Friday, May 1, 2015

FoodEx! What will it be?

We have received some awesome feedback and many words of encouragement about all of the plans we discussed a couple of weeks ago.  We have also received many questions, so we will answer as many of them as we can in a post dedicated to each new phase.  We will be starting with the food truck: FoodEx.

Where did the name come from?
Well, we were discussing names and we wanted to include the word "food" and our current tagline is "an edible experience" (also the name of this blog), so we shortened it to FoodEx.  We like the fact that the "Ex" represents "experience", "excitement" and "express", three things that we hope to bring to the community.

What type of food will you be serving?
As you know, we are huge proponents of seasonal and local.  We will do out best to prepare foods that are seasonal and use the best and closest to the Big Country ingredients.  Once we have our gardens, greenhouses and Farmers Market (Emerald Farms, more on it in a future post) up and running, seasonal and local gets a lot easier. :-)

Okay, seasonal and local, but what are some examples?
That is a harder question to answer, because we create what we like to eat.  We will always be bringing new dishes to the truck.  This includes Thai, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, Indian, Italian, German and on and on.  We will also be doing our own interpretations of classic dishes and fun and exciting new creations.

Okay, okay...just give me some specifics?
Well, you will see some of the following:

Tom Kha Kai (Chicken Coconut Soup: Thai)
Pho (Vietnamese)
Homemade Tomato Soup
Chicken and Dumplings
Handmade Buttermilk Biscuits with Gravy and Bacon
Fresh Salads
Paninos and other fresh sandwiches
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Chicken Salad
And on and on and on....

We are striving to only have one or two offerings each time we go out.  We want to focus on providing you the best quality product, at a fair price.  Plus, there will always be something new to try.  We all have to eat to survive, let's make it fun to eat!!

Where and when will you be rolling?
We hope to be up and running in the next 90 days.  The initial trailer is being built and then we will finish it out.

We want to focus on lunch.  Our goal is to roll a couple of times a week for lunch. We will be doing brunch a couple of Saturdays a month and some exciting monthly events in the evening at cordell's. We have already had many people volunteer locations and we are excited about them.  We are always looking for additional locations as well, so if you have one, give us a shout.  Our goal is to be accessible, quick, healthy and flavorful.    

Will you do private events or caterings?
Yes, of course.  We are all about bringing people together with food.  Sharing a meal together breaks down so many barriers and creates friendships and relationships on an intimate level.  We want to connect our community through food.  We would love the opportunity to work with you to put together a fun and relaxing event or party. It will be a blast!  

So, as you can see, we are excited about what is to come.  We cannot wait to get rolling and to start creating experiences and new relationships.  We thank you so much for your awesome support already and we look forward to continuing to earn your business and friendship.

That is all for now, more to come later...


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Where are we headed next...?

What's new with cordell’s?  

First of all, we apologize for not posting to this blog for two years.  We got busy with other projects (including physically building our home, with the help of some awesome friends and family, especially one superman friend and one studly father) and forgot to keep up with our posting.  Well, that is about to change.  Not only are we providing an update and a vision for where we are headed, we are also re-launching the blog.  We hope to make a blog post weekly.  We are not making any promises, but we do not plan to have another two years between posts. J

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about why you are here.  Odds are, you saw our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post about new and exciting things or you just happened to stumble onto here, either way, we are glad you are here.  We will outline the new and exciting things below, but first, a little history.  We have spent the past 15+ years (25+ for Jason) planning, dreaming and hoping for the cordell’s vision to come to life.  In 2011, the first phase of that dream became a reality when cordell’s officially opened.  Since that day, we have been planning the next phases, phases 2-6.  We believed we had them in the proper order, but over the past year or so, we felt like we were being led to do things in a different order.  So, we have done that, we have changed the order.  We believe that God is leading us to the same goals, just in His order, not ours.  That being said, here is the new order:

Phase 1b – Acquire Land – We have been blessed to purchase 11.11 acres of land on Highway 89, half way between Abilene and Buffalo Gap.  This land backs up to the creek and has a working water well, which will become important when we discuss phase 3.  This land will be the future site of many new things for cordell’s.   

Phase 2 – Start a Food Truck – We are in the process of building out our new food trailer and hope to have it up and running in the next 90-120 days.  We already perform private parties and cooking classes, but this new trailer will give us the ability to sell to the public and still do the private work.  We are excited about the menu and hope you will like it.  We are calling it FoodEx.  It is short for Food Experience, Food Express and Food Excitement.  We will have the same standards for the food on the trailer as we do for the store. 

Phase 3 – Gardens and Greenhouses – We are looking forward to getting our gardens, greenhouses and orchards up and running on the new land.  We will also have a small Farmers Market on site for the selling of the produce.  We will use the produce on the food trailer, in future classes and will sell to local chefs and restaurants.  We will call it Emerald Farms.  All of the money raised will go towards an organization we are creating and hope to turn into a non-profit someday.

