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Gaining a Testimony of the Do's of the Word of Wisdom

House Popcorn

January 21, 2014 by Sandra | Comments Off

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The first time I gave thought to the word hospitality was in 1994. I was twelve, and my family and I were visiting Savannah, Georgia. Our tour guide to one of the great old homes in the city point out the ornate carvings of pineapples festooned on banisters, bedposts, and wood carvings adorning the stately house. The prickled fruit display of pineapple, a Caribbean token of welcome (presented even to Christopher Columbus), was incorporated by the American South too, as a symbol of hospitality. Heads of household that wanted to project their generosity featured pineapples on their dinner tables and in their home decor. I loved the message, but preferred pineapples be less fibrous than wood. Continue Reading →

Radish Butter

November 21, 2013 by Sandra | 1 Comment

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Hello again, friends. Now that you have all stared at (and hopefully made) the avocado taco recipe for an exceptionally long time, I figured I needed to clean up my act and offer you something new. Sorry for my absence here. I wondered if I could just fade away, but enough of you (graciously) pestered me that I am back to post again at the hope that you might like it. And the hope that I can get out some recipe congestion and share somethings I have surprised myself with lately, and liked.

This recipe is an example of that. I didn’t like radishes. Every time I tried to buy them because I thought I should like them they were attack-style peppery; these were aggressive, angry vegetables. I realized that I like them best pickled on Vietnamese sandwiches and that was it. So I stopped bothering to cook with them at home. Despite signing off from housing the angry vegetables in my fridge, a few stealthy sneaked in the door in my vegetable co-op box a few weeks back. I snarled my luck, but seeing the homeless, helpless pearly white orbs, I couldn’t bear to throw such attractive radishes out. So in the produce drawer they went. Days went by and I realized I had to do something with them or they would languish and I would be guilty of waste, so I scoured my cookbook library for some inspiring application for bushy topped fall radishes. A few book swore radishes and butter were a perfect pairing. But when I had tried something similar with sliced radishes on buttered bread before they were too peppery whenever I got an unbuttered bite. But it was a good pairing. The solution seemed crazy simple when I found a recipe that called for pulsing the radishes with the butter- so every bite was buttered and balanced. Genius, but would my radishes be tame enough or would they be still be too peppery for my liking? Would a bit of butter be enough to balance the bite? Continue Reading →

Fried Egg and Avocado Tacos

July 3, 2013 by Sandra | 2 Comments

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So while I have been honest about the dire straits of my cooking during the remodel of our kitchen, I have not confessed the reason I’ve been so slow posting things around here. I’ve been getting my blogging fix in another place as well and neglected this site. Ouch. If you are dying to know more about my kitchen remodel and simply must know where to catch more than you are getting here, you can get way too much of it here.

Yes, as I was making these tacos (and my lame excuse for lousy pictures) my house looked like this:

 

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Yes, all of the flooring and furniture is gone from the entire first floor, so I am cooking tacos on the fire place in an electric skillet. You understand the average pictures- right?

 

 

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And to add to the sadness- here is the dish zone in the kitchen.

 

 

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Graciously the madness did come to an end. And the new flooring went in, and I stopped cooking in an electric skillet sitting on the fireplace. But I’m not sad for the few days I was doing it. A sprinkle of salty fresh cheese crisped on the skillet, topped with a yellow-gold egg, fried until crisp on the underside and then slipped into soft corn tortilla and topped with chunks of cool avocado. Oh, tasty-any-time-of-day meal.  They were totally worth it; both days in a row that I made them.

Note: Quality of the ingredients really comes through on a recipe this simple. Good stuff makes a world of difference, but even with when I’ve been stuck with mundane ones, I still happily ate the tacos anyway.

Fried Egg and Avocado Tacos

for each taco:

1 egg

1 tablespoon of crumbled fresh cheeoilse (a Mexican cojita or Feta)

1/4 of a medium avocado

a bit of oil

Heat a skillet to medium high heat, and add a smidge of oil.  Swirl around to coat the pan. Spinkle the cheese on the skillet and then crack the egg over the cheese in the skillet. Season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Cover the pan so egg can cook through. When the egg is cooked to your liking- I like mine a bit soft, with the bottom crispy- slip it into a warmed tortilla,  and top with diced avocado. Salt and pepper avocado, and enjoy.

Shockingly Good Microwaved Brown Rice

June 2, 2013 by Sandra | Comments Off

 

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When I mentioned that things were crazy around here with the kitchen remodel and I was feeding my family in a whole new, super simplified way, I wasn’t kidding. For a month and a half (very nearly two) we went without a kitchen- basics like a sink, stove, oven, you name it. I set up shop in the dining area that looked like this: Continue Reading →

How to Cook Comfort

April 22, 2013 by Sandra | 1 Comment

I’m still in the thick of the kitchen remodel, and a term paper- but my mom was requesting a polenta recipe- so I thought I would offer you this one embedded in an essay I wrote this term. Enjoy.

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think you’ve seen this pic before- yes you have, clever reader. Get the more concise, and previously mentioned recipe by clicking on the photo.

Cornmeal is a proper beginning for many meals whether simple or complex. The best kind, worth seeking out exclusively and establishing as a pantry staple, is stone-ground cornmeal. This key cereal is sometimes labeled as coarse-ground polenta or grits. Cornmeal can easily be transformed by additions, just as easily as it has been renamed. Its mythic history as maize, underscores its endless possibilities on the plate.  Ancient Americans cultivated, preserved, and prepared this sacred cereal. When giving offerings to welcome newcomers to America their gift of corn was great. While it appeared simple, it was really complex. To the natives who presented it to early settlers, maize was rich with meaning. It was a connection to the land and their people: the ultimate taste of home. It still captures that flavor, not just to those who grew it first, but all those who tuck into a warm and creamy, humble bowl of maize.

Cooked cornmeal porridge is quintessentially comfort food. It was the embodiment of home to the Native Americans who knew it first, it is a foundational food to those who adopted it as their own in Northern Italy, and in the American South it is routine and ritual. Cornmeal mush, spoon bread, polenta, mamliga and grits are all really cooked cornmeal porridge by an assortment of names and slight variation of cooking. While their differences are slight, their effect is universally soothing. And with good reason, cornmeal—even good quality stone-ground cornmeal—is equally soothing to the pocketbook. Continue Reading →