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East Coast USA, United States
Lowcountry porch sitter. Appalachian Mountain lover. Finger Lakes dreamer.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mustering Mustard

Mustard is a seed, a spice, a spread, a sauce and perhaps even a state of mind. And much like the infamous parable of the mustard seed, mustard is a simple ingredient that no matter what form it takes it serves as a fundamental element in a host of food offerings, perhaps even boundless and limitless in its ability to enhance. The past week included a number of mustard encounters. Currently thinking about the "single dog" I devoured at Street Meet American Take Out and Tavern, a local restaurant offering a cornucopia of dog options reminiscent of early century street vendors...no dog is complete without mustard and relish from my point of view. Then, local foodie favorite Ervena Faulkner brought us a hot mustard sauce recipe ~ complete with a slowcountry virtue attached that insisted no sauce should be hurried. That the long, slow cooking of it (sauce) gives the mellowness of flavor that is desired. While Ervena's celery and olive sauce recipe piqued my interest in the same article, it was her hot mustard sauce that I recreated in the kitchen with thoughts of holiday entertaining to come. The kind of entertaining where ham and cocktail sausages would most certainly be served. Then Juls Kitchen created the opportunity to think beyond preparing mustard for immediate consumption and suggested we gift it instead. Humble, homemade, jarred and wrapped this holiday season for the pure enjoyment of our loved ones...

  • Walnut Mustard:
  • 50 g of English mustard powder
  • water
  • 1 tablespoon of running honey
  • 3 tablespoons of honey vinegar (can be substituted with apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • 50 g of shelled walnuts
Note: Giulia Scarpeleggia (Juls Kitchen) defers to a post on honest-food.net as her inspiration for her post. It is a wealth of information as to the history and splendor of mustard.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Forever Kahlua Flan

Birthdays and cooking classes go very well together! When considering what sort of occasion would appropriately say farewell to a year of monumental experiences and welcome another year full of promise (as it is every time a birth date comes around) I made arrangements with a local culinary center to host a small group of women for a "Girls Night Out." In September of this year the Hilton Head Health Institute announced the opening of its Culinary Arts Center; thus, it was a natural fit to pair the facility with an evening to celebrate one's life and to host some very special women in my life (as well as a desire to secure some healthier recipe options). Chef Karla Williams brought our group many wonderful healthy renditions of my favorite knoshes: Sun Dried Tomato Phyllo Triangles, Pork Pot Stickers, Mini Crab Cakes, Mini Pizza Pizzets, Light Hummus and Kahlua Flan. It's the "sweet" yet "lighter" version of the evening that I bring to the kitchen this weekend. Compare Chef Karla's ingredients below with a not as healthy version from Emerile Lagasse and one might think something gets lost in the translation to healthy, but we can say without a doubt Chef Karla's flan version is full of the same flavor and completely indulgent. She noted during our class that you can add additional flavor to this recipe by adding 1/2 c mashed banana (Kahlua, Banana Flan). Another year older and after this cooking class certainly wiser!


Kahlua Flan
1/2 c Sugar
3 Tbsp Water
1/3 c Dark Brown sugar
2 Tbsp Kahlua
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt
12 oz Evaporated Skim Milk
1/2 c egg substitute
# of servings: 6
Serving size: 1 pc
Calories per serving: 180
Fat Grams per serving: 1



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Battle of Burgoo

Bully for Burgoo.  A dear friend captivated by my ancestral connection to West Virginia recently sent a care package of every imaginable collateral item from that state and among the many brochures, magazines, key chains, and a t-shirt was a brochure from Webster County on their International Burgoo Cookoff  held annually over Columbus Day weekend (this weekend).  I had never heard of burgoo so I posted an entry on my personal Facebook account and a hodge podge of individuals chimed in via comments expressing their love for burgoo...most especially Kentuckians. Thus, I was set in motion to search my cookbooks to see if any referenced what I now perceive as an infamous dish.  And behold, I indeed locate a recipe in my 1997 Jeff Maxwell The Secrets of the M*A*S*H Mess as a dinner entry called "Battle of Burgoo."  The recipe I link here matches the Maxwell version with the inclusion of peas and okra. Most every reference to burgoo online or in text includes a disclaimer that reads "no two cooks prepare it the same way and most keep their recipes a closely guarded secret." The beauty of individualism in people flows through to their recipes, each familiar yet very distinctly their own variety....right now I'm thinking Lowcountry Boil and Frogmore Stew are the coastal cousins to burgoo.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Can of Tuna

Likely we all have noticed the progressively expanding variety of tuna offerings on our grocer shelves over the last ten years. We went from simply packed in oil or water to all white albacore and chunk light in a can to vacuum sealed packages and individually portioned varieties. This week in a rare opportunity I found myself parked in front of a television to watch the Food Network on two separate occasions. I caught an episode of the Barefoot Contessa and an episode of Giada at Home that both featured an Italian canned version of what I only know of as Chicken of the Sea or StarKist. I immediately look up tonno (Italian for tuna) on the internet to learn that what makes Italian canned tuna better is the 1-2 month marination with olive oil that transpires before the canned product is distributed. I'm hopeful that the one local venue that I imagined carrying this product, The Market at Michael Anthony's, will not disappoint in offering or ordering what I'm clamoring to try. Both Food Network recipes are delightful alternatives to my usual tuna fish salad, celery sticks, and sesame crackers or tuna casserole. Ina Garten's open faced sammy sounded highly unusal, but seriously the combination of flavors appeals...Tuna and Hummus Sandwich. Giada's recipe is straight out of Davy Jones' locker as Pirate Pasta...something that clearly has many treasured ingredients deliciously tossed together and a definitively different pasta offering for dinner. We take great pride in our Lowcountry shrimp and oysters in these parts, but it's was fun to learn that off the coast of Sicilia there's another product that changes up the ordinary to something quite extraordinary.
Life Enrichment is like a travel and learn program...offering infusions that make every day life thereafter far more interesting! ~ Ann-Marie Adams, Reflections on a Meaningful Life