Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fat Tuesday Fare


To celebrate Fat Tuesday at our house I cooked up some simple Louisiana fare! Oysters and shrimp. Simple, but, oh so good.  The oysters were consumed so quickly there was no time to snap a photo! 

I cleaned and deveined a pound of shrimp, tossed them in a flour, cornmeal and cornstarch mixture for tempting taste of Louisiana! and a successful close to another Mardi Gras season all around the state!
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Moroccan-style Spice Blend


I've been studying and enjoying a Turkish cookbook that my mom received from a good friend back in 1954 when our family first arrived in Izmir, Turkey. 

Since starting this pleasurable pastime I've also savored a few of my favorite Middle Easter dishes!

A favorite Atlanta market offers one of the tastiest salad bars with plenty of savory toppings spiced with lots of cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric. My favorites toppings include curried chickpeas, Tabouleh, walnuts, Feta cheese, cous-cous, sprouted beans, hummus and olives! The exotic flavors linger in my memory for days!

I finally started gathering all the spice ingredients for a Moroccan blend that might serve me well with all my upcoming projects. Beef and Chicken Samosas and a Turkish recipe for Lamb and Chickpeas served over rice.

I stopped what I was doing a hour ago and toasted some of the required seeds and pods before blending with turmeric, ginger, paprika, black pepper and a few finger hots! What I've blended is aromatic, authentic and "calling my name"! 

My recipe for a Moroccan-style spice blend:

1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 clove
1 tbsp cardamon
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cinnamon
1tbsp dried mint leaves
1 tbsp ginger powder
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp red pepper
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp salt

After toasting for about five minutes I ground the ingredients into a powder and place in an airtight jar.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Malt Flour Cinnamon Buns






I mentioned in a previous post that I had worked steadily for two years to develop my own flaky dough that would serve me well at breakfast time at Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast! Lesson learned? Don't give up. I finally developed a dough that I think we'll be useful in a wide variety of recipes.

This final inspiration hit me after a leisurely stroll down the flour isle at a favorite Asian market. In a previous visit I made a mental note that the market stocked malt flour.  My "light bulb" moment came while munching on a small package of crispy chocolate chip cookies.  I read the list of ingredients and noticed malt flour! An ingredient also used in our delicious "malty" homemade waffles.

Finally, I made the decision to reduce the warm water used in the recipe by half and add buttermilk as a replacement liquid. I added cold buttermilk to hot water to create a warm liquid perfect for activating the yeast.

With the full recipe of my dough I was able to make 15 cinnamon rolls and a lightly-sweetened braided cinnamon loaf.

The cinnamon rolls were tender, wonderfully textured from the malt flour and stayed soft.  The bread was almost close to a flake pastry. Lightly crunchy, delicate layers and yummy!
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Game Day Superbowl 2013 Nachos


My role on Superbowl Sunday is to ensure that the Superbowl kitchen runs smoothly and sends out timely dishes of proper Superbowl finger foods.

The ridiculous rise in cost for a bag of chicken wings caused a change-up in our 2013 menu and a new tradition of "Superbowl Nachos" was born.

This year I got busy early and put up my own "canned" jalepenos. I also take issue with many of the canned varieties of jalepenos at the grocery store. They, too, are expensive and packed in too much vinegar.

Everything synced up with my new love of canning. What began as a way to preserve fresh fruits that weren't being used up fast enough has turned into a fun hobby! We just opened my first pint of fresh jalepenos and sampled the first slice.

So, here's to a great Superbowl in New Orleans! and to my own Superbowl Nachos!
 
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Watch Home At Last!


Click on the "Watch A Show" tab above this post and enjoy a trip to the Sweet Grass Artisan Cheese facility. Also, I'm showcasing the use of garden-fresh tomatoes I use in a favorite pasta with a silky, tangy goat cheese!