Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hummingbird Walks into a Whiskey Bar: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Hummingbird Walks into a Whiskey Bar
Hummingbird Walks into a Whiskey Bar

On a recent trip to the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar I pondered over the new cocktails which they had come up with since my previous visit. Arthur, one of the partners in the bar, suggested the Hummingbird Walks into a Whiskey Bar ($13). Curious just from the name, I queried him about the origins of the cocktail. A hummingbird is a mixture of St. Germain and Champagne, presenting a fruity, floral, and effervescent mixed drink, but not one that I'd really ever want to order. Lock & Key's version added Glenlivet 12 year, a very well rounded single malt Scotch, as well as some orange bitters. I took a sip and then another. The flavors melded together like the colors in a sunset over the sea. Balanced and refreshing, the drink had delicate flavors which opened up more on the way down. I tasted sweet peach making way for bitter citrus. The Hummingbird Walks into a Whiskey Bar comes in a coupe glass garnished with orange peel. Next time you're in Lock & Key, give it a try!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Barbecue Bites: Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Chili

Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Chili
Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Chili

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Jay D's is a super versatile barbecue sauce. It is, in every sense of the word, gourmet. 18 different ingredients come together to make the stuff chili dreams are made of.

Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Chili
Makes 6-8 servings

2 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cup Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed or diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups, kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 (7 oz.) can chipotle salsa
2 cups, water

In a large sauce pot, season the ground meat with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper, and brown with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once browned, remove meat from saucepot and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute garlic, bell peppers, and onions until soft. Add ground meat back to the sauce pot and add tomatoes, kidney beans, barbecue sauce, salsa, and water and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Stir often to prevent sticking on bottom of saucepot. If chili becomes too thick, add a half cup of water at a time and let reduce until beans are soft.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Marty Nation Short Ribs and a Giveaway!

Prepping veggies for the Marty Nation Short Ribs
Prepping veggies for the Marty Nation Short Ribs

If you know me, you know I'm a huge fan of cooking but I'm not a fan of the clean up that comes afterwards. This is one of the main reasons I love cooking with cast iron. A quick scrub and a rinse and you're on your way to making something delicious! Lodge Cast Iron has a new cookbook out by the name of Cast Iron Nation. It's a super comprehensive collection of gorgeous recipes from soups and desserts to main events and sides all made with an array of Lodge Cast Iron products.

****You have a chance to win a 12-inch lodge skillet and the Cast Iron Nation cookbook from right here on Bite and Booze - details at the bottom of the post****

Flipping though the Cast Iron Nation cookbook, I noticed a pretty intense recipe for beef short ribs. I happened to have some delicious grass fed beef short ribs from Indie Plate in my refrigerator and my trusty Lodge Cast Iron Dutch oven, so I decided to try out Marty Nation's Short Ribs (pg.144). Indie Plate is such a great resource for Baton Rouge. Put simply, they connect farmers to consumers through an online farm-to-table grocery delivery service.

Marty Nation's Short Ribs from the  Lodge Cast Iron Nation Cookbook
Marty Nation's Short Ribs from the
Lodge Cast Iron Nation Cookbook

While this recipe is a bit time consuming, it comes out very much like a traditional beef stew, and the local, fresh beef really put this dish over the top. I wanted something creamy to go along with the bold flavors of the short ribs, so I also served up an easy whipped cauliflower dish.

Marty Nation's Short Ribs
Serves 4-6

5 lbs beef short ribs, cut into 2.5" lengths
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil that can withstand high temperature
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup hearty red wine
1 1/2 cup beef stock
6 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved
3-4 medium yellow onions, quartered
4 large carrots cut in to 1.5" pieces
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2" lengths
1 cup green peas
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
  2. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a Lodge 7 quart cast iron Dutch oven over high heat until very hot. In batches, add the short ribs in a single layer, and sear until golden brown on both sides. Remove the ribs from the pan, and pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat.
  3. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery to the Dutch oven, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until tender and translucent, 15-20 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir, and reduce until darkened, about 4 minutes. Add the flour, and stir until fully combined with the vegetable mixture; cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add the wine, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Reduce the wine over medium heat by three-quarters, then add the short ribs, pour the stock over the ribs, and simmer over low heat until the liquid is reduced again by three-quarters, about another 15 minutes. Place in the oven, and roast, uncovered, until the short ribs seem to be about 80% done, 1-1 1/2 hours. Add the potatoes, quartered onions, and carrot pieces to the pot. Return to the oven, uncovered, and cook until the vegetables and short ribs are tender. Add the green beans and peas, and cook until they are tender, another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven. Transfer the meat (which should be so tender that it's falling off the bone) to the center of a large platter, and surround it with the vegetables. If the sauce seems too thin, reduce it over high heat on top of the stove. Another way to thicken it would be to purée the chopped vegetable in it using an immersion blender. Pour some of the reduced sauce over the mean on the platter and serve the remainder in a pitcher at the table for anyone who desires extra sauce. 

