Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

kayb

eG Foodblogs: Kayb 2010 - Tradition meets "let's-try-this"

Recommended Posts

Welcome to my kitchen.

I’m honored to have been asked to chronicle a week of my meals for an eG Foodblog; my skills and my imagination don’t come near a great number of the people who frequent this site. But I do love to cook, and experiment, and I credit eGullet with helping me expand my culinary horizons in the two years or so I’ve been following this site.

Born and raised in the rural South, those influences permeate almost all my cooking. You’ll see a traditional West Tennessee Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, not appreciably different from the ones my mother and grandmother cooked 50 years ago, although I’ve added a few of my own twists. I picked this week, partly for that reason, and partly because I’ll be off work Wednesday afternoon through the rest of the week, and you won’t have to endure my frequent weeknight meals of carryout and quick-fix. But you’ll get some of the slow-cooker soups and stews and the like that stand between me and starvation (or fast food) on weeknights, as well as some of my breakfast favorites since I’ll have time over the holiday weekend to make many of them.

I live in Hot Springs, Arkansas; I’m fortunate enough to live on the lake, as evidenced by the “mystery photo” of my sun deck in the “coming attractions.” I have a 21-year-old daughter who lives with me, along with a 15-year-old “son” I acquired this summer and am dutifully trying to teach to eat something other than pizza, mac and cheese, and burgers. I have two older daughters who live elsewhere, and one of them will present me with my first grandchild in February. I work as a business developer, which means I sometimes have crazy hours and often come home too late to even think about cooking; the flip side is I get to travel a good deal and enjoy wonderful food in some really good restaurants around the country and abroad.

I’m looking forward to cooking for you this week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent! You got guts, blogging during Thanksgiving week!

So Hot Springs via West Tennessee? Say more!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prying minds need cabinet and fridge photos, too! And no fair hiding the "shameful" stuff behind the methocellulose and xantham gum :raz:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick breakfast post to get things started. I don't cook breakfast, usually, on work mornings, but this morning, I warmed up a couple of pumpkin-and-ricotta turnovers I'd made yesterday. These were inspired by a pumpkin-and-ricotta tamale I got at the tamale stand at the Famers' Market recently, just because I couldn't comprehend a pumpkin-ricotta tamale and had to try one. I used spicy pumpkin butter and egg roll wrappers for the outside. Good stuff!

turnover 1.jpg

005.jpg

006.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris H -- No kitchen pictures until I clean it up a little! I cooked all day yesterday, and did not leave it in as good a shape as it should be. The fridge is pre-Thanksgiving packed (the turkey is slowly defrosting in a cooler on the front porch!) But I will provide pics, I promise. No methocellulose or xanthan gum, though.

Chris A -- Moved from W. Tenn. to Memphis to go to college, lived and worked in that area for the next 30 years, moved to Hot Springs for a new position a year and a half ago. Love it here, although I do miss some of the food shopping opportunities in Memphis!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will we be seeing local barbecue? It's one of my life goals to travel through the U.S. South and eat all the regional barbecues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will we be seeing local barbecue? It's one of my life goals to travel through the U.S. South and eat all the regional barbecues.

I will make it a point, sometime this week, to go to either McClard's (President Bill Clinton's favorite barbecue, as this was his home town) or Purity (my personal favorite). No shortage of great barbecue here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used spicy pumpkin butter and egg roll wrappers for the outside.

What is this spicy pumpkin butter you speak of?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lunchtime today found me in the next town over, and hungry. So I stopped by Keeney's, a mom-and-pop grocery store in a questionable area of town, with an annex of sorts at the rear, behind the meat counter, with a sign that proclaims, "Deli." Keeney's is hailed for its barbecue, but I've always been a fan of its plate lunches -- simple and unvarnished country cooking, on styrofoam, no frills. Today I opted for meat loaf, purple-hulled peas, and could not resist candied yams (as mine on Thursday will be in a casserole, not candied). The meat loaf was good, if a bit heavy on the bell pepper. The candied yams had a rather thin syrup, and I was apprehensive, but the taste was excellent, just a hint of spice and just enough sugar. The star of the show, though, was the baby loaf of cornbread.

