Frank Stitt, Pea Cakes + a parenting tip
One particularly frustrating weekend morning I was trying to plan our weekly menu & get a grocery list together because Bud had sweetly offered to do the shopping. Truett ran out of the room and came back in lugging one of my (now) most beloved cookbooks.
Before I left Birmingham, my girlfriend Kelley gave me a Frank Stitt cookbook. He is arguably the most famous chef in Birmingham, and I slid into one of his restaurants once before we left :) It was indeed delicious, but I'd been a little intimidated by his cookbook and so had merely drooled over the gorgeous pictures and recipes, until Truett's idea. He flipped to a recipe for Beef Shank & Vegetable soup and I was all, why the hell not? I'll admit, it was complicated, but not overly difficult. Frank Stitt's recipes are marked mainly by French + Southern American influences and so you'll see everything from a simple cornbread to a recipe calling for black truffle (yes, one of True's other choices).
(Kelley & I once had the good fortune to see Frank Stitt in person at the farmers market and taste a yummy - though a bit salty if memory serves - gazpacho in small paper cup samples :)
So far I've attempted: the above soup, guinea hen breasts with old fashioned onion sauce and truffles (we substituted truffle oil + used a small chicken instead of guinea. By the way, that onion sauce blows most sauces out of the water) and most recently, pea cakes.
The pea cakes were simple but you do want to make a pone of cornbread ahead of time unless you want to feel stuck in the kitchen forever. I made it the day before and then just shoved it into the microwave until I was ready to use some for crumbling. If you wanted to go really easy, you could probably substitute bread crumbs, but you would end up with a different flavor.
Not only did Truett's suggestion bump me out of my cooking comfort zone, it's also been such a fun way to involve him in the kitchen. Of course when I'm sweating and pushing a lock of hair out of my eyes he's usually run off outside with some trucks, but he does enjoy cracking the eggs, pouring the milk and stirring some of the ingredients together.
The pea cakes aren't glamorous, but if you eat them right out of the pan they are delicious and crispy around the edges. Sadly, we did not. The roast chicken wasn't entirely done so we fed the kids leftovers and ate later. Cold pea cakes = tasty, but not nearly as good.
I'd highly suggest some form of this recipe roulette. Whether you have kids or don't - just open a recipe book and throw a dart - it's such fun!