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family meal

Family Meal Season 1 Episode 1

Each month, on this cooking show, I show you how to prepare a delectable feast with wine pairings. Then, you get to watch while my friends tell me what they think about it all.

Family Meal is about exploring food from different places and different times to understand how people make awesome food with what they have.

For our first season, we are cooking from vintage African-American cookbooks.

Check out our first episode now! The transcript is below. ↓↓↓↓

Want to learn how to cook better? Yeah, you could spend more on expensive ingredients. You could try tricky techniques that trained chefs use. Or, you can learn how to squeeze the specialness out of the ingredients you likely have in your fridge already. Pair this kind of food with good wines and you have is a Family Meal.

Introduction

Welcome to Family Meal: experimental home cooking for the 21st century. Each week I show you how to prepare a delectable feast with wine pairings. Then, you get to watch while they tell me what they think about it all.

Family Meal is about exploring food from different places and different times to understand how people make awesome food with what they have.

In this episode we are riffing on recipes from the Mother Waddles Cookbook, written in 1970 in Detroit. We can’t go back to that time. But, we can understand it better through the food in this book.Chef: Charlesetta Waddles, or Mother Waddles, could squeeze the greatness out of anyone, out of anything, even her food. She was best known as the CEO of Mother Waddles Perpetual Mission, a non-profit that still provides comprehensive social services in Detroit. But, she also wrote two cookbooks filled with food that pushes boundaries with common ingredients.

Can you believe this? She ran a $0.35 cent restaurant where you could get a meal with white tablecloths and uniformed servers and everything, for just a quarter and a dime. Of course, those who could afford it paid more as a donation to the Mission. But the food she made was accessible to the needy but also special enough to be enjoyed by 70’s foodies. People were paying up to $3 for just a cup of coffee in her food palace. That’s why we have to try out her recipes. Anybody who can do that with food is someone worth learning more about.

But don’t take my word for it. Make these dishes yourself and tell me what you think. Comment, like and subscribe so I can see if these recipes resonate with you too. And, in a few minutes, we’ll see if it resonates with my friends too.

But first, I have to cook them.

First, I’m doing potato croquettes in a paprika sauce. Think of this dish as seriously upgraded mashed potatoes. Inside out mashed potatoes even.

Next is okra, roasted corn and tomato salad. Most people love roasted corn. Okra is a different story though. You’ll see how in this preparation the okra helps bind the salad together in a pleasing way.

Next is ham hocks with butter beans. This dish is saucy. It’s got loads of tender meat and creamy beans that are covered in pork stock.

And for dessert, a date roll. If you love cinnamon rolls, you’ll love this dessert.

Plus, there are a few other yummy surprises to come too. So, keep watching.

By the way, I’m making enough for 8 today so that there’s enough for seconds for the five eaters. So, keep that in mind if you make these dishes at home. A list of ingredients with amounts is below. But, you’ll need to multiply or divide depending on the size of your gathering.

Also, I’m cooking dishes that are inspired by Mother Waddles. They aren’t the exact same dishes. I’ve updated them to fit what I have available in my garden, my friend’s tastes, and my goal of presenting a feast. Just like Mother Waddles did in the 70’s, our goal is to push the boundaries of our ingredients, not just recreate a recipe. But, I think the spirit of the Mission is still there. And, these dishes still need to be doable for me, a home cook with a camera. And for you too. Right?

Ok, let’s get cooking on these dishes inspired by Mother Waddles.

Delicious Potato Croquettes

Ok, we’re getting started on the croquettes. This is ten pounds of boiled and mashed Russet potatoes. I like russet because they are the classic potato for mashing and we’re going classic today. These were peeled and boiled whole so that they don’t take on too much water.

I’ve got all my ingredients here that get mixed into the potatoes.

Into them, I’m going to mix 1.25 cup of bread crumbs, 8 tablespoons of butter, 8 teaspoons of salt (reserve some for the end) and pepper and ½ cup of chopped fennel fronds, ½ cup diced prosciutto, 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tbsp of creme fraische into the potatoes.

Once mixed, I form the potatoes into 40 one-ounce balls. You can go completely spherical, or logs. Whatever you think will look the best and work the best for you.

Dip them into egg, then a panko and nutritional yeast mix. If you don’t have nutritional yeast or don’t like it, use grated Parmesan. You can even use the stuff in the green can if you like. It will work here.

Then fry each croquette until golden.

Don’t those look good? But that’s not all. They need a sauce.

The sauce for this is a simple paprika scented dip that is a mix of smoked paprika powder, fresh garlic and mayonnaise.

If you don’t have smoked paprika powder, just use any other powdered chili powder you like. Just don’t use a smoked chili powder like a Chipotle. Grind some red chili flakes in a mortar and pestle or underneath your rolling pin in a zip top bag.

Now all there is to do is to plate. We’re just going to put a small bowl for the sauce, then stack the croquettes so they look nice.

So easy, but so good. Dish one complete. You’ll never forget these mashed potatoes. Everyone loves a good mozzarella stick. I think I prefer these. Crispy outside, creamy inside. They are the perfect start to any meal. And that’s what they are today.

Now on to dish two: the okra, roasted corn and tomato salad.

This is a salad of the kernels of three buttered corn cobs, three large diced tomatoes, 2 onions and one pound of okra cut into rounds with some cheese, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil.

If you have fresh okra, use it. This is frozen okra that’s been thawed. Don’t panic. Yes, I’m using frozen. It’ll be fine. You’ll see.

You start by roasting the corn. There are many ways you can do this. But let’s assume it’s not summer and don’t want to go outside. Because the grill might be the easiest way. We’ll use the oven today. Remove the husks and silk from the cobs.

