Monday, October 17, 2011

Glass Onion Classics is now AVAILABLE!

Many of you faithful supporters of the GO most likely already know that the cookbook finally arrived! I should have written long before now, but I wanted to wait until I could also announce the launch of our new website. Of course, we still have the same address -- -- but by the end of the week you will see its glorious makeover.

On the new website there will be an online store where the cookbook, t-shirts, gift cards, and our new line of sausage will be available for purchase. And you blog followers should automatically be switched over to following my new Wordpress blog, which will be part of the website rather than a separate entity.

I look forward to chatting with you there and telling you more about that delicious sausage -- Belle's Country Links -- YUM!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still waiting on cookbook but Mmm...MEATLOAF!

Okay, okay, so some of you might also follow the Glass Onion on Facebook, and you might be a bit peeved with my premature announcement of our cookbook's arrival. What can I say? I jumped the gun; I simply willed Glass Onion Classics to be here sooner, but when you order 1000 copies it evidently takes a bit longer. That said -- she should be here by next week, but I will not guarantee any date (and especially not post it online) before I have her in my hands!

However, maybe I can assuage your disappointment by posting a recipe that I have not shared yet -- MEATLOAF! I am inspired to share this particular recipe for a couple of reasons -- namely, cooler weather and a cry of help from a friend who will go unnamed. This friend claims she cannot boil water but somehow became involved in a meatloaf cook off. She threatened to withdraw herself from said cook off, but I offered up our recipe so that she might show up her fellow Chicagoans!

So, as the days grow shorter, and our cravings lean towards heartier foods why not host your own meatloaf dinner with this sneak preview from Glass Onion Classics.

Stew's Meatloaf

At the GO, we often have meatloaf on the menu because my partner Chris (AKA "Stew") happens to make the best meatloaf around. We generally serve it as a po boy, but here we give you a very tasty tomato sauce so that you can serve it over mashed potatoes -- or for something different, try serving it over grits!

At first glance, this recipe might seem, a no-brainer, but there is finesse involved. The key is to not overwork the meatloaf mixture. At the restaurant, we accomplish this by putting everything -- meat, vegetables, spices, etc. -- through the meat grinder. If you happen to have a home grinder, feel free to use this method. Another alternative would be to ask your butcher to grind the beef and pork together, but you can always just use your hands. Simply remember: work together gently, using a folding rather than a kneading motion!

And just like our shrimp cakes, we call for bread crumbs -- meaning stale bread that has been processed in the blender until crumbs form. These are vastly superior to the store-bought variety!

1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1/2 medium bell pepper)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted and finely chopped (or ground in a spice grinder)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium garlic cloves)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
2 cups bread crumbs
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine onion, bell pepper, salt, black pepper, oregano, fennel, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor; puree. Add cream and egg; pulse to combine. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add bread crumbs; stir until well combined.

Combine ground pork and beef in a large bowl; work together with hands until just combined. Add pureed vegetable mixture; work together with hands until just combined (do not overwork!). Form into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, until a nice crust forms. Lower oven to 325 degrees and cook for about 45 minutes longer, until an internal thermometer reads 160 degrees. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve over mashed potatoes or grits.

YIELD: About 6 servings

P.S. Leftovers make delicious sandwiches!

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1/2 medium bell pepper)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium garlic cloves)
1 12-ounce beer (of your choice!)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add beer; stir to combine, loosening any bits that have collected in bottom of pan. Add tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and tomato paste. Simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until reduced by half and a nice thick sauce has formed, about 30 minutes.

YIELD: About 1 quart

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Return of Oysters and Countdown til Cookbook Release

If any food item has the power to bring me back from the blogging wastelands -- it would have to be the oyster. The return of cooler weather down South(and consequently cooler waters)always heralds the return of oyster for me. I enjoy every preparation -- on the half shell, fried in po boy, or poached in my father's oyster stew.

Devotees of the blog certainly know Papa's Oyster Stew as I always return to my ultimate comfort food. But for those of you newcomers I wanted to share the recipe one more time. We are currently featuring it at the Glass Onion, and it will be published in our cookbook a few weeks from now. Stay tuned to our website and social media pages for updates on the cookbook release party here at the restaurant.

