March 19, 2015 – Leftover Cod Tacos, Part II

Couldn’t stand it, we so enjoyed the cod tacos from the leftovers yesterday, that we went back to Filly’s again last night for another round of the Cod. Only this time I ordered the cod AND a take-home box and put the cod in the box and split a BLT with Roy.

Made a variation on the taco today –
Leftover Cod & Pepper Tacos with Lemon-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce
This is a take-off from a recipe in 300 Best Tacos cookbook.  Yield: 4 tacos
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3/4 cup roasted peppers – green/red/yellow bells or Poblano type
(I used 1/2 a roasted red bell plus 1 roasted Poblano)
4 – 6 oz. leftover cooked cod, flounder or other delicate white fish
4 6-inch flour tortillas
Lemon-Jalapeno tartar sauce (*see below)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Lemon wedges
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Assemble the tacos –
Layer on each tortilla:
1/4 of the roasted peppers
1/4 of the cod pieces
A dollop of Tartar sauce
Cilantro
1/4 of the green onion slices
Drizzle lemon juice over all.

Heat the peppers and set aside. (I added 1/2 cup cooked rice I had in the refrigerator to the sautéing peppers)

Slice the fish into ‘sticks’ about 3/8” thick; wrap in foil and set aside.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and set aside.

 Heat the tortillas in a 350° oven for 6 minutes; add the pkg. of fish and continue for 5 more minutes. Remove both from oven and assemble taco.

Variations –3/19/15 – I added 1/2 cup rice to the peppers (1/2 bell + 1 Poblano) while I sautéed them. Great addition to the tacos.

* Lemon-Jalapeno tartar:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/2 T. capers, coarsely chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, as much of the membrane and seed removed as preferred (If you can find Candied Jalapeno, use them and delete the sweet pickle relish)
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Whisk all the tartar sauce ingredients together and set aside to add to the tacos.
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 still have 4 oz. of cod left and now the quandary is….how to play with the it. Decisions, Decisions.

 

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March 18 Leftover Cod Filet Tacos

Leftover Cod Tacos

4 oz. of Cod leftover from my lunch at Filly’s Roadhouse, Apache Junction, AZ.  http://fillysroadhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/fillys_2014-2.pdf

$13.99 and I got my lunch plus 4 fish tacos the next day = $4.66 (or $2.33 for 4 each tacos – not a bad deal)

Fun place with a hitching post for the horses of customers – and they do come in on their horses! The cod was lightly battered and cooked to my perfection. Wanted to eat it all, but also wanted to bring home for tacos. The tacos won out! In addition to the cod I brought home a sample of their Spicy BBQ sauce which they offer with their wings. Note: while you read the menu in a restauran, if you see sauces offered with different entrees that look tasty to you, don’t hesitate to ask for a sample. I love to bring them home and make use of them in so many ways.
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Leftover Cod Tacos
Serves 2 – 2 tacos each

Preparing the filling for tacos:

Tartar sauce: bring home from the restaurant or make your own, which I prefer:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/2 T. capers, coarsely chopped
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)

Whisk all the tartar sauce ingredients together and set aside to add to the tacos.

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Sautéed Corn:
Give a quick sauté to 1 1/2 cups corn (fresh, frozen or canned) and 1/4 tsp. chili powder in 1 T. butter over medium-high heat to just start browning the corn. Remove from heat and set aside to add to the tacos.

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Cod:
It’s easier to slice the cod when it is cold – I sliced into crosswise “sticks” about 3/8” thick; wrap in foil and set aside.

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Flour Tortillas:
Wrap 4 7-inch flour tortillas in foil and heat in 350° oven for 8 minutes; add the foil wrapped fish to the oven and continue heating for 5 minutes. Remove both from oven and assemble the tacos.

For the tacos –
Layer on each tortilla:
1/4 of the sautéed corn
1/4 of the warm cod pieces
Drizzle of Spicy Wing sauce (or spicy BBQ Sauce)
Tartar sauce
Fresh cilantro
4 green onions, thinly slice and divided between the 4 tacos.

