Thursday, March 8, 2007

Cooking with Soulive

Just was on IM with my old friend Alan Evans from Soulive. He's up in Woodstock mixing an album that he recorded at the country house in VT. Talking with him brought me back about a year to March of '06, when we dragged all their gear up to the very same farm house to record some demos. My role was to help record and to cook meals, two tasks which I excel at.

Those boys just finished work on their next record, and Al IM'ed over some of the tracks, which dare I say absolutely crush. As I commented to him, they sound so much better than the last record, Breakout. While I'd love nothing more than to slap a couple of the tracks up here for you to hear, you're just gonna hafta take my word for it, and check them out for yourself when the album drops.

Meantime, to sate your appetites, I'll put a recipe up on the old blog here. I made a bunch of stuff for us while we were up there in VT, and here's one. Its a simple appetizer that you can throw together last minute, should you be so inclined.

Stuffed Hot Peppers

In the summer, I'll make these on the grill, but during the winter, you can simplify or complicate the recipe. I prefer making them in July and August when the Greenmarket hits it's peak. Check out Ted Belew's stand on the north side of Union Square. His wife grows about 250 varieties of hot peppers in Hunterden County, NJ, and by mid July, his stand practically glows from the colors and the heat. Let's pretend it's July and we'll drop in on Ted. Since he also raises organically fed hogs, you can grab your peppers and some of your filling at the same spot. Then pop over to Coach Farm and pick up some goat cheese. If the artesian cheese people are there, you can check out their products too.

1 strip Maple Smoked Bacon - I like thick cut
1 Sweet Italian Sausage
Assortment of Hot Peppers (I like to use some Anaheims, which are pretty mellow, some jalapenos (because people know them), and then some brown and red Habeneros for real heat. Your best bet is to ask the farmer's opinion on heat and taste - that's the beauty of the Greenmarket.)
2-4 oz of herbed goat cheese (if you can only find plain, herbed is simple enough to make - see below)
2-4 oz of another favorite cheese.

Start by cleaning the peppers. Give them a quick rinse, and blot dry. Slice the tops off and slice them in half. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. *VERY IMPORTANT* If your using any hot peppers, even Jalapenos, wear gloves, and never touch your face or eyes. Seriously.

Once cleaned, brush them with a bit of olive oil and toss them on the grill over medium low heat. You can also put them on a cookie sheet in the oven at about 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile, cook up the bacon and sausage on the stove top. Once that's done, cut up both into bite sized strips that will fit in side your pepper halves. Take the grilled peppers halves, fill them with a bacon or sausage slice and top with a schmear of the goat cheese or a strip of the harder cheese. I'll usually pop the non goat cheese ones back under the broiler for a bit to melt the cheese. Then you're done.

Herbed goat cheese:

8 oz of goat cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
chopped chives
chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Leave the cheese out until it reaches room temp. Mix the cheese with the other ingredients. Herbed goat cheese. Done.

I love how the cool smoothness of the goat cheese contrasts with the heat of the peppers. The subtlety of the sweet meats works perfectly with the savory as well. Enjoy.

And Stay Gold.

No comments: