Jul 05 2014

Grown-Up Ants on a Log

I mentioned in my last post that my friends and I made one of the recipes out of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden.

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First let me talk a little bit about the cookbook itself. I love that the book is divided into seasons and that the pages are filled with amazing recipes, beautiful photographs, informational tidbits and places for notes.

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I arrived at Paul and Tom’s place and immediately started thumbing through the recipes. Several caught my eye, seasons didn’t matter. I dreamed of sampling everything right then and there. I wanted to grab the Golden Squash, Pepper, and Tomato Gratin right off the page and I pictured outdoor dining and serving the Grilled Steak and Lima Bean Salad to friends.

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I stopped flipping pages when I saw the recipe for “Grown-Up Ants on a Log” – It intrigued me. It didn’t matter that it was Summer, not Winter. I started reading the ingredients to Paul and he kept saying… I think we have that… I just bought currants, oh, we have that… then we got to chatting and next thing you know, Tom came through the door from work. Hi honey, I’m home! I showed him the cookbook and shared a bit about my meet and greet with Josh and Brent and then he started looking at recipes. We chatted about the ingredients for Grown-Up Ants on a Log again and he jumped into action. Kitchen cabinet doors flew open, ingredients started appearing on the kitchen island and I sat and watched in amazement. Dried currants, scotch whiskey, goat cheese, chutney, Dijon mustard, chile powder, celery, pecans – THEY HAD IT ALL! Shocked and giddy with excitement, prep and creation started immediately. Paul and Tom make an awesome team. I grabbed my camera and got some good shots.

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Pecans hit the stove for toasting…

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Mini scotch bottles rock! Scotch was poured over the dried currants – they needed to soak for 30 minutes… Tom mixed up some cocktails for us to wait it out. Sip, chat, wait… sip, chat, wait…

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We did make a few substitutions… regular chili powder since they didn’t have any ancho chili powder. Spicey and smokey denied. Next time for sure.

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We also used peach chutney instead of mango chutney (they actually had mango chutney) but the peach was made fresh from a friend and we thought it would be great.

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We mixed the goat cheese until smooth and then added in the chutney, chili powder, salt and mustard (another substitution – we went with a grainy mustard – we all tasted the Dijon and decided in this case we liked the grainy better.) Could have just been a brand thing… I think it would be fabulous with either. We put the bowl in the fridge for a bit while the currants continued soaking and while we continued drinking.

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The 30 minutes were up and supplies were laid out to create our logs.

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That’s when the big plate debate began… Enter… 2 designers. Blue? (No…food doesn’t look as appetizing on blue) – Green? (We might lose the celery) – How about orange? Yes! Let’s go with orange. Oh crap! – we didn’t get fancy with our celery cuts like they did in the book… OMFG, who cares… these things are AMAZING! And with that, out to the patio we went with Josh and Brent’s grown-up take on a childhood treat – and of course… our cocktails.

These bad boys will be coming with me to parties when I’m asked to bring an appetizer… they were THAT good. I will try them with the mango chutney, Dijon and ancho chile powder next time for a true comparison.

Thank you Paul and Tom for the amazing visit, food adventures, continuous laughter and access to your fully stocked kitchen.

Love you guys!
foo

Permanent link to this article: http://foodiddy.com/?p=9950

Jun 25 2014

Meeting The Fabulous Beekman Boys

I had the pleasure of attending the “Meet the Fabulous Beekman Boys” cookbook signing and recipe tasting at Williams-Sonoma last Friday. My fellow cookbook junkie/chef stalker, partner in crime, Kristen and I set out on our adventure to the Pavilions Shopping Center in Fair Oaks, CA. We wanted to arrive early so we could get a good place in line. We ended up being 3rd and 4th in line, so the planning paid off.

I first stumbled upon Brent and Josh’s reality TV show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” back in 2010 and was immediately hooked. While the show is no longer in production, you can catch re-runs on The Cooking Channel or you can download seasons on Amazon.

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Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell are the founders of Beekman 1802, the lifestyle company centered around their farm in Sharon Springs, New York. Their website is filled with lots of information, including the history of how their business got started.

When Josh Kilmer-Purcell (advertising executive and NY Times Bestselling author) and his partner Brent Ridge (physician and former Vice President of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Omnimedia) purchased the historic Beekman 1802 Farm in 2007, they had no idea that it would launch one of the “fastest growing lifestyle brands in the country.” (source: Nasdaq) Originally just a weekend getaway from their hectic NYC lives, the farm became their lifeline after both men lost their jobs within one month of each other during the recession of 2008. Faced with possible foreclosure, the pair made a decision – if they were going to save their farm, they would have to make it profitable.

After taking in a neighboring farmer and his herd of beloved dairy goats, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell began producing soaps and cheese. As other neighbors taught them how to farm, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell shared their city-honed skills – starting a website and Mercantile. The men began working with several other local farmers and artisans to market their goods, and the entire village came together to host seasonal festivals, which are now attended by thousands of visitors from around the globe. – Source: Beekman 1802 Website.

While waiting in line for the cookbook signing, several fans shared that their Blaak Cheese is out of this world. Fellow fans talked about getting on waiting lists and splitting wheels with family and friends. I would love to try some! A few of the girls in line raved about their Mortgage Lifter Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce. Many had also read Josh’s books and one couple had even visited the farm.

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We got to sample some Golden Gazpacho with Minted Cream, a recipe from their new – Beekman 1802 Vegetable Heirloom Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden. The gazpacho was delicious and refreshing considering the near 100 degree temps outside that day.

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Josh and Brent answered many questions from the crowd before the signing. Two of the sweetest guys, so genuine, we just adored them.

