Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods, that would be telling.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Winter Soups with Tradition I - Posole

I mentioned the possibility of recycling some old food columns here, as fillers until life settles down. The first three posts I'm using are from a Holiday Soups issue from my old Foodeez! column. Sorry to resort to this, but they're good recipes and useful info. Hope you enjoy them.

Hearty, warming soups are some of the rewards of surviving the chills and ills of winter. This time of year, for those of us on the cold weather part of the cycle, soups are thicker, richer and as comforting as a warm blanket. Three of those soups are traditional holiday fare in various cultures - Posole, Gumbo and Groundnut Soup. I'm going to do all three, but each on a separate day. I should have done this before Christmas, but it's been pretty crazy for me, lately. This installment, I'm giving you Posole.

Posole is a hearty, zesty soup common to the U.S. Southwest and Latin America. It’s heart is plain old hominy, but in this wonderful combination, even if you think you don’t like hominy, you’ll love it. This is an easy version, taking advantage of canned products you can buy at the supermarket. It uses red enchilada sauce, rather than cooking the dried peppers, and canned broth to save precious time when you’re already stressed from too much to do. Half an hour, including cooking time, is about all it should take.

The trad meat for this is pork, but you can use just about anything, really, even a white fleshed fish would probably be good (but add it toward the end so it doesn't disintegrate). You could add some greens, if you like, or some other veggies, to your preference. Use either golden or white hominy - I even substituted garbanzos (cecis) once when I was desperate.

Serves 4-6

  • 2 cups Shredded turkey
  • large can Red enchilada sauce
  • large can Hominy
  • 1 qt Broth (chicken, vegetable or turkey)
  • 2-4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • pinch Basil or oregano
  • to taste Salt and pepper
  • Optional Cornmeal for thickening

Simmer until all ingredients are heated through. If you have a little finely ground cornmeal, you can stir in a couple of tablespoons as a thickening agent a few minutes before you're ready to serve.

Spoon into bowls. Garnish with sour cream/crema, a sprinkling of grated cheese, or sliced green onions. Serve with warmed tortillas or a nice crusty bread.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas and Joy of the Season

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, hope yours is merry, bright and everything you want it to be. For everyone, I wish you all the joy of the season and hope that your experiences are good ones.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Limoncello – The Great Experiment

Every recipe I've seen for Limoncello calls for vodka. So, since I was planning to make the stuff, I bought a 2 litre bottle of Vodka when I did my shopping. Then I got home and saw the two litre jug of Barcardi light rum sitting in the cupboard and had a minor epiphany. To wit...I don't like vodka. I think it stinks bigtime. There is little to no diff between Vodka and any of the other supposedly flavorless eaux de vie (I really have to go back to French class. I have no idea if that's correct.)

So, my first diversion from the path of righteous—, the recipe will be to try it with rum instead. In fact, maybe I'll do a small batch of each and compare them in a few weeks. Who knows, maybe all that lemon zest will even out the flavor differences. I'd really love to try it with Tequila, but that stuff turns my feet into pontoons. Seriously, I could probably walk on water with those things on the ends of my legs. Clearly, my kidneys do not approve of Tequila, although my tastebuds prefer it above all others.

A small digression - A couple of years ago, I took about a litre of rum, tucked maybe 8 of the red chilis (like you'd use for Kung Pao Chicken) into the bottle and let it rest until the chilis were getting a bit pale and wan. I think flames erupted from my mouth when I tasted it, but a little spritz of that in a Feelthy Martini™ (made with Bacardi, of course) – I love olives and their brine – and you have a thing of beauty and zing. Ah, poetry. And a dash in Gazpacho or Salsa doesn't hurt either.

Zesting, zesting, zesting. Why did I not pack my microplane zester with the other kitchen stuff? What was I thinking? Right now I'm thinking it would be worth another trip to the store tomorrow to get a new one. But, no, I don't want to wait.

Oops! I see now why I had that jug of Bacardi. Or should I say, "that Bacardi jug." It's full of peanut oil. :G: I got one of those five gallon things of peanut oil once at OSH. It was some amazingly great price, on sale at turkey frying season (don't ask). Since I use peanut oil almost exclusively for cooking, unless I want the olive oil taste and aroma, this seemed like a prize. And it was, because peanut oil in the supermarket, if you can even find it, is not cheap. Anyway, I was decanting the vast amount of peanut oil into anything I could find, including, it would seem, and empty Bacardi jug. Annoying now when I wanted to try a rum-based Limoncello, but a nice surprise otherwise, since my peanut oil supply is getting low.

