Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Make it Super Simple with G. Garvin

You may have seen one of his guest appearances on late night TV, or caught his show, Turn Up the Heat, on TVOne. He also owns his own restaurant, touts a line of spices and has authored two books. My sweetie pie bought Make it Super Simple with G. Garvin for my Valentine’s Day gift, because “it looked good, and the recipes sounded like the kind of stuff I like you to cook for me.”

I can appreciate ulterior motives, so this weekend I dove into Make it Super Simple with a vengeance.

The first recipe I tried was the easy seafood jambalaya. I had a lot of fun picking out the freshest seafood I could find this time of year and took great pleasure smelling the beautiful seafood notes steaming out of a pot on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the taste of the dish. From a guy with his own spice line, you’d expect a more kicked-up flavor. This dish didn’t deliver. It was beautiful, it smelled great, but it was lacking some essential ingredient to really bring out the flavor of the clams, mussels, salmon, scallops and sea bass. I added red pepper and some salt, and the leftovers were eaten, but I’ll keep my eyes out for a better seafood gumbo.

The next recipe I tried made up for the seafood debacle two-fold. Garvin’s raisin and pecan bread pudding put a smile on everyone’s face that ate it…and there were many of us. This simple, gorgeous bread pudding was perfect, with several small alterations. The pictures do it no justice.

I have wonderful memories of my mom’s bread pudding, dunked in milk, and will no doubt prepare this for her during her next visit. Warm, dense pudding with the crunch of pecans and sweetness of raisins was perfect on our Sunday brunch menu. I took his suggestion of adding a caramel sauce glaze, but opted out of the fruit compote topping. The flavors were satisfying without it.

And yet, there was a third. You could say we saved the best for last. You know how Sunday nights can be bittersweet? The promise of the work week looms over your head? Our weekly let down was diminished with macaroni and cheese with truffle oil and prosciutto. I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to use the truffle oil I purchased last week at the Pike Place Market in Seattle – this weekend I found it. With the subtle earthiness of the truffle oil, the prosciutto provided a perfect saltiness, which in turn complements the creamy mixture of cheese, cream and onions. This dish could stand on its own, but I served it with Garvin’s lamb chop recipe, a perfect, mild tasting chop that lent a nice mild base to the rich macaroni dish.

And no, I did not include a green vegetable. It’s Sunday night! I’m trying to put us in a good mood for the week, remember? I’ll save green veggies for a Friday.

The lesson I learned- don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch. I’m glad the seafood gumbo recipe didn’t deter me from digging into Garvin’s other masterpieces; we would have missed out on some big flavors this weekend.

Pecan and Raisin Bread Pudding, adapted from Make it Super Simple with G. Garvin:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 package of mini potato rolls (package of 24)
1 cup raisins, soaked in water for approx. 20 minutes and drained
1 cup pecans
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 can, 14 oz. condensed sweetened milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
Pinch ground nutmeg
Caramel sauce (I purchase a bottle)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
Cut rolls in half, set bottoms of rolls in pan. Sprinkle bottoms with half of the raisins and pecans
Beat eggs well. Stir in milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream, vanilla, mix well.
Stir in sugar and nutmeg until sugar is dissolved. Pour half of this mixture over the contents in the baking pan.
Put tops of rolls in pan (on top of the roll bottoms, raisins, pecans and liquid. Put remaining raisins, pecans and liquid over top.
Bake approx. 30 minutes or until pudding springs back when touched.
Drizzle the pudding with caramel sauce.


Julia & Tyler said...

It was a little dry, mostly because I overcooked it for fear of having undercooked chicken. It was still good though!

rblake said...

that bread pudd'n was yummy......