Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pie dough

 If you missed it, I was on the cover of Cville the other week. Here’s the article.  It’s me, Craig, Melissa, Angelo and some French guy, forgot his name. 

“What’s that, hon?  Huh?”

“Vincent who?”

“Oh, yeah, silly me. His name is Vincent.   

Sorry. All this fame has kept so busy I’ve been missing my intravenous fish oil treatments, which I do regularly being that it’s good for my, uh, um, ah man, on the tip of my tongue ………Memory!

Yep, last week was a lot fun.  That ticker tape parade down Preston Ave was something, even if it did get a little boggy down by Bodos. And to think they made those floats entirely out of marzipan, I tell you, I was impressed. Then the whole talk show tour (a little tiresome I must say, except Kimmel, he’s a trip).

So back to work, though of course, nothing will ever be the same.  Try getting through Trader Joe’s unscathed being such a celebrity chef.  Can you believe they have already run out of pumpkin pie chai tea mix? I mean, we’re four weeks out from T-day!  What the hell am I supposed to drink until then?

Can’t answer that but I tell you what I’m cooking again now that fall is here, Chicken Pot Pie.  Since this procedure is almost as long as the last sentence from Ulysses, I’m breaking into two parts.  Part one, the dough.

Let’s get baking.

 That's three cups of flour, eight ounces of butter.  Throw a teaspoon of salt into the flour.  Cut the butter into chunks, add the the four, and begin to work the two together.

 After a few minutes you should have something that resembles course sand. 

 Make a little well in the center of this mix, then add 3/4 cup of cold water

There's the water in the well ( get it?) 

Take a fork and mix the water in.

Once the water is incorporated, dump the mix onto a floured surface.  The flour is important here boys and girls.  We are not going to knead the dough, rather we are going to smear it.   Like this
 and this

Do this four to five times.  You should have something that looks like this

Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling.  You can also freeze some or all of it for another time.  

Stay tuned for part two, using this dough for chicken pot pie.

Until then, Salute!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


If you are married like myself, a man, you must just love when the wife throws out something near and dear to your heart.

Now I’m talking about the brown sweater (circa 1986), the well-worn Miami hat ball cap, or even that T-shirt with 17 holes and counting that is just approaching it's sweet spot of comfort.  No, I’m talking Fume. That’s (Phoo-may) for those not versed in French.  

So I had this Fume (Phoo-may) in the freezer for some time now, I don’t know, 3 months maybe 6, certainly no more  given our power outage in March ( (read here)  

“What are doing?”

“Throwing this out”

“No!? That’s my Fume (Phoo-may).”

“It’s gross, and unwrapped.”

True, it was unwrapped. A solid piece of liquid, albeit one with a lot of flavor, sitting in a strange container with ice crystals. Last time I checked we didn't saran wrap the ice cubes either. 

“It’s Fume(Phoo-may), it’s good, I plan to use it soon.”

So was our banter a week before I decided to make a bouillabaisse for dinner.  And then one morning, it (the Fume (Phooo-maay) not me) was gone.

 Needless to say, the Bouillabaisse went on as planned, it just wasn't as good.  It needed the Fume (phoooo-maaaay).  So yesterday, with my wife securely holed away in an artist residency north of Chicago,  I made another one and this time I had the goods.

That's my buddy. He's seen better times.  This is the basis for Fume(Phoooo-maaaaay), fish bones head to tail.  Also we'll need some celery, leeks, parsley, and fennel. 

Notice I use the "ends" of these products.  Save the best for the Bouillabaisse, but utilize the trimmings for the Fume(Phooooooo-maaaaaaay).  Add these to the pot with half a lemon and some fresh thyme, cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes

Now strain the Fume(Phoooooo-maaaaaaay) and discard the solids.  Set aside and hide it from your better half. 

Obviously, this could be done before and you could refrigerate for 3 days or in my case, freeze for five months minus 6 hours before I intended to use it.  I'm continuing on thank you. God forbid any ice crystals are to form.

Let's get on with the Bouillabaisse.  Assemble this cast of characters.

That's a helluva cup of fennel, one red pepper diced, cup of celery and leeks, and 3 cloves of pasted garlic.  Start sweating these guys in your saucepan. Meanwhile, dice a tomato, slice some red potatoes, and (here is my twist ) a sweet potato.  I love sweet potato in fish stew, it's the West Virginian coming out.

Let's add the tomatoes and both potatoes and cook just until the are knife tender

The rest of the gang should be nearby.  Make sure the clams and mussels have been cleaned and any of those guys that are open, discard. It means they're dead and not worth cooking

and the bass filets cut ( any light fish will do here )

Add the clams first as they take the longest to cook. Stir the pot and when you see the first clam open, add the mussels, shrimp and finally the fish

And the parsley

Stir the pot to insure even cooking.  Just minutes away from heaven here folks.  Once the mussels open and the shrimp and fish are cooked, remove from heat.  Toast some bread, grab some aoili and enjoy!!

and freeze any extra Fume (Phoooooooooooo-maaaaaaaaaay) you might left over.