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Fair Warning

This journal may not be suitable for impressionable children or people without a sense of humor. I would let my kid read it, but then again, I am a horrible warning more often than I am a good example.
The links list down the right side of the page contains information that catches my attention rather than links to my work (okay, there’s the couple at the bottom, but that was only after I was threatened with therapy). They include comics that do not (usually) have a LJ feed, musician’s sites, and literary feeds. There is usually no smut on those sites, but I am told Mr. Coulton swears a lot (I have not noticed, myself).
This brings up another interesting fact that you should warned about. I swear, early and often. At least I try to use the correct spelling and conjugate the verb forms properly when I do.
Look, half the time I have no idea what I am doing; just pet the damned cat, okay?

Don't Fear The Egg Pie

The Basic Quiche

Another of my favorite “put it together and throw it in the oven” dishes, the quiche is a great way to use leftovers, as well as give an elegant presentation to scrambled eggs.

First, a little history....Collapse )

The quick and the bread

Quick breads. They’re usually really quick, not needing the extended rise times for yeasts, and often have limited ingredients. They are found in several different forms, sometimes building on the same recipe.For instance, soda bread to biscuits to shortcakes.
It"s a little more convoluted than James Burke, but work with me here.Collapse )

I will eat them here and there

Yep, gotta do something with eggs. I gotta warn you, this one might be something you want to make a day (or two) ahead, if you want these for brunch on Sunday.

I was supposed to make deviled eggs for a party ages ago, and though I remembered to buy the extra dozen eggs, I forgot to buy more mayonnaise for the traditional recipe. We were due to arrive in two hours, and really, I couldn’t leave the eggs on the stove. Not because the stove was on, but my Dad was in the house, and he was able to make a meal from hard-cooked eggs. He also loved mayonnaise sandwiches, which was the reason we were out of mayo.

But I had pesto sauce, and a strange sense of humor. Himself caught me quoting the book as I was assembling the eggs. We made sure to tell the others at the picnic what was going on, as pesto was not a big thing locally yet.

Thus is the tale behind the platter of Green Eggs and Ham I take to certain picnic events. It is a little labor-intensive, but worth it for the looks.
I will eat them in a box. I might not share them with a fox..Collapse )

Through the Lens

Lentils are one of those foods that crops up in a wide variety of cuisines, in one form or another. As one of the first crops domesticated, archaeological evidence in Greece shows they were eaten 13,000 to 9,500 years ago. Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian and European cooking all have a use for the lentil. The shape of the lentil suggested the name of double-convex pieces of glass used in magnification and early spectacles. The Latin name for lentil is lens, and is the name of the genus for this branch of the legumes.

Growing up in the American Southeast, however, I didn’t really have an introduction to lentils until college; black-eyed peas and pinto beans, yes, but no lentils. Mama was broader in her tastes than many of our neighbors, but when things were tight, we usually ended up going back to the traditional dishes. It’s trendy and called “locavorism” now, but back then, eating what was local was cheaper.

Oh, come on, lentils are good, take a look!Collapse )

Flipping Out

Last week we got into Mardi Gras, and the Carnival traditions in Louisiana. This time, we’re going across the pond, turn right at Greenland, just in time for Shrove Tuesday, and the United Kingdom’s madness for pancakes.
To start off, what is a shrove? No, it is not the collective noun for a group of nuns (that is a murmur), but shrove is the past tense of the word shrive, which is the action of a priest at a confession, to hear, assign penance, and and grant absolution. In the Middle Ages, especially in Northern Europe and England, it became the custom to confess one's sins on the day before Lent began in order to enter the penitential season in the right spirit.
Time for a pancake breakfast!Collapse )

Qu'ils mangent de galette des rois

As we are coming up on Mardi Gras week, there will be some bakeries that have their king cakes in the display cases soon. To be historically accurate, though, Carnival season starts at Twelfth Night. Yes, child - the party is that long (with occasional breaks for work and sleep) in Louisiana.

