Category Archives: 2019 Cookery Project

2019 Cookery Project — Frogmore Chowder

Frogmore Chowder

Frogmore Chowder

No Frogs Were Harmed in the Preparation of this Frogmore Chowder
(Mainly because Frogmore Chowder contains no frogs)

According to Wikipedia, Frogmore is a community near Beaufort, South Carolina, and the name “Frogmore Stew” was coined by one of the owners of a local fish company in the 1960s. I didn’t get a chance to try it in Charleston, even though it showed up on approximately 72% of the local menus, so I decided to make it at home. I used a recipe from The Washington Post.

The dish is heavy on the cream, which has never stood in the way of my search for a good recipe. (Cream and butter are our friends!) In addition to the usual suspects, the stock contains thyme leaves, white wine, and clam juice.

The other four main ingredients—the stuff that makes Frogmore Chowder the dish that it is—are corn, fingerling potatoes, shrimp, and kielbasa sausage.

Liked it a lot.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2019 Cookery Project — Vince and Terri’s Chicken Chili

Vince and Terri's Chicken Chili

Vince and Terri’s Chicken Chili

I’d done almost no serious cooking for the 2019 Cookery Project since the start of the year, so once I made it home from Charleston, I was eager to get back into my own kitchen and get to work.

I love chili, but I’ve never been able to put together the right combination of meat, spices, liquids, garnishes, and other ingredients needed to create The Ultimate Chili Bowl. A few months ago, I was whining about that failing to my sister-in-law Terri—I do a lot of whining to relatives about various failings, a few of them even my own—and she promised to send me a recipe that she and my brother Vince use. Which she did.

The Verdict: This chili was good, as well as fast and easy to put together. I think the secret ingredient was the jar of mild salsa verde, something I’d never used before, which gave the chili a nice kick.

I’ve already used the recipe a second time, doubling the main ingredients and upping the spices by 50%, so that I could freeze most of this second batch in 1-, 2-, and 4-serving containers. There’s no such thing as having too much chili within easy reach.

But the quest continues. It may be that my search for the ultimate chili recipe is doomed to inevitable failure, like my endless attempt to find a place that serves fish and chips as good as the ones I used to get, a long time ago, at a little shop in San Francisco. But I’ll press on, like Joel Cairo and Kasper Gutman, despite the odds.

After all, ultimate chili is the stuff that dreams are made of.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2019 Cookery Project — Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes

Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes

Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes

This is the first meal of my 2019 Cookery Project — Spicy Pork Roast with Leeks and Potatoes. And Garlic and Kale. And the contents of a small spice rack. There’s a lot going on here.

It’s probably the last Cookery Project plate I’ll be posting until late February. The various Washington-area Restaurant Weeks start tomorrow and run through most of January. Shortly thereafter, I’m making an excursion to Charleston, SC, a city that shows up on most of those “Top Ten US Cities for Dining” surveys. I’ve never visited before, but I’ve got a little list….

So I’ll be eating well, but cooking little these next few weeks.


I got the recipe for this dish from Bon Appétit. It takes two or three days to put it all together.

What gives this pork roast its kick comes from the blend of spices that you put on the pork.  I started by toasting black peppercorns and fennel seeds, then blending them with red pepper flakes and cinnamon with a mortar and pestle. (I didn’t own a mortar and pestle before I decided to try this recipe, but, fortunately, the DC area is rich in 24-hour mortar and pestle stores. It’s something we’re known for.)

I covered the pork with the ground spices, sealed it in plastic wrap, and refrigerated overnight.

The rest was easy. The next day, I halved a mix of small red, white, and purple potatoes, cut some leeks into rounds, and sliced six garlic heads in half, crosswise, and, yes that’s full garlic heads, not garlic cloves. They filled the bottom of a big roasting pan. While I was chopping away at the vegetables, I also cooked half a head of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme in butter.

I put the pork on top of the vegetables, basted it with the melted garlic butter, and roasted the whole thing at a low heat. After a couple of hours, I removed the pork and let it rest on a platter. (This was easily the best-rested pork roast in America,)

Final steps: I raised the oven temperature to 500° and added some apple cider vinegar and a lot of shredded kale to the roaster. The well-rested pork when back on top. A half hour later, it was golden brown and beautiful.

After a final 20-minute rest, it was ready to eat.

Meal prep took forever, and there was a lot of stop-and-go action, but the result was well worth the effort.

2019 is off to a good start.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.