Whipped Cauliflower
Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower
2 tbsp. half and half or heavy cream
1 tbsp. butter
2 sharp cheese
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of Herbs de Provence

  1. Clean and trim the cauliflower, breaking it into medium sized pieces. 
  2. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 2 tbsp. of cream and 1 tbsp. of butter. 
  3. Microwave, uncovered, on high for six minutes. Stir to coat cauliflower with cream/butter mixture. Microwave for another six minutes on high. 
  4. Remove from the microwave and put into a high speed blender or food processor along with the cheese. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can adjust the cream and butter to your preference.

Marty Nation's Short Ribs and Whipped Cauliflower
Marty Nation's Short Ribs and Whipped Cauliflower

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Atelier Vie's Barrel-Aged Riz: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Atelier Vie Barrel-Aged Riz Whiskey
This week, Whisk(e)y Wednesday stays in Louisiana with a big announcement out of New Orleans. Atelier Vie was founded in 2011 to create flavorful new spirits in one of the greatest drinking cities of the world, New Orleans. Bringing together a shared love of craft spirits, coupled with a “do it yourself” attitude, Atelier Vie is pleased to release this initial bottling of Barrel-Aged Riz to the drinking public. Riz, initially released on June 28, 2013 as an unaged whiskey, has now developed some color and flavor from some charred wooden barrels.

Owner and distiller Jedd Haas says that “the idea of Rice Whiskey was a key inspiration for my becoming a distiller. I first heard about rice spirits being produced in Asia years ago; given the abundance of Louisiana’s rice crop, it seemed like an obvious resource for making a new style of American whiskey. We mashed and pot-distilled our first batches of Riz in 2012; and we released the unaged version of Riz in 2013. This clear ‘moonshine style’ Riz was smooth and tasty, but we suspected an aged version would be even better. After over a year in the barrel, this first release of Barrel-Aged Riz has exceeded expectations.”

According to Haas, the first barrel of Riz was filled on September 3, 2013; one year and one month later, on October 4, 2014, the barrel was emptied and the amber-colored whiskey was proofed down to bottling strength of 90 proof (45% ABV) and bottled. The label includes an age statement of “aged one year and one month.” Riz is handcrafted by Atelier Vie in New Orleans from
100% Louisiana rice, which is mashed, fermented, and distilled at our distillery in Mid-City.

This initial release of Barrel-Aged Riz is only available at the distillery during Atelier Vie’s Bottle Sale Hours, from 10am to 2pm on weekends. The retail price at the distillery is $60 for a 750ml bottle of Barrel-Aged Riz and due to the limited quantity being released, there is a limit of one (1) bottle per customer. I'm definitely hoping I can snag one! Visit for maps and directions.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Barbecue Bites: Jay D's Chicken Quesadillas

Jay D's Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas
Jay D's Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

I enjoy fine dining just as much as the next guy, but sometimes you just want to settle down, lay low, and enjoy a hearty snack attack. Enter the barbecue chicken quesadilla: a righteous, no frills handheld delight.

Jay D's Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas
Makes 4 servings

8 ounces cooked chicken, shredded (use a rotisserie chicken from the store if you're fancy)

4 (12 in) flour tortillas

12 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese

4 ounces Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce

1 red onion, thinly sliced, divided into 4 portions

Layer half of each tortilla with 2 ounces of chicken, 1 portion of red onion, 4 ounces of Monterey jack cheese, and 1 oz. of Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue sauce. Fold tortilla in half. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Slice into 4 pieces and garnish with sliced green onions. Serve with Jay D’s BBQ Aioli.