Down Home with the Neelys with Pat and Gina Neely
Fill 'Em Up
Fried Green Beans
BBQ Pork Panini Sandwich
Rum Raisin Bread Pudding
Today the Neelys are cooking with their siblings. I liked Tony Neely ever since he got gypped on The Today Show and I’m also interested in this week’s dessert recipe.
Pat and Gina start with Fried Green Beans. They cut the woody stems off by lining them up. Gina tells a way-too-long Grandma story, while preparing the beans.
She starts the batter. She mixes flour, salt and pepper. Pat measures a cup of beer and pours it into her batter. She whisks it in. They’re using peanut oil to deep fry the beans at 375°F. Gina says they'd fry everything in the house if they could.
Pat dips the green beans in the batter, shakes off the excess and into a deep fat fryer they go. Gina finds something to rag on him about. I thought he did fine. Gina says you can do the same thing in a skillet.
Gina remarks on the tongs that Pat uses to remove the beans from the oil. Well, what else should he have used? They go onto paper towels (I like to layer newspaper under one paper towel. You use fewer that way.) Gina sprinkles them with salt and pepper.
It’s a great way to get your kids to eat green beans, Pat says. I don’t think that it’s that much of a trick to get kids to eat ANYTHING that’s deep fried and plenty salty. Aren't we supposed to be encouraging them NOT to eat stuff like that?
They move on to roasting tomatoes. Big Daddy gets the big knife and Little Mama gets the small one. I’m just reporting here, folks!
They cut plum tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them on racks on baking sheets. (I thinking of the cuts being made on the international dateline, rather than the equator.) They olive oil and salt and pepper them up and cook them at 400°F for one.
For BBQ pork panini, they use a 3 lb. pork loin. Gina makes her usual dry spice rub with 1½ cups paprika, ¾ cup sugar and 3 ¾ tablespoons onion powder. Pat says they use it on everything, even the rim of a cocktail glass! What would that drink be??? A Pork Mojito with pineapple juice?
Pat rubs the spice mixture into the meat, massaging well. Gina covers it with plastic wrap and it goes in the fridge for an hour or up to 8 hours.
For the soup, Gina melts 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot. Pat chops 4 shallots finely. He likes them because they’re sweet and give a nice balance to the tomatoes. Gina sautés the shallots for 2 minutes and Pat adds 2 tablespoons tomato paste, which Gina stirs in. They add 4 cups of chicken stock and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. The soup simmers for 10 minutes.
Pat takes the pork loin out of the fridge and it goes into a 325°F oven for an hour and an half.
Pat takes it out and tents it with foil. Tony, looking good, comes over and helps with the garlic butter. Tony chops garlic very finely and works it into softened butter and then slices the loin thinly, admiring it as he goes. Pat tells a story about a grilled cheese sandwich in a brown paper bag made with an iron that he used to make in college. Tony pooh poohs it.
Gina has to get in there with a full-of-herself story about being a cheerleader. (She probably rubs me the wrong way, because I’m exactly like her…minus the cheerleading part.)
Gina pours 3 cups of milk into a pan with 3 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3/4 cup brown sugar, ½ cup raisins and 3 tablespoons rum. She brings it to the boil and lets it simmer.
The brothers prepare the sandwiches. They butter both sides of rolls that look like ciabatta. Pickles go on top of the butter. Sliced pork goes on top of that. Pat stirs their family barbecue sauce and spoons some over. Colby cheese goes on. (That looks weird. The cheese looks like a flat omelet.) Pat puts the tops back on the rolls and puts them in a panini press.
Gina slices 7 thick slices of brioche bread and cuts them into big cubes. Why’s she doing that? She pours her milk mixture over the bread and lets it sit for 30 minutes. Wait a sec! I thought she was making rum raisin RICE pudding.
Darn, she’s making BREAD pudding. That’s the only reason I watched this week. DARN!!!!!! I just saw rum raisin and I assumed it was RICE pudding. What a waste…
The sandwiches come off the press. They do look good. Gina’s brother Ronnie is there to help her. She breaks and beats 4 eggs in a bowl and adds them to the bread mixture. Ronnie stirs it. It goes into baking dish and into a 350°F for 50 minutes. Her brother is very low key.
Gina adds 1 cup of heavy cream to the soup base. Ronnie uses an immersion blender for the first time. And we have to hear the story of her brother protecting her. He does a good job with that blender. When did they add the tomatoes? Did I miss that in my confusion about the rice pudding? I guess they did it somewhere, because they’re serving up the soup.
They plate the sandwiches and the fried green beans. They serve it up to the brothers. I like Tony. He’s just nice and not a big braggart. The Bread Pudding is served almost as an afterthought. That’s ok with me. I didn’t want it anyway.