Month: July 2014

Peering down the Pie Hole ~ Summer Peach Pie

For a period of time, I lived in the attic loft of a building we operated as a rental house. It was a great space – peaceful – quiet – meditative – that is, until early summer. Because that’s when my next door neighbor’s peach tree produced fruit. And, along with everyone else on the block that helped themselves to the low hanging fruit, the residents of the mechanical chase just above my ceiling squirreled away as many of the fruit and pits that they could stuff through the narrow attic vent. For the next three months, without fail, they would roll the pits from one end of the chase, down the entire length of the loft, and back again. And late into the night they would run and scatter their booty, then spend hours rounding them all up again. I swear they had a rodent bowling alley up there. __________________________________________________   Peach pie is just one of those things you have to get just right for it to be good. Too much thickener, and you have …

Six, the Easy Way ~ Vegetable Tamales

Mexican Restaurants – Whether it’s the strength of the margaritas, the freshness of their chips, the scoville scale of their salsa, or just how “authentic” it all is; everyone has their own way of judging a good one. Me? I look at two things. 1). Chili Rellenos : Is it a charred poblano pepper? Does it have a light egg batter? And just exactly what have they stuffed it with? and 2). Tamales : This is a harder judging for me. Because I like them a lot of different ways. I’ve had them in banana leaves where the “dough” is a kind of yucca / masa mash. I’ve had them in Mexico where there was a little bean or olive surprise buried in the middle. There has been the random bad one where the dough was fluffy … like a biscuit – or dry as a powder keg and dense like hard tack. Suffice it to say, tamales are like that proverbial box of chocolates.. you never know what you’re going to get until you bite into it. …

Garden Project 2014 ~ Busy as Bees

With the recent late afternoon storms and hot , hot – ninth ring of hell hot – summer afternoons, the Early Sunglow Corn has shot up like kudzu.  Sun and heat trigger the tassels Which in turn release the rows of  pollen laden capsules which makes the recent emergence of a new hatching of bumblebees VERY happy… which fertilize the corn silk which makes ear upon ear of delicious, sweet, milky corn later this month. To read more about how corn does what it does, you can find more information  HERE and to read  more about bumblebees and pollination, and why they’re more important than honey bees – you can find out everything you need to know HERE  

Taste of Summer – Jamaican Banana Bread

I think my parents kept the Time/Life publishing company in business. For a period of time, Dad would buy every box set of music they came out with. And Jane, well it was cookbooks, of course. Not that there was anything wrong with that. From the International Series, that was a little geographic lesson, a cultural sneak peek, and a cookbook rolled into a neatly packaged compendium (complete with a decorative box sleeve), to my all time favorite, The Good Cook – which  consisted of 27 volumes, each devoted to a particular subject. Each were printed, boxed, and lovingly shipped in monthly surprises from the late 70’s to early 80’s. It is my absolute favorite cookbook collection, and even today, I refer to them often when I need a little inspiration. As it so happens, I got a little banana crazy a month ago, and started buying a bunch of banana every week. I like a banana, but I really only like them when they are still just off the green and beginning to turn yellow. …

All Stuck Up – Chicken Paella, on a Stick

I know at times, it seems that I’m all in for making simple food look impossibly difficult – 76.4% of my recipes should attest to that. But, let’s clear the air here. Contrary to what you may think, it’s not that I want to frighten the bejeezus out of you so you’ll Never want to try them. It’s that:  * I believe in being thorough. There’s nothing… Nothing.. I hate more than a recipe that leaves things off the list… it really cranks my rice krispies. * I believe you should have everything you could possibly need spelled out. Because, let’s face it. Left to your own devices, some of you wont read the entire recipe, or will make  * your own substitutions, or just get the general gist of the instructions and “Damn the torpedoes – Full speed ahead!” – – -and then complain because it didn’t turn out right. * I believe, that given exhaustive instructions, anyone can cook what I give you. And really, that’s the beginning of trying anything new. Read …

Taste of Summer – Herbed Shrimp Burgers

  Long, many years ago there once was a shack at the far end of Tybee Beach that served Shrimp Burgers. Two gals ran the place – One hidden in the back, whacking and chopping fresh Thunderbolt shrimp into mincemeat; while the other fried them up and slung the finished burgers out to a long line of adoring, albeit overly brown and oily, fans. It wasn’t fancy. It was primarily just whack-a-chopped shrimp, coleslaw, and a bun. But, you know, they were probably one of the best things I’ve eaten on a beach. Granted, a patty of pure, fresh, chopped shrimp is going to be a little chewy, and it was… a little. But I swear – I still dream about them. Herbaceous Shrimp Burgers Makes 6 Burgers Ingredients 1/2 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs – About 2 slices of bread. I’m not going to say “use the best bread you can find” Because in reality… it’s a binder. However, make sure it’s something you like eating and is fairly non-desript in flavor. (ie. don’t use …

Peering Down the Pie Hole – Chocolate Cherry Pie

There is one food item you should never give anyone to eat… as a gift. Chocolate Covered Cherries. Because, regardless of how thoughtful you thought you were being, you’re going to have to sit there and watch them try managing to eat one without either: a.) squirting the encased syrup all over themselves (and, of course, you)… and b.) They’re going to smile and say thank-you… with all that wax laden, cherry bit, melty chocolate residue adhered to their teeth. ____________________________________________________ A couple of weeks ago, the local farm stand had huge bins of bing cherries. We both like cherries here, so I grabbed a big ol’ bag of them. Here’s the thing with produce like cherries. While ALL cherries may look the delicious and sweet, sometimes what you get is all show and no-go. Do yourself a favor, grab a couple of random cherries out of the bin and eat them. The “big ol’ bag” I grabbed was full of mushy, sour cherries and not very good for sitting and eating as a snack. Like a …

Independence Day and the Watermelon

  I can remember sitting on my grandparents rusty, green metal slider rocker, eating watermelon. I remember how good they were. How I’d sit there, with my huge leg-sized wedge of summer bounty, enjoying each sweet bite. I remember P’Tooeing! the slick, black seeds across the lawn. I remember the increasing uncomfortableness of being covered in sweet, sticky juice as I trimmed the last bits of red fruit from the rind. … and then, nothing. I grew up; ran kitchens and restaurants; and watermelons became that “thing” I bought because they were cheap… and bulky… and filled up the plate for fruit salads…. not because they were good. They just didn’t have that same pull over me. Prior to this past Wednesday, I can’t remember the last time I actually bought watermelon anything to eat. I did buy one once and filled it with rum… for a party. But even that wasn’t good… it was just bitter and boozy.   So, when Jane asked this week if I wanted to pick one up for the Fourth, …