Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mardi Gras and muffalettas. A guest post by somebody who might be related to me.

If you're a mom, sometimes you might pretend that there are certain things your offspring would never do. Here is one:
That's my son on the right.

Here is another:
Oh, I could go on.

But that'd just keep me awake all night. Instead, I'll let guest baker, Tyler Speaks, tell you about himself and his amazing muffaletta.

Guest Muff’n
Hello internets. Hello Mom and Leo.
Let me preface with a bit about myself.  I envisioned myself at age 24 with a fancy degree, 5,000+ skydives and a steady flock of babes.  One of those wishes has come true.  Anyways, a steady grasp of travel and cuisine in America is never something I thought I would be an expert on, but for the first time in my life I am ready to share some knowledge with them internets.
Truthfully, I never really cared for New Orleans.  I like jazz, but not when homeless people blast it in my grill.  I like culture and beignets, but not underwater.  I like interfacing with the local populace, but not at knifepoint.   Also, my roommate is a Saints fan.  He loves to let you know it.  I brought two things back from New Orleans: MRSA and a love of Cajun cuisine.  I will share ONE of these things with you now.
I don’t really even get why this is a Cajun dish, it seems more Italian or something fruity to me.  It is, however, one of the few things that brings me joy in this bleak world and is as much fun to make as it is to consume.
I’ve tried a few recipes from different spots on this muffaletta (hereon referred to as “muff”) and my favorite is one I got from my drunken Saints-obsessed roommate.  I think he got it from The Central Grocery or something like that in the French Quarter.  Anyshways, it’s pretty straightforward: Get a loaf. Get some meat and cheese.  Make an olive salad.  Combine.  More info you ask? Here we are:
Olive Salad:
2/3 cup green olives, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup black olive, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped pimientos
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp. capers
1 metric ton of chopped parsley
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Mix all those ingredients together and cover.  Marinate in fridge.
1 lg round loaf bread (Italian or whatever)
1/3 lb thin sliced salami
1/3 lb thin sliced ham
1/3 lb thin sliced provolone cheese
olive salad

Once the olive salad is mixed together you let it marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours.  Probably no more than 24 hours or it gets greazy.  Also, put this stuff in a mason jar if you don’t want your fridge to smell like the entire country of Greece condensed into a mixing bowl. 
Ah, the bread.  This is my favorite because I really enjoy baking.  It really tickles the chemist in me and is a good substitute when the labs are closed (or class gets skipped).  Basically, you can buy any big ole round loaf you want, but if you really wanna make an impression on the babes/dudes then make your own bread.  Personally, I prefer a nice olive sourdough.  Get the bread however you want.
Tyler's sourdough w/o olives

So, your bread is fresh out the oven and olive salad has been stewing overnight.   To prepare the bread, slice the top of the round loaf about an inch or so and remove it, like a hat.  Cut a circle and hollow out the inside, leaving a sturdy wall on the sides and the bottom.  This is hard for me to describe for some reason, just Google it or something.  Once bread victory has been achieved, brush a thin layer of olive oil on the inside bottom of the hollow loaf.  Next grab some meats and layer them.  Add the cheese at the top and cover the whole shebang with a thick spread of olive salad.  Everything should pretty much be bursting out the top of the loaf.  Put the top of the bread back on and cut in half and serve.  If you like it hot (some like it hot), then shove it in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes.  The original recipe says to serve this dish with root beer to be authentic.  I say serve with actual beer.  A heavy one.
Hope you enjoy preparing and serving this as much as I do.  It has been a pleasure guest-writing here and maybe I can do it again soon.  Maybe a report on the fabulous dishes of Afghanistan next.  Probably not. 
P.S.: I am single, moderately attractive (most would say 7) and am pretty good at various skills.  Also, well read.  And I travel.  Cheers everyone!!


  1. What a guy! He's funny, smart, adventurous and he cooks. There should definitely be a flock of babes. He also happens to be my nephew, so I'm biased. I don't eat meat, but the olive salad is so intriguing I just have to try it. Thanks for the warning about the aroma. All my household members thank you, too. Also, how come I never got a gift loaf of that sourdough?

  2. You're a hoot! Can't wait to try this recipe. Sounds like a dish Mark and I will love. Be careful jumping out of planes, fighting fires and keeping us safe. You're in our prayers. -Missy

  3. Oh my I would pass out if I saw my son doing these things...problem is I know he will. It's in his nature. Love the recipe! Thanks for pointing us to your page, we're following now!

    Heather @At The Picket Fence

  4. It's the quiet ones you've got to watch.♥

  5. Mmm. This definitely gives me memories.
    Also: single, well-read, travels, a 7 and can cook? What is happening to the women of this world? hahaha

  6. Oh, my nieces with the questionable judgement. If they only knew about SGT Speaks and his wondrous abilities. (Having seen pics, I know he's good looking.)(FYI, Sarge, ditch the number scale - everyone's baseline is different.) But, even for men, looks shouldn't matter! I'd pick bravery, cookery and a sense of humour over good looks any day. (I did, I might add)