Ode to the Sea

I love winter food. Most people think summer is the best time for shellfish, lobsters, oysters, and clams. But the colder months permit us to enjoy the best of these crustaceans.

As I look to December for ideas, I think pumpkin and lobster bisque. Smell the pumpkins roasting in the oven and the lobster stock on the stove; that’s pure comfort from the chill in the air. Mushrooms, chestnuts cry out for braised meats and ragouts. Big bowls of oxtails and pasta on the table with winter kale to add some crispness to the dish.

Apples, pears, and quince for desserts baked, poached and roasted in cakes and pies. The winter months bring so many choices. There is just a light chill in the air now, however soon fall will morph into winter and with this the presentation of a new cornucopia of the wonderful foods of winter. Come with me to experience the comfort and warmth of a new season.

Let’s keep warm and comfortable in the cold.

Notes from the Chef

Fall is definitely here today and the next menu is all about the season. When I write a menu it is an outline and not a finished product. Squash soup? What type of squash? What texture or flavor will I add to the soup? Smooth as in a bisque or chunky as a peasant soup with apples, leeks. Soup has so many possibilities and for this reason it can be an entire meal with a loaf of bread and a glass of wine.
Today I made the chicken stock for the soup, slowly simmered bones and aromatics. A feeling of warmth and comfort fills the house as the simmering stock waits for the roasted squash, leeks and roasted pears. Transforming the lowly gourd into deliciousness. The end of Indian summer brings a new vegetable bounty. I am sharing the 10 Chairs menu and thoughts with you my friends. Join me on the fall journey.

Notes From The Chef

August is my favorite month of the year; it brings a little R&R, great produce and a chance to look ahead. 10 Chairs is growing and will be branching out to other venues. No worries; the original will still maintain its intimacy of bringing new and old As everything must change, so must the growth of 10 Chairs a project that began with my love of food and all things it involves. The intricacies of planning the menu and shopping for the ingredients. Food can be simple or complex but all dishes bring taste, color and texture to the palate of the plate. As I look forward to the fall and its bounty and all things it brings, I invite you once again to be a part of my food and wine friends together with laughter, food and wine journey.

Fire & Wine

When do you light the fire and when do you drink the wine?
Cowboy coffee in the morning? Wait till the perfect dish is cooked to serve and or drink the wonderful bottle or bottles of wine that you have?
A Cuban sandwich is a perfect companion to any bottle of wine.
It is midsummer and I have not started the grill once this year. There has been much rain but I am waiting for something to drive me to cook. Seeing the embers, smelling the char or waiting for the fire to ignite.
I grew up with live fire. At the farm the pot belly stove was feed with wood, the bacon, eggs, meat, fish, and the vegetables came from the land and the river.
In the summer we would pick dewberries for pies and though I always felt safe, it could be dangerous. Boots too large, a shirt and pants twice my size my mother and aunt by my side standing ready to hoe the copperheads & rattlesnakes that also love the dewberries.
Other than the rushing Brazos, the farm was calm a peaceful place where we laughed, ate and danced.
There were places with juke boxes and or live bands where people would go to dance and drink. My aunts, my mother and I would go and dance. Laugh with each other and of course dance. Dancing was a part of our life, my life the life of our family. In the city there was always Saturday night when I would help my mother get dressed before she went out to dance with my aunts, but at the farm I was allowed in that world. I knew the steps to the dances because I danced with my mother daily. As she would dress for work, she would play records and we would dance. It was our time our history and would continue until she was no longer dancing. I continue my dance and she is always by my side. When do you light the fire and when do you drink the wine? The dancing is always there.

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