Saturday, October 16, 2010

GO Tartar Sauce

My partner Charles and I both grew up with homemade tartar sauce as a fixture. His father Bland made his with plenty of capers and dill. The cook at my grandmother's beach house, Ruth, made hers with sliced green olives. For the GO we decided to combine both these ideas with for the best tartar sauce ever! I guarantee you will never go back to the jarred stuff!

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon capers
3 tablespoons pickle relish
3 tablespoons pureed olives
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
Pinch of cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir thoroughly.

YIELD: About 1 1/2 cups

P.S. Come try this out at the GO with our Mustard Fried Catfish!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bland Vincent -- An Inspiration


My partner Charles comes from a long line of south Louisiana food lovers ( dating back to the 1700s.) But memories of cooking and eating with his father Bland especially resonate with him. From fish fries to homemade stocks simmering on the stove, Bland epitomized the New Orleanian who ended one meal talking about the next.

His twin sister Elizabeth remembers delicious food always being a part of their childhood home. Their grandmother did all the cooking, and they would sit down to a "real dinner" every night at 6. She raised them on New Orleans traditions -- like red beans on Mondays -- and everything was made from scratch (usually starting with a roux.)

The one exception to her grandmother's reign over the kitchen happened when their father made tartar sauce. Elizabeth remembers that he never even peeled his own banana, but he always made the tartar -- mayonnaise, grated onion and some pickle. Bland and Elizabeth kept up his legacy -- always making their own -- but Bland added his own nuances like dill and capers.

Yet, Bland never really cooked until he went off to Louisiana State University (LSU) and had his own apartment. There, he would sit and read cookbooks for hours and cook meals from scratch, just like their grandmother. "He would never just open up bag of McCormick's," says Elizabeth.

Anne Leche, mother of Charles and first wife of Bland, shares similar memories of his love for the kitchen. "He never wanted to go out," she says. "He always wanted to stay home and cook."

She remembers his passion for New Orleans staples like trout meuniere but also his penchant for simple food like his favorite snack -- a sardine and mayonnaise sandwich with just a touch of mustard. "He never met a fat gram he didn't like," she says with a laugh.

But joking aside, she firmly believes that Charles is living out Bland's dream. In his own career he found success selling pump valves to manufacturers up and down the Mississippi River. However, all who knew him remember cooking as his true passion. Like Charles, he was most happy when he found himself at the stove with a crowd waiting to be fed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Coast Brewery -- A Charleston Tale

On a visit to Coast Brewery in North Charleston, South Carolina you will find husband and wife team Dave Merritt and Jaime Tenny busy at work. They might be brewing, bottling, meeting with their distributor or doing endless amounts of cleaning. They take their business of crafting premium beer seriously. That said they also do business on their terms. The Grateful Dead might be playing softly in the background, and they might stop to throw the ball to their friendly mutt "Teach" (named for the pirate Edward Teach aka Blackbeard.)

Dave and Jaime have been operating their own brewery since September 2007, and Lowcountry beer enthusiasts recognize them as the local leaders in their field. Of course, like so many good stories theirs came about seemingly by happenstance. Dave might say it all started in 1994 during their senior year at Wando High School when Jaime moved to Charleston from New Jersey.

"And I didn't like him!" says Jaime, finishing Dave's story for him.

She might say it started when they began dating during her sophomore year at College of Charleston. Regardless, by 1997 they had their first son, Kai, and Dave had made his fateful trip to a home brewing shop.

Jaime says he began home brewing simply because he wanted better tasting beer, but that casual interest quickly evolved. In 1998 Dave headed out to the American Brewers Guild in Davis, California. He completed the 5 months of coursework, but he had to forego the internship.

"By this point, we only had like $5," says Jaime with a good natured laugh.

So, Dave returned to his family in Charleston and began working at Southend Brewery. There he worked with head brewer Frank Hughes, who soon became his mentor. During his 18 months at Southend, Dave learned and experimented -- crafting beers far ahead of that time. But when the leading local brewery -- Palmetto -- sought Dave out to be their head brewer in 1999 he could not say no.

At Palmetto there was no experimentation, but the job brought a degree of stability to the young family. And in 2001 Jaime had their second son, Aiden. Dave remained at Palmetto for over 9 years and even kept his position during the first two years of opening Coast.

As Dave honed his craft Jaime was "busy raising kids", but she did find the time to develop her own palate. She clearly remembers her beer epiphany -- drinking an Avery Maharaja around 2000. She calls it her "gateway beer" and can still recount her flood of emotions.

