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Saturday, January 14, 2012

“Breakfast Spectacular, Pt. VII: ‘Granny Hall’s World-Famous Fried Cornmeal Mush with Whipped Butter—an Old-Time Favorite Dish’ by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall”

Our new band for the next few days is an old acid band from Los Angeles, CA, the short-lived but great Pacific Gas and Electric.  Their sixth-and-final album, “Live and Kickin’ at Lexington” was released in 2007 and is a classic album that we believe you will enjoy.  We love it and think you will, too, so go out and buy it by using the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and get it now! You won’t be disappointed!  Tomorrow, we begin offering the Byrds. Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.



                                                                                 

Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 342 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                                                      
                                                           STINKBUG 2012

                                                                                

Chef James “Jimmy” Hall

END Commentary 01-15-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,888.



CULINARY POLITICS



ELEMENTALNEWSOFTHEDAY.BLOGSPOT.COM-STINKBUG—THE HEADLINES

Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Sunday, January 15, 2012 by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall

BREAKFAST SPECTACULAR, PART VII

Breakfast Spectacular, Pt. VII: ‘Granny Hall’s World-Famous Fried Cornmeal Mush with Whipped Butter—an Old-Time Favorite Dish’ by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall



Bakersfield, CA, 01-15-2012 Su: Today is our final day and I am going to print the recipe for whipped butter one more time so you’ll have it in your books.  But first, we’re going to make an old dish that hails from the American South: Fried Cornmeal Mush.  Cornmeal mush is sort of like grits but when formed into a cake and then cut into slices and fried, it takes on a brand-new life of its own and is remarkably good when paired with maple syrup, butter, and sugar.  People will say, “What the heck is cornmeal mush?” All I can say is that my Grandmother, Betty Hall, used to whip it up in the kitchen when I was a kid.  She lived in Shafter, California, and north of Bakersfield and when we would go visit her, she’d fix us breakfast in the morning and this was one of her favorite dishes to make.  I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for this dish and believe that you will, too, in this day and age of rediscovery and reinvention of old-time dishes from our cultural heritage.  Sure, maybe it won’t ever make it onto a breakfast menu outside the South but if it did and people gave it a try, they’d find out that it was very good.

            The good thing about cornmeal mush is that it can be coupled with all sorts of good things just as pancakes can such as piling on strawberries and whipped cream, hot cinnamon apples, or whatever your mind can come up with.  That’s the key to becoming a professional chef—creativity—as well as courage because sometimes it takes a brave man or woman to say, I’m going to put something on the menu that everybody is going to scoff at—until they’ve tried it.  Offer some freebies and see what happens, I can bet you that once they’ve had the first bite and swallowed it, they’ll become converts.  Heck, who knows? Maybe even fast food franchises will start serving Granny Hall’s famed cornmeal mush? That would be quite a memorial for her name, I assure you.  Yes, I’m laughing out loud! Here’s the recipe:

FRIED CORNMEAL MUSH





Yield:  4-6 servings / Mis-en-place: about 3 hours:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
The Mush:
5.5
Cups
Cold water

2
Teaspoons
Kosher salt

2
Tablespoons
Granulated sugar

2
Cups
Yellow cornmeal (or blue if you wish)

2
Cups
Cold water

2
Teaspoons
Vanilla extract

The Cooking Mode:
1
Cup
Vegetable oil

The Finish:
2
Cups
Maple syrup

Powdered sugar

Whipped butter

1
Large
Orange, sliced

Fresh parsley sprigs




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! Place the first measure of cold water in a large heavy-duty saucepot with a thick bottom and place it over a medium flame.  Add the salt and sugar to it and bring it a boil. 

2.      Using the electric mixer, combine the yellow cornmeal and the second measure of water together using a paddle attachment.  Add the vanilla as you rotate the paddle and when all is combined, stop. 

3.      Prepare a square baking dish by spraying it with PAM or some such other food release spray and set it aside.  As soon as the water in the saucepot is boiling, begin whisking the contents of the mixer into it. 

4.      Continue whisking the cornmeal mixture until it has thickened and when it has, drop the flame to as low as possible and allow it to cook.  Stir it occasionally with a spoon and keep it there for 20-25 minutes.  If there’s any concern that it might burn, place it into a water bath and turn the heat up so that the water’s boiling.  In effect, you’re cooking a bread of sorts and it has to develop its flavor and its strength.

5.      When time’s up, scoop the mixture into the baking dish and cover it with a piece of wax paper sprayed with PAM—sprayed side DOWN atop the mush—and then place inside your refrigerator.  Allow it to set up and get chilled—about two hours—and then bring it out.

