Month: March 2012

Black and Blue Clafouti

First, a little housekeeping. I know I get quite a few people visiting from search engines that may not want to read the long and somewhat boring involved stories that accompany the recipes. Sadly, I understand… but I’m not changing the style of what I’m writing just to please one small sector of readership. I didn’t start this just to be a regurgitation of recipes – there are plenty of compendium sites out there for that. I have stories to tell, I have things I want said… and sometimes, I just want to rant. I would like to think the journey to the recipe is the more interesting travel, and hope that any visiting reader would want to come along for the ride… Be that as it may. Beginning with this entry I will be including a “Jump Forward” somewhere at the lead of the post to take you directly to the recipe part of article. Fair warning, the text of the jump will change to suit my sense of humor and my mood at that …

Cookbook Sundays – Southern Homemade Loaf Bread

I have a little secret. I rarely pay full price for a cookbook. Oh, I ohh and ahh over the newest books at the B&N and thumb through them at the market, but buy a new one? I’m way too frugal (nice word for friggin’ cheap) for that. No, I get my many, many, many books from what passes as “antique” stores here in Dahlonega… They’re junk stores, and they sometimes have the most amazing finds in the cookbook department. The Heritage of Southern Cooking by Camille Glenn / 2007 The other week, I picked up Camille Glenn’s “The Heritage of Southern Cooking” for pocket change! A totally satisfying act in it’s own right – but this is actually a very good cookbook – with some truly classic recipes and some great twists and unconventional takes on other deep south favorites. To test out a new book, I’ll usually look at 3 things: Chicken Recipes, ratio of protein to side dishes, and breads. Here in the South, if you’re going to write about bread – …

Sea of Love – Turtles, and a little salt

It all started with a recent outing to Helen, Georgia. I had stopped in at Hansel & Gretel’s Fudge Shop (honestly, that’s the name…) because..well, really just because I smelled heavy, dark cocoa… and I needed a sugar fix. In the shop, back in the very last display case, were three trays of dark chocolate and milk chocolate Turtles with Sea Salt. I really get off on opposite parings – sweet / salty, bitter / tangy, sour / savory – and I had enjoyed a box of some salted caramels that I had been given as a thank-you gift. So the little salt sprinkled knobs of chocolate called to me from behind the glass. Sea Turtles drying on the rack They were…ok. I expected them to be saltier. I really wanted to have layers of sweet / salty flow over my tongue awakening my taste buds… I didn’t get that. I got a lot of chocolate with a little salt on top. all packaged up I came away from Helen thinking I can do that …

Not another pancake…

If you’re a newcomer then you probably don’t know my particular aversion to pancakes. I know it’s irrational, and the fact that my siblings have no recollection of that never-ending year is inconsequential.Think of it like being afraid of clowns, (harmless but freakishly unnerving) I can’t do anything about it – but it’s there. I will make the occasional waffle, though. We do like a nice crisp Belgian Style Waffle. As I’ve taken over the culinary duties in the house…. and being in charge of dietary allotments, I switched Jane over to gluten-free waffles. With bread, batter, pasta and the like being forefront on most American diets, I just feel that meals and our continued well-being would be better served if we can eliminate gluten completely from at least one meal period… But, that left me with a big o’ box of Krusteaz (c) pancake (slash) waffle mix in the house…. and I’m not making pancakes for anyone. So this is where the problem is – I don’t throw perfectly good pantry products away. It’s wasteful and inconsiderate. I considered having people up …

“Royale With Cheese”

“And you know what they call a  Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?”  … a Royale with Cheese. “ Okay, its not That Royale … but there is cheese. I’m still working my way through the Big Box O- Cheese  from Artisanal Cheese That Ed gave me over the holidays. This time, I’m doing something with the Stella Royale that came in the box…. so cheese purists, look away. To quote their webstore: “Royale is a traditional style of pressed sheep milk cheese from northwest Spain. The milk for this especially nutritious cheese comes from the Churra breed, a native of the region that is able to thrive throughout the extremes of the seasons. The high quality milk produces a cheese with a full-flavored  nutty flavor that lingers luxuriously on the palate.” Stella is delicious with some sliced pears, roasted Brussels sprouts, or caramelized onions. I’ve decided to utilize two of those in a re-imagined southern favorite – Macaroni & Cheese. If you aren’t familiar with it, my family has always made a custard based macaroni and cheese. The cheese …

