2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Wonderful Day In Louisiana!!

This post will be a little disjointed, but bear with me – I cannot believe the people we are meeting here. I’m so shaggy (have not had a haircut since we left P.A.!), so drove to Lake Charles to a shop I’ve heard good things about.

On the way, we stopped at Hackett’s Cajun Kitchen and picked up Boudin Sausage, Spicy Pork Sausage and Pork Tasso
Did some running around and stopped back at Pat’s of Henderson – we’d been there a week or so ago and just had a ball with everyone. Nancy, the owner, is the one who took our Merry Christmas picture I posted on facebook – she and I just bonded immediately.

Anyway, we had another wonderful lunch – I had Crawfish Fettuccine and Roy had Crawfish Gumbo   Our leftovers from Pat’s – my crawfish fettuccine (in the dish it was served in ’cause it had all that crusty goodness!!) and Roy’s crawfish gumbo and a loaf of bread!!!!
AND THEN, as Nancy & I were talking, she said hold on I’ve got some things for you to play with –
Care pkg. from Pat’s: 1 3/4 lbs. of their corneal breading, 1 1/2 lbs. FRESH alligator, Sauce (1 Qt.) of some kind – hotter than hell, have to call & ask what it is, two pcs. Cheese cake with sauces and 2 unbaked loaves of their bread offering.

Unfriggin’believaable – These people are just unbelievably kind around here.

AND THEN, these notes from the different wait staff – that we can all play with

Daniel – stuff mushrooms with crab cake mixture.

Tina – her mom makes her gravy when she makes Yorkshire puddings (in a muffin pan) with equal amounts of jus and black coffee.

Tina again – she makes: Brown pork chops, set aside. IN same skillet make a sauce of sliced peaches (canned are fine) Nutmeg Butter Cinnamon Granulated sugar & brown sugar Milk to make creamy S&P

Ya think we’re going to be eating for the next week high off the hog??????????????

I’ll be back as soon as I play with some of this wonderful food!!! 🙂

Freezer Clean Out Time – The Door Won’t Close!!

If you have never traveled in an RV, you probably can’t comprehend the size of freezer we have to work with…and coming from a house with 2 large freezers plus refrig/freezer, it is a challenge. So, we had to put our collective feet down and promise not to go sightseeing where we would end up checking out seafood/meat markets and specialty shops filled with local goodies that I cannot resist. Let me tell you, it is damn difficult!

So, the upshot is I’ve been doing a lot of cooking with dibs and dabs of ingredients and must say neither of us has felt deprived. Here are a few of our favorites that may interest you and remind you of dishes you have made and would like to redo.

Tortilla Pizza
The heat of the toppings for this pizza are really hot, but the flavors are so tantalizing  that the heat works.
???????????????????????????????I used 2 Spinach wraps for the ‘crust’ or base and topped with:
mixture of tomato-based  pizza sauce mixed with spicy BBQ sauce
Swiss and Emanthaler cheese
Smoked Sausage
green onions
little more of the cheese mixture
candied jalapeno pieces and a drizzle of the ‘jelly sauce’

It was outstanding and certainly a repeat and luckily these ingredients are often on hand.
Regardless of my promises to cook out of the freezer, Thanksgiving hit us and I could not not do something holidayish… instead of a turkey breast tho, I roasted a chicken and served this with Corn Grits with Goat Cheese – a somewhat homage to the south where we are staying. A fruit salad and of course pumpkn pie!! But, I’m getting ahead of myself. In a newsletter from seriouseats.com, I saw an idea for Sweet Potato Pancakes and made those for Thanksgiving brunch with bubbly. These are delicious.

Sweet Potato Pancakes Made With Leftover Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1 1/4 cups leftover mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbs maple syrup, plus more for serving
4 Tbs butter, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon

Combine sweet potatoes, sour cream, milk, egg, and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan and add to mixture. Whisk until homogenous. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until just combined (do not overmix).

