I'll confess, some of the items we had served up for the New Year's Eve dinner at the House of BBQDude (pictured here) aren't obvious from the summary descriptions. In fact, the quote above came from one of the guests we had invited to dinner. So, I'd like to expound on some of the items we had served. Over at IndirectHeat, there will be detailed posts on a few more items. Between the two blogs, you should be able to piece together the flavors of the evening.
The bacon and cheese dish deserves further explanation. First of all, we had baked fresh no knead bread for the dish. Slabs of those were cut out, and then we put on it broiled slices of bacon. But we had two different kinds of bacon around: a home cured pork belly bacon prepared by BBQDude (they go through a lot of bacon in the Dude household), and some buckboard bacon I brought back from New Orleans from Cochon Butcher. Buckboard bacon is prepared from the shoulder instead of the belly, and this bacon was intensely smokey. We thus prepared two versions per guest, so we can compare them. The bacon was then topped with Raclette cheese, and broiled, further intensifying the smokiness. So, to counteract the fattiness, we added pieces of fresh shiso leaves, a Japanese herb sort of a cross between basil and mint. Crunchy, porky, smoky, the pair was delicious. Reviews were mixed, with some preferring one over the other, but most agreed that it's just a matter of preference.
Sambal oelek is an Indonesian chile spice paste. And goes well with the mint on roasted Brussels sprouts.
The Sichuan seasoning salt consisted of toasted Sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, ground in a mortar with kosher salt, and then seasoned with micro planed lime peel. Chicken livers were breaded in panko bread crumbs, and deep fried, before being seasoned with the salt while hot. The sweet tart flavor of the rhubarb mustard sauce was a good complement, and left a nice tingly sensation from the Sichuan peppercorns. Even avowed liver haters liked this dish. But deep frying is always a great way to cheat.
I'll have separate posts coming up about the savory huilacoche cheesecake, and the salhep ice cream. Stand by.