Who doesn’t like a good mashed potato dish?
Ok, I’m back in my cooking mode and even though we still are eating out 2-3 times a week, I’ve decided to get back to doing what I have loved doing all my married life, (52 years) and that is cooking and trying new recipes.
I remember as a new bride (and this is way before it’s time) ordering computerized menu plans with recipes and preparing some good and some not so good. I have to say the worst was a Tuna Noodle Rosey; to this day I cannot stand hot tuna casserole type dishes. Another thing I did back in the early 70’s was to order my groceries over the phone using a catalog and talking to “Rosie the robot”, or that was what she sounded like. The groceries were delivered and for an extra charge they would even put them away. I never took advantage of that service since all I had to do was take care of a baby.
Vegetables with dates? Yum!
Since moving to Round Top in July 2020 I have not been cooking as much as I use to and I guess that’s because I’m baking at Lollitop Sweet Shop (Paul and Brooke’s place) four days a week. There aren’t a lot of places to eat around here especially on Monday-Wednesday and one would think I would be cooking more at home, but I’m not.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking my own meals and having friends over for dinner more than going out to eat. Recently (and this is the second time I have tried this service) I joined Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon’s meal boxes or whatever those plans are called where they send you all the food and you cook it. Maybe those are meant for people who don’t want to shop for their groceries or don’t have access to a big grocery market. Well, that would be me, (now) but this service lasted three weeks before I cancelled. I would have to say I wasn’t happy with some of the meals I chose (tough meat or flavors a little off for me.)
Trip to farmer’s market always fun.
It’s hard to believe that it had been 18 months since we saw our son, Scott and his family (Missy, Oliver and Charlie). With a 3 hour delay going (an hour delay coming back and terminal change) we finally arrived to hugs and kisses. It’s hard when you can only face time your grand kids and can’t give them a hug in person. But, we got plenty of those while there and as always we did a lot of cooking and eating.
One day while everyone was working and the kids in a summer school program we went to a local farmer’s market. I have been to farmer’s markets all over the world and am always excited to see local produce and products for sale and I never walk away without buying something. This particular day I found some bok choy, spring onions, heirloom tomatoes, peas and some tapenades.
While there we managed a trip to Top Golf and dinner at Longitud315. Another day we visited the Chicago Botanic Garden and Frida Kahlo exhibit in Glen Ellyn. So, even with mask wearing still required in a lot of these places we still managed to have a very good trip.
(It’s been a while since my last post (if anyone is still there) and my NEXT post I will give a look at what our life was like during the antique show. 12 hour days and most of the time I was too tired to cook when I got home and definitely too tired to try a new delicious recipe for this blog.)
Can’t say I was ever a cauliflower fan in my earlier years. That would be decades ago! I don’t remember my mother or grandmother ever cooking cauliflower. I’m not sure why because my dad had the best garden around and grew just about anything he could think of; even Jerusalem Artichokes and who the heck knew what to do with those things back then.
Over the years I’ve done some delicious things with the funny looking head. My Tomato and Cauliflower Soup recipe is one of those recipes that is pretty to look at and delicious to eat. My Cauliflower Potato Salad is infamous with my friends; although now I add one potato to the mix for flavor and texture. I’ve done Cauliflower Steak and Onions before but I have to say I like this Lemon Basil Cauliflower “Steak” better.
Once I found a beautiful head of purple cauliflower (and purple is my favorite color) and couldn’t resist making my Pasta with Purple Cauliflower and Walnut Cream Sauce. There are many other cauliflower dishes on my blog you can “search” for but before I quit telling what I’ve done in the past you have to take a look at my Winter White Soup which is one of my favorite cream soups.
I love grits!
I love grits and I love roasted tomatoes and who doesn’t love duck confit. This duck confit just happened to be given to me by my son Paul.
I’ve made confit the traditional way where the duck is covered with duck fat and cooked long and slow in an oven and I’ve made David Leboritz’s counterfeit duck confit where it isn’t cooked in fat (much cheaper) and is still just as tender. I loved using my son’s confit because I know he put a lot of tender loving care into making it.
All the years I’ve made cheese grits I’ve cooked some on stove top before adding in butter and eggs (to thicken) and then finish them in the oven. For this recipe I’m doing all the cooking on the stovetop and eliminating the eggs.
Since moving to Round Top I’m missing all my cooking utensils, pans and everything from my kitchen. (Update: we are now in our second/long term temporary and I have cabinet full (not all) of my cooking things) I think at least 60% of our boxes were from my kitchen, I have ever pan imaginable and every serving piece I could possibly ever need.
American Fries the best.
