This is a simple recipe yet it delivers some amazing flavors and is perfect for your fall table. Gruyere cheese delivers the WOW factor here and the subtle flavors of clove and sage play important roles here too….
This eggplant parmesan recipe is much different then most. We use three cheeses one of them grated swiss which is very sharp. Unlike chicken parmesan, we DO NOT USE BREADCRUMBS as all others do. It’s breaded with egg and flour only. This cheesy and delicious Italian recipe is wonderful. It’s one of my favorite eggplant recipes….
Every so often a visit to what seems like a very humble place can yield a life changing experience. In this case I am talking about fried shrimp. Admittedly I am not a huge fried food lover, because it’s usually soggy, greasy and has way to much breading.
The life changing part is the feeling you get when you leave a special place knowing you will be back, soon! Recently, while traveling on location for Harvest Eating TV I visited a small rather unimpressive little place called Osteens near downtown in St. Augustine Florida.
It was around 2:30 and we did not know if they would still be open for lunch. When we arrived we saw a long bench outside under the awning of the building which is a rather squatty one story building, looks more like an dry cleaner rather then a super popular restaurant. The bench was empty except for two folks, so we walked in and were seated immediately.
Within seconds a friendly young server was there taking our drink orders, one sweet tea, one half sweet half un-sweet with extra ice and lemons, the second was for me. The table was adorned with a large Grolsch beer bottle filled with the famous local pepper sauce made from Datil peppers. I sell Datil pepper seeds to folks all over who want to experience this magical pepper.
Of course we offered the hose specialty, Osteens fried shrimp with a couple of southern style sides like sliced tomatoes and pickled beets. The tomatoes were great (local and fresh) but the beets were pretty lame. I am used to home canned pickled red beets of superior quality from my German mother in laws recipe, so very few pickled beets impress me.
In what seemed like 2 minutes out came two plats of friend shrimp, 12 per plate. WOW..they looked amazing and totally different from what I expected. I’ve seen plenty of friend shrimp baskets in my day, and most are dry, greasy and and just plain boring. These shrimp were spectacular looking, almost white in color, no grease and were standing with their very red tails pointing up.
They were carefully butterflied too. I was told that you had to either dip them in the “shrimp sauce”, a Russian dressing looking concoction, or the Datil pepper sauce. I opted for the latter.
After pouring puddle of Datil pepper sauce on my plate I dug in; my taste buds were super happy at this point. the flavor, the texture, the ever so slight crunch was perfect. The Datil pepper so with it’s tongue tingling capsicum was the perfect foil to the shrimp. I was in heaven, culinary heaven of course!
Osteens uses a cracker meal for breading, as you know saltines are nearly white which explains the color of the shrimp. They are also fried in very clean, hot oil. they stay in the oil for 20 seconds total. This yields a slight crispness, moist juicy interior and plenty of “shrimpy” flavor. Northeast Florida is a shrimp fishery that is second to none. When on the beach you will always see shrimp boats moving along with their nets out dragging the sandy bottom for fresh white and brown shrimp depending on the season.
I have always loved restaurants that were so famous they become almost an local institution. This is how one could describe Osteens. Everybody knows they are famous for their fried shrimp. They do not pretend to be something they are not, and they are also content to continue doing something they have been doing for decades, making excellent fried shrimp. No need to add on to the building, no need to change the menu to include trendy fads or to please the new generation.
They are secure in the fact that everyday for both lunch and dinner, the place will be packed with hungry diners eager for plates of fried shrimp and they are served by friendly local wait staff that have been there for many years. This is what an institution is all about, serving simple food that is consitesntly excellent year after year. This is exactly the type of place I would love to own, not a fancy white table cloth place that was always trying to keep up with the trends.
I have made some fried shrimp at home recently that I mimicked Osteens, butterflied the same way, a duplicate Datil pepper sauce, cracker meal etc.. They were darn good…but only 85% as good as Osteens.
I will be back though, next week in fact. As I write this were two days from our annual summer vacation to Florida, albeit a much earlier trip. We usually visit the northeast Florida coast in late July or August but it’s only June 5th and we leave on the 8th. I’ve already told my wife we will be catching a late lunch or early dinner at Osteens during our vacation. She looked happy..but not overwhelmed like I am. I think this time I will get fifteen shrimp on my plate, and skip the beets!
This is the Tom Bihn Tristar, a 3 zip, 3 compartment convertible carry on bag. If you’re like me you take small 2-4 day trips often, either by car or plane. These trips require a bag that can accomodate your belongings; clothes, electronics, gadets, toiletries etc.
PLEASE NOTE PHOTOS CAN BE CLICKED TO ENLARGE FOR MORE DETAIL
On a smaller length trip like this it’s nuts to carry a wheeled bag or a suit case per se. Why pay the baggage fee if you can carry your stuff in a good looking, well-made, well-organized bag? Especially if said bag is MADE IN THE USA using high-quality materials.
