When the very nutritious vegetable, the sweet potato, is cooked perfectly, it is tender yet still a little crisp with a wonderful sweet flavor. I have decided that it is actually a little tricky to cook sweet potatoes properly. But I think I found the prefect sweet potato fry in a restaurant in Breckenridge, Colorado, of all places. We recently visited this very upscale restaurant with a James Beard Chef winner on the staff. The sweet potatoes were cooked and served immaculately. I came home to try to duplicate their recipe.
It you ever want an authentic taste of traditional southern cooking at it’s best; stop at a restaurant in the tiny town of McComb, Mississippi, on your travels along Interstate 55 which goes between Chicago and New Orleans. This is where I first tasted eggplant — their version is breaded and fried — and fell in love with this vegetable — it is a flavorful “melt in your mouth” eggplant dish. Don’t travel this way often? Too bad, you are missing much of the rural South and alot of good cooking.
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.
While visiting in Germany last week, I discovered that folks there don’t drink iced tea. It’s not on restaurant menus, there was no instant ice tea mix or family sized ice tea-bags in grocery stores. Missing a glass of ice tea, my son and I bought tea bags and brewed our own. We randomly selected Darjeeling tea and it was actually the best iced tea I’d had in quite some time. After returning back home to Louisiana, I decided to attempt to make sun-brewed iced tea using Darjeeling tea bags. Continue reading
Would you guess that Louisiana is famous for icebox pies? Probably not. However, several iconic diners across the state have a reputation for fine icebox pies. The family diner, Strawn’s Eat Shop, in Shreveport is one such spot. This restaurant is the inspiration for Denise’s Banana Cream Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut which I am making for Mother’s Day. It is an old-fashioned and sentimental pie.
Warning — you may not be able to stop eating this apple pie. There is something irresistible about the combination of a flaky pie crust, an aromatic (but not too sweet) apple filling and a crunchy oatmeal crumb topping. Autumn is the time of year to find varieties of apples at farmer’s markets and produce stands that don’t appear at other times of the year.
Last summer in August we took a road trip and drove through rural Pennsylvania and upstate New York. My husband was a good sport as we stopped at produce stands along the way. By the time we got back to Louisiana, our car was full of fruits and vegetables and it smelled like an aromatic fruit concoction. The New York peaches were ripe; I got busy and made a luscious Peach Shortbread Tart.
Every summer in August when I was young, we’d travel from Virginia to Iowa to visit our grandparents who lived on an Iowa farm. I have many vivid memories of their farm; one is of the corn–a memory also shared by my cousins. We joked that corn was served at every meal: corn on the cob for lunch and supper and a corn dish at breakfast, too!
We visited Miami recently and decided to eat at some Cuban restaurants. Why not try out the local cuisine when vacationing? We enjoyed everything we ordered; especially the refreshing mojito drinks. I thought of all the mint growing in my garden — what a good way to use it! Continue reading
Cool, crisp fall weather brings changing colors on trees and ripe apples to much of the country. I especially liked fresh apple cider and donuts while living in Michigan years ago. We miss this in southern Louisiana–wishful memories. Then I opened one of my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) baskets. Surprise, apples were in the basket along with honey and other produce!