More cuisine, sans photos

April 18, 2013

Sorry, kids. I just haven’t had the oomph to get the camera out and take pictures, though I’ve turned out some decent meals. And I’ve shopped, and gotten my hair cut, and my nails done, and had a couple of interviews, and generally enjoyed my week here.

Made a really, really good salad the other night, loosely patterning after one of the plethora of recipes folks have been posting on Facebook lately. This one I had to track via Pinterest to eventually get to, and I don’t remember whose blog it was, but I altered it enough I don’t guess I have to credit them, anyway. But whoever-mystery-blogger-you-were, thanks for the inspiration. Pinspiration. Whatever.

Edamame and Quinoa Salad with Sorta-Kinda Thai Dressing

  • 3 cups chopped red cabbage. I grated it, initially, decided that was going to be too fine, and chopped it.
  • 1 bag frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 1/2 cup roughly chopped raw snow peas
  • 1 1/2 cup diced carrots


  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • sriracha to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon, I’d guess)
  • dash of fish sauce
  • chopped cashew nuts

Blend with a whisk until combined. Add vinegar or seasonings to taste. Add a bit of water if needed to thin it down. Toss with still-warm veggies and let sit for at least an hour to let flavors combine. Garnish with chopped cashews.

You can add veggies to the mix according to your preference. It called for red bell pepper; as any of you who have read this blog for any length of time will know, I loathe bell pepper. So I left it out. Ditto cilantro. I would’ve put some fresh mint in at the last minute, had I had any. It would likely not go amiss with some cucumber. Might even be good with avocado, and certainly some pineapple and/or mango would not go badly.

Be advised, though — this makes a metric assload of salad. As in the big Pyrex mixing bowl full. It would be a good salad for a crowd, or for a pot luck, as it doesn’t suffer from holding. In fact, I am eating a bowl as I type, and it’s still good, and I made it Monday night. And it has enough protein about it, between the edamame and the quinoa, that it can make a full meal, which is what we did with it, as the bean burgers were a bust. Maybe an alliterative one, but a bust, nevertheless.

The next night, I recycled the new potatoes and corn left over from the shrimp boil into a chowder, with some Cajun seasoning since the veggies had already started that way. Just cut up the potatoes, cut the corn off the cob, made a roux, added milk, added potatoes and corn, sprinkled the end result with some grated cheese. Good stuff.

Oh. And the cheese. I went down Monday and spent the afternoon at school watching Cara teach math (still blows my mind, innumerate that I am). Ran out to get a sandwich, as I’d forgotten to bring anything. I’d seen a sign for a dairy that indicated it served lunch, so I went.

The lunch was forgettable — generic, if good, deli turkey and cheese or ham and cheese sandwiches. But they had a lovely variety of cheeses, including a goat’s milk pimiento cheese that may be very nearly the best thing I ever ate in my life. Dying to try this on a burger. I also picked up a smoked cheddar and a white “garden vegetable” cheese.

Then yesterday, while I was en route to do some shopping, I stopped off at a little diner in Nolensville, a quaint little town just south of Nashville. It proclaimed “Home Cooking” in the window. It did not lie.

I had a veggie plate. Cucumber and tomato salad as good as the Cupboard’s in Memphis. Creamed corn — the real thing, white and sweet. Baked apples redolent of cinnamon. And black-eyed peas that approached being the best of their kind I’ve ever tasted.

These peas, y’all. They were not, like so many black-eyed peas, cooked to mush (which is really easy to do with them). They were plenty done, but still had a bit of a bite to them; a little pop to the skin when you chewed. They were cooked with onion, and unless I miss my guess, they’d had more than a passing relationship with a ham bone of some description.

They also had a fruit tea, which was a mix of a fairly strong tea and orange juice, which was quite good. And as I was sitting there after having cleaned my plate, my eye lit on the dessert board.

I had not planned on having dessert; after all, I’d had baked apples. But there, in dry-erase marker, on the board, it was; first time I’ve seen it in a restaurant in God knows how long. Chess pie.

You have to understand. When I was a little kid, chess pie was a mainstay of the Sunday dinner table. It was my second-favorite pie in the world, after blackberry cobbler. My mother used to tell the story of how I asked for a blackberry cobbler, and on being told she didn’t have any blackberries, then asked, “Well, do you have any chesses?” Or the time that she’d baked two chess pies for a Sunday pot-luck at church and had them on the counter, cooling. I managed to secure the butcher knife, climb up onto the counter, mark one pie with the knife as to where I planned to cut it, and carve a chunk out of the other, which I was happily sitting on the counter munching when she discovered me. I must have been about 3.

There are two kinds of chess pie. One is something like a pecan pie with no pecans. The other has an eggier, more custard-y filling. This pie was of the custard-y variety. And I took a bite and it made my eyes roll back in my head.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus.

When I get back home, I’ll post the recipe for Mama’s chess pie, which is more of the pecan-pie-sans-pecans variety. If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have a good recipe for the custard-y kind, I’d surely appreciate you passing it on. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of your week; I surely plan on enjoying mine.




2 Responses to “More cuisine, sans photos”

  1. Kath the Cook Says:

    give this one a try… makes similar vast quantity. I think calamata olives or capers would be a good add here.

    Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Lemon & Feta
    Serves at least 8 or more as a side
    1 cup quinoa
    2 cups water
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more (to taste) for seasoning the salad
    1 pound asparagus, trimmed
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    1 tablespoon (or more) shredded parmigiano-reggiano
    fresh cracked black pepper
    1-2 large garlic cloves, grated finely
    1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    1 lemon, juiced
    1/4 cup crumbled feta – or more accordingly to preference
    1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted – or more

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
    Combine the quinoa, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium size pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook (covered) for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Set aside.
    While the quinoa cooks, spread the asparagus on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper over the asparagus; toss to coat the spears evenly and spread the spears into one even layer. Roast asparagus for 10 to 15 minutes, until the asparagus is blistered in spots, but retains a bite. Allow the spears to cool slightly and slice into one-inch pieces.
    While the asparagus roasts, whisk together the mustard and lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper.
    In the large bowl holding the vinaigrette, add the cooked quinoa, sliced asparagus, shredded parmigiano, grated garlic, and toasted almonds. Toss to distribute the vinaigrette throughout the quinoa. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper as needed. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the crumbled feta.
    Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

  2. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    Ooooh. Sounds good.

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