I had a cooking outing on Saturday. I will attempt to walk you through this visually, although being busy cooking means not being free to take photos. Some of the more interesting stuff went undocumented and some of the better looking stuff was cooked not by me but by my happy cooking friend.
So be it.
Everything started at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle:
This is the only picture I was able to take inside before being told I wasn’t allowed to take pictures:
I don’t know why they don’t allow photos. I’ve never run a store so I’d imagine there are plenty of reasons, the first that springs to mind is that they don’t want a bunch of idiots like myself rearranging their fruit to take photos while paying customers are trying to shop. But it’s a shame. That place is beautiful and I’d like to photograph its pants off.
On to cooking.
I was in charge of the protein and we settled on baby back ribs. I went with Alton Brown’s recipe which involves putting a dry rub on the ribs, letting them sit for at least an hour, then wrapping each rack in a separate aluminum foil pouch (I have no before pics of the ribs or the rub sadly):
Here’s an artsy picture of them…aluminum foil is shiny:
You then make a braising liquid, pour some into each pouch, seal the pouches and park them in a low oven for a few hours. It’s an interesting cooking method, one I’ve never used before, and something went a little wrong. The ribs tasted great and all but they weren’t BBQ Baby Back Ribs. They were…I don’t know what they were. They didn’t have the sticky mahogany coat I was aiming for. And after they’ve cooked you’re supposed to drain out the remaining liquid from each foil pouch and reduce it to make a glaze. Only it never really reduced into anything except brown water. I’m thinking I put too much liquid into each pouch. Braising requires the barest minimum of cooking liquid, otherwise you’re stewing. So I guess I made stewed ribs. Which still tasted awesome.
That photo is making me hungry.
We also had Okra…
…which you toss in corn meal. No egg or flour or any washes are required as Okra is slimy. I know saying that a food is slimy doesn’t sound that awesome but it allows your dredge to stick to it au natural which makes it fry up surprisingly light and crisp:
We had biscuits.
I didn’t make these. I hate baking. My happy cooking friend also claims to hate baking which started to sound a little silly by the end of the night as, among other things, she managed to turn this:
We also had grits. I’ve never made grits before. We used quick grits. There are grits, which require full cooking time, quick grits, which are specially ground regular grits that require very little cooking time, and then there are instant grits, which are precooked grits which only require hot water to rehydrate.
Here’s a fun experiment. Try cooking grits in a group and counting how many times My Cousin Vinny comes up in conversation:
It’s a lot. I can’t find the actual clip. You either know what I’m talking about or you don’t, and if you don’t then you were living in a cave for all of 1992.
Anyway, grits are crazy-stupid-easy. You boil them for five minutes. Then you dump cheese and butter into them. We also threw in some chopped jalapenos:
What else…collared greens and fried green (yellow) tomatoes:
No after shots of those. Both very simple. Greens get simmered in some salted and sugared water for about 30 minutes or until tooth tender. Adding cooked bacon and caramelized onions, shockingly, adds some nice flavors.
Tomatoes get floured, egged and dredged then pan fried in some oil.
And here is a shot of some tomato and dill which has nothing to do with anything nor do these two ingredients have anything to do with each other but they looked nice:
There was also key-lime pie and pecan tarts but no pictures were taken of those.
Wine and beer:
Can’t forget that.