So, last year K’s father and stepmother hosted a Christmas family dinner, which became an instant tradition. It was so good that we gave it an official name, the 1st Annual Clan Gordon English Dinner. It went down as one of my favorite 10 meals of the year, and it was really a huge hit. Well, this year was no different, and we set up on January 1. Prepare to witness the early frontrunner for best meal of 2012, the 2nd Annual Clan Gordon Dinner (New Orleans edition).
There are a lot of photos, so I’ll mainly let them do the talking.
Crab cakes and biscuits mingle before getting cooked.
Crab cakes sizzling. There was much rejoicing.
A well thought out table setting. The hosts had a wine pairing for every dish. Those glasses would not be empty for long (or stay full for long).
These crab cakes were seriously delicious. It was like Baltimore meets New Orleans meets my belly. Ohhh yeeaaaaahh.
Herb biscuits. Every meal needs a good platform.
Duck breasts with a Steen’s cane syrup and molasses glaze.
Sidenote, I ran into Kelly English (he cooks pretty good) recently, and I asked him about Steen’s, and he said it is one of the 4 things that Louisianians take very seriously in terms of food. The other three were boudin, andouille sausage, and white rice. Get some if you haven’t had it before End Sidenote.
This duck ended up being one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. It was sweet and tender, kind of like me.
This spoon bread was made with the home-made andouille sausage that K’s dad made a month earlier. That’s a wholenother (isn’t that such a Southern word) blog post, but basically, K’s dad taught me, K, K’s brothers and their lady friends how to make country pate, andouille, chaurice, and plain ol’ breakfast sausage. It was a total sausage fest (yeah, yeah, I could see that one coming). Back to the spoon bread, it was awesome, and it was definitely cool that it was made with the sausage that we had all made.
Sidenote. In a similar activity, last week the same group got together to turn about 30 pounds of pork belly into various bacons, pancettas, salt porks, and the early stages of some pork confit. That is foreshadowing for a future blog post. End Sidenote.
OK, I started to get really hungry at this point and quit taking photos of all the individual items. On my plate, you see the previously referenced duck, biscuits, and spoon bread. What is new is the black-eyed-peas that were also cooked with the andouille sausage and the turnip greens that were cooked with sausage and ham hock. Greens are my favorite vegetable, and these were as good as any I’ve had.
Here’s another view of the two latecomers.
Here is the chocolate bread pudding that was baking up a storm while we sat at the dinner table. It is hard to get great photos of things that are basically solid colors, so I settled for an action shot with the knife and the bread having a little post-slice conversation.
Here’s the bread pudding with some spiced whipped cream that one of the lovely ladies put together. It just melted right into the hot bread pudding. This was decadence, overkill, and insane, but oh so necessary, and oh so good.
The 1st Annual Clan Gordon Christmas Dinner went down in the books as one of the best meals of 2011, and I can say pretty easily that the first dinner of 2012 is firmly locked in place on the list for 2012. There are few things in life that are as good as a family dinner done right. When done like this, it creates the perfect combination of excellent food, flowing beverages, conversation, comfort, familiarity, and to me, the best part, is the mutual care and affection that is the basis for the whole thing.
The title of this blog is Eat Local Memphis, and all of those words are important to me. Of course, and obviously, I love eating and all the community and fellowship and fun that comes with it. I love local, because I really want to support those that are making this a unique place and that have decided to share their passions, talents, and ultimately take a risk to do that. And I love Memphis. I know some people, maybe even some of you, give it a bad rap some times, but I love this place, and I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else.
Do something cool soon. Invite some friends or some family over for dinner. Have some music, some drinks, and maybe even give them a little job in the kitchen when they get there. It is a good reminder that no matter how many awesome restaurants (a lot) we have, it is important to use your home for some of the festivities! Hell, invite me over if you need an extra to fill out the table and you have a weird desire to have your food photographed and publicly commented on!
PS. Thanks also to Emeril. All the recipes came from one of his cookbooks. I’ll pass on that info when I get it. Ironically, it was a cookbook where he was skinny on the cover.