In comparing Limoncello recipes, I see that most of them call for a 1:1 simple syrup. I wonder if you could make a 2(sugar):1 instead and use less of it, diluting the alchohol less but maintaining the same level of sweetness. I believe I shall give that a try.

So, Limoncello will be some with vodka, some with Bacardi (soon as I buy some), with 2:1 simple syrup. Pity it takes several weeks to find out how the variations worked out. I'll post the recipe then, assuming it's potable. I hope it is, or that I find my zester soon, because I don't think I'm up for all that zesting again without it, any time soon.

Riffing, more...I bet you could make a version of "rum" balls with Limoncello, just leave out the chocolate, for a really lemony bite. Or make "orangecello" and keep the chocolate. Mmmm. I love orange and chocolate. Or leave the chocolate out of the cookie portion, but roll it in melted chocolate. Drooling? Moi?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My December To Do List

No, buy pressies isn't at the top. That's easy enough to do online, plus I have it mosly covered already. Shop early. Shop often. Words to live by. Er, by early, I mean all year long, unceasing effort to find the right gifts for those I love. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

To Do List:
  • Make some yoghurt cheese, hence some yoghurt. I haven't done this in several years, don't know why I stopped. But it's very tasty. It used to be one of my standards for serving with before dinner drinks, with some nice sliced baguettes and a few mixed olives. Mm-mm good! With echoes of that cream cheese and olive mixture of a few days ago.

  • Make some Limoncello and play with some other version of this. I went looking for the bottle of Limoncello I had been keeping in the freezer, the better to thicken it and make it icy cold. Much to my annoyance, I discovered that my ex-roomie, who professed to dislike it, apparently had a change of heart at some point. Or many some points. So, time to do another thing I've been meaning to try. Already got the vodka and the lemons, so it's only a matter of time.

  • Experiment with making salt-preserved limes. I like the way salt-preserved lemons taste in cooking, but it seems like such a waste to scrape out the pulp. However, after a few weeks soaking in salt, it is pretty disgusting. And, naturally, if you can do that to lemons, I wondered why you couldn't do it to limes, too. Of course, the first difficulty is that limes don't have those nice thick and relatively soft surfaced skins. So, I'm going to play with the concept and see if I can come up with a salted lime whose peel is edible and whose innards are likewise. I'm envisioning something you could slice, thus decreasing the proportion of peel to pulp. We'll see. Can salt-preserved oranges be far behind? Yeah. Don't know if I'm up for another challenge of the citrus variety just now.

  • Make some yeastless pitas - see if the magic still works. This is another thing I haven't done in years. The whole yeast dough, popping them in the oven and hoping for the best is more than I have patience for. I had an old "Middle East Cookbook" that was printed in maybe the 50s, and it had a recipe for yeastless pitas. The puff came from a hot skillet, rather than yeast. Incidentally, this is also the source of my all-natural yoghurt recipe. Again, we'll see. As Susan over at Farmgirl Fare so wisely points out, unpuffed pitas make dandy individual pizzas. I'll extrapolate from that to include the non-yeast variety. If all else fails, I'll make a curry and call it flatbread.

  • Finish my hotsie novella so I can have it waiting for the editor of my dreams when she gets back from Christmas break. - I wrote the better part of two novellas during NaNoWriMo for my 50k. One is sooo close to being finished, just a scene or two and I'm there, edited and everything. So, I want to finish, do another polish, run it past my CP and get it in the mail. They say the publishing world shuts down over the hols. That being the case, I want it there waiting when they get back.

  • Rearrange my office so my desk faces the window. I'm tired of facing the wall. It's been ages since I faced a window. This is my home office, of course. Cubicle dwellers can be excused if they've forgotten there are such things as windows. I spent all day yesterday sorting and shifting things. I have two big, industrial strength filing cabinets that will have to be moved, so it's going to be a long, drawn out process. But worth it, in the end.

How much of that do you think I'll get done? I've got both milk and half-and-half for making yoghurt cheese, so that I have to do, or waste them. I'll be blogging the experience, either in one long post, or over a period of days, as the project progresses.

The pitas are super quick, since they don't require any rising time, just resting after kneading. So, that will be a single post, including recipe and description. Say it with me, "Puff! Puff! Puff! Yay!" At least I hope it will be "Yay." Wish I had a video of that. It's a kick seeing it pop.