These tacos are so tasty and easy to put together.

March 15, 2015 – Dinner with Chef Dave & Pam Nelson

Chef Dave Nelson and his wife, Pam, treated us to one of the best and certainly most fun dinners on the road. But, I must say every time we meet up with old cooking forum friends from Chef2Chef, it is always an Event!!

So, sit down with a glass of wine and put your feet up – because I took notes and pictures of almost every step of our dinner.
Here’s our menu:

1st course –
Hazelnut-Crusted Foie Gras with Plums and Sunflower Honey – from the book, “Foie Gras: A Passion” by Michael A. Ginor – can you imagine an entire ‘thick’ book of ideas for using Foie Gras??
???????????????????????????????  2 oz. pkg. makes for a trouble-free portioned start to working with the Foie Gras. Chef Dave is a Rep for Harvest Specialty Foods (exotic meats) and this is one of his products.
???????????????????????????????  Foie Gras – quickly browned on each side and slipped in a ‘screaming hot’ oven for another 30 seconds and ready to go.
???????????????????????????????  ???????????????????????????????  Micro Greens topped with honey sautéed plums, foie gras and toasted hazelnuts and served with Raisin Toast points – everything just worked together.
It tasted as good as the plated dish looked.

2nd course –
Seared Duck with sautéed vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, onions) – drizzled with Duck demi-glace/5 pepper jelly sauce (a jelly made by Pam). This was my favorite of the night! P.S. almost forgot to mention – the duck was a dry-aged product his company is testing and working with – it’s great!
???????????????????????????????   Can’t get much better cook on a duck breast.
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???????????????????????????????   Must admit I did a little licking of the plate on the way to the kitchen….. Pam’s 5 pepper jelly with the Duck demi-glace was outstanding.

3rd course –
Elote – a chip topper of caramelized grilled con tossed with a mayo-chicken stock sauce and served with Mexican chips. From the restaurant’s, Elote Café, cookbook, by Chef Jeff Smedstad, of Sedona, AZ
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4th course –
Austrailian Wagyu Street Taco with homemade tortillas

Loved the combination of these flavors. Dave rubbed the ‘Tomahawk’ with a little of his Naughty Nelly’s spice rub then smoked to a beautiful medium rare piece of goodness! Pam made tortillas to hold all the goodies of the taco and also the refried black beans served along with Mexican rice. I could have eaten a dozen of these if I had not gorged myself on the previous 3 courses….. have to include every picture I took of tise beautiful hunk of meat which I’d never met in person before!!
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And, we couldn’t quit here…

5th course –
Pam made the most luscious creamy Lemon Crème topped with a Blackberry sauce which I could not even finish I was so darn full – but Roy Richard had no  problem finishing it off for me. That man always has my back when it comes to food, bless his heart!
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Our Cooks and hosts for a most fantastic dinner and evening – Chef Dave & Pam Nelson – thank you so much.
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and of course I needed to record our visit for my album –
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I wish we could go back and relive the entire evening….

 

Our Gastronomic Visit to Old Friends, Jane & Bill Miller, Navasota, Texas

Jan. 23, 2015

Arrived here safe and sound and Allison & Eric (two of the 4 children) got here a couple hours later followed by Bert (#3 child) and we all had a great time catching up. Have taken some pictures of the wonderful food and also, a few people pictures – everyone is fine here.
??????????????????????????????? Bill, Allison & Roy
Jan 24 Eric and JaneEric and Miss Jane
Jan 23 Bert, Roy, EricBert, Roy & Eric – doing what we did ALL weekend.

