Family Meal Season 1 Episode 2
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 second episode now! The transcript is below. ↓↓↓↓
Have you ever tried to make a dish and realized you don’t have all of the ingredients? Yeah, you could run to the market. Or, you can learn to become a master of stylish substitution and make something tasty from the ingredients you already have in your pantry. Pair this kind of food with good wine and what you have is a Family Meal.
Welcome to Family Meal — experimental home cooking for the 21st century. Each month I show you how to prepare a delectable feast with wine pairings for my friends. Then, you get to watch as they tell me what they think about it all. This month, we’re all in lockdown here in California. So, I made care packages and did a contactless drop off at their houses. Then, we got together on Zoom to eat together and talk.Family Meal is about exploring food from different places and different times to understand how people make awesome food for the time and place they live in.
Last month we looked at the Mother Waddles cookbook published in 1970 in Detroit. She was cooking for every person, the poor, the rich, for foodies and for people who were just interested in a hot meal. Even though simple, she made food that even 70’s foodies craved. If you want to see that episode click here or look below for the link.
But in this episode, we are riffing on recipes from Rufus Estes’ 1911 Cookbook: Good Things to Eat. Captain Estes, as he was known, cooked for the premier class cars of Pullman Trains. This was equivalent to ultra first class today. The most expensive rail car of that time was $20,000. That’s about $600,000 in 2020 dollars. US Presidents, foreign diplomats and world-famous performers were his guests on these luxury trains, the ultra-elite of the day. It’s in the kitchens of these deluxe trains that Rufus Estes’ honed his skills as a chef and developed many of the recipes in this book.
The dishes in his book aren’t written out in the way we know recipes today. Exact cooking times or temperatures are often missing. And there are many variations on a theme, a slew of dishes that are the same except for one or two ingredients. For example, beef marrow quenelles, calf’s liver quenelles and chicken quenelles. You just quinellaed what you had available when between two stops. But even though Estes was making dishes with limited ingredients and from ingredients with long shelf lives, these dishes had to be exquisite. I mean, I don’t know when the last time was that I had a quenelle of anything. How about you? His recipes are short and to the point, but full of flavor.
Anybody who can cook for Presidents with a 5-line recipe 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, make sure you hit the bell, so you’ll be notified of all Winosity’s future videos.
Ok, time to cook.
First, I’m doing a sparkling currant shrub & cheese ramekins. Sparkling wines always go well with salty things and cheese especially. That’s the combination we have here. It’s classic and classy.
Next is codfish hash. This dish was invented in the 1860’s as a way to use up leftovers. You’ll love this recipe that takes the bits and ends and turns them into a feast-worthy dish. Who doesn’t love hash, especially when paired with a zippy Albariño?
The main event is stewed sausage with cabbage. Virtually every culture across the world makes sausages because it tastes so good. You need a way to turn scraps of meat, organs, and the like, into something tasty. That’s what the Captain was doing here. The entree dish for this episode is a classic crowd pleaser and is paired with fruity Grenache.
A Strawberry Sarabande is the sweet ending to this meal. Berries in cream are also a lovely spring dish: creamy, a bit tart and very appetizing. It will be served with a lightly sweet Riesling.
Plus, there are a few other yummy surprises to come too. So, keep watching.
Ok, let’s get cooking on these dishes inspired by Captain Estes.
We’re getting started with the shrub. It’s very simple. It’s 4 cups of berries, 3 cups of sugar, and 2 cups of a nice vinegar. You don’t want to use harsh white vinegar. A nice white wine vinegar would be great here.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the berry flavor into liquid.
Once cooked, chill the shrub.
Drinking vinegar may sound strange. But, think of your other favorite sweet and sour cocktails: lemon drop martinis, margaritas or the classic whiskey sour. This is the same flavor profile, just with berries. Trust me. It’s good.
This is a great mixer with your favorite beverage. Today, we’ve got a sugar rimmed glass that’s filled with ice and mint, a few citrus twists, and a rosemary sprig. Add some wine, then finish it off with a hint of shrub and an orange slice for garnish. Doesn’t that look refreshing?
