Family Meal Season 1 Episode 7
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 seventh episode now! The transcript is below. ↓↓↓↓
You’ve been planting, tending and watering all spring and summer. Now’s the payoff. It’s harvest season. If you need recipes to help you use all that fall abundance, this video is for you.
Today is all about soup, pickles and preserves. Oh my! You can make soup in big batches and freeze it. And canning and pickling can make your veggies and fruit last all winter.
Coming up are five yummy dishes that will fortify you all winter. Pair this kind of food with good wine and what you have is a Family Meal.
Act 1: Introduction
Welcome to Family Meal: a virtual wine tasting party. Every month I cook a 4-course meal and pair it with some fun wines. Then, you get to watch as my friends tell me what they think about it all.
As you know if you’ve watched before, 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 B. Smith. She was a renaissance woman in the truest sense of the term. She was a model, restaurateur, and a TV talk show host. She also had a home décor line and a successful series of cookbooks and even a magazine. Her recipes inspired me to cook food that was fit for a reunion.
I made delicious oxtails that were fall-off-the-bone tender. That episode includes 5 dishes and 8 wine pairings. If you want to see it, click here or look below for the link.
In this episode, we’re looking at recipes from Abby Fisher’s 1881 cookbook, What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking. This is one of the earliest cookbooks written by a Black person in the United States. And it’s truly groundbreaking.
So was Rufus Estes’ book. You might remember from episode 2 that he was the first black chef to write a cookbook in 1911. There are some similarities between these two books that are worth mentioning.
They’re writing only 30 years apart from each other, Fisher’s being earlier. And both were writing from California, Estes in Los Angeles and Fisher in San Francisco.
Perhaps most notably though, both Fisher and Estes didn’t want to write a book. But, both were egged on by their friends and customers. Imagine what would have been lost to history if they hadn’t produced these books?
It speaks to the power of cheerleaders in our lives, the people who fortify us to do more than we could or would without them. I think the food in Fisher’s cookbook has the same power, to fortify you through the colder months.
Most copies of Fisher’s book were lost during the 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed over 80% of the city. So, it went unknown to most of the public until 1984, when a copy resurfaced.
On the other hand, the house Fisher owned outright, without a mortgage, on 17th Street in San Francisco is still standing. Fisher clearly became a prosperous woman through her work. And she was also very entrepreneurial.
She ran a business: Mrs. Abby Fisher and Company that manufactured pickles. These weren’t just any pickles. These were award-winning pickles. Fisher won two awards for them at the 1880 San Francisco Mechanics Institute Fair.
She also won an award at the California State Fair. In fact, it was because of her recognition at the State Fair in 1879 that she was asked to write this cookbook. Fisher’s book is full of recipes that show her love for soups, pickles and preserves.
But more importantly her mastery of the crafts of pickling, canning and preserving. One judge wrote of her food, “her pickles and sauces have a … flavor seldom equaled, and… once tasted, not soon forgotten.”
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, make sure you hit the bell, so you’ll be notified of all Winosity’s future videos. Alright, on to this month’s fortifying menu.
We’re starting with a canape. It’s got creamy cheese, pickled apple and onion and it’s wrapped in a puff pastry crust.
I’ve paired this little bite with two very light Muscadet from France. There are a lot of zippy flavors in this course to make the eater’s mouth water and get them ready for more food.
Second is a spicy and creamy chow chow soup. If you don’t know what chow chow is, I’ll tell you a bit later. But, if you’ve ever had Polish Dill pickle soup, the flavors are the same. If you’ve never had Dill pickle soup, you might just have to trust me that this is good.
This will be served with two New World Chenin Blanc. They are a bit grassy but very fresh and bright tasting.
The third course is chicken croquettes with a potato and pickled garlic salad. Potato and pickles are great for overwintering. This salad is one you could make any time of the year. And, who doesn’t love a crispy fried croquette.
