There's something about fresh-off-the-farm ingredients that makes a meal truly special.
And chef Edward Lee has made that his mantra.
Five years ago, he left New York for the greener pastures of Louisville, Ky., to practice his farm-to-table philosophy, and he opened "610 Magnolia."
He had another challenge Saturday, taking The Early Show up on our challenge of bringing a delicious, three-course meal for four in on a mere $40 budget.
At 610 Magnolia, Lee offers a unique combination of Southern hospitality and urban sophistication, making it one of Louisville's finest dining establishments.
Blue Cheese and Bacon Salad
Summer Brunswick Stew with Braised Chicken
Fresh Strawberry and Tomato Granita
Bibb Lettuce: This butter-head lettuce has delicate, loose leaves and lots of flavor. The only downside is that it's usually expensive for lettuce.
Blue Cheese: Blue cheeses tend to be stronger in flavor and aroma than other cheeses; these characteristics become even stronger as the blue cheeses age.
Brunswick Stew: Brunswick Stew is a traditional dish from the southeastern United States. Recipes vary greatly, but it's usually a tomato-based stew containing various types of lima beans/butter beans, corn, okra, and other vegetables, and one or more types of meat. Most recipes claiming authenticity call for squirrel or rabbit meat, but chicken, pork and beef are also common ingredients. The stew essentially resembles a very thick vegetable soup with meat.
Country Ham: Country ham or Virginia ham is a variety of cured ham from the U.S., associated with the South. It's typically very salty in taste. Country hams are salt- and nitrate-cured for about a month and may be hardwood (usually hickory and red oak) smoked, then aged for several months to a year.
Blue Cheese and Bacon Salad with Bibb Lettuce & Pickled Corn Relish
1 ear corn, kernels removed
4 tomato hearts, diced (reserve the shell for later use)
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
Pinch of sugar
Salt & pepper
6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 teaspoons crumbled bacon
1 cup bibb lettuce
For the Relish:
Add the corn, tomato hearts, cucumber and shallot to a medium sized mixing bowl.
Add the vinegar, mustard seed, cumin, sugar, salt & pepper and toss.
Let stand at room temperature.
The corn relish can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
For the Salad:
Cut the Bibb lettuce into ribbons and add to a separate mixing bowl.
Cook the bacon and when it cools crumble it small pieces. Add the crumbled bacon and the crumbled blue cheese and gently mix together.
Stuff the hollowed out tomato shells with the salad about ¾ of the way full. Fill the remaining space in the tomato shells with the corn relish.
Garnish with additional corn relish around the plate.
Summer Brunswick Stew with Braised Chicken on Corn Cakes
One four-pound chicken
5 quarts water, or enough to submerge the chicken completely
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup country ham, diced
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh corn, kernels removed
4 tablespoons Corn Oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water
1 ear corn, kernels removed
salt & pepper
For Brunswick Stew:
Place the chicken in a casserole pot with the water, thyme, bay leaves, crushed red pepper, ham and tomatoes and cover.
Simmer on low for two hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
Add the onion, carrots, peas, and corn and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are just soft but still have vibrant color.
For Corn Cakes:
In a mixing bowl, add the flour and baking powder and mix well. Then add the egg, water, corn, salt & pepper. Blend until a runny batter forms.
On a skillet, fry 2 inch diameter corn cake rounds on both sides for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Make 4 and reserve warm.
In a bowl, place the corn cake in the center.
Pull some chicken meat off the bone and place over the corn cake.
Finish by spooning vegetables and braising liquid over the chicken and around the plate.
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Fresh Strawberries and Basil with Tomato Granita and Sweet Yoghurt
1 pint fresh strawberries, quartered
1 bunch fresh basil, finely chopped
4 teaspoons sugar
2 medium tomatoes
2 ounces plain yogurt
Mix yogurt and two teaspoons of sugar in a bowl and keep cold in the fridge.
Puree two tomatoes, and strain through a fine colander to get the juice.
Discard the solids.
Add juice of one lemon and two tablespoons sugar to the tomato juice.
Pour into a flat shallow container and freeze overnight.
Quarter the strawberries.
Mix in a bowl with the basil and one teaspoon sugar.
Divide evenly into four martini glasses.
Take the frozen granite out of the freezer, scrape with a large spoon and top the strawberries with it.
Spoon a dollop of yoghurt over the granite and serve immediately.
How did Lee do with our $40 budget?
mustard seed $2.99
blue cheese $3.49
bibb lettuce $1.29
bay leaves .79
crushed red pepper .79
FINAL COST = $39.64
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