December 10, 2013
It’s always a good day when I can take a vaguely recalled taste, and recreate it. And if it doesn’t taste exactly like I remember it, well, I don’t know that I remember it all that well, anyway.
I was browsing back through some older blog entries recently. I do that periodically, both because it’s fun to recall particularly good meals, and because sometimes I’ll think, “ooooohhh, I haven’t had that in a good while, so that’s for dinner.” I came across an entry where I’d eaten lunch with a friend at Caritas Village in Memphis, and had the Greek beef, and contended I’d recreate it. And I decided I’d have Greek Beef.
November 30, 2013
This apple butter, y’all. You need to do this. Albeit you need to be more prepared for it than I was.
See, I had two recipes for apple butter. One called for peeling and coring the apples and cooking the stuff in the crock pot. That, on reflection, might have been the easier option.
November 29, 2013
With due thanks to Arlo Guthrie. I posted that line on Facebook last night and the responses make me think that only one of my friends picked up on the reference to the iconic late 60s-early 70s anthem. Ah, well. As Dorothy Parker would have noted, “Time doth flit.”
It was a most excellent Thanksgiving dinner, even if we had two or three less around the table than I’d planned for. The turkey was succulent and juicy; the dressing was appropriately sage-y; the cranberry salad, for those of us who ate it, was its usual sweet-tart self; the caramelized streusel topping (with walnuts, because I was out of pecans) provided a sweet, crunchy counterpoint to the creamy sweet potato casserole; the mashed potatoes and mac and cheese were, well, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese; I didn’t eat either one.
November 27, 2013
Cue dramatic music.
Tomorrow, in the event you have been under a rock for the past several weeks, is Thanksgiving. Or, in the cute-speak spawned by the confluence of holidays, Thanksgivukkah (Hanukkah began tonight). So, of course, cooking begins today, because there ain’t no way you can cook a full Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day, not if you’re eating midday, and not even if you’re eating at night because then you’re too tired to eat.
November 23, 2013
Please note: There is no photo of the sweet potatoes featured in this post, because, well, I didn’t take a photo. Get over it.
Since being awakened all too early this morning when my alarm (which I NEVER set) went off at 6 a.m., I have:
- Helped Child A rearrange my den, including furniture and art, and hang curtains.
- Loaded the heaviest coffee table known to modern man into Child C’s SUV.
- Took Lucy to the groomer.
- Made three pints of apple butter.
- Made a coconut cake.
- Made an attempt at tom kha soup, which wasn’t all that and a bag of chips.
- Cleaned out the fridge.
- Made a sweet potato casserole for a pot-luck dinner at church tomorrow, and scorched the pecan topping. They’re getting it anyway. They’re Methodists. Open hearts, open minds, open doors, y’know?
But the den looks fine, and Future Son In Law is getting the table he has always loved for his man cave. Child C and Amazing Grandchild 2 are sleeping over tonight, preparatory to joining me for church tomorrow (amazing what the offer of a pot luck dinner will do). And I have the kitchen mostly clean, although I need to make my way out to the storage room fridge/freezer with two or three loads.
These sweet potatoes, now. I don’t care if the topping was a bit scorched. These are still the best sweet potatoes you’ll have.
November 21, 2013
You’ve had it happen. An unexpected guest drops by, and it’s dinner time, and they stay. Or your kid or your significant other calls and tells you, “Hey, I’m bringing home so-and-so for dinner.”
In the event of either instance, I can’t really help you with the main dish, unless you have a well-stocked pantry and fridge and a sufficiently stocked liquor cabinet so that they can drink long enough for you to cook. Or order out.
But I can help you with dessert, yes I can. Because here are two absolutely dead easy desserts you can make in a hurry, stick in the oven a few minutes before you eat, pull out to serve and have people thinking you slaved in the kitchen all day. And with one exception, along with some vanilla ice cream to scoop on top, they’re made entirely from things you’re likely to have in your pantry.
The first is chocolate cobbler. I’ve detailed it on the blog before, but it’s been a long time ago, and it’s popped back up because I was wanting something for dessert and didn’t want to go to the grocery to get anything. (I sent someone out for ice cream.)
I grabbed this baby out of the oven, spooned some of it in a bowl, drizzled the self-made syrup from it over my ice cream, and very nearly, as Grandmama would have said, foundered myself.
November 19, 2013
Or, sorta like French onion soup, but it’s not.
Or, more stuff from the freezer.
Winter’s in the air. There’s been a heavy frost the last three nights, leaves are falling at an astounding rate, and it’s been overcast all day so it never warmed up a great deal.
It’s soup weather.
And necessity being the mother of invention, and having a thawed package of minute steaks in the fridge that needed to be used, what might have been French onion soup has evolved into — well, beef and onion and potato soup. It would almost be more like carbonnades a la flamande, but for the fact I used red wine instead of beer. (And there are no photos of it, because, well, it’s not photogenic.
November 17, 2013
Note: I swear I shot a picture of this. But it isn’t on the SD card. Oh, well.
It’s been a good while since I made an Italian roast chicken — and a lot longer since I learned to make it.
Crittenden County (home of the infamous jail slaw, of which I have written repeatedly), where I spent the majority of my adult life, has a sizeable Italian community. In your history lesson for the day, here’s how that came about.
In 1927, the Mississippi River levee broke in several places during a spring of unusually heavy rain. Huge portions of the Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana delta counties flooded. One aftermath of that was the implementation of the first-ever national disaster relief aid. Another was a giant migration of African-American sharecroppers from the flooded plantations of the South to the factories of the Upper Midwest.
If you ever want to learn any more about that period and those events, I highly recommend James Barry’s Rising Tide: The Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. Great book.