The salted-limes I will probably wait until I have news to impart - either forget this, or yum, I have created something wonderful. The limoncello well, if anyone needs the recipe, I can post that, but it's pretty much a non-event. Although it's got parts. So, maybe, yes, I will post the deets.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sometimes it doesn't pay to get out of bed...

Off to the supermarket for the big shopping. You know, the one where you're out of everything, including paper products, vitamins and dishwasher detergent.

Right at the top of my list, if I hadn't, yet again, forgotten to bring it with me, was eggroll and dumpling wrappers. I've read multiple posts recently about making pot stickers, siomai, eggrolls and lumpia, to the point where I'm really itching to do it. They're something I make fairly regularly, at least the smaller, dumpling size ones, but I never replaced my last packet of wrappers. I haven't made or eaten an eggroll in ages, and I'd love to make a big batch to have some for the freezer. Ditto the dumplings. So, of course, I got home and realized that I had totally forgotten them.

Then there was the guy on a mission in the market, who barreled down the aisles at speed and with wanton disregard for the safety of other shoppers. I watched in horror as he rounded a turn, nearly taking out a toddler. But her mom was faster and grabbed the tyke, pulling her to safety. My mother was along, and she was in one of those little drive around carts because her knee is too bad to allow her to do that much walking. I really intended to warn him when she backed up unexpectedly. Honest, I did. But she was too fast for me. Oops. Right up his tail pipe. :G:

And in the checkout line. Why is it that some folks have just never gotten with the cart-goes-in-front-of-you program??? Why do they insist on dragging it behind them. Because then the next person can't get to the conveyor to unload their groceries, and the bagger at the other end has nowhere to put their bagged groceries. Meanwhile they, the backward shopper, stands there, oblivious, staring into space. I had pretty much lost patience by the time I was at the checkout, though, so I asked the woman ahead of me if she couldn't put the cart in front of her so I could unload. Well, she did it, but she gave me a look that said I'd made some kind of obscene suggestion, and she wanted to get far, far away from me. Maybe it's one of those CYA things. :G:

So, I've got my mother's stuff and my stuff, and I'm trying to keep it separated. My mother, in her cart, is behind me in the line. We're nearing the end of her stuff, but there's this one 12-pack of Pepsi, part on the conveyor, part on the end of the counter, and it's just not moving. The woman behind my mother has been glaring at us, and huffing, before returning to her fugue state, for ages. Impatient, wouldn't you guess?

Yet, I, my mother and the checker are all staring at her, watching that lone pack of Pepsi sitting there, while the conveyor whirls away and...she does nothing. I finally said, "Excuse me, but could you give that Pepsi a shove so it will move with the conveyor?" I got a glare, then she flipped a hand as though she were shifting one piece of paper, huffed again and turned away.

I've about had it now. "Don't hurt yourself," I mutter under my breath along with a few choice expletives, but, miracle of miracles, her limp-wristed flutter was just enough to get the Pepsi moving. I look up at the checker, and he's doing his best not to laugh. I apologize, explain that it's one of those days when I can't get out of my own way, or anyone else's, apparently. He grins. "You mean the kind where you tie your shoeslaces, then get up and discover you've tied yourself to the bed post?" Yeah, that was about the size of it.

Then there was the cement truck that seemed to feel left turns had the right of way, and he had no qualms about running over another vehicle who foolishly disagreed with him. I'm very fast on the brake pedal, thank you, or we'd be part of a metal sandwich. And the guy who got impatient at the quarter mile long line for the stop sign, drove his extra large pickup with the greatly overcompensating tires down the wrong side of the road until he was nearly to the front, which is to say right next to me, and puts on his turn signal. Like I'm going to stop and wave him through. Not today. Well, that's not true. I wouldn't have let him cut the line even if I'd been in a good mood. Do not play chicken with B'gina.

Is it any wonder we had soup for dinner? I didn't trust myself with sharp objects. Oh, and I noticed coming home that it's a full moon. Probably explains a lot.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

That's What I Get for Reading

This may sound gross, or not, depending on if you're one of those folks who loves or hates weird combinations, but here we go.

I recently read Jennifer Weiner's, "In Her Shoes." In the book there is a childhood recollection of going to some upscale department store and having tea and little sandwiches in their cafe, little cream cheese and olive sandwiches. This started a whole childhood reminiscence for me because that was one of the finger sandwiches my mother used to make for tea with the church ladies.

My first and last opportunity to sit with the ladies when they had their tea party, my mom made those sandwiches. And it was one of those very sandwiches I was delicately nibbling when I totally disgraced myself, to be banished forevermore. Well, not really, we moved, and she never started up with the new church ladies. BTW, we didn't have to move because of my faux pas. Really.