New Orleans is a city of great food, from many cultures. The king cake is generally said to have arrived in NOLA from France in the 1870’s. Decorated in purple, gold, and green, (not red, gold, and green, you 80’s kids) the colors signify Justice with purple, Faith with green, and Power with gold. Even the name is linked to Twelfth night, or Three Kings Day, or Epiphany - whatever you call it. January 6 is the date on the calendar when the Magi are traditionally said to have found the infant Jesus.

This is why there is a little plastic baby hidden in the cake after it is baked, not some cannibal ritual, as a past acquaintance tried to insist. (Okay, technically, the celebration of the Eucharist is a cannibalistic ritual, but you are not supposed to EAT the baby.) As this person also forbore to celebrate a heathen holiday such as Halloween in favor of a wholesome Harvest Festival, complete with a king of the harvest and a queen of the corn, I just shook my head at them. Yeah, we’ll be getting back to that story in October.

More on that later, really. On with the cake under the cut...Collapse )

Beans 'n' Rice is Nice

Once the Christmas decorations come down, there’s still a long bit of winter left to work through. Around my place, it means cold and wet days, with occasional breaks for ice storms. We only get snow accumulations every seven years or so, and the stretch gets longer every decade. It’s a great time of year for crock pot stews and pot roasts, and then there’s beans and rice.

It can be basic, just legumes and grain, or it can be the start of a Mardi Gras feast. Nope, it’s not too early to start thinking of Fat Tuesday. The 2016 parades started on Twelfth Night in Louisiana, it’s not a stretch to start thinking now about what to have with your king cake - but that’s another story. Right now we’re going to go after something warm and filling to have after a nasty wet and cold day.

More legumes and grains in various arrangements under the cut.Collapse )

Meat Loaf Basic Theory


The dish, not the singer.

There are thousands of recipes out there for meatloaf, as it is one of the staples of an American cookbook. Nearly every family I know makes it differently. Except the vegetarians, who usually have something with tofu or lentils that takes its place, which is another thing we’ll get into after Fat Tuesday.

This is going to be a long one, so go make yourself some tea, and settle in.Collapse )

Changing Tastes: Devils on Horseback

I don’t have a lot of memories concerning appetizers growing up. There’s the frozen mass-produced shrimp cocktails my parents would splurge for if it was a good week. Those came three to a package, and my sister and I would get to share the spare one. Unfortunately, my sister and I were allergic to them, so that didn’t happen often. Weddings in the family had cake-and-punch receptions, and if we were lucky, strawberries. There weren’t a lot of cocktail parties that I remember, mostly sit-down dinners that were family occasions.

During the holidays, there were times when mixed nuts, dip and chips, or crudité platters to keep the ravening hordes out of the kitchen until the meal was finished, but nothing that was along the lines of hors-d'oeuvres.

More on the little bites after the cutCollapse )

Recipe Evolution

Sources for the recipes in our house come from a myriad of resources. Cookbooks were the go-to for me for many years, and I still collect them. Even now, I find new favorites in the old publications. At the moment, I have more cookbooks than shelves, which is partially due to cooking as a hobby, and partially due to having a family of avid readers and collectors.

My grandmother was not the greatest cook when I knew in her later years (the best thing I can say about her cooking was that she was an excellent businesswoman). However, she had a fondness for trying new things. When we cleared her house for sale, we found about a dozen recipes cut out from newspapers and magazines, taped to the inside of the kitchen cabinets. Her cookbook shelves held, besides the many cookbooks she owned, were some of the “magnetic” page photo albums with many more recipes.

Even from the beginning of my cooking years, I would still play around with formulas. Mama still remembers my years of Dill Overload, when I was first introduced to the herb, and tried it in every savory dish I made. Still, I will go back to the original recipes to see if I need to go another direction. Part of the reason I do that is because memory sometimes fails us, especially as we get older and do more stupid things to our brain cells. So sometimes a recipe can change from year to year, unless we go back to the original source.

After the years of clipping, we now have multiple cooking shows (on multiple channels) each with their own websites. There are also a lot of cooking blogs where we share our recipes. Each author and chef has their own style and taste, and each recipe is expressed in a different manner. It doesn’t need to be regional to have these changes, either! Just with three cooks in our house, there’s seven different ways to make a simple dish of pasta!

More noodle theory after the cut....Collapse )

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May 2016
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