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Side dish

Salads/ Side dish

Green Pea Pasta with Vegetables

Green and gluten-free!

While in Hot Springs a couple of months ago going to the horse races I found this gluten-free green pea pasta at one of the shops down town and since my son and family were visiting the next week I wanted something new gluten free to make for my daughter-in-law.

I purchased a red lentil pasta and this green pea pasta. My first thought was a pea pasta salad with green peas and some other green ingredients. I just happened to have one potato so I cut it into small cubes and boiled and added to the pasta salad.

There are so many gluten-free pasta out there now and once you add all your other ingredients you would never know it was GF. I was never a fan of gluten-free recipes (especially sweets/pastries) when they were starting to appear all over the internet. Seems like they were all made from just almond flour and to me everything tasted like almonds. I like all the new blends of flours and especially the pastas made with vegetables like this green pea pasta. This one comes from Abruzzo, Italy and you can buy it here or find it in a specialty shop.

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Side dish

Forbidden Black Rice and Mushrooms

Harvey’s gone and I’m ready to cook again.

We survived the black clouds and rainy days of Harvey and I have to say I wasn’t cooking much during those five days either. Lookin but not cookin.

The stores were crazy for days and have calmed down now and back to normal. Even during the busiest days of trying to grab a gallon of milk or bread or chips, I got in and out of the store in record time; sometimes settling for Half & Half instead of milk and taking the only lone loaf of bread on the shelves — Jewish rye and forget those chips, they were mostly gone. The news had reports of grocery lines that were 4 hours long just getting in and out to buy a few staples. I’m glad Harvey is in our review mirrors, he was definitely a unwelcomed guest to Texans.

I had purchased black rice before; never tried it. But, after cooking brown rice, white rice, and red rice for so long I was intrigued with this black colored grain that turns a deep purple color when cooked.

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Side dish

Lemon Parsley Rice

Is it rice or cauliflower?

Is it rice or cauliflower? That is the $64,000 question. Cauliflower rice is so popular right now. At Trader Joe’s you can even buy it already cut like rice. Now who would possibly buy it that way when you can grate it yourself and save a few pennies or nickels and I have a problem with buying things already prepared, how much trouble is it to grate anyway?

I didn’t think I would ever like saying I’m 60; and I sure don’t think I’m going to like saying I’m 70 come November. I’ve decided that 70 is too old to give up anything you like. Why do I want to eat cauliflower rice instead of real rice and why shouldn’t I eat WHITE rice if I want that instead of brown rice. Don’t get me started on white bread. White bread is a must for certain things like a bologna sandwich. (I know, ya say that bologna isn’t good for you — but remember I’m almost 70 and I’m not giving up anything I really want.) Don’t get me wrong, we do eat a lot of healthy things; brown rice most of the time, good bakery French breads and baguettes (white) and we do eat lots of fish and vegetables.

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Appetizers/ Bread/ HotApp/ Side dish

Crawfish Hushpuppies

My contribution to a cajun or Mardi Gras dinner.

Mardi Gras is almost here. I’ve never been to a Mardi Gras and I guess I don’t care if I ever go to one but I do love cajun cuisine. When we were in New Orleans last summer we had all kinds of cajun food and a few things I made after I got home.

I picked up these decorations/props at my craft circle. There’s a room bigger than my whole house (maybe twice over) full of supplies that we can go back and get for any project our group is working on. The little jester, mask and beads came from the floral department. And, since they weren’t using them for a few days, I thought I would borrow a few things and use for props. Just look at that little girl with her hand out, just waiting for a hushpuppy.

My local HEB had a guy out front last week with a big contraption that he was cooking crawfish in; so I decided to buy them and not fool with cooking such a small amount. I only bought a pound which didn’t make nearly enough meat. I’m putting 1 – 1 1/2 cups of crawfish tails in the recipe because that’s what it is going to take to make these delicious. At $5.99 a lb, and I bought only a pound and got 3/4 cup of meat, I’d go for the ones you cook yourself next time because they are going to be about $2.00 a pound, maybe less depending on where you live or you can buy crawfish tails in the freezer section.

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Side dish

Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sesame Seeds and Raisins

We have a new woman in our bedroom!

So, let’s talk about this new woman. My husband got her for Christmas and she quickly took up residence in our bedroom. Her name is Alexa and she is the voice that powers the Echo device from Amazon.

