Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pig Roast!

One of the pleasures of our children are their friends. And from one we were invited again to a wonderful pig roast to watch UM. (Yes, they sucked.)

Craig is a pro --culinary school, great skills and very generous host and just a great guy.

He had a huge smoker, as he did several years ago when we first were lucky enough to be invited to the the pig roast. We were so excited when the invite came, despite the fact we knew UM would be crushed by OSU. He makes the real deal...some folks were a little squeamish by its real pig look... yes, the whole pig. We all said thank you before we dug in.

After he got it off the grill, we hung around while he carved and picked out a bunch of crispy bits, made even better by his dry rub. Of course there was a pile of pork that we got around to. This is real food, really , really good food.

So thanks to the pig and the chef. Grateful for both.

Friday, November 26, 2010

New favorite bread

For a few years I have been making buttermilk rolls for holiday dinners from a recipe in my trusty 1972 Joy of Cooking. A comment from Emily made me think I should make the recipe into loaves of bread. A test loaf has worked very nicely - tasty, good crumb, works well with leftover turkey.

I make the rolls with all purpose flour, as per the JoC, but I tried the loaf with bread flour and it seems to work fine.

Buttermilk bread

preheat over to 375 F

6 cups bread flour, sift before measuring
3 cups buttermilk
2 pkgs yeast
3/8 tsp baking soda
1 TSB salt
3/8 cup sugar
3 TSB melted butter

Warm buttermilk to 85 - 90 degrees F
Stir yeast into warm buttermilk and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes
Stir together the dry ingredients - flour, soda, salt, sugar
Add melted butter and stir briefly
Add buttermilk/yeast mixture and mix - the dough will be very wet

Set the dough in a greased pan, cover and allow to rise to double its volume in a warm place (about 1-1/2 - 2 hours)

When risen, punch down the dough and turn it out on a floured surface. The dough will be wet and you may incorporate as much as a cup of flour into it as you are kneading the bread.

Knead the bread for 7 - 10 minutes.
Use butter or cooking spray on two loaf pans. Divide dough into two parts - one for each loaf pan.

Allow the dough to rise to about double its volume - about an hour in a warm spot.

Bake in the 375 F oven for about 40 - 50 minutes. When done, the loaf will be a deep brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool on a rack before slicing

I may keep experimenting with this recipe - if I make any important changes, I will mention them here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cork: A Wine Pub and so much more

Our pals invited us for a drink and a bite at the newly opened (as of tonight) wine bar Cork in Pleasant Ridge. This is a wonderful addition to the Motown food scene!

Located in former architect's office, Cork offers a neighborhood vibe, relaxed service, and outstanding food, first rate wine and great cocktails. (When's the last time you had a sazerac or negroni -- both delectable.) Diners can enjoy comfortable and expansive bar, and a cozy dining area all painted in vibrant, rich colors with interesting artworks and decorative pieces. We felt immediately at home.

Menu includes small as well as large plates. We tasted the small short ribs with polenta plate and the grilled cheese sandwich w/ gruyere and prosciutto. Ribs were a bit skimpy in portion size for $11, grilled cheese made on their own bread, perfectly cooked. Shared with a twin pinot noir tasting from two Oregon wineries and a Roberts shiraz (tasting $12/ shiraz $6.)

Wine list is extensive and well considered. Jeff, the sommelier was a pleasure -- warm, knowledgeable and the essence of hospitality.

This is a perfect place for a drink and a bite with friends or a full dinner with a special someone.

Don't miss the butterscotch pudding! Served in a coffee cup it's lavished with housemade caramel and devilishly rich and smooth, just irresistible. Everyone at the table tasted and swooned. The recipe includes a full bottle of good Scotch -- literally putting the "scotch" in this pudding. This is an iconic dessert.

Looking forward to their success and growth. All food made inhouse - breads, desserts, jams, locally produced vinegar. It also houses a small wine retail shop where you can purchase a wide variety of well curated wines.

Whether we knew it or not, we've been waiting for a spot just like this.

Welcome to town, Cork! Hope to see lots more of you!

Cork Wine Pub