Introducing…..The Tom Bihn Tristar. This bag, in brilliant Indigo blue with Solar dyneema interior, is made of 1050 d ballistic nylon on the exterior and the aforementioned solar yellow dyneema fabric inside which is really nice. This bag has three main compartments, the first one has a nifty zip divider to separate shoes or other stuff from the rest of the compartment.
This is a very handy feature. Tom Bihn also has a packing cube that fits this spot perfectly. If not using it, it unzips easliy to open up the whole front compartment. There is an o ring here to attach Tom Bihn organizer pouches as well…very handy!
The main center compartment zips only half way, which helps the bag stand up and it reveals a special clip system that Tom Bihn has to attach “brain cells“, these are very awesome protective cases for laptops. If you do not want these clips, the easily come out.
The rear compartment is full width and the flap opens up completely which helps you pack easily. This compartment also has two removable tie-down straps to secure your packing cube or clothes which helps to eliminate wrinkles. This large compartment also has a specific packing cube to fit here.
The front of the Tristar has 3 horizontal pockets, one that goes from top to bottom, another that goes almost all the way down then one shallow pocket. The middle pocket has an “o-ring” and comes with a key strap. There is also a stylish curved pocket on the right side of the bag which has a snap to allow a water bottle to be placed in there or boarding documents etc.
The rear of the bag has a sneaky hidden compartment that reveals very comfortable backpack straps with a sternum strap for added comfort.
This bag can be carried by a comfortable poron foam handle like a briefcase, the aforementioned backpack straps, and a very comfortable shoulder strap (you need to buy the strap separately) called the Absolute strap. The sides of the bags have grab handles as well which allow you to pull it out of the overhead compartment or from under the seat in front of you if traveling by plane.
The zippers are YKK splash-proof zippers that help keep water out should you get caught in the rain.
The materials, stitching and overall design and workmanship are outstanding. They are so good it makes me feel very proud of this company and the fact that they continue to produce their bags here in America using talented seamstresses and craftspeople. This is really cool.
The bag retails for $250 which in my opinion is a great value given the quality of this product. You will not be able to wear it out and it comes with a lifetime warranty. Learn more about the Tom Bihn Tristar.
The Big Green Egg is the finest BBQ smoker and grill money can buy, period. I own the xl egg and it has been an amazing piece of equipment from day one.
Eggs are very heavy duty, and very heavy. Mine weighs over 200 lbs. They are made of ceramic which holds in the heat. The design of the egg is perfect simplicity, with it’s air damper below (with ash screen for safety) and top mounted cast iron chimney that is fully adjustable, the egg performs like magic. you can get your egg to nearly 750 degrees for HIGH HEAT cooking, like making 2 minute thin crust pizza, or it can run at 250 degrees forever which allows you to make true Southern BBQ. Try this on a regular grill or smoker..aint gonna happen!
The egg is a superior grill as well, fire up some lump charcoal, toss on the heavy duty grill grate and you’re ready for grilling perfection. With the top down, the oven roasting effect combined with the high heat under your food produces a golden brown exterior and moist interior.
I literally could go on and on singing the praises of The Big Green egg, but I will leave you with this advice….GO BUY ONE RIGHT NOW…you will have no regrets!
Chef Keith Snow
The Stradivarius of the Kitchen
The return of traditional values is nowhere more apparent than in the realm of cooking. Burgundy is of course no stranger to fine cooking, but not content with demonstrating its attachment to tried and tested gastronomic values, the region also supplies all the equipment required for cooking at its best – starting with the renowned Lacanche stoves, of course!
Heart and Soul
The heart and soul of any self-respecting kitchen devoted to the culinary arts is without doubt the stove. The stove must of course be aesthetically pleasing and must play its full part in the decoration of a room on which as much care is nowadays lavished as the most intimate of boudoirs! But it must also incorporate the finest cooking qualities so that the cook can express himself or herself with all the brio of a top-class chef.
As it happens, this is exactly the approach adopted in the factories of Lacanche, a little village in the hills above Beaune, where the famous stoves bearing the village’s name are manufactured. The company is firmly committed to combining the best of modern and traditional methods both in product design and working practice. And it has every reason to be proud of its legacy: the site dates back to the 18th century when a Burgundian gentleman by the name of Richard de Curtil decided to put the iron contained in his subsoil and the timber from his forests to good use by creating a foundry at Lacanche.
In 1796, Jacques-Etienne Caumartin took control of the ironworks and the company remained in the hands of the Coste-Caumartin family until 1972.
The Lacanche Ironworks was dedicated to the manufacture of stoves for stately homes and the professional trade. But a period of diversification began in the 1970s with the acquisition of the site by a subsidiary of the Valéo Company. When Valéo withdrew in 1981, the 228 factory workers found themselves without an employer.
The Renaissance of Lacanche
And yet against all odds, the stoves of Lacanche were to take on a new lease of life. One day André Augagneur, who had worked in the company in the days when the Coste-Caumartin family owned it, decided to launch an industrial project, which was to save the site and 40 jobs. At the outset, the factory concentrated on sub-contracted work but word of its activity soon spread abroad and professional stoves were in demand once again.
