If writing in all caps is screaming, let me say it this way…I LOVE FOOD! And I am not alone. The public palate supports a gazillion cooking shows. This is nothing new, Julia Child and Graham Kerr, aka The Galloping Gourmet, were successful predecessors to these foodie stars, but Emeril pioneered the way for today’s culinary personalities and made cooking look, well, fun.
All he had to do was look into the camera with those eyebrows that can never be plucked enough and that smirk on his face before he made the crowd crazy mad and hungry with simple words like gahlic and BAM.
Watching Emeril and the stable of culinary stars makes me want to be a better cook the way Renee Zwelleger made Tom Cruise want to be a better man in Jerry McGuire. Consequently I plate food up instead of slopping it on the plate with the precision of a lunchroom lady. I consider the acidic ratio of dishes and try to mimic a lot of the TV chefs. Except Paula Dean. In my family, we don’t die of cancer. We die of heart disease. So, if I was a Paula Dean groupie, I would probably be blogging from an early grave from all that buttah.
Anyway, back to FOOD. Here are two of my favorite things. Last night we ate dinner at Huck’s Lowcountry Table on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina where we have a vacation home. Every time we are lucky enough to dine there, the food is exceptional. I don’t particularly like fish, but I order it most every time and one day I will lick the plate at this charming little seaside eatery as I often threaten to do.
I have had the Cinnamon Rum Brined Niman Ranch Bone in Pork Chop, succotash of fava beans, sweet corn and apple-wood smoked bacon, finished with pimento cheese brulee– the Oysters Rockefeller Ravioli, spinach, bacon and parmesan stuffed ravioli, but nothing compares to their fresh fish daily specials. Last night’s blackened sea bass over farra with lightly sautéed tomatoes, onion, and okra was complemented with a creamy tomato bisque-type sauce and grilled South Carolina peaches. Again, I don’t care much for fish, and it was simply amazing.
If you can’t get yourself down to the Lowcountry, you can go on-line to find my new favorite thing in my own kitchen–fig balsamic creme at Oil and Vinegar. You can literally eat this stuff with a spoon. It is thicker than a regular balsamic, I’m told that’s because it has beet sugar in it, which I’m sure is why it tastes so yummy.
I can’t even describe the taste. It’s not fig, although it’s derived from figs, but it is good over EVERYTHING. Toss it in some baby greens with a smidge of olive oil, grill a little mango or some of those South Carolina peaches and lay over the greens. Drizzle a tad more of the fig stuff to make it pretty, and you will literally stab your neighbor with a butter knife before you let him pick off your plate, which he certainly will.
Sadly, today is my last day on the IOP until September when the folks who rent our house go home. I am going to Oil and Vinegar at Town Center and stock up on fig balsamic creme. And I’m going to Poe’s for lunch on Sullivan’s Island, the absolute best hamburger you will ever put in your mouth and sumptuous fries that are so worth the fat and calories.
Around five o’clock, Mike and I will head down to the beach with our squatty little chairs and stay until seven or so. Then we’ll come back, cook some shrimp that came off the boat this morning and raise our glasses to chefs everywhere who live their art on the daily and make food that’s so good, it makes us wish we had two mouths.