Archive for category Food Find
What happens when you order some local, grassfed pork spareribs one week, and a few days later a beautiful grilling cookbook shows up on your doorstep?
You grill, of course!
I made a few adjustments to the recipe (page 158). These modifications were solely based on ingredients currently in my possession.
Truth be told, I was more preoccupied with the suggested cooking technique—a low and slow oven-to-grill process that would hopefully yield excellent results.
I coated the rack of ribs with a standard dry rub, wrapped them in some foil, and baked for three hours at 325 degrees. I then threw the ribs on my gas grill and basted with a bbq sauce/pan drippings mixture which created a beautiful shellacked coating.
I’ve never made better ribs at home—a testament to both the recipe and high quality product.
And as for The Grilling Book, it’s really hard for me to imagine a more fantastic cooking reference guide. I’ve been walking around with it all week, just thumbing through the pages and getting excited about all the things I’ll eventually prepare from it.
The Grilling Book includes more than 380 recipes, all of which have been previously published in Bon Appetit. Everything from grilling lamb to fish to veggies, as well as preparing sauces and cocktails, is included in the book. There are also techniques such as: Steps to a Perfect Steak, How to Muddle Like a Pro, and Steps to Tasty Flatbreads.
I’m really just scratching the surface of what this book has to offer. Think of it as a 400+-page encyclopedia volume with inviting pictures and approachable recipes.
I started with the ribs…but I can guarantee you other recipes are right around the corner.
*The cookbook was complimentary, but the opinions are my own.
The 4th Annual Jumbo Gumbo Cook Off will be held on Friday, April 5th (from 5-9pm) at the Little Rock River Market Pavilions. Tickets cost $20 at the gate, $15 in advance, and kids 5 and under are free!
All the gumbo you can eat doesn’t sound bad. But if you’re more inclined to cook rather than eat, prospective chefs are encouraged to enter the cook off. Team registration is just $75. Prizes and awards include: 1st Place ($500), 2nd Place ($250), 3rd Place ($100), as well as the Silver Spork, People’s Choice, Best Booth, Team Spirit, and Hottest Gumbo awards.
“I’m delighted that this year they have added a new award that teams may also receive. A handful of us local foodies of Arkansas will be handing out a Silver Spork award to the team that we determine to be the best. The monetary awards are still judged by strict criteria by the four local chef judges, but we have this opportunity to take part,” said Thanh Rasico of Red Kitchen Recipes.
I’ll be joining Thanh and others for this area of judging. Really looking forward to it!
The cook off benefits the Allen School:
The Allen School serves children, from birth to 5, diagnosed with conditions including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and other developmental delays. The school staff is dedicated to providing the perfect balance of education and inspiration. A combination of early childhood teachers, special education teachers, and paraprofessionals work together with physical, speech, and occupational therapists to tailor programs that maximize each child’s potential.
We are constantly on the prowl for cool cooking events!
Last night, I attended the first in a series of cooking classes offered by Chef Donnie Ferneau over the next few months. Ferneau, easily one of Little Rock’s most recognizable chefs, recently parted ways with Rocket 21 and is now biding his time between restaurant ventures with these cooking demonstrations.
Our class was held in the main clubhouse of The Ridge at Chenal (5400 Chenonceau Blvd) apartment complex. With a beautifully modern kitchen area and seating for about 10-15 people, this area proved to be a perfect setting for a cooking class.
The 3-course menu was Valentine’s Day inspired and included: spinach salad with strawberries and a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette (appetizer), roasted salmon with cabbage, radishes, and avocados (entrée), and baked apples with honey and coffee ice cream (dessert). The appetizer and dessert were served on individual plates and the entrée was served family-style.
Since I’m still fairly new to Little Rock, this was my first opportunity to sample some of Chef Ferneau’s dishes. I was particularly impressed with his salmon, along with his interesting take on sautéed cabbage. His combination of the cabbage with thinly sliced radishes (which I normally despise), chunks of avocado, and a fair amount of honey, was both unique and delicious.
And, while the food was spectacular, Chef Ferneau’s ability to deliver a relaxed cooking demonstration with a confident ease was even more impressive. His likable presence and delivery, as well as his knack for spewing out tidbits of useful cooking information, stood out during this enjoyable evening. Personally, that’s what I look for when attending classes like last night: I want to learn a few things, eat a nice meal, and socialize with both the chef and other attendees.
Chef Ferneau’s next class will be in a couple of weeks. For more details, email: FerneauClasses@gmail.com or call Thanh Rasico (Class Coordinator) at 501.350.711. Each class (around 2.5 hours) is $50 per person and includes cocktails, food, and the cooking demonstration. I think you’ll find the classes to be well-organized and entertaining.
And as for Chef Ferneau’s next restaurant…he promised a major announcement in a few weeks, with an opening around December. Stay tuned.
I stumbled upon this Loomis Farms Southern Style Cornbread a few Saturdays ago at the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market. The box ran me about $5-6, which is not cheap, still an adequate price for a local artisan product.
I prepared the mix the following day for dinner and am happy to report it was met with rave reviews from the members of my household. The directions on the back of the box were easy to follow and required that I add only a few other wet ingredients to the mix.
The end product was a subtly sweet, traditional cornbread that was both beautiful and tasty. Sure, it was five times the cost of a box of Jiffy, but it also tasted about five times better. And I like Jiffy…a lot.
I know how seriously cornbread is taken in this part of the country. Heck, we have our very own festival for it right here in Little Rock. Loomis Farms can hold its own with any cornbread out there. This is a perfect gift to get a friend or family member who resides in another area of the country and would appreciate a taste of The South.
I’m sure this cornbread mix is sold around the Little Rock area—even seen it on the shelf at The Green Corner Store.
Note: Loomis Farms does seem to have a website, but it is currently not functioning.