Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Photo Narrative: New Orleans Food

New Orleans' Donut - the Beignet.  Powdered sugary goodness.

A very unflattering picture of my son eating a fried gator Po-Boy.
The New Orleans trifecta: jambalaya, red beans and rice, and shrimp etouffee

Smothered crabcakes

Brent's pleasant surprise: a muffaletta

My new passion: The Reuben

And yeah, a culinary tour of New Orleans isn't complete without a seafood dish of some kind!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Love the Library, I Love the Kitchen

For your viewing pleasure, a photo narrative...

But first - context.  God Bless Andrew Carnegie and his public library idea.  I often forget what a veritable treasure trove my public library is, especially in regards to cookbooks.  Supposedly, my husband is a fan of beets...although I've seen him eat them, oh, a half a dozen times.  In FIFTEEN years.  Anyway...

I've been quite prejudiced against the blood-red root veg, and I think it comes from my dishwashing days (as a young teen) at my aunt and uncle's restaurant.  Cold pickled beet juice combined with cottage cheese residue congealed into a bright pink mess on salad plates I was to scrape clean?  Did people actually eat that?  Disgusting!  And I harbored that bias for a long time...


But, if there's any conviction that we here at "Be Food" (and by 'we', I mean me) try to adhere to, it's that life is about learning and letting go.  So - let's roast some beets!

Mind over matter, is my motto.  Generally, pickling is not a preferred method of food preparation for me, but roasting - hey! - totally different matter, mind you.

This cookbook here had a recipe for Herb-Roasted Root Vegetables.  Serendipitous, no?  I found beets and parsnips at the grocery store, and cubed them with the more familiar potatoes and carrots.  Tossed with rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper, the roasting then commenced.

A word to the wise, though.  When the recipe tells you to stop partway through and shake or stir the food in the pans, you should do that.  Otherwise, the vegs burn a little...and that might repulse some folk.  But us?  We don't turn our noses up at a little thing like charcoal.

Discovery?  I found that I can stomach beets this way, roasted and seasoned.  My husband is happy.

The beets tonight accompanied a Roasted Chicken dish.  The planets must have been in total alignment because the meat was tender and juicy and flavorful - as you can see by taking a look at Mr. Cooked Chicken here.  He's dead and roasted, and thus, incapable of covering himself.  I apologize for his immodesty.

Book #2 from the library was this tome right here.  The kid on the cover looks nothing like my seven-year-old, but who cares?  Elliot picked out the "Black and White Chocolate Pudding Cake" for our dessert tonight. And well....

The recipe claims this cake is a "cross between a brownie and chocolate pudding".  And that, my friends, is pretty darned astute.
This hot, chocolatey mess was very, very good over vanilla ice cream.
The final experiment on the culinary docket tonight was a shot-in-the-dark from this book:
For me, a cookbook gets my Seal of Approval when I can pronounce most of the ingredients in any given recipe, and I can easily find said ingredients in my small southeastern Iowa town.

And, a double plus for recipes that are easy-peasy because I happen to have -on hand- the ingredients to make it right then and there.  As was the case with the Gingerbread Loaf recipe in this book.


Not a bad lookin' loaf, is it?  Pretty tasty, too, I would add.  Not for eating with ham and cheese or bologna sandwiches, but I'm thinking I might test this loaf out on the family tomorrow in the form of French Toast.


A productive, wonderfully exhausting day in the kitchen.  I must now conserve my strength, as next week I tackle that juggernaut known as holiday baking.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Army Marches On!

First of all - welcome back to To Thine Own Self, Be Food!  It has been over three weeks since my last post.  That whole pesky novel-writing thing, you know...

Second of all, check this out:

This is the dividing and conquering of 50 pounds of bread flour, purchased from the local Costco (ConAgra Harvest).  At $15 a bag, it's quite a deal.
However, being a King Arthur brand user, it's disconcerting to discover that Costco's flour is bleached and enriched...and so comes down to the age-old question: cost over nutrition? 

I will keep you posted on how my loaves turn out.



Third, we were running low on butter earlier this week, and my daughter (10) announced that she wanted to make butter.  So, I sent her and her father off in the direction of the Google.  Thirty minutes later, we had homemade butter (the shakingshakingshaking of heavy cream).  But, my oldest son became enamored of it (as did many others in the house), and I think it now shall become a staple in the Nelson fridge.

Homemade bread?  Why not homemade butter?  Pioneers out on the prairie, we are!