They’ll be even better with the two luscious Washington State Viogniers paired with this dish. These are from two of my go to wineries up there. So, I hope my friends enjoy them.
For dessert there’s bread pudding pie. It’s a citrusy, bready pudding with a pie crust underneath and some sweet and sour cherry preserves on top. This is a unique take on bread puddings. It’s more summery than Christmassy. You’ll love it.
And, it’ll be served with a wine cocktail made of bourbon barrel-aged red wine and some berry syrup. That sounds great to me. What about you? There are also a few other surprises coming up. So, keep watching.
Act 2: Apple and Cheese Canapes
Everybody loves finger food. These cheesy canapes have a crispy pastry crust and a mix of apple pickles and onion pickles, in keeping with the theme of this episode all about pickling.
Start by preheating the oven to 350. You can use pre-baked shells, which saves a bunch of time. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can make these with pastry. If you need a crust recipe, see our peach pie recipe or keep watching for bread pudding pie recipe. You just need 21 little crusts about 3” in diameter
And, I can focus on the custard. Let’s start it by making the pickles. This is very easy. Just soak half of the apples and all of the onions in salt and vinegar for 12 hours. Those are your pickles.
After that, beat the eggs and the milk together. Add some melted brie. This has been chopped then miked for 90 seconds. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl with a bit of nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Pour in a bit of pudding mixture into each cup. I have 7 eaters today. So, there are 21 cups to fill, three each. Then pop those in the oven for 20 minutes until the custard sets.
When they’re ready they should be firm and the crust should be crisp and warm. I’ll just put those on a nice plate for serving. They’re crispy and golden, with hints of red from the apple.
That also gives them just a hint of sweetness that adds a great contrast to the vinegary pickling we did. And boy, are they creamy. You could serve these up at any party, I think.
I think this will pair nicely with these French Muscadet. These are fresh and young wines that have a lot of acid, like our pickles. But, I’d describe them as quiet or delicate because they don’t hit you in the face with aroma.
That’s Ok though since there’s so much flavor in the canape. You don’t want a clash. And anyway, the fun part of drinking delicate wine is really paying attention to what you’re drinking. These wines definitely make you pay attention.
Let’s see what my friends notice in these delicate wines and our apple and cheese canapes.
They looked kinda classy. Don’t you think? The wines were classy too, in my opinion. A great combination.
Act 3: Spicy Chow Chow Soup
Growing up, we ate a Polish restaurants quite regularly. My favorite is Polish Village in Hamtramck, Michigan. The dill pickle soup has been on their menu for over 30 years. So, it must be good.
Another memory I have from growing up is chow chow, a spicy pickled pepper sauce. It sat on many a counter along with the pepper and salt. And I have some in my cabinet now.
Those are my inspirations for this dish. I’m using a spicy pickled pepper relish (rather than pickled cucumbers) in a creamy soup base.
The chow chow is similar to the pickled apples in the cheese canape recipe. Its onions, red peppers and cabbage that are sliced and brined in vinegar, salt and a bit of cayenne for 12 hours.
To make the soup base, you need veggie broth and a bit of mashed potato and butter. Season the broth with a bit of dill, salt and pepper.
Just before serving, lower the temperature. Add in the sour cream very slowly so that it doesn’t curdle. Now this is ready to plate.
To serve the soup, ladle a bit of the base into a nice bowl.
Then top each bowl with about a ¼ cup of diced potato and another quarter cup of chow chow. This is unlike any soup you’ve had before. It’s creamy, spicy, and savory and has a bit of crunch from the vegetables.
You’ll want more and more of this soup as the days get colder. And, most of these are the kind ingredients you can have on hand that will last through the winter.
We’re pairing this soup with two Chenin Blanc. One is from South Africa. The other is from California. The primary flavor I get from this wine is grassiness. It tastes a bit like freshly mowed fall grass smells. That’s appropriate for fall, right?