"Holy cow! Oh my god! What are hops? I really like them."

Her genuine love for good beer inspired her to challenge South Carolina's law that prohibited the brewing or selling of a beer with an alcohol content over six percent. In 2005 Jaime founded Pop the Cap -- a group made up of South Carolina brewers -- who began lobbying the state government to change the law. When they achieved their goal in 2007 it really paved the road to the opening of Coast.

Jaime and Dave both laugh now thinking back to the antiquated law. Only three out of the 29 beers they have brewed thus far would have been legal according to that law. Another victory came in June 2010 when the government deemed it legal for breweries to conduct tastings and sell a limited amount of beer on their premises. So, on Thursdays, from 4 to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Jaime and Dave sample folks on their latest creations and their staples like HopArt IPA and 32/50 Kolsch.

After overcoming so many hurdles it's understandable that Jaime and Dave seem so carefree these days. Their happiness radiates off of them with the ease that comes when you find your way. Sure, the brew days still stretch out over 14 hours, and they only have a bit of part time help. But they are operating by their rules. They use organic ingredients, run the brewery on biodiesel, and send their spent grain to a local farm. They sell 99 percent of their beer in Charleston and don't see that changing anytime soon.

Investors have approached them about expanding their operations, but they like the size of their business. Dave brews every batch, and they bottle the beer together. They banter back and forth all day.

"It's definitely what he's meant to do," says Jaime.

"It's not that difficult," says Dave.

"When your gifted," she replies.


This is Dave and Jaime in the photo at the top of the page.


Pop the Cap has now been renamed the South Carolina Brewer's Association.


At the Glass Onion we always offer delicious HopArt on tap.

And in one week, on Tuesday, October 12, we will be co-hosting a Fall Tasting Dinner with Coast and the Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Details are below...

Sustainable Seafood Dinner with 
Coast Brewery

Tuesday, October 12

Local Stone Crab or Oyster Salad
32/50 Kolsch
Fried Grouper Pilau
HopArt IPA
New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp
Event Horizon
Sweet Potato Tart
Brewmaster’s Choice

*$55 for 4 courses & beer pairing
*Talks by brewmaster & fishermen
*7 p.m. -- one seating!
*Reservations necessary -- 225-1717

Friday, October 1, 2010

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food!

Most everyone reading this probably knows just how strongly I feel about the importance of eating local food/supporting local farmers. And most of you probably have some idea about the reasons why. But if you need more fuel for your fire I happened upon this awesome list published by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. They happily encouraged my reprinting of it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy and check out their other website if you happen to live or travel in the southern Appalachian region.

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project -

10 Reasons to Buy Local Food

1. Locally grown food tastes better - Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two. It's crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.

2. Local produce is better for you - A recent study showed that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some "fresh" produce that has been on the truck or supermarket shelf for a week.

3. Local food preserves genetic diversity - In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment; for a tough skin that can survive packing and shipping; and for an ability to have a long shelf life in the store. Only a handful of hybrid varieties of each fruit and vegetable meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavors. Many varieties are heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation, because they taste good. These old varieties contain genetic material from hundreds or even thousands of years of human selection; they may someday provide the genes needed to create varieties that will thrive in a changing climate.

4. Local food is GMO-free - Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don't have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn't use it even if they could. A June 2001 survey by ABC News showed that 93% of Americans want labels on genetically modified food - most so that they can avoid it. If you are opposed to eating bioengineered food, you can rest assured that locally grown produce was bred as nature intended.

5. Local food supports local farm families - With fewer than 1 million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. And no wonder - commodity prices are at historic lows, often below the cost of production. The farmer now gets less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food - which means farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.

6. Local food builds community - When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection. Knowing the farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the miracle of raising food. In many cases, it gives you access to a farm where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture. Relationships built on understanding and trust can thrive.

7. Local food preserves open space - As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. You have probably enjoyed driving out into the country and appreciated the lush fields of crops, the meadows full of wildflowers, the picturesque red barns. That landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.

8. Local food keeps your taxes in check - Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes, according to several studies. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, thus requiring higher taxes of all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services.

9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife - A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming. According to some estimates, farmers who practice conservation tillage could sequester 12-14% of the carbon emitted by vehicles and industry. In addition, the patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings - is the perfect environment for many beloved species of wildlife.

10. Local food is about the future - By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food.  Adapted from ©2001 Growing for Market