Papa's Oyster Stew

Growing up, every holiday season my father and I would go buy a Christmas tree together, and then we would buy quarts of freshly shucked oysters to make his famous stew while trimming the tree. Freshly shucked oysters may seem a bit incongruous if you remember that my hometown is the extremely inland hamlet of Columbus, Georgia. But my father's good friends, the Lunsfords, owned Rose Hill Seafood, where they brought in oysters straight from Apalachicola, Florida. The flavor of those oysters, and especially this stew, is the flavor of my childhood.

1 quart shucked oysters and their liquor
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
Oyster crackers, for garnish

Place the oysters in a colander set over a bowl to drain off liquor. Reserve liquor and oysters.

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. When foam subsides, add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved oyster liquor and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the milk and cream; bring to a simmer. Add the oysters; cook until their outer edges begin to curl, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with oyster crackers.

YIELD: About 4 entree servings

P.S. The stew might require more salt, depending on the salinity of the oysters, but it is best not to oversalt at the outset.

P.P.S. I love a lot of black pepper in creamy dishes like this stew, but feel free to use less than the recommended 2 teaspoons if your palate is sensitive to spice.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cookbook Update and Eating Around Georgia!

First, my apologies on the length of time since my last post. However, I'm happy to report that my online absence can be at least partially blamed on the fact that the Glass Onion cookbook has entered the final stages of production. And trust me, no one could rival my excitement as I peruse the pages one last time. Just imagine all the stories and recipes you enjoy here on our blog in a perfectly bound book! That pleasure should be yours no later than mid-September; I'll keep you posted.

I do have to admit that in my absence I managed to squeeze in a weekend trip to Georgia (my home state) and enjoyed quite the eating adventure. The truly delicious local food movement appears alive and well in Athens and Atlanta, and I strongly encourage any of you in those environs to check out the following spots that I thoroughly enjoyed. I know that I only brushed the surface of the culinary offerings in both these cities and would love to hear about your favorite local food haunts here, there or anywhere!

Happy Local Eating!

All the food that I could fit into 48 hours:

In Athens, GA:
Five & Ten
Local Chantrelles with a Poached Farm Egg -- YUM!

In Atlanta:

Empire State South
Sweetbreads with Grilled Peaches -- Need I say more!

Miller Union
Housemade S'Mores! ( I hated that I missed out on their ice cream sandwiches, which they only serve at lunch.)

Star Provisions
Pork Belly Ban Minh -- authentic take on this classic Vietnamese sandwich!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Celebrate the Fourth with Wild, American Shrimp!

I love the fourth of July! I say this even though I live at the beach where the crowds overwhelm our small island. I say this even though I own a restaurant and will be working on the fourth. I say this because it seems to be another occasion when Americans really celebrate with food. Granted it might lack the weeks of preparation that come with Thanksgiving, but still most folks seem determined to feast together on the fourth. And these feasts usually focus on what we consider decidedly "American" fare. Of course, that fare could vary drastically according to what region of the country you call home.

Here, in Charleston I think that a shrimp boil would be the perfect patriotic party fare. It just so happens that the shrimp season finally opened this week after much delay due to extremely cold water temperatures this past winter. And word around the docks is that it is going to be a pretty sad shrimp season even after giving the shrimp time to grow and spawn. Local shrimpers already make a meager living due largely to a national market flooded by farm raised shrimp from Asia. So, news of a bleak shrimp season in the Lowcountry hits especially hard.

And that's why I propose showing your patriotism this fourth by cooking up wild, American shrimp. Enjoy your time with friends and family gathered around some definite American fare!

Peel-n-Eat Boiled Shrimp

There is nothing easier or more tasty than fresh shrimp boiled with some seasonings, and we've figured out the perfect medley so that you can impress all your friends!

12 cups water
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
About 20 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup roughly chopped celery (about 1 1/2 medium stalks)
1 onion, quartered
1 lemon, crushed
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 pounds shrimp, unpeeled

Combine all ingredients excluding shrimp in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook until just finished, about 3 to 5 minutes. Shrimp should be pink and firm. Drain – do not rinse! Serve as “peel-n-eat” with our cocktail sauce or red remoulade (see recipes below).

YIELD: 8 appetizer portions

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk until incorporated.

YIELD: About 1 1/2 cups

Red Remoulade

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Creole mustard, or other whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Splash of hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk until well combined.