Anyway, I was sitting next to one of the older ladies, sipping my tea, munching my sandwich, making intellectual (or so it seemed to five year old me) conversation, when disaster struck.

Mom had a good turnout that day, and ran out of chairs. So, I was relegated to the piano stool, the backless piano stool. Pity I didn't remember it was backless before I copycatted the lady across from me by crossing my legs, thus causing me to tilt backward...where no chair back waited to support me. LOL! As you can imagine, I went over backwards, not only sending my tea cup and partially eaten sandwich airborne, but one of my feet took out the cup and nosh of the nice older lady next to me as I went over. I still have to laugh, although I was mortified at the time. So, cream cheese and olive sandwiches definitely freighted with meaning for me.

Next, I was rereading Janet Evanovich's, Ten Big Ones, the tenth in the Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie has an ongoing love affair with peanut butter. She loves peanut butter and olive sandwiches, too, no doubt the black olives that come in cans, rather than the green olives of my mother's tea sandwiches, but olives still.

So, it hit me. Bam! (not an Emeril reference) Cream cheese on one slice of bread, peanut butter on the other, and sliced, green, pimento-stuffed olives pressed between them. I obssessed over it. I tried to resist it. And I did, temporarily, since this inspiration hit at about three in the morning. But the next day, I had to try it out.

And it was scrummy. Creamy, bland cream cheese, rich and a little sweet peanut butter, both spiked with the briney, pickley zing of the olives. Delish. My one caveat is that, unless you like heavy foods, start small. I made a whole sandwich of it, and it took me the whole day to finish it. Just too much of a good thing.

Now, I have to give my creation a name...Plum Fussel? For Stephanie and Mrs. Fussel, the nice lady who was such a good sport about having me kick her tea and crumpets out of her hand and all over her nice dress? But that's misleading, makes you expect there to be plums in it, doesn't it? How about Fusseletta? Like Muffuletta, because it's got olives and a couple other good things. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Cheers, Mrs. Fussel, wherever you are!

{tags }

Thursday, December 08, 2005

MeMeMe-Meme! Ten Favorite Foods

That's me warming up to sing for my meme? Cookiecrumb tagged me for this one. I know it is part of her sneaky plan to make me be a better blogger. Bless her.

She was in a bit of a quandary as to what constituted one's favorite foods, and I'm right there with her. Are we talking ingredients? Or are we talking dishes? Do beverages count? I'll assume price is no object, although I don't seem to have a lot of expensive tastes in ingredients. Not that there aren't pricey things that I love, but they're not in my all time Top Ten.

Let's see. Ten things I couldn't live without, perhaps? In no particular order:

  • Avocados - I grew up spoiled with beautiful avocados right from my Great Aunt's tree. Every winter we got a big carton of avocados, individually wrapped and cusioned in newspaper. It's a California childhood memory. One of the things that will make me forever grateful to have been born and raised here. Then, the last place I lived, I, too, had an avocado tree. It needed topping, and the only way I could harvest the fruit was to wait for a storm with high winds, then rush outside in my slicker and paw around in the wet ivy looking for windfalls. But they were the creamiest, smoothest avocados I've ever eaten. A little bit of avocado lore - they type of avocado pit you plant won't guarantee what kind of avocados your tree will grow. I understand they cross polinate with everything, so they will always be a surprise.
    I can eat an avocado plain, or with a little salt and a squeeze of lemon, or in a salad, or filled with something yummy, like baby shrimp and Roquefort Dressing; or a scoop Gorgonzola Crême and topped with a perfect pecan half (had that on the Bateau Mouche at lunch once, and I've never forgotten it); or filled with a zippy tomato mayonnaise, sort of a Bloody Mary aspic made with a good mayo (mmm, my mouth is watering). Then there's the fact that avocados are so wonderful in sandwiches, with something salty, like ham or in a BLT (making it a BLAT); in a pita bread with Gyros, as odd as that may sound; or as a garnish for my tofu - veggie curry.
    Avocados are bland and creamy so they lend themselves to a ton of different uses. Nope, can't live without them. And if I can do a mini rant on the subject of finding a "ripe" avocado in the market...DO NOT, under pain of really bad karma, press your thumb into the fruit. Anything will dent when you do that. All it does is leave the avocado for some poor unsuspecting slob who won't discover until they've peeled it that it's full of bruises. What you must do is cup it in the palm of your hand and give it a sort of side-to-side, gentle squeeze with the outsides of your hand - no fingertips. But, really, unless you absolutely have to use it within the next day or two, why not just buy them firm and let them ripen. They don't have to be squishy to use, shouldn't be, in fact. Oh, and they're loaded with tacopherols and monosaturated fats, the good kind.

