Monthly Archives: June 2008

1,000 Visits

I have to thank everyone who has visited and who still looks at the blog.  In less than two months the blog has received over 1,000 visits.  I know that a lot has to do with friends and family (thank you again), but many of the visits have been to those of you out there who not only enjoy but are as passionate about food and cooking as I am.  I know this may seem insignificant, but to think that in less than 60 days more than 1,000 people have read my ideas and thoughts is not only meaningful but inspirational.  Thank you again.

— matt bolus

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Summer Storm

I love a good thunder storm. I am not talking about the kind where you feel as if you should sit it out in a bath tub or closet. I am referring to the kind that produces great amounts of rain (good for the garden of course) along with easy rumbles of thunder and the occasional flash of lightning. Here is Charleston we get to experience this often enough to still make it enjoyable. Below are two pictures I took in a matter of 5 minutes while still sitting on the front porch. The first is during the rain the second is after. The pictures are from the same point and show the copious amounts of rain that fell in a matter of minutes.RainAfter

— matt bolus

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Ideas In Food Dinner

Kelly and I are off to the Ideas In Food dinner being held at McCrady’s restaurant here in Charleston. For those of you who love food you have to check out their site I have a link posted on the right hand side of the page. They being Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot are both chefs and have been doing a blog about all of their ideas and adventures for quite some time now. It is a place for all of us to learn and to gain inspiration from. Today we finally get to experience the real thing, no more reading and imagining. Together with chef Sean Brock there is no telling what we are about to eat. The only certainty in this dinner is delightful perfection.

— matt bolus

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New Smoker

Kelly and I purchased a vertical smoker for the house today. I have, of course, already put it together and started seasoning it. We also purchased some beautiful fresh Carolina trout and line caught salmon to smoke in it. To me there are few better things in life for breakfast than smoked wild salmon on a bagel, it must be me remembering my days working for Dave Blagden at Blagden’s fishmongers in London. It is because of him that I experienced smoked wild salmon and love it so. He is a man I wish all of you could meet. If you are ever in London, England I encourage you to visit him at the James Knight of Mayfair fishmongers in the Selfridges on Oxford Street.

— matt bolus

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Benton’s Berkshire Country Ham

Two slices of Benton\'s Berkshire hamI woke up this morning with a desire for a country ham breakfast (I know this sounds crazy, I mean how much pork can one person consume, a lot). So I broke into the fridge and found a pack of Benton’s Berkshire country ham. I looked back at my notes from visiting Allan and quickly made a pot of coffee. While waiting for the pot of joe to brew I marveled in the perfection that sat in front of me. Simply sliced would have been wonderful and more than anyone else may have needed. I remembered Allan telling me how hard it was, but that he was finding pasture raised organic Berkshire hogs to make many of his hams from. He also added a statement as to how much it was costing him and the fact that he charges no more for the Berkshire hams than he does from his regular hams. This is not to say that his regular hams are to be avoided, those are produced from the best pasture raised hogs of various breeds that he can find, and they are fantastic. The Berkshire hams though, in my opinion, are something to covet, and a way for everyone to experience what you will pay a high price for in most places for the same price as a regular country ham. Once the coffee was finished brewing I quickly poured myself a cup (Kelly was not up yet before you get mad) and then poured roughly 1/3 cup into a large skillet. Then I added two tablespoons of brown sugar (according to the advice Allan gave me) to the pan, turned the stove onto medium high heat and allowed the sugar to completely dissolve. Then I added the ham. Two beautiful pieces of ham, laying opposite ways of each other, filled the house with the wonderful aroma that only country ham cooking in freshly brewed coffee can (Kelly quickly got out of bed). When the ham was done cooking I quickly wrapped it in aluminum foil and added a tablespoon of floor to the liquid. Stirring with vigor I watched as this deeply flavored liquid thickened into an unbelievably rich red eye gravy. Sauteing some eggs and toasting bread at the same time we could hardly wait. Breakfast of Benton’s ham, eggs, and toast with apricot jelly was served and devoured quickly. So quickly in fact that the cup of coffee I had poured for myself turned cold before I even touched it. Oh well, it was worth it.

–matt bolus

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A Craving

Laying in bed at about 1:00 in the morning Kelly and I both realized that neither of us could sleep because we were both hungry. Our daily plans and routine had taken us long into the night and by the time we realized what time it was neither of us felt like cooking (I know it is hard to believe that a chef does not want to cook but you would be amazed at what chefs really eat when they are at home) so we simply grabbed some garbage out of the freezer believing this would solve the problem. Well, back to laying in bed, we soon figured out that this was not the case. Both of us also had the same thought in mind, grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon, Benton’s bacon to be exact. So I got out of bed and proceeded to make two of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had (o.k. so chefs do love to cook at any time, some times we just have to be inspired). I started by cooking off three slices of the most perfect bacon ever made (again a reference to Benton’s, if you have not visited the site by now hopefully this will make you want to go). I then caramelized some red onion slices in the rendered bacon fat. From there I toasted the bread in a mixture of the bacon fat and butter melting the cheese on the hot slices of toast. Finally assembling the sanwiches and giving them a final heating in the pan (again with any remaining bacon fat). Sliced and eaten both of us slept soundly the night through.

–matt bolus

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Basil

Green and Purple BasilJust a quick look at our basil plants in the garden. The green is just a store bought plant (Lowes or Home Depot, I don’t remember) and the purple came from my Aero Garden. I planted them together to see how they would do and if there would be any change from cross pollination. I haven’t seen anything as of yet. None the less it makes for a beautiful look to the garden.

What is interesting though, is when you look at the purple basil leaves up close. Kelly showed this to me in a picture she took. All the purple leaves have a bright green edge.

Green edge of purple basil leaf

–matt bolus

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