Food started being put out almost immediately – baked Chicken Wings, Mexican style with Blue Cheese and Guacamole; followed by Charro Bean Soup with a dollop of Bill’s Guacamole. Next course: King Ranch Casserole and finishing with a slice of Sour Cherry Pie with Blue Bell ice cream. Burp!
Jan 23 Charro Bean w cilantro

Saturday, we started the feasting with –
Jan 24 Grits, Sausage Bluegerry BreakfastGrits, Sage Sausage, Cheddar Thyme biscuits and a Blueberry ‘coffee’ cake. Of course, everything with very tasty.

Managed to walk around Navasota to work a little of the food off (but, Navasota is not a large town!) – Stopped in an Antigue shop and found a project for Roy when we get off the road. “You Are My Sunshine” was the first song I learned to sing as a 5 year old and this is what I found on the wall of the shop –
???????????????????????????????a project for Roy!

I don’t think we were home long before Jane & Bill did more magic in their kitchen – today in addition to their skills, daughter Allison performed her magic with a Tasting board. She is working on tastes for a show coming up featuring products carried in her store (H.E.B.), where she is the Deli Mgr. and our Cheese Monger extraordinaire. She made a beautiful presentation and wouldn’t you know when I tried to look at the pictures I took, the camera card was still in the laptop – no pictures of what she had worked so cleverly on.

Dinner was Braised Short Ribs with Carrots and Olives, Crème Fraiche mashed potatoes, rib jus drizzled over. A butter lettuce salad with blue cheese, walnuts and a Champagne vinaigrette.

Rogue Valley Salad*****
Jane made this salad Jan. 24, 2015 while we visited – served with Braised Short Ribs and Crème Fraiche mashed potatoes.

Dressing:
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1 T. Dijon
1 T. honey
1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup walnut oil
Whisk together the first 5 ingred. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil.

Salad:
1 head butter lettuce
2 Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2/3 cup blue cheese
2/3 cup candied nuts or toasted nuts
4 servings
Jan 24 Short Rib Dinner

And then, there was Allison’s (Bill & Jane’s ‘girl child’) plate which was larger than she!
???????????????????????????????She finished the entire plate of food! (and, she is a little thing)

By this time we were ready to crawl from the table, but Jane had a different idea for us… Pots de Crème with White Chocolate Whipped Cream.
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It is now Sunday morning and after 2 nights of late night debauchery, we are all moving quite slowly…but, Miss Jane is in the kitchen again putting together a brunch which will probably outdo previous offerings.  (While she is whipping up the brunch, here I sit with a cup of coffee and enjoying the leftovers of my Pots de Crème from Sat. night!)

Sunday Brunch with Bloody Bulls and Champagne:
???????????????????????????????Bacon, Ambrosia Salad and Butterscotch Sticky Buns (with a splash of Scotch!)

Here’s the recipe from Food & Wine, Jan. 2010 –
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/butterscotch-sticky-buns

To walk all this off in anticipation of the next culinary extravaganza, we headed to the fairgrounds where their son, Bert, was judging a Brisket Cook Off – Bloody Marys and Chili cook offs had been held that morning and the day before. I have never in my life seen so many “good ole boys” in one place in my life. I would have loved to have taken all of their pictures, but I was afraid they might think I was making fun. The whiskers, bow legs and cowboy gear – clean and sparkling plus the grubbiest ever (the folks who had been cooking all weekend) – everything was just a hoot! Wish we could have tasted some of the brisket.

Home to more food –
???????????????????????????????1st course – homemade potato chips, Feta & Dill dip and Three Onion Dip (this one I couldn’t stop eating).

Here’s the recipe from Bon Appetitt, Sept. 2014
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Three-Onion-Dip-51245410
Note: Jane passed along her modifications: 2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce plus she uses 3 anchovies.
???????????????????????????????Stuffed Mushrooms – so tasty.