  • Rare Porterhouse - both sides of my family originated in the Midwest, on farms. That may have been a couple of generations ago, but the meat and potatoes eating gene is still alive and well today. I think a Porterhouse is my favorite steak. I like a nice Prime Rib (adored the House of Prime Rib and their heavenly Creamed Spinach) or Filet, but that's such a tender, sedate cut. The Porterhouse has its filet portion, but it's not all filet. I think it has a better flavor, too, for my tastes. And rare, well, let's hope I don't ever find myself going barking made from MCD.
    A Porterhouse can be grilled or sauteéd with nothing more than a little S&P and be delish. I like to put some really good olive oil in the pan and use Lawrey's Garlic Salt, the kind with the flakes of dried garlic and parsley in it. This is one instance where fresh isn't best. Then, do you eat it plain? Or with some kind of steak sauce? Smothered in (crimini)mushrooms sautee'd in butter and garlic, pan deglazed with brandy or balsamico, and a healthy grinding of fresh pepper? Or a scoope of that same Gorgonzola Crême that was so good on the avocado - pretty darn fine melting over a freshly grilled steak? Or Steak au Poivre or Steak Diane? Who cares if those aren't meant for Porterhouse? Live a little.

  • Popeye's Fried Chicken - Chicken, in general, but Popeye's, in particular. Oh, Baby, oh, Baby, I am addicted to this stuff. It's not an out of control addiction, but only because I have to drive about 45 minutes to get my fix. When I lived in Maryland, they had Bojangles chicken, which was the acme of Southern Fried Chicken chains, as far as I was concerned - biggest chickens, juiciest meat, best flavored batter, never overcooked or dry, and the best price. Just perfect. Then, to my great sorrow, the Bojangles restaurants in the Baltimore area were closed down, killed by the competition, that being Popeye's, a much bigger chain.
    So, with great regret, I switched my loyalties to Popeye's. And a good thing, too, because now they have them here in the SF Bay Area - not many of them, but a few. Never soggy or over-herby, whether spicy or mild, they are my favorite. They will never be as good as Bojangles, but they're far better that KFC and its knockoffs. Plus, they make a wicked tasty Red Beans and Rice. Zippy, creamy beans with buttery rice. Mmmm. Nothing like you'd get in New Orleans and vicinity, but delicious all the same.
    I did manage to make a pilgrimage to get some Bojangles chicken when I was driving across country, going the Southern route. It was bliss. It was Nirvana. It was everything I remembered it as being. If you're still around Bo, hang in there. I'm coming back for you.

  • Crunchy Iceberg Lettuce - As Cookiecrumb said in this post, "Iceberg lettuce. Do not snob out." Yes, I love the nice buttery leaf lettuces, and the baby greens and the frisée and radicchio and spinach etc., but nothing stands up to hot taco filling, or a fresh off the grill hamburger, or hot bacon in that BL(A)T, like iceberg lettuce. And nothing gives you a beautiful chiffonade like it. And nothing stands up to heavy salad dressings or sandwich fillings (chicken salad) like it either. And, in the summer when it's hot and you need a way to cool off, a nice big salad with cruncy iceberg lettuce will do the trick every time.

  • Milky, Sweetened Tea - at one point in my life, I was pathologically anemic. Every sneeze turned into bronchitis or pneumonia. In the last semester of my senior year of High School (Go Lowell!), I was so ill that I had a home nurse for a while. She got her nursing degree in England. And invalids did not drink their tea black, no. I grew up on Chinese restaurant tea, black and strong. I was too sick to put up much of a fight, but I was outraged at having milk and sugar put in my tea. Now, I can't do without it. Even sometimes in light fragrant teas like Jasmine or mint. Sounds gross, doesn't it? But putting milk in Jasmine tea is what gave me the idea for a Jasmine flavored Blancmange, which was exquisitely delicate and fragrant. So, I'm good with that preference. There's something in tea, can't remember what, that's a great antioxidant, so that's a bonus. Plus, I'm allergic to coffee, and I have to have my hot caffeine source.

