Stuffed Clams “1844”

So there I was sitting at the bar enjoying a glass of wine and talking Stuffed Clams "1844"to our GM, Barry; I was pondering appetizer ideas when Barry said “you know what would be really good, stuffed clams!”.

So here I am 1 week later with a bushel of gorgeous Virginia little necks and a clam knife.  Where’s Barry when there are clams to be opened?  I am guessing somewhere out near our espresso machine…

I think it is safe to say that the end result of my endeavor was well worth all the effort, they came out amazing. They are the perfect first course, or a tasty snack at our cozy wine bar with a glass of crisp French sauvignon blanc or Proseco.

Stuffed Clams “1844”
Virginia little necks, sweet red bell pepper, brown butter caramelized shallots, white wine, Parmesan cheese, topped with our house cured brown sugar bacon.

Bon Appetite!
Chef Brian

 

Pork Rillettes

Pork RillettesRillettes of Pork is one of my favorite types of pâté.  It also happens to be one of my favorite memories of a mid- day meal while we were in Paris.  I ordered it in several different bistros (along with a carafe of white wine) in different areas around the city so I could taste the differences in each chefs preparation. It was satisfying every time.

Rillettes can be made from rabbit, duck, fish, and many other meats, but pork is my favorite (with duck close behind).  It must be my southern heritage.  Rillettes are made by braising fresh pork (I used shoulder) with mire poix, and aromatics until the meat begins to fall apart; much like pulled pork in the south.  The meat is blended up along with some of the reduced stock and some of its rendered fat until it shreds apart and begins to turn into a spreadable paste.  I do this in my Kitchen Aide with the paddle attachment.  It is then placed in jars and then more fat is poured over the top to seal and protect the meat.  It is served cold and spread over bread or crackers and often with flavorful condiments.  I really enjoy the sweet and tangy flavor of my caramelized onion jam (there is red wine vinegar in it) as well as gherkins with their sweetness and hint of spice.  This is a perfect lunch with a side of fresh greens and herbs tossed in Champagne vinaigrette or in this case a nice glass of crisp white Bordeaux or Proseco sparkling wine at our cozy wine bar.

Bon Appetite!
Chef Brian

Shrimp & Grits

As most of my regular guests know, I am a southerner.  Although I was raised in South Florida, my father is from Alabama, so I grew up loving grits.  Shrimp and grits is one of my favorite grits dishes; especially at breakfast.  Although it is an extremely satisfying appetizer on a cold winter night.

  To many southerners, grits (ground white hominy) should only be boiled in plain water, with a pat of butter, salt and pepper added at the end.  That’s probably because it is not unusual to then cover your grits with a couple of eggs fried and bacon grease & some crumbled bacon, mix it all together and eat it.  So the real flavor comes from the bacon and eggs.  Shrimp & Grits

When I prepare them, I like to enhance the grits so that they are delicious enough to stand on their own, but taste even better with a few other complementary flavors.  In this case, my grits are cooked in water with a touch of garlic, then finished with a big chunk of butter, some heavy cream, and a generous helping of cheddar cheese.  I then top them with a delicious sauce made from smoked bacon, onions, tomatoes, shrimp stock, and a touch of cream.  Along with some some blackened shrimp, this is a simple dish that is bursting with flavor and guaranteed to warm you heart and soul.

Bon Appetite!

 

Rosemary-Potato Foccacia

When it is really cold outside (like today), one of my favorite things to make is fresh bread.  So as I entered my kitchen today with bread on my mind, I started thinking about the beautiful yukon gold potatoes that I have.  Well this is the end result; which I must say came out absolutely delicious.  We are serving it with a side dish of aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to dip it in.  It is simple, classic, and just perfect with a glass of wine at our cozy wine bar.  Stay warm out there!

Bon Appetite!
Chef Brian

Rosemary-Potato Foccacia
with fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese.Rosemary-Potato Foccacia

Pavlova

PavlovaNow that the holidays are behind us, we have a fresh new dessert menu.  This is one of our new dessert menu offerings.  It was inspired by my daughter Summer, who loves to cook.  She made one of these with her grandmother (Lauri Drake) the other night for our family dinner and it was amazing.  It is also a great dessert for anyone who is looking for something sweet that is a little lighter.  Our Pavlova is a crisp meringue base topped with a fresh mango curd, sweet cream, and strawberries.

We also have two other new desserts on our menu that I will feature in the coming days.

* Note to our regular guests….The Charlotte du Chocolat is still on the dessert menu!


Bon Appetite!
Chef Brian