack of burgers and grilled vegetables for everyone. In the winter he would make umido. Umido means stew in Italian and his was made with chicken, sausage and tomato sauce. It was incredible! He would organize the children, John along with his 4 sisters and 2 brothers, to stir up a big pot of cornmeal and water. They had to take turns stirring the pot until it became a very thick polenta that was served with the umido. Elvira loved to stuff the polenta with cheese and then serve the umido poured over top.
Dante loved cooking so much and recognized John’s talent that he encouraged John to study in Switzerland to become a chef. John had other ambitions when he was young, but has often wondered if it might have been good advice.
Today, John loves to cook. He especially enjoys getting together with friends and feeding them. He now adds Parmesan cheese to his dad’s burger recipe (1/4 cup per pound of meat) and he makes a terrific cheese sauce. One evening when he was sautéing mushrooms a television chef suggested adding cognac, but he wanted to try Bourbon instead. He’s so glad he did. The bourbon brings out the woodsy flavour of the mushrooms and creates almost a maple flavour.
Gordon Ramsey is John’s favourite celebrity chef. He loves his passion and finds his brutal honesty refreshing. John thinks it would be fun to cook a meal for him sometime and get him to critique it. He believes an evening with Gordon Ramsey would make him a much better cook and they would have an awesome time together.
It’s been a year since Dante has passed away and John misses him dearly, but the spirit carries on. John and his son, James, often cook together and inspire new food ideas in each other. Following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather, James is turning out to be the next generation of De Monte chefs. Recently John and James were making chicken parmesan and James suggested adding nutmeg to the tomato sauce. It was brilliant! Maybe John’s son is thinking about studying in Switzerland to become a chef.
“Father and Son” Bourbon Sautéed Mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 oz bourbon
1. Melt butter in olive oil.
2. Sauté the mushrooms in the butter and olive oil. Drop small hand fulls of the mushrooms in the middle of the pan in the oil and butter and once they are soft, push the them to the side and add another small handful in the middle. repeat process until all your mushrooms are nicely sautéed.
3. Pour the bourbon in the middle of the pan and mix with the mushrooms, letting the mushrooms absorb the wonderful sweet flavor of the bourbon.
4. Remove from heat and place in a serving dish and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.
Southern Comfort was first produced in 1874 by Irish bartender Martin Wilkes Heron (1850–1920), the son of a boat-builder. Heron began with good-quality bourbon and would add: “An inch of vanilla bean, about a quarter of a lemon, half of a cinnamon stick, four cloves, a few cherries, and an orange bit or two. He would let this soak for days. And right when he was ready to finish, he would add his sweetener: he liked to use honey.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Comfort
Peggy Richardson’s mother has worked very hard over the years to buy thoughtful gifts for her son-in-law, Peggy’s husband Geoff Clay. She has tried so hard, that she has actually tried too hard. She knit him a sweater that didn’t fit, so he donated it. She bought him a case of de-alcoholized beer that he used to kill garden pests. She bought him collectible stamps, but he doesn’t collect stamps, so he gave them to Peggy for her collection. Then there was the gold-plated toothbrush that now works perfectly for the dog.
A few years ago mom-in-law thought she found just the right thing and picked him up a large bottle of Southern Comfort at the duty-free shop. It was so big and heavy it took two hands to carry. Sadly, some things never change. Geoff doesn’t like Southern Comfort.
Now, here’s the problem. Liquor can’t be donated, it won’t kill many garden pests and it shouldn’t be given to the dog, so Peggy & Geoff decided the best thing to do with it was to serve it to friends and cook with it. When Peggy added it to cranberry sauce, Geoff loved it! He loved is so much he bragged about it and now people request it. Peggy and Geoff have finally finished off that bottle, but it took them 4 years!
When Peggy and Geoff serve the sauce at family dinners, the adults enjoy the fresh cranberry taste and the kids giggle because they think they’re eating something sneaky.
Peggy likes to pour the sauce into gift sized mason jars. She adds the Southern Comfort just before she puts the lid on it, then she tops it with a bow and a tag. It keeps really well in the fridge for several weeks and smells wonderful when opened.
They have given several jars to Peggy’s mom and her dad likes to spread it on toast. He claims it goes well with kippers!
“Comfort and Joy” Cranberry Sauce
1 12 ounce/340 gram bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 ounces Southern Comfort
1. In a sauce pan, mix together cranberries, water and sugar. Boil on high heat until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries soften and pop. Stir and press all the berries until they’re all popped.
2. Let the sauce cool and thicken.
3. Add the Southern Comfort, stir and serve immediately.
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Peggy specializes in books, ebooks and publishing. She helped me a lot when I was writing my first book, “Magnetic Real Estate Photography.” Peggy’s website is www.WizardofeBooks.com.
Peggy Richardson tells me that she has a lot more family dinner stories, but most of then end in the emergency room, so I didn’t ask any more questions.