002.JPG

Tonight,it was a patched-together dinner with cheese ravioli in pesto cream sauce and open-faced meatball sandwiches. I'd made pesto Sunday from my basil that was being threatened by the cool nights, and I used the ubiquitous egg roll wrappers as pasta, because making pasta is a skill I've never acquired. The meatballs were in the fridge and I needed the room, so, voila, dinner!

005.JPG

(had to run the meatballs under the broiler to melt the mozzarella, too.)

Tomorrow night is chili, as our office is competing in the Downtown Merchants Association annual chili cook-off and yours truly is the chef-in-chief. I need to bundle up all my seasonings and assorted other necessary stuff tonight, as well as starting some prep for Thursday. I think I'll call it a success if I get cornbread made for the dressing, and cranberry salad put together. So with that, I'll bid you a fond adieu until tomorrow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used spicy pumpkin butter and egg roll wrappers for the outside.

What is this spicy pumpkin butter you speak of?

It's much like apple butter. Again, it's something I sampled at the Farmers Market, liked, and went home and googled for recipes. I took the basics from several different ones, and combined a 29-ounce can of pumpkin puree, 2/3 cup brown sugar, a cup of apple juice, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a quarter-teaspoon each of allspice and nutmeg, and an eighth-teaspoon of cloves. That all simmered about an hour, until it thickened up nicely (several recipes noted you could cook it overnight in a small slow-cooker), and went into a container in the fridge. It's excellent on biscuits, and on sourdough toast!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can just imagine that everything you've shown us so far smells and tastes delicious! That pumpkin ricotta combination sounds fantastic. Thanks for sharing your week with us, and please, don't feel the need to prep your refrigerator for us- why, we're all practically family!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel all "comfort-fooded cozy" just from your pics and descriptions. With your crazy work hours I would enjoy knowing what your quicky go-tos are in mega time crunch moments, since we all have them. Thanks for taking us along this holiday week!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick shot of lunch today:

002.JPG

We have a branch of Surfas here in Hot Springs (the only extant branch, I think; thank God Les Surfas' wife is from Arkansas and wanted to retire back home), and as they're a block and a half from my office, I often walk down there for lunch. Their menu is limited, but I do love their three-cheese grilled cheese sandwich, with farmer's cheese, gruyere and blue cheese mayo, on house-baked sourdough. The salad is mixed greens with dried cranberries and walnuts, with the house orange vanilla viniagrette. And it's less than six bucks, which means I eat there maybe twice a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's much like apple butter. Again, it's something I sampled at the Farmers Market, liked, and went home and googled for recipes. I took the basics from several different ones,

Sounds delicious. I love trying to recreate foods that I enjoy that others have prepared.

What's for dinner?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tonight was chili night with several hundred of my fellow Hot Springs folks. The occasion was the Downtown Merchants Association annual Chili Cookoff, always held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, always capped off with the flipping of the switch for the downtown Christmas lights.

The last three years, we've won the best booth contest. Last year, we won best non-traditional chili (ours has beans, and so is considered non-traditional). This year? We wuz robbed!

Our booth was a work of art -- at least we thought so.

booth.jpg

Our chili didn't look, or taste, too bad, either.

035.jpg

And a big crowd turned out, as is the general rule in Hot Springs, where if we know how to do anything, it's have a party at any excuse.

030.jpg

Originally, I was named chef-in-chief for this adventure. But the duty really got shared, and the chili wound up a group effort. We all took part of the 15 pounds of ground beef home to brown it, with onions, the night before. I got the pot started with a great deal of can-opening (tomatos and beans) and seasoning (ancho, Hatch and chipotle powdered chiles; cumin; Mexene chili powder; salt; a six-pack of dark beer; a half-a-pot of strong coffee). And then I had to go to a meeting, so the rest of the crew took over and added, well, other stuff. When I came back and taste-tested, it was lacking a couple of bottom notes, so I added some cocoa and a little more cumin.

It was decent. I've made better. And I was so busy I never got a chance to eat. So I came home and had cheese and crackers and wine, which I did not photograph.

Tomorrow, it's sushi for our office pre-Thanksgiving lunch, and I'm making Reuben chowder for dinner while I do the bulk of the prep for Thursday because I haven't been nearly as diligent as I'd planned on that particular chore. But with just four of us eating, and all of us here, I can just delay service until about 5:30 or 6, instead of my planned 2:30 or 3, and give myself a couple of extra hours on Thursday.