And then, the entrée – a robust, rustic Sausage Ziti Casserole which was also so good with just the right amount of heat and seasoning to entice a body to overeat again.
???????????????????????????????Adding to the goodness was Jane’s garlic bread topped with my contribution – Guimi’s Butter Rouille. Guimi is a friend from Port Angeles, WA and here is her recipe

Guimi’s Butter Rouille*****

New friends treated us to a wonderful Paella dinner last evening – Gary & Guimi entertained us royally with a Shellfish/Chicken/Sausage/kitchen sink dish cooked in their gazebo while the rest of us relaxed with good wine and ‘hearty’ Bloody Marys.  Finished the evening with a rum cake and port. Happy campers all! Our thanks to them for a wonderful evening – the first of many get togethers, I’m sure.

It should not surprise anyone that I came away with a recipe! Guimi makes the tastiest Butter Rouille which we all were ‘slathering with abandonment’ (like that? J ) on our bread rounds. A perfect match for the Paella!

3 cloves garlic
1/3 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup mayo
Ground pepper
1/3 tsp saffron which has been soaked in 1 T. hot water

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That ended the gluttony of the weekend and Monday morning saw us all groaning when Miss Jan listed off what she’d like to make for us for Breakfast. We ended up with a slice of Sour Cherry pie with our coffee and then headed to our ‘temporary’ home in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Monday’s dinner was a quick one as Jane sent us on our way with leftover Ziti casserole.
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She also sent home a couple of leftover short ribs which will top a Cracker pizza Tuesday. And then it is diet food time for a while. If you are ever near Navasota, Texas – drop in on the Miller’s, I’m sure they will feed you just as well as they do us every time we visit!!

Thanks for another wonderful visit, Bill & Jane.

Staying Put in Louisiana Country

My poor blog has been ignored for quite a while. We’re staying put in Louisiana until we have better weather to head up the east coast to see old friends and meet new. So, we’ve kind of hunkered down in the little town of Sulphur, a suburb of Lake Charles and I’ve done more cooking than sightseeing the last few weeks. Plus spent the holidays here cementing friendships with some of the locals – great people in this area.

Since I can’t tell you more about the area, here are some of the dishes I’ve been cooking and maybe one will spark interest in you to add to your menu.

A great find last month was an ebook, “The Southern Foodie – 100 Places to Eat in the South Before You Die,” and to find it while we are spending a few months right in the middle of all this wonderful Southern food! First dish I tried was a winner (and that’s always a very good sign) – Lasyone’s Red beans and rice and Sausage.

The Lasyone family has owned and operated this restaurant in Natchitoches since 1967. Highlighted offerings which the restaurant is known for – Fried Meat Pies, Crawfish Pie and their Red Beans, Rice and Sausage, which I made and thoroughly enjoyed heat from the seasoning and also the spicy smoked sausage I bought locally and used.
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1/2 cup lard or bacon drippings
2 1/2 quarts water
1 lb dried light red kidney beans
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery
1 1/2 cups chopped smoked sausage
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbs dried parsley
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs salt
6 cups cooked long-grain white rice

In large pot combine the lard, water, beans, onion, bell pepper, and celery.

Cook uncovered on medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender.

Add sausage, garlic powder, red pepper, parsley, sugar, and salt during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Serve over the rice.
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A new breakfast treat for us was making Apple-Walnut Pancakes one Sunday morning. The recipe comes from Cooking.com and the pancakes are wonderfully light and flavorful from the tart apple and toasted walnuts.

Treat yourself to a short or tall stack of these fluffy pancakes flecked with tart apple and toasted walnuts. Eat them as is, or smear them with sweet butter and a drizzle of warm maple syrup.
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1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
11/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 Tbs melted butter
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisk together the buttermilk, egg and butter in a small bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture stirring just until the flour mixture is moistened. Gently fold in the apple and walnuts.

Brush a nonstick griddle or large nonstick skillet with oil or spray with nonstick spray and set over medium-low heat. Using a scant 1/4 cup for each pancake, pour the batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to appear and the edges of the pancakes are dry, about 2 minutes. Turn the pancakes over and cook until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, making a total of 12 pancakes.

