Collection of the ‘regional american’ Category
Elizabeth Dougherty, Food Nation Radio Network
Oyster lovers know what it’s like. A platter of ice-cold bivalves is placed in front of you with a tangy mignonette, some horseradish and cocktail sauce. Your mouth starts to water.
I’ve felt that moment of anticipation nearly one hundred times in my life. My first oyster was at a place called Calico Jack’s in Central Florida. I ate it on a dare. I wasn’t prepared for the chilled, salty, oceanic taste. The soft texture made it seem so rich and decadent, while the sheer rawness of it made me feel just a little naughty and adventurous.
The next time I had a truly knee-knocking oyster was at Julia Child’s 90th birthday party. In the Northwest, farmers had begun raising Kumamoto oysters from Japanese seed stock. They are truly beautiful, delicate oysters with a sweet flavor that are rather small in size, but worth the effort.
In the years since, I’ve placated my oyster cravings with those flown in from high up in the Northeast near Connecticut and Maine and Prince Edward Island.
You may be shocked to find out Florida is now farming its own oysters as a much bigger industry venture. When I heard this, I was rather skeptical, maybe even a little afraid. Is there enough fresh water input for them to grow? Is the temperature cold enough?
Alligator Harbor’s chilly freshwater springs combine with the salty waters off the Gulf to make a perfect habitat for raising Florida oysters. Made from the stock of coastal oysters, they seem to thrive in the local waters.
Wondering what they taste like? We were too, so we stopped by Spring Creek Restaurant owned by Leo Lovel. The same gentleman who came up with the idea of farming oysters in his backyard.
Lovel purchased the restaurant in 1977 and it doesn’t look like he changed a thing. I don’t think the previous owners changed much either. It’s your typical Old Florida fish shack, right next to the coast and about 30 miles outside of Tallahassee.
After they brought out the oysters on ice with lemon wedges, horseradish and the like, I felt I’d be pretty rude to ask about getting a mignonette. I drizzled the beauties with a little lemon juice and dug right in to my first Florida oyster. What a shock! They are very briny, but not overly so, and the lemon juice combined with the brine to perfection. Adding anything else would have ruined the flavor party in my mouth. The oysters were creamy and fresh and easily rivaled any of my favorites like Blue Point and Kumamoto.
As an aside, I also tried one of their crab cakes. With the rustic décor, I wasn’t expecting much. The adage applied, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The crab cake was full of moist chunks of crab and incredibly filling. It was better than any I’ve had in a Florida restaurant.
In fact, everything at this unassuming place was made with care, from the homemade ranch dressing, to the ridiculously outstanding, tangy-sweet key lime pie with real whipped cream.
Everything was so good, I was a little upset I couldn’t make another 30 mile trip to go back the next day. I’ll just have to be content with my afternoon love encounter with the Florida oyster. For now.
I miss you, already.
Correction: Oysters have been raised in certain parts of Florida, but this is an expansion of that industry.
Elizabeth Dougherty has been a food writer for over 10 years, attended culinary school and holds a Bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations from NYIT. She has been a talk show host of nearly 200 episodes of Food Nation Radio which airs each Saturday morning at 8 on the Business Talk Radio Network (beginning June 1st 2013), Saturday afternoons at 4 on flagship WWBA AM820 News, and Sunday mornings at 8 on both WAMT AM1190 News and WIXC AM1060 News. You can read her articles and hear previous shows on her podcast page on the Food Nation Radio Network website and on Facebook.
Friends, meet tonight’s dinner. This succulent pork with the herbs and spices listed below simmers in the slow cooker, just waiting for two forks to pull it apart at the end of the day.
We, at Food Nation Radio Network hate to admit, we are biscuit-challenged. This week, the diva of southern cooking, Nathalie Dupree, taught us how to make biscuits with two ingredients. That’s right, TWO ingredients.
Here’s what she had to say:
Nathalie Dupree is the author of ten cookbooks, eight of which are hard backs, selling over half a million copies, and host of three hundred television shows, which have aired on PBS, The Learning Channel and The Food Network for over fifteen years.
Nathalie, as she is known to her fans, has won innumerable awards for her work, including two James Beard Awards. She is most famous for her approachability and understanding of Southern cooking, having started the New Southern Cooking movement now found in many restaurants throughout the South.