I have, however, already had my first Thanksgiving disaster. Came home from the grocery Saturday morning, put turkey and ice on the front porch to go in cooler. Brought in and put away remainder of groceries. Did not leave the house the rest of the day, nor Sunday. It warmed up yesterday, so I figured this morning I'd best check the cooler and see if I needed to replenish the ice.

And found the turkey, and the empty ice bag, sitting next to the cooler.

Fortunately, it was a basic grocery store turkey, and they still had them on special, so I simply went back and got another one tonight. Which is in the cooler, with ice, and will go in brine tomorrow afternoon to finish thawing.

Thank God for loss leaders. A total of a bit over 24 pounds of turkey has cost me a total of a little more than $10. Next year, I'm taking the plunge and getting a heritage turkey from my local organic farmers, just to see if there's that much difference in the taste. (Not being a huge turkey fan -- this is the one I cook every year -- I'll be interested to see if it DOES, in fact, make a big difference to me.)

Lots of prep photos tomorrow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.....And found the turkey, and the empty ice bag, sitting next to the cooler.....

Dont'cha hate when you do stuff like that ? I always feel, like...d'oh ! That's why I've become an almost compulsive list-maker/sticky-note leaver. They're my off-line brains...

Which of the lovely ladies (or should I say Cowgirls) in the booth is you?

Lovin' the blog so far, and as a SoCal resident, who knows from the "original" Surfas, you are one lucky lady to have one in walking distance. How do you control yourself from the rest of their seductive offerings????

BTW, I had *no* idea they had an off-shoot in Arkansas !! Blog on sister !

ETA----errrrg, messeed up the quote, but you get the drift, I hope....


Edited by Pierogi (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Loving your week Kayb. You know I've never made a chilli from scratch and the list of ingredients that you mention has me intrigued. Can you expand a little on the your method, I'd love to cook a your authentic cowgirl chilli.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pierogi, I was the photographer; managed to stay out of ALL the pictures! And yes, I'm thrilled with Surfas within walking distance. And I spend ENTIRELY too much money there; they smile when they see me walk in!

Prawncrackers, chili is sort of one of those eye-of-the-beholder things. Tradition would call for cubed beef chuck, peppers and stock; no tomatos, and assuredly no beans. I, on the other hand, prefer the version that has about 2 or 3 pounds of coarsely ground beef (or part venison). I brown that with onions and garlic; drain it, put it in a stock pot with diced tomatos (about 2 29-oz cans), tomato sauce (a 14-oz can), and the seasonings that strike my fancy; add three or four cans of kidney or red beans (or pinto beans, for that matter); add a bottle or two of whatever dark beer I have on hand, a cup or so of strong black coffee from that morning, and simmer away for at least 3-4 hours, tasting and correcting seasonings. About an hour before serving, I'll add the cocoa powder -- a tablespoon or two for a normal sized 6 1/2 quart stockpot holding around a gallon of chili. About 30 minutes before serving, you can add some masa harina to thicken, if needed.

Some people like thicker chili, some thinner. I prefer thicker, myself. Some don't like beans, and I've made it without beans. Some add whole kernel corn, which I've done on occasion. Some will serve it with grated cheese and sour cream; others won't. The important thing, to me, is a variety of chiles, so you get different layers of chile flavors, and a lot more cumin than you think you'll need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tomorrow, it's sushi for our office pre-Thanksgiving lunch, and I'm making Reuben chowder for dinner while I do the bulk of the prep for Thursday because I haven't been nearly as diligent as I'd planned on that particular chore.

First pumpkin butter and now Reuben chowder? I need more info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh - and other than the turkey (oy!) what else are you planning for Thanksgiving dinner?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Serious prep is under way! I've made cornbread for the dressing; the cranberry salad; the fig-and-olive tapenade, about to start on the pate, and bake the pumpkin pie; had take a break at the computer to check recipes. Also have sweet potatos baking for tomorrow's casserole. Have yet to brine the turkey and string and snap the beans; the rest takes place tomorrow.