When he first got the “new woman” in his life I could hear him talking to her. Sweet nothings like … “Hey, Alexa, What’s up and she would come up with something witty to say, or “Hey Alexa, what’s the weather for tomorrow” and even “Hey Alexa, can you wake me up in the morning”. Ya know, you can even say “Alexa, shut up” and she doesn’t get offended.

Alexa can find you a restaurant or a movie playing near by, she can do math, she can spell, she can give you the results of a sporting event and she can even purchase things off of Amazon for you. What she can’t do is fetch that cup of coffee.

So one day, I decided to give her a try and said “Hey Alexa, what’s for dinner tonight”. This was just a few days after the new year and I guess she was already in the dieting frame of mind and she said, let’s do something healthy tonight.

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Side dish

Cauliflower Couscous

Couscous anyone?

We just finished having our kitchen painted, inside and out. Just cleaning out the cabinets and two pantries for the painters had my head spinning. The amount of STUFF that we had to find a resting place for a week was crazy. With a lifetime of cooking gadgets, pans, dishes, would I be able to get rid of anything? I thought I could go through everything as we unloaded everything but that was not possible. I found myself saying “oh, isn’t this cute, I could use this for a blog post”. When all was painted and we waited patiently the 4 days before putting things back in their space, I had only gotten rid of one table worth of things. In fact. I threw away my stovetop pizelle maker and ordered an electric one from Amazon.

I don’t know why I thought I needed to clean out my refrigerator during this project, maybe because we ate out for a week, but I found this cauliflower hiding in my refrigerator and came across this coop site and this recipe for cauliflower couscous.

Couscous is a North African dish made with steamed balls of semolina. Pititim is Israeli couscous. The only difference I see in the two varieties I find in the store is that the Israeli couscous is a lot larger grain (I prefer the Israeli over the smaller version.)

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Garnish/ Salads/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Pickled Yellow Squash

Take advantage of your summer harvest.

I’ve been doing a lot of pickling lately; first my roasted yellow pickled beets and now this pickled yellow squash.

Even if you don’t have a garden you can take advantage of finding great deals on produce and then canning some to enjoy in the winter. I didn’t find a great deal at the farmer’s market; their yellow squash was $3.00/lb. I bought one pound of their squash and then went to my HEB and bought 6 lbs. at $.99/lb. Now that’s a deal.

My mother and dad both use to can things. It seemed like it was more my mother canning tomatoes and pickles from my dad’s garden and then after my dad retired they both tried their hand(s) at pickled okra, beets. When they moved over to Reelfoot Lake he even canned some fish he had caught then they would make fish cakes out of the canned fish. Now, I wasn’t too keen on trying that recipe but I’m sure if he made it, it was good.

I’ve canned some marmalade before and some fig jam and even some cognac raisins to serve with cheese. Oh, I forgot, one of my sister’s (Terry) best canned items is her chow chow. It is better than any chow chow you will ever find in a grocery store and when I can get tomatoes for 50 cents a lb. I make some. I have to go to Missouri to get tomatoes at that price.

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Salads/ Side dish

Pickled Roasted Golden Beets

Love these golden beets!

My husband has always said he doesn’t like beets because they are red and he doesn’t like red food. Now that doesn’t make sense since he does eat catsup, tomatoes, etc. So I decided to make golden beets to use in a salad similar to one I had at Luke’s Restaurant in New Orleans. That recipe will come in a couple of days.

Usually the beets I eat are pickled. For years, that was the only thing I knew to do with a beet. And, of course, they were red beets that I pickled and they bled all over everything and if I wasn’t careful I would end up with a blood-splattered looking top.

After I started this blog I became more adventurous in trying new recipes. I’ve always liked cooking but never really went out on a limb to try different things. Then I tried fried beets once at East Side Kings in Austin and I made them almost immediately after returning home. My French Fried Beets with Japanese Mayonnaise is one of my favorite appetizers; I now cut them in slices and not chunks like ESK make their’s. Then my next adventure in beets was with my Roasted Beet Napoleon; stacks of deliciousness. And, who could pass up my Pink Heart Egg Finger Sandwiches where I used the beet juice to dye my hard-boiled eggs then cut tiny beet hearts as a garnish for the egg sandwich.

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Appetizers/ HotApp/ Salads/ Side dish

BLT Stacked Tomatoes

One of my favorite foods from Savannah.

