While you wait for the UPS man to bring your Sweet & Sassy Mix, you might give this giardiniera receipt from G&G a whirl. The Cochon muffaletta is the truth, and may, in some situations, edge out the legendary Central Grocery standardbearer. Some of these situations would include wanting to sit down while you eat, having this sandwich on a Sunday, etc. The puree at the end seems smoother than you want, but in terms of sandwich architecture, makes some sense.
As for the title of this post, some may wonder - is it still the G-Funk Era? Until Warren G tells us different, the G-Funk Era it remains:
It is, as it happens, the key ingredient in the Only Sandwich That Matters, commonly termed the Muffuletta or Muffaletta. That guy who rapped w/DJ Code Money spelled his name different ways too. To create the muffuletta not on Decatur St, and indeed, not even in the 504, would be a literally Promethian feat, if Prometheus had had the good sense to steal a delicious and robust sandwich from the gods.
So, I put a picture of last night's dinner on the internets, and folks liked it. Some more background. Underneath, rice grits from Two Boroughs Larder. Not perfect on this but a nice change from grits, and somehow more soigne than rice. The actual succotash (I am not clear on what succotash really is, and aim to keep it like that) I'd made the day before, because of leftover dark butterbeans from making Sifton's Oxtail stew. The next part is probably not necessary, but I did have some old odds and ends of Benton's hanging around, so in the interest of conserving our dwindling supply of Benton's bacon, I cubed the ham, and cooked in a little butter and then braised in vermouth. Good flavor, but a little on the chewy side, as one might expect from a country ham with some years on it. To return: I then quickly cooked red onion and carrot and celery I had around in the ham pan, and tossed all that w/ the butterbeans. I then tossed the butterbeans, etc. w/ a dressing w lots of minced shallots and Zatarain's mustard (increasingly the house mustard around here).
I'd been thinking that the succotash alone would make a nice lunch, but then yesterday was my first pickup from the CAFE, and I wanted to do some things with my stuff. So, I cooked up a couple of strips of Benton's after all, then cooked down turnip greens in that, w/ a splash of cane vinegar (the definitive all purpose vinegar around here). Finally, I poached the gorgeous local eggs from Son Rise Acres, and scattered the radishes and bacon around the perimeter. A pretty satisfying and not too hearty meal, employing mostly stuff that was around.
I had been wanting to do this for a while, and I'm sorry that it took Dave Brubeck's death for me to get around to it. I've been a fan of banh mi for a while, doing them from scratch at home a while back, and have been messing around with various forms of charcuterie for years. One of the central spice combos for French-informed pates, etc, is quatre epice, (4 spices, if you're scoring at home). Similarly, one of the central spice combos in some Vietnamese cooking is 5 spice powder. Considering that the banh mi is a sandwich that features two types of pate* it seemed logical to do a 5 spice pate and a 4 spice pate as an hommage to the favorite jazz song of people who don't like jazz -Dave Brubeck's "Take 5," notable for being in 5/4 time. The 5-spice was a very simple shoulder/spice/potato starch prep from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, and the 4 spice was a riff on Polcyn and Ruhlman's pate grandmere from their charcuterie book. Worked out pretty well, though I imagine the echo of the song would not be self-evident. Play us off, Dave:
*We will address the burgeoning problem of how some folks will basically take a dump on an Italian sub roll and call it banh mi some other time.
Few things more satisfying than delivering a gift to just the right person. Passing the hat on from Orange Paws and Red Sox (SC college football fans gather in deserted baseball park, eat lobster) to somone with a normally shaped head was a good call. Better still - the recent trip to TLOTB&TC meant a visit w/ FOC and sometime commenter Rose's Lime and family. As Boston hotels 1) cost a million dollars a night and 2) do not contain my godchild, I was very happy to stay with the Rose's Lime family. The Cod showed his appreciation the only way he knows how -- with Benton's bacon, and woke up to find the below in his inbox. Esp. considering that Mr. Lime is employed, johnnycakes on a school morning seem like a mic drop, parenting-wise.
So, you can take the national editor out of the food section, but you cannot take the food section out of the national editor. Former lead NYT restaurant critic Sam Sifton is still finding the time to drop the odd cooking piece in the magazine. They tend to be slightly involved, but rewarding -- see, for instance the oxtail or mushroom lasagna -- in other words, good candidates for nice Saturday dinner at home.This week's ribeye and grilled Caesar* was no exception.
I will acknowledge some Wedcheffing, in that ribeyes of a thickness specified by the receipt are not to be had in the 864. The rub is certainly much more interventionist than I usually get with a steak, but there are few things that salt and sugar do not improve. I would, next time, dial back on the celery seeds, which took the flavor in a direction that was maybe too BBQish, but the crust was solid -- I suspect that the key is putting the rub on ahead of time, so that it can almalgamate into the meat.
The grilled salad is perhaps a bit baroque, and I'd be interested to have it prepared by its originator, but the principle is sound, if counterintuitive. The second time around (more in a minute) I found that 1/2 heads of romaine hold together better than 1/4 heads. If you like cebollitas, you will like this salad.
So, no pix of the first iteration, but there was some leftover steak, and leftover sauce, so for a quick Sunday dinner, grilled another 1/2 head, split and laid on baguette w/ leftover steak. Definitely worth trying.