All posts tagged: recipes

Persimmon Nut Bread

Waking up late on a weekend morning, just in time to see the golden orange syrup of first light in autumn playing on the last of the turned leaves and the deep dark green of the pines, and I felt inspired to be outdoors. We winterized, cutting back my fruit trees and clearing the flower beds, trimming up outgrowth and splitting wood.         Autumn is shifting toward winter, first frost is coming, the light stays filtered in amber all day and the long shadows never dissipate from sunrise to dark. Inside, the smell of chicken broth from the all-day cooking of chicken and dumplings mingled with the smell of an apple pie baking. It’s cool season, when cooking becomes heavy and the savory smells of each meal permeate the air long after the food is devoured. And this is the season when an instinctual need to bake takes over. This year, inspired by some stunning persimmons, I opted to adapt a bread recipe of my granny’s with a recipe run once in the Times-Picayune. …

Vanilla Cranberry Pumpkinseeds

Anyone who has known me for more than a day or two will likely be aware of two things: waste disgusts me and Halloween is the end all, be all greatest holiday of them all. Although, to be fair the latter is hardly opinion, it is fact.     And so, as we prepare costumes and travel plans and watch E run amuck in her amazing unicorn costume, a new recipe for those tired of the old standard roasted pumpkin seeds. With multiple pumpkins carved into Jack O’ Lanterns or roasted into homemade pumpkin pie, standard roasted seeds would’ve been running out of our ears. But this recipe, adapted from Wallflower Girl, plays the wholesomeness of roasted pumpkin seeds against the sweetness of honey and the tartness of dried cranberries. A delicious snack, it’s perfect for an overabundance of pumpkinseed. VANILLA CRANBERRY PUMPKINSEEDS Adapted from Wallflower Girl. 1 cup pumpkinseeds ½ cup dried cranberries (dried cherries or raisins may be substituted) 2 tsp vanilla extract 4 tsp honey 2 tsp sugar 2 tbsp. boiling water Preheat oven …

Chickpea & Spinach Ginger Tomato Soup

And so, October. Most days have been unseasonably warm, but then came the first with cold gray skies and wind that carried that sharp snow smell. It seemed ridiculous to put off the last of the garden clearing any longer. The tomatillos and some of the beans are still putting on, but otherwise the season has ended for another year, and due to the amount of soil damage and powder mildew, winter gardening is being skipped this year.     Final vegetables were picked for seed, each plant was pulled for compost if possible, supports were stacked with like kind and the greenhouse is nearly full now with stored supplies. Raised beds built for rotation have had their frames pulled and stacked and their dirt spread as the rest of the garden was plowed down. I am, however, postponing pulling the remaining flora until first freeze as the hydrangeas, morning glories, and four o’ clocks are still bearing. By project end, my face was flushed and cheeks cold and the sky was darker, leaves blowing out …

Apple Slaw with Orange Ginger Dressing

More often than not, I crave home flavors. The stylings of food rooted deeply in the great gumbo pot of the South, the most basic vittles based in hillbilly essentials and seasoned with heart. And, over the years and many varied moves, I have adapted those tastes and flavors exotic and new to me into the fold, taking that which my granny taught me and adding a splash of flavor standards from other regions I called home, from recipes of friends near and far, from cookbooks of the other side of the world. To wit, this. A recipe founded in that most basic concept of apple slaw, a roots food autumn staple, while gently folding in a layer of Asian influence, taking the basics of cooking with spices common to my much adored Thai dishes and rolling them back into Southern equivalents, just for a bit of flair. Out went the more common mustard and lemon replaced with orange and ginger, ideal for fall. APPLE SLAW WITH ORANGE GINGER DRESSING ½ small red cabbage, sliced 1 …

Stuffed Sweet Peppers with Honey

There is talk, whispers of autumn all over the internets. I’m certain I’ve already read the words pumpkin spice a dozen or so times. The deer who was a fawn last I looked is less reticent to emerge from the back woods and can frequently be spotted in the driveway at dusk, all awkward adolescent legs and jutting neck. And my mother turkey and her dozen brood are no longer an adorable trail of tiny tag alongs, but rather they are all nearly grown and have no fear of me or my camera. They were roosting outside my bedroom window in the shade yesterday. Most of what remained of a garden after the rough weather season is ready to be pulled and the sumac trees are turning. Perhaps because sumac is one of the first to turn and one of only a few trees native to the many varied regions in which I’ve lived, their change in particular is the great heralder, the harbinger of the equinox.        In spite of the hints of …