Tip: If the batter is a little too thick, thin it out by gently adding more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time. Alternately, if the batter is too thin, add a tablespoon or two of more flour.
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And, while we’re in the country of spicy smoked sausages, what better twist to try with a dish than making Salami (or Sausage) Carbonara – the creaminess combined with the spiciness is just brilliant. The recipe calls for Salami, but we loved the sausage addition.
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1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb good-quality salami, sliced 1/4 inch thick and finely diced
1 1/2 lbs bucatini
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the salami and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the salami is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the 1/2 cup of cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the salami and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the pasta is coated and hot, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and immediately add the egg mixture and remaining 1 cup of cooking water. Using tongs, toss the pasta until creamy, about 1 minute. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve in shallow bowls, passing more cheese at the table.
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I needed an idea for leftover pork and found the perfect easy and fast stir-fry in one of my own cookbooks – “I Have LEFTOVERS…What Do I Do Now?”
???????????????????????????????Linguine and Pork Stir-Fry
Substitute just about any meat or fish for the pork and you’ll have a delicious and fast dinner.

1 lb. Linguine, Spaghetti, or Vermicelli, uncooked
1 Tablespoon sesame oil, divided
1 1/2 cups cooked pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (approx. 1/2 head) cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded (1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and toss with 1/2 Tablespoon of the sesame oil, set aside and keep warm. Dice the pork and set aside.

In a deep pot or large skillet, heat the other 1/2 Tablespoon oil and add the garlic, cabbage, onions, bell pepper and carrot; stir-fry until all is tender. Add the meat and lightly stir-fry until hot; then add hot linguine and toss to mix. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings
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I’m going to finish up this blog entry with an old favorite which is an invaluable recipe to have in any cook’s repertoire – how to make Crème Fraîche – which is a thickened cream with a tangy, nutty flavor. It can be very expensive to buy in the U.S. which seems quite frivolous given the flavor is substandard to that made in France. Homemade is equally delicious and so very easy to make at home. My friend, Chef June Jacobs gave me this method years ago and I love having it on hand.

CREME FRAÎCHE – HOW TO MAKE – Chef June Jacobs
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2 cups whipping (heavy) cream preferably NOT ultra-pasteurized
1/4 cup buttermilk — room temperature

Warm cream in heavy small saucepan to lukewarm (85° F). Remove from heat and mix in buttermilk. Put the mixture into a clean glass jar (that has a tight-fitting lid for later use). Leave the jar open and cover with a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper, fastened with a rubber band. Let it stand in a warm draft-free area until slightly thickened, 24 to 48 hours, depending on temperature of room.

When the cream has “clotted,” remove the paper and replace it with the lid. Refrigerate until ready to use.  That’s it! It is so easy and so very delicious.

Chef June’s tip: Stored in this manner, the Crème Fraîche should keep until you’ve used it up (and made more!) Like fine cheese, it may develop a “skin”, but you can remove it and use what’s underneath.
Another of her tips – Crème Fraîche whips beautifully and is wonderful on a strawberry shortcake.

Note: Normally all I can find is ultra-pasteurized and buttermilk on the shelves is reduced fat/1 ½% milkfat/50% less fat than whole milk, but it works. Mine is normally ‘clotted’ after 30 hours.
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Well, it’s time to check out the freezer – it’s almost empty and figure out how much I can buy at the Holly Beach Seafood Shack here in town. They have been closed since mid-December, so I’m really anxious to check out what they have for us this new year.

Hope you find something in the above recipes you might like to try – let me know if you do. Would love to hear.

cjdacook@netscape.com

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
http://www.hackettscajunkitchen.com/
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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.
http://patsofhenderson.com/menu.html

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!!!!
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AND THEN, as Nancy & I were talking, she said hold on I’ve got some things for you to play with –
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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.
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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
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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
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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
or
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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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………

Favorite Louisiana Foods – Part 1

We are now in Sulphur, Louisiana, a suburb of Lake Charles and one of the nicest RV parks we’ve so far stopped in. A + RV Park.  A lot of drama going on right now – I guess our dish is kaput; have to replace the system or go in another direction. Have to watch all of our taped shows before everything gets shut down… I keep telling myself – it’s only television shows, but darn it, that’s our evening entertainment!! (and we are hooked on some) Also, our anniversary is Saturday and I have planned a big blow-out for Saturday………….. Time to back off and remember we are supposed to be having fun, so life will be what it is and I’ll just pour another glass of wine and go with it.