She has been Chef of three restaurants, one in Majorca, Spain, one in Social Circle, Georgia, and one in Richmond, Virginia. She was the Director of Rich’s Cooking School, a full participation cooking school in Atlanta, and stopped counting at 10,000 students. Numerous students of hers now own restaurants, catering or other food businesses, and have written their own cookbooks.
Married to author Jack Bass, she lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Elizabeth Dougherty has been a food writer for over 10 years, attended culinary school and holds a Bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations from NYIT. She has been a talk show host of nearly 200 episodes of Food Nation Radio which airs each Saturday afternoon at 4 on WWBA AM820 News and other stations. You can read her articles and hear previous shows on her podcast page on the Food Nation Radio Network website and on Facebook.
From guest blogger, Beauty & the Feast
Occasionally, you come across a truly distinctive eatery, the likes of which revives your faith in eating outside the humble abode. A place that you yearn to introduce companions to, where you feel satisfied in laying hard-earned cash on the table, a place that steals a coveted position within your go-to dining repertoire. The newly discovered destination may be a posh café, the sophisticated fine-dining venue that remains in-step with couture cuisine, or perhaps one of those relaxed types serving eclectic comforting classics… and rarely, it’s a beautiful collage incorporating all of the above. That is precisely what I found in taking a seat at Sunday’s Fine Dining, where everyday feels “easy like Sunday morning”.
If you are tired of the same old burger, this one is a little different. Not a big fan of pickles? Caramelize an onion instead (slice it thinly and slowly saute until golden and sweet) and add it on top of the avocado/goat cheese. I had the butcher at the grocery store grind a chuck roast for me because it has the perfect amount of fat to make a juicy burger and it comes out so tender when the meat is freshly ground. Try it and you will see the difference!
Spring pea soup with lime crema, chicken breasts poached in red wine and star anise and five spice fingerlings
This is a menu that looks elegant, but doesn’t take long to make. Many of these items are already in your pantry or fridge. Here’s your shopping list:
8 oz lump crab (pasteurized)
8 oz claw crab (pasteurized)
2 slices of bread
1 jar of mayo (or you can make your own, see below)
Panko bread crumbs
grapeseed oil or clarified butter
1 small carton chicken stock
head of garlic
sour cream (optional garnish)
1 lb pineapple (you can buy it diced in the produce section to save time)
vanilla ice cream
Method – Dessert
Put 1 lb of pineapple (diced) in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until caramelized. Keep warm but don’t let it burn, then serve over ice cream after dinner.
Method – Soup
Chop one heart of Romaine into large chunks (discarding the tough core at the bottom) and place in a blender with 1 cup chicken stock 1/4 cupof parmesan, 1 tsp Dijon, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1 TB lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth but save the other half), a pinch of sea salt and1/4 tsp of pepper. Puree in blender thoroughly then put in fridge tochill. Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream, if you wish. This makes 4 smallcups or 2 bowls.
Method – Crab Cakes
Buzz the slices of bread in the food processor into bread crumbs. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, both crab meats, 1 beaten egg, 2 TB of mayo (see below for how to make your own mayo), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp Worcestershire, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, a little splash of hot sauce, 1 TB chopped parsley and 1 tsp of chopped chives. With clean hands, form into 6 patties. Put about 3/4 of a cup of Panko on a plate and cover patties with Panko. Place patties on a clean plate and heat 1 TB of grapeseed oil or clarified butter over medium heat. Saute patties until golden on both sides. (about 4 minutes per side). Keep warm in a 275 degree F oven until ready to serve. For sauce: Add 2 TB ketchup to 3/4 cup mayo, a splash of hot sauce and a tsp of lime juice. Test for seasoning and add a little water if too thick. Serve on the side.
1 egg yolk (use pasteurized eggs if you are concerned about raw eggs, they look like regular eggs in the shell marked pasteurized)
1 TB lemon juice (the other half of the lemon) or use a flavored vinegar like white wine vinegar
1 generous tsp of Dijon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup of grapeseed oil
Stir everything but grapeseed oil in a medium bowl with a whisk. Slowly add oil a couple drops at a time until it starts to emulsify, then you can add it in a slow stream. Whisk briskly the entire time until your mayo is formed.
Arroz con pollo in this area is a regional, classic dish and I truly love it. This is another take on this area staple, with Japonica rice (a black and mahogany rice) with saffron infused white beans and grilled chicken. It has very few ingredients, and other than the time it takes for the rice to cook itself, it’s a very simple dish. You can find this rice at most gourmet markets and health stores.