Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Watching the Pros Test the SFA Cookbook

Monday night, I had the pleasure of attending a cooking class based on the new Southern Foodways Alliance Cookbook. The recipes came to life courtesy of four fabulous chefs, Virginia Willis, Steven Satterfield, Angie Mosier, and Lynne Sawicki.  

Chef Steven Satterfield has earned his fame recently at his amazing Westside hot spot Miller Union.  Steven grew up in Savannah and has lived in GA most of his life. His contribution to the cookbook was a great recipe for a version of cheese straws. For our class, he chose a recipe from Louisiana, dirty rice and skillet greens! 

The dirty rice was sinful featuring a combination of 3, yes three forms of meat! He started by sauteing chicken livers, in bacon grease! He added house made sausage (Boston butt), the bacon, red pepper flakes, and the "holy trinity" or "Cajun trinity" onions, green pepper, and celery.  This mixture is cooked together. The rice is first sauteed in the fat from the meats, then cooked with water until ready. All ingredients were combined, and topped with green onion for an amazingly rich dish. This was offset by the crisp greens. Collards (of course) were sauteed with garlic, red pepper, and anchovies which were ground to a paste. This added a rich ans salty flavor to the bitter greens and cooled the heat from the rice. Amazing choice Chef Satterfield!

Up next was Lynne Sawicki. Chef Sawicki formerly of Floataway Cafe and Star Provisions now owns an amazing meat and provisions shop, Sawicki Meat and Seafood,  in downtown Decatur. Lynne prepared another Louisiana influenced dish. It was a take on Osso Bucco, but using frog legs! Lynne sauteed the breaded frog legs in olive oil and set them aside. Then again added the "holy trinity" and a number of other veggies. She also added Merlot to the mix. The combination of the vegetables and the gelatin in the frog legs she explained, created a thick gravy-like consistency, perfect over rice or as we had it over biscuits!

The fabulous biscuits were made by Ms. Virgina Willis. Virgina is one of my favorite chefs in Atlanta. She has the culinary pedigree and the interesting scientific information that hits the mark for me. I guess you can say I am a groupie! She prepared a recipe from the cookbook of a simple buttermilk biscuit dough. She prepped the ingredients in a food processor, and showed us how to properly roll out the dough, and place the biscuits in the pan. I enjoy that she chose to use southern simple ingredients found on the shelf at anyone's grocery store. The biscuits buttered were light, fluffy and flavorful with a gorgeous golden top.

The frog leg osso bucco with a homemade biscuit!

Last up was Angie Mosier. Angie was the past president of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and she is a writer, baker, teacher, and food stylist. She chose to share with us her recipe from the cookbook which was a take on her version of the Rich's Bakeshop coconut cake! Angie also shared with us her tricks and tips for icing, baking, and styling a cake. She made it look effortless, but I appreciate her sharing her insecurities about her baking and her ease about imperfections in her product. She is a true role model for the home baker, and her cake was out of this world!

Coconut cake with buttercream icing!

The Southern Foodways Alliance is an important organization connecting Americans and the world with the old and new traditions in Southern cuisine. I am so excited that people care about preserving and promoting the tried and true as well as the innovating things happening with food in the South! Thanks to this organization and these chefs for keeping the movement going!

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