August 2, 2017

Do you ever crave a flavor and create a meal around it - a means to an end per se? Well, that is the REASONABLE thing to do. I ate half a pint of vanilla ice cream yesterday because I wanted whole blackberry jam and that was a way to convey it into my mouth. Easier to justify than just eating large spoonfuls of jam out of the jar. Does that count as a ‘meal’?

Sometimes I just want a flavor and have to come up with a rational way to actually eat it. When left to my own devices I can be a refrigerator/cabinet grazer - no coherent dishes in site. Hmm, I want sour cream? Let’s scoop a little bit out with my fingers. Is that a little bit of leftover grilled steak? Let me just eat it cold while standing in front of the open refrigerator door. Is that remoulade? Maybe just a little taste of that.

COMPOSING something is of course the more grown up and lofty approach, and is something that I can share without any behavior shaming involved. Lynn will shake his head at the idea of me havi...

July 18, 2017

Creativity is a creature that can be subject to a great deal of ebb and flow. Hell, even mental clarity and capacity can be subject to the same whims. Luckily, no matter what kind of murky fog I find myself in, simple food can still bring a great deal of pleasure. Gratefully, some dishes come down to almost muscle memory at some point. This makes the joy of a good meal something that does not need to be carefully finessed out of some strange and mysterious fairy land of mystical cooking.

I know that crawfish étouffée can sound intimidating. Other than chopping up the holy trinity and making a roux, it’s not that complex. And if you have cheated, like I did for this version, and purchase a frozen block of beautiful wild tail meat… well, that makes it even easier. No cracking, peeling and shelling to be done. I find that when I am doing that, half the tails end up in my mouth while a rather meager amount is left over to cook with. It happens. So you see, the frozen tails are in ac...

July 14, 2017

I am marinating in a bowl of indecision and angsty confusion - all at once with a thousand things on my GOT TO GET DONE list, and also completely tharn (if you don’t understand that you should read more often) and at odds with getting them done. I know that ‘people’ say that I should just take one little task at a time, but my ability to prioritize even the little things is proving to be a challenge. Hell, even writing is causing me to sit in a locked up state. Even though I have been in limbo, it hasn’t kept me from cooking. I have many things to share… but what should I focus on TODAY? (Do you sometimes wish you had more people to feed?) I guess there are worse problems to have.

Words can come easily, or it can be like putting a duck carcass into a press and wringing and crushing the last drops of juice and blood out. The flighty bats in my brain have been the issue more than wringing out ideas. Lack of focus is the culprit. Let’s try and tweeze out a recipe.

It’s weird, as I...

July 5, 2017

Yep. It’s been about two weeks. I haven’t exactly been neglecting blog posts. I HAVE been cooking a few tasty things and snapping pix for later posterity, but the luxury (not to mention time) to be able to sit in front of the computer and compose something for pleasure has not presented itself. The frantic finishing of print orders, and then the boxing and packing of a place of business that could possibly appear on an episode of hoarders has left me disturbingly stressed, exhausted, and on occasion grimy beyond description.

I truly feel like I have equine sleeping sickness. The weird feeling of having no place of current employ has blanketed me with a general malaise, but seriously, this sleeping thing is beyond words. I feel like I am catching up on about 2 months worth of sleep. People have pointedly said, ‘Adriann, it is physiologically impossible to catch up on sleep.’ Well fuck you. If my body is telling me (or more accurately screaming at me) to lay my body down for some...

June 23, 2017

It has been a less than stellar week, and yet I have tried to make some REAL food a couple of nights in an attempt to counter act some of the funk that has settled its fat ass over me. Though, I did have help through items I already had on hand in the fridge.

Monday I took advantage of some extremely pork-y stock that I had canned what seems like many moons ago after braising some pork feet and hocks (I tend to hoard bones in the freezer). I made a pho that ended up being extremely satisfying as only that deep, spicy, bright and wonderful broth can be. I had leftover roast chicken to re-purpose, and I used zucchini to make the noodles - so feeling virtuous and healthy were a natural side effect. And I must say, expending absolutely no energy on a Monday night meal didn’t suck either.

Tuesday I felt a little more interested in MAKING something. Tuesdays of course call for tacos. I had some leftover chicken tikka masala that I had made the week before. If I made some naan, we cou...