This wine is fresh tasting but is slightly heavier than the Muscadet from the first course. We’re building things up… to the main course. Let’s see what my friends think of this unique soup with these fresh wines.
There’s nothing better than a bowl of creamy soup on a chilly winter day.
Act 4: Chicken Croquettes
Fried patties are perhaps the ultimate comfort food. Today, we’re doing pan-fried chicken croquettes. But, you can substitute any ground meat you like in this recipe: pork, salmon and tuna would all be nice treated this way. It’s always good to dice the veg up first, the potatoes, onion and celery.
The onions and potatoes need a bit of softening. So, saute them until tender. This should only take about 20 minutes.
Beat the eggs. You’ll add these to the chicken along with some seasoning.
Get it well combined and season everything with garlic powder, salt and pepper. If the dough is getting loose at this point, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
If things are still cool enough, form the mixture into 8 patties. If they aren’t cool down the patties for 10 minutes in the freezer. You can do that any time during the process, frankly.
You just put a bit in a ring mold to make the patty. If you don’t have a ring mold, wrap several strands of aluminum foil around a highball glass to make some. Or, just use muffin tins.
The next step is to bake them for 25 minutes at 400 degrees until they are cooked through. This is what they look like when baked.
Meanwhile, get some oil heated up for frying. There should be enough oil in the pan to come halfway up the patty.
While that’s heating, set up a breading station with three plates. One will have seasoned flour. One will have beaten egg. And the last will have bread crumbs. Dip each patty in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs until coated.
This is a mix of bread crumbs from what I had around. Fry each patty in hot oil until browned. It will only take 2-3 minutes per side.
Once the patties are brown drain them on a paper towel-lined pan.
Now it’s time to plate.
That’s one of the most appetizing dishes I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll just put them on a plate here with this sauce that goes with them. And in the center, this is a caramelized onion remoulade, sort of like an aioli.
And that’s ready to go. And by the way, at the meal we had a potato and pickled garlic salad as our side dish. The perks of being an eater. You can find the link to those recipes below.
We’re serving this with two Washington State Viogniers. They are on the rich side for white wines. They are pretty high in alcohol for white wines, but still crisp. They are pretty floral wines.
That’s why just a touch of it is added to some Syrahs. That’s right, there was a bit of white wine in that red wine you drank! But, back to Viognier. There’s also oak notes in these two. Let’s see what my friends think.
I’m a big Washington wine fan. You should check these out. Plus the couple over at Rulo winery are the best!
Act 5: Bread Pudding Pie & Red Wine Cocktail
If you love bread pudding, you’ll love this bread pudding pie. Its primary flavor is orange. So, it’s not like your typical bread pudding. It’s also got crust. Leave it to Mrs. Fisher to innovate…. The bread is crumbed rather than diced. So, the texture is smoother than the typical bread pudding.
You add milk, orange juice and zest to make the filling. The last ingredient is four beaten eggs yolks. This all gets mixed together well. Wasn’t that easy!
The crust is easy too. The ratio is 4 parts flour to 1 part butter to 1 water. That’s just enough water to make a dough.
I add just a dash of salt too. If you use 1 cup of flour and do the ratios, that should be a large enough pie crust for this dish with some left over in case of a mistake. You can pop this into the fridge for a few minutes to let things firm back up.
Once you have a dough, roll it out to about ⅛ inch thick and place it into your pie pan.
Add the filling and you’re ready to go. Bake this at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until the pudding is firm.
And this is what it looks like after it’s done. It almost looks like a sweet potato or pumpkin pie. But, the texture is more like a pudding than a custard.
Mrs. Fisher added meringue to her pie. We’re doing cherry preserves. I’m going to put a nice layer of that on top of the pie. And it’s ready to serve. By the way, that cherry preserves recipe is below too.
The pie is being served with a wine cocktail. That’s right, I said wine cocktail. This drink uses red wine that’s been aged in a bourbon barrel for a short time.