I think salty snacks and sparkling wine are a perfect combo. That’s why I’m making cheese ramekins next.
This crispy little bite is made of 8 tablespoons of butter, 8 tablespoons of grated cheese –I’m using parmesan, but you can use any hard cheese you have–, 1 cup of bread crumbs, 1 cup of milk and 4 egg whites. And, you need a bit of seasoning. I have some salt, pepper, and a little bit of thyme.
Mix all of this up and pour into greased ramekins. Bake it at 350 for 15 minutes.
Now all there is to do is to plate. I’m just going to add some cheese to the top and torch it. If you don’t have a torch, you can use the broiler.
That looks like something I’d like to dig into. What about you?
So, our first pairing is a sparkling wine pairing: This is a 2018 Petillant Naturel of Malvasia Bianca from Sonoma. It’s a lightly sparkling wine that was bottled without removing the yeast cells. So, its got the citrus flavor you expect from a sparkling wine. I think it tastes like grapefruit. It’s also got a slight nuttiness from the yeast and a light fizz. It’s a great spring wine overall. And we’ve added a bit of raspberry shrub to it, which brightens it even more.
Let’s see what my friends think about the wine, the wine cocktail and the pairing with the cheese ramekins.
Ok, course one complete.
The next dish I’m making is a Codfish Hash. It’s got all of the things that make hash great: potatoes, corn, peas, onions, capers and lots of meaty cod. And, it’s easy to make. There’s a similar dish from Portugal called bacalao a gomez de sa. Just replace the butter with olives and olive oil and you’re basically there. But today, we need butter.
First, you put the eggs in cold water and bring to a boil. After they reach a boil, turn off the heat and let them cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, replace the hot water with cold to stop cooking.
While the egg is cooking, boil the cod in salted water until it’s cooked. Then you swap out the hot water for cold so that the fish doesn’t overcook.
While the cod is cooking, you prepare the rest of the ingredients. First you sauté the onions and garlic. Then, add the vegetables and potatoes and cook until tender and a bit crispy. The crispy bits are the best part of hash, don’t you think?
We’re off to a good start here. Now it’s time to complete the dish.
After everything is cooked, mix the cod into the vegetables. But, be careful not to break up the cod too much. You still want nice chunks that you can bite into.
Then garnish with chopped parsley and capers and eggs sliced in half.
Doesn’t that look great?
I’ve paired this dish with two different Albariños. This white wine is often paired with fish and seafood. One of these wines is a 2019 from Uruguay and the other is a 2017 from Spain, the homeland for this grape. I think this light and crisp white wine will be great with the fish hash. But, let’s see what my friends think.
Fish and Albarino, complete.
Stewed Cabbage with sausage
The next dish is stewed cabbage with sausage. But, it’s not like the sausage and cabbage you’re probably used to. We’re going to make caseless sausage from a mix of ground pork and beef and stew the cabbage in beer. Those are the basic flavors. But you can see the rest of the ingredients on the screen.
You start by mixing the ground meat with spices, eggs, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste.
After everything is mixed, take 2 tablespoons of the mix to form a sausage. You should have at least 16 sausages when done so that each person gets two. There will probably be a few more than that, but I’m saving them for myself. Don’t tell my friends.
Fry the sausages up until crispy and brown. After the sausage is done, In the same pan with the pork drippings, sauteé the chopped garlic and onions. Once the onions and garlic are soft add the chopped cabbage, and the beer. Cover this and cook down until the cabbage is tender..
The smell coming from this dish is amazing. Now, it’s time to make it look as amazing as it smells.To plate this dish, put the cabbage on the dish first. Then, add the sausages to the pile in the middle. Next, garnish.
Did you grow up eating sausage and peppers? This variation is great because cabbage lasts a long time and you probably have ground meat in the freezer already.
I’ve paired this dish with two different 2017 Grenaches. Grenache is an ultra-fruity medium-bodied red wine. I usually get lots of strawberry from this wine.