Success was guaranteed with the return to traditional values and the increasing interest shown by members of the general public – keen to use authentic stoves and to emulate the creations of the top chefs! As André Augagneur says, “we have created a new generation of top-of-the-range stoves, combining the aesthetic appeal of the old Lacanche stove with the technological prowess of modern professional appliances”.
The Stove as Part of the Rural Community
Thus were born the Lacanche stoves, now to be seen gracing the pages of many a home decoration magazine. The company today employs over 200 persons and the family and rural tradition which characterized the Lacanche factory for more than 200 years is once more in evidence: André Augagneur is ably supported by his wife, his two sons and his son-in-law. Maintaining the activity in a rural environment has become something of a crusade for him.
“It is possible to preserve country life”, he says “but there is a price to pay. One cannot ask city dwellers to settle in a rural area when there may not be a job for the wife or husband, and if there is no school for the children. The solution is therefore to rely on the local population and to provide the necessary training so that both company and employee flourish”.
This philosophy is reflected in the very concept of Lacanche stoves, all closely identified with the reality of local life and proudly bearing such names as Cormatin, Cluny, Chambertin, Châteauneuf, etc. There is an unmistakable sense of joy in the company, exemplified by the Augagneur family which sets great store by “the human touch and a happy working atmosphere”.
A la Carte
The human touch, indeed, figures prominently in the manufacturing process, which incorporates the skills of craftsmen as well as industrial techniques. Here in Lacanche, people do not think in terms of productivity per day. The stoves are made to order, the client choosing from among the various accessories available: warming cupboard, storage cupboard, simmer plate, gas or electric oven, etc.
The oven is the heart around which the complete stove is manually assembled, piece-by-piece. From the technological point of view, the entire range is tested in conformity with UL standards in the factory’s futuristic laboratory. Speaking of which, Mr. Augagneur, what does the future hold in store for your stoves? “We shall continue to manufacture the models you see today but we are also able to produce other stoves reflecting other styles”.
The new Lacanche models, all incorporating enamel, cast iron and brass, are based on the old stoves traditionally manufactured in the factory.
In tune with the times: Company chief André Augagneur’s “Stradivarius of the kitchen” epitomizes a return to traditional values.
Champion juicers are built to last and very heavy. This machine has changed little over the years and boasts a HUGE heavy duty motor. Most juicers come with allot of fancy exterior adornments like stainless steel and colors but the Champion is rather plain and utilitarian in style.
They Champion Juicer is masticating juicer. This means that much of the pulp winds up in the juice which provides added fiber and more minerals that would be in the skins of fruits and vegetables. Most juicer are centrifugal and grind then spin fruit to extract juice though a strainer, leaving al the pulp behind. Champion juicers masticate or grind up everything to a fine pulp. The Champion can juice up bags of carrots easily in minutes.
The Champion juice can also take frozen fruit and make very tasty sorbet easily which tastes delicious and has perfect texture and mouth feel. I like to take fresh fruit and add it to the stand blender or food processor, then add organic heavy cream and pulse a few times. Then I place the mixture on freezer bags to freeze.
Once solid I run it through my Champion juice for wonderful creamy sorbet. This juicer has many of the characteristics I like, heavy duty, built to last, no cheap parts and it functions well.
I highly recommend the Champion Juicer.
Red Oxx products are made in Billings Montana by very talented seamstresses and craftspeople. These bags are bullet proof and made to last. I own 4 Red Oxx bags and I can personally attest to not only the toughness but also the utility of their products.
The comapny was started about 20 years ago and today it’s run by two men who used to be military parachute riggers. They are used to using high-quality materials that ALWAYS WORK..you wont find value-priced hardware or materials in any Red Oxx product. They do not cut corners by sourcing cheap companets or materials. Nothing but amazing, high-quality gear the will last a lifetime.
I highly recommend this company and the people behind the brand. These are not “cheap” products, you’ll pay a good bit to buy some…but because they’re MADE IN THE USA by people earning a living wage..it’s totally worth it. Do not look to cheaper foreign made products to save a few dollars. Buy American.
Visit Red Oxx today and take a look around.
Those of you who watch my videos may have seen me holding a Cutco knife. These American made products are trememndously high-quality and very sharp. Not just for the first few weeks either, mine have seen heavy studio kichen use and they remain very, very sharp. To me, this is the best aspect of a knife. Also the most telling attribute in deciding quality is wheather the knife stays sharp after heavy use.
I feel very good that these knives are made in America. Up in Olean NY Cutco employees hundreds of people in their production facility. When we buy their products we help to keep these people employed…a very good thing.
I have many types of Cutco knives and I am not sure which is my favorite. The handles are very comfortable and the blades are easy to care for.
I suggest you visit their site and shop for your next knife. Not only can you only buy direct, an actual person will come to your home to demonstrate aand let you view the products in action. This can help you make an investment in proper cutlery that will help you in your cooking adventures.