It’s got that vanilla or caramel flavor from the charred barrel and the liquor residue in addition to dark fruit flavors. It’s a very rich wine you might enjoy on its own if you like big reds.
We’re going to add a sweetened berry syrup to it. Here’s how you make the syrup. Just heat 4 cups of mixed berries with 1 cup of sugar.
It’s very concentrated since we’re not adding any liquid other than what’s in the berries. Once you’ve extracted the juice from the berries let the syrup cool then strain the berries out.
Add about one ounce or two tablespoons of syrup to a regular pour of wine.
I think the cherry preserves and this berry flavor in this rich red wine will go together nicely. But, let’s get the eaters’ opinions.
Thanks, Mrs. Fisher for a great meal.
Act 6: Epilogue
So, there you have it. I made five dishes, inspired by Abbey Fisher’s 1881 cookbook: What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking.
I made cheese and pickled apple canape, spicy chow chow soup, chicken croquettes, bread pudding pie, and bourbon barrel-aged red wine cocktail with blackberries.
There is a lot you can say about people’s lives. You can tell many stories based on the events they experienced. But I’m most interested in the story the cookbook author wants to tell you in their book. The best cookbooks speak to more than just how to make a dish.
In this book, Mrs. Fisher is talking about encouragement. That’s something allies do when they see it’s necessary. In this case, they didn’t wait until she asked. They encouraged her before she even knew she needed it. And look at the result. We’re still benefiting from it today, 139 years later.
Talk about allyship. Their words of encouragement helped spur Mrs. Fisher to write this book and I’m feeling grateful for that today.
Allys come in many different forms. All we have to do is listen when they speak to us. And we don’t just have to wait to be allies. Perhaps the more we are an ally, the better we get at recognizing them when they present themselves.
As for the food, there were a lot of yum faces this month. What’s a yum face? It’s when the food is so good that you forget you’re with other people and you make a funny face. I consider a yum face the highest of compliments. This soup is a winner. Just pickled cabbage and potatoes in a creamy veggie broth. It’s super easy and super good.
The pie is also stellar. One eater said the texture was just heavenly. It’s sweet but also has some tartness from the sour cherry preserves on top.
Many people thought they wines tasted sweet this month. All of them were dry. But sometimes, really fruity wines can come off as sweet, especially when you’re eating sour pickled things like we were this month.
Kurt and Vicki at Rulo winery are stellar folks. Anything you can get your hands on by them, do it. But, Kurt’s French Rhone wines are exceptional, as was this Viognier we had today. It was fruity and crisp and delightful with a fried croquette.
I’ve also got to give a shout out to Sorin at Bontzu. His wines are some of the most intensely grapey wines I’ve ever had. If you really want to know what a grape tastes like, drink one of Sorin’s wines. His Viognier today was a really powerful wine.
So, that was Episode 7 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 you’ll also find the Winosity app there, where you can keep track of the good wines you discover out in the world and get wine recommendations based on your preferences.
I hope you will join us in late October, for the next episode. I’ll be cooking recipes from Jessica Harris’ 1989 cookbook: Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons. This cookbook makes direct links between dishes Black folk make in the Americas to dishes and ingredients in Africa.
Harris is an English professor at Queens College in New York and has written 12 cookbooks. She also founded the Institute for the study of Culinary Cultures at Dillard University.
We’ve touched some dishes with very clear African roots such as okra salad, black-eyed pea salad, and peanut soup. But, we’re getting into the deep cuts next month. I’m excited to explore more heritage dishes with you next month.
Thanks for watching, folks. Bye!
Check these wines for your reference:
Bougrier Muscadet 2019 (FR)
Château du Jaunay Muscadet de Sèvre 2018 (FR)
Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc 2019 (CA)
Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2019 (ZA)
Bontzu Viognier 2017 (WA)
Rulo Viognier 2017 (WA)
Cooper and Thief Red Blend (CA)