Friday, Nov 21st
I had to shop Friday for our anniversary (46 years!) dinner on Saturday, so lots of running around and I knew we wouldn’t get home in time to eat. So, what I came up with was something I just NEVER do!!! I think buffets are the work of the devil, un-sanitary, mediocre food, yaddda yaddda!!BUT, guess I’ll have to negate that ‘never’!!

We  passed The Grill Pit and didn’t realize until we got inside it was a buffet. For some reason we decided to stay and we just ate our fool heads off. I took one or a spoonful of everything to taste and my plate was really full. Every bit of it was just delicious and good temperatures. My favorites were the crawfish casserole (kind of a corn pudding) and the  shrimp beignets!!! Even the greens were good! I was so full, could hardly look over the dessert table, but there sure were some good lookin’ goodies there. Just couldn’t eat another bite!!

I went on and on so much about how good the beignets were, our server, Mona Jane, offered to sell us some. I ordered 3 and she told us to wait a few minutes and the kitchen would make up some fresh for us. She came back with a box of SEVEN! For $.99. Still warm. And, their method for making them. If mine turn out half as good I’ll be happy – but I’m not making them for a while!! The last of them were my dinner later

Shrimp Beignets – how to make per Mona Jane, waitress at Grill Pit, Sulphur, LA – I’ll make these when my pants fit me again…………………
Pancake mix – sweetened with a little sugar – prepare
Grind small raw shrimp and add  along with gr. onion
Add flour until the correct consistency.
Dip spoon or scoop in hot water; spoon batter into hot oil and fry.

On to Saturday, Nov. 22nd and our anniversary dinner!!
Oh my, what a wonderful champagne dinner we enjoyed today!! I’ve been researching jambalayas and gumbos and have found some very interesting customs in this area. Decided to go with a gumbo dinner after learning a most fascinating tidbit – in Louisiana gumbos are traditionally served with potato salad!!  And, oh my, are they correct. The spicy heat of the gumbo with the spicy coolness of the potato salad was outright wonderful!

Louisiana Potato Salad – adapted from a Simply Recipes newsletter site.
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1 pound Yukon gold or new potatoes, scrubbed clean (peel on or off, your choice), cut in 1 to 2-inch chunks
3 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
1/2  small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup Creole mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise (less or more to taste)
Salt
Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

Cook the potatoes until just tender. Hard-cook the eggs. While the eggs and potatoes are cooking, chop the onion, celery, and green pepper. Also, combine the dressing ingredients: the vinegar, sugar, mustard and mayonnaise.
Drain the potatoes and while still warm toss with the dressing; when cool enough, peel the eggs, chop and add to the potatoes. Add the remaining ingredients along with salt and Creole seasoning to taste.  Makes 6 servings

Gumbo with Sausage and Chicken
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1/3 cup Crisco or lard
1 lb fresh sausage links, cut into ½-inch pieces (preferable Andouille)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 extra large onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large green bell pepper, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
32 oz chicken broth
1  T.  Gumbo file
1 T. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
8 oz. or 1/2 of a 16-oz. pkg. frozen Gumbo vegetables
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken

Heat 2 tablespoons Crisco in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the sausage from the saucepan and drain on paper towels. Do not pour off the drippings from the saucepan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir the remaining oil and the flour in the saucepan and cook for 30 minutes or until the flour mixture is dark brown, stirring occasionally.