Melt 1 tablespoon remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat pan. Add four 1/4-cup batches of batter, using the back of a ladel to smooth them out into 4-inch disks. Cook, swirling gently on occasion, until the first side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until browned un second side and pancakes are puffed, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate set in a warm oven and repeat until all pancakes are cooked. Serve immediately with extra maple syrup.Source: J. Kenji López-Alt – Serious Eats

and, Thanksgiving Dinner
???????????????????????????????  ???????????????????????????????
Consequently, more leftovers………………. And a vow to eat a little lighter and healthier. Dug out an old epicurious.com salad idea and had it for dinner. This is a salad that should be in all of our repertoires – fast, easy, pantry items and dinner is on the table. You can also add some freshly cooked pasta to the mix for a complete dinner.

Tomato & Black Olive Salad

4 large plum tomatoes, cored, cut into 3/4-inch piece
1/3 cup brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), pitted, halved or roughly chopped
1/3 cup very thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 large bunch arugula, stems trimmed, cut into wide ribbons

Combine tomatoes, black olives and onion in medium bowl. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar; toss to blend well. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in arugula and serve.

This salad went very nicely with a simple clam cracker pizza – using half the topping ingredients called for
For the cracker pizza, I used 3 ½ oz. of homemade pizza dough
1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
2 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams, well drained
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sprinkle clams, then garlic, dried red pepper, parsley and cheese over dough, leaving 1-inch border. Drizzle oil over and bake.
And, because we had been good for a few days, we splurged on a favorite summer drink, even tho the calendar says November, it is 78° outside. I can’t tell you how good these drinks are and if you try them, I suggest making just one batch – it is enough for 2 nice size drinks.

Peanut Butter Bourbon Milkshake
2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz maple syrup
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup vanilla ice cream (we used yogurt)
1 cup of ice cubes (or use however many to make as thick a shake as you prefer-I usually add almost 2 cups, we like thick drinks)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until fully incorporated and frothy.
Leftovers time:

Turkey Salad with Hoisin Dressing from cooking.com – this salad is light and is just right for a light dinner salad. Made this 11/29/14 – very good. used broccoli slaw. Next time up the amount of chili-garlic sauce, needs more heat.

2 Tbs hoisin sauce
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
3 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp grated garlic (about 1 small clove)
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp chili-garlic sauce (optional)
3/4 lb leftover turkey, shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
One 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal in 1-inch pieces
1/2 small head Napa cabbage, shredded (about 6 cups)

Stir together the hoisin, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and garlic-chili sauce. Add the turkey, pepper, water chestnuts, scallions and cabbage. Toss the vegetables with the dressing until coated.

Tip: Replace the cabbage with a bag of baby greens or pre-shredded coleslaw mix. Toss in other vegetables on-hand, like carrots or broccoli, to bulk up the salad.
Leftover Turkey-Cranberry Monte Cristo Sandwiches –
These sandwiches just out of this world good, but a word of warning, they are filling and when I make them again, we will split one!! Wow.

Leftover Turkey-Cranberry Monte Cristo Sandwiches

1 loaf very soft French Bread, sliced
1-1/2 cups cranberry sauce
12 oz thinly sliced Muenster cheese
thinly sliced leftover turkey
3 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
4-6 Tablespoons butter
confectioners’ sugar

Spread each slice of bread with cranberry sauce, you can add as much or as little as you like. To build each sandwich, take a slice of cheese and tear it in half. Top the bread with half a cheese slice, turkey and the other half of the cheese slice. Top with another slice of bread, cranberry sauce side down.
In a shallow pie plate, add eggs and milk and beat the mixture with a fork until combined. Soak each sandwich in the mixture, about 30 seconds per side. You want the bread saturated but not soggy.

Over medium heat, melt a couple Tablespoons of butter in a nonstick skillet. Add a few sandwiches and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Flip sandwiches and cook the other sides until golden. Add more butter as needed to cook the rest of the sandwiches. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. (Serve warm)  Source: Cathy   – Noble Pig, 11/24/14
And, to finish off the leftovers – morphed the carcass into turkey (only it was chicken) soup. A twist I tried this time was adding a can of chili beans to the soup in addition to the regulars: turkey, little sausage, onions, celery, green beans along with another never tried before addition – a can of creamed-style corn. We really enjoyed the flavors with the added  spiciness from the chili.

Leftovers are now gone and I’m not having to push so hard on the freezer door to keep it closed. But, have more using up before I can have some fun at the seafood and meat markets around here………