I like to cook summer vegetables while they are in season. I was surprised and pleased to discover that eggplant grows in a Louisiana garden. The first year that I grew eggplant they flourished with very little attention. Plenty of eggplant to cook and that sent me scrambling for recipes. Here’s one of my favorites. It makes the best of eggplant and other summer vegetables: “Melt-In-Your-Mouth” Eggplant Stacks. Continue reading
This blog post started out as an idea for using my backyard persimmons but is really more about the pork roast. I’ve been experimenting with various spice rubs for a pork tenderloin and finally have one that I really like. Last fall, I added persimmons, potatoes and onions to the roast to make a one pot meal. The persimmons are gone, but I’m still making this peppery pork roast and substituted Brussels sprouts. Continue reading
Here’s another homemade gift idea for the holidays–Meyer Lemon Marmalade. It’s a little different twist on traditional jelly or jam. The Meyer Lemon tree in my backyard that I planted 2 years ago was prolific. I was so excited with the 100 or so lemons that it produced and decided that this would be a good time to try making marmalade. It turned out very well–sweet yet tart with a fruity flavor.
I think everyone appreciates a homemade gift during the holiday season. It is special and shows you have put some thought into the gift. Consider “Southern Fig Preserves Cake.” The cake is unique, definitely has a Louisiana or Southern charm and is a moist, crunchy and delicious cake. A friend suggested the recipe and she even took photographs and shared her experience “writing a blog post.” I made the recipe, too, here is my mini-loaf.
My backyard persimmon tree is loaded with persimmons this autumn. Enough for me and the birds, too. The fruit is astringent and makes your mouth pucker but if you don’t mind the taste then the fruit is very nutritious. I’ve experimented with several ways to use my persimmons including persimmon and black bean salsa.
Let’s make Banana Pepper Jelly! Home canning pepper jelly is a new adventure for me — but I’m willing to give it a try. My Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) basket was full of large banana peppers. These peppers are mild, with a distinctive flavor. I don’t often use banana peppers in cooking and hate to throw them away. So making jelly seemed like a good solution. The jelly turned out so well that I made a batch of Hot Jalapeno Pepper Jelly, too.
Summertime is a great time to make homemade ice cream using ripe fresh fruit in season. Peach ice cream is one of my favorite flavors. I grew up in a family with an old-fashioned, hand-cranked ice cream churner and I watched as my mother mixed up many varieties. Here’s one of my favorite recipes for custard ice cream using a small electric ice cream maker and a healthy low-fat variation supplied by a friend.
My favorite vegetable any time of the year is a ripe and juicy tomato. It has to be a home grown and vine ripe tomato; not the grocery store variety which has been picked early and shipped a long distance. Here’s a savory stewed tomato recipe that I’ve made many times and perfected over the past year. I use both fresh Louisiana Creole tomatoes as well as canned tomatoes and added a few other ingredients for a savory flavor.
Several weeks ago, we visited New Orleans and ate at a tiny but exquisite restaurant in the mid-city section of New Orleans. All the food arrived at the table in a beautiful presentation. We tried the nightly special: grilled baby summer squash served with hummus, feta cheese and pumpkin seeds. It was a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. I decided to make my own version of our supper entree.
Blueberries are easy to grow in Louisiana; find a sunny, well drained spot and the bushes thrive. Blueberries are ripening now and I have a precious two cups to cook with and eat. I love the aromatic punch that blueberries add to muffins, pancakes and sauces. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants – anthocyanins – and have numerous health benefits. This week I cooked a Balsamic Blueberry Sauce to serve with Braised Brisket on Memorial Day. Continue reading