One wine is from Spain is super fruity and fresh. It smells like strawberries and cherries. The other wine is from Santa Barbara County and is a bit richer than a lot of Grenaches. The winemaker says not to drink it until May 2020. It’s late April 2020, so I think it’s OK to crack this baby open. It’s got a baking spice character to me: cinnamon with a hint of cherry.
Let’s see what my friends think about this wine pairing
Ok, time for something sweet.
Berries are a sign of spring for me. That’s why I’m making a berry sarabande. It’s berries with cream and fresh mint. Except, my berries are frozen! I only have four strawberries in the yard right now. Don’t tell anyone.
It’s important to start with really cold whipping cream and orange juice. That will make it easier to whip it into cream.
You also need four tablespoons of gelatin that have been dissolved hot water and then chilled.
Put all of this into your mixer and begin whipping. While whipping slowly add the sugar, cream of tartar, orange juice and orange zest.
Now that you have a luscious cream, you just need to fold in the gelatin and the berries. It’s very important to make sure your gelatin is room temp or just slightly cold when you add it to the cream.
Also, since these berries were frozen, there’s a bit of juice we don’t want that. I let that wick away and add the somewhat drier berries into the cream. I don’t mix it so much that I lose the air in the cream. But I also want to get everything mixed together.
Now that it’s whipped, you put the mixture in a plastic-lined bundt pan and chill it until you serve it.
This is gonna be good. Now, I just have to get the thing onto a plate.
It should be hard. If you turn over the pan, the plastic should just come right off. After removing the plastic, garnish with some spring flowers. We had some nasturtium, cilantro and safe flowers blooming, so that’s what I used. I also picked a sprig of mint, chopped it and sprinkled it on top. And that’s it. It’s the perfect springtime dessert, great with a slightly sweet Riesling.
I’ve paired this dish with two different Rieslings that are just slightly sweet. One is a 2018 from Germany and the other is a 2017 from France.
I’m expecting nice acid and maybe a few honey notes in these wines. But, I don’t want a wine that’s too syrupy.
I also wanted a wine that was sweet since this is a sweet dessert. We will see if this is sweet enough to match the dish.
Let’s see what my friends think about this wine pairing
So there you have it. I made five dishes, inspired by Captain Rufus Estes 1911 cookbook.
I made a sparkling berry shrub, cheese ramekins, codfish hash, stewed cabbage and sausage and for dessert a berry sarabande.
I’m so happy I went to the effort to create an event where my friends and I could get together. It was a little bit of work packing everything up. But, now I have everything I need to just do it again next month.
I also really enjoyed this meal. Even though this was fancy food for its day, it still had a “comfort food” quality about it. And it was very versatile. I think you could add some rice to the hash to extend and make it the entire meal. I mean, there were a ton of veggies in it already. Or, you could add scrambled eggs instead of hard boiled to make it more breakfasty. I think that’s what’s great about these recipes. They’re just a point of departure and the sky’s the limit once you add your creativity.
The dessert was perhaps my favorite dish. The orange zest really added some spark to the cream. But, I think the cheese ramekins and the berry shrub were the stars of the meal. I’ve already gotten requests for these recipes. Don’t worry guys they’re on the site.
As for the wines, people liked some wines with the food better. Others, they thought were –what I’ve heard in Italy– called meditation wines. These are wines that you drink mindfully and really savor. In general, they thought the lighter the beverage, the more it went with the food. The lighter Abarino and Grenache were for food, for example, in their opinions. But, they enjoyed them all.
So, that was Episode 2 of Family Meal and our wine pairings. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, like, and subscribe. Make sure you hit the bell to get notified about upcoming episodes. And don’t forget to share Family Meal with your friends.
If you want these recipes, you can find them on the blog 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 get wine recommendations based on your preferences.
And I hope you will join us in late May for the next episode. I’ll be cooking recipes from Edna Lewis’ 1986 cookbook. Her cooking is about turning farm to table country recipes into welcoming Family events. That’s right up our alley here at Family Meal. And it’s appropriate for this time, as more people are planting gardens and with the family at home, this is the kind of food we need to revisit.
Until then, folks. Bye!