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Chef’s Night: Lamb Enchanted Evening

Food pr0n gallery from our chef's night dinner on 11/29/2010. The objective? Match meal courses to the Northern Michigan wines Ian and Linda brought back from their upstate adventure. Jack handled most of the planning with Ian's guidance on the wine profiles. We ate very well. Recipes coming soon. -/// "Rogue Estate Chef's Night - 11/29/2010"

From R.E.: Lamb Enchanted Evening, posted by Bob Perye on 12/01/2010 (53 items)

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A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Chef’s Night – “Ducking Around Again”

At long last, I'm excited to present a new Rogue Estate feature: FOOD PR0N. Photo galleries of epicurean excellence taken during our weekly "Chef's Night" gatherings as well as an occasional field trip to an offbeat market or restaurant. This week's gallery is from 11/01/2010 - Chef Jack Wynne led an awesome autumnal expedition with an amazing plate of duck, two ways (Confit and roasted breast) over a "salad" of wilted spinach, roasted redskin potatoes, dried cherries, toasted pecans, mushrooms and onions tied together with a port and duck stock reduction. I brought the starter course to the table in the form of a lightly spiced pumpkin stew, Ian Malbon introduced us to a Pelee Island Cab Franc and Amantadillo Sherry which paired perfectly with the duck and stew respectively and Raquel gave us a sugar-sweet finish with her wild blueberry slump cakes. One of the best meals we've collaborated on to date, but enough typing - on with the eye-candy! -/// "Rogue Estate chef's night 11/01/10 - Jack Wynne leads RE on a duck rematch"

From R.E. Mission: ducking around again, posted by Bob Perye on 11/02/2010 (58 items)

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A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Late Night Inspiration

A silly post on facebook led to a flash of inspiration this evening that resulted in what is sure to be a hit with any after hours appetite craving carbs and cheese - all the goodness of a grilled cheese sandwich and a plate of pirogi combined! The raw material per sandwich:
  • 2 large slices of rye bread
  • 2 tbl butter
  • 1/8 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 cup shredded queso cheese
  • 1/4 cup pickled (or fresh) onion, diced
  • 2 potato and cheese pirogi
  • 1 slice polish ham (or other cured deli meat)
  • Horseradish and black pepper to suit your taste.
Cast iron is my weapon of choice, but this is grilled cheese, not rocket science, so whatever you have available will work just fine. Preheat your cooking vessel on medium, drop the butter in and melt it to lube the surface, then add your onions and suatee them til they start to go translucent. Scoot the onions off to the side and add your pirogi, and bread slices. distribute the cheeses evenly on top of the bread so it can melt while the bread is toasting and the pirogi and onions are cooking. Adjust your heat and scoot things around as needed to prevent burning. Carbon is not delicious. When the cheese is getting melty, put the deli slice on and warm it up on both sides. While that's happening, use your tongs to move all the onion goodness to the cheesy bread, distributing evenly. Place the deli slice on one slice and if you like horseradish, spoon a little on the deli slice to coat. After about 8 minutes you should have a good brown on both sides of the pirogi and the bread should be toasted and the contents of the bread melty and fixed in place. move the bread slices off to a plate to rest for a moment, turn the heat up a little bit and add a few tablespoons of water and cover the pirogi with a lid to allow them to steam. Once the pirogi are tender and hot, move them off to a cutting board to rest until cool enough to handle without losing your fingerprints. then put diagonal slices in them, enough to spread the pasta out and flatten the contents a little without breaking into pieces or losing all the filling all over the cutting board. Mop any remaining water out of the pan and over low heat, return the two slices of bread. Add the pirogi to the slice without the deli meat and sprinkle a little cheese on top. put the deli meat slice on top of the pirogi slice, give it a quick press to get everything fixed with that cheese, turn off the heat and cover to let it all melt together for a minute. Move the finished sandwich to a plate, slice as desired and serve. For added insurance prior to slicing, shove a couple of toothpicks or pretzel sticks through to secure the layers. I prefer pretzel coz they taste better. Serve or eat - it's a great late night / after bar snack that will cure what ails - or ales - you.  Mucho gracias to my Foodie pal Liz for the inspiration. Cook this one up and let me know how it works out in the comments. We love reader & eater participation here at The Rogue Estate - it's a full-contact cooking blog. ;) -///
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Getting into quite a pickle

grapesI remember the moment clearly - it was a Sunday morning, unremarkable on the surface. I sat in my study, watching past episodes of "After Hours With Daniel" (Boulard) while sipping coffee. A few minutes into a New Orleans episode I heard the words "Pickled grapes" and time stopped. "Pickled WHAT?" I grabbed the mouse and dragged the video back a minute to watch again. Pickled grapes. My mind reeled. I'd never even conceived a thought of such a thing. How would it work? What would it taste like? I watched the remainder of the episode hoping for a clue. Afterhours is pretty light on technique, so the mystery remained. I began searching and found few mentions, but one site looked reputable and offered a basic recipe. A shopping list made, and off to the produce market. I was in luck, they had 5 varieties of grapes, including black grapes which I'd never tasted before. Back to the kitchen and ready to work, I decided on straying from the path of the base recipe immediately, as it looked a bit tame for my tastes. After a few hours, I had five jars filled with five variations. Below are the recipes for my two favorites. stuffFor both recpies, mix ingredients and bring just to a boil in a saucepan, then remove from heat. allow the pickling solution to cool before adding it to the jars. This will prevent your grapes from wrinkling and losing their crunch. Use a pairing knife to slice the caps off the grapes for a clean appearance and add as many as possible to a mason jar without crushing. any grapes will do - however I found that the seedless reds held their crunch best and presented the most appealing color. Pour the cooled pickling solution to fill the jar, cap tightly and refrigerate for no less than 24 hours, preferably longer. I found my test subjects were best after 72 hours. Each recipe will fill 1 mason jar loaded with average sized grapes. Pickled Grapes - Rogue Estate Method #1 This batch was light, sweet with a hint of the mustard's tartness.
  • 40-60 grapes, washed, plucked and capped
  • 1 c White Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 c Water
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Allspice Powder
  • 1 Arbol Pepper (dried)
  • 6 Juniper Berries
Pickled Grapes - Rogue Estate Method #3pickled grapes These are slightly sweeter than #1, with a subtle warmth in their finish thanks to the Aleppo.
  • 40-60 Grapes, washed, plucked and capped.
  • 1/2 c White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 c Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Aleppo Pepper
  • 10 Juniper Berries
  • 10 Allspice Pods
As with any of the recipes published on the Rogue Estate, we welcome your variations and pairings in the comments. Enjoy, -///
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Attitude Adjustment

