Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pudd'nhead Wilson

Despite all of my research and preparation, there are times when a wonderful flavor combination is born out of sheer luck, or destiny, depending on your inclination...

I was experimenting with the notion that the finely strained liquid from freshly juiced corn kernels will thicken on its own into a silky smooth, custard-like pudding that is so rich you would swear that it was made with eggs and cream due to the natural starch in the corn. While playing around with this technique I snacked on a slice of nectarine leftover from brunch, and with the fresh corn pudding still lingering in my mouth I inadvertently stumbled upon this great culinary symbiosis of flavor.

To build a dish out of this discovery I needed to focus on balancing the flavors of those naturally sweet ingredients and work in some components with complimenting characteristics. I then remembered an idea I had using pink peppercorns as a crust for pork tenderloin, which, despite not actually being a relation to the common black peppercorn used on most food, has the same fruity flavor without all of the spiciness, lending to a perfect bridge between the meat, the corn and the nectarines.

Even though mustard greens have been a longtime favorite of mine due to my exposure of Southern cuisine, I found that they work especially well here due to their slightly bitter leaves and peppery notes, and like any good Southern greens I fortified them with some pork fat via a little ground pancetta along with a splash of white wine to help wilt them down and bring a little brightness to the dish.

As I sliced off the overcooked end-pieces in order to serve only the juiciest portions of meat, I couldn't help but sample them myself again and again; the peppercorns with the meat, the meat with the freshness of the corn pudding... it's hard to believe that despite the teaspoon of minced pancetta in the greens this dish is actually very healthy!!

By the way, if you didin't already know, the title is a reference to my surname that also adorns the title to Mark Twain's lesser known but wonderful novel of the same name ;)

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As promised I have been working on more variations of traditional cocktails like margaritas, mojitos and sparkling drinks, but it seems that the rain that we've been having has washed away any hopes for new takes on sangria....

The preparation for this one is simple; I used Pama liqueur, an ingredient that I am already comfortable with after showcasing it in a past special (that ended up a menu item), which naturally lends itself to becoming a margarita already since it is made by blending pomegranate juice with premium vodka and a touch of tequila.

To really drive home the margarita aspect I mixed in a majority of Hornitos Plata tequila along with a traditional touch of fresh lime juice to help keep it balanced.

With Love,


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