  • Toast - Well, I guess I could have said bread, but I have to have toast with my tea, so toast it is. I like most kinds of bread turned into hot buttery toast. One of my favorite toast-type things is toasted French, Italian or Sourdough bread with butter and Marmite. Marmite is one of those things you either love or you hate, but I love it. And it's a good Vitamin B supplement, if you're a tea drinker, because tea inhibits the absorption of B Vitamins, or something along those lines. There are so many things that go well on toast, too, like Creamed Tuna, or some of those Sautéed Mushrooms, or a Hot Turkey Sandwich, or a Rueben or a BL(A)T. Or toast crusty bread in the oven topped with garlic and butter or olive oil. Got to have toast.

  • Papaya - I suppose this seems kind of trivial, when there are so many other fruits easier to find and cheaper to buy, but nothing tastes like a good papaya. The first time I tried one, I was stunned by the perfume of its flavor. I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but I thought I might like it. I was right. It wasn't long before I was craving papaya.
    Like avocados, papayas can be eaten freshly seeded and peeled. They also give a lovely scent to a fruit salad. Or you can slice or cube them and add them to a salad. Or halve, seed and peel them and fill their cavity with, mmm, Raspberry Sherbet, fresh raspberries or blueberries, a good Vanilla Ice Cream. Love 'em.

  • Lovely, Runny Egg Yolks - Is there anything more decadently rich and creamy than a warm, runny egg yolk? Sorry if you're one of those folks who are grossed out by runny yolks. Dip a corner of a toast point or the end of a toast soldier, with or without Marmite, into the yolk and savor its goodness. And for real overkill, I like to make a fried egg sandwich, where the yolks are still partially soft, on toast with a slice of good old Kraft American, and I am in heaven. High cholsterol heaven, to be sure, but the combination of the bland yellowness of the egg yolk with the salty yellowness of the cheese. Where did I put my drool cup?

  • Potatoes - Fudging a bit here. My favorite potatoes are the soft-skinned, new potato varieties - Red Bliss, Yukon Gold, White. I like them cooked, cut up and mixed with a little butter. I like them cut up in a potato salad. Then there are the Russets, which you have to have for baking. And they seem to make a better mashed potato, too. Or maybe it's just that that was my family's masher of choice when I was growing up, so they taste the best to me.
    And I'm including Yams in this category. I love yams, baked and mashed with garlic, sautéed with garlic, of course. They're wonderful in a veggie curry, or in a grilled veggie salad with a lime vinaigrette. And they're very good for you - lots of beta carotene.

  • Milk - I put it in with the tea above, but milk is just an essential, whether you drink it from a glass, add it to tea or coffee, make a pudding or chowder with it. And yoghurt, and cheese. You have to have milk for those things. Right? Ice Cream, if we assume milk inlcudes cream and it's byproducts, like butter, crême frâiche/sour cream? Where would gastronomy, at least in the West, be without those things?

  • Seafood - Growing up in San Francisco, I'm a fan of Dungennes crabs. But, after living in Baltimore, I also love the Maryland Blue Crabs, mainly as crab cakes. If you don't grow up with those bitty crabs, they're far too much work to pick. Fortunately, in Marlyand, the picked crabmeat, even the lump, is mostly a reasonable price.
    Prawns or shrimp in all sizes are wonderful. I love them in salads, in stir fries over pasta, in a cocktail. And I love lobster with drawn butter - simple things are often best. However, one caveat, I can't do the throwing live things into boiling water thing. I pays my blood money to the fishmonger, and he makes the kills.
    Fish, not so much, but I do like salmon on occasion, or tuna (canned, or grilled, or as Sashimi), and Tilapia or Red Snapper cooked in the Vera Cruz style, i.e., with garlic, tomatos, and olives. That is a savory, zingy dish that benefits from the blandness of the fish but never tastes fishy.

There. I think that was ten. Basically, I want my ingredients because I can cook my own meals, except for the Popeye's. I don't like all the mess involved in deep frying.

So, who can I tag? Let's see, going for variety:

  • Barb Ferrer, a writer friend, Cuban American, who grew up in Florida and will undoubtedly dazzle us all with her soon as she gets back from New York.

  • Deb Grabien, ditto, the writer and New York parts (she's a Brit), plus I hear she's a killer pastry chef.

  • Danno, an afficionado of New Orleans cuisine, although he lives in the Midwest.

  • Emi Lipe, who will be attending Greystone in St. Helena. Emi's new to the food blogging world, so drop on by and say hello.

  • Kathy, a mom who cooks and does all kinds of crafts. I first saw her cooking skills when she entered The Amateur Gourmet's fundraiser for Katrina relief this autumn. She's fantastic.

{tags }