Happy New Year, 2019


Happy New Year Chocolate Cake“I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times.”—Nora Ephron

The late Nora Ephron was known both as a great cook, and for not eating dessert.  But, later in her life, she would have lunch with friends and they, at her insistence, ordered multiple desserts, having small, reasonable bites of all of them.  Isn’t that a lovely concept?  Sharing…and eating!

Happy New Year Chocolate CakeMmmmmm…cake!  And chocolate cake at that.  Isn’t it a delightful way to ring in 2019?  Seriously, this is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve eaten in a long, long time.  This lovely cake was baked and decorated by a talented friend and she made it from scratch, too.  Oh yes…did I mention she is “almost twelve-years-old”?  Isn’t that wonderful?  This young woman is a serious baker and should be an inspiration to us all.  She reminds us to attempt the things we enjoy, but we perhaps find a bit daunting. To have courage to attempt those daunting things.  To challenge ourselves.  To look for the good in others.  To find joy in simple things.

I think that’s what the New Year is all about.  The potential of what may be.  Or maybe, what will we make of the opportunities that come our way.  And at this time of year, when many of us are thinking about diets, remember to enjoy the good things in life, too.  Like cake.  Happy New Year!Happy New Year Chocolate Cake

Felix’s Mélange de Mariscos


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Felix's Mélange de MariscosMélange, is defined as “a mixture, a medley”.  It’s the perfect description of this “medley”—as this combines, shrimp, scallops, calamari rings, and imitation crabmeat, for the seafood.  And the mélange of vegetables—red onion, olives, bell pepper, and recao or culantro.  It’s sublime.  It’s perfection…a mélange of flavors.  Continue reading

Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower


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Roasted Caulflower with Bleu Cheese and Buffalo SauceI swear that anything can be “buffaloed”.  And there are recipes galore for Buffalo cauliflower, so I’m not even going to give you a recipe.  We’re just going to talk through the process, because you don’t need a recipe.  Follow your taste buds.

Roasted Cauliflower FloretsPlace the cauliflower florets on a foil-lined cookie sheet or a cast iron skillet.  Drizzle with some olive oil or bacon fat…some sort of fat.  Be careful with butter, because it might burn.  We’re going to quickly roast this mixture in a 450°F oven until it’s as done as you want it, about 10 minutes will probably do it for you.

When it comes out of the oven, pour it into a bowl, and sprinkle with salt.  Now, you have to options (I used option one, this time).

Option One:  Pour hot sauce of your choice into the pan, along with a good squeeze of lemon juice.  Bring that to the boil, whisking away with abandon.  Lower the heat; add butter, by the tablespoon.  I use cold butter and whisk it into the hot sauce mixture so it thickens up a bit.  Then place your cauliflower in a serving bowl; I use a skillet with a pretty blue enamel exterior, pour the hot sauce mixture over and sprinkle very generously with coarsely crumbled bleu cheese.  The amounts are up to you.  Let the whole mess sit for about 5 minutes.  This allows the cheese to soften and become melty—now it’s ready to serve.  Option Two:  You may squeeze a little lemon juice over the cauliflower, then douse the cauliflower with some hot sauce of choice.  However much you want or rather, how hot you want it!  Sprinkle generously with crumbled bleu cheese or Gorgonzola…any bleu-veined cheese is good.  Sometimes I add some coarsely chopped celery leaves…you know the big leaves, not the softer leaves from the heart.  Oh yes, and lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

That’s it.  That’s all there is to it.  If I’m feeling in the mood for creaminess, I pour a good quality bleu cheese salad dressing over it.  In the summer, feel free to do the roasting on the grill, if you don’t want to heat up your kitchen.  I just put a triple thickness of foil directly on the grill, toss the cauliflower and fat together in a bowl and then dump it on the foil when the grill is hot.  Screaming heat is the best way to cook cauliflower for something like this.  No heat in the kitchen, so it’s good for a hot summer night.  Roasted Caulflower with Bleu Cheese and Buffalo SauceServe it as a side dish or as a starter.  Life is good and easy, it turns out.

Northern Cornmeal Grits with Cheddar


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Northern Cornmeal Grits with CheddarMy mother used to make what I now know to be…polenta.  There wasn’t a very large Italian population in South Dakota, probably still isn’t.  So, we just didn’t know about things like polenta.  So, unknowingly she made polenta, or cornmeal “mush”.  Continue reading

Aunt Emma’s Pimento Cheese Spread


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Aunt Emma's Pimento Cheese SpreadPimento Cheese Spread is synonymous with the Southern US.  It’s everywhere and can be easily purchased in the deli section of most supermarkets.  Now purists would have us believe, and they’re probably right, that the supermarket stuff is well, YUK!  But, in a pinch, and when you don’t know what the “real thing” should taste like, it’s not too bad! Continue reading

The Breakfast Reuben Sandwich


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Breakfast Reuben SandwichThis was a revelation for The Goddess.  Who would have thought this would be such a winning combination?  I’ve been reveling in leftover Oma’s Sauerkraut with Apple, Onion and Bacon and have I been enjoying it.  In that posting, I think I mentioned sautéed sauerkraut with fried eggs over the top for breakfast.  This is just a waltz one step further down that road!  Continue reading

Oma’s Sauerkraut with Apple, Onion and Bacon


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Oma's Sauerkraut with Apple, Onion and BaconDid you have a nice Thanksgiving?  We were blessed with a visit from our good Canadian friends, The Austrian Sweet Tooth and The Organizer, Now Retired (she’s my political conscience!).  They were visiting to “experience” the “Southern” Thanksgiving, as they have never been with us for Thanksgiving, American-style, and a “Southern” Thanksgiving, as well.  We didn’t do the traditional turkey, but feasted on Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms, Herbs and Apples, Bread Stuffing with Herbs, Scalloped Corn and sauerkraut.  Sauerkraut is just so delicious with pork, so why not?  And this…this is some gooood sauerkraut!  Continue reading

Plum-Clementine Chutney


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Plum-Clementine ChutneyCondiments!  I love ’em!  They add an unexpected zing! to life.  They make great gifts and they are just so flexible, easy to make and really, just plain delicious!  Take this lovely chutney…it’s a somewhat unexpected combination of flavors, it’s gorgeous at the holidays and damn, is it delicious with latkes or Parsnip PancakesContinue reading

Onion, Apple and Mushroom Compote (for Pork)


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Onions, Apple and Mushroom Compote (for Pork)The mixture of onions, apples and mushrooms is a winning combination.  I love this combination with pork or roasted chicken.  This is particularly nice, because you can make it ahead and reheat it.  I think it’s even better reheated, making it perfect for company.  And, this compote positively screams autumn!  Continue reading