The final menu, unless I change my mind or forget something:

Turkey (oven roasted, as it's supposed to rain)

Dressing

Giblet gravy

Praline sweet potatos

Barley pilaf

Mac and cheese

Maybe -- still undecided -- garlic mashed potatos with sour cream

Green bean casserole (homemade version of the canned soup and FF onions version)

Cranberry salad

Rolls

Desserts will be Chocolate Saffron Pots de Creme, pumpkin pie, and a cranberry-molasses steamed pudding with hard sauce. The last noses in because I was entranced with the idea, and it sounds so much like a traditional Thanksgiving dish.

As is typical, there will are five dishes on the menu that have been on every Thanksgiving table I can remember -- the turkey, the dressing, the gravy, the sweet potatos (OK, when I was a kid, Mama candied them, but we've had the praline style for 30 years) and the cranberry salad, which is my absolute favorite part of the meal. And there are three things I've never made before -- the chocolate, the steamed pudding, and the homemde version of the casserole.

Way too much for four people, but I can't help it. It's in my genes.

Maggie, the Reuben Chowder is a recipe I ran across recently and decided I had to try. It's here:

http://foododelmundo.com/2010/03/17/reuben-chowder/

Photos later. Back to work!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pardon please if I missed it- but if the cranberry salad is your favorite part of the meal, can you elaborate? I am stockpiling fresh ones in the freezer because I am currently entranced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew! I'm tired! But all I have left to do tonight is to puree the pate in the food processor, pour some clarified butter over the top, and stick it in the fridge until tomorrow.

Here we go:

Cornbread, cooling, ready for tomorrow's dressing.

001.JPG

Fig and olive tapenade.

002.JPG

Chicken livers, simmering, for the pate. It's the Bourbon (except I use brandy) chicken liver pate from Gourmet, back in around 2003.

007.JPG

The aforementioned Reuben chowder (verdict: pretty good. Would've been better if I hadn't been almost too tired to eat.)

010.JPG

And last but most assuredly not least, the cranberry salad. This has been on every Thanksgiving and Christmas table as far back as I can remember. I have no idea if it's my mother's recipe, or if she got it from somewhere else, but she always made a double recipe and kept it in the fridge, as I still do today, where I will go to it like you'd go back to the ice cream carton or the cake or pie plate. I eat it for breakfast, I eat it for lunch, and I will make it as long as there are fresh cranberries to be had. (I've tried freezing, and it just isn't the same; the thawed berries tend to get soft.)

004.JPG

If this were any easier, it'd be illegal. For a single recipe: 1 bag cranberries, washed and picked over; 1 green apple (I use Granny Smith); 1 red apple (I use Honey Crisp or Jonathan); zest and flesh of one orange; 1 cup pecans, chopped; 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 package raspberry Jell-o. Chop all the fruit in the food processor and toss together with pecans in a big bowl. Heat the water with the sugar until it's almost at a boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in Jell-O. Pour over fruit and stir; chill overnight before serving.

Don't be hating on the Jell-O, here. Rather than congealing, it tends to make a syrupy base that sort of glues the whole thing together.

The turkey may not get brined tonight. He may get roasted straight as he sits. The sides are what the dinner's about, anyway.

Oh, and I forgot the curried fruit when I was detailing my menu. That's a standby from my former mother-in-law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By Mullinix18
      I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine. 
    • By Duvel
      Prologue:
       
      Originally, we intended to spend this Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. We have travelled a lot last year and will need to attend a wedding already next month in Germany, so I was happy to spend some quiet days at home (and keep the spendings a bit under control as well). As a consequence, we had not booked any flights in the busiest travel time of the year in this region …
       
      But – despite all good intentions – I found myself two weeks ago calling the hotline of my favourite airline in the region, essentially cashing in on three years of extensive business travel and checking where I could get on short notice over CNY on miles. I was expecting a laughter on the other side of the line but this is the one time my status in their loyalty reward program paid out big time: three seats for either Seoul or Kansai International (earliest morning flights, of course). No need to choose, really – Kyoto, here we come !
       

    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By KennethT
      OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe....  After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
       
      This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia.  Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food.  Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship.  Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
       
      Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
       
      Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary.  When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese!  As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!?  Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree.  Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany.  As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
       
      While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed.  We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
       
      So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
       
      Beef noodle soup:

       
      The interior:

       
      This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender.  Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
       
      Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):

    • By KennethT
      Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013.  At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak.  Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
       
      In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi.  That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going.  So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations.  Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
       
      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×