Do you find it hard to pass up a fried green tomato? Well I do and while visiting in Savannah back in April I saw them on every menu I looked at along with shrimp and grits and pimento cheese .

I grew up eating fried green tomatoes. My dad had the best garden ever and “organic” before most people even though of growing anything without a lot of pesticides. He made his own garlic spray that he would spray on his plants for bugs and he even hooked up a pump in the lake they lived on (after retirement) and use that water to water his garden.

Over the years of our gardening we would grow all types of tomatoes and I could not wait to see the first green tomatoes get big enough to pick and fry and believe me it was hard to pick them knowing in just a few days we would have beautiful vine ripen tomatoes. But, that was never a hard decision for me to make — pick or not pick.

Have you ever had fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese on top? I haven’t either but saw it on some menus in Savannah. I have posted a Fried Green Tomato with Black Eyed Pea Vinaigrette and a Fried Green Tomato with Ravigote Sauce.

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Morning Foods/ Side dish

Bacon and Tomato Cheese Grits

Kiss my grits! (As Flo would say)

In case you don’t know who Flo is she was a waitress in the sitcom “Alice” many, many years ago. Can’t say that was a favorite show of mine but I can’t forget her telling people to “kiss my grits”.

Back in April I took a trip to Savannah with my twin sister and two friends from high school, Pauletta and Judy. We had such a great time and can’t wait to get together again. Funny, one of Pauletta’s walking friends asked her what she was going to talk to friends about that she had not seen for 40 years. Well, we never quit talking. It was fun reliving the past, hearing about everyone’s grandkids, and what the future holds for all of us.

Did we ever eat some good food while there! What is it about a “Southern” menu that you will always find shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes and some good pimento cheese in with all your menu items making it even harder to decide what to order. I can’t pass up grits, I can’t pass up pimento cheese and I certainly can’t pass up trying someone’s fried green tomatoes. I had a great stack of tomatoes on our last day there that I can’t wait to try to recreate.

When we toured the Mercer House we heard stories about when Jim Williams lived there (remember the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and he was accused of murder) and the parties he would give and one of his favorite things his caterer Lucille Wright (the most sought after caterer in Savannah) would make was shrimp and grits and pumpkin cornbread. I may be giving that pumpkin cornbread a try in the Fall so keep a lookout for it.

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Side dish

Tipsy Beans

You may know these as “drunken” beans.

These beans were a fitting side dish for a going away party that we did for our neighbors, Maria and Ricky, one weekend in April and a perfect day for using our outdoor kitchen. Pulled pork sandwiches with cabbage topping, truffled parmesan fries, tipsy beans, coleslaw, and some appetizers

People have been doing drunken beans for years I guess. We grew up eating those baked beans that are loaded with bacon and brown sugar, mustard, ketchup and baked a long time in the oven.

Most recipes for drunken beans just call for pintos but I’ve started using a mixture of beans even in my chili. For these beans I used kidney, black and pinto beans combined. I used a dark beer but any kind of beer will work. The one thing I did wrong in this recipe was to not brown my bacon. Don’t ask me why I didn’t do it. I have always browned the bacon in baked beans or any kind of dish that calls for bacon. I got in a hurry and just threw it in the pan with the onions and it never browned.

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Appetizers/ Side dish

Caramelized Mushrooms

I love these little fungi.

How many ways can you love a mushroom. Well, I love them in mushroom soup, love them fried, raw in a salad, on pizza, from a can, fresh from the market and of course, who doesn’t love stuffed mushrooms. I actually won a contest with my Italian Stuffed Mushrooms back in the 70’s when we lived in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.

I would love to go foraging for mushrooms but it would be my luck I would pick the wrong kind and end up in a deep sleep or worst. What fun it would be hunting these little things; kind of like an Easter egg hunt but much tastier.

So, when I saw this recipe for Caramelized mushrooms and the instructions said “walk away” I knew I was going to have to try these. So many times, when I walk away from something I’m cooking, I end up burning the thing I was so looking forwarding to eating; but this night I did not. We were enjoying the outdoor kitchen before another one of our “cold spells” came through Texas and I decided to whip us up a little appetizer while we cooked outside. These were gone in a few minutes so make plenty if you plan on sharing them or just make a batch for yourself.

These mushrooms would be delicious as a side dish to a good grilled steak, chicken or how about a big platter of them for no particular reason.

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