Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Week 115

This week, we had Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Apple Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, and Superfood Salad.

Many thanks to our outstanding crew who are picking up the slack in my absence while on vacation: Chef Matt, Jeff&Sara, Andy, and Lauren.

Via DB

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 114

This week, we had Smokey Greens and Mushroom Savory Hand Pies, Sunflower Bread, Mixed Berry Pies (Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry), Superfood Salad, Caramelized Banana Hand Pies, and Ginger Lime Iced Tea.

Thanks to all of our wonderful patrons: Wenny and Kevin, Sarah and Malcolm, Yulya and Rubin, Susan and Jonah, JD, Joy et al., Matthieu, Jennifer L., Chris&Kate&Jerry, Sarah and Malcolm.
Giveaway winners Sarah and Malcolm

Da Crew: Big ups to Val, Jennifer W., Andy, and Chef Matt.

Day One (Lil' Farm to Fork):  Saturday night, we were delighted to host the good farmers from Lil' Farm and raise their produce up through some inventive dishes.  As I was looking at the beginnings of Matt's creations -- e.g. a pan of roasted mixed heirloom tomatoes in a cornucopia of colors -- I thought about the care that went into both the cultivation of the vegetables and the preparation of the meal.  In this setting, we were able to treat the ingredients with dignity -- a sack of onions to peel and chop is not a chore, but a rite of some kind.  A box of tomatoes became holy.

The dish that impressed me most was the eggplant entree.  In his rendition, Chef Matt started with a mashed potato base, sauced it with tabasco gravy, topped it with eggplant that had been roasted and then grilled using a special spice blend, then came tomatillo salsa, crispy fried onions, and finally fresh green onions. When you took a bite, it was like tasting five layers of flavors mingling together.

Also, Matt should get extra dap for composing his menu on 48 hours notice with only a slight clue as to the ingredients and quantities he would have to work with. It was kind of like Iron Chef, and when he went to the ice cream maker to churn the Tomato and Basil sorbet, I felt like that was a classic move worthy of the Food Network.

Day One Track of the Week (selected by Pandora "Underground Hip Hop"):

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cranes and Excavators

Everywhere you turn in Central Durham, cranes and excavators appear to be pushing dirt and laying foundation on new structures.  New multi-story residential is going in at Hull Ave. and Swift Ave., across from the Police Department on Chapel Hill St. and Gregson St., and in the huge Erwin Mills development off Ninth Street.  Main Street in front Duke East Campus has also been closed for the entire summer due to bridge demolition and replacement.

This is especially important when you have a two-year-old son who is obsessed with big wheels, machines, cranes, and things that go!  It is as if the entire city is his playground.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 113

This Week: Our friend Fantine came and volunteered with a great financier cake recipe.  A financier is like a rich tea cake made with almond meal and butter.  We dubbed them the "Moral Monday Financiers" and gave 50% of the proceeds to the NAACP of NC.  Also, Chef Matt's Hibiscus Iced Tea was the perfect refreshment for the humidity, and his Superfood Salad (Raw Kale Salad with Edamame, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews, and Cranberries) was popular as always.

Da Crew: Many shouts to our awesome crew: Fantine, Chef Matt, Val, and SZ.  Extra shouts to SZ who worked all morning for Berenbaum's and then all night for Day One.

Awesome customers of the week: The Halperns, RML+1, Jennifer, Julie+1, the Scotts, Erin, the Darnielles, the Meyers, EC&SMG&RG, Jonah&Mike.

Day One: We had the greatest turnout thus far for Day One -- Jamaican Night.  Chef Matt's menu was on point (especially the hushpuppies aka "Festival Fritters"), the reggae soundtrack was solid, and it sounds like we are going to have to start preparing food two hours earlier (8AM?) to keep up with all the demand.  Next weekend we will have our first Farm to Fork event featuring Lil' Farm from Timberlake, NC (just north of Rougemont).

Track of the Week (selected by Chef Matt):

Monday, July 8, 2013

10-Day Pastrami

This past weekend for a family reunion, I cured and smoked my first pastrami.  I didn't have a Bullet Smoker but instead improvised using an ordinary charcoal grill.  The results were really good - a juicy thick-cut smoked brisket with ruby red crust.  The only change I would make would be to go from a 6-day cure to a 10-day cure (I bought my brisket too close to the event).  Here is some advice if you want to try it at home using your own charcoal grill.

First follow the curing method used by Noah Bernamoff in the Mile End Deli Cookbook.  The briskets he smokes are likely larger than what you will buy, so scale down the amount of dry cure and rub ingredients accordingly.  (A couple of notes on his curing method: 1) I would also drop the the garlic as a necessary precaution unless you don't mind your fridge reeking of garlic for ten days.  You can add as much garlic as you like in your final rub - I used about four minced cloves for a 3-pound brisket.  2) I would add more sugar in your cure than he calls for, and I would use about half brown sugar.  3) Assuming you did not oversalt the brisket, it's not necessary to soak the brisket in water for 4 hours prior to smoking as Bernamoff does.  A simple rinse will suffice.)

Once you have prepped the cured brisket for smoking, add about fifteen coals to the grill and alight.  Wait until the grill gets down to a temperature of 250 degrees, then place the coals to the side of the grill.  Add four soaked wood chips to the coals.  Place the grill rack back on, brush lightly with oil, then add the brisket on the side without the coals (so it cooks by indirect heat), fatty side down.

In about an hour, the temperature will decrease to 200 degrees, so when 45 minutes have elapsed, start six coals burning in a separate container (I used an old clay flowerpot).  When the coals are hot and covered with ash, add to the already-burning coals and add another four soaked wood chips on top.  Make sure to clean out your ash catcher from time to time so that that the coals are ventilated and can receive oxygen.  Repeat this process for about six hours until the brisket feels firm to the touch (like a medium/medium well burger).  The internal temp will be about 160 degrees.

Remove the brisket and place in a steam tray and steam for about two hours until fork-tender.  Serve immediately, cutting the brisket into slices across the grain.

Further Reading on Pastrami:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 112

Despite overcast skies to begin the day, customers came out and enjoyed the temptation of food trucks, baked goods, fresh veggies, and of course Lenny Mojo Hand G.  This week we had Bialys, Shakshuka Bialys, Cherry Hand Pies, Lemon Balm Iced Tea, BBQ Tofu Hand Pies, and Black Bean Mole Hand Pies.

Our awesome customers: Marybeth and Allen, the Stock-Hoffmans, the Springs, Yulya, Jo&Terry, the Coward-Ginsbergs, Stan, Eric M., Jenny, Heather M., Linda, Elena.
This week's giveaway winner Eric M.

Day One: Southern Soul Picnic: Day One was busy start to finish this week.  We had a Fried "Chicken" Basket, Baked Beans, Slaw, Watermelon Salad, Deviled "Eggs", Drop Biscuits, and Blueberry Crumble Pie.  Chef Matt's deviled "eggs" have to be one of his greatest new creations.  He hollowed out a potato and inserted a silken tofu "egg" with the taste and consistency nearing a deviled egg (mustardy), served with a garnish of fresh dill on top.
Day One Track of the Week

Track of the Week:

This Week: Day One and Berenbaum's are off this weekend for the July 4th holiday.  Enjoy your barbeques!