6.      Place a large skillet onto the stovetop and heat it up over a moderate flame.  Spray the cooking surface with PAM and add the oil to it, bit-by-bit, because you’ll have to cook the mush in several batches.  De-pan the cornmeal mush by flipping it upside down onto a cutting board and then slice it into squares.

7.      When the oil’s heated up, begin cooking the squares, a few at a time, until the squares are golden-brown on BOTH sides. Transfer them to a sheet pan lined with paper towels and pop inside a preheated standard oven set at 300°F.  Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and hold there, with the door slightly ajar, until all are cooked.

8.      To serve your cornmeal mush, place 2-3 squares on 4-6 individual serving plates and dust with powdered sugar.  Scoop a couple of 1-ounce balls of whipped butter using an ice cream scoop and place a ramekin of hot maple syrup alongside each.  Finally, place an orange slice with a parsley sprig shoved through its center on one side of each plate and your fried yellow cornmeal mush is now ready to go!

This is an old recipe that my grandmother taught me long ago and it’s one that I’ve used a few times in my professional life.  Yellow cornmeal mush seems like food that the low income enjoys because they can’t afford better-quality foods but let me tell you: it’s a delicious dish in its own right and one that everyone should try at least once or twice in their lifetime.  Its origins are from the Deep South where, it’s considered to be a classic dish.  Give it a shot; you’ll see how good it is!

Okay, I’m going to give you a treat since we’ve been using it each and every day: this is the formula for Whipped Butter ala the old restaurant way…

WHIPPED BUTTER





Yield:  about 1.25 # / Mis-en-place: 20 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1
#
Salted butter
Softened
1
Teaspoon
Kosher salt

.125
Cup
Whole milk

Crushed ice




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work!

2.      Using an electric mixer equipped with a paddle attachment beat the softened butter with the kosher salt until light and airy.  As you do so, gradually add the milk until it’s been incorporated.

3.      Now, for the trick: in the old days of foodservice, like the mid-1970’s all the way back, chefs always added a little bit of CRUSHED ICE to the mix as they beat the butter.  For a pound, it won’t take much but this is what you do: as you’re beating the butter, be sure to lift the bottom of the mixing bowl so that the paddle scrapes the bottom and the sides.  As it continues to rotate at medium-high speed, add a tablespoon of crushed ice at a time until the butter has almost doubled in size and is super-light and fluffy.  Don’t overdo it but add enough to increase its volume.

4.      When it’s where we want it, place it into a pastry bag equipped with a star tip or using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop, scoop it into balls and accompany your hot cakes, waffles, and French toast or your hot buns and muffins with it.

5.      If you have leftovers, refrigerate them and always be sure to wrap it up airtight in order to keep the flavors of the refrigerator out of it.  You’ll have to re-whip it the next day and after two days, melt it and use it for cooking or discard it.

This is the time-honored way of whipping butter.  It’s a little bit deceptive by legal standards but it’s a heck of a product.

---------------------------------------------

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this as it’s a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will hopefully become dedicated followers of the END.  In this day and age of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession are heard—join us. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Our week has come to an end and now I must go on vacation once again while I return to my work in Santa Barbara.  I must say that I am somewhat disappointed by the number of folks who have criticized my views on illegal immigration and all I can say is that when I want to become a Mexican, I will move to Mexico.  El Chilote is in total agreement with me as I spoke to him the other day.  We both think that the time has come to stop the influx of illegals into the United States as otherwise; we need to create the North American Union if that’s the direction we’re going.  I’m certain that come November, things will change for the best because if they don’t, the country is done for.  Remember: we’re Americans first before we’re anything else and I am not ready to submit to a foreign power.  Please educate yourselves on this topic.  Anyhow—all we ask of you, dear readers, is that you please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Tomorrow: Vladimir Gdansk will take over so please give him an enormous welcome! Bye!    

Thank you!

Jimmy Hall

James Hall

Cook III, CWC, ACF, CA273 Santa Barbara ACF chapter and HI033 Maui Chef’s and Cook’s Association

______________________________________________________________________

This is me as a chef during the 1980's when we took a group photograph for a Chefs de Cuisine yearbook. At the time, I was working at a hotel in Bakersfield, CA, down on Union Avenue. It was still somewhat nice and the area was still the original "restaurant row" of the city. Now, I am in my sixties and am working over in Santa Barbara, CA, as a food and beverage director for a country club.

---30---

END Commentary for Sunday, January 15, 2012 by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall.



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Chef James “Jimmy” Hall



Recipe created by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall on August 18, 1972 in Bakersfield, CA.

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This is #1344 a 6” x 8" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Sand and Surf." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

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