Then roast them for about 7 minutes. Then turn, then roast, then turn until the four sides have a nice char. Let the cobs cool down, then cut the kernels off the cob.

Next, cook the okra and onions in butter until very hot and tender. The okra is going to make a sticky juice that will help combine all the ingredients later.

Remove from the heat and mix in the corn, tomatoes and cotija cheese. Add the celery leaves and fresh oregano

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the fresh oregano leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well until it becomes a dressing.

Pour the dressing around the side of the bowl with the OCT, that’s okra, corn and tomatoes. Then, push the veggies into the dressing until mixed well.

This is a salad that is wonderful when served warm. And there’s so many flavors. You have tangy cheese, fresh herbs, roasted corn. Would you pay $0.34

Now all there is to do is to plate. For this one, we are just going to put it in a nice bowl and add a few garnishes like sour cream and herbs. Nothing complicated. But very appetizing.

The primary fruit flavors in Grüner Veltliner are lime, lemon, and grapefruit, VERY CITRUSY AND ACIDIC. . There is also a green and herbaceous or grassy flavor. It can also have a flavor described as white pepper. That’s why I chose this wine for these two dishes.

I thought the herbaceous flavors would complement the fresh herbs and the grassy taste of the okra. It will taste a like a tight, but pleasant chord.

With the oiliness of the potato croquettes, the ham and the milk we will have a big broad chord, one where the notes have more space between them.

Delicious Ham Hocks & Butter Beans

Smoked ham hocks and better beans served with two a red and a white wine

This dish is so easy, but so flavorful. It’s just a few ingredients. Meat, beans and garnish. Just be sure you select the meatier hocks. Some will be more bone than meat. Let’s begin.

In a pressure cooker, layer onions, then beans, then the hocks. Add about three cups of water.

Cook this for 40 minutes at high pressure.

When done cooking, remove the fat from the hocks. You can crisp these up into pork cracklings if you have a fryer.

Then pull the meat off. It should be pretty tender and will come off in chunks.

See how easy that was? Now all we have to do is plate.

Pour off a bit of the juice. This would be great to braise some vegetables in. Sauerkraut would go well with this.

Now pour the beans out onto the platter. Top them with the chunks of meat.

Just sprinkle the garnish over the top. In this case, we have diced tomato, diced onions and fresh parsley.

See how pretty that looks?

Here we have it. Smoked ham hocks and butter beans.

I’ve paired these with two wines. Pork is a milder meat. So, I wanted to get my friends’ opinion on pairing it with a big oaky Chardonnay. It’s buttery and oaky and should pair well with smoked meat and creamy beans.

The other wine is a light red, a Valpolicella. Pork is a meat and there is some fattiness to this dish.. It can stand up to a heavier wine than the Chardonnay as well. This is a lighter red as red wine goes, but it still has the tannins that dry the mouth and more body than the Chardonnay.

Spiced Prune Rolls

Served with a sweet sparkling red wine

First soak four cups of prunes in hot water to get them soft. This might take 45 – 90 minutes depending on how dry the prunes are. Then, I mash them into almost a paste. There are some chunks in here, but there shouldn’t be whole prunes. Mash in the butter, spices and pecans until well mixed. By the way, I soaked my pecans in bourbon for an hour. This is optional though.

Next, I sift the dry ingredients together and add just enough water to make a dough, about two cups in this case. But this will vary depending on how dry your flour is.

Once you have a dough, roll it out into a rectangle, about ¼ thick.

Then, I’ll take this mixture and spread it out over this pie dough.

By the way, this is a pie dough I made from scratch, but you can use a store bought one.

This goes in the oven at 275 for an hour.

I’ll admit that this is a stick recipe. I got prune in places that I wasn’t supposed to. Oh well, it still tastes great. And i’ll plate in a way so people won’t even notice the mess.

I’ve paired these with a sweet slightly sparkling red wine. The bubbles help this sweet wine from feeling cloying, overly sweet.

Epilogue

So there you have it. I made four dishes, inspired by Mother Waddles’ 1970 cookbook.

I fried potato croquettes in a paprika sauce, a glorified okra, roasted corn and tomato salad, smoked ham hocks with butter beans, and for dessert, a prune roll.

It was so fun sharing these dishes with my friends. Full disclosure I’m from Detroit, so this food reminds me so much of the special occasion food I ate growing up. In fact, I make okra, corn and tomato salad for myself to this day. But, many of the other ingredients are ones I don’t use often. So, it was fun to get my hands dirty. It was also fun to think add my spin to these dishes. For example, putting Mexican cheese into a very African-American dish? But I say, hey, if it tastes good.

And I really enjoyed pairing these dishes with wine. There really is a wine for every occasion and every dish even ones that were served at a $0.35 per plate restaurant.

Now for my friends. I think they had fun too. Overall, they enjoyed the pairings. Between the red and the white pairing with pork, the table was split. 2 like the white with the pork and 3 like the red. But, I think that means that they both went well, and it’s just a matter of taste. I also think there were surprised by the sparkling red, how light and refreshing the bubbles made a sweet wine feel and how well it went with the dessert.
In short, a good time was had by all!

So, that was Episode 1 of Family Meal and our wine pairings. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, like, subscribe and share the work.

If you want these recipes, you can find them at Winosity.com where you’ll find other food and wine pairings and the Winosity app, where you can keep track of the good wines you discover out in the world.

And I hope you will join us for the next episode. I’ll be cooking recipes by Rufus Estes. He was the first African-American chef to have a published cookbook in 1857. Whereas Mother Waddles was cooking for every person, Rufus Estes was cooking for presidents and diplomats. They are also cooking about 100 years apart. So, we’ll not only get into his tasty dishes, but also how time and audience affected their cooking. I hope you’ll join us.

Chef: Until then, folks. Bye!

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