YIELD: About 1 1/2 cups (enough to dress 1 pound of peeled, boiled shrimp)

P.S. You can leave out the ketchup, making it "white remoulade" -- a similarly tasty sauce!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chilled Corn Soup for Summer Days

I am a southern girl down to core. As most of you know, I love pimento cheese, summertime tomatoes, and buttermilk fried chicken. And I admit that I even love the dog days of summer. Sure, I'll banter about the heat index of 115 with the best of them, but that should not be confused with complaining.

The reality is that just like those of you who endure harsh winters, we Southerners simply adjust. We drink a lot of iced tea (sweet, of course) and tone down our cooking a bit. I think days like today (when the mercury just keeps rising) present themselves as opportunities to step outside your culinary box and cook with refreshment in mind. The Glass Onion's Chilled Corn Soup would be such a pleasant dinner with a nice green salad on the side. And there will be plenty leftover to enjoy for lunch when it's just too hot to leave the office!

There is definitely some prep involved with this soup -- so give yourself an afternoon and remember to allow time for chilling the soup as well.

Chilled Corn Soup

We serve this soup at the height of summer, using beautiful white corn. The simple list of ingredients ensures that the essence of the corn shines through.

7 ears white corn
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 cups peeled and chopped russet potato (about 1 medium russet potato)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Honey, to taste (optional)

Cut corn off the cob; set aside. In a large pot cover ears with water. Simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and strain through a colander into a large bowl. (Should reduce to about 7 cups of "corn water.")

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions; cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add corn and corn water; bring to a boil. Add cream and potato; simmer until potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

Working in batches, puree corn mixture in a blender. Have a chinois placed in a bowl nearby. Once the soup is pureed, ladle it from the blender into the chinois. Some will go through quite easily. For the rest, you will need to force it through using the ladle. Holding the chinois in one hand, over the bowl, and the ladle in the other, gently push through the mixture to the bottom of the chinois repeatedly. You will eventually be left with nothing but corn pulp, which you can discard. Repeat this process until you have pureed all of the corn mixture.

Season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne. If it is not the peak of corn season, you can add some honey to make up for the missing sweetness -- starting with 1 teaspoon, but up to 1 tablespoon should do the trick.

Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

YIELD: 8 to 10 servings; about 2 quarts

P.S. You can easily halve this recipe!

P.P.S. Don't let the term "chinois" scare you away from the recipe. This is simply a conical, fine-meshed strainer that should be available at your local cookware store or definitely online. It is not that expensive and is essential any time you are looking for a pristine, velvety texture, such as here with a pureed soup or for puddings. Other fine-meshed strainers can also work, but when dealing with larger quantities, the chinois is ideal.

Check out wikipedia's definition of a chinios

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Glass Onion Sides for Grilling Out

As the languid days of summer slip up on us, I like to imagine that everyone is spending their free time participating in classic summertime activities. I just love that Rockwellian image of families gathered around the grill or enjoying a picnic on the beach.

Now, I don't imagine fancy fare in my daydream (this is not a photo shoot for a glossy food magazine!) Rather, I see real folks enjoying real food. Maybe they are grilling burgers on their deck or unwrapping pre-made sandwiches on the boat...

My only stipulation would be some homemade sides to go along with that perfectly charred hot dog! And that's where I can help. At the Glass Onion we believe in a straightforward take on classic sides like potato salad and cole slaw. Consequently, you won't find yourself needing to run out for any esoteric ingredients -- making these perfect for that impromptu summertime gathering.

Potato Salad

Some might call us crazy, but we only make our potato salad when beautiful, local potatoes happen to be in season. Consequently, we don't gussy our recipe up too much. The deliciousness comes from the flavor of the potatoes.

1 quart diced red or white potatoes (not Russets) (about 16 small potatoes)
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

Combine with remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and refrigerate.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings; about 1 quart

Cole Slaw

A Southern cookbook would not be complete without a recipe for cole slaw. It is a necessary accoutrement to so many good things -- fried catfish, fried chicken...

Our version is straightforward and meant to complement rather than compete with the centerpiece of your meal!

1 head of green cabbage
1 serving slaw sauce (see recipe below)
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut into quarters and cut out core. Cut each quarter in half crosswise and then thinly slice each of these chunks lengthwise.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings; about 2 quarts

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to combine.

P.S. The slicing directions might seem a bit complicated, but we are trying to ensure you end up with easy-to-eat pieces of cabbage. At the restaurant, we use an electric slicer, which makes things simpler! But this method should yield a relatively fine slaw.