I've always been a daddy's girl, which should be no surprise beings he's a pretty fantastic guy. And now that his newest hobbies have landed him in the kitchen, he's upped the ante! We still spent a little bit of time in the shop together over Christmas, little Lou and I helped hold down some bolts and overall just kept an eye on things, quality control.. But now that I get to move my quality control responsibilities into the kitchen, well, he's never been cooler!
We were putting things on the table that would make a grown man cry! I say "we" loosely.. My dad was chef of proteins and then my mom and I filled the plate with things to keep whatever my dad pulled from the smoker company.
For Christmas we had a glorious Prime Rib in which my dad spent a lot of time researching the best options in which to smoke it. And his research paid off, it was gorgeous and delicious. And the traditional French Dips the day after Christmas were the best ever. No offense to my mom, as her Prime Rib and French Dips are marvelous as well, but it's hard to compete with the delicate perfuming of smoke.
Following is a photo journal of the Christmas Prime Rib - it was very much a family effort. My dad did all of the dirty work, I did the supervision and quality control and my mom did the photography and dishes.
First, it was slathered with just enough butter to make Julia Child very proud.
Then pepper was crushed using the mortar and pestle, again Julia would be so proud to know that my parents had this kitchen amenity.
The smoker was prepared with Cherry wood chunks (I believe)
And after some time, this is what we got - yumm! My dad was sad that he hadn't studded the roast with garlic and is placing that on his to-do list for next time, and even though garlic surely doesn't hurt anything, it was stupendous even without.
One of my other favorite evenings was the meal posted in the very first picture. Smoked brisket with collard greens, Uncle Gene's Cornbread and Red-Eye Baked Beans. For a hors d'oeuvres, we smoked the lovelies photoed below which I learned about from my friend Heather several years ago during the days of the Single Girls Supper Club. Alligator Eggs is what she calls them, jalapeno halves stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon and then either grilled or smoked. I can tell you that the four of us went through this trays worth pretty darn quick! And Single Girls Supper Club, that's worth a future blog post all in itself!
This is getting to be a long post, but I have a couple recipes you really must try. And there's even more from Christmas vacation that I have yet to get to, like the homemade Potato Sausages, the brisket spice rub and my sister's Lefse!
Red-Eye Baked Beans
3 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. chile powder
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups low sodium beef broth
1 smoked ham hock
4 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup ketchup
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 300°. Melt butter in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chile powders, cumin, allspice and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and ham hock. Add beans and bring just to a boil. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Stir the coffee, molasses, ketchup, Worcestershire and oregano into the beans. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour longer. Cool to room temperature. Remove the ham hock, if there is any meat on the bone, chop it up and add to the beans. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, bring beans to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The beans can also be served immediately without chilling, it just helps thicken it up a bit and the flavors meld together a bit more.
Red-Eye Baked Beans
Uncle Gene's Corn Bread
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup milk
1 can (8 ounces) cream-style corn
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped jalapenos
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the egg, milk, corn, onion, jalapeno and cheese. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons each butter and canola oil in a cast iron skillet. Remove from the heat; add batter. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes.
And speaking of daddy's girls... As much as I would like to think that Little Lou will be spending her days chillin' in the kitchen with me, I'm afraid she's going to prefer hanging out with the guy wearing the pocket laden t-shirt in the shop; sweeping the floors and picking up pieces just like I hung out with the guy who wore velcro shoes and polka-dot ball caps. But luckily, her dad is also a pretty fantastic guy..