Peach Harvest Salad

The weather is changing, away from this unseasonable cool and rain to the more familiar heat. But in spite of the heat’s belated arrival, the trees have already taken that golden dusky hue, still green leaved but dulled and with the faintest shiny tinge of yellowing. With their annual aging comes their fruit, peaches for this post’s purposes, so ripe, so sweet scented, they could not be turned down. Paired with the crisp fresh earthy greenness of late summer green beans, their sweetness is highlighted, making a salad side fit to complement any meal and so simple it can be made alone, just to enjoy with a glass of sweet tea on the front porch, watching the trees move in the faintest breeze and wondering if their shadows are getting long just a bit  earlier in the day than they did a week ago. PEACH HARVEST SALAD 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced 2 ripe peaches, sliced 1 lb green beans, trimmed For the dressing: Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste …

Summer Tomato Salad

Post downpours, this year’s garden is not as productive as those of the past. So for today, Thursday, a throwback, a post from last year and one of my favorite recipes during abundant tomato years for pure simplicity: July has arrived all heat and humidity, blinding bright sunshine, and the urge to do little more than lay by the waterside. While I tend to wilt in the heat, the cucumbers and okra are putting on and my peppers and tomatoes are in heaven, producing in abundance. Inspired by the bumper crop of tomatoes this year I decided to share a simple recipe for tomato salad, a personal favorite and perfect treat on a hot day or a beautiful (yet easy) side for your next gathering. SUMMER TOMATO SALAD 4 large tomatoes of your choice, sliced 1 medium red onion, sliced 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled 1 cup of fresh basil, chopped ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped ¼ cup quality extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper For a decorative party approach as …

Summer Lemon Balm Chicken

In the heat of summer, when the temperature climbs well past the point of comfort in a hot kitchen, the slow cooker that typically goes unused suddenly becomes a go to. And while this summer is unseasonably cool, my lemon balm has spread like mad, leaving plenty to spare for a simple summertime favorite. A play on the usual lemon balm and sage blends used on roast chicken, this relies solely on lemon balm and lemons for a delightfully citrusy lightness and the addition of garlic purely for a rich balance. None too heavily flavored, this chicken recipe is delicious on its own or ideal for pre-roasting chicken for future meals as the meat lends itself beautifully to other dishes. SUMMER LEMON BALM CHICKEN 1/4 cup lemon balm leaves, divided 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 tsp white pepper 1/2 tsp garlic powder 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup softened butter Salt and pepper to taste 3 lemons, 1 sliced, 2 halved 2-3 heads of garlic, halved horizontally 1 3-4lb whole chicken Set aside 1/3 of …

Campfire Sweet Potato Hash

In a collage style frame I keep snapshots from my first birthday spent with Josh, a birthday on the Illinois River, camping and floating and lazily enjoying the day. E frequently asks about those pictures, about “daddy’s river” as she calls it, one of his favorite places. And so, in spite of the river being up from all the rain, we decided to take E to her daddy’s river to camp. We scavenged a collection of rocks, driftwood, feathers, and shells, played in the late afternoon sunshine, and taught E to make daisy chains and how to improve her rock skipping game. And after dinner and a visit from a less than skittish raccoon, E had taken in all the excitement she could. Josh and I stayed up, watching one of the most beautiful moonrises I’ve ever seen, the sort of thing you can’t quite justly describe in words but it stays with you until the end, locked away forever in memory. The river whispered by, swift current and humble power, and we talked nonsense, relaxed, laughed. …

Springtime Pasta Primavera

    This spring has come bearing all the rain our drought ridden region has been missing for half a decade. The issues brought with that amount of rain in a matter of weeks make me feel like I’m in Louisiana again, another home, in the swamp and the green and earthy damp smell of rebirth. Boudreaux, get the pirogue. And on the downside, the garden frequently takes on the look of a water feature, plants are being lost to root rot and powder mildew and nothing is growing at the rate it should. Except the weeds. Oh the weeding. Tedious would be understating the situation, but spoiled for some time by container gardening, any weeding had become nearly a foreign concept. But for all the challenges, as always it is worth it for lettuces, greens, peas, early tomatoes, and new potatoes. And nearly as much as I adore all those early harvest goods, I adore this recipe, a light pasta playing less on the sauce and more on the quality of the pasta and freshness of the early …