Doesn’t everyone have those favorite dishes our mother’s use to make or may still make just for you. Whether it’s a cake, some kind of yummy dessert, side dish or even a Sunday pot roast those favorites will bring back memories of a different time.
The last several months as been hard on us all. Who would have ever though that we would live through something like this terrible virus. Thank goodness for the internet, face time, Zoom, Skyp and a working kitchen. Being in the kitchen takes my mind off everything even though I am glued to the news station not wanting to miss any good news happening. We did a Zoom with all three kids/families and it was a lot of fun seeing the cousins talk to each other (all at the same time) and just seeing everyone’s face made me feel almost as good as a hug I would get from them.
Who would have thought coming into this new year that we would be going through anything like the pandemic we are now living through. The government all seems to be working together, finally, to do what our country needs. People and business have sacrificed so much to try and stop this virus. Closing restaurants, bars, now even parks are closed in our area quickly makes you realize how serious this is.
Spring hasn’t sprung yet!
Well, Spring hasn’t sprung yet but we can always get some pretty nice asparagus here in Texas. Ya know, Spring is just right around the corner; may not feel like it right now even here in Texas but another couple of months and the trees will be budding and flowers popping up all over the place.
I use to think of asparagus as mostly a spring vegetable since that is when it is harvested but these days (or probably last few decades) we get our vegetables from all over the world.
These little pearl red onions come from Frieda’s of southern California who produces a lot of specialty produce items. And when I saw these little purple onions I just knew I wanted to use them with asparagus. After all, purple and green are my favorite colors and this was such an easy dish to prepare for company.
Corn, corn, corn, and what to do with it.
So, it’s the end of summer and I’m sure by now your are wondering what to do with all that fresh corn you are seeing in the markets.
Over the 4th of July I picked up some for 10/$1. I can tell you I bought more than 10 ears at that price. Most of it I cut off the cob to put in the freezer for some corn and shrimp chowder I want to make once the temperatures start falling.
Easy pasta dish for the summer.
Don’t you just love pasta dishes for the summer. Pasta cooks in under 10 minutes and everything else that goes into the dish takes a matter of minutes. So, in less than 30 minutes you can have this dish on the table and have time to open that bottle of wine.
This was a Michael Symon recipe that I saw on Food Network. I love buying different shapes of pasta and for this particular recipe I bought a casarecce pasta which is kind of twisted. His recipe called for a cup of mint leaves but I only used 1/2 cup since hub does not care for mint that much.
One other change I will do next time is the cooking of the snow peas and peas. I would not cook. I wanted them to stay bright green and have a little crunch to them so I would recommend maybe sautéing the green onions a couple of minutes then throwing in the peas and pasta and cook just long enough to heat the snow peas and English peas.
Funky corn will take your funk away!
If you love corn and can’t get enough of it in the summer and you’re always looking for a new recipe and something EASY to make for dinner, then this one’s for you.
When we lived in Ft. Madison, Iowa back in the late 70’s we use to go to festivals in the summer; the strawberry and corn festivals were my favorite. I remember the corn especially because you could eat all the hot buttered corn you wanted for free and the kids could run around and play and you wouldn’t think of worrying about their safety.
My son, Scott, who lives in Chicago is always sending me websites to restaurants he and his wife, Missy, go to. This particular restaurant, Funkenhausen was just named one of the 16 best restaurants in Chicago and their chef comes from Charleston, SC and has German roots. I’m sure this corn recipe was probably his take on grilled corn and similar to a Mexican street corn.
Here’s another “kiss my grits” grit recipe.
Well, not sure if grits need to be kissed but these were so delicious I want to kiss someone to thank them for the idea. Guess that would be Bobby Flay. I saw one of his shows where he made these and he pureed the corn but I decided to put the whole kernels in my version. My recipe also has a couple of eggs in them and they set up nicely for a casserole.
I love serving grits with bar-b-q of course but any grilled meat or chicken would go nicely with these grits. Add something green and your done.
So, when it comes to the grits, first of all don’t use instant grits as they are precooked and dehydrated and do not have nearly the flavor as other types. Quick grits and regular grits are about the same with the only difference being the size of the grind. If you are lucky enough to find stone-ground grits then buy those. They are made from whole dried corn kernels and coarsely ground between two stones of a grist mill. The entire kernel is ground so the stone ground grit will have a more speckled appearance and a rich corn flavor. (I store mine in the freezer.) I still buy my South Carolina grits and now find them on Amazon – here. The first time I bought Charleston grits was at a farmer’s market in Charleston and they were mixed – yellow and white. On Amazon they sell either white or yellow so I buy one of each and mix them and then freeze what I am not using. They last a long time in the freezer. (I just found Palmetto Mixed Grits on Amazon so no need to buy a bag of each.)