REALITY BYTES: Gettin’ All Dolly’d Up
As promised here are some pics from the Dolly Episode with Chef Brooke. All of the photos were taken by Ben Kraus & belong to Food Network All Rights Reserved.
I LIVE for Dolly Parton so when Brooke & I were bestowed the honor to cook recipes from her cookbook, Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s , I didn’t want to deviate too much from her recipes. I made all of her recipes the way she wrote it but considering that I was creating dishes for Dolly’s fans in her honor I wanted to doll her dishes up a bit for that signature Dolly wow factor. Lots of chefs & caterers are serving soup in shot glasses, which yeah is cute but I wanted something different than the norm.
I decided to reduce the soup & serve it as a dip so guests can dip their fried pickles into it. I opted to use a purple cabbage because of it’s snazzy color & since it was Dollywood’s 25th anniversary her theme is to “Celebrate the dreamer in you”. Dolly is a firm believer in following your dreams & pretty much every one of her songs has the word dream in it.
The recipe called to use an actual stone for the stone soup so I used a stone engraved with the word “Dream” & when I served the dip I garnished it with several pink rose quartz stones & a larger teal stone in the center that said dream so it matched not only the colors of her book cover but the table the guests sat at. It was FANTASTIC!
I was fascinated by the request to to use an actual stone in the soup so when I researched it I found all these super cool stories about it. Here’s an excerpt per Wikipedia:
“Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. The travelers fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire in the village square. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing.
The villager does not mind parting with just a little bit of carrot to help them out, so it gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.”
For Dolly’s Grits on a Shingle I thought it would be cool to make them bite sized & serve on tasting spoons because Brooke & I were making HEAPS of food… I know it’s down home cookin’ but we’s still in Hollywood & folks like to watch their figure. The biscuits were so buttery & flaky & I just loved the texture of the stone ground grits Brooke made & how the two tasted together.Dolly’s recipes are NO joke! My girl can burn.
I cut the biscuits with a small cookie cutter, placed them on the spoon, poured the grits on top & garnished with scallions & garlic society blossoms which matched the fuchsia on her book cover & I thought Dolly would get a kick out of it. I set the stone I used to cook the stone soup with in the center of the plate & placed a butterfly on top. All of the guests got a kick out of it because they knew exactly where I was going with this.
Miss Dolly’s Smoky Mountain Salad is NO joke… there’s erry-THANG but the kitchen sink in that bad boy! Cheddar cheese, croutons, tomatoes, bacon, chicken, country ham, lettuce & can of fried onions. The recipe calls for 1 tbs of sugar, 1/4 cup of white vinegar & 1/4 cup of sour cream. Now because I wanted each guest to pour as much or as little of the dressing on with these cute little bowls I made about 25 x the amount.. so that dressing sa-WEET!
I garnished the salad with edible pansies & edible butterflies. Dolly was nicknamed the “Iron Butterfly” after she wouldn’t sell her hit “I Will Always Love You” to the Colonel & Elvis. They wanted to split HALF of the publishing rights. My girl was NOT having that & graciously declined. Some people thought she was crazy denying the king but this backwoods Barbie wasn’t going back to the poor house. She understood the power of owning all of her content. Because of this I had to have butterflies in the menu somehow someway.
I didn’t have a chance to make the butterflies because my printer was down so I scored when (Food Network ‘s Cupcake Wars winner) my friends at Hotcakes Bakes were able to come through last minute to make them for me. It’s edible ink printed on wafer paper & I asked them to dust them with silver edible dusting powder so it would be super Dollified like the Iron Butterfly!
There it is… the city slickin’ chicks doing their thang. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but seriously Brooke is one of thee funniest people on the planet & every event we work together is like a party! Brooke’s style is very classic, clean & sprinkled with modern notes that are undeniably Brooke. Of all of us at Big City Chefs, she’s the “Queen of Presentation”. She knew how much I loved Dolly & how important it was for me to make sure that Dolly was on that plate so I really appreciated that she understood that & we got to splash colors, flowers & edible butterflies things I KNEW Dolly would dig all over the place…. sooooo much fun
The thing about down home cookin’ is a lot of stuff is fried…. the colors are often beige, yellow & brown. I had to figure out a way to Dollify everything. I used a Pineapple Apricot preserve for the glaze. The edible butterflies I sat on top of a dried apricot I stuffed with Irish Cashel Blue Cheese & placed on top of mint leaves to look like a flower & garnished with an edible pansy. How Brooke didn’t DDT to me is AMAZING… HA!
Well… that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed the pics & the PCO90210 back story of last week’s episode.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow night, Tuesday night, to Food Network at 9pm for an all new episode of “Private Chefs of Beverly Hills” this time Sasha & I are teamed up to cater a 20th anniversary party. I GUARANTEE you’ll be tickled pink to see us cater this event ♥