Instant Pot Magic: Old-Fashioned Oatmeal with Fresh Blueberries

As far as I’m concerned, an “Instant Pot” might also be called an “Impatient Pot.” For the person who likes to cook everything on the “high” burner of the stove, then an “Instant Pot” is the perfect kitchen appliance. Get the “Instant Pot” settings programmed and hit “Start.” Then leave the appliance alone and go on to another task. It doesn’t matter, as the “Instant Pot” regulates the temperature and pressure automatically. The recipe finishes cooking and the “Instant Pot” turns off. Yeah! No more burnt pots. I’ve tried cooking a variety of dishes in my brand new “Instant Pot.” And to the doubters who questioned if you could cook oatmeal in an Instant Pot, today I’m giving it a try.

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Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon and Garlic

This recipe is quickly becoming my favorite way to prepare cauliflower. Whenever I make “Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon and Garlic,” my husband and I eat the entire cauliflower head in one sitting. And the last time, my husband ate the entire dish himself, leaving me with nothing. Well, I did say, “help yourself,” but I didn’t intend for him to eat the cauliflower in it’s entirety. My favorite Lebanese restaurant, Serops, offers a menu item which I absolutely love, “Fried Cauliflower.” It has has a subtle lemon and garlic flavor. I have been trying to figure out how they make the dish. These “Cauliflower Steaks,” surprisingly, have the same flavor and taste. I think I’ve got it. This dish is delicious — and very healthy!

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Marie’s Artichoke & Mushroom Appetizers with a “Pinch of Cajun”

I love artichokes in any shape or fashion– added to green salads, as an ingredient in dips, in New Orleans Eggs Benedict or as a whole boiled artichoke. One of my favorite recipes combines chicken, artichokes, pearl onions and wine. Yum! Marie made an artichoke appetizer recently at a dinner gathering for a small group of friends and she graciously shared the recipe. This appetizer blends artichokes, mushrooms and cheese into bite-sized balls; perfect for the holidays. For a “Cajun” kick, it contains garlic and cayenne pepper.

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Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread

“Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread” is a flavorful, rich yeast bread which includes eggs, milk, butter, and of course, sweet potatoes. This combination of ingredients results is a light, airy and slightly sweet bread. A friend, who emigrated here from Brazil, posted a photo of the bread on Facebook. It looked mighty tempting; she agreed to share the recipe. I like to highlight Louisiana sweet potatoes which ripen in the fall. Why not make the bread adapting it to use our variety of this tuber? Plus, sweet potatoes are full of nutritional value adding to the health aspects of this bread. So, I attempted to make “Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread.”

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Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Cakes – Miniature Cakes

Miniature Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Cakes make an easy and delicious dessert and a great gift for the holidays. Who doesn’t like to receive a home-baked present?  This lemony cake with cranberries is tart yet sweet and moist. Fresh cranberries give a holiday flair with a flavor “pop.” I used some of the Meyer lemons from my backyard tree to make these cakes and baked them in mini-loaf pans. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the post where I share a couple of photos of my elusive backyard cardinal bird pair. Continue reading

Roast Turkey Breast with Leek & Spinach Stuffing for a Small Group

Here’s an speedy approach to preparing a home-cooked turkey for Thanksgiving for a small group. Everyone likes a home-cooked meal but who wants the all the work. This recipe is simplifies things quite a bit. The secret is use only the turkey breast, de-bone it and fill it with a savory Leek and Spinach Stuffing. This speeds up the cooking time and my turkey breast was cooked in just over one hour. It was tender and flavorful. The leek and spinach stuffing adds a different twist to the entree. Plus, you will really “wow” your guests and family when you carve the de-boned breast. Don’t tell them. Just slice the breast at table and see their reactions. We’ve had some good times with this! It really isn’t difficult to de-bone a turkey. Here’s what we did.

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The Secret to Southern Fried Okra

Let’s cook fresh okra. It’s time to take advantage of this vegetable which is plentiful the summertime in the South and is easily grown in a garden here. I’ve discovered several delicious ways to fix okra since moving to Louisiana. “Southern Fried Okra” is one of those iconic recipes. My recipe is easy — using common household ingredients. It is crunchy and perfectly seasoned. The breading actually sticks to the okra for the most part. You may not want to purchase commercially breaded okra after eating this recipe. Give it a try!

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Deep South Fried Eggplant Medallions

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.

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Pecan Rum Cake with a Satsuma Variation

Every year my mother-in-law sends “gelt” (a.k.a. money) for Hanukkah rather than presents. I like to save the gelt for something really special; something I might not otherwise indulge in. This year an old-fashioned Bundt cake pan caught my attention. I love to bake and this seemed like a fitting use for her generosity. The first cake I made was “Pecan Rum Cake.” It is festive for the all the holidays — both Hannukah and Christmas. I liked it so much I also made a variation, “Satsuma Rum Cake.”

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Homemade Waffle Ice Cream Cones

I think that ice cream always goes better with a cone, cookie or wafer; something crunchy. And so I treated myself a neat gadget, an ice cream waffle cone maker, to go along with the homemade ice creams that I like to make. I’m especially pleased that I found a recipe for waffle cones which uses only egg whites. Since I was taught never to throw good food away, I can use the egg yolks in the custard ice cream and the whites in the cones. I come out even with my use of eggs. Continue reading