Stir the onion, celery and pepper in the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, seasonings, okra, chicken and sausage and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Served 8
Serve with the potato salad added to bowl of gumbo or as a side dish.
Nov 22 Sausage Gumbo Plated
I was so proud of my roux – dark mahogany brown and just so delicious!!

Now, I have to cook healthy for a few days or run a marathon!!! We’re staying her for 2 months, so I ought t be able to share some fun dishes over the next few weeks. Happy cooking to us all!!

Mississippi – 2nd Week of Cooking

With the temperatures in the low 30s, and being in a travel trailer, the need for warmth is paramount. So, baking takes care of any heating problems.
Started the day trying another bread recipe in my quest for ‘our perfect’ sandwich roll – one that will hold up to any filling I use. And, I’m thinking this one is close to it!

Quick Pan Rolls – 1/2 Recipe (16 rolls) a Chef’s Journey Revision
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My oops in making this recipe consisted of using only a quarter of the yeast called for in making  1/2 the original recipe( which called for 2 T.) and I like the texture better for sandwich rolls. They will be sturdier, I think. I will make the recipe again using the called for amount of yeast and see how much, if at all, lighter they can be. No need to shape individual rolls – simply cut dough in each pan into 16 rolls! Quick and easy.

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 T. yeast (should have been 1 T.)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 T. butter cut into pieces
1/2 large egg
1/2 T. all-purpose flour, for dusting

Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water, and butter until very warm (120° to 130°F); stir into flour mixture. Stir in egg and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 20 minutes.

Roll to fit a greased 8 or 9-inch square pan. (I used an 8X12” 1/4-sheet pan) With sharp knife, cut dough into 16 rolls; cover. (I cut into 6 pieces for sandwich rolls) Place large shallow pan on counter; half fill with boiling water. Set wire rack over pan; place baking pan on rack. Let rise 20 minutes.
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Dust tops with 1/2 tablespoon flour. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 15 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; let cool on wire rack, Yield: 16 rolls or 6 beautiful sandwich roll
Original recipe – http://www.breadworld.com/recipes/Quick-Pan-Rolls

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Roy brought home 4 beautifully dressed catfish that I have decided if I want it done right, I’ll do it myself. All I’ve been able to find in restaurants as I move south are ‘strips,’ ‘bites,’ ‘chunks’ or some such clever name that means the fish has just been chopped up! Two went in the freezer and two were used for dinner today. Trying to be a little careful of fat intake, I chose to oven-fry them after marinating in buttermilk, salt, pepper and a little Frank’s hot sauce; then dusting with corn flour.
???????????????????????????????  The result was mixed – even sticking the catfish under the broiler for a couple minutes I couldn’t get a nice ‘crust’ on them. The flavor, though, was wonderful and made for a tasty dinner alongside oven-roasted potato planks and sliced onions. Coleslaw completed the dinner with a dressing I haven’t made for quite a while.

Honey Mustard Slaw Dressing
The amount of dressing will coat 8 to 10 oz. slaw mix.

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs grainy mustard
2 Tbs honey
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Source: Cuisine @ Home magazine

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Nov 17th Monday –
The final 2 catfish  and I prepared them exactly as I have been looking for in restaurants in every town we stop! The old adage, “If you want it done right, do it  yourself” definitely holds true with my catfish yearnings
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Fried Catfish Recipe – a Chef’s Journey recipe

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 T. salt
1/2 T. black pepper
1 T. Hot Sauce (Frank’s hot sauce is good)
4 catfish fillets (preferred size 4 oz. each)
1 1/2 cups corn flour or corn meal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

In a large heavy plastic bag combine the buttermilk, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Rinse catfish with cold water and pat dry. Make 2 diagonal cuts in the thickest part around the belly flap area to help the thicker parts of the fish to cook evenly with the thinner tail part. Add the fish to the bag with buttermilk, ‘smooshing’ around to coat all the fish; place bag on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a heavy frying pan (I prefer to use cast iron), pour enough oil to come 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high. Turn your oven to 200° and lay a cookie sheet inside. Place a wire rack on top of the cookie sheet.

