Sunday, October 26, 2014

26 October 2014

In Loving Memory of Helen DeLuca

What a weekend! It seems as if I have been cooking for days. It all began on Wednesday night when I began phase one of my eight phase chili entry for the Canton Main Street Inferno Chili Cook Off Competition this weekend. I made a classic chili con carne from scratch, including homemade beef stock, hand ground chili powder from toasted chilies and five different cuts of meat. We had to make five gallons, so the entire process took me over three days. Although I came up short on a trophy, I had a great time cooking my entry, and the cook off was amazing. The Main Street Machine did an amazing job with this event, and the turnout was incredible. Congratulations to Zach Kell and Goin' Coastal on winning first place for their delicious duck chili. The People's Choice went to Can't Touch This who also took the trophy for second place, and downtown Woodstock's Unkil Billy's team took third place. Thanks to Cory Wilson for helping me out with my booth and to all of my great friends who came out to taste my chili and all of the others. There's always next year, right?

For tonight's Sunday Supper, I wanted to cook something as different from chili as possible, so I decided to try a new spin on another classic, shrimp and grits. Our friend John Clark joined us for dinner, and he is allergic to shell fish, so I made Chicken and Grits instead. It actually turned out very well, and John even developed a new fondness for my garlic cheese grits. I started the meal with a wilted spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, and I made some thyme and cheddar cat head biscuits as well. Since I was experimenting with substitutions, I prepared a pomelo icebox pie for dessert. It was just like my lemon version but with fresh pomelo juice and zest instead. It was refreshing and very tasty.

On a sad note, Canton said goodbye to a local legend this week, Helen DeLuca. Mrs. DeLuca moved to Canton in 1971 and opened R&M Hoagie Shop with her husband. Her wonderful children still run R&M, and it is one of my favorite places on earth. In addition, the DeLucas are one of my favorite families on earth also. Mrs. DeLuca was one-of-a-kind, and I loved being around her. She always made me laugh, and we talked about food and cooking on many occasions. We said many times that we were going to cook together some day, and I regret that I will never have that opportunity. Helen gave new meaning to a life well lived, and tonight's Sunday Supper is dedicated to her memory. She did it her way, and that made all the difference.

The Menu:

- Chicken and Grits

- Wilted Organic Spinach with Hot Bacon Dressing

- Cheddar and Thyme Cat Head Biscuits

- Pomelo Icebox Pie

The Recipe – Pomelo Icebox Pie



14 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm


2 - 14-ounce cans condensed milk
1 1/4 cups fresh pomelo juice
2 tbs pomelo zest
1 cup softened cream cheese
8 large egg yolks

Chantilly cream:

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar



Heat the oven to 325°F. Break the graham crackers into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar and salt. Pulse 8 times, until the cracker crumbs are semi-fine and the crackers and sugar are combined. Pour in the butter and pulse until the butter is blended in and the mixture isn't crumbly and holds its shape when you squeeze it, about twelve 1-second pulses. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch springform pan and push and press the crumb mixture into the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan.


Whisk the condensed milk and cream cheese with the pomelo juice and set aside. Whisk the zest with the egg yolks in a medium bowl until pale, 30 to 60 seconds, and then whisk in the pomelo juice-condensed milk mixture.

Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet, pour the mixture into the crust, and carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, like a soft-setting custard, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 1 hour on a cooling rack. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap (be careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the top of the pie) and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Chantilly cream:

Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Add the vanilla and sift in the confectioners' sugar. Whip on low speed to combine and then increase the speed to medium-high and whip until medium-stiff peaks form.

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