What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I bow to The Big Easy

A good friend of mine tried her best to talk me into driving to New Orleans for Mardi Gras revelry this last weekend. I nobly resisted. I always cook my own Fat Tuesday feast, thank you very much... while listening to a mish mash of Zydeco and Cajun-inspired music. Sure, it's not as festive, and some year I hope to cross "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" off my Life List. But for now, I'll enjoy the fresh air and lack of half-naked crowds at home.

Well tonight's recipe was a flop. A failure. An epic fail. I recently stumbled across a new recipe website, I think on the recommendation of the magazine that sponsors it being one that encourages real food, not necessarily fast or easy food. I fell in love the moment I learned that a recent edition focused on either butter or bacon (I forget which). I've been visiting daily and printing off reams of delicious-sounding recipes. One of those recipes was for Grillades and Cremini Grits. I originally did not plan to serve this recipe for Mardi Gras. While not generally a creature of habit, I have spent the last 5 or 6 Mardi Gras making jambalaya or gumbo, either way involving a lot of sausage, shrimp, and/or chicken. Not grillades. And I know that grillades are generally a breakfast/brunch dish. Not dinner. As life happened, though, I didn't get to make them on their appointed night, so thought "well, hey, it'll work just fine for Mardi Gras."


Do not listen to those sorts of voices. Do not break from tradition. The gods of Mardi Gras were not pleased.

My first clue (other than trying to plan something not based on shrimp) should have been how different this recipe is from every other stinking recipe for grillades.

No one else uses an entire bottle of wine.

And now I know why. That's a lot of wine. And I like wine. But when it concentrates down that much... if it is not a very fine bottle, if you somehow follow the rule to only cook with wines you would drink, but apparently aren't selective enough about drinking wines... you end up with a final dish that tastes like tart wine. With onions. No beef flavor to speak of. Just bite after bite of wine. Blech.

The grits part didn't work out, either. Apparently the milk in the recipe serves a higher function than liquid and flavor. Maybe it's a custard-type thing. I subbed half chicken broth and half fancy-shmancy mushroom broth ("oooh, ahhh...") and ended up with runny grits. Harrumph. I'm hoping the leftovers will be good.

One good thing did come out of the grillades recipe.

I used half sorghum and half generic-gluten-free-white-flour-blend to coat the round steak, and it worked really well. It browned nicely and thickened the sauce very well.

So next year you can bet your sweet bippy I will be making jambalaya or gumbo. With sausage, shrimp, and/or chicken. Branching out isn't worth the risk. And next time I make grillades (yeah, there might be a next time, I'll try anything twice) I will stick to a recipe from Nawlins itself. Fancy-shmancy gourmet magazines don't know what they're talking about!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I heart raw fish!

Tonight's dinner seems like an episode of Connections. We start with my weekly delivery of fresh, locally-grown produce (and meat, dairy, gluten-free bread products) from Greenling. Oh, how I love the adventure of cooking whatever Mother Nature has seen fit to provide! This week included yet another massive bunch of cilantro. I know cilantro can be a very hot topic. But I am in the "love it" camp for this particular herb, so I like getting these big bunches. What I don't like is the guilt I feel when most of a bunch goes wilty (or worse yet, gooey) due to me not getting around to using it. I hate it when that happens with any of the lovely produce the farmers worked so hard to grow. Cilantro is very moody and can be hard to keep fresh for more than a few days. So, I resolved to make salsa. I googled around, but wasn't inspired, so I reached for my trusty Mexican Everyday cookbook, by Rick Bayless (if you're going to cook Mexican, get a Rick Bayless book!) I love this cookbook... for it's simplicity, ease of use, friendly voice, and especially for the amazingly sound advice for life in general that he gives in the introduction. Truly awesome. So, I was going to use his Chunky Fresh Salsa recipe, but I failed to pay attention and make a good list before going to the grocery store. I had no green onions. Would a regular onion work? And would it be too spicy for me? The older I get, the more of a gringa I become. That's when I remembered my Gringo's Guide cookbook... with handy flame ratings for each recipe. So, I flipped through and none of the recipes were quite right. I liked the sound of one that included cucumber, which I just happened to have (I know, I know, not seasonal at all!) But the book said it was best with seafood... and I was planning Grillades and Grits for dinner. Although my foot has been hurting from a freak soccer-with-4-year-old accident, so I really wasn't in the mood for an involved dinner. Last night I made a double batch of very-involved ragu, which fed us and the freezer quite nicely, but... left me rather TIRED. And casting evil glances at my kitchen in general. I've had enough chopping, stirring, and endless cleaning-up for a few days. And I love cooking, so that's saying something.

Ok. What can I thaw quickly (not using the microwave) that would maybe somehow go well with the salsa that I felt forced into making?

Fish. Specifically, halibut pieces from Vital Choice. Tasty for fish tacos, but my kids don't like fish... and I have a LOT of citrus on hand right now, thanks to Greenling... how about ceviche? I can make rice (with chicken broth to boost the nutrition) and we can either put our fishy goodness (plus some extra salsa) over rice, or maybe scoop it up with nacho chips (it's not as crazy as it might sound... the very popular Elise recommends it here.) And we can munch on chips and my fresh, homemade salsa while the ceviche... ceviches.

So, yeah... tonight's lovely and delicious dinner was brought to me by the letter C, for cilantro, and the number... bunch. Oh, come on, bunch is a number! And we'll be having those grillades and grits for Mardi Gras... hope to post about it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


No, I'm not talking about the children, I would never call them that.* I'm talking about dinner! Delicious, humongous bratwursts from U.S. Wellness Meats, to be exact.
I was really tired tonight, after a long afternoon at our weekly homeschool park day, so I made the Grill Geek ply his trade for dinner. I chopped up some veggies for Sidedish (this time it was red potatoes, a small sweet potato, a lot of mushrooms, and half a red onion) and he did all the rest. A large scoop of real sauerkraut (with all it's lovely probiotics intact) and a dollop of coarse mustard were all that was needed to complete the meal.

Now, those brats probably look pretty big to you... and you're probably sitting there thinking "how on earth could she eat TWO of those things? She must be a pig!" Well, first of all, Smarty Pants, pigs don't eat pig, and these were pork brats. So. There you go. And secondly... I was really darn hungry after a light pre-park lunch and no snacks. And third... well... see for yourself.

I didn't eat all of it. Almost. But not quite.

* I prefer to refer to them as pirates, or perhaps "scallywags" on a bad day.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Since everyone does it, I did too.
Way too much food, all of which can be eaten with one's fingers, lots of grease, and plenty of spice.

Superbowl food.

First Half:
Steak Bites (I deglazed my pan with a glug of beer)
Guacamole and chips
Bacon-wrapped grilled leeks
Garlic-bacon potato skins

Second Half:
Italian Drumettes (I used the Ro-Tel tomatoes with chiles, to add a kick)
Veggies and dip

It was a little bit tricky timing it all so that I could actually watch the game (strange, football-loving woman that I am,) but it worked out pretty well. And with food for both halves, we were able to munch without stuffing ourselves.

About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.