Feasting on the New Millennium

(in my best Sophia voice) Picture this…  The year was 1999 – December 31st..Vancouver, BC – on the cusp of a new Millennium… I had just dealt with a rather devastating personal blow and decided I wanted to spend two weeks at the dawn of the next great age in someplace completely different and new… The idea (in my mind) was to have the biggest blow-out of my life where no one (except for a couple of friends, and I expected them to be just as shameful as I) knew me. I thought it was what I needed. Things don’t always turn out like we plan… Friends had booked me a room* with a view on Granville Island looking out over False Creek onto the shining glass mego-tropolis that is Beautiful Vancouver, and promised me they had all the plans made for an “exciting” night ahead. *Room – (n)” a partitioned part of the inside of a building; especially :such a part used as a lodging.”No one told me my particular “partitioned” part  was going to be an 8′ x 8″ box, …

The Sandwich Diaries – Pi(π)mento Cheese

For most of my adult life, I’ve called a major city home. I thrived on the crammed, multi-laned arteries winding into the city center, thrilled at the packed sidewalks and stores, immersed myself in the fighting throngs at the malls during the holidays… Thankfully, this is where I now call home. 2 and a half years ago I moved into the North Georgia mountains to Dahlonega, Georgia – and never looked back. At first, I was seriously afraid that I wouldn’t be able to adjust to the relaxed pace and the complete lack of traffic. In the beginning, that was entirely true. There just isn’t a lot happening  in a day-to-day kind of way. North Town Square But Dahlonega – and the North Georgia Mountains – are anything but backwoods. Dahlonega is a tourist town. There are local artists, antique stores, 15 restaurants within walking distance of the old court house (which houses the Gold Museum…) Yes, you read right… Gold. Dahlonega and the neighboring Auraria were the sites of the first major gold rush …

Blind Adoration

There are a couple of television celebrity cooks … chefs… people out there that I simply adore. We share the same mindset in cooking, and I find that refreshing in what’s becoming an overcrowded attack on the senses. I think  Laura Caulder  is sublime – I love her simple, carefree attitude with cooking and her unfettered  approach to French food. Nigella Lawson.. is a goddess. She cooks what she wants, eats what she wants, and damn the naysayers. I’d pull up a chair to her table any day. naysayers… It’s funny… I post my personal recipes across several different platforms on the web, professional and not – so professional. Some I lay claim to.. If I’m pushed for a deadline and I throw something together… you probably wont see my name on it. But when I do,  often times people will write, tell me they tried a recipe, and either say how well they liked it (occasionally) or that they didn’t care for it so much (more often than you would like to think). But then there was …

Blah Monday

I’m officially calling the Monday after Daylight Savings Time Blah Monday. I’ve barely felt like moving today. I got up at the regular 6:15, made Jane’s breakfast, did a couple of errands… in a complete fog. Which is oddly appropriate because the mountains are socked in with this drippy, hanging, dense, wet fog today. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to answer any questions. I don’t even want to look at anybody today. I want to sit (curled up in my great grandmother’s afghan) poke at the fire and eat something warm and tasty and comforting – without a lot of effort. Thank heavens for the chest freezer. I think one of the biggest treats when we were all at home, was the rare occasion that mom would buy smoked chops at the market. There was just something a little bit cheating about eating bacon shaped like a pork chop. That smallest bit of crispy fat around the edge of the chop, the salty / sweet sensation as it hits the tongue, the odd Dr. Suess-y pink cure …

Cookbook Sundays – Jambalaya With Chicken and Seafood

There are classics, there are fads, and then there’s everything else. I originally bought Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen way back in the 80’s because I wanted to learn how to blacken red fish. I did… it gave me monumental indigestion. Although, as a recipe, it wasn’t as terribly difficult as I had made it out in my mind, it was just something I wanted to make sure I got right… because, you know… it was the thing back then. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t all that enamored with Louisiana style cuisine, and the book found it’s way to the “probably wont try that again shelf.” With this Cookbook Sunday’s thing I’ve decided, at least for the near future, to dig back into some of my older cookbooks for inspiration. With the mill of cookbooks, coffee-table photo food books, celebrity chef books and the like working overtime in recent years, I thought it would be nice to look back at some of the celebrity chefs of earlier years and the food that really got that whole food fad machine to …