Another Day in Poe's Kitchen at The Rattlesnake

Chef Brian Poe shows you the world in the back of the house.

Archive for October, 2009

To Market, to Market

We’ve been having loads of fun the past few weeks. We whooped it up at the how2heroes.com Hoedown. We did a little cooking for the girls of wearenotmartha.com to benefit Yelp Boston’s donation to ProjectSmile. This weekend, Chef Tony Ambrose, Richard Blatterman of J. Lohr Vineyards, and I will be doing an in-home dinner to benefit the kids and kind folks of AccesSportAmerica. And back at the Rattlesnake, we’re getting fresh.

You see, Poe’s Kitchen is surrounded by daily markets. And my Unleashed menu abounds with daily specials. And that’s no coincidence. We send one of our guys up to the market (mostly Copley Plaza, then the Pru—and sometimes I’ll swing by South Station Market on my way in) to pick out the most fun, freshest ingredients of the moment. We set them out in the kitchen and brainstorm for about 10 minutes—and then we start cooking.

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Instantly, when we saw those beautiful brussel sprouts, still on the stalk, we pictured braised pork shoulder with sprout-and-pancetta salsa. Then we really turned our toques into thinking caps! We took a bite of those beautiful crabapples and candied apples came immediately to mind (perhaps because I had just seen Jessie from the how2heroes crowd make them in Groton at the Herb Lyceum?). So we carved out their centers (to be used later for whipped apple cream), baked off some ginger custard, dipped the shells into a cognac caramel and we had these awesome little treats! 

Candiedapples

Meanwhile, for my new Market Tacos, I had ordered some goat. We braised it in a jalapeño broth while steaming some Peruvian potatoes, which we folded into fresh, homemade corn tortillas. The remainder of the potatoes we creamed and added pureed cilantro and purple cauliflower. There were some beet greens, so we chiffonaded these and sauteed them. Finally, we whipped up our purple cabbage-and-chile pepper slaw and voilà! We now have Braised Goat Tacos with Spicy Red Cabbage Slaw, Sauteed Beet Greens, Peruvian Potato Cream, and Peppered Topsfield, MA, Goat Cheese in Purple Potato-Corn Tortillas.

goattacos

I like this taco so much that I’m going to keep it on the menu for a bit—but don’t worry! For the restless of palate, there will still be a new Market Taco available each day. I’ll see you at Poe’s Market—I mean kitchen!

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For That Most Wonderful Bipolar Time of Year: Chef’s Salad with Sage-Barley Vinaigrette

When I think of fall, I think of the smell of sage, which by November is one of the last herbs standing in my garden. Sage is a calming herb for me; historically, it has been believed to ward off evil and to aid in healing snake bites. I also think of barley—as in a good bowl of beef-barley stew with a hearty autumn beer. Hmmm… we might be on to something here? Sage…snakes…barley…bars…it all comes together in a vision of meals at Poe’s Kitchen that can ward off and warm up those first few evil cold nights. 

Sure enough, it’s that funky time of year in New England when 60-degree sunshine alternates with freezing rain. Nothing evens out the weather’s bipolar disorder like a good pumpkin ale paired with an Indian-summery chef’s salad of Boston Bibb lettuce, eggs, Virginia ham, whiskey-cured bacon, Vermont cheddar, onions, tomatoes, and sage-barley vinaigrette. With the recipe for this dressing, just think of all the salads you can make at home to use up leftover turkey and undo some of the damage after Thanksgiving,,,

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Sage-Barley Vinaigrette

1/2 c. sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. mined shallots
1 c. olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. barley, cooked and reserved

Puree all ingredients except cooked barley with a mixer. Add barley and set aside, preferably for 24 hours.

Not for the faint of heart: Bourbon-Infused Bacon & Tasso Ham

We’ve been getting a lot of delightful, much-appreciated praise for our brunch special, the Bloody Mary & Bourbon Bacon Benedict. Or, to be more specific, the Bloody Mary–Infused Green Chile Cornbread Topped with House Cured, American Honey -& Whiskey–Infused Bacon & Tasso Ham, Queso Fresco, Guadalajara Butter, Bloody Mary, Vodka & Butter–Poached Eggs & Jalapeño Hollandaise.

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If that sounds like a mouthful, wait until you taste it.

flamingegg bloodyegg
Your flaming, bloodied eggs are waiting!

Just how do you infuse bacon and ham with honey and whiskey? Funny you should ask, because I’ve got the recipe right here. All you need is a smoker and an attitude.

Obviously, this produces a whole heap of meat—but that’s the beauty of it: you’ll be in the pink all winter long. (If you want to reduce the yield, however, don’t hesitate to send a comment; I’ll walk you through the revisions.)

Honey & Whiskey–Infused Tasso Ham
5 lbs. pork sirloin
1 3/4 c. curing salt
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 T. cayenne pepper
2 T. onion powder
2 T. garlic powder
2 T. ground mace
2 T. smoked paprika
1 T. dried sage
1 T. dried thyme
2 T. honey
3 c. Wild Turkey American Honey liqueur
3 c. Jack Daniels

Rub pork with all dry ingredients. Place on a roasting rack in a shallow pan. Spoon honey, liqueur and bourbon over the pork.  Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and allow it to cure atop a wire rack for at least 5 days, pouring the pan juices over the top of the pork twice daily.

On the 5th day, dry smoke the pork for up to 12 hours with mesquite and applewood chips at 165 degrees.

Honey & Whiskey–Infused Bacon

1 pork belly
1 3/4 c. curing salt
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 T. cayenne pepper
2 T. onion powder
2 T. garlic powder
2 T. ground mace
2 T. smoked paprika
1 T. dried sage
1 T. dried thyme

black peppercorns and coriander to taste
2 T. honey
3 c. Wild Turkey American Honey liqueur
6 c. Jack Daniels

Season the pork belly with dry rub and allow it to rest for one day, turning it over halfway through. Then cut the belly into workable bacon-size blocks, about 5 x 5 inches.  Season with black peppercorn and coriander, then place into a large plastic container. Pour all of the alcohol and honey into the container, cover and allow to brine for up to 4 days.

baconpepper

On the 5th day, remove pork belly from brine and hang for the rest of the day to dry.

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Then cold smoke the bacon for up to 12 hours. Slice thin and cook to order.

You know what we do with it at Poe’s Kitchen once it’s ready—but what will you do? The possibilities are endless. Tell me all about them!

And now a few words from the folks at Stuff, Improper & UrbanDaddy

To give out a shout-out for a shout-out:

UrbanDaddy gives four trotters up to our Bloody Mary Eggs Benedict with Bourbon Bacon (which is curing as we speak!)!

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Stuff stuffs down our nachos!

And The Improper gives me props by taking me out to dinner! (Check out the current issue at your nearest kiosk and you’ll see what I mean.)

It was my birthday this week—and these are the kinds of gifts that keep on giving.