June 12, 2017

It’s gotten decidedly hot outside. This morning when I walked outside to go to work I was met with a wall of mugginess that does not bode well for the afternoon hours. It was, after all only 8 in the morning. When it’s like this, heating up the kitchen is an idea that is repugnant on a ridiculous scale (especially when I had the oven at a blistering 550º last night for baked potatoes and yes, it felt like the entrance to hell).

The summertime-like weather (I know summer is only a little more than a week away) makes me think of beautiful ripe produce. I like to make panzanella all throughout the summer in many different shapes and forms. I adore the simple tomato, bread and basil - but when there are so many options at this time of year it would be rude not to experiment.

Stone fruit can be a wonderful sweet burst of juicy delight - IF you can find RIPE fruit. I am absolutely disgusted by lovely looking fruit that is hard as a rock and completely devoid of any hint of aroma. Wha...

June 8, 2017

I am a horrible person.

I neglected Taco Tuesday.

I admit it. I have been derelict in the observance of something so holy that I should be scourged and be made to repent. I am still going to blame my lack of appetite. Yes, even for such wonderful things as tacos and all of the wonderful things that can be wrapped between the loving folds of some type of flat carbohydrate vessel. What’s wrong with me?

In an attempt to try and redeem myself a bit, I made some Vietnamese tacos last night for a very late dinner. Throughout the process I felt none of the normal salivating anticipation, though I did feel better about providing Lynn with some real food instead of leaving him to scrounge around in the refrigerator AGAIN. (And yes, he CAN cook, quite well actually. He is not some poor feral man who can’t feed himself without pre-packaged grocery store garbage.)

See? I am rambling.

Once I DID sit down at 10 p.m. to eat a couple of Sambal laden, charred meat, herb and cucumber stuffed...

June 5, 2017

Writing last week was not going to happen. Cooking last week held about as much charm as dental work. Well, I guess I shouldn’t EXACTLY say that, since Monday was Memorial Day and I did make an apple pie and some pretty tasty pimento cheese to go on grilled burgers with fried green tomatoes. No, my week took a serious digger on Tuesday.

I once had someone tell me that when things are REALLY bad, try to take step back and look at it like it’s a Seinfeld episode. In most cases, I think that can sort of work, however, my Tuesday was so bad that I think my brain was in a complete state of shock.

My day started off with an email from my aunt, which is USUALLY a good thing. This email contained (in addition to family chat and affection) news that my cousin had sold the land that my grandparents house/farm had been on. That sucked to hear as I truly loved that little bit of land. Then she let me know that she had been diagnosed with a form of Leukemia that will need to be monitored. T...

May 26, 2017

I haven’t cooked Cornish Hens in a long time. A REALLY long time. I used to cook them when I was a little girl and wanted to have an ‘elegant’ dinner party in the back yard complete with a bottle of sparkly grape juice - but I have cooked them at times more recent than that.

Sometimes there will be ingredients or dishes that sort of fall by the wayside that end up being a really great idea when it finally pops back into your head again - and you think, ‘Why the hell has this fallen off my radar?’  I used to keep a few of the little birds in the freezer all of the time when I lived alone. Though please note that these odd shaped rock solid frozen projectiles have been known to very easily shoot out of the freezer while you are rooting around for something else (like that frozen bottle of Hanger One) and intentionally aim itself at bare feet with the malicious intent of breaking toes. True story. Maybe that is why I haven’t cooked them in a while. Hmm.

At this time, my tiny freez...

May 24, 2017

Ok - I know it’s not junk food Friday, but for some reason I am craving chili dogs with a crazy vengeance. It got me thinking about some really tasty and EXCELLENT specimens of junk food at its finest.

My home town, Americus, Georgia (don't ask), does not boast a wide range of sophisticated culinary establishments that draw people from far and wide. It’s a small town with a tradition of home eating. However, there is one institution that does have cult-like status... at least to those people who grew up with it, and those few outsiders lucky enough to be introduced to its fare.

I have traveled this world and have eaten with the enthusiasm of an explorer. My palette delights in the ethereal, the deep and dark, the exotic. I am also a fan of simplistic Americana (not even mentioning the realm of processed junk food - yes, Cheetos do deserve a place in the world).

Summertime in on its way and it is the season that makes me truly start to think of the food of red blooded Americans...

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