I'm typically not one to use this forum simply to soapbox, so as I wax vitriol on this subject which is burning a hole in my head for a while, I'll also present some first steps towards a better way of doing things in the hopes that this article stands as more than just a rant. As close as I can figure, it all started with the invention of the TV Dinner. The villainy of cooking real food and taking the time to enjoy a real meal. The proliferation of fast food, handy snacks, minute rice - a seemingly never ending torrent of science experiments in shrink wrapped packages with artistic renderings of whatever original food we're supposed to believe the space-age contents resembles. Much of the twisted cooking and eating attitudes of contemporary society can be directly attributed to the advertising media driving the commercial food marketplace. Six generations of print, radio, television and now internet ads designed to convince a population which in reality has more free time than ever that it simply does not have any time to cook or eat real food. That the very concept of preparing meals from scratch and eating them out of view of the television is downright un-American! The results: a majority of the US Population is not just overweight, but downright FAT. Yes, I said it. We're FAT. Unhealthy is only the beginning of it - committing a slow suicide bite by chemically created bite is more accurate. No one wants to hear it, but the fact is that no amount of Wii Fit, magic pills or "diet" soda is going to pull us out of this culinary death spiral until we collectively change our attitudes about food and eating. What can be done? Based on my own experience, it starts at the market. Changing one's food shopping and buying habits is a big first step. Shop more frequently, purchase less junk. Stop eating fast food. Don't stock the freezer with microwave garbage. The simple rule is this: REAL FOOD ROTS. If an item has an expiration date around the time of the next presidential election, it is a science experiment, not a meal. Read the labels of the pre-processed, pre-packaged items. Not all packaged food items are bad, of course. There is nothing wrong with a well stocked pantry of tinned and dry goods that last for a while and are good for you. Tomato paste is a great staple, just buy the stuff that's only tomatoes, no HFCS or weird chemicals.)  Author Michael Pollan states it best, in my opinion: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Next is cooking. The word intimidates a lot of people. It shouldn't. Preparing a meal for yourself or your family need not be a day long ordeal. There are a multitude of resources from TV shows to cookbooks targeted specifically at preparation of healthy meals in 30 minutes or less.  Start simple and build your way up from there. Ask a parent or a friend for help. There is no shame in learning tMore Real Foodo feed yourself or your family. If you mess up, try again. Need ideas? What were your favorite fast food / convenience food items pretending to be? Find a recipe to create those dishes using fresh identifiable ingredients and work from there. Still at a loss? write to us here at the Rogue Estate and we'll happily provide guidance. Which brings us to: the act of eating. We all have some terrible habits when it comes to eating. We moved from large family dinners at designated times and places to mindlessly sucking down synthetic mush alone in our cars. Do we need to become the Brady Bunch? No, although it would probably not hurt, I realize for many it's impractical. Family units are smaller and often fragmented. More people live alone in America than ever. Regardless, meal time needs exactly that: TIME. Take a few moments to plate your food, sit at a table, turn off the TV / laptop / other distraction. Slow down, TASTE your food. Chew, savor, enjoy. Be conscious of each bite, eat less, enjoy it more. Even if it's only ten minutes eating from a paper plate using a plastic fork, you'll be on your way to a better existence. Breaking bad habits is definitely not the easiest thing to do, but it is essential if we as a society are to stop killing ourselves with every swallow. I'm practicing what I preach: I stopped eating fast food back in the 90's. I rarely drink soda pop and when I do, I avoid those with HFCS, opting for only genuine cane sugar. I don't eat in the car unless absolutely necessary. I read the labels on every packaged food item and reject those with more chemicals, salts and sugars than actual produDelicious real food.ce in them. My favorite part of the lifestyle: I dine with friends whenever I can, sharing the meal and the experience. I'm not prefect by any stretch, but I can tell you quite proudly that a recent physical exam showed that while still classified as overweight, I am healthier than the average person my age. My Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, sugars and such are all well within the really good to really great levels. Unlike most of my family, I've also not developed type 2 diabetes. I attribute these results directly to my attitudes toward cooking and eating. If I can do it, I think anyone can succeed. This is all certainly the tip of the iceberg and I concede to some generalizations on the subject - despite that, I hope I've gotten my point across and given you *ahem* some food for thought. I welcome your questions, suggestions and opinions in the comments. Eat better, live better. Let's do this thing. -///
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.