In  2012, they entered as contestants and won the $1 million grand prize on CBS’s “The Amazing Race.” I gave up on watching Amazing Race a while back, but Kristen watched their season and cheered them on. They talked about the winnings enabling them to both live on the farm full-time and how wonderful that has been. They joked about being together 24-7 and not wanting to kill each other, so yes… that’s a positive thing, ha-ha!

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Someone asked if they would ever do another reality show or bring back “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” and they said that they have been contacted about other possible shows, but they weren’t the right fit and they were focusing on their business right now… most wanted to know if they were ever going to have a baby, how many babies? …and when that might happen… They laughed and then shared that their dog is their baby. I can definitely relate to that.  Kristen also pointed out that they had a whole farm of goat babies and they agreed. Fans asked about Polka Spot the llama (they said she’s doing well and still a diva) and John the farmer and the goats.

After a bunch of questions were asked and answered, they started signing cookbooks.

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They took the time to talk to each and every fan. Josh gave Kristen a big hug and they chatted about Sacramento. It was their first time visiting.

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We chatted about the blog and how excited I was to make some recipes from the book. They asked what recipes caught my eye and told me to email them or post to Facebook when I blogged about one of them. Super cool!

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We had such a great time at the event. They encouraged all of us fans to come visit them on the farm – not because we are super special… although we’re pretending that is the truth -  the farm is actually open to the public. Now that would be an incredible trip! Kristen and I are putting it on our bucket lists. Hmmm, guess I should actually start a bucket list, LOL.

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Speaking of visits… After the signing, I drove to the bay area to hangout with my friends Paul and Tom for the weekend. We made one of the recipes from the cookbook and I’ll be posting about that next. I look forward to making many of the recipes and I promise to share highlights along the way.

Happy Cooking…

foo1120

 

Permanent link to this article: http://foodiddy.com/?p=9924

May 07 2014

Boots Scootin’ & B-B-Q

I spent this past weekend at Elk Grove Regional Park attending the 57th annual Elk Grove Western Festival celebrating this years theme – Boots Scootin’ & B-B-Q. I had heard a lot about the Western Festival over the years, but never attended until now. I was interested in a festival event that was added this year – the Elk Grove Western Festival BBQ Championship brought to Elk Grove courtesy of the Kansas City BBQ Society. The Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and enjoying everything barbeque. KCBS is the world’s largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts with over 15,000 members worldwide. Each year, they sanction over 400 barbeque contests across the United States.

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There were just over 30 professional competitors – some of the pros travel all over the country to compete. Pro teams compete for national and state points in the race to become the 2014 BBQ Team of the Year. I love watching the big BBQ competitions on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, so I took advantage of the opportunity to see one in person.

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The four grilling categories for the competition were chicken, ribs, pork shoulder and beef brisket. Submissions were turned in and blind judged by a panel of judges. The meat is inspected raw when they first set up on Friday night – I got to witness one of the Friday night trucks delivering meat to the competitors. They stopped at each BBQ competitor’s space that was participating and gave them their meat. 

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I had the most fun wandering through the venue checking out the creative team names, signage and setups as I chatted with some of the competitors and other attendees. Everyone was super friendly and willing to talk all things BBQ. There were some serious competitors out there, even from the backyard division. It was very impressive. The backyard division was open to all amateur BBQ enthusiasts. Registered teams were given the chance to compete with chicken and pork ribs. Backyard teams got the full competition experience as they were placed in the same area as the pro teams. One other added bonus to the event was the competition between Elk Grove police and Cosumnes firefighters for the Guns & Hoses match.

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I couldn’t help but notice Smitty’s Smoke Patrol and their four Big Green Eggs – Now that is some serious dedication/cash! I was told that due to the focused heat of the egg’s ceramic shell, it does a great job of holding low temperatures, making it an excellent smoker.

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My favorite team name from the event – The Porks of Hazzard, Loved it!

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The trophies were lined up and waiting to go home with winning teams.

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I wasn’t able to stick around to see the winners accept their awards, but according to the Elk Grove Citizen, the Smokehouse BBQ team won the Kansas City event and is now eligible to compete in this year’s American Royal National Championship. Rob’s Smokin Rub BBQ Crew won the backyard division amateur contest and Elk Grove police’s team led by Police Chief Robert Lehner won the Guns & Hoses BBQ competition beating out the Cosumnes firefighters.

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Mmmmmmm BBQ. We ended up waiting in line for what seemed like “forever” to purchase a competitor’s plate. As we neared the front, they ran out… so we ended up sampling from another BBQ vendor in the food area at the festival. Some of the competitors did offer up ribs as samples as you walked through the venue, but we arrived on Saturday just before entries were to be submitted, so it was crunch time for many of the teams.

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We walked through the other areas of the festival and I ended up purchasing some sauces to get my own personal BBQ/grill on. The Apple Bacon Mesquite will be perfect on chicken and I’m looking forward to trying the Apricot Ginger Teriyaki Glaze on some salmon.

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It was a fun event and I’m hoping the BBQ Competition will be back again next year. I’m also hoping they iron out some of the craziness of the lines and actually getting to sample some of the BBQ’d meats would have been nice.

What’s your favorite thing to BBQ? For me it has to be chicken… it’s pretty much the only way I like to eat it. My late grandfather had an amazing BBQ sauce and my brother and I have been using his recipe with some modifications over the years. While I am not confident enough to enter any type of BBQ competitions or contests, I did enjoy watching my brother several years back as he placed at a local event with his signature ribs.

My biggest advice if you are just starting out – get a meat thermometer,  it has been life changing. While I don’t have a Thermapen like Alton Brown and some of the pros from Saturday, I think any thermometer is better than what I used to do – cut the meat multiple times to check for doneness, allowing all the juices to escape. Not to mention… the meat always looked like I had prepped it for a 3 year old. For the record, I have a Polder digital thermometer.

foo

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