I asked a friend with Irish roots for a recipe which she associated with her family’s Irish heritage. She replied by mailing me several recipes for Irish Soda Bread. This is a quick bread and is leavened with baking powder, soda and buttermilk. It is shaped into a round loaf and often contains raisins or currants. When made properly it is tender and sweet. I found a pretty little casserole dish for baking the loaf and I’m baking it in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.
My winter garden is rapidly coming to an end as warmer weather and longer daylight hours of spring arrive. My Chinese cabbage grew very well this winter, I am pleased to say. I’m going to make one of my favorite salads — Ramen Chinese Cabbage Salad — with the last cuttings. This salad is easy to make and is very healthy, too. How nice to have a healthy vegetable which also tastes great. The salad has plenty of crunch which includes the “surprise” ingredient of dry ramen noodles.
This year, in celebration of Mardi Gras, I am making cupcakes with colorful cream cheese icing for an event where everyone is expected to bring a dessert. Mardi Gras has been celebrated since the early beginnings of New Orleans and was originally a Catholic holiday of indulging in a rich meal before the beginning of Lent. Over time Mardi Gras has extended well beyond the Catholic religion and “Fat Tuesday.” Lots of revelry and fun for everyone. So my cupcakes are “in the spirit” of the Mardi Gras season.
When I think of Mardi Gras, I think of New Orleans and recall all of our adventures to the city during carnival season. New Orleans has a distinct and rich cuisine; we’ve eaten at many restaurants over the years during these times. Blackened redfish, made famous by Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme, is one of the memorable dishes of this city. With carnival season and Mardi Gras arriving soon, here’s my “blackened recipe,” a version using chicken rather than redfish.
For Valentine’s Day, I have a simple cookie recipe from my grandmother Ida Belle. She was born in the late 1800’s on an Iowa farm where everything was homemade. I have fond memories of visiting the family farm in the summertime: fresh air, corn fields, and cool water directly from their well. Life seemed simpler then. Grandma liked to bake and Angel Crisps is one of her recipes. Continue reading
Sour Grapes. Guess who is not going to the Super Bowl Championship game this year? The New Orleans Saints football team and fans. This includes our family who managed to watch over 50% of the Saint’s games this fall including several exciting wins. To commemorate the loss, I am posting two “sour grapes” recipes this week. In case you might like to try making them yourself on “Super Bowl Sunday,” I’m posting recipes for “Sour Grape Cocktails” and “Sour Grapes” today.
Our local grocery store advertised a special on Bartlett pears recently. It’s a little late in the year to find fresh pears, but I love this aromatic fruit and purchased a basket. The memory of a unique pizza at served at California Pizza Kitchen Restaurant has always stuck with me. It was made with fresh pears, Gorgonzola cheese and topped with salad greens. Thought I’d try using my pears to make it.
During this holiday season, we ate the most delicious cauliflower appetizer, “Cauliflower Tempura with Gochujang Sauce,” at a P.F. Chang’s Restaurant. I love cauliflower, prepared in any way, and this was simply one of the best preparations I have ever tasted. I decided to research the recipe and duplicate it at home. I am pleased. The result turned out great; it was similar but uniquely my own. Here is P.F. Chang’s Cauliflower Tempura.
Let’s begin the new year by cooking something new: Anasazi beans. These heirloom beans have an interesting history. The beans shown here are from a farmer’s market in Taos, New Mexico, which is the closest town to the Taos Pueblos. My brother’s family purchased the beans while on a cross-country driving trip from California. Along the way they visited several American Native Indian cliff dwelling sites and ruins. I made a hearty soup with the beans.
Let’s start the New Year on a healthy note. Here’s a tasty way to prepare and serve fish fillets. The fish fillets are topped with an almond crust and baked, then served over a bed of savoy cabbage, onions and dried fruit along with a tangy mustard sauce. The fish fillet with crunchy topping simply melts in your mouth! This is an easy way to live a heart healthy diet. With all of our fried food served in Louisiana, the recipe is a welcome change.