While the oil is heating, mix the corn flour or meal and flour together. (Or you can substitute your favorite seasoning instead.) Let the oil reach 350 degrees — a good test is to flick a little of the dry breading into the oil, and if it sizzles at once, you’re good to go.

Once the oil is hot, sprinkle the catfish fillets with salt and dredge them into the flour mixture. Shake off the excess and gently lay into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how thick the fillet is. Use a metal spatula and gently turn the fish over and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes. Cast iron heats up and stays hot, so monitor the heat as you fry; you may need to lower the heat on the burner at some point.

Once the fish is ready, move it to the oven while you cook the rest of the catfish. Keeping the fried catfish warm in the oven will help keep it crispy. When they’re all done, serve at once with your favorite hot sauce, cole slaw and some hush puppies or the following Grits dish!!

Corn and Goat Cheese Grits  SOON
“I decided to citify low-country cuisine by adding lots of chopped garlic and fresh goat cheese,” says Bobby Flay of these hearty yet elegant grits. The end result is a tangy, creamy, corn-flecked side dish. F&W. I made 1/2 the recipe which resulted in my having enough for a little bowl for breakfast….will I offer it to Roy Richard?? No way in…………………….

4 cups water
1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tbs unsalted butter
Kosher salt
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) or one 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels
Freshly ground pepper
4 oz fresh goat cheese

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Cook the grits over moderate heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until thickened and the grains are tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the corn mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until the mixture is just smooth.

Stir the pureed corn and the goat cheese into the grits, season with salt and pepper and cook just until heated through. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

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But, back to the Sandwich rolls –
The results for sandwich rolls – these turned out to be too large for individual sandwiches, but were perfect for splitting with a salad. The rolls stand  up to any fillings and taste wonderful, also. Will work on size in subsequent batches.
First off tried them with pulled pork – very nice!
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Next day, after finally (with the help of a multitude of friends) I remembered the sandwich I was anxious to make with these rolls – Patty Melt – and, it was everything I’d hoped it would be, even tho it wasn’t with the traditional Rye bread.
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To round out this blog entry, here are a couple ideas for serving with a bowl of soup for a fast, each and not too filling later dinner –
After the filling  Patty Melts m id-day, we were hungry for  just had a bowl of tomato soup  – but, added a garnish that was super tasty. And, great in the soup if you can keep yourself from nibbling on the chickpeas!!!  This is from a link  my friend, Alina posted on a forum we both belong to – I didn’t make the soup, only the chickpea garnish and it is so good as a garnish and as a nibbling goodie!

My Version – Roasted Chickpea Garnish (for soups)
This is a link to the original recipe if you’d like to make the soup, also
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tomato-soup-roasted-chickpeas

Combine:
2 garlic gloves
1 oz diced ham or prosciutto
1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Drizzle with 1 T. olive oil
Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
Salt

Toss all together and roast in a 450° F. oven for 20 to 23 minutes; tossing a couple times while roasti
Remove from oven and set aside until ready to garnish soup. If made ahead, slightly warm in a microwave or skillet before adding to soup.

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Another side which we love with a bowl of soup is a Tortilla Pizza – we had this simple one earlier this week and I hurriedly wrote down what I had down to be able to duplicate again.

Tortilla Pizza
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And, here is an easy & fast ‘go with’ your bowl of steaming soup/stew. A tortilla pizza for two – all you do for this one is:
lay out a wrap size tortilla (we love the Spinach flavored) on baking sheet (dusted with cornmeal)
smear with a little pizza sauce
scatter shredded cheese – this is Swiss
1/4 cup (about) diced cooked meat (I used Prosciutto)
Green onions
Pickled jalapeno slices

Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

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This ends my Mississippi cooking – we have leftovers to see us through a few days until we get settled in Louisiana! We didn’t  do as much touring as I thought we would do here, but we sure did try a lot of local favorites and that’s what it is all about for me!!