Phase 4 – Thrive – We will discuss this organization more in its own post.  We are forming a board of directors and hope to take it non-profit at some point.  More to come…

 Phase 5 – the Green Door – This is our flagship restaurant.  We will focus on seasonality and local as much as possible.  We will have a prefix menu with one seating.  Whether dining in our new Texas Farmhouse or outside in our landscaped gardens, it will be a wonderful evening.  It will take a couple of years to complete this phase.  However, it will be worth the wait.

Phase 6 – Flagship cordell’s – This is the final phase for now.  At some point we will build a new cordell’s on our new land and will expand its offerings.  We will add more activities, products and lunches to its already large product offerings.  As with phase 5, it will take a few years to reach this phase.

As you can see, we have big plans.  We believe that this is what we have been created to do.  Even though it seems very daunting and scary sometimes, we keep moving forward.  We are trying to not lean on our own understandings and to trust.  We appreciate your prayers and your support.  More to come as we make more decisions.

Until next time, Ciao!

Jason and Joy

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The 20lb Bird - An Amazing Roasted Turkey, Part 2

Part 1

The Brine!

Making a brine is really easy and brings a ton of flavor and moisture to the 'ol bird.  I brine my turkeys overnight and take them out around 7:00am the next morning.  Here we go:

1 cup Honey Ginger White Balsamic
4 cups water
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups sea salt
3 tablespoons tellicherry peppercorns, whole
4 whole bay leaves
5 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 tablespoons green onion, chopped
2 limes, peeled and juiced
2 oranges, peeled and juiced

Place everything into a pot large enough to hold everything and set it over high heat.  As soon as it comes to a boil, shut off the heat and let it cool.  That was easy!

Once the liquid is cool, place a small layer of ice in an ice chest or something else able to hold water with a lid.  Place the bird on top of the ice and pour the brine onto the bird.  Add additional water, around 2 gallons, until the bird is covered fully with liquid.  At this point, I toss in another 1/2 cup of salt.  Now, add more ice.  Be sure to add enough ice to fully cover the bird.  Close the lid and let it rest.  Double check it before you go to bed and add more ice if necessary.

The next morning, fill a sink or other container with fresh water.  Carefully remove the bird from the brine, let it drain and then place it in the fresh water.  Allow the bird to soak for about 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry.  Place it in your roasting pan and allow it to rest for another 10-15 minutes.

Next, Part 3 - putting it all together and roasting it up....

Go dtí an chéad uair eile ("until next time" - in Irish),

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The 20lb Bird - An Amazing Roasted Turkey, Part 1

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the Christmas holidays are now in full swing.  So, you might still need to cook an amazing turkey for the holidays.  Well, we've got you covered.  This year I created a new recipe for our Thanksgiving bird.  It weighed 20lbs and I wanted to make sure that it did not become dry and tough, so that required a new recipe.  I have brined turkeys many times, I have basted turkeys, I have stuffed turkeys with aromatics and I have made compound butter for turkeys in the past.  So, I wanted to do something different this year.  Therefore, I did all four.

Now, because I do not always plan ahead when it comes to photographs, I do not have photos of everything.  However, I do have step by step instructions that you can follow, and they are very easy.  I am basing all of my measurements on the average 12lb - 14lb pound turkey. You can easily adjust  up or down, depending on the size of your bird.

Step One - the clarified butter spread

Do not be intimidated by the name, clarified butter is super easy to make.  However, if you do not want to make it, you can probably find Indian Ghee at your local grocery store in the butter section and it works just as well and you can skip the clarifying steps below.  Also, if you want to use butter and not clarify it, you can do that as well, just skip the clarifying steps below.

2 sticks (8 oz.) butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons salt  - a quality sea salt is great
1 tablespoon pepper (ground) - Tellicherry Peppercorns are awesome

1. Place 8 ounces of unsalted butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  As the butter melts, it will start to separate.  Monitor it closely, we do not want it to burn or darken too fast.  If it is, lower the heat.  Once the butter is fully melted, skim away the white foam on the surface.  This is the milk solids.  Save them, we will use them later.  The clear, yellowy liquid is the fat we want to use.  Do not worry if you are not able to get 100% of the white solids, it is fine.  Now, gently pour the skimmed yellowy liquid into another sauce pan.  You will notice that there are some solids in the bottom of your sauce pan, try and not pour them into your new pan.  Once this is done, add your milk solids back to the original pan and place it over low - medium heat and let it slowly darken.  Once it is a nice brown color, turn of the heat and place the liquid in a container to cool, before putting it in the refrigerator.

2. The yellowy, skimmed liquid we placed in the other pan, is the butterfat, minus the milk solids.  This is what we are going to flavor. Place the pan over low-medium heat and add the following; garlic, garam masala, ginger, green onion, salt and pepper.  Allow the mixture to heat for 10 minutes and then remove it from the heat. Pour it into a container and allow it to cool before placing it in the refrigerator.  

This butter can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until it is needed.

Up next, Part 2 - how to make the brine and how to brine the turkey....


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TSTC Culinary Institute Restaurant

I promised that I would provide information on our dinner at the TSTC Culinary Institute Restaurant over two weeks ago and have failed to fulfill my promise.  You too can enjoy this experience while it last, it is over next Wednesday, by going to this link and making a reservation.  It is a great time with great food and it gives the students invaluable experience.  

Our Dinner: 
[Not pictured is the Moroccan Chicken sauteed with Apricots and Olives, served on a bed of Pearled Couscous with Green Beans and Carrots.  I think we ate it too fast to take a photo. :-)]  

Corn Chowder with Smokey Bacon & Red 
Potatoes, topped with Chipotle Crusted Tobacco Onions.

Avocado, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Red Onion 
and Butter Bibb Lettuce, topped with  
Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.

Filet Mignon au Poivre with Brandy Pan Sauce,
Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and Haricot Verts.
Ginger Creme Brulee.
Chocolate Pot de Creme.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A little bit of chicken fried...

The other night we had a little chicken fried venison.  We also had rosemary potatoes, glazed carrots, caramelized onions, pan gravy and tomato and avocado salad.  For this post, I am going to focus on the chicken fried venison.  In later posts, I will address the sides.  

What is chicken fried?  Amazing goodness, that's what it is!  Take a meat, bread it, fry it and enjoy.  It is most associated with chicken, but you can bread and fry anything.  Trust me, have you been to the State Fair lately.  

The great thing about chicken fried "insert meat here" is that it is not fussy.  Just plain good.  So, how do I make chicken fried venison you ask.  Here's how:

1.5lbs venison cube steak - cut into equal portions 
3 cups flour
2 eggs
4Tb roasted garlic pieces
2Tb salt
2Tb fresh cracked pepper
2Tb smoked paprika
1Tb dried thyme
1 cup buttermilk
Olive Oil

Place the steaks in a shallow container and cover with the buttermilk. Allow the steaks to soak for 10 - 15 minutes.  While the steaks are soaking, place 2 cups of the flour in a shallow container and mix in the roasted garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme.  You can use a fork to stir it all together and make sure it is evenly distributed throughout the flour.  In another dish, crack both eggs and whisk them together.  In one more dish, place the remaining cup of flour.  

Get ready to have some fun.  

Pour the olive oil into a skillet to a depth of around 1/4".  Place the skillet on a medium high burner and heat the oil.  Once the oil is hot enough to fry, it is time to begin the process.  Remove the steak from the buttermilk and remove the excess buttermilk from the steak.  You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your steaks.  Place the steak in the unseasoned flour and coat all sides.  Make sure to knock off any excess flour and then place it in the egg.  Coat all the sides with egg.  Remove the excess egg and place the steak in the seasoned flour. Coat all sides.  Remove the excess flour and place the steak in the heated olive oil.  Allow the first side to brown and then flip the steak to brown the other side.  When both sides are done, remove the steak to a paper towel covered plate to drain.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the still hot steak.  Repeat the previous steps until all of the steak has been fried.

You can make your own roasted garlic or you can buy roasted garlic at cordell's.  If you do not want to use roasted garlic, you can use garlic powder.  However, I prefer the roasted garlic.  

You may find that you need to add additional olive oil to the skillet if you have quite a few pieces to fry.  This is okay, just add more and allow it to heat up and keep frying away.

If you do not have venison or do not want to eat venison, feel free to substitute beef, pork or chicken.  Just follow the same steps and have fun.  

Once your are finished frying, reduce the heat to low and do not throw out the oil.  We will use it to make a really awesome gravy.  That is a later post though.

"And a little bit of chicken fried
A cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up"
 - Zac Brown Band

Road Trip: Brennan Vineyards

A couple of weeks ago, after we closed on a Saturday, we headed down to Comanche to visit Brennan Vineyards.  We were meeting up with some friends who have been there before and they were serving as our unofficial tour guide.

The trip was well worth it. Dr. and Mrs. Brennan were extremely nice and a ton of fun.  They are very laid back and extremely funny.  The wines were great and their Viognier is amazing.  They allow you to taste six wines, plus the wine of the month. 

We had a great time and we encourage everyone to head down to Comanche to see them.  Just not on